Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Holy Knee-Brace Batman!

Happy birthday to the best Batman ever - Adam West!

Nobody beats Adam West as Batman and as today is his birthday, he gets fist dibs on this blog post. SO - thank you Adam West for being an awesome batman!

I also adored Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. Oh, and T and I get into way too long conversations about which is the better Joker - Cesar Romero or Jack Nicholson. Jack is seriously creepy, but Cesar is a great camper and works really well in the context of the show...see how this can go on?

Well, as much as I'd love to, there's no Batusi dance for me today. I already twisted my knee and so those Batman knee-bends are out of reach for me for the next few weeks at least.

You'll never guess how I twisted my knee - okay maybe you will:

Option A: Lifting a dog out of the car.
Option B: Digging in the garden.
Option C: Playing round in a giant bounce house.

If you guessed Option C, well, then there's nothing more to say. Your snickering is heard loud and clear.

It happened exactly as you might expect. I saw the advertisement for the bounce house and thought to myself, "why aren't there more options for adults to play around in bouncy houses? When was the last time I was in a bounce house? Oh my! I MUST GO!" I gathered some brave souls to go with and we all took off our shoes and pretended we were 10 again.

The bounce house was huge. This is the world's biggest bounce house! It advertises itself as 10,000 square feet of bouncey air-filled fun. There is a live DJ at the center playing music, beach balls, a ball pit, inflated slides and obstacle courses, lounge areas, and a giant pink gorilla...because why not have a giant pink gorilla?

Our tickets were for the 60 minute adult session. That might not seem like a lot of time. I know when I bought the tickets that I was a little let down that we only had 60 minutes, but after the first 10 minutes of non-stop jumping...I understood why. Jumping is a work-out! I tried the obstacle courses, fell into the ball pit, tried my hardest to get on top of the giant balls in the giant ball pit, and merrily hopped to the beat the DJ laid down.

I made it a full 58 minutes.

When minute 58 came I was preparing to wallop a friend who was coming down a slide with a beach ball. I had my right leg out and my arm raised with the ball. He rolled at the end of the slide...slamming into my knee. I heard an epic 'pop' and grinding sound in my ears as I fell to the floor.

The next couple of minutes are a little blurry, but I was carried out by a lovely Scotsman, ice was brought, and some water and Tylenol came my way. My friends brought me to urgent care and we spent the evening talking about how cool my new prosthetic leg would look, discussing our hiking plans, and laughing through the pain.

I can tell  you - that shot they give you in the butt - that HURTS!

I'm happy to report that my ACL is not completely torn! I was on crutches for a bit, but I'm improving every day. This week I stopped using crutches and so now I'm just on the knee brace. I'm also doing some self-imposed physical therapy with yoga and swimming on top of RICE.

With any luck, perhaps I'll be doing the Batusi for Adam's next birthday!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tattoo ReDo

This is a seriously great before and after:

Short story -
I drew the design and brought it to the artist my husband used.
The guy seemed friendly and it was a small thing so he said it wouldn't be an issue.
I specifically asked him not to use black - I wanted it pale and subtle.
He agreed.
I got the tattoo.
He used black..."to make it pop" and couldn't figure out why I was so upset.
I felt really disrespected, hurt, and haven't had a tattoo since.
I have always hated and tried to hide it.

Then, on a particularly nice day when I was walking somewhere new, I happened to notice a small tattoo studio Ink and Paint on Stone way. I emailed the owner and operator, Nina, and shared my story and inquiry on if she did cover-ups and asked her opinion on what might be done. She immediately put me at ease with her calm, professional, but caring demeanor. Her shop felt really comfortable - a mix of eclectic cartoon cells, dinosaurs, and current projects but everything still clean and organized. It felt like the shop of a working artist.

We came up with some ideas and since I really like camellias I did a few drawings and she did one and we tried but couldn't make it work. The star shape, single color, and tight proportions weren't working out.

I started to look for star-shaped flowers figuring that if we couldn't easily hide the lines it might be better to accentuate them instead.

Some possible options were: fuchsia, bittersweet nightshade, morning glories, and lilies.

Bittersweet nightshade was my favorite.

I like it because it grows in the East coast where I grew up and it grows on the West coast where I live now. I like it because it is a very pretty flower, but also one that isn't as showy - it isn't a lily shouting out front and center, but its flowers and berries are bright little stars against a green backdrop. I like it because although it is small and pretty, it is also strong. Bittersweet nightshade can make a person ill if they aren't careful. If you don't treat it with respect it'll get the better of you - that's a sentiment I much prefer (literally) over the one where a man made decisions for my body without my consent.

Nina was great, loved the images I sent her, and worked up a second drawing that aligned much better with the existing ink. The colors were also much more flexible - shades of purple and green that could blend into the stars as opposed to a flat red that would have been for the camellias.

It took about a month to find time in Nina's schedule - which was perfectly fine, I wasn't in a rush.

On my actual tattoo date we went through the placement, she double checked the colors, and it went fairly smoothly. Getting a tattoo on the space behind your ear is painful and LOUD and I didn't want to talk or move my jaw in any way for fear of warping the skin behind my ear. So I passed the time staring at Nina's dinosaurs and still-cells from different animations.

After the tattoo was complete she went through the normal post-tattoo review for care and gave me a sample of Aquaphor and a card with aftercare review. It has been healing lovely and during a bike ride with D we even stumbled across some bittersweet nightshade growing wild along the Burke Gilman bike trail.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

  Lucky-Bunny: The revival!

Oh my gosh! It has been forever since I posted anything related to riding Lucky-Bunny.
This shall not stand!

Okay, well, I still love riding her but, with all the other things going on in the house and life, I took most of the winter off. I’m not a super confident highway rider. Every time I pass a weaving semi-truck or a Prius driver more concerned with their cellphone than the road I get a little shiver down my back knowing that these folks could easily kill me. Since the majority of my commute was high-traffic and high-speed – I’d get a lot of those little shivers and eventually feel pretty uncomfortable riding to and from work. Nearly every day I pass a car accident…granted there are a lot of drivers on the road so there is bound to be a higher percentage of accidents and statistically I’m just one of a million riders on I-5…but statistics can be made to say anything and statistically I ride at the most dangerous times of day (to/from work) and statistically I’m more likely to be injured in an accident than the driver of a car or truck would be, and statistically I’m lucky – that counts for good and bad luck.

So, over the winter, Lucky Bunny stayed in the garage and kept company with D’s bikes, the vacuum, and the canned goods.

In the spring I wanted to get the bike professionally looked over, again, safety first, before really going out for any long rides. My job, and therefore my commute, changed, so I did a couple runs in my car to check different paths of commute and decided on one that didn’t have any highway travel. I like twisty roads, little jumps, passing by pretty gardens, passing places that smell delicious and going along paths that have a great view – I don’t like going 80 MPH trying to dodge cars who merge into me without looking.

Happily, I can now take the scenic route!

Lucky Bunny and I are out riding a lot more and just having fun.

I’ve also been adding more stickers to the bottom half of my topcase. Unlike the bike itself, the topcase doesn’t have to be limited to MLP or Sailor Moon related stickers. I have really liked the staying power and bold colors of Enfu.

They have held up really well! I ran into their booth at Sakuracon and my only issue was making decisions on which stickers to buy! I decided on these two…so now, if you are driving around Seattle and see a motorbike decorated in waffle-fish or glitter sprinkle cupcakes…you know who is riding! J

Friday, June 23, 2017

Experiments in Vegetarianism

Funny story -
I was chatting with a partner about changes and challenges and I issued an experimental edict: he'd go vegetarian for one week, a work week, 5 days. Just 5 days. Easy.
A billion text messages later, a late night munchies shopping spree, and 2 weeks of massive transition and I'm a vegetarian while my partner is pretty much a carnivore.

My experimental edict where I got to dictate the diet of someone else became deciding the diet of myself!

Being a person who doesn't like to ask others to do things she herself won't do - When I asked my partner to adopt a vegetarian diet I also adopted the same diet so I could relate 1:1 in what he was going through. During this time I was also engaged in a giant project/conference with my job, transitioning to another job, had just finished hosting company, and had been doing some major driving time.

The first day or two was fairly confusing - trying to be supportive of another person while also trying to navigate my fridge, evaluate regular go-to food choices, and reflect on my overall health was pretty disorienting.

How much meat had I actually been eating? Where were meat and animal products sneaking in to my diet? I had always considered myself a fairly "light" meat eater...until I took a look at my diet over the whole day. Turns out I had actually been consuming a LOT of meat - chicken breast and banana for breakfast, egg and avocado toast for lunch, BLTs for dinner - I certainly wasn't shy of fruits and veg, but for some reason meat was a feature in almost every meal.

By day three I had spent more time in conversation about diet than I had during college nutrition class. It was obviously not going well for my partner, but, in an odd twist, I was feeling better, less groggy, and generally upbeat about the whole thing. I liked the way I was feeling. The biggest difference between us - It had been prescribed to him, I ascribed it to myself.

Even for me, there were some tough moments - Late night munchies where I called my husband and had a talk about what 'good' bad decisions might be, chicken parm at a company dinner, and a day where I didn't eat breakfast that almost put me in a meat-only greasy spoon - but these challenges were overcome. Late night munchies were fixed by the sushi aisle of the QFC featuring vegetarian avocado rolls and some peppered tofurky. I survived the chicken parm situation by actually looking at the chicken...really looking at it and seeing the flesh on the plate. It reminded me of the Butcher in Diablo III...eww. And the greasy spoon moment was resolved by enough will-power to go home and make myself a lunch and the resolution to make sure I prep breakfast the night before from now on.

Easy moments abound - swapping chicken for tofu in my pad see ew, grabbing an apple from the counter, making delicious faux chicken patties loaded with guac, tomato, and lettuce. I am blessed with the privilege of prior experience and experimentation when it comes to vegetarianism. I'm also gifted with a local fruit and vegetable stall where I can buy "seconds" - perfectly good fruits and vegetables at really cheap prices. These things have supported me during the transition to a plant-based diet and I'd suggest to other folks interesting in attempting this change to learn from my experience to find the things that can support them.

Tips from someone who has been there:

Stop trying to "replace" the meat. 
This sounds really simple - but ohmygosh felt like the most liberating idea. Once I gave myself permission to stop trying to replace the meat in a dish I became free to make a variety of vegetables the focus. I didn't need to buy a faux roast to make the main dish with a side of veggies...I could make the veggies the main feature!

I remember the first time I tried being a vegetarian and buying a bunch of frozen Boca burgers...After a while they got really boring. Instead of spending my time comparing my faux-meat product to a real juicy burger I should have been rocking roasted peppers, tossing brussel sprouts in orange glaze, and finding ways to make veggies, not meat substitutes, the stars of the show.

Reframe limitations as strengths. 
Saying you "can't eat meat" carries a different connotation than saying you "prefer eating veggies." The overall result may be the same but the feeling is very different. One is a restriction - telling yourself you can't do something even if you want to, the other is choosing to elevate the aspects of yourself you like the best. Similar to the difference between saying you'll never run a mile or saying you are working towards running a whole mile. One shuts you down, the other builds you up.

Folks who shut themselves or others down tend to be on the negative side of things and that negativity can turn toxic if we let it. We don't need to do that to others, we don't need to do that to ourselves. When you come at something thinking of it as a limitation it can lead to feelings of anxiety or dread...and you shouldn't dread your diet. So, try giving positivity a larger role -
I can't do this  | I can't do this yet
I don't eat X | I prefer to eat A, B, C...

Support yourself and get support from others.
You should always advocate for yourself. Not to be selfish or to put your needs above others, but to make sure that the decisions you make aren't being made for you by others whose interests may not be in line with yours. There's a reason candy is put in the check-out lanes of stores...and it isn't because candy is a necessary food item they don't want you to forget. Candy companies want their items in the check-out lane - right in your face - as you wait in line and get agitated they stand a greater chance of getting you to purchase yourself a "treat."

Support yourself as much as possible - in whatever way is most rewarding to you. Get community support either online or in person for accountability, education, and affirmation. You might have to seek this type of support out - It may not be easy to find right away - but if you can read this blog on the internet - chances are you have a pretty good support network right at your fingertips. There are documentaries on Netflix about vegetarianism and veganism. There are videos of all sorts on Youtube. Post Punk Kitchen is a favorite resource of mine for recipe mining.

Experiment and cut yourself some slack. 
Maybe veganism is right for you. Maybe ovo-lacto-vegetarianism is more your style. Maybe you really freakin' like bacon and you can go vegan on all other things but bacon...do whatever you need to do - as long as you are moving in a positive direction. Cut yourself some slack - if replacing a fast food burger with one Morningstar burger is a massive change for you - that's friggin' awesome :-) Maybe being more educated means switching from the supermarket meat aisle to the family farm a few blocks down where the chickens roam free in the backyard. That's really cool.

In the end, a diet is whatever you eat. Taking control of your diet means making decisions for yourself - thoughtful decisions - about what you put in your body. If you have the privilege to make decisions about what you eat, why not make decisions that are well thought out? Experiment and cut yourself some slack if the experiment doesn't work out the way you thought it would. Alter your perimeters, try again, challenge yourself, and make fully informed decisions.


For Recipes:
Post Punk Kitchen
The Veganomicon

Meat Industry
Agriculture and Consumer Protection Dept (UN) Slaughter Guidelines
American Meat Science Association
Factory Farming - New York Times
Industrial Livestock Production - Grace Communications
10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Factory Farming
Temple Grandin - TED Talk
Holistic Livestock Management
Why Eating Meat is Ethical - Editorial
Is Hunting More Ethical Than Factory Farming? - Vegan Blog
Environmental Racism

Balanced Nutrition
Vegetarian Diet: How to get the Best Nutrition - Mayo Clinic
Omnivore - Wiki

Vegan / Vegetarian Support Group
Seattle Vegan Meetup Group
The Vegetarian Society