30 August 2006

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Wednesday night a week ago, I wrote this in my blog but never finished editing it for publication:

These next few months are going to be a pretty big experiment for me. In hopes of promoting greater discipline in my life while I write PhD applications and take a graduate level history class, I am also training for an Olympic-distance triathlon. This will definitely put a damper on the post-football game debauchery. The training is eleven weeks long and began earlier this week. On Sunday I participated in an organized bike ride in Napa. While my friends rode a century (100 miles), I did the 65-mile ride. For me, it was a personal best and an awesome experience – although I have a 72-mile ride around Lake Tahoe planned for September 10. When the first day of my triathlon training called for rest on Monday, I eagerly obliged. Tuesday I began my first official day of double exercise with a three-mile run and 400m swim. Wednesday, I was commanded by the regimen I am following to ride 6 miles on my bike, but I did about 16 because six seemed silly after the 65 I pulled off this weekend. However, getting back on the bike after the long ride was not so easy – and the residual soreness left something to be desired. I am about to go for today’s run and then a quick swim again. Trying to re-energize my academic alter-ego and complete daily workouts can be quite taxing, but it is all extremely invigorating…

You get the picture. However, in attempting to turn my body and mind into a machine, I forgot one very important piece of the equation – I am not in control of every variable affecting me.

On Saturday after going for another run and officially finishing my first week of triathlon training I was playing a friendly game of wiffle ball with some friends at the park near my new home (that I have not moved into yet). Upon rounding second base, I stubbed the three little toes of my left foot on my friend Rob’s leg. It hurt, but I felt pretty lame having to sit out with a stubbed toe so after a break I continued to play. After the little toe turned completely purple and doubled in size I realized it might be more serious than I realized and decided to listen to the pain I was feeling and end the game. On Sunday when it still hurt, I scrapped the bike ride I had planned and on Monday I decided to go see a doctor. The doctor hurried me off to radiology where I was x-rayed and after many hours I was given the verdict – I broke my little toe!

Both my Tahoe bike ride and triathlon plans have been derailed by the six-week hiatus I have been forced to take from any form of exercise. Just this past weekend I was feeling like I was in the best shape of my life – so this rapid reversal into what is now a sedentary lifestyle has proved quite difficult. My self-reliant nature is having a hard time asking for help – this doesn’t bode well for my future elderly self. The frustration I feel trying to do everyday tasks is both mentally and physically exhausting – yet at the same time, I am craving the release I normally get at the end of the day from a good run or bike ride. However, more than ever, I need to push through this frustration because I did officially start my first graduate history class yesterday – and it has never been more important that I perform well on that front. So this miniature existential crisis I am currently undergoing is serving many purposes. It reminds me how connected my body is to my mind. But it also reminds me that I can’t control everything (although by no means will I give up trying) and that I quickly need to disassociate my physical health from my mental health because I have a fat 600 page book to read by next Tuesday. This pity party needs to end – however, I think I will wait one more night and get in a good episode of Laguna Beach before I don’t have a good excuse anymore.

03 August 2006

Mormors Fodelsedag i Redding

Two weekends back, I picked up my sister at the Oakland Airport yet again - and we drove home to Redding. This time, our visit was not for the purposes of "rest and relaxation" but rather to celebrate Mormor's 85th birthday. For those of you who have not caught on yet, Mormor means mother's mother in Swedish. In preparation for the weekend I bought an overpriced pair of "formal shorts." Not only was the expected temperture 117 degrees, but Mormor has a deep-seeded dislike of all things denim (jeans and skirts) and I felt the least I could do on her birthday was buy myself an overpriced pair of shorts. What a thoughtful "lilla alskling" I am.

On Saturday, Nicki also drove into the heat to celebrate Mormor's birthday with the Thompson clan - but she served a dual purpose of rescuing me from the insanity that was my mother's inability to stop cleaning. Don't even consider putting your cup of water down for five minutes - within two it has been spirited away to the dishwasher, never to be seen again. Even an evening at the Redding hot spot, The Martini Bar, couldn't fully relax her. Finally, following the birthday party on Sunday afternoon, my mom returned to her normal self - whatever that means.

As for me - and I believe this to be the case with most young adults - my maturity level regressed like ten years while I was home with my family. I don't know what it is. In Berkeley I am one of the more chill people I know. I favor sincerity over sarcasm in how I interact with people, but there seems to be a thirty-mile radius extending from Redding that somehow activates a normally dormant sarcastic side of my personality. By Sunday morning of the party I had fully morphed into a cynical version of myself - I don't think Nicki recognized me. I think the transformation is a by-product of two things:

1. The overwhelling aura of positivity and organization that emenates from my mom and sister when they are together - I think I seek to balance the environment by providing some much needed cynicism. If I was my normally happy and productive self, I think the space that the three of us occupied would implode.
2. My dad's sarcasm rubs off on me - At home I truly become my father's daughter.

Overall, I can't complain about the weekend. It was hot - but in Redding at least everyone has air-conditioning - and lakes filled with taunting drunkards (but that's a story for another day). Mormor seemed pleased with her party - and after it ended the fam, Nicki and I listened to tapes of me and Mormor singing Swedish songs way back in 1983 - doesn't get much better than that! To top it off, two of my favorite people, Nicki and Danika, got to know each other better and commiserate about being friends with me. Plus, it is fun to be the sarcastic one every now and again.