Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year

As I sit here and write, while contemplating what the new year has in store for me, its hard to even imagine what its even going to be like. Splitting up with my paddling partner recently inexplicably will be the biggest and most drastic change to the usual course of events that happen throughout the year for me. As hard as it is, I'm making the best attempts to move forward and push ahead.

The time around the holidays was extremely tough to get through, but in my case (as it seems to be with canoeing), when one bad thing happens, there always seems to be more. Of all the holidays that I could have used my family's company to keep me sane, there wasn't any! (some no fault of their own) After the smallest Christmas gathering in years, I was left alone to fend for myself until the new year. Of course, that was just the beginning. Dealing with the break-up, I attempted to try and keep busy or get into new things to keep my mind occupied. First off, I bought a treadmill (what a bitch that was to get it inside on my own!) to help me cope with the pain. And run I did, lots of it! It really was therapeutic, except after a good long run on Christmas morning, I got off with some odd "knee" pain and ended up limping for the next several days, - great!

I also started "hot" yoga - something that I would not normally do, but thanks to my persistent sister I thought why not? It was supposed to also relieve stress, - okay! Could you imagine me in tights trying to get into some pretzel configuration!?! Yeah, don't say it! (I did dread it once I got there and saw all these fit limber bodies) Oh by the way, "hot" is not because there was "hot" women there (they always out number the guys and yes, some of them are "hot"), but its because you are doing yoga poses in a room that is heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit! I won't go into the specific benefits of hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, but it was really amazing and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I couldn't get into many of the poses and I know I looked ridiculous at times, but I came out feeling great physically and in mind and spirit. Okay, I'm going off topic here, but the reason I brought it up was the fact that I went there alone (thanks sis!) after my injury thinking that it would help stretch out my knee and speed recovery. Nope! It somehow made it worse and put me in more pain!

The other pressing issue was a planned winter outing with my friend Ben. We were supposed to head out on a winter camping trek to Algonquin for 4 days on Jan 1st. I really needed something like this to just get out and clear my mind. We were going to hike using snowshoes while pulling sleds along the Western Uplands Trail, but the knee injury was a real concern as I couldn't properly bear weight on it. We were also then invited by another friend to party at their cottage during the same time, so we considered it as Plan B especially given the circumstances. Except, the only problem was access to the cottage. It is water access only, therefore, the only way to get there was hiking through the bush for 5km to bypass the frozen lake, which was unstable due to the recent rain. (yes, rain!) So in the end, I had to unfortunately cancel plans with Ben (sorry!!) as well as the cottage outing due to the nagging knee issue.

So here I was, frustrated as hell, alone at home, couldn't run, couldn't do yoga, couldn't party or trip, or anything that required walking! I felt I was in jail at home! When I finally went back to work (with a limp), I realized despite having a few days off, my leg was just not fit to be walking on. Just walking from the parking lot to the hospital was painful enough, so after I took care of things in the morning, I told my boss I was going back home. But first, I headed straight to an urgent care clinic (our own ER was way too busy) to find out what was going on. Once I saw the doctor, he determined it may be some soft tissue injury, - ligament, meniscus, etc. so he ordered an MRI. With the help of staff I knew at the hospital, they got me in fairly quick for the scan and I waited nervously for the results. The tech did mention that he did see something on the scan but wasn't at liberty to say as the radiologist gives the final diagnosis. So when the dreaded phone call came for me to go back to the clinic to see the doctor, I knew it couldn't be good. Diagnosis: stress fracture on the top of the tibia! Yikes! I was scripted for a Zimmer split to immobilize my leg and crutches to stay off of it! Possibly a cast (don't think so!), and 4-6 wks off! Wow! It was like I already struck out 3 times, but now they were kicking me out of the game! (please tell me this is it!!!) Maybe I should take up drinking - in quantity! (joke!) Running too much was the likely culprit, crap!

So yes, I have lots more time and not much to do. So why not start writing! (seeing that I've been so delinquent) So here I am, a slave to the screen!

So, I'm taking offers of visits, both at my place and yours! If "you" need company, my service is free! Come on people!, its a limited time offer!

Seriously though, I do have a lot of people to thank. I wasn't always alone and many of you offered support and encouragement that blew me away. I truly want to thank all of you for your support, especially those that went over and beyond. You know who you are. Also, much of the time alone wasn't always bad as it made me think alot about things and refocus myself to heal and move on. Its just frustrating when you put things in place to help you cope when they all collapse around you. I just have to pick my ass up and do it all again.

I have to say, some of the advice that was given was awesome, insightful and helpful, while some were downright hilarious! Like taking up crocheting, baking, offering a sister, speed-dating, jujitsu (help to vent), online dating, offering a hooker with an Adam's apple, drinking, baby-sitting, etc. It made me realize what good friends I have! (lol!) In regards to the online dating (looking more for friends rather than a soul mate) I even went so far as pulling up the website but stopping short of entering any info! (yeah, I'm a chicken!) Anyways, like I mentioned, I've thought about many things and have some ideas in place to pursue and refocus my life in the coming year. Canoeing is hazy, but its there. At the moment, all options are open. Getting back to backpacking, maybe some mountain-biking, do I dare say - kayaking(!), running a marathon, rock-climbing, who knows. All I know is I have to get back out there and find the peace, happiness, and joy that captured me in the first place without all the pain that may be associated with it. So I'm on a mission to live life again, find new friends, reconnect with old ones, seek new adventures and opportunities to fill the void. Thanks again, everyone! I'll keep you all in the loop as things unfold.

So for now, to kick start the year, I decided to give everyone a laugh. I've contemplated whether I should show it or not, (hope no one is offended), but I said, "To hell with it!" As you all know my passion for canoeing, sometimes I receive or purchase items that are canoe-related. There are the usual things such as souvenir paddles/canoes, books, and pictures. But how about a wearable canoe item? No, not shirts, an underwear!! Yes!, that's correct! A canoe underwear! (If any of you have one, even before me, let me know!) So on my last solo outing, I finally got the courage to take a shot of it and show everyone.

There is a funny story behind it besides the garment itself. When I had gone solo paddling in November to the Magnetawan, I forgot about hunting season. To my consternation, all my warm clothing was dark colours - blacks, brown, greys etc with no hint of fluorescent orange! And let me tell you, it was full on active hunting all around me, - gunshots all day everywhere! It was all out war on Bambi! So early one morning when the lighting was good, I mustered enough guts to pull off my pants to take a picture of myself while shots were resounding all around. Because I shot myself with the tripod, I had to take multiple pictures to get the lighting and framing right. It was slightly unnerving, wondering if a hunter(s) were watching, wondering, and laughing from the opposite shore! It was only after I finally got the picture I wanted that I pulled up my pants and realized something! My canoe underwear is bright fluorescent orange!!! It was the best thing I had to keep me from getting shot! So really, in some sense I guess I was "prepared"! So here it is, in all its glory!, - the underwear damn it!

I love to show my "canoe-related-stuff" with other
paddlers,..for the most part!

So just in case you were wondering, no, I didn't buy it! It was a gift! Like I would buy an orange underwear! Sheesh!

Thanks again everyone! Hope you had a good laugh!
Hope to have a trip report out soon!


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