Let me count the ways:
1. 4:45am is my work-day alarm. (Gym before work.)
- Pitch black in December.
By March 1st, I’m seeing the brilliant sun rise as I get to work, after months of morning darkness.
Then the evil time change happens….and I’m back to strolling through the Night Mine of Blackness into my hospital.
- I adapt slowly.
“4 to 5 days”-slowly.
Exercise is harder.
Official “lunchtime” feels like breakfast. For days.
- Trying to sleep 2.5 hours after sunset is ridiculous.
I’m just getting warmed up.
“How about a movie?”
Late to bed is trouble when your day job is in surgery with its relentless 0645 start time.
- Night diving becomes Midnight Diving: I have to wait until 7:30pm for a night dive.
It’s not Daylight Savings. It’s Nightdive Slaying.
you get it….ew.
- thru 99. I don’t like it.
Well, I didn’t used to like it.
This year, something more than time changed.
I fell in love with pre-dawn, watching its ethereal, evanescent beauty developing from December through February.
Indescribable pinks, lavenders, blues.
Kisses of gold on blue cerulean skin, as magenta blush rises from the distant side of the earth.
(I was pummeling the dictionary to find new color words each day!)
Then rude March sun began shouldering in too early.
Blasting light harshing the mellow of romance.
Who stole my transparent, inhalable pinks?
I considered rising earlier, but the gym doesn’t open until 5:30.
Then an amazing thing happened.
And the morning blush returned.
I think I like it.
Who’d have thunk?
Fun was had.
Toys for Tots collected by the local FD.
The SubAquatic Conifer gets decorated with veggies that have been drilled and strung on hemp cord.
Except Drill-Dude didn’t arrive this AM.
Faced with bags of peppers, tomatoes, lemons, radishes and more peppers….and miles of hemp…we dug in with Spydercos, Bic pens, scissors, anything with a point.
I alternated yellow and orange and red pointy peppers. Very pretty.
It was aromatic, wet, and messy.
It was funny.
After we’d been suitably smeared, drill-boy arrived.
My hands dried and I set up gear.
Everyone else went in.
I’m was on hold… dive buddy was delayed.
Apex Dive Buddy calls and fires off a brilliant rant over the inadequacies of disposable coffee cups: Hard to carry, easily spilled, not-compatible with WFO life-style.
He makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts.
I remembered there was Starbucks and cookies at the sign-in table, now warmed by the sun.
Sip of coffee. Yum.
Bite of fudgey cookie. YUM!
The icing, softened by the sun, left a yummy smear of choco on my fingers.
As I smooch the chocolate off….my mouth lights up like Vesuvius as millions of peppery fire molecules glom onto any tastebud in a storm!
Ow ow ow ow!!!!!
OMG I’m laughing so hard I spilled my coffee from the flexi-cup….and now I’m laughing harder.
Eating with your hands.
It’s not for sissies.
Christmas in SoCal!!
In the middle of yesterday’s dive at Catalina, surrounded by whirling masses of sardines, scootering full speed at 40 feet beneath the sea, one of my smiling thoughts was, “Oh, baby, I love the fun of electricity!”
Free diving is lovely.
Kick-diving with scuba gear is meditative and beautiful.
But scootering fast through blue water, 180 feet per minute, slaloming between columns of giant kelp and rolling over to see the surface become the floor… well it’s electrifying.
Thanks to all the madmen and madwomen who have put this power into things strange, wonderful, fearful, and fun.
I love electricity!!!!
It’s raining and storming in SoCal… again.
I’m stuck High & Dry with a garage full of fantastic dive gear, an eager and talented buddy, 1,460 cubic feet of portable breathing gas…
….and nowhere local to go.
Can’t dive? Book Time!
Top of the stack: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick.
PKD was the master of normalized societal dread. He could take the tiniest unpleasant element of society and spin it into a global angst and loss of humanity within post-apocalyptic horrors… and give us “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.”
A kernal of imagination so rich it could sprout with guidance into the amazing film, “Bladerunner“. Brilliant in its ordinary horrors, Philip K. Dick’s vision was merciless and beautifully executed.
As the rain came down, the stories spun out in my land-locked mind:
- Automated factories fighting against humans to survive,
- Totalitarianism maintained by an installed home appliance,
- a tough old lady sucking profit from the desperate – across time,
- and a 10-year corporate-controlled TV-project to build malleable citizens who would support future wars of acquisition.
Echoes of today’s worries reflected darkly through the lens of Philip Dick.
I had to shake myself. Each day got darker. Stories stomped around in my head all week long.
I saw a motorist stopped by police… and thought about how easy it is to frighten people into obedience.
I heard experts discussing healthcare and wondered how many of my opinions are based on manipulative influence from the 13 remaining corporate news agencies.
Clicking into Google, I wondered about the dossier this amazingly convenient appliance now has on my little life.
I caught a head cold.
The first one in a year.
I took a deep congested breath… and I bolted.
I put down the Philip K. Dick and picked up Terry Pratchett.
I shook myself into West Wing for smart, exciting, brilliant, optimistic dialogue.
I listened to the most fun and silly RockStar music I could find.
Time for a new sensation!
I laughed with my family and dreamed about future diving.
I’m shaking it off.
Philip K. Dick’s dark word pictures didn’t used to rattle me.
Hmmm… I was younger.
Maybe the uncomfortable used to feel less scary.
It certainly used to feel less real.
I still appreciate this mighty voice of warning and icy extrapolation.
But I like it in smaller doses now, as I’m hip deep in the daily wonder of living with love and optimism and purposeful hard work.
Philip K. Dick.
Life is way too much fun to feel that bad.
Of course, you might not even have one.
Between 7 and 20% of medically dissected cadavers don’t.
You’re not dead yet, so you probably only know if you have this vestigial calf muscle if you ruptured it playing hard…
….as I did, December 16, 2009.
Muscling 140 pounds of diving gear out of the sea, I pushed hard against sand and swirling water and felt a whomping !POP! on my right calf. It felt like a tennis ball had hit it. Then came a fascinating sensation as the now free tendon slithered downwards from my knee to my ankle, right before the next step brought a wave of pain.
Ok, this couldn’t be good.
Home to ice, compression, elevation and single malt scotch while I convinced my brain to take the night off. I’d worry about it tomorrow.
December 17th I could barely walk, but even my hobbling was enough for a physician teammate to diagnose it between my car and the hospital door: “You trashed a vestigial calf muscle. Common in middle-aged athletes who play hard. The tendon just gets old and gives up. I did it myself when I was 47 playing tennis. You don’t need it. You’ll heal just fine. See ya!”
10 minutes later I had the reference from PubMed: “The plantaris muscle: anatomy, injury, imaging and treatment.” Spina, A.A., Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association, 2007.
Treatment: Rest 1 to 3 days. Ice, compress, elevate. (No mention of single malt scotch. They’re missing it!) Resume activity when pain subsides and rehab as needed for specific sports.
And that’s exactly what happened. I hobbled and Igor-walked for a couple of weeks, and dived plenty as that didn’t irritate it. I appreciated my dearest buddy who loaded my gear on the boat for a great weekend of diving.
I knocked off the gym until I could walk without pain, 30 days later.
The first week of running and lifting reanimated some of the pain in my right calf, but it was manageable.
By the second week back in the gym, I didn’t even think about it anymore.
Healing is a wonderful thing.
And then…yesterday…. I shuffled my weight routine as I do every few weeks.
“Dumbbell single-leg Romanian Deadlifts“?
Sure! No problem.
[Tick, tick, tick... a night passes.....]
Today? I could barely walk.
With each step forward the right hamstring HURT!!
Seems my right hamstring muscles are missing their little friend, the plantaris muscle, 8 weeks after the little striated slacker gave up the ghost. Ow!!
My left leg and hamstring are fine and dandy. I know where THAT plantaris is… still.
But the right hamstring, now lifting with just the remaining gastrocnemius and soleus calf muscles, is howling mad and has been telling me about it all day in excruciating detail.
It wins. It gets the night off. Back to the gym in a couple of days.
I love healing. Isn’t it over yet?