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Archive for Life, oh life.


Time for a change…of thought.

Posted by: Claudette | Comments (0)

Spring-ahead Time change: How do I hate it?

Let me count the ways:

1.  4:45am is my work-day alarm. (Gym before work.)

  1. 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.
  2. I adapt slowly.
    “4 to 5 days”-slowly.
    Exercise is harder.
    Official “lunchtime” feels like breakfast. For days.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Daylight Savings.
And the morning blush returned.

I think I like it.

Who’d have thunk?


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Plantaris muscle: Gone in 60 seconds! (Not my leg. Less hair on my leg; Plenty o' hurt.)

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.

Down…up…down…up… 3 sets of 6 reps, I was feeling good.

[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?



“The longer I live…

Posted by: Claudette | Comments (2)

Out of many, one

…the more I realize, to my severe chagrin, that I’m not unique and my problems have been experienced by many”.
– my best friend, January 18, 2010

The night I got my email back on.

In a previous epiblogisode I’d fixed a bunch of computer issues, riding on encouragement and new confidence… doing stuff I’d never done before.

Pretty cool.
But I still couldn’t send email.

In a three-way stalemate, Thunderbird, Spysweeper and WindowsXP each pointed to the other guy, “He did it!  He’s to blame!  Not us!

With my best friend on IM, I took a deep breath and said, “Spread out!!!

I was going to fix this.
This problem must have been experienced by many, I just had to uncover the trail.

I opened 4 windows and filled them with forums and trouble-shooting pages and tutorials from all the guilty parties and began to hopscotch where ever the flags sent me.  27 minutes later I tripped on a little note about “ports”, and alternate nonsensical numbers to try if the default port number wouldn’t play.

And shazam.  It was fixed.

80 instead of 25.

Are you kidding me?

It’s so much fun to be me… and glorious to have the voices and experiences of the unseen millions to help me along this crazy way.

E pluribus unum.

Dig it.


Categories : Life, oh life.
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Ooooo! Nice frontal lobes!

Posted by: Claudette | Comments (0)

Food for thought

Iron!  Now it’s good for your brain.

Not the iron in your diet.
I’m talking about iron you push around the gym.
It’s not just for skeletal muscle anymore.

I’m grinning like crazy over research published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine:  “Resistance Training and Executive Functions”.

Cut to the chase: Lift weights when you’re older and your brain will work better.

You won’t just “feel” better, or look better.
Your brain will work better.

How cool is that?!

155 women, aged 65 – 75 years, were involved in a 12-month research project looking at weight resistance  training and its effect on executive cognitive functions….. some did balance and toning exercises while others pushed iron around using dumbbells and weight machines.   All completed series of tests throughout the 12 months and here’s the wrap up:

“Conclusion: Twelve months of once-weekly or twice-weekly resistance training benefited the executive cognitive function of selective attention and conflict resolution among senior women.”

Better Conflict Resolution through consistent weight lifting!
Improved ability to pay attention and solve problems.
What’s not to love?

I love lifting weights.  Always have.  All my life.
I do it for fitness, for strength in my sports, and for the fun of it.
I move a bunch of iron against gravity and then put it back.

Nothing could be simpler.   And I feel great.
Now it’s good for my brain.

See you at the gym!


Here’s the Abstract.

Resistance Training and Executive Functions

A 12-Month Randomized Controlled Trial

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT; Lindsay S. Nagamatsu, MA; Peter Graf, PhD; B. Lynn Beattie, MD; Maureen C. Ashe, PhD, PT; Todd C. Handy, PhD

Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(2):170-178.

Categories : Life, oh life.
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Any port in a storm? Nooooo…..

Posted by: Claudette | Comments (0)

I did not go to Catalina Island today… and I’ll sleep fine.

Weather’s been awful in SoCal for the past 6 days straight: rain, wind, tornados, high surf on top of huge high tides… it’s been a mess of flailing trees, flooded streets, and flumoxed scuba divers wondering when we could get back under the sea.

Months ago I’d booked a weekend trip to Avalon on Catalina Island with some good friends.   We were to have departed for the island today.

Then 6 days ago the storms began, shutting down all the boats running to the island.   The storm was predicted to pass by Friday (yesterday), so we’d optimistically hoped to still get to enjoy the weekend at the Casino Point Dive Park.

Then it rained even harder on Thursday and the wind howled and the surf increased again.  At the tail end of 6 days of storms, the boats finally made their first horribly rough crossings and it was decision time.
Four of the group of 7 friends decided to go, despite the 9 to 12-foot swells and the near certainty of very poor diving conditions.  “If the boat’s going, I’ll be on it!”, said one.   “I’m all packed, so I might as well go,” said another. That’s all good.  Pursuit of happiness and all that.

I made the decision.
“Have a great trip, catch you next time.”

I love diving but I realize, (1400 dives into this miraculous passion of Breathing-Underwater,) that what I really treasure is good diving.  Not “gee-at-least-we-got-wet” diving.  Not “we-were-tough-enough-to-dive-horrid-conditions” diving.  Not “I-proved-myself-in-the-eyes-of-my-friends” diving.  Not “well-we-can-always-go-to-a-bar-and-talk-about-diving” diving.

I love diving for the fantastic experience of good diving itself.  If the diving will be bad, (and I know the park well, these were guaranteed mediocre conditions,) I don’t need it.  I have nothing to prove.

Any port in a storm isn’t good enough.

I can say no to mediocre diving, and I sleep fine.
This is a good place to be.

Today was a great day.  Pumping gym workout.  Great coffee.  Fantastic music. Laugh-out-loud conversation with smart and funny friend. Incredible sunny ocean vistas of 15-foot walls of foaming water smashing into the  SoCal coast.

I’m counting the minutes until my next dive.

My next  good dive.


Categories : Diving, Life, oh life.
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