I put the 'win' in winter break

What's the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa?

... (answer is at the bottom), but first a quick update on what the heck I've been up to during my first week of nothingness.

It's been lovely thus far. Lots of quality time with both 'sides' of the family, and most importantly lots of time for myself. I headed up to Mom's house in Phoenix last weekend to take care of some business, do some mountain biking, have my recovering thumb assessed, and hang out with some of my best high school buddies.

I would call last weekend a "success." I think that I may have found some direction (literally) in my directionless life: Laussane, Switzerland. Through the work that I have done during the past two summers in research laboratories, I have a potential connection to continue doing work in Switzerland for an undetermined period of time. I'm pretty excited about this possibility, and have serious intentions of pursuing this work. I think that by the time I graduate it will be precisely the type of experience that I will need and desire. In fact, I have registered to take French 101 at UofA so I can have some sort of feel for the spoken language if I do end up there.

I took full advantage of the beautiful weather with some trail running as well as some MTBing.
It turns out that the thumb is healing properly, despite the possible over use shifting the MTB gears. I just need to stretch it often, and be patient.

I came back down to Tucson to spend XMas with my Dad, Stepmom, little brother, and little (and older) sister.
I spent the morning of Christmas eve visiting the snow up on Mount Lemon. It was such a beautiful day as always in Tucson this time of year. It looks like a bunch of little critters were also enjoying the snow up on the mountain...
Started Christmas day off with a nice run accompanied by Cooper, the crazy 1 yr old yellow lab, followed by 6 hours of putting together about 950 pieces of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. It's always nice to work out the brain with the company of the family.

Heading back up north (to Phoenix) tomorrow.

ANSWER: Santa stops at 3 HO's! HAAAAHAAAA (not 300, like Tiger) - thanks, Rachel.



Done and DONE

7 down, 1 to go. I am officially done with my seventh semester of college, and it feels good. I can honestly say that I've learned a lot. Maybe the amount of applicable information learned in the classroom isn't too much. I have learned a lot through experiences gained and challenges overcome during this 3.5 yr period of my life. I am happy of where I am at this point in my life, and even happier of where I am going in the future. Yes, it is still unknown as to where I will be in 6 months from now, but I can still be happy with that.

A little update of the past week or so in my life by the numbers...

12 - days without dairy, wheat, rice, beans, potatoes, bananas, sugar, and alcohol

20 - times going pee during one day of "the cleanse"

75 - miles on the MTB on Tuesday

6 - hours spent in the saddle Tuesday

2 - wipeouts on the trail

37 - cactus spines in my body

7 - hours spent drinking beer after the 6 hour ride

5 - bouncers needed to kick me and 3 buddies out of the bar for having too much fun (after 6 hours of riding and 7 hours of beer drinking)

4.0 - expected GPA for the semester (keeping fingers crossed til grades are back)

10 - dollars given to a homeless man in the holiday spirit

13 - days til Christmas! YAY.



Cleansed and Clear

So I am officially weening off of my 'cleanse' now. This means that I can slowly incorporate whole grains back into my diet, followed by beans, dairy, and starchy foods. I really don't have much desire to do so, though. During the last 2 weeks I have felt awesome. I have felt more mentally awake and stimulated during with my changed diet. I also feel like I have a good grasp of my body and overall self control.

Today, my grain of choice was consumed in the form of a beer with the company of Andy. Definitely a bit tipsy off that one beer, but I felt that I was deserving after a good amount of studying for a couple of exams that I had today. I was reminiscing on the past semesters when I would stress hard core about final exams. I don't know why I ever did - its not worth it. Of course I put forth a lot of effort this time around, but I went into the exam knowing that this test, although bound to determine my fate in the class between an 'A' and a 'B,' would not in anyway affect my future.

I do love studying physiology, but dang its nice not to have to worry about cellular mechanisms for trophic signaling anymore. Time to enjoy the weekend with some mountain biking in the beautiful tucson winter.


Veg'n Out

For those of you who don't know, I decided to start a 'cleanse' last Monday. This is a change in diet (and lifestyle) for 2 weeks (at least). You are probably wondering why in the heck have I chosen to do such a thing. I know that I do not have bad eating habits or live an unhealthy lifestyle. But I thought that it would be nice to start the 22nd year of my life off in the right direction. I also enjoy challenging myself and practicing self discipline.

My daily diet consists of:
Nuts (no peanuts)
1 serving of chicken or fish
2 "detox" drinks
LOTS of water

It has been challenging, mainly due to the situations that I chose to surround myself by this past weekend. Being at an art show which offered complementary snacks and drinks wherever I happened to look was difficult. I am usually the type of person to take advantage of such situations, but instead, I stuffed my mouth full of carrots and broccoli off of the vegetable platter and chugged water. Escaping these situations without giving into temptations provides a real sense of accomplishment (especially when being harassed all night by friends).

Time to chug a liter of water and hit the sac... and then probably wake up 2-3 times throughout the night to pee.



1.5 opposable thumbs and 2 healthy knees

So, Tuesday I went to my doctors appointment to get my pins removed in the office by my PA (Physician ASSISTANT). I was a little nervous only because the PA was going to do the pin removal, not the wonderful Dr. David Seigel... Anyways, after about 10 minutes of looking around the room for the right tools needed to dig these suckers out, he asked me, "So, where exactly are these pins in there." I had a puzzled look on my face, because i knew the general vicinity, but I assumed it was his duty to pin point them. Anyways, he proceeded with numbing the area locally and making an incision.

After 15 minutes or so of digging around my newly healed thumb joint with a pair of jagged scissors, he told me that he usually doesn't have this type of trouble. Apparently, orthopedists have a joke that "hardware removal is like finding a needle in the hay stack." I doubt it. I was about to offer up my left hand to try and yank those pins out for him... After admitting to me that he felt like a failure, he said it might be best to book an appointment in the OR the following day (Wednesday). I was relieved for him to clean me up, and throw a bandage over my wound.
I wish that I had gotten some pictures of the bloody mess that was made during this whole ordeal, but didn't want to make the poor guy more nervous than he already was.

So, into the OR I went again on Wednesday. Apparently, my trapezium healed up so well and the bone cells were so proliferative that the pins were covered with healthy bone. Maybe due to the 2-3x daily laser treatment? It's a good sign though, and physical therapy is not even recommended. It will take a lot of time for the thumb to get back to normal(ish) range of motion and strength. So now its a test of something that I never have had much of: patience.

On a separate note, my knee problem from a few weeks ago is officially resolved, so that makes me happy.

BA - out



This is the newest addition to my family's household. In fact, I believe it is the exact same one that is in our family room! (thanks for the video, Burr)

This weekend I got 'gonged' a couple of times, and it was a pretty cool experience. It is really hard to describe its impact on the body, but I guess this hippy-yogi does a pretty good job.