"I Live to think for myself. I refuse to be a mindless sheep following the crowd into cookie-cutter oblivion. Otherwise I'd just be a zombie with no heart or passion in life" - Hervey Taylor IV

Rain Man

Friday, October 18, 2013

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I learned something today that blew my mind: My parents are probably the smartest people I've ever met.

Now lets just hold on there mother. I know you're about 2.5 seconds away from hitting the send button on that text addressed to me. You know the text I'm talking about, the one that goes something along the lines of: I now have this confession in writing to hang above your head for the rest of my life. And I shall use it as I see fit.

Which you most certainly do have now. You should think about framing it because it's never going to occur again. Actually, I should think about framing it and giving it to you... Christmas present solved.

Anyway, back to the previous claim I made. Sorry to burst your bubble mama but this is more in particular about Dad today (though you're pretty freaking awesome too).

In case you were wondering, I probably have the best Dad ever and no I'm not over exaggerating here. He's smart, funny, battled cancer twice and won and he rocks a sweet stache. He's the one who taught me how to shoot a gun, clean a Dove after hunting and appreciate Pink Floyd. He taught me that real gentleman open doors for women and help out around the house equally and can cook a meal like nobody's business. He taught me how to change a flat tire... not once... not twice... but three times. None of which actually stuck and I should probably get him to show me again next time I'm home. He taught me a whole bunch of things but what I didn't know is that he was teaching me even when he wasn't actively teaching me.

Which is why this post exists.

I grew up in a household where we watched the Indy and Daytona 500 but no other racing. We watched golf because, well, I actually don't know why we watched golf but we did it. But most importantly we watched the weather. And now many years later and thousands of miles away from my parents I find myself doing those exact same things and not even knowing why. But I know I can't help it... and I'm not going to stop.

But the key to this statement is we didn't just watch the weather... we actively tracked the weather. I remember growing up with my father recording the temperature every day in a notebook and then when computers came in to existence I remember my dad spending countless hours imputing those temperatures in to a handy excel spreadsheet. You can't even imagine how excited he was to be able to analyze the ridiculous amount of weather data he had collected. Give me a minute and I could probably tell you the temperature outside of our house 8 years ago on April 25. I can actually tell you if that was the perfect date. If it was indeed not too hot and not too cold and all you really needed was a light jacket. Though, I doubt this is the case in April in southern New Mexico. And if you didn't get the Miss Congeniality reference... I feel for you.

I think the best thing we ever got him as a present (translation: my mom got him as a present and my sister and I signed our names on the card) was a weather-thing-a-ma-jig. Yes, that's its technical name and it was awesome (is awesome because he still uses it). It stood in our backyard and actively tracked the wind, the rain the lack of rain, the temperature, the humidity... you name it, it did it. And within the 10 minutes of getting home from work, my dad had to check the updates on it.

So how does this translate to me at all? Well, I didn't think it ever did. I just had a Dad who was a little strange and I thought should have been a meteorologist instead of an X-Ray technologist. But it didn't ever really affect me. Except I was always prepared for any weather. This part was actually my mother's doing. Though my father tracked the weather, my mother implemented the clothing to be worn in it.

And then it hit me yesterday, right smack dab in the middle of a full blown rain storm. I was sitting at my desk starring out the window at the ugliness that is rain and realized I'd forgotten my rain jacket and my umbrella. Rookie mistake. It wasn't because I didn't know the rain was coming. Trust me, if there's rain about to hit... I know about it. Why you ask? Well, when my alarm blares out at 5:30 in the morning, after promptly hitting snooze 4 times, I check the weather. Not on my one app on my iPhone but on my FOUR weather apps. And I compare their results. And figure how to dress accordingly for my day.

Which is exactly why I set out my rain coat and umbrella. It's my forgetfulness and flightiness that led me to not actually bringing them with me (which I probably also inherited from the parental units). But initially I was prepared.

As I was sitting starring out at the ugliness and realizing my lack of rain gear, all I could think of was how disappointed in me father would have been (though he's so awesome... and therefore I'm so awesome... I never actually disappoint him). None the less, I needed to rectify the situation.

Which is how I pulled up the weather channel on my computer. You know, the best website ever. More highly visited on my computer over Twitter, blogger, the news, and just about everything else besides Facebook and Gmail. Yeah that website. It's pretty much my favorite thing.

I pulled it up and went straight to the radar page and clicked future forecast. Which is probably the coolest thing ever. It predicts the rain movement for the next 3 hrs in to the future. It is a lifesaver. I zoomed in on my walk home and realized I had exactly 30 minutes between 4:15 and 4:45 where there was a break in the weather, otherwise I was going to get trapped, and therefore soaked, in the torrential down pour.

I scooted out of lab and down the street when 2 rain drops hit my forehead. People were shuffling around the streets with their rain coats and oversized umbrellas. I wasn't worried though. I looked at the forecast and I knew I still had 20-25 minutes before the flood was going to hit.

As I stepped in the front door of my apartment, I looked out the window and it began. The rain was hard and swift and it looked rather cold to me. But I wouldn't really know, because there I was sitting, dry, in the living room munching on my candy corn pumpkin (which by the way are WAY better than regular candy corn).

Thinking to myself: take that rain, you obviously haven't met my father.

Side note... after I posted this the first time, my mother promptly told me she was indeed going to hang this over my head and then she said I made her cry. I don't know what I would do without my parents.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

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So I know what you're thinking, after the last post, I must be a bike riding pro by now. Well, if that's what you're thinking... you'd definitely be wrong.

I started out ok. Going a couple of blocks at a time before I would slightly lose control. The trick, I found, was to stay away from moving vehicles and people and most likely I would be ok. I mean sure, my calves were highly bruised from the peddles and not breaking correctly with the back peddle break. But bruises no longer phase me. With kickboxing, running, jiu jitsu, and all around clumsiness I find I often have at least 3 or 4 relatively large bruises. I think I've been desensitized to them at this point. The dark purple color appears, along with swelling, but I never really seem to feel the pain of them anymore. They're kind of like battle wounds. I'm pretty proud when I get a new bruise. It means I must have been working hard and failed and then kept on going.

Anyway, I found myself going out biking a couple times and just doing what I could. Hills. hills are tricky. Hills that I run everyday are like 80 times worse on a bike. It takes a ton of effort to push myself and a very heavy retro bike up a hill and I often have trouble with, balancing, steering, and effort all at once. And that's just going up the hill. Coming down the hill is MUCH more scary as my speed increases exponentially along with my level of fear. I'm always afraid I won't be able to stop and will come crashing in to something that I would have rather not crashed in to, because really who likes to crash in to anything.

Well, one beautiful September day with the weather in the high 60s and the sun shining brightly, I decided it was the perfect time for a bike a ride. I was off of work early and I still had about an hour before I had to head out to my kickboxing class so I hopped on my bike. And I was indeed cruisin!

I'm lucky to live in a beautiful, residential area that has nice side streets where traffic isn't really a thing. The streets are mainly used by the residents who live on them as they come and go from their households.  It is common to not see a car for an hour or so. So, I took off on these back residential streets, my helmet secure to my head and my cardigan flapping in the breeze. It was glorious.

I went for over a mile... maybe even two... without stopping. I was feeling more secure in my turns and hill work but I was by no means a pro. Bike riding was something where I needed all my focus. At one point, my sunglasses were slipping down my nose and as I was riding I picked up my left hand to correct them. Big mistake. My bike went swerving and sliding all across the rode. Had there have been traffic, I definitely would have been road kill. To my surprise, I managed to stay afloat and keep on peddling. At that point, I was pretty sure I could tackle anything. The gravel roads were no problem. I could steer around pot holes. I was officially a bike rider. No one ever said I was a graceful bike rider but I was indeed staying up. And I was happy.

I must have looked like a little school girl as I flew through the neighborhood with my bike, my bell, and my basket, smiling like there was nothing that could stop me. Because that is what I thought... at this moment, nothing can stop me.

That was until I ran headfirst in to the back of a parked car. Let me tell you... that definitely stopped me.  I'm not even sure how it happened. I was going down a street I had looped 3 times already. But on this 4th loop, something happened. What? I'm not sure. But next thing I know this park car was attacking me!! And my front wheel hit the car with quite a bit of force and I jerked forward and to the side. I fell hitting my head (good thing I'm never too cool for a helmet), falling to the side and my bike landing with breathe steeling force on top of me.

I whirled around like a caged monkey nearly throwing my bike off of me, scraping my side on the pavement, and looking around frantically to see if anyone had witnessed this 23 year old girl flying head first in to a parked car. To my surprise, and satisfaction, I did not see a single soul watching the ridiculous scene that just unfolded.

At this point the pain set in. I felt like I had been hit by a car... which technically I had. And my scrapes were slightly bleeding. Sad and defeated, I picked up my bike and went to inspect the car. After a good 10 minute inspection, I found no damage, thankfully, due to the fact I ran in to the bumper and not the side of the car. Whoever invented the bumper must have been thinking about accidents like this, surely. I thank them for this generous service to man kind.

So with slouched shoulders I turned to start the mile trek back to my house, because you're delusional if you think I was getting back on my bike that day.

And at that exact moment a little girl, no older than six or seven, on a bike came flying by me, riding with both arms out and open to the wind relying on her balance and momentum to keep her up and moving forward. As she approached me she turned her head, waved, and smiled as if there were no cares in the world

... and I'm pretty sure at that moment in time, I wanted to push that little girl and her smile right off that bike.

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