Bumps along the way

I never truly understood how limiting an injury could be till dealt with one on my own.

I have seen friends cope with concussions, broken bones and anxiety.  Sympathizing with their situations, though never able to relate.

Only enduring minor bumps and scrapes along the way, I have felt pretty fortunate.

The past week though has shown me the truly frustrating side of mishaps.

On Friday, as the doctors prepped me for surgery, giving me anesthesia and nerve block, he proceeded to tell me what the next eight weeks would look like.

  1.  No mobility
  2. No swimming
  3. No use of left hand
  4. Physical therapy for possibly a month after the initial eight weeks.

As I laid in the hospital bed holding the waterproof insert for the cast I thought I was getting, it was time to clear up the clearly misunderstanding.

We discussed again my upcoming trip the doctor informed me that my hand may not be 100% by August.

So…no surgery…apparently if you ask for alternative routes enough times someone will listen to you.  Turns out I didn’t HAVE to have surgery.  I COULD have a removable sling  and be ok.

Now I must say I am grateful for the doctor for taking the time to in detail discuss what may or may not happen without surgery.  I could sense his frustration and maybe if I had eight weeks and it was more than a broken pinkie, the results may have been different.

But I don’t in fact only 85 days till I begin the most challenging time of my life.

As I left the hospital hand wrapped up, the nurses, commended me on my decision.  Agreeing that I had to what is right for me.

My healing process is 100% in my hands (literally).

Side note: Today was the first Open Streets of the Year.  The last Sunday of the summer months, the main streets are closed off to vehicles, so bicyclists, walkers, yogis and vendors have the open road.

I walked and enjoyed seeing many biking along, including our hockey mascot Iceburgh.

Tomorrow is the first game for the Stanley Cup.  Let’s Go Pens!!!


Yoga at the Orchard

This evening I went to Soergel Orchards for  beautiful yoga and meditation instructed by dear Kendall, who is one of the most uplifting people I know.

To be surrounded by trees with fruit ripening being fed by the bright sun, made me feel so peaceful and blessed.

My first time on my mat since my accident, as I rolled it out, I felt the ground beckoning me to sit and take it all in.

Kendall helped me so much not only with variations, but support and friendship.

Since I was unable to do downward facing dog,  I remained in a child pose and thanked the universe for all the opportunities I have been given in my life.  Throughout all obstacles I come out at the end stronger.


Cheap and free ways to prepare for a trip

The biggest expense when traveling is usually transportation, especially if buying plane tickets.

With my ticket to Thailand paid for the next step was to focus on the next largest part of preparation: Training.

A trip such as this one which involves trekking, weeding, planting and taking care of elephants, the most important benefit is being in good health.

The requirement for many of the places where I will be is being physically able to endure much physical activity.

I decided that best way for me was to enhance activities I already enjoy doing: hiking, biking, power walking and yoga. This now was the time to finally learn how to swim.

I researched yoga studios in the area for not only their type of yoga, but their rates and class schedule. What I found was a variety of studios with offers like $30 for 30 days, or three weeks unlimited for $35.  These deals were perfect, not only for my thrifty budget but also the chance to try the many different styles and techniques.  My goal is to try a new place each month before I leave, with one class usually being $12.00-$15.00 deals like these pay for themselves.

My next goal was to acquire exercise wear,  which can be very expensive. So I hit up the thrift stores.  Already being at thrift store fan, I knew what to look for.  For some the idea of wearing used clothes does not appeal to them,  I have found great deals on gently used tank tops and leggings, just no undergarments!

The last crucial purchase for preparation was swimming lessons. Some parts of my trip involve walking along waterfalls, being near cliffs and bathing elephants. I want to be able to enjoy these and be safe.

Public pools in the city offer adult swimming classes.  For $20 a month, I have a lesson once a week and access to the pool to practice on my own. After this I will do the family pool pass for $15 per person instead of $30.

Last but not least were activities that are free.  Going hiking during the day or while camping, biking on trails throughout the city and power walking through the neighborhood.  All of these are great for stamina and endurance, which I track on my phone with an app. There are many available, I use Endomondo, which is free.

Some people may prefer to join a gym, once again to each their own.  I feel that the exercises I have chosen are the best for me.  Not only in the price range, but also to be outside, and try something new.



Re-adjusting and going over tracks

This morning I participated in Bike to Work Day.  It is a great event and training.  After a stop at the event tent for treats and coffee we headed home.

Sixteen miles and almost home, my wheel gets stuck in a railroad track and I fall on my left hand.

Luckily we were not on a busy road and a police car was behind us. They directed cars to a different way and called an ambulance.

On the way to the ER, I talked to two wonderful medics, who were elephant lovers.

The Doctor was a very nice man who has been to Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. He did a great job not only on my hand, but distracting me from the pain.

When the X-ray determined that my pinkie was broken, I started to cry, worried about my swimming lessons and yoga classes.

The doctor was so sympathetic and we had been talking about my trip and training, he referred me to the best surgeon he knows, and assured me that I would be better by August.

So until I see the surgeon this is me, bandaged up and typing with one hand.

Determined not to let this bring me down, I have already researched and asked about alternative yoga positions that do not involve the left hand.  Also my husband is coming up with a glove type bag that we hope I can wear swimming.

Fingers crossed, or in my case finger straight for a speedy healing.

Innocent and Alone

This weekend a innocent elephant named Yani died alone at the Bandung Zoo in Indonesia. For weeks she had been ill with a unknown disease and there wasn’t a vet present. The zoo has not had one on staff for a year.

Yani laid in filth and suffered till the end, tears ran down her face as no one helped her.

Sadly this story is not uncommon, animals in zoos all over the world are kept in horrible and unthinkable conditions.

The facilities lack the proper space, experts, staff and knowledge to properly care for these animals.

Yani was only thirty-four years old and if in the wild would have had the chance to live another forty years.

When I read this story, I cried and have continued to do so when I look at the pictures.

The people standing over her as she lay dying should be held accountable for their lack of action.

Elephants like Yani need help of those who care and are willing to be their voices.

Dear Yani, I am sorry your life was full of loneliness and pain.  Those whose hands held your care and well-being let you down.

May you Rest in Peace sweet one, we will continue to fight in honor of you.




Mo Mo

October is a beautiful month.  The trees are covered with red, orange and yellow leaves.  The air has a slight chill that having a cup of tea or hot chocolate will sooth.

My birthday is also in October and as a lover of Fall, I embrace being a fall baby completely.

I share my special day with a dear elephant named Mo Mo, for her though her celebrations are not filled with happiness and delight.

Her day is spent performing for visitors at the Yangon Zoo, who come to see her dressed up in sparkly outfits and performing tricks.

This poor girl has been doing this for over fifty years.

Since I came across Mo Mo’s story I have been fighting endlessly for her retirement.  I have wrote petitions, started a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called Free Mo Mo.

My promise to her on our birthday last year, was her freedom.

There have been many roadblocks along the way, and to be honest I am only one person, but have the support of thousands.

This October I will be spending time with this sweet girl.  Perhaps I will be able to share good news with her, if not I hope she will sense I am there for her.

Feeling terrible in the best way

This morning I woke up with every fiber of my being sore and tired.  My body begged to stay in bed, but my mind won the battle.

There is much to be done for my seven week trip, most importantly being physically fit and able to endure the challenges.

So I have been training.  This includes long distance power walks, hikes, swimming lessons and intense yoga.

The calendar you see is one of two in the house marked with the various scheduled times for these activities.

A friend said to me yesterday that when I return I will be a “powerhouse woman” I love the support.

Right now I am looking out the window and the sky looks cloudy.  I would love to nuzzle myself in bed with cats, tea and a good book.

“The elephants are not going to wait for you to catch up” Out the door I go.