25 February 2024 (2 of 52)

No training video this week because I came down with the plague and spent most of the weekend in and out of a fever fugue. Husband is deep in the grant writing trenches so we’ve been eating a lot of takeout and using our limited combined free energies to walk the dogs. Thankfully the teenager can fend for themself and had covid earlier in the week. Kid had such a mild case we didn’t even think about testing for it until I got walloped. Partner received a different variation of the Covid vaccine last round which seems to be protecting him from the one that broke through the vax kid and I got.

I’m now on the upswing side of the recovery curve, but still doing battle with the wads of cotton that keep getting jammed into my sinuses. Partner claims to be on a similar trajectory with the grant so we have hopes of getting him to the grocery store and eating something for dinner tonight that does not include tipping the driver.

Fuzziheadedness combined with a photo of an ex on social media sent me down a rabbit hole of sentimental thinking. I dated a lot in my teens and twenties (am poster child for what is now termed ‘serial monogamy’). Not sure they would say the same about me – ‘indecisive’ is a kind way of saying that I was a generally terrible girlfriend until my late 20s. Essentially, I ran an extensive catch and release program in the dating pond and looking back can see I must have fantastic fishing skills because there are very few that would ever count as a regret. Lots of top notch humans at least from what I can see on social media and the odd time we are able to meet up in person. 

But returning to the specific one that showed up on my feed today, I would never think of him as the one that got away. I purposely placed him back in the pond, but he was one of the first that I seriously considered keeping. He was (and almost certainly still is) a huge personality who wears his heart on his sleeve and showed me what it is like to be in a relationship with someone who says exactly what they mean and asks for what they want. Ultimately though, we had desires for fundamentally different career and family paths that made us incompatible. I’m always thrilled that the glimpses I see on social media suggest that not long afterwards he found someone who did want those things.

Fast forward to current life and it doesn’t take much to make me schloppy and sentimental about where various bifurcations in this chaotic system of life landed me as well. I have a partner that makes me feel like I won the relationship lottery, but I can also see how it might not have worked out if we had met 10 years earlier. Or maybe it would’ve/could’ve/might’ve worked out differently and 2024 me doesn’t want that either. I’m happy to be right here on the sofa with one dog on the floor under my feet, another splayed and snoring on the couch kitty corner. Teen sleeping upstairs and in another room squinting at his monitor is the person I look forward to having next to me while we navigate through whatever comes next.

Currently Reading: 

Hard book: The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Audio book: To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis

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19 February 2024 – This is 52

Ten years ago I used the impetus of turning 42 as my wake up call that waiting to ‘get in shape’ before signing up for circus classes would only result in even more time passing. And wow was that ever the right thing to do. I celebrated the last night of 51 in the studio training for a student show planned for April and happily was able to safely do all my favourite bigger tricks that will be going into the routine.

It’s been a full year now since I finished cancer treatment and I’m feeling physically recovered and positive about this upcoming trip around the sun. There was a lot of head time spent asking myself what I want from this next phase of life. I’m in a really good place and the conclusion is applicable to both my work and play worlds. I don’t want to feel like I’m coasting, but I’m also not interested in climbing up ladders (circus or corporate) to increasingly harder things. What I am motivated by is the idea of taking what I have right now and working to make those things better.

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7 Sep 2022 – Time Machine Update

Turned out that blogging about cancer treatment in real time was too much for my capacity. I did post things on Facebook and Instagram and am copying them here onto my digital scrapbook.

Looks like my biomachine will be getting some serious work. Apparently even Stage 0 breast cancer warrants major treatment.

News from my oncology appointment today is that I’m getting surgery and then radiation (plus MRI, molli seed placement, and other stuff I’m probably forgetting). So lots and lots of appointments and inconvenience, but that they expect a “full cure” after all is said and done.

I know full well that cancer doctors don’t use the term “expected cure” lightly. I’m insanely fortunate to be in the luxurious position of being more worried about the inconvenience of my cancer treatment than the actual cancer.

TLDR: Don’t skip your mammogram!

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15 Aug 2022 – Time Machine Update

Turned out that blogging about cancer treatment in real time was too much for my capacity. I did post things on Facebook and Instagram and am copying them here onto my digital scrapbook.

15 August 2022:

Even a trained biomechanic needs to go into the shop sometimes. Today felt very much like I was a car at the auto mechanics. The hydraulic table goes up and down with a hole for the part they are working on to poke through so the experts had access to work on my left breast from underneath.

I loved seeing such a practical ergonomic best practice from one industry (automotive) applied in the world of healthcare. My favourite work as an engineer is all about this kind of design cross-pollination!

Results in a week or so. Feeling slightly paranoid about accidentally bleeding a bit on my subway home… Why on today of all days did I deviate from my usual black?!?

Princess Margaret makes it easy to find things.
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12 Sept 2022 – Stage 0

So it’s been a year and some more.

To summarize: Pandemic, turned 50, work, family, Covid vaccines, getting actual Covid, vacations where we actually went places*, and generally returning to “real life” or whatever that is going to look like now.

* stayed in Canada, still haven’t ventured beyond the border since a work trip to Italy in 2019.

So now that life is getting back to normal, let’s circle back to that turning 50 part, because where I live that particular birthday milestone comes with a few medical screening tests including a mammogram… cue ominous music.

Yep, my routine screening mammogram quickly led to a second higher resolution mammogram, that led to a biopsy, that has now led to an official diagnosis of Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ Nuclear Grade 2, also known as Breast Cancer (Stage 0). This whole rollercoaster started July 23, biopsy was 3 weeks later and pathology diagnosis was 2 days later. I learned I had cancer on Aug 17, left for vacation 3 days later, met with my oncologist August 6 and am now looking at surgery and radiation treatment between now an end of the year.

The bad news: I have breast cancer.

The good news: They caught it super early and I have access to universal healthcare. Stage 0 means it hasn’t spread or even had time to make an official tumour. Prognosis is excellent, but treatment is still going to suck ass.

I celebrated turning 50 with a circus type flexibility photo shoot. The sketchy one is leftie there.

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13 March 2021

Good hair day plus still warm from flexibility class equalled this silliness. Still can’t do a back-walkover yet, but am hopeful it is in reach for my 50th birthday next year.

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04 January 2021

It took a lot of activation energy to convince myself to do back-bending today. So glad I did because looking at the video I took makes it very clear that consistent work is starting to pay off!

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited to see the difference.

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2 January 2021

Biomechanic Report:

Like our family menu planning, I’m realizing that I do much better on the fitness front when I make a weekly plan rather than just doing whatever I feel like that day. Here’s what this past week looked like.

  • Monday: backbends
  • Tuesday: handstand drills
  • Wednesday: legs
  • Thursday: core
  • Friday: handstand drills
  • Saturday: flexibility (zoom class)
  • Sunday: conditioning (zoom class)

Saturday mornings are usually a good time to take inventory of how my body is feeling. I can lay in bed without the alarm and check in with what is aching. It seems to be a funny fact of aging that I’m almost always aching somewhere. Either good aching from a workout, or bad aching from not moving. This morning it was the muscles between my scapula radiating up to my neck that had the most to say. Probably the result of changing my handstand drills this week to increase their difficulty. I rollered them out yesterday, but more stretching will be needed. I’m hoping it is a sign of my shoulders and upper back opening up accessing new underused muscles. The good news is that I didn’t wake up with my low back aching which it had been earlier in the week. I added some glute extension strengthening drills on Wednesday and they seems to be doing the trick.

Saturday (today) is flexibility class with Diana Gonzalez zooming in from Italy. I’ve been taking her weekend classes since late November and really enjoy having something structured on the weekend. Her flexibility classes definitely get me to push harder in the active stretches that I normally do on my own. Happy to have stuck with all the workouts this week, but it was still a mostly holiday week so work wasn’t as demanding. Leg day workout is still the hardest, but it is becoming less difficult than it was in November and happily my knees are doing well with it. For the circus skills I’m interested in doing, my legs to just be steady state strong so there are no plans to up the intensity level. Instead I want to start adding in formal slackline drills to improve the stabilizer muscles and my overall balance. So far I’ve just been futzing around on the slackline whenever I feel like it, but not doing anything with a plan. (yep, there’s that word again)

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1 January 2021

Like most people across the world, we welcomed the New Year from home last night. It sucked to not to be with our friends in Collingwood eating, playing crokinole, bed at 10:30p (they are as wonderfully lame about this one as Simon and I am) and welcoming the New Year with a walk in their backyard apple orchard. Instead we zoomed with them and celebrated with seafood paella, sparkling wine, and an episode of Dr. Who (the kid is watching for the first time). 

My own new year has started with handstand practice and signing up for a flexibility program so that I can have a formal plan for working on backbends in a safe way. With less my 49th birthday quickly approaching and the milestone 50th right behind, I’m ramping up my personal biomechanic project. It’s an idea that has been slowly developing over the years that I’ve been circus training. I have a degree in biomechanical engineering and have worked with manufacturing equipment for my entire career so it’s not surprising that I regularly think think of my own self as a biomachine. The project itself is based on the idea of approaching my body/mind/self as one would a vintage car and documenting how I’m fixing it up and trying to keep it in running shape. My body is aging and this has and will continue to affect what it can and cannot do. This will happen regardless of whether I like it or not. So rather than fight against the tide I’m choosing to pay closer attention to the process and try to enjoy working with what I have.

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28 December 2020

Catching up with December. Christmas prep often becomes a part-time job leading up to the holiday. With no social activities allowed I wanted to make sure the kiddo still felt like it was a special time. I think we succeeded, and I’m now happily into the sloth filled interstitial time between Christmas and New Year. Been filling my days with circus workouts, cured meat, cheese, books, books and tv time. As you can clearly see, I don’t have any room in my schedule for more than a photo dump.

And here is our plan for the last week of the year! My partner’s handwriting isn’t the most legible.

  • Sunday: leftover takeout
  • Monday: chorizo, carrot slaw and cheese grits
  • Tuesday: sweet and sour chicken, noodles and greens
  • Wednesday: skirt steak and salad
  • New Years Eve: seafood paella
  • Friday: leftover paella
  • Saturday: fondue
  • Sunday: takeout
Posted in Life, Meal Plans, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 28 December 2020