Monday, September 29, 2008

Rolling Along

It's definitely been awhile and to be completely honest I don't have much to say. The last few weeks have been a blur of work, clinicals, and sleep. It doesn't seem possible that I'm already halfway through my clinical rotation in the ICU at Butterworth Hospital. But here I am, staring Week 5 in the face. So far it's been an amazing experience with some truly heartbreaking patients and I've yet to see one single promising outcome in the patients I've been caring for. But all sadness aside, I'm realizing that the decision to go back to school and go into a field centered on caring for people in need was the best decision I could have made at this point in my life. I'm so excited to be done with school so I can dig my teeth into this field. That said, I'm even more excited to have my first job interview on Monday. Holy crap - wish me luck.

In between clinical shifts, work at Velocity is still busy as ever. Last week even more so since most of the guys were off in Las Vegas for the big Interbike trade show. Steve was there too and for those who know Steve, the picture below should sum up this year's trip:
The man next to Steve is none other than Eddy Merckx who is quite possibly the greatest cyclist this planet has ever known - and Steve's hero. Every year it seems he gets closer to being able to shake Eddy's hand but has always missed out. Not this year :)

So yeah - riding bikes. Not much to report on that front. The first few Kisscross races have come and gone - the first one being at Highland Park while the remnants of Hurrican Ike passed overhead. Quite a nice day for a bike race, although I left the racing up to Steve while I roamed around with my coffee mug full of PBR instead. I think it was a good choice....
I did get to join in on my first randonee a few weekends ago. A few guys from GR have been creating all-day rides in the West Michigan area for the past few months. While the concept of randoneering is still a little lost on me, the group ride from here to Holland and back was a great time. I was desperately in need of spending 70-ish miles on my bike. I'm looking forward to the next ride - GR to Saugatuck to GR - that's happening in October. Hopefully I'll meet another nice guy like the one I met on the way to Holland.Anyhoo - that's really about it. Not a whole lot ahead but more school and more work and hopefully a little fun thrown in the mix. The leaves are starting to change the weather's been a little more gloomy - and for some strange reason that makes me happy. Here's to fall weather!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One of Each

Congrats to Mackenzie and Karissa - silver medal in today's road race!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gold Medal!!

The picture above is GR cyclist Mackenzie Woodring (left) and her tandem partner Karissa Whitsell at the Paralympic Games in Beijing. They won the gold medal in the women's time trial on Friday. Steve and I have known Mackenzie for several years and throughout her cycling career and we couldn't be prouder - she was chosen to be the tandem pilot for Karissa (who is blind) last year and has been training like crazy for this. They have also taken bronze in one event (pursuit) and have one more event (road race) to go. Pretty freakin' cool - way to go!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Phone Home

Sighhhh..... Not even sure where to start with this one, although I'm sure everyone has long since given up on me because of my extended blogging hiatus. So let's see here - what the heck has happened since July 22? Perhaps what kept me most busy for a few weeks back there was lots and lots of overtime at work. We (at Velocity) completed a move from a 3,000 sq ft warehouse to an almost 16,000 sq ft warehouse in the course of a week and managed to work through it. Additionally we received the biggest frieght container yet a few weeks later and got to unload - by hand - about 8,000 rims only to ship nearly half of them back out to customers over the following week. All this on a short staff. Good times.....

On top of that, I was also busy finishing my last semester of classroom classes at school. Now I'm officially in my last last last semester of school and looking forward to the next three months since it's all clinicals from here on out. I'm currently in my adult critical care clinical rotation, working two to three 12-hour shifts a week at Butterworth hospital and a few shifts at various other hospitals throughout the semester. I had my first two shifts last week (at Butterworth) and they were amazing - I'm again using the clinicals to really solidify (to me) that respiratory care is something I will want to do once I'm done with school. So far, so good. It's amazing how quickly 12 hours can pass. I had my first shift at a long-term care hospital yesterday and it's quite different than the ICU at Butterworth. In the ICU, people are fighting for their lives. In the long-term, it seems that many people are fighting to die peacefully. After nine weeks of adult care, I have three weeks in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and then I graduate! Hopefully by then I'll have a job lined up and will be well on my way to passing the two board exams I must take in order to be licensed and registered. All in time, though. I have a lot to learn in the next several weeks.

I'm still going to be working at Velocity throughout my clinicals, or at least until I burn out. See - the thing with clinicals is that instead of being paid to work, you're actually paying someone to work for them. I pay tuition to the school, they send me to a hospital to work, and I either work a different job or pick through trash cans in order to eat. I keep telling myself it's only three months and I know it will be okay.

It hasn't all been work and school, though - we've had some fun in these last few weeks of summer. We spent a weekend up in Glen Arbor to do some camping and check out Margo's one-woman show at an art gallery up there. The paintings were spectacular, the camping was relaxing, the water was warm, and the waves were huge. (Thought I took some nice pictures but now I can't find them.....) We also had a sweet little wedding to go to and managed a stop at our favorite place before the reception. Here's proof that we do clean up pretty well.
We also spent a week up in Canada travelling along the east and north shores of Lake Superior. We loaded up the car with a boat, two bikes, and three people (me, Steve, and our friend Rob) and drove up to a little town just north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where I dropped them off with their bikes. I continued on in the car to set up camp about 75 miles down the road and wait for them to arrive. Two more days of this (and about 220 miles later) we were at the northern point of Lake Superior with two broken bikes and lots of rocks to hike on. Overall, it was a great trip. The weather was great, the scenery was beautiful (as always) and the brown gravy was flowing. Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Oh - and I almost forgot! I had the opportunity to see my most favorite band of all time right here in GR at the end of July. Steve and I got some last-minute tickets to see Blind Melon and it was so awwwwesome. I know, I know - one-hit wonders with the bee girl and all that crap. But I am proud to be one of the five people in this town who own and know everything this band has ever put out and with their new lead singer, they put on a pretty great show. I definitely made a huge ass of myself and enjoyed every minute of it :)

Finally - my last domestic project for a while (that I had to keep secret until a certain little baby was born....)I think that's it - cyclocross season starts this weekend and although I'm not racing, I'm looking forward to spectating and catching up with some friends I haven't seen in a looooong time. Riding has taken a major backseat to other priorities lately and I'm sad for that. But there's not much I can do about it except sneak in some miles when I can. I do plan on joining in with a new group of randonneurs here in GR to get some longer rides in before the snow flies. And as always I will promise to keep current on the blog but we all know how that turns out. Happy (almost) fall to you!