15 fun facts that helped me to lose the game of “I Have Never …”

1) I once owned a share in a racehorse.

2) I stood at the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. After walking 35 miles to get to it.

3) I had Bell’s Palsy when I was 27, so I have a crooked smile. Asymmetry rocks.

4) I have had a near-death experience.

5) I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

6) For a not-very-athletic person, I’ve done a lot of physical challenges …

…Breast cancer three-day … twice
…Sprint distance triathlons … three times
… 1/2 marathons … eight times
…STP bike ride … once
…Mud run … once

7) The second and third toes on both my feet are stuck together. It did not make me a better swimmer.

8) I rode my bicycle from Seattle to Portland in two days.

9) I got a job once by complimenting the hiring manager on her shorthand. Twenty-four years and seven jobs later, she’s still one of my best friends.

10) I literally got “voted off the island” when I was 16.

11) I have an “Irish Twin”. My younger sister is four days less than a year younger than me.

12) I plan to celebrate my 50th birthday by going to Phuket next year. With my Irish twin.

13) My older sister and I still buy each other rock concert tickets for each other’s birthday every year.

14) I drove around the Grand Circle in Utah with three of my good friends in five days (over 1,000 miles). We’re still good friends.

15) I’ve had three different, wonderful careers. And the second two happened by accident.

How many calories does catching a mouse burn?


Day one … Let me start by telling you that living alone has its perks. You get to watch trash TV, like America’s Next Top Model and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You get to have cereal for dinner, or even just crackers straight from the box. But … you also don’t have anyone to do the dirty work, like “disappear” spiders. Or sympathize with you about the dark streak that scuttled across the kitchen floor while you innocently stand checking your email. (Yikes!) Alas, I find myself unable to “off” the critters. The spiders are cupped and set free. Now I find myself with a humane live trap from PETA to try to snare my furry little rodent houseguest. Wish me luck. At least there was nobody there to hear me squeal like a girl…

Day two … After completely emptying my pantry, vacuuming up 47,000 “pellets”, bleaching the shelving, throwing away a ton of food, and protecting what’s left in plastic bins, I am feeling significantly less charitable toward my little rodent friend. Dude shat in my Kitchen Aid! If he (or she) outsmarts my humane PETA live trap again tonight, it’s curtains. He (or she) will not get another one of my weekend days. Instead, perhaps a little D-Con appetizer…

Day three … Mickie has officially been re-homed. This, after a midnight run (in my pajamas) to the slough by the trail. I’m a pretty tough girl. Been through some $h1t. But I can tell you that releasing a house mouse in the dark … at close to midnight … while it’s raining (did I mention I was in my pajamas?) … next to some strange dude that has seen fit to park by the trail … while Mickie scuttled around my feet … can elicit a girlie-scream that I just did not know I had in me. I am totally stopping at the hardware store for some D-Con. No more Mrs. Nice Guy.

Postscript … I previously mentioned the strange dude in the parking lot on my midnight run to “deliver” my house mouse. I began to think about this from his perspective yesterday. There he was, minding his own … shall I say, “business” … and this car comes CAREENING in to the muddy parking lot at top speed, completely ignoring the potholes that wildly rocked the vehicle, spewing puddle water from its tires. The car screeches to a halt. Door bursts open, and this pajama-clad woman explodes out of the car, holding some (unidentifiable) object at arm’s length. She races in to the sodden, wild grass, leans over for a minute, then begins dancing in a wildly erratic manner. She screams. An other-worldly, blood-curdling shriek. Races back to the car, jumps in. PEELS out of the parking lot, again ignoring the potholes. Man says to himself, “WTF?!” So, mom … I don’t think you had to worry about me being out by myself in the middle of the night. Would you approach this woman?

And the journey begins …

A year ago last June 21st, I was training for a triathlon and had a severe asthma attack in the middle of Lake Washington. The stars were aligned for me, though … I was training with my friend, there were a couple of burly fisherman that just happened to be there to schlep me up on to the dock (at the stern direction of my buddy), the fire station paramedics were a mere minute and a half away, and there just happened to be a police boat patrolling the area. Any one of those things not in place, and I would have been toast (or fish food, as it were).

I remember thinking … it’s a beautiful sunny day, I’m in a boat speeding across Lake Washington with four handsome young paramedics (ahem … young enough to be my son), and I look like THIS?! Then … “we’re going to give you something to relax you”. From then on, it was lights out for a couple of days. Apparently, between the asthma and the lake water in my lungs, my heart was “stunned” and quit beating efficiently enough to keep me alive. Because everything was going my way that day, though, they got me to the hospital in record time. I had an intra-aortic balloon pump inserted in to my heart to keep it beating, and they intubated me to keep me breathing. Sometime the next day, I was conscious enough to hear (with alarming clarity) what was going on, but they had me paralyzed so I couldn’t move anything … no fingers, toes, eyes … nuthin’. That was very, very scary, trying to put the pieces together from what was going on in the room. My doctor tells me that for everyone on duty that night, I became an ER legend for surviving the night. Scared the heck out of my family, though. My first act upon regaining consciousness was to signal for a pen (I was still on the ventilator), and scribble, “WTF? Fine yesterday”. They knew I was going to be okay at that point, AND that I had maintained my sense of humor.

There are minimal lingering effects, but I am significantly more “fluffy” than I was a year ago. Exercise, which had previously kept my weight in check, had to take a sabbatical. I did three triathlons before this happened, but I think I’ll be hanging up my wetsuit. Try something more sedate and land-bound. Like mud runs. These life changes tend to give you a different perspective. Time to take action. I changed jobs. (My previous one had me on the road EVERY week.) I finally bought another house, which I had been longing for. (My own patch of dirt! I can plant flowers! And cook in my own kitchen!)

Since my “really bad swim workout” last year, I’ve gained 20 pounds. This is bad. I am ready to get back to early-morning boot camp, training, and feeling strong. This is good. A few things I’ve learned … 4:50 a.m. is REALLY early! The hula hoop is way harder at 49 than it is at 7, and I want to know who the heck invented tricep dips. I will hunt them down. Sheesh. Next May I turn 50. I am SO grateful to be alive to celebrate it. I vow to enter that third quarter of my life more confident, more fit, and more healthy than I’ve ever been. Here’s to a journey worth traveling.


Postscript … One take-away from all of this, ladies … do not neglect the bikini wax. You never know when some handsome young medic is going to cut off your clothes.