Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reflections on the Year

This morning, I thought I would take the 9:30 studio cycling class at the gym, but that I might tell the instructor that I might leave early. I would give myself an out. My foot is really hurting so I thought maybe I'd only do a half hour. I didn't work out yesterday, which is pretty rare for a Monday. My mom had asked me to go to Havre de Grace with her as she's quite busy over the next few weeks at work. Since I want to maintain my "Favorite Daughter" status, you know what I chose. The approximately three hour roundtrip ride had made my legs hurt a bit and I said to myself, even 30 minutes would be fine.

A year ago, I was slowly but surely recovering from sinus surgery. The sinuses themselves did not take so long to recover, it was the body. My doctor had told me nothing strenuous for 2 weeks post-op. My optimistic perspective was Oh well, Luke'll have to vacuum. (Which he often does anyway!)

Once those two weeks passed, my sinuses felt better and clearer and I went weeks without a cold setting in. Usually I had a sinus infection every month. Surgery was successful!

However, lethargy still sat heavy on my shoulders. The doctor had said the trauma to the body as well as the anesthesia required for such a long surgery would take a while to dissipate. And it did. Apparently redheads (although my hair is browner now) require more anesthesia...when I woke up in recovery, the nurse was laughing at me because of my desire to fight. He joked around with Luke about how they'd had to give me more anesthesia before starting the surgery.

So I ended up being at my heaviest, some of which I noted here. I still have a ton to lose, but I'm feeling better.

This weekend, I walked a couple of miles up and down and all around hilly Elkridge for my friend....you guessed it...Tom Coale. I stood for an hour at an awesome Hocoblogs party hosted by Secolari, albeit in comfy shoes, and realized my feet didn't hurt. Even our trip to Europe went better than I expected. Jet lag didn't bother me and we made the most of our time.

Luke said to me that a year has made a huge difference in me. I've been more confident, been more persistent, bypassed my pain and have gained stamina. Other friends have noticed that too - that there's been something different. It hasn't just been one thing like exercise, nutrition or a sense of purpose. Rather, it's been all of that.

So I stayed for the whole spin class. I even matched my personal best of a couple weeks ago. My best probably pales in comparison to other class members. For 6 months in, though, with a head injury to boot (I feel I should say to hat, instead), I know I'm improving. My flat road resistance is usually set at 6; I started out at 1 or 2. Spinning is a useful addition to my usual Body Pump and Body Vive classes. I know I'm still pretty pathetic, but I'm less pathetic and more resilient than I have ever been.

And when I am lazy, hanging out on my couch, I'm blaming Baby Disney! He's almost five pounds now...I don't want to hyperextend my wrist, right??

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Last night, when we couldn't find our kitten Disney, I sat in shock. How had we lost our 3 weeks-new-to-us 15 week old kitten? We searched every room. Lil asked us to tell her when we found him and don't worry about waking her. After half an hour or so, I noticed that she had shut her door. I felt like she was giving up and if she was, I was having a hard time maintaining hope.

Luke & I walked around the neighborhood, shaking a bag of cat food. We looked under cars. I sent emails to neighbors, warning them to look under their cars in the morning.

I was mentally & physically exhausted.

When Lil heard my alarm go off, she came upstairs with Disney in her arms. "Daddy left us a note!" When he was preparing to look for Disney before leaving for work, he saw Disney walking around by the big cats' food bowl. (It's very cute - Disney puts his paw in the bowl while he's eating.)

Still no idea where the heck he was hiding. Luke is thinking about putting a GPS on him. Which is ironic, because when I took him to the vet for his vaccine booster, the tech asked me about his microchip. And I scoffed and said to myself, "C'mon, it's a cat."

I held in my tears last night. As I have been doing for a while. I've been feeling like crying for a few weeks. I almost let loose last week after I presented at the Columbia Association meeting for Inner Arbor.

I feel sad. I feel lonely. I don't feel great physically. I felt angry. I am scared. So I cried. I could probably use a few more minutes.

But I cried and let it some of it out. And then the kitties & Luke & Lil made me laugh. Catharsis - it's OK. Once I say my problem or scream in pain, like stubbing my toe, I feel so much better. It's the trapping & the repression that really hurts me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Inner Arbor Testimony

I had never done this before last night. I had never gone to a Columbia Association meeting, being content to let others "do stuff."

But this week, I HAD to. As Tom Coale writes in his blog today, "Eventually, you hand off to someone else." He is already on record as being a supporter, most obviously, because he voted for it last year before he followed the CA Ethics code  & resigned his seat before running for House of Delegates.

(C'mon, you didn't think I would get through a blog post without mentioning Tom, right? Oh, and my little cat, Disney, who is dreaming of a mouse chase right now next to me.)

So I put on some mascara & dressier clothes than just my summer shorts (I didn't want to be told I was too informal!) and signed in to the Resident Speak-out around 6:55. Julia was happy to let me join her on a comfy seat overlooking Lake Kittamaqundi. I need not have worried about my clothing - it was casual. I was glad to see other friends & chat about the upcoming meeting, because I got distracted by it.

I have been a little bit nervous to have people put a face with my name. Actually, the hubby & my mom are worried. But I support this plan. I don't think everything is my cup of tea, but how can everything be? Luke doesn't like roller coasters, but that doesn't mean he's never going to King's Dominion. I don't boycott the mall on the basis of not liking one or two stores. And I owe it to people like Tom & Michael McCall & others who have put a lot of effort, energy and their reputations in some cases on the line to support this plan.

Note: After I spoke, I left soon thereafter to have dinner with my family. I walked by an opponent from the Howard County Citizens Association who GRABBED my wrist VERY tightly. I struggled to get away as she tried to persuade me to oppose the Inner Arbor. I kept saying "I am leaving. I am going." Meanwhile, another speaker had the floor & I was trying not to be discourteous. Of course, another anti-IAT guy hissed nastily at me "You had YOUR time" as I extricated myself from her grip. I said, "It wasn't me!" But what could I do? I was livid. I wanted to walk back in & scream at him that it was HIS ally that was making the noise, not I.  OK, deep breaths...

Luke showed me a move to get someone to release the wrist, but I was trying to be low-key making my way out so I don't know that I would/could have handled it differently. The anti-IAT crowd seems to literally use strong-arm tactics.

Here's my testimony - I may have ad-libbed a couple of things in addition. I felt like I might been a little strident or somewhat sarcastic, but feedback has been very positive.


My name is Kirsten and I have been a resident of Town Center since 2003 in the Governor's Grant neighborhood. I realize that my 17 total years of residence in Columbia do not count in the eyes of some pioneers & I cannot repeat Jim Rouse aphorisms from memory, but I plan on living here for the next 20 years. I am tired of some sacred vision impeding progress. Symphony Woods’ disuse has been a sore subject for me throughout as it's practically my front yard. 

The Inner Arbor plan has piqued my interest. The current plan is within the concept authorized by CA previously. And it at least shows some creativity & outside-the-box thinking, which the 2010 Paumier plan did not. In fact, when I saw that plan, I said, "Huh? This is all we can do? Where's the creativity?"

I think it's fine if we're the test lab for some of these concepts. My favorite part is the Chrysalis, which I hope would be a destination for smaller bands, a speaker series and our local public school children. 

Columbia Association, my apologies, but it's true, has done a mediocre job over the past several years utilizing the Symphony Woods space. The only significant use of that park is by the Howard County Parks & Rec Department. It is clear that politics have stymied every attempt to do something productive and placing the project in a separately incorporated 501c3 entity insulates it from political grandstanding such as this. Some members here tonight exemplify the need to take this project out of direct Board involvement if anything is ever going to be done. Just as opponents have done dozens of times in looking to repeal Obamacare, you are wasting time, our time. However, unlike our House of Representatives, you do not get paid for your service here, which is the only slightly positive thing I can find in this childish & ridiculous fight against an unorthodox plan that used to be the sort of innovation that Columbia was known for.

I look forward to seeing the concept of Inner Arbor become a physical reality for my family to enjoy.

Thank you.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

To Do

I want to blog - I wake up in the middle of the night & think about items I want to share.

So here's my list:

Brand new kitten Disney - how cute are he & Lil together? Her responsibility for the baby cat is admirable. She's picking up the kitten & feeding him. It's super cute.

Inner Arbor. My front yard so to speak. The misuse. The disuse. The insanity over doing something that might be inviting. Why is having 3 public meetings so much better than 2 public meetings? This transparency thing is incredibly inefficient.

Transportation - it took Luke almost 2 hours to get home tonight. Realistic options for public transport do not exist.

So Thursday - I hope to make it to the CA Board meeting. I've prepared some remarks & Luke & I have fought over them. So I feel stronger in my stance.

I wish people were not so fearful of change. That it is evil inherently.  I guess I just look on the Bright Side of Life.