Filed under: Hospital | Tags: acupuncture, Asha Integrative Wellness, body image, chiropractor, Dysphoria, health, injury, osteopath, physical therapy, recovery, self care, weight, yoga
So almost seven years ago, I broke my back and messed myself up pretty bad. I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure. I snapped my Achilles tendon and fractured my scapula. I had two ankle surgeries. It took almost two weeks to get the feeling back below my waist.
I wasn’t supposed to walk again.
It fucking sucked.
Needless to say, I live in constant, dull pain among all the other shit that I go through.
I was on prescription pain killers for a long time. Some people can be on narcotic opioids for long periods, get off of them and be fine. It does cause some other issues that you just can’t get around. It slows down your metabolism. Generally if you are on pain management, they prescribe you stool softeners in tandem for example.
That’s a lovely thought, isn’t it?
Long story short, after some issues, I tapered off of the pain killers and was just in pain. Got on some neuro-meds, which conveniently enough help with seizure control but also cause weight gain, which just exacerbated an already existing issue since I wasn’t exercising – sitting there being mopey and wincing all the time.
One thing on top of another on another.
Fast forward, shall we?
So, last summer I was able to finally shed the weight back to even below my college size. Thinner than I have ever been in my life. Not just thinner, but actually “in shape!” I am really not going to turn this into a “skinny is the most awesomest thing ever and it’s all about how you look because fat people are gross” article.
In fact, I had been considered “overweight” for most of my life. I was never one of those little beanpole kids that I see running around now-a-days. I was cute. But I was squishy. I was talkative. I had my own style. I wore a large. Then an extra-large. Then began shopping in the adult sizes because I had trouble finding things that fit me comfortably in the youth and teen sizes. I was actually in that awkward size where I couldn’t find clothes in a “normal” store that fit, but when I would go into a “plus size” store, I would be a small and would get the stink-eye from the sales people. It was almost worse being that “in-between” because I felt like I had nowhere I could find clothes. At least when I became heavier I had specific places to shop and didn’t get scorned for going into the store for not being “big enough” or “small enough.“
Sure, I got depressed when I was heavy, but for the most part, besides being in pain, I was OK. There were that feeling, though that I didn’t feel comfortable inside my skin.
I just didn’t feel “good.“
What I was later to learn was not that I was uncomfortable with my body or lack of exercise/movement, but from what I was eating. It wasn’t until 2009 that I found out that I was allergic to wheat, lactose and had a bunch of other sensitives/allergies. Changing my diet alone (including becoming a vegan in 2011), has done amazing things for my health.
Last note on size, it’s not about how much anyone weighs. For me personally, I was not exercising or maintaining a healthy lifestyle for me. I didn’t feel comfortable with me. When I began, fat-loss was a natural response. Muscle-gain/tone was also a benefit. Everyone has a different body type. Everyone also has a different lifestyle. This one works for me and is healthy for me. I support healthy, happy lifestyles. I support healthy, happy people. I am not advocating stick-thin people or muscley-toned people because some people aren’t built like that.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Because all those skinny/fat loving/bashing memes are sophomoric.
We should all go eat gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan, organic, macrobiotic, sugar-free, locally made, fairly waged cake and be sisters and brothers and every variation in between – and celebrate together.
So I am tired of my back hurting.
Not just my back. Because I have this half inch divet in my spine and I sit all wonky twisted, my hips have shifted. My shoulders have twisted. I am all “Essed” up. So much so that my right leg became almost 13 mm shorter. It’s no wonder I continually have left knee issues every race season! Wasn’t there a song written about this very issue?
“The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone. . . “
I really don’t want to go back on pain killers again. I mean, what’s that going to do, right? Not going to solve the problem. So, for about six weeks I have been going to a chiropractor twice a week and an acupuncturist once a week. This is a very new experience to me! I saw an osteopath a long time ago.
He was a wizard.
He would find a knot, “trigger point” it, bend whatever appendage it was connected with and just hold it for a moment and then the knot would disappear.
Fucker was magic.
Talking to my chiropractor, apparently, he was very “old school.” He was OLD TESTAMENT. Dude had a burly white beard. Always seemed like Santa was working on me during the off-season.
Anyway, this is my first chiropractor experience and I am having a very positive one. I am working with two different practitioners at the clinic and while I still feel tightness, can feel things breaking up. They are working with an acupuncturist on-site and I have been getting treatment from him as well. This is another first for me.
I have been getting the cupping done. Which is weird. But interesting. As well as the little needle bits. What I really enjoy about the acupuncture (and maybe I am missing the point) is that it gives me an hour and a half to just relax. With my busy schedule and constantly running around sometimes just having that time where I lay there and do nothing while someone pokes you and squid-snail-streaks, you. . . well, that helps too. I do feel better for breaking up the knots physically, though too as well as just the emotional breather.
My chiropractor has now challenged me to find a yoga class and attempt to go one time a week. She knows that I won’t be able to do the stretches as bendy as some of the other people, but building up some of the muscle in places where my regular routine doesn’t could help support my spine and ribs.
I’m loathe to do it.
But I know she’s right.
I have been beginning to feel better.
As a closing point, if you are looking for natural care, I highly recommend Asha Integrative Wellness. I’ve get regular treatment from Chris who specializes in back and appendages, Suzi who specializes in jaw and back. (One is lower, one is mid. I can’t remember which!! I work with both of them equally, though!) As far as acupuncture, I get treatment from Toshio who is very kind, quiet and cool. He doesn’t do the traditional meditation music and takes suggestions! Last week I listened to French jazz. If you go, say “Halley referred you.“
Filed under: Events | Tags: bare as you dare, bicycle, Filmed By Bike, group rides, NW Documentary, oil consumption, oregon, portland, portland art musum, protest, road user, vulnerability, World Naked Bike Ride
I wrote about the Filmed by Bike Film Festival debut of this short film a few weeks ago and my involvement in this documentary.
NW Documentary, the group responsible for this beautitful, tear jerking and inspiring film have put it on Vimeo. I am sharing it on here. I don’t know how long it will work.
Through this movie, I have been able to experience the ride more fully than I have ever been able to experience the ride in person on-site in the last three years, going on four of volunteering. Every time I say that, and as I type this, it makes me burst out in tears. I am incredibly moved by this film in so many ways and I thank the dozen plus people that worked on it to immortalize it more than they will ever know.
(***Blinking Light Warning*** throughout the 17 min movie)
While there is nudity, I am not nude at any point throughout the film.
Filed under: Products, Tips | Tags: bike riding, bike shorts, capris, chamois, commuting, cycling clothes, novara, rei, tights, under armour, underwear
I have a love-hate relationship with bike shorts. I mean to say, I have no qualm with wearing shorts, it’s what’s in between that’s the issue. I’m talking about the big ol’ fatty diaper maxi pad that is supposed to support and cushion my ride.
(And actually I sometimes have qualms with wearing shorts. I have issues with my knees.)
Needless to say, for a long time I have shied away from the chamois. I have been of the opinion that if you are riding with a saddle of the proper firmness and adjustment, a chamois is unnecessary and superfluous to riding.
That is to say that sometimes I needed to wear something under skirts. I’m a huge fan of compression shorts and capris. When I can’t find chamois-less shorts, Under Armour or many other yoga or athletic bottoms companies can hook me up. I also really enjoy colored opaque tights and leggings as well. There’s a fantastic on-line company; We Love Colors that has a ton of selection to save you from wardrobe malfunctions (for women, children and men.)
When I finally began incorporating real cycling attire into my everyday cycling lifestyle I was optimistic. I wanted everything to be magically comfortable and just. . . work. That’s how I ended up with my first pair of Endura knickers. I had high hopes for them. They came with bike shorts that snapped in. So I could wear them with or without. Truth be told, I ended up wearing them more often without.
That’s when I found out that I really, really hate women’s designed chamois.
It’s like waddling around in an adult diaper.
I had some shorts that were OK and couldn’t figure out what was so different. Figured it was just that pair’s particular cut. So, a couple years later I got a pair of knickers that were Endura brand. Again, that same horrible feeling.
I do the scoots.
What the hell are the scoots?
It’s when you scoot around on the saddle until you get a good position – generally it’s working all that padding to the front so you can sit on the non or lighter padded butt-end of the pad. It’s super uncomfortable.
And as a woman, ends up getting all chafey and horrible.
What have I found out in my hunt for the perfect chamois? First of, I really like men’s fit more than women’s. The men’s chamois tends to be a narrower triangle, while women’s is rectangle. (This is all brand specific, but it’s what I have found in general.) The men’s chamois rubs less on the inner thigh, where it’s super tender and sucks when it gets raw!
No one finds raw hamburger crotch sexy.
“Triathlete fit” means that it will be a thinner pad. It has something to do with drying faster or something. I don’t know. I don’t have a clue about triathlete stuff. But they’re thinner, and that’s cool to me. If I get shorts and bibs for men in triathlete fit, I’m good to go.
I personally don’t wear underwear with bike shorts. Wearing more seams that will rub just seem like adding insult to injury.
Underwear lines under spandex are hilarious.
Plus it feels weird. You’ve got two layers of fabric working against each other on the saddle so you get this weird hitching, shimmying sensation. Sliding around back and forth against the saddle. I already get that with rain pants. Why would I want that in three-fold (four-fold?) with another layer?
I have however worn bike shorts with tights.
Color me hypocritical.
Sure, I wear pretty opaque colors, but sometimes I want to wear bike shorts to give me that extra comfort and so forth. I’ll wear them over the nylons. At that point, they’re like bloomers – which I also proudly own several pairs of.
A few weeks ago, I was at REI spending my dividend and found something quite exciting. Padded Boy Short Underwear! I am going to use the word underwear lightly, because they are actually more like short-shorts. I, as usual was skeptical about the padding, but I so far love them and look forward to doing some long distance riding in them this summer.
As usual, the hunt for comfortable cycling clothing continues, but I am making dents at least.
Filed under: Bike Rides | Tags: bike camping, bike commuting, carfree, commuting, crowdsourcing, gluten-free, outdoors, summer, survey, touring, travel, vegan, writing, zine
I’ve been working on a cookbook/survival guide for gluten-free vegan bike campers for several months. Interviewing other campers for their vaults of knowledge and all that exciting business.
Even if you’re not gf-v I could benefit from your campy experience!
How can you help?
I’m glad you asked.
Filed under: Bike Rides, Events | Tags: bicycle, bike events, cycling, evil patrick shannon, group rides, Pedalpalooza, portland, Shift2Bikes, strawberry shortcake
Every June for three weeks in Portland a wondrous and great thing happens. That thing is called Pedalpalooza. Over 300 bike rides and events are packed into three short weeks. By the end of the month you will either never want to look at a bike again or move to a country where it is legal to marry inanimate objects.
A few of some stellar volunteers had a great idea to have a “Pre-Pedalooza Mash-Up Ride.” What does this actually mean? It meant to get people stoked for June and excited about adding events to the calendar. Pedalpalooza is such a big deal here in Portland that the local “alternative” newspaper, Portland Mercury‘s June addition is dedication to it! The flyer is the front page, calendar of events inside, advertisements, etc.
As you can see, it’s kind of important we get our shit together.
The idea for this “mash-up ride” was that you dress up like one of your favorite themed rides from Pedalpalooza in anticipation for the summer of bike fun. The route for the ride also included a conglomeration of other rides: back alleys, food carts, pizza run, fountains, etc.
It was a pretty long-ass ride that worked its way from downtown to the eastside across the Hawthorne bridge and into the night.
The organizers did an excellent job at combining so many different events into one ride! And on such an amazing day – almost 80 degrees!
I am so ready for summer!
Filed under: Bike Rides, Events | Tags: birthday, celebrate, gratitude, Midnight mystery ride, velo cult bike shop
So, I had a big birthday bash on the Friday before at Velo Cult Bike Shop, which was a much more appropriate day for a party. Party at a bike shop, you ask? If you’re not familiar with Velo Cult, it is your typical repair shop, new bike sales, parts, odds, ends, bits of merchandise and all that. There are some major distinctive differences, however. The beer on tap at the bar on one side of the building is one of them. The heavy-duty wooden fold down stage where they host music shows and the photo booth in the corner. . . those are just a few of the sweet amenities make Velo Cult different than your “average” bike shop.
I like to have parties and bring people together. I try to find any sort of random occassion I can. House warming. House cooling. Birthdays. “Portlandversary.” (Which is when I moved to Portland. I’m so not the only person to do it, but I AM the only one that calls it a Halleyversary.) Lost a job. Got a job. Had surgery. Getting surgery.
Once even, when my best friend bought a new bike frame, we went bar hopping and set up the frame across from us and cheered to it for a good 5 miles and several bars.
You can always find an excuse to celebrate.
Getting older is just one of them.
I planned this thing to death. I happened to fall on the same night as the monthly Midnight Mystery Ride, so I jumped on the gun at contacting them to see if they had a ride leader. I arranged it so that the MMR would begin at Velo Cult, completely monopolizing the beginning of the ride for my event now. They usually only stay open until 10pm and will stay open a little later for events. I pouted and begged for them to stay open until midnight with the promise of cyclists showing up until midnight because of the MMR’s arrival.
Mwah ha ha.
Seriously, though. I probably wouldn’t have been able to go on it if it started anywhere else, we would have been swamped with packing up all our crap. So this gave me the opportunity to have my cake and eat it too, so to speak. Plus, because the weather has been kind of cold and crappy all spring, this was my first MMR of the season.
So what happened? I asked that if people were willing they bring instruments with them. Some of you may know, I am a professional harpist of about 15 years. I don’t often get to play with other musicians and one of the things I like about opening my home up to people is the ability to come together on those rare occasions and just have a jam session. A bike shop with a stage that is much easier for people to access with tons of space?
I also offered drink tokens to a limited number of guests. (After that they were on their own for libations!) Velo Cult offers several different kinds of beer on tap, a cider and root beer! They also have several different beers, ciders, wines and non-alcoholic drinks in the cooler.
Brad spent the morning making vegan/gluten-free mini cupcakes. Two different kinds! A snickerdoodle with “buttercream” icing and red velvet with “cream cheese” icing. They were a
mazing and he was a baking superstar! He also took me to Costco first thing in the morning so I could pick up veggie and fruit trays and chips for the snacks!
Someone give this guy a gold star!
But no cupcakes. Sooooo many cupcakes.
So delicious, but I seriously had so much to eat over the week. Ugh. I need to get some stockier frame welds now.
My mom even showed up from out of town! And you know what she brought with her? Almost a dozen knitted dish clothes with bikes on them. I don’t know the correct wording because I don’t knit, but perling or embossing or whatever – the freaking bike shape was in the stitch!
This is important to note, because I had a door prize raffle! That’s right! People actually got gifts at MY birthday! So people had the opportunity to get these awesome dish clothes! There was also a pack of bike stickers/patches and buttons, bike poetry magnets, pirate flag coasters, $10 iTunes card and much, much more!
All in all, my birthday was amazing. Saw a lot of people I haven’t seen all winter long and then went on a really cool bike ride to a mystery destination led by my friend, Dan America of small internet mini-biking sensation.
Filed under: Events | Tags: bicycle, body image, carfree, cyclist, Filmed By Bike, nudity, NW Documentary, oil dependence, oregon, Pedalpalooza, portland, protest, self awareness, Self-sufficiency, Shift2Bike, vulnerability, World Naked Bike Ride
As many of you know, I have been involved in the organization of the World Naked Bike Ride since 2009. This has been an amazing and fulfilling experience for me as part of the cycling community. To be a part of an event that brings thousands of cyclists together in a light-hearted protest as unique and wonderful as the cyclists that fuel it with clothingless bodies.
Last year, I had the honor of having NW Documentary follow me around for an afternoon while I worked on some art projects and spend the day interviewing me personally. They also followed the organizers around for a couple months as well as other riders and documented the ride itself. They were a fantastic group of people and a joy to work with. If you have a passion for filming, they are a film school and offer workshops for both adults and kids. I couldn’t recommend them more.
I had the honor of seeing the pre-screening of the 17 minute documentary that was birthed from hours and hours of footage. It was beautiful, inspiring. It really affirmed that what I did brought magic and something incredible to this city. That it touches people’s lives. It made me cry to watch it and it makes me cry to write this.
As someone living with epilepsy, it is very difficult to participate in WNBR. Like I mentioned, I have helped organize in this 100% volunteer-run event since 2009. I do art design and volunteer wrangling. I prepare the site before the event. I pick up garbage during the event and afterwards. I stay on site when all the other organizers go on the ride. I attempted to actually go on the ride only once, back in 2009, and the flashing lights were so much for me that I was outside on the street for about 10 minutes, threw up and was brought back in by a friend as fast as they could. Since then, I have been reliably on-site with a clip-board wrangling people. I’ve been at the home base. If I didn’t volunteer in this large capacity, there would be really no reason for me to even be involved at all. WNBR wouldn’t exist in my life at all. It would be impossible for me to attend.
And that’s why I love WNBR.
Because it’s my life everyday. Despite the strong face I put on, I am so vulnerable sometimes, just like a cyclist is so vulnerable on the road. I feel that and I can bring that passion with me into what I do for the design and organization for WNBR.
The weekend of April 20 – 23 brings us Portland’s 11th Annual Filmed By Bike Film Festival.
You can view “Bare As You Dare” on Sunday April 21st at 7pm (plus filmmaker Q&A) or Tuesday April 23 at 7pm (plus Golden Helmet Award presentation)