August 28, 2010

I Have a Book!!

Here's a sneak peak... click on the link below for more details!

August 24, 2010

Where did the time go???

Summer is my all time, all around favorite season EVER. And for all intensive purposes, my summer officially ended at 11:00am yesterday :-(

Summer 2010 started on June 21, and I spent the first three "official" weeks of summer in Ecuador, where it is actually winter. Wet, rainy, cold winter.
I came back to the states just in time for a brief heat wave (several beautiful, sunny summer days with temperatures WELL above 80 or 90 degrees. However, I spent most of those days in an air-conditioned veterinary hospital - and subsequently (due to the nastiest of re-filtered air-conditioned air) was sick for several of those days too. And just as the earth and the seasons seem to be living in extremes these days (it doesn't rain - it hurricanes; it doesn't snow, it blizzards; it's not hot, it's scorching heat waves; earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes oh my!!) so too was my level of illness at these points.

At the risk of spending the rest of 2010 sick as a dog, let me just reiterate the following. In 2010, I ...

... got bit not once but TWICE by spider monkeys in Nicaragua. Got a nasty bruise, but didn't get sick.

... slept on the ground in Haiti (and slept through an earthquake after-shock) and ate food from Haitian street vendors. Drank a LOT of battery-acid-cholera-killing Coke and used 100% straight DEET, but didn't get sick.

... brushed my teeth with Ecuadorian well-water and drove around really fast at 9,000 ft altitude, but didn't get sick.

... came home from all of these places to my lovely home and air-conditioned jobs, and got attacked by the global-warming induced allergy pollen count in south western Connecticut, and was flat-on-my-*ss-sick-as-a-dog.

After a week of stress and low-level malaise, I spent my last summer night in bed by 10pm. Today, I slept in, was back to work by 11am, and started my 3rd semester of grad school. For all intensive purposes, my summer is over. Unless they have wifi at the beach, or my job wants to pay me for not going to work, I'll be spending the rest of summer (30 days until the official start of autumn) at work, the library, Starbucks, or passed out in bed.

Part of being a grown up I guess.

Duty calls here, but Wish I Was Some Where Outdoors with WiFi....

How I love to be here....

August 19, 2010

Ecuador Videos

Another video from the long plane ride home from Ecuador:

World Vets Clinic, Ibarra, Ecuador 2010

August 13, 2010

16 miles and a lot of ibuprofen later....

Last Saturday was the 23rd Annual Swim Across the Sound - and it literally took me this long to recover from the agonizing muscle pain and blog about it... (not really... I've just been cRaZy at work and not able to get online :-)

My team of 5 crossed the 16 mile (25 kilometer) stretch of water from Port Jefferson, NY to Bridgeport, CT in 8 hours, 24 minutes and 53 seconds.

We finished 5th in University Challenge, and 21st overall (in a field of 45 or 48). More excitingly, I survived, despite NO training WHATSOEVER in the last few months, and avoided uncomfortable encounters with marine life!

Apparently I swam right next to a whopper of a jellyfish, but didn't see any while in the water. From the safety of the boat, I saw several - they tend to clump together in little patches. One large colony in particular was sort of trapped in this lovely seaweed/lobster trap/trash swirl out in the middle of nowhere. One of the guys on our team swam STRAIGHT through it (thankfully, he was fast so the pain was brief!!) After that, we told him to swim directly behind the boat (most people like to swim slightly to the side) to avoid swimming through stagnant clumps of seaweed/trash/jellies and whatever else was floating around.

I think its the mental fear that's exponentially worse than the sting. I told everyone NOT to warn me about impending jellies unless they were absolutely enormous (like, bigger than me) or had a little sign on them saying "Adrien or Bust". I would rather just swim on/over/through them and have the whole process done and gone by the time I feel the sting. Knowing and projecting something slimy and painful in the water in front of you is a panic attack waiting to happen. That being said, I swam behind the boat and avoided whatever was waiting for me out there.

I spent most of the summer thus far working or traveling (and subsequently working too) and NOT in the water. So my contribution to the 5 person relay across the 16 mile stretch was minimal. But I certainly enjoyed the process immensely. This was my 3rd crossing of the Sound with the Swim Across the Sound relay, and by far the most fun and exciting. I was recruited at the last minute for a University of Connecticut student/alumni team for the 1st (of which I hope there will be more!!) SAS University Challenge. There were I think 7 or 8 university teams: Several from Fairfield U - student varsity and alum (and Fairfield Prep, which really shouldn't count, since they are technically still in high school, even if it's right next door to the university), Dartmouth alum "and friends" (which was a kick ass team, since they had 2 highly experienced marathon swimmers), Springfield U (several large, muscled guys who obviously swim very well).... And the best - UCONN!!

We had 2 alum (me and one woman who was also a professor at the medical school), 3 students (very fast swimmers - ah.... to be young(er) and in good shape!), and our boat captain and wife were ALSO alums!!! Our boat was decorated with UConn flags and banners, and everyone who passed by on the water (including several coast guards and police boats) cheered "UCONN! HUSKIES!" It was the first time I was psyched to be a Husky - and the first (unofficial) UCONN sporting event I was psyched to be at. Next year I hope to recruit another UCONN team, and we have already solicited the boat captain, his awesome wife and magnificent sail boat for University Challenge part 2.

Now, time to get back in the pool and train!!

Swimming Photos!!

Getting numbered on the ferry ride to Long Island

Just in case we forget the swimmer order...

all the swimmers getting off the ferry

Dresden and I tagging off for the first leg of the relay

All the boats behind us!!! Try and catch up suckers!! ;-)

Heading towards Connecticut...

Buoy 2A - 1 mile to go!!

go Team UCONN!

August 5, 2010

Swimmer's Kryptonite

SO.... in a historic attempt to make this year one of the best years, I'm working on crossing off a few more items from my personal

* Travel to a war-torn country and sleep through an earthquake - Done
* (Re)learn how to surf (or at least, not die on a surf board) - Done
* Handle a spider monkey - Done and done (scars to prove it)
* Re-apply to veterinary school - Should be writing that essay now.... ;)
* Learn how to drive a stick-shift car - Done
* Swim with a Cyanea capillata - working on it...........

WTF is a Cyanea capillata you ask??

Is it faster than a speeding bullet? ... Well, fast enough.
More powerful than a locomotive?? ... Maybe in groups
Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound? Not really...

So what is it that has almost 300 swimmers in a hot panic this weekend?

Meet Cyanea capillata - the Lion's Mane Jellyfish.
Or as it's referred to in the New England area "Oh f#%@"

This weekend marks the 23rd annual SWIM Across the Sound to benefit the St. Vincent's Cancer Center, and my 3rd year as a relay swimmer (working up to the solo swim... eventually...) More about the SWIM and St. Vincent's here

This Saturday I join a group of crazy people who will be up well before dawn and catch the 6am ferry boat from Bridgeport, CT to Port Jefferson, NY. We will then turn around and SWIM back - in my case, PART WAY back, since I will be sharing the 25 K (15 mile) swim distance with 5 other members of a relay team. That's still a lot of swimming, and according to the latest reports, it will be a lot of swimming in a sea of red lion's mane jellies.

Oh, by the way... did I mention that they sting??