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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Between a Ruck and a Hard Place...

The good news about being here in the Dallas area is that it is a WHOLE lot warmer than Minneapolis.

Any thought about playing some rugby down here in Big D has to be weighed very carefully. There are pros and cons to working as a travel nurse-and I won't bore you with the details. One quirk of this 3 month posting in Texas is that I won't be accruing any sick leave hours. (I do, at least, have health insurance)

So what does all of this mean to a middle-aged prop who would not mind getting a run in an Old Boys game here? I have never been  badly injured playing rugby-a few cuts, scrapes and the odd sore neck. When I had my pulmonary embolism almost two years ago, that had nothing to do with playing rugby-it's just one of those odd things that just happened. That said, it is a physical game. People do get hurt. (All you have to do is read some of the rugby-centric message boards out there) A significant injury could cost me more than a couple of days working, which could cost me anywhere from a couple of hundred to over a thousand bucks, depending on how many days I miss. That's money I can use not just for paying bills, but also putting into my "Kiwi Fund" for going to the RWC in New Zealand later this year.

What can I say? I miss the well-educated, diverse and interesting people who seem to be drawn to Rugby...

It's a tough call. If I was really that concerned about my health, I never would have started playing 5 years ago at the age of 45.  I know I had a great time playing last fall with the Metropolis Old Boys against the East Side Banshees and playing at the Ruggerfest in Aspen. It's something that I have not totally decided on, but I have been giving it a great deal of thought.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fly Like An Eagle

It's been a very hectic last couple of weeks. In an attempt to get away from our brutal winters in Minnesota, I took a job with the VA Travel Nurse Corps. It was a tough decision to go on the road, but I think it's a good point in my life as well as my wife's life to try spreading our wings and checking out other parts of the country.

Through all of this air  travel and some of  the sights I have seen in Phoenix and Dallas, I cannot help but to think of the Steve Miller song "Fly Like an Eagle"(A Dallas native, by the way).

Last week, I was in Phoenix, Arizona doing some training at the VA Medical Center. It was my first time in The Valley of the Sun. Phoenix is a very spread out metropolitan area with an interesting mix of Mexicans, Native Americans, retirees, yuppies, and Military people. The Medical Center was about a 40 minute walk from my hotel, so when classes were done, I enjoyed exploring the neighborhoods around Indian School Road to 20th street. On one of my walkabouts, I stumbled onto some cool murals with some Segauro cacti near them. The Seguaro Cactus is native to the Desert Southwest, and they are huge. The well in this shot is about 4 feet tall, and you can see how the cactus towers over it. I really liked the painting of the eagle shadow on the wall....

After a week in Phoenix,  where I had a chance to enjoy some great Southwestern style cuisine and take in some other downtown sites,
I am now here in Dallas, Texas; where I am going to be working at the VA Medical Center in South Dallas until mid April on their Spinal Cord Unit. Normally, they don't get much snow in North Texas, but this past weekend, my sister's neighborhood got about 3-4 inches of the white stuff. The kids in her neighborhood took advantage of this rare snowfall and I was able to watch them playing and frolicking like deranged ferrets in the snow having a good time building snowmen and having snow fights with the wet snow.

You don't appreciate how spread out the Dallas/Fort Worth area is until you get down here and either drive in it, or use the DART system(Dallas Area Rapid Transit). It's an almost 1 hour ride (with transfer) from my hotel in North Dallas to the VA Medical Center in South Dallas. I would have liked to be able to bike to and from work with the public transport system like I did up in Minneapolis, but the VA Medical Center is what can be called a "Great hospital-BAD neighborhood". I start work there next Tuesday. This week I have been going around Dallas and getting a feel for where things are located and how long it will take me to get from point A to point B. I have enjoyed taking in the sites in downtown Dallas. 

My wife will be joining me down here in a couple of weeks. I am hoping that she can find some work down here, but I do know that she will be a lot happier to get out of that bitter cold in Minnesota.

I also have on my to-do list looking up the Dallas Harlequins to see if I can catch some games and some socials. That is on my to-do list for the next week.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Leaving Minneapolis....

The Holiday season is not always an easy time to blog. There's work, parties, and in my case packing-but more on that later.

Adam Dilley has been a hooker on the Metropolis Rugby Club even before I joined the club in 2006. Along with being a helluva rugby player, Adam is just a really, really nice guy. We were a little sad to hear that he is leaving Minneapolis to move to the Los Angeles area, where he plans on continuing to play rugby out west. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade out of it. So we had a huge pub crawl through northeast Minneapolis (or the Nord East, as we say here) for him. It was a good excuse for Metropolis guys to get together and have a good time. One of our favorites is a place called Nye's Polonaise Room. The Polish bar and restaurant is one of the more fun places in Minneapolis to hang out.-and not too many places left that do live polka music in the Twin Cities...
Adam is not the only one leaving the Twin Cities.

I write this blog from Phoenix, Arizona, where I am doing some training for the VA Travel Nurse Corps. I am going to be here for a week, and then I will head to the VA in Dallas, where I will work on the Spinal Cord Unit there for about 3 months.

Minneapolis is, and always will be home for me; but the long cold winters do kind of get to you...
The great thing about rugby, is that even when you move some place, there is always another rugby club  where you can meet new friends and socialize. As luck would have it, the Dallas Harlequins Rugby club is a couple of stops away on the DART(Dallas Area Rapid Transit) line from where I will be staying in North Dallas, near Richardson. I don't know if I can get in on some old boy games with the Harlequins, but just to find a rugby crowd with whom to party will be fine for me.

I am really going to miss the patients and my co-workers at the VA in Minneapolis...

I am really going to miss my kids and my grandson...
But I think getting out of Minneapolis for the winter will do both my wife and me, a world of good.