Friday

20 March 2020

We're taking the whole shelter-in-place thing seriously. I fall into a couple of risk groups, so minimizing my exposure to other people is a good idea. And the Spouse Thingy works in a hospital, so us wandering around exposing ourselves to other people is a bad idea. Well, not that kind of exposing, your freaks. You know what I mean.

Since I'm not riding to Starbucks with my trusty laptop, I'll be working from home exclusively. So we swapped a couple of rooms (really...90% of that was to clean them both) and now I have a brighter, more open space to work in.



Max has a socially distant enough spot from which he can dictate. If he feels like getting closer, there's always the red chair. Or the stool right in front of my desk. Or the desk itself, since that cub is there to make it easier for him to get up there and lounge on the Gizzy quilt.

The bike is a reluctant addition. I had one in the living room, but it blocked the fireplace, and the last few nights we've wanted it. I rolled that bike into the garage, thinking I wouldn't need it anyway. It's nice enough to ride outside, and that's still an okay thing to do.

But.

But.

My brain keeps going to the rules recently imposed in Italy and France, where cycling isn't allowed right now. The reasoning? You wreck on your bike, there's a chance you'll need an ambulance, and then a hospital bed, and those are in short supply right now. Leave the beds for the sick.

My brain also goes back to the bide ride a few years ago when I passed out. I didn't get back on a bike for a long time, and then it was baby steps back to really riding. I still have the same medical issues I did then; I recognize the symptoms better now, but if I'm alone...? I'm not chancing it. A couple weeks ago, the risk seemed acceptable. I ride around town, where someone else is bound to notice if I need help. I've had it in my head that even if I go down, I won't just lie there for very long.

Not gonna do that to anyone right now.

So when the Spouse Thingy is sleeping off his night's work, I'm limiting myself to riding indoors. His days off, we can venture around the neighborhood.


The whole social distancing and isolating isn't going to be hard for me--I'm pretty introverted as it is, and I enjoy the quiet and solitude more than is probably healthy. What I'll miss is heading for the outlet mall just to wander around, riding to Starbucks to work, or going somewhere to people watch. But, it won't be hard...and I do feel for those of you who are extroverted and for whom this is honestly painful.

I've noticed a lot of posts from people disappointed that their races--running or biking--have been canceled, and there are always "I shouldn't feel like this" mentions.

Yes, you should feel like that.

You're allowed to be disappointed about missing events you were looking forward to, even while you embrace the idea that what we're doing collectively is a good thing. Your disappointment doesn't mean that you're angry that we all have to stay home; it means you had something you wanted to do and now you can't because of something totally out of your control, and that's normal.

Don't measure your event against someone else's. Your canceled race might not be, in the grand scheme of things, as 'important' as someone's graduation, but it's still your disappointment. It's not a competition. Feel what you feel. Then wash your hands.

Tomorrow I'm going to hand in the final draft on the first Wick Shorts book, work on the second, ride my office bike to nowhere, read, watch some TV, and try to ignore the fact that there are two different cake mixes in the pantry, and they're both calling my name.

I'm staying home, avoiding cooties, and please listen to me when I tell you that the Spouse Thingy, who knows a thing or two, is farking scared where this virus is concerned. Take it seriously. You might not get sick, but you might wind up a carrier, and friends...it's people like me who wind up kicked in the nuts.

Wednesday

18 March 2020

I began writing my first book when I was 14. It was published when I was 40--a lesson in not giving up. It was also a lesson in publishing as a whole, how badly one can be treated by the industry, and how absolutely necessary an editor is.

My first two books suffer from poor editing. I know that. If I could go back a rewrite them, I would...but that would not be fair to the people who paid good money for them, and there are enough that doing it would be a selfish move on my part. Bragging aside...it's a lot of a lot.

[Horrible glee on my part: the original publisher went under, which means the rights are mine to do with what I wish.]

Still...I kept writing, through five books in the series, and each one is better than the previous. The last two, definitely a lot better. The last one, the best.

The Charybdis Novels are mainstream fiction, unlike Max's light sci-fi series. I don't write heavy literary fiction; I write--basically--literary junkfood.

So now that I've totally undersold my early writing career...for the next week, they're yours for the taking. Just follow the link to Bookfunnel, where you can download them for whichever digital device you have. The files are in ePub and Kindle formats, which covers all the bases. If you don't have an e-reader, you can download the Kindle app onto just about any tablet, phone, or computer, and still get them.

For free. The link expires on March 25th.


Thursday

12 March 2020

I'm bald, my head is cold, and -- laugh if you want -- we're prepping a bit.

The dye job on the hair turned out pretty good. Good enough I kinda wished I'd done it a few days earlier to enjoy it.



But, that was not to be. The event was not canceled, though not nearly as many people were there as in years past.

Usually by the time we get there, about half hour before everything is supposed to start, the bar is packed and it's impossible to get a table. This time, we walked in and got one right off the bat...and DKM bought me a shot of Fireball, either to celebrate or steel the nerves.

Either way, one shot was all it took given that I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I was a tiny but buzzed for the next half hour. And that turned out t be fine since things were delayed a half hour. I'm not sure if they were waiting for more people to sign in or what,  but we waited outside from 5 until 5:30, when things finally got rolling.

In the end, my rainbow hair was gone and my head was cold. I showed up as promised, in neon green, down to my shoes and socks, and y'all helped me raise $3500 this year.

The event raised $150,000 which brings their total--since they started doing this--to 2 million.

Will I do it again? I wanted to hit year 7, when I would be knighted. I figured I'd stop after that. But I dunno...it's a good cause. I hate being bald, but the hair will grow back. I hope. I have time to decide, and I will by Ocober, I think.

Many, many thanks to everyone who donated and spread the word!

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 A couple weeks ago, we ordered a case of TP. Got a little mocking for it, but we didn't clear out the local store. We ordered it online. We tend to buy some things in bulk--TP and paper towels--so this wasn't a whole lot more than we would have bought at Costco.

But, yeah, we are preparing a little bit. We're not panic buying and going nuts about it, but we're stocking up on a few extras when we go grocery shopping, and want to have 2-3 week's worth of food on hand
by the middle of next week.

Yep, today when we were in Walmart we bought 4 cans of soup to the 1 or 2 we usually get, extra kitty litter and cat food, two jars of peanut butter instead of one...the cart was full when we were done, and we got a few looks for what was really just a slightly heavy grocery run.

Mock if you like. But consider this:

The Spouse Thingy works in a hospital. One where patients have been quarantined, not far from the OR. It's probably not a matter of if he's exposed to COVID-19, but when. We not only want to be prepared for the phone call that tells him he has to self-quarantine at home (which would effectively do the same to me; if he's exposed, I'm exposed, and I will not go out risking anyone else), we need to be prepared. And if he winds up being stuck at the hospital, I won't mind having a loaded pantry because chances are I'm not going anywhere.

We're going to be ready to be stuck at home for a couple of weeks. That's not a bad thing. 

Consider that a lot of the people you're making fun of for stocking up are doing it for similar reasons. Yes, even in Italy the grocery stores are open, but that doesn't help if you can't leave the house. People with a significant risk of exposure, people who are immunocomprised, and people who need to not risk exposure and are staying home have good reasons to stock up.

Sure, it's likely that most people who buying insane amounts of TP and bottled water are doing it out of a knee-jerk reaction, but you don't really know that when you watch them in the store, buying things. Consider that you don't know their story, and they might have valid reasons. You don't know how many people they're buying for, or why, really.

A month from now, I really hope it turns out we didn't need to do a damn thing. But the food will still be edible, and we won't really have to shop for a while. And that's a win.

Friday

6 March 2020

With just 3 days until St. Baldrick's, it was time to dye the stripes into my hair...

My hair has not been this long in years...
The stripes are wider than originally intended, because we wound up using cheap toothbrushes for ease of getting the gunk onto my hair.


Also, my scalp is going to be *so* stained LOL

BUT

Y'all donated nearly $2300 for research into childhood cancers, and if I show up to the event Monday wearing neon green jeans, shirt, and shoes, there's another $500 coming.

Tell ya what, if this dries nicely, I might have to do it again for the hell of it.

I suspect it's going to kinda of moosh together, but hey! It'll work!


28 February 2020

Year 2's leprechaun kisses
Ten more days until St. Baldrick's.

I have not yet bleached my hair, the first step in neon green with several colorful stripes, though I had planned on having that done by now...mostly so I didn't get my head shaved with lots of stains on my scalp.

But.

There have been two cases of COVID-19 of unknown origin that popped up here in the last couple of days, and people are, understandably, on edge about it. Granted, I'm not quaking in my boots, but I accept that it's out there and it's going to get worse before it gets better. But because it's out there and spreading, a lot of events have been canceled, and I'm waiting on dyeing the hair to see if St. Baldrick's will happen or not.

As far as I know right now, it will. But just in case, I'm waiting on the hair dye until shortly before the event. I'll wind up with scalp stains, but I can live with that. And I'm really hoping it's NOT canceled because...hell, this is year 7 for me and I've raised more than my goal, and as much as I don't want to be bald I do want to go.

Also, I want my freaking t-shirt.

It's all about the t-shirt.

Tuesday

18 February 2010

MY DISH IS EMPTY!!!
Max is 99.99% better...no real limp, though every now and then he steps carefully, like he's testing his weight on his paw. We were able to avoid a vet visit, which is traumatic for him, so hopefully that's it until his next checkup. due in June, I think.

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Three weeks to St. Baldrick's. I'm still doing stripes in my hair, one color for every $10 donated, donor's choice (there's a post on my FB fundraising page, you can leave your choices there) but I had a huge donation with the caveat that I show up in neon green. Neon shirt, neon jeans. I shot back: toss in more and I'll show up in neon green shoes, too, my hair mostly neon green, and even undies. 

So we're technically at $2100 or so, with $1000 more promised if I hold up my end of the bargain.

There's still time to donate! Just click here.

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Years ago, I stopped riding after I passed out while on the bike. I had some serious issues with reactive hypoglycemia and frankly, was a bit afraid to ride and have it happen again. Then came the neon pink electric, which gave me a sense of control over the matter--if I felt like I was in trouble, I could crack open the throttle, not pedal, and get home quick.

Then came the string of other bikes, some still in the garage, some not. And the new one, the favorite, the one for which I have basically abandoned the pretty pink bike. I'm still getting comfortable on it, but I can ride about as fast as I did on the electric with the pedal assist set to level 1 or 2, my heart rate gets into the mid 140s, right where I want it, and I just dig the hell out of it.

But today...first time in a long time I've felt super not right while riding. At first I thought I'd pushed too hard right out the gate, so to speak. Then I thought I was just overheated, and headed home to leave my track pants in the garage. That helped, but something was still off. I wasn't done riding, though, so we headed home in search of Lifesavers, just in case it was my blood sugar.

No Lifesavers, but a sample pack of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. I chewed those up, swallowed, and we went back out...where I suddenly felt great. I struggled through the first five miles; the only thing that made me stop at 10 was a sore tushy.

I wear padded bike shorts, but somehow on one side the padding shifted and it was my inner groin against the seat, and that freaking hurt. But 10 miles was good enough, and the first half reminded me that I still have issues and I damn well better pay attention to them.

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Probably won't get time tomorrow, but I think I'm putting a new saddle on that bike. I've given the stock saddle a couple hundred miles and it's still not great, and I have two in the garage worth trying. A Selle Italia and a Terry Butterfly. So, we'll see. I'm not sure how much effort I want to put into a bike that I'm surely going to upgrade in a few months.

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We're in the home stretch of the first book of Wick Shorts. There's still some editing to do, but cover art is in the works. And unless there's a last minute hiccup...new publisher. Yay.

Saturday

8 February 2020

Today's plans kinda flew out the window. I did not jump on my bike, head to Starbucks, where I then pounded out a best seller.

Instead, I stayed home, keeping a wary eye on Max, who was limping badly.

Yesterday, he had a tiny limp, as if he had jumped off the bed or sofa and pulled a muscle. It didn't seem to bother him, but I made a mental note, and when he was curled up on my lap I checked between the pads on his feet to make sure there was nothing jammed up in there. He has, a few times, wound up with clumps of dried litter that make him walk funny, and I hoped that was all it was.

It was not.

Today the limp was more pronounced. He ate enthusiastically, though he requested a different morning snack because what I offered was not acceptable. So...perfectly normal.

Still, I felt like I needed to be here. He curled up on his bed under my desk, and stayed there. By the time lunch rolled around and he hadn't gotten back up, I went to check on him. He grunted, sighed like I was annoying, and went back to sleep.

Okay, then.

An hour later I opened a can of cat food because Buddah was howling, and that drew Max out. He ate happily and went right back to bed, but it occurred to me that I hadn't seen him drink and he hadn't gone to the litter box. It also occurred to me that I often didn't see him do that in the afternoon, but...

He ate again after the Spouse Thingy got up. We turned the fireplace on early, which I knew would draw Max into the living room where I could actually see him. He slept just fine, but by then I was obsessing...I wanted him to drink. The Spouse Thingy took water to where he lounged, and he drank some. Quite a bit, actually.

So when late snack time rolled around, I carried him to the kitchen because it seemed mean to make him walk. When he was done I carried him to the fountain, which he refused, and then to the litter box, which he used.

Cripes, you're annoying, lady...
The whole time I told myself that I was overreacting. Other than the limp, he seemed fine. Eating, drinking, peeing... But it was bothering me, because a guy that old, what might a limp mean, if not a pulled muscle? My brain was already racing ahead to tomorrow; the vet is closed but there's an emergency clinic 10 miles away. I was fully prepared to haul him in if it was worse.

Then came night snack (yes, he eats 5-6 times a day) and he wandered into the kitchen on his own, I watched him walk and thought his right front foot looked a little different than his left, but it wasn't swollen. I put the food down, he dug in, and then in one horrible flash, I remembered.

Thursday while I was scooping out his afternoon snack, he got underfoot.

I stepped on him.

He didn't scream, just gave a tiny WTF yelp. I didn't STEP on him, just felt my heel coming down on his foot; I stopped before I really stomped. It didn't bother him enough to run and he inhaled his food, as if nothing had happened.

But I did step on him.

He finished eating and then sat back to look up at me. I apologized, because that has to be why his foot hurts.

He was not impressed.

Before I could pick him up, he turned and started walking away. Still limping, but determined. He went to the back of the house, where there's another desk to nap under, and I got the message.

Leave me alone. I'm not dying; it's just an owie from your giant boat-foot.

Still...I suspect Monday morning we're taking him to the vet to get it looked at. Then he'll really hate me.

Friday

7 February 2020

This was a bit of an ouch. My shoulder feels like this though I don't see any bruising. My hip is not happy. My right index finger is a lovely shade of purple today.

All because two days ago I tried to roll up onto a sloped curb (think end-of-driveway thing), one I've gone up a couple hundred times before, and had just the wrong angle.

Down I went.

I landed hard on my left side and apparently my shin took the brunt. Nothing is broken, but when I walk it feels like sandpaper going over a sunburn...even without pants on. It hurts to move my left arm and sleeping on it has been iffy, but...

But...

It's really not too bad. I couldn't ride yesterday and decided it was probably not in my best interests to ride today, but tomorrow? I'm getting on and taking the long way to Starbucks, where I will do some rewriting and editing to the first 5 Wick Shorts, and then take the long way home.

Falling totally ruined my ride-every-day thing I wanted for February, but there's always March.

Oh, and they remodeled my Starbucks. It's nice and bright now, but not too bright. The tables are too small, but the barista mentioned the table tops will be changed from the tiny round ones on the floor right now to square ones this weekend, and if they do that, I'll be happy.

I really liked the way it was before, but this is nice.

I mean, it's not like they'll change it back just for me, so I have to get used to it. But still, it's nice.

And the new comfy chairs are a lot comfier. As long as you're not trying to balance a computer on your lap to furiously type out your new next bestseller...

Oh. My goal for tomorrow...check to see if the bathrooms were remodeled, too.

If they were, I hope they kept it the same footprint. Just because.

Saturday

25 January 2020

Somewhere around mile 5 I pulled over and stopped to get a drink, because I am still not coordinated enough on this bike to pull the water bottle out while I'm moving. And it was a good excuse to get my heart rate down a little; I'm trying to keep it around 145 and it was pushing into the 150 range. So, a short 30 second break seemed ideal.

Walking along the path near the street was an older guy with his tiny little dogs; I see them out frequently, so much that when we pass we nod at each other. Today he stopped, and I was happy because of tiny yappy dogs trying to greet me.

Him: I swear, you change bikes as often as I change underwear.
Me: =blink=
Me: You've only changed your underwear 6 times in the last 10 years?
Him: =blink=
Him: All right, you win.

My day is made. I win. Puppies + a ride + finally thinking fast enough is a total victory.

Friday

24 January 2020

In 1997, I found myself in what felt like a nonstop stream of pain. It wasn't awful--I could mostly function--but it was persistent, enough that after a few months of it, I sucked it up and went to the doc.

One doctor's appointment led to another, then another, then a referral to a specialist, then another doc...and after about 6 months of it, I had a diagnosis. I had no idea what to do about it. The so-called specialist swore it would run its course in 9-12 weeks. The other doctors kind of shrugged and intimated that I was basically stuck with it. Exercise, diet, figure out what makes it worse, and suck it up.

The thing is, none of those doctors, as well meaning as they were, really had a clue about it. I was left to my own devices, and did what everyone was beginning to do in the late 90s: I went online to research it.

I don't remember how I found the newsgroup, but it was there, and exactly what I needed. Alt.med.fms. And there I found people who had been living with it, and while they had no real answers, because there were no real answers, they listened.

I made some close friends there, people I emailed back and forth with multiple times a day, people who got me through those first years and who just got it. They understood my pain, they commiserated when other chronic pain issues were dropped at me feet, they championed me through a brain tumor, and together we mourned losses that none of us ever expected.

Many of them are gone now. But Fran was still around, and we connected on Facebook several years ago. We were both older, hopefully wiser, and missed those friends who were gone. She was dealing with a whole lot more than chronic pain, and was on dialysis, for years. Last year, she was in and out of the hospital, and as a nurse knew that was not where she wanted to be or would do best, I think.

On January 1st, she posted to Facebook that she was done. She was ending dialysis, and understood that meant she had just a few weeks to live.

I respected the hell out of her decision, and knew that I might never know when her last days were. I just wanted her to go in peace, the way she wanted, not hooked up to tubes and other things. She wanted out on her own terms, and I wanted that for her.

This morning I learned that she died just 10 days later.

It hit me hard. She was funny as hell and just as sarcastic. She didn't suffer fools lightly. She was kind and compassionate, and made a huge difference in my life. And I will miss her, and I will mourn her, but not too long or she might find a way to haunt me.

If you're the drinking sort, tip back a glass for her tonight. She wasn't religious, but I don't think she would object to a prayer in her name. Or send Mojo, it's all the same. But think of her, and wish her spirit well.

Her name was Fran McCarthy, 1941-2020, and she was my friend.

Wednesday

22 January 2020

Oddz-N-Endz #732,876,149.829842

I'm sitting here waiting for the FedEx guy. There are a couple dozen things I could be doing while I wait, but really I'm just bouncing around online because why would I use this time to be productive? I mean, sure, the kitchen is a disaster and I haven't vacuumed in over a week, and there are 3 loads of laundry to be done. But...eh.

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I have 6 weeks until this year's St. Baldrick's Shave-a-thon. That's 6 weeks to raise money for children's cancer research. I will probably get a little more obnoxious with my fundraising between now and then...and this year, for every $10 you donate, you get to pick a color strip for my hair. I'm going to show up looking FABULOUS if there are enough donations.

My goal this year is $1900, right about what was raised last year. This is an event I both love and hate; I love the purpose, what the funds are used for, but I honestly, seriously hate being bald.

I also hate being cold, and with no hair...yeah, your head gets freaking cold.

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A while back, probably in a I-don't-do-resolutions kind of post--I looked but I can't find it--I waxed unpoetically over the things I wasn't going to do to get into better shape and to get healthier. No extremes. Nothing like Paleo or Keto. No Jenny Craig. Nope.

Yeah, well. Lack of progress happens. I mean, I'm in better shape now than I've been in years, but the weight has been stubborn and I'm kind of fed up. I've aimed for under 1400 calories a day, I work out, but in a year I lost no weight. And then between August and the holidays, I gained back 5 of what I had previously lost.

It's tiny, but seriously tasty
So. Yep, I decided to do what I said I wasn't, just to shake things up. Other than the expense, there really didn't seem to be a reason to not give Nutrisystem another try, and then it was only an expense if I kept buying other foods. So, about 15 years after trying it the last time, I jumped back on the wagon.

And peoples...in 15 years the food has seriously improved. I think in the first 4 weeks I only tried two things I absolutely hated, and a whole lot of things I seriously enjoyed.

I've dropped the 5 pounds I gained last year, so fingers crossed I keep heading that way. I have 35-40 more I'd like to get rid of, and I'd like to hit that goal by my birthday. At the very least, I'd like to have lost 20-25 by my next endocrinologist appointment.

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This isn't about hating fat people or not accepting that there are different body types and we're all perfect the way we are. This is about me. And my comfort level. My perceived fitness and healthiness. It's not about you. So please, no "but losing weight never works, people never keep it off." You do you, and I'll do me.

The current version of me feels like life will be more comfortable another 40 pounds lighter.

Now, I've lost 50-60 pounds and kept it off for over a year. If I don't keep it off, it'll be because I decided I enjoy eating more, plain and simple. But I know that won't make me happy, because I'm really not happy with my body right now. So if you're still itching to tell me it won't work, eh, don't. Find another way to scratch that itch.

I am having a lot more fun now that I can move better.

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And yay, the FedEx guy just rolled up. That means that as soon as I unload all the frozen food, I can go outside and play. And then when I get home, face major indecision about what I want for lunch because I have CHOICES. Tasty, tasty choices.

Monday

20 January 2020

New Bike Day!


2020 Trek Domane AL2, magenta-ish (quite a bit less magenta than I expected, but it's not gray or black, which I really didn't want...)

I picked it up around 3 this afternoon, and after some adjustments, went straight home and took it for a short 5 mile ride. I wanted to ride two to three times that, but it was freaking cold and I had a bit of an issue with my gloves sticking to the bar tape on the bars. I ordered a new pair with less sticky stuff on the palms, and those should be here by my next ride.

That would be tomorrow, but it's supposed to be cold and rainy, and I'm not taking this out in the rain. At least not until I'm used to it. And today's short ride told me I need to get used to it.

I haven't had a bike with drop bars since I sold my junior-high-purchase Schwinn Continental somewhere around my junior year of college. Then the shifters were on the downtube, now they're part of the brakes. And there aren't additional brake levers across the handlebars, which I kept reaching for today.

Mostly, though, this bike is light. It's right at 21 pounds; of my other bikes, the lightest is 27, and those 6 pounds make a huge difference. Hell, the pink electric is around 60 with the battery in, and I've ridden it without the motor going. I don't recommend that, BTW. That's a lot of bike to haul.

Fingers crossed that Wednesday isn't super windy. It's not suppose to rain, but with my luck, the wind will move in, and I really want to take this for an extended ride.

Sunday

12 January 2020

I was going to let yesterday's 51.5 miles stand, but other than the front of my knees, I didn't wake up sore today.

So.

I finished it off.

62.5 done over 3 days.

Oh yeah, I am totally rounding up from 62.4 because there was some rolling around a parking lot waiting for the Spouse Thingy to show up to our appointed meeting spot.

10 minutes of rolling counts for something.

Right?

Totally does.

If I am smart, tomorrow I'll swim instead of riding, but we all know how intelligent I am, so...

Saturday

11 January 2020

I started around 10am and stopped at 3:15, because my poor asterisk couldn't quite take any more time on the saddle.

Still... 51.55 miles done over 5 hours, with two short breaks in there to get more to drink and grab some lunch.

I might do the other 8.5 tomorrow (if I can even move) but truthfully...that's about what I would have done on the 3 Day--more, actually, because I would have swept a couple of times--so I'm probably calling it done.

The rest of today will be spent trying to not eat everything in the kitchen, because I am wicked hungry but also don't want to take in more than I burned today.

To those who donated, I sincerely thank you, and hope this is enough to make up the miles I missed. Right now, my backside says I am never doing this again, but I know me. Give me a few weeks and I would be willing.

Maybe. LOL

Next up...this bad boy.

The bike shop didn't have it in this color, so I ordered it yesterday. It's very much an entry level road bike, and the idea is that if I take to it--riding drop bars doesn't kill my back--I'll upgrade later in the year. And the Spouse Thingy is willing to give it a try, too, so who knows. Later this year we might be buying two bikes.

I have a feeling this bike will make me wish I were 20 years younger. Or 30. Back when I was in great shape and could have taken off for 30 mile rides without thinking about it.

Now, I have to think.

A lot.

And damn...I just had dinner, and I am really hungry again...

Friday

10 January 2020

All righty.

I promised 60 miles to make up for the 60 I didn't walk in November, so tomorrow I'm heading out on my bike and getting started on doing that.

Now, the 3 Day is just that--the 60 miles are done over 3 days. I'm going to attempt to do them in 2 days.

Attempt being the key word here. I know I can do 30 in one day, so fingers crossed that I can do 30 on the second day. Just as on the official 3 Day, I will do as many as I can, as safely as I can.

The plan is to take breaks every 10 miles, more often if I need to. And I'll be riding here in town, endless loops with some criss-crossing through residential areas, so I know where I can stop to eat and drink. The Spouse Thingy will be home, a phone call away.

So. Cross your fingers that I don't get a flat or run over by some half-blind driver.

It'll be slow going compared to other riders, but I'll get it done. And then I am going to call it a free day and eat whatever the hell I want. Because...mad calories burned, I hope.

Also cross tour fingers I sleep tonight. Insomnia sucks.

Saturday

4 January 2020

In 2 months plus a few days, this will be me again. Shaved head, both happy and unhappy about it. It will also be my 7th year participating in St. Baldrick's so instead of just asking for donation and then letting one person pick whatever weird hair color I have to show up in, I'm letting all y'all pick.

This is what I'm gonna do: a week or so before the event, I will bleach my hair white-blonde. And then for every $10 you donate, you get to pick a color.

Donate $100, you get to pick 10 colors. They can be all the same, they can be different, but they need to be in a range of dyes I can get access to--neon pink, red, blue, purple, black, orange, green...if I can find it, I will do it.

I last cut my hair in October and won't cut it again until then, so there should be enough hair to get a whole lot of dye onto.

It would be nice if it resulted in an hombre effect, but I'm pretty sure it'll just be a plethora of stripes. Definitely mock-worthy.

So, here we go. It's time to start begging for donations. So I'm begging.

https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/ThumperWabbt2020

The goal this year is $1900, roughly what we raised last year. And this year, I'm anointed a Knight of the Bald Table! I have no idea what comes with that other than being a title for a 7th year, but hey. I AM THE KNIGHT.

Wednesday

1 January 2020

I am kicking myself...I meant to grab a screen shot of my total mileage for 2019, but I completely forgot until after midnight, when the numbers rolled over to a big fat ZERO.

As of November 20th I was at 2002.6, which got me over my goal for the year, but still. The last time I looked I was in the 2200 range, but that was before Christmas and I can only guess that I did another 50-75 (on foot, not the bike, surprisingly.)

I've committed to a couple of Run the Year things for this year. 2020 miles by December 31, 2020. But I think I want to shoot for 2500--something doable but perhaps just out of my reach. I want to stretch to get it.

But...no resolutions for the year. Goals, yes, resolutions, no.

As always, I just want to get healthier and fitter. The need for this smacked me in the face this week, when one friend announced to our common friends that she's done, and ending dialysis. Which means she'll be gone soon. She knows this; she was a nurse for as many years as I've been alive, I think. I met her on a Fibromyalgia newsgroup; she and a few others, people who became true friends all those pre-Facebook years ago, took me by my virtual hand and led me through the beginnings of dealing with chronic pain.

She's witty, sarcastic, funny, took no crap from other people, and she loves her family hard.

I respect the hell out of her decision. She's been in pain for decades; she's been on dialysis for years. Last year she was in and out of the hospital. She's tired. She's done. I accept what she wants, I respect how hard the decision was. But I will miss the hell out of her.

Another friend posted yesterday that she's had a heart attack. She's not old. Not much older than I am. So it was a shock. If you believe in prayer or Mojo or the power of hope, send it her way. Her name is Jane; she's a teacher, the kind you want your kids to have. The kind you want to have. The ethereals in charge of directing those wishes will get them where they need to be, I think.

And today I read a post from a total stranger who was reaching out for help. Thirty years old, and on the day after Christmas he was told by his doctor that if he didn't do something now, he probably won't see 2021. So he decided to go for it, took an old bike out of storage, and headed out with the idea that he would start small. Just a mile or two.

He got to the end of his driveway and had to stop. Spokes in his rear wheel  popped, one went into the chain, wrapped around the cogs, and things just...broke. He swallowed his embarrassment--he admitted, he was horrified and terrified and very glad no one else witnessed it or the crying jag that resulted--and asked for help. He was pretty sure the damage was significant, enough to make repairs cost more than another bike. But what was the point? It would just happen again. And he couldn't afford a new one, not one that would take his weight.

My heart broke for him. He's so freaking young, and is just afraid that this is his last year; and what if he's much closer to the end? What if his wakeup call came too late?

Others who read the post reached out. Some are local to him; he'll have a new-to-him, stronger bike by this weekend. People to ride with. People who offered to teach him to cook.

It's not a resolution, not some platitude to be discarded like New Year's Eve confetti when it gets to be too irritating. One friend is letting go; that's resolve. Another is fighting; that's resolve. A stranger reminded me of where I don't want to be by having the courage to tell his story; he is resolute in his determination.

New Year's Day is about refocusing, not making tough promises that feel like failure when you reach for a cookie or skip a gym day. It's opening yourself to the stories other people have to tell you, and listening. Learn from them.

All I want is to be better at taking care of myself. I say it every year, and I'm getting a little bit better each time.

And that's enough.

Sunday

29 December 2019

This year will go down in the books as a nice, quiet year, one in which nothing major happened that I can recall, and the one in which I developed an obsession with bikes. I bought three; one was a mistake and will be going up for sale soon, one is just outright fun, the other is versatile but is now inside on the trainer so that I have something to do on days when I'm too delicate to face the great outdoors.

This is the one I should not have purchased. Don't get me wrong; it's smooth and super functional, but it rides too much like my pink bike, and if I want that ride, I ride the pink bike. This one literally has fewer than 15 miles on it. Probably closer to 7 or 8.

I thought I wanted it for the better gear range than my Townie 7D (the little blue grocery-getter) but it turns out the Townie is like how riding feels when you're 10 and out just to have some fun. I tend to grab it when I'm out running around, avoiding the car. I wouldn't want to tackle a hill on it, but it's great for riding around town.

What I'm itching to get is a road bike. One that will be nothing but ride-to-ride, no fenders or panniers, no rear rack. Just the bike, to go as hard and fast as I can (which, admittedly, isn't very hard or very fast.) If I can sell the white bike, I'll put those funds toward this:

Trek Domane AL2, women's version in magenta. I want.

It's an entry-level endurance bike, and given that I'm not going to race or even join group rides, it's about as much bike as I'll ever need (want...that's a different story. I want a Domane SL5, rage red, but it's spendy.) I don't really have the core strength for drop bars (or at least for utilizing them effectively) but by riding them I should develop that core.

I'd like this one even more, but at $3000...nope
In the meantime, I've taken over part of the garage. On Monday the workbench I ordered will arrive and will join the bike mechanic's stand I already have, and the tools the Spouse Thingy got me for Christmas, and using the book the Boy gave me for my birthday, I will start learning how to fix things on an older bike that's been sitting out in the back yard.

That's the goal for 2020: learn how to repair my favorite toys, especially how to fix flats and broken chains on the fly, and then ride until my asterisk falls off.

It says something that my goal for the year has more to do with playing that working. But on the professional front: two volumes of Wick shorts, along with a bunch of other writing that needs to get done. And then begin the sculpting of the next series of books, which will jump forward several years...Wick's not going anywhere, but it's time for the next generation.

I'm gonna have a fun year.

Thursday

19 December 2019

I have not forgotten that I promised those who donated to my 3 Day walk this year that I would make up the missed miles on my bike, in 1.5-2 days rather than 3. I will still definitely get that done, and probably would have if the weather and holiday errands had cooperated.

We've had--thankfully--quite a bit of rain lately. I am not so delicate that I can't and won't ride in the rain, but cranking out that many miles while cold and wet? Yeah, I'm not doing that. I have walked a lot of miles in the rain but riding feels like a different animal. I'll ride when it's cold, no problem, and I'll ride 5-10 miles when it's wet, no problem, but cold and wet for 60? Huh uh. I'm not delicate but I am a weenie.

The Spouse Thingy took the weekend of January 11-12 off because we were going to run the Hot Chocolate in San Francisco, but neither of us have gotten our pace down low enough to finish it, so that is likely the week I'll shoot for. That gives me a little more time to train--I can do the distance, but I'd like to not feel like I want to die at the end--and a little more time to figure out the logistics.

Yeah, that seat's gonna wedge itself somewhere...
I can do endless loops around town, but I think I want to venture out a bit, and for that I want to make sure the Spouse Thingy is available to rescue me should something happen. If I take to the back roads, I'll want him to follow in the truck, blinkers blinking, maybe a sign on the tailgate warning that there's a bike ahead, pass when safe. And if nothing else, I'll do loops around town, cut through residential areas, and pop back home every 10 miles or so just so he knows I'm not stretched out on the pavement somewhere.

I'll get it done, I swear!

Also...Happy 38th to the Spouse Thingy and me. We don't have a lot of pictures together because most of the time we're together somewhere without someone else to snap pix, but here's one taken by a random stranger who was nice enough to offer on our Disneyland trip for our 30th anniversary in 2011.


I realllllly want to go back. Even a short trip.

But to celebrate 38, I am going to sit here tonight and write, and the Spouse Thingy is going to work, because Real Life gets in the way...but we are going out to dinner at Old People Time--4 pm--because 38 should not slip by without doing something.

Saturday

14 December 2019

File Under That Was So Not What I Thought...

I had to go to Walmart. No choice. The idea of Walmart this time of year left me sitting in the living room while I worked up the energy to battle the idiots in the parking lot, then dodge all the people not paying attention in the store, with their sideways carts and general not-giving-a-fuckery abounding all around. My only other reasonable choice was Safeway, but the one here is small and typically doesn't have half of what I want, and the meat choices kinda suck.

So off I went. I only had to dodge one inattentive idiot in the parking lot and scored a fairly up-close slot--though I don't care if I have to walk from the far side of the lot if there's a cart corral near. I got stuck behind three different not-paying-attention people who were crawling along down the center of the aisles, not realizing they were in everyone else's way. I managed to not bitch out several employees who had their collection carts (those giant things they push around as they collect groceries for online orders) in the middle of the aisles, sideways, making it damn near impossible to get by.

I tossed everything I needed into the cart and was surprised that I was in line in under 20 minutes.

The lines were long, though, and there was no avoiding that and no point in getting upset, so I stood there with my arms resting on the cart handle, wishing they had better magazines to look at while I waited.

I was behind two other shoppers, and someone quickly got into line behind me. Two someones, as evidenced by their conversation. I tried to get lost into my own little fog, until their voices filtered through, so I listened because what the hell else did I have to occupy my time?

"We are so excited," woman number one said. "Newborns! I love newborns!"

Woman number two asked about the due date. "It must be soon, right?"

I turned a little to (supposedly) look at the gum selections available and to ponder whether I had any Altoids at home or not, and snuck a peek. They were both older, so I made the assumption that one of them was about to become a grandma.

"The doctor said she could pop anywhere from five days before or five days after the due date. Today is the first day it's possible for her to give birth."

Now, I admit, I thought that was strange. I'd never heard anything so specific in regards to someone's due date. Usually it's a ballpark estimation, and the baby gets there when it gets there. Hell, the day before my water broke, the doc told me it would be another week, and that was normal because...first babies and all.

"Well," woman number two ventured, "do you have everything ready, just in case?"

"We are SO ready! We've been ready for WEEKS."

As one would. When babies are coming, you get things ready in case they decide to come a little early. I imagined there were tons of toys that the baby wouldn't be able to play with for months, because...grandparents. I began wondering how they would handle birthdays this close to Christmas--it sucks to be born this close to it, enough that my Christmas-Day born cousin celebrated half-birthdays instead.

"She's going to have the best stall space in the entire stable!"

You know that stereotypical old-record scratch you hear in movies and TV every now and then?

I swear my brain made that sound loud enough for the entire store to hear.

Somehow, I don't think the newborn is going to ever care about being born this close to the holidays. So, party on, random strange ladies behind me in the store. I hope your foal is born soon, without any undue excitement, and that it's everything you hope for.

I'll be over here, reminding myself that things aren't always as they seem, and I need to not assume even when it seems obvious. And laughing, just because.

Wednesday

4 December 2019

At first, I thought it was a joke.

Oh looky! Peleton is fat shaming women! Hahaha that's so funny because she's already fit!

But then people kept weighing in (no pun intended) and it hit the forking news, and I sat here wondering what the hell is wrong with people.

It's just a commercial.

That's it.

In the minds of way too many people, though, there's a backstory. Obviously, this man thinks his clearly-fit wife needs to drop a few, so he gifts her with the most horrendous of things: a method by which she will, by God, work hard until she looks better for him. And it's obvious, because she looks terrified as she gets ready for her first Peleton class, and because it's super funny to document one's humiliation, she's creating videos of it!

Hahaha no.

Look, if we're going to assign some imaginary backstory to something only intended to sell merchandise, let's take our clues from the commercial.

Listen to her tone when she says "You got me a Peleton."

OMG you listened to what I wanted for once!
That's a woman who has wanted one. Her other half didn't just pull a whim out of his ass; he's not trying to body shame her. She wanted it, didn't think she would get it, and is happy.

She did not say, "You got me a Peleton?"

She did say, "You got me a Peleton!"

She was surprised, but a happy surprised. (Oh for you who keep saying, but maybe she was just acting surprised...well, yeah, she's an actress and was paid to act happy and surprised. I think she nailed it.)

Okay, we move past that part. So now she's getting ready to use it for the first time, and she looks a little nervous.

That means she didn't want it and is only doing it because he says so!

My butt's gonna be on fire after this, isn't it?
Have you never undertaken something new that scares you a little bit? Put me on one of those bikes for my first live class, I'm going to look like that, too. I looked like that before I set foot out the door to train for my first 3 Day. I looked like that at the opening ceremony. I have been that nervous about something while also being super excited to start it hundred of times in my life.

She didn't know what to expect; that workout looks hard. So yeah, she was nervous.

But she's making videos to track how her body changes and she's not even fat!

People track what they do for a lot of reasons. Why does it have to be for weight loss? There is never a point in that commercial where anyone says anything about weight. Why can't she just make videos to see how she changed over the year? Not body weight. Perhaps body composition. Perhaps thriving confidence. Perhaps to remember how much she feared but absolutely loved this gift she received.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's nothing but a freaking commercial with no social judgment intended, other than what the Internet Social Justice Warriors attached to it.

And if you got your shorts in a knot and began nodding your head in agreement with the SJWs and started grunting, "Yeah, Peleton bad," while tearing them apart online, congratulations.

You did exactly what was intended.

You're online talking about it.* You're putting their name in front of even more people. You're giving them the free advertising they were surely counting on.

Yes, their stock took a 9% hit yesterday, but it will surely rebound and will surge past its December 2nd high as more people admit to their SOs that yeah, they actually do want one, and as people decide that they either want to get one for themselves, or use it as their gift to each other for the holidays. And that is effective advertising.

*Yes, I am fully aware that I, too, and doing exactly what they wanted. Go me.

Saturday

30 November 2019

Not a frickin' thing to really say, but I had to do something to get one more post for November. And holy carp, in a just a few minute IT'S DECEMBER and what the fork happened to the rest of 2019???

Thursday

28 November 2019

Considering I didn't cook...holy fark, I ate too much today and I'm feeling every single calorie of it. Good thing Thanksgiving is only once a year...

Oy.