Thursday

19 May 2022

Ok, wow, I did not realize that I’d gone so long without posting anything here…which goes to show how much I talked about my cats. Without those furballs, I don’t seem to have a lot to contribute, unless you want me to geek out over all the new Star Trek choices or Doctor Who. Because I can do that; especially with the new Doctor announcement, I can squeal a lot.

I can squeal over what I’m writing…I’m about 150 pages into a Wick book (which has been surprisingly difficult to write without Max sitting here meowing at me nonstop; I’ve scrapped hundreds of pages in the last 6 months but I’m in a groove now.) And when I’ve got the vomit draft done, the first draft will debut online first, on its own site. Will I monetize that, when I’ve never done that with a blog before?

Probably, even if its just a tip jar. Max’s books are how we generate our annual charity donations, and last year, without a new book, it was a bit…slim…by the end of the year. The Spouse Thingy made up the difference for the most part, but still. That was something I felt helped me make a contribution, and I’d like to continue it.

Other book in the works is the cycling book. I’m nowhere near as far along with it, but that’s fine. I’ve done some long-term test rides on a couple of bikes and have notes; the cargo bike was terrific but I sold it to make room for the next one, and it’s a keeper.

Today I took delivery on 2 folding electric bikes, and I’ll ride them over the summer…but not solely because book or not, I have a 300 mile goal in September for the Great Cycle Challenge and I can’t see doing it on one of these.

By the time I got them put together (10 minutes each bike, tops, it was mostly unfolding the frames) and charged, it was 90 degrees outside. We opted for a very short test ride to the little park nearby, where we rode around in circles for a bit. Only 1.5 miles total, but I can already say that I am too tall to ride this for more than 8-10 miles, which is fine because I suspect that’s as long as the battery will last.

It could turn out to be a fun in-town or take-to-a lake kind of bike, or for someone with a short commute to work. But, we’ll see. It’s hard to tell anything in 1.5 miles.

Well, it was easy to tell I did not get the clamp on the seat post tight enough, as evidenced by the seat sinking all the way in when I sat on it. That was slightly undignified. Would have been funny if it had happened slowly, while in motion, leaving me to wonder WTF was happening.

Too many tacos, Karen, that’s what was happening.

As we’re rolling into summer, that’s what I’ll be doing: writing and riding, often at the same time because that’s how my brain works. I get the mental work out of the way when I’m on the bike, and get the words written down when I get home. And sometimes, they even match up. Sometimes. More often it’s: ride, come up with a sterling narrative—a BRILLIANT narrative, one destined to ear awards—get home, sit down, and that’s when the drooling starts because my brain just nopes right out of there.

At least my brain is doing something.

Shuddup.

 

 

30 December 2021

 EOY Oddz N Ends...B'bye 2021

This year was not as bad as 2020 was, at least not for us. But I am still smarting from 2020, which kinda left a simmering wound on 2021, and I am just starting to not hurt as much as I was this time last year. If you'd told me I would spend the better part of a full calendar year grieving two cats, I doubt I would have believed you. But here we are, more than a year after they died, and after a lot of false starts thinking I was ok, I am finally ok.

These beautiful kitties made me realize that yes, I have healed enough to (almost) be ready for another pet. They were hiding under the space between the boardwalk and a restroom, and popped out while I sat on a bench to wait for the Spouse Thingy. There was a third, but he scrambled back under when my phone came out.

I really wanted to scoop them up and bring them home. They're completely feral, though, and that's not something I'm ready (or skilled enough) for. 

But...I am very close to being ready for another furry friend. We've been talking about a dog this time, and I'd really like another Golden Retriever. So maybe by spring...

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2021 starts with some rearranging of furniture. We figured out a layout that will allow me to keep my beautiful desk but add another smaller one I can actually write at, and at the same time we'll wind up with more room for the Peloton, rower, and bikes inside. 

Unless they just don't fit, I'll have 2 bikes on trainers; one on a typical wheel-on trainer (both wheels still on the bike) and one with the front wheel off and rear wheel resting on rollers. 

This is all a precursor to the sweat equity that will go into one of my 2021 projects:

If my back allows it (and lately that's questionable) on the 1st of January I'll start racking up miles and taking notes for a new book. We (meaning the publisher and me) expect this to be a year-long endeavor, during which I'll test out a few different type bikes and approach it all as a senior with some experience riding, but not as a hard-core dedicated cyclist. 

It's my favorite thing to do and my bikes are my favorite toys, but I am not a hard-core cyclist...who knows, maybe I'll become one. To start, I'll be riding a road bike, an electric road bike, am electric cruiser, a cargo bike, and a single speed. Possibly a crank-forward ebike, too, if the Spouse Thingy lets me borrow his. I'd also like to find an e-trike, but just to rent for a few days, since I've had a few people ask me about them.

And if I'm lucky, by the end of the year, a large part of my asterisk will be in the rear view mirror.

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I am not happy about the weight gain of 2021, but also? I am not horrified by it. And I've reached the point where I'll be okay with whatever the results are. I'll get into better shape no matter what, barring injury. If my weight shifts, fantastic. If it doesn't? Meh. I have been battling my weight my entire life, save for a few years in my teens, and then in my late 20s and early 30s when I was training in TKD but also too nervous about it to eat. Other than that, I've been overweight.

It's time I was okay with that. I refuse to torture myself with strict dieting; I've done it, the weight never stays off. So now I eat normally, I'll exercise, and let the flab fall where it may.

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We very nearly ended 2021 with a tragedy, one that left me tossing and turning for a while last night. I was upset and had that oh-no weight in the pit of my stomach.

The Spouse Thingy's Nintendo Switch would not turn on. We were pretty sure it had bit the dust.

Now, laugh if you want to, but one of the things we did a lot of this year was play a lot of Animal Crossing together. Not on the same island, but in the same room. We set up Max's old room to be a game room, with each of us having our own TV and Switch. We've swapped stuff and watched each others' islands go from nothing to pretty freaking sweet, and the idea that he'd just lost it all?


It was oddly upsetting.

He managed to get it to turn on and did a soft reset, but by then I was asleep. This morning I spent some time looking for a new one online, and there's a nice, long delay in getting a new one. I'm almost tempted to order one for us to have a backup if either of ours breaks for real.

Hell, if it had been mine, I probably would have cried. I like the idea of starting over, but I'd want my main player and all the money he's accumulated...I'm greedy that way. If the Switch croaks? So does he and all his $$$

We are so winning the whole Being an Adult thing.

And yes, trapping him on a toilet made me LOL

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 Speaking of Animal Crossing...it's calling to me. Tonight I am going deep sea diving, and then just might tear down an entire cliff to rebuild something else.


Sunday

12 December 2021

 :::blows the dust off the blog:::

This was supposed to be the Year of Celebrating. Spouse Thingy and I both turned 60, and we're a week away from out 40th anniversary. For years we talked about doing Something Big to celebrate the milestones, and a trip to Hawaii was at the forefront of those plans.

Then came COVID, and we scaled back the expectations. But surely we could still do a few things. By the time his birthday was approaching, we'd both been fully vaccinated and assumed it would be fine to go do something, somewhere. He'd put in for a week off for his birthday, mine, a week in November to go to Disneyland, then a week for our anniversary.

For his birthday, we were leaning toward the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We've never been but always wanted to go, it's not too far, and it was something.

Then Delta reared its ugly head and we both agreed: not worth it, not yet. We still had my birthday to look forward to, and surely in 4 months we wouldn't feel so squirrely about it. Surely Delta would subside, right?

It did not.


We did a few things locally, and on my birthday we hit up the Crocker Museum and a bicycle shop. The museum had controlled, timed entry, but once inside they couldn't stop people from being stupid, and we found ourselves a bit too close to groups that didn't seem to care. And in the bike shop...not a single mask to be seen, other than our own. We didn't run out screaming--hell, we bought the Spouse Thingy a new bike while there--but maybe we should have left.

We both woke up the next day with sniffles. Mine lead into a full blown upper respiratory thing, which was thankfully not COVID, but it still ticked me off. The rest of the week was spent at home, coughing.


But hey...we still had Disneyland in November. Until I went to make reservations, and saw how much prices had gone up. Because of my assorted krap, we really need to stay on site, but the rooms had shot up from a couple hundred a night to six hundred. Tickets have gone up. Fast pass was gone. A couple of cast members I spoke to online warned that they expected the parks to be slammed from early November onward.

We noped right out of that idea and were okay with just having a week off at home to go do whatever we felt like on a whim. Movies. Walk around downtown Sac and hit up my favorite indy bookstore, Capital Books. And since every freaking thing was canceled this year, we decided to pop for something tangible for both of us, and we ventured to a mall where there was a Peloton store, and bought ourselves a Bike +.

Surprisingly, I was not the most excited about it. That was pretty equal for both of us.


But then I decided to take a ride on my cargo bike. It's very tall, especially when it's up on the center stand, and for some bizarre reason, I tried to mount the bike by swinging my leg over the very tall seat, and sprained my lower back. And I did it good...For the last couple of weeks I've barely been able to move much less think about giving the Peloton a good try.

So we had one last milestone thing to look forward to: a few days in San Francisco. It's probably my favorite place and if we ever win the lottery, we're living there. I made reservations at the Westin on Union Square, we got tickets to the Van Gogh Immersion, and planned on hitting up at least one museum. But we also planned on a lot of walking to see the city decorations, and to wander Pier 39 because we unashamedly like the touristy kind of stuff.

Have I mentioned CA is in a drought, and any rain is something to cheer and be grateful for?

I'm trying.

But.

We kept watching the weather reports, mostly out of curiosity. A week ago the weather peoples on TV said there would be rain, but that was a week ago and things change. A few days ago they seemed to agree: rain on Tuesday, not so much on Wednesday, maybe a little more on Thursday. We could handle that.

But the predictions kept getting worse, until last night when it seemed as if SF would be slammed all 3 days we intended to be there, with as much as 11 inches of rain over the week. Just the drive there seemed a bit less than safe, the one day we planned on 90% of what we were doing sounded awful, and drive home kinda iffy.

We'd been waffling for days, but last night the reality of what we didn't want hit: it seemed stupid to spend upwards of $1000 for a hotel and food, just to be utterly miserable most of the time.

So we're 4 for 4 on 2021 being a year of celebration. 4 weeks out of 4 weeks of not doing anything we intended.

Oddly...I'm okay with it. I feel like I should be more upset than I am, but it's not like we've been stuck in the house. We just haven't taken any trips that we wanted, and in the grand scheme of things those don't seem all that important. We rescheduled Van Gogh for next month, SF isn't going anywhere. Disney can go fork itself; I'd pay those prices if they were raising pay for cast members, but they aren't. It's all a profit grab, made worse by new management (IMNSHO). The aquarium will be there next year.

So...Spouse Thingy has this week off, and it's going to be wicked rainy, maybe windy, and we're not terribly upset about not getting to SF. If there are times when the rain lets up, maybe we'll venture out. Go to a movie. Go Christmas shopping (despite being done, because Christmas shopping is the one kind of shopping I like, and yes I go overboard every year but IT'S FREAKING CHRISTMAS!!!)

And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to get back on the Peloton and give it a good workout for once.  Because the little I got to try it before I sprained my back? AWESOME.

Wednesday

20 October 2021

 

I was kinda stoked to set up the Spouse Thingy's bike on a trainer...not just to give him indoor ride space, but that meant I needed a new trainer. A smart trainer. One I can (theoretically) use with apps like Zwift.

I got everything set up and hoped on this afternoon to calibrate the sucker...and was met with this message: 

PEDAL UP TO 22MPH 

Um. WHAT? I am a solid 14 mph rider on a trainer. I have never hit 22, not even down Dixon's only tiny incline. I began wailing and crying because life is not fair. Or maybe just swearing under my breath. But I was not happy.

I pedaled until I wanted to hurl, which took about 45.87 seconds, and I could only manage 20mph for a few seconds. I backed off, caught my breath, and started over. Same thing, barely touch 20.

So I engaged an unhealthy amount of grumpiness, got online, and searched for an answer.

"Check your tire pressure. Then do a 10 minute warm up. THEN calibrate."

Well. It certainly would have been helpful if the product app had said that.

So I added air to my tires. I reset the tension on the trainer wheel thingy (and that is totally what it's called.) I whined about it, because what else does one do when they're 99% sure their new, kinda spendy toy might not let them do what they wanted it to do? And I hopped back on (which looks more like climbing upon it slowly, tbh) and clipped in, started the app, and did a nice, 13mph warmup. I stopped pedaling when it told me to, touched the CALIBRATE button, and was again met with

PEDAL UP TO 22 MPH

Well, fork you, too.

"I can't GO that fast," I whined out loud. Probably loud enough for the Spouse Thingy to hear in the back of the house. But I started pedaling hard, leaned forward a bit because that's what real riders on TV totally do, and watched the numbers go up.

16 mph

18 mph

20 mph

21 mph

21.99 mph

SUCCESS! YOU ARE NOW CALIBRATED!

Bitch, you couldn't give me that last .01mph? I hocked up my lungs for you. They're right there on the floor, next to the contents of my stomach and half of my spleen.

Still.

For now, the damn thing is calibrated. I can now try to figure out how to hook up a laptop to the TV in front of my bike and then use Zwift, where I will not race but just ride around whatever little tracks they have laid out, and then whine because I am not going as fast as I do outside.

I might even check out FulGaz, where I can ride outside while I am actually inside, because why not?

I have a book on riding to write. Surely my editor will be so proud when 90% of it is done in my office while watching animated worlds slide by.

Oh, in other news, if I didn't mention it, I signed a contract to write a book about riding in your 60s. I am in no way qualified to write this book, but they asked and I get free stuff out of it.

Go me.


13 October 2021

Oddz-n-Endz #894,592,999,999

This desk is, despite the horrible picture, gorgeous. It's the dream desk, the one I always wanted and was so thrilled to finally get.

But.

After fighting it for 7 years or so, it's time to admit that it's not working for me and it has to go. It's about one inch too tall for me to work comfortably and raising my chair doesn't work because I'm tall enough that my legs then won't fit under it.

It's not a desk issue so much as it is one with my back. The problem will be selling it.

It's pretty big. And it's not a cheap Ikea piece; it was spendy. It's not like I want to give it away. But I hate the headaches that will come with trying to list it somewhere and all the "will you take $100?" when it's worth a hell of a lot more. "Will you deliver?" Do I know you personally? Then, no. "Will you take a check?" Do I know you personally? Then, no. 

Really wishing there was somewhere we could put it on consignment just to avoid dealing with people. Because people? They're just too peopley.

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Yesterday I had my first physical in...forever. I've had check ups and routine appointments with my endocrinologist, but this was the first real physical in as long as I can remember. My endo wanted to and my PCD agreed, because they wanted to get to the root cause of my kidney disease. Mostly, what the hell is causing it?

So dutifully, I went to see him 3 months ago, after my annual visit with the endo. First order of business was to go pee in a cup and then get a kidney ultrasound, looking for stones or strictures, anything abnormal.

Two hours after the ultrasound I had the results: everything looked fine.

I was happy. But I still had 3 months until the pre-physical bloodwork and the exam, and I have been just a little bit concerned about the idea that one day I would wind up on dialysis.

As an aside, I've done Nutrisystem on and off for a while, and right about that time--while I had been off it for about a year--someone posted to the FB support group that they'd been at stage 4 CKD and after a couple of months on NS, they dropped to stage 2. It's a lower sodium diet, and for some people, sodium does not play well with the kidneys.

I figured, what the hell. I liked most of the food and I didn't have to be a slave to it, so why not? The Spouse Thingy was fine with fending for himself for dinner most nights and I would still cook on weekend nights that he worked.

And hell, maybe I could shave off a few of the pounds I gained while Max and Buddah were declining and then gone. I gained 20 pounds, all of it owed to grief and not giving a damn. I ate my feelings. And I'm not one bit sorry about that. But I do know I need to get it off now.

Cut to yesterday. 

My eGFR, the number we've been focusing on, went from stage 3a CKD to normal. Just barely. Like, it's the last number in the normal range. But I hit it. My creatine went from Oh No numbers to normal. My BP was great. Resting HR was great. The only thing out of range was my cholesterol, but the numbers weren't such that he was concerned and didn't feel like meds were called for yet, and much of that is likely genetic.

I'll keep at the diet and exercise and see where it is next year, and if it's the same, I'll opt for meds the.

But...my kidneys were normal. Not worse. 

I'm sticking with Nutrisystem for the time being, until I learn to cook more things lower sodium.

But yeah. I'm stoked.

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And hey, my NS order literally just arrived. I expected it to be delayed because...FedEx. 

So of course, with all this, we're going out for dinner.

It's a good day, though.

Hit me up if you want a desk LOL
 

Saturday

2 October 2021

I finished the Great Cycle Challenge with a couple of days to spare, hit 300 on the nose, and then took a few days off. I didn't intend to take more than one day off, but two nights of 3-hour sleep made sure of it. So fingers crossed that I sleep tonight, so I can get outside early enough to get some miles in before it gets warm out.


For October, I signed up for a breast cancer virtual ride; 150 miles to be ridden by the end of the month. No sweat there, I can do that. And double no sweat, I'm not fundraising for it; I self-funded (tax deduction!) and if something pops up I won't feel too bad about not finishing.

I'll finish.

But...more than that, there's this:

2021 Rad Power RadWagon Cargo Bike.

Before y'all roll your eyes and grunt, "Not another bike," this one is largely work-related. My editor added to the bike stable because (or "on account of," if you're Hyrum) I signed a contract to write a book on cycling in your senior years. Part of that will be replacing as many in-town errands as I can, and when I slap a basket on the back of this, I'll be able to haul a ton of groceries.

That front thing is going once Rad gets small baskets back in stock. It's got storage area, but for some reason it bugs me visually. That seat is also going because...ow. It may be the worst saddle I've ever been on.

I'll take it for a trial run tomorrow after I put the big basket on the back. Presuming I can wrestle the screws loose. The kid who delivered it said they might be a bit tough.

The book isn't due until Jan 2023, which is the longest lead time I've ever had. Ideally that gives me a hell of a lot of time to ride and write, but it also gives me a lot of time to procrastinate.

I'm damned good at that.

Like, DAMNED good.

Also...I need a bigger garage.

Wednesday

22 September 2021

 

In the last 8 days I've ridden 157.6 miles and I have 117 to go. 

I'd planned to knock that to under 100 today, thinking I'd do 15 on the road bike outside and later in the day another 5-10 inside.

Then I go up this morning coated in ouchiness and fatigue.

Nope, not getting sick again. I'm fine.

I hoped that all I needed was to wake up a bit more, get some food and water in me, and I'd be good to go. After an hour or so, I got off my asterisk and headed for my bike shorts...and it was a giant NOPE.

I had those suckers in hand for a good 2-3 minutes, and realized what I need more than anything is a rest day.

So I'm taking one.

It skews my daily average needed from 14.65 to 16.71, but in the grand scheme of things, that's negligible. If I split my rides and do two a day over the next 7 days, I can do it.

But for today...I'm just watching TV and playing video games, pretending that the dishwasher doesn't need to be unloaded and that there aren't dirty ones in the sink, and if I do anything that requires real movement at all, it'll be some time spent playing Beat Saber tonight, once it's cooled down.

Yep, because of space constraints inside, we have to play outside. (At least Diesel doesn't have chit fits when we're in out own yard anymore. Nor is he jumping over the fence, so we're not listening to nonstop barking and don't have to worry about canine help. Diesel is a good boy, after all. He was just loaded with anxiety, and his people got him the help he needed.) We're trying to figure out what can be moved and where to create a play space inside, because I am delicate and colder weather is coming.

But, yeah...rest day today. I'll get it done...just not today.

Saturday

18 September 2021

Oddz-n-Endz #2893-4-39288/457+88*0

Right now, I can literally feel the outline of my bike seat, despite having been off it for about 8 hours. I've knocked out 80 miles in the last 4 days, and while that's peanuts for a lot of cyclists, it's a major chunk of miles for me. I did the math and realized I needed 20 miles a day, every day, for the rest of the month to hit 300...and I feel pretty determined.

More than that, I'm starting to feel like I can do it.

The hardest part of this is the hunger. I want to eat, like, EVERY FREAKING THING IN EXISTENCE EXCEPT FOR FISH BECAUSE FISH IS GROSS, but I'm also trying to not shove half the world down my throat. Normally I'm at 1200 calories a day but I am allowing for a couple hundred more because starving is just not my thing. You'd think I'd drop a pound or two, but no...not a freaking thing.

Remember this, boys and girls. When you get old, the weight does not want to budge. And it moves from your ass to your gut, like migrating little adipose lumps that are not nearly as cute as the adipose on Doctor Who.

Not worrying about it. It is what it is, and at this point in life I think being active is more important. But I sure as hell won't be upset if the riding catches up to the diet and I drop a few.

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I may need the distraction of riding over the next few weeks, charity ride or not. we are thundering down on the one year mark of Buddah getting sick, something I am still not okay with. I suspect I will be preoccupied with the what-ifs, and the anger over the idea that he should still be here. 

And after that...the slowing of Max's roller coaster ride.

It's not going to break me, but I am going to feel those six weeks, and immersing myself in the miles will probably help.

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After playing with the Spouse Thingy's VR headset, I took the plunge and bought my own, for no reason other than there's a decent VR cycling program. It's also a non-cycling program, one where you can exercise in different locations around the world.

VZ Fit.  

After I tried it, he convinced me to try Beat Sabers...holy hell, that one is fun. I bought it for my own set, and am almost afraid to poke around and find other things to try because that could get a bit spendy.

The goal now will be to not fall off the bike with the headset on, and not break things around the house by swinging at the things I'm seeing that aren't really there.

We won't discuss the shrieking and swearing the first time I tried riding with it on and the in-game bike went off the road and had a sudden drop. Nope.

I need more fans on me, though.

That chit gets hot.

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And finally, to answer a question I've gotten a few times lately: yes, I am still working on the next Wick book. It's going quite slowly without my writing partner, but I'm still writing. 

I'm also debating with myself how to publish.  Eventually it will make it into print, but I'm also seriously considering releasing in-progress bits online, chapter by chapter or section by section, but I'm still at a loss as to where to do that. The most obvious platforms--Patreon, Medium, and Substack--aren't necessarily the best venues. But they would be the easiest to use.

I'm not beholden to a specific publisher for this part of the Wick universe now, so it could be anywhere that works for y'all.

I am beholden to a publisher for a book, though. Right now we have a verbal agreement but I will soon sign on the dotted line for Riding My Asterisk Off, which is proposed for a mid-2022 release. The finer details, like what happens if my asterisk doesn't get ridden off, still need to be ironed out, but we'll get there.

I get new toys out of it. That's the important part.

Tuesday

14 September 2021

I started out September strong: 25 miles cycled toward my goal of 300 for the GCC, and I was feeling pretty good about doing another 25 the next day, and even better about surpassing my goal.

Then I got sick.

No, not COVID. I did get tested. That was the initial concern, because we did go out in public for my birthday. A trip to the museum, a couple of side trips to bike shops in search of a bike for the Spouse Thingy, and a belated dinner out the next day. Somewhere in that, we both picked up some cooties. He started feeling it first, before September, but was over it quickly.

By the time he felt better, I felt like I'd swallowed a blow torch. And it just got worse. I think because I've stayed fairly isolated over the last year and a half, with very low exposure to germs, when I finally encountered some, everything went into overdrive. It went into my ears just a little bit, just enough to make me lightheaded, and then dipped into my chest.

I coughed so hard and so loud that it startled the dog next door. Not even kidding. I sat in the game room, mindlessly playing Animal Crossing, and he must have been right by the fence. I coughed explosively, painfully, and poor Diesel lost his damned mind.

But...the thing bugging me the most was all the time I was losing. All the miles. And here I am on the 14th and today finally ventured outside for a short grocery shopping trip, and it kinda wiped me out for a bit.

I'm still coughing a little but I feel a whole lot better, getting stronger every day, so I will give a short ride a try tomorrow. If that goes well, I'll try to tackle longer distances.

There's still time to hit 300 if I plan well.

But.

If I absolutely cannot, if I wind up cutting rides short because of coughing or fatigue...I'll finish the miles after September. Since I barely got started, if I have to, I'll chuck the 25 I've already done and consider tomorrow day 1, and get it all done before the 15th of October.

Y'all donated; I do the miles. That's the deal. I've had the same issue with breast cancer events, but I make up the miles not done in the time frame expected. This is no different.

I'm excited to get back to it. 

The only real bummer is one of my bikes is in the shop and probably will be for a couple days, so I'll have to start off with a lesser ride. Or take the other road bike off the trainer but that sounds like work and I am lazy.

Or...stay inside and hop on the little desk bike and pedal while playing Animal Crossing, because that's totally riding. 

Is too.

 

 

Wednesday

25 August 2021

Tomorrow, I turn 60. Though truthfully, in my head I've been 60 for about four months; the Spouse Thingy is only four months older and since we're the same age for most of the year, when the calendar flips for him it also mentally flips for me. So tomorrow, really, isn't a huge thing because my brain got there a while ago.

Still. This was the year we were going to actually celebrate things. We had plans: travel to celebrate our birthdays, because 60 seems like a milestone kind of year. And with our 40th anniversary later this year, we were set to get me some fun drugs to get me on a plane, and go to Hawaii. Over time we scaled that back to going back to Disneyland because that seemed to excite us a bit more...but then we started looking into reservations and saw how much prices had hiked, and we noped right out of that idea.

This week we'd intended to head for San Francisco and spend a day or two...but then the Delta variant numbers started to rise and though we're both vaccinated, he's at the point where he should get a booster and I'm not especially keen on the idea of traveling anywhere when hospitals are overrun and there are no beds available. Yes, I realize we could have an accident closer to home and still wind up needing medical care, but still. 

This is not an unreasonable fear or concern. I have, in the last two weeks, lost more than one friend because they had an emergency and were discharged from the ER to home because there were no beds available and no near hospital had space, either. One died from a stroke; the other from injuries sustained in a car wreck. Neither died from COVID, but they certainly died because of it.

It's kind of a wake up call. You can be critical and still sent home right now.

So. Yeah.We're just gonna stay close to home this week. We'll see what we do by the time our anniversary rolls around. It will depend on COVID, certainly, on variant numbers, and on booster shots.

And it's okay. We'll just roll it all over to next year and do something then.

One risk I will take...riding for the Great Cycle Challenge next month. I'll stick to routes close to home at time when traffic is light, but if I have to, I have the trusty inside setup.

I know a lot of miles will be done on this bike, and while I sport the same ruffled bedhead pictured, because August is hot, there are still forest fires in NorCal that spew smoke this way, and I am a weenie. Riding up on a trainer is a bit more difficult for me--it hurts my back more than road riding--but at least I have a/c and a spiffy TV to watch while I sweat and swear.

One day I'll spring for a smart trainer and a better bike to go with it, but for now the dumb setup works (I still have the spiffy orange bike on order but I'm not so sure now that I'll actually buy it. We'll see) and I'm mostly ready to roll.

Mostly.

The idea of 300 intimidates me a bit despite doing it last year.

I was in much better shape last year. Quite a bit lighter, too. That's my own fault; I ate my feelings between late September of last year and April of this year and it shows. Yet I don't regret it--I was seriously wallowing in grief and didn't feel like paying attention to the quality of food I was eating, didn't feel much like riding, and knew it was just a matter of time.

And it was.

Oh, hey, if I mounted the electric bike up there, I could probably knock out that 300 in a week...

(No, I will not. I don't think it's possible. Maybe. In any case, I don't want to destroy the rear tire on that bike, and this trainer will chew it up.)

((Though I might be that lazy and now am curious if it would fit without an adapter.))

(((Okay, fine, I am going to slide down the Google rabbit hole and find out, because now I need to know.)))

But, yeah...60 tomorrow. Fun.


Sunday

15 August 2021

Oddz-n-Endz #867,092, 455.98x666

Komen popped up with a new event a while back, and I jumped on it. It's virtual, on a bike, and 100 miles to be done throughout August.  I knew I'd finish before the end of the month and assumed I'd tack on an extra 100-150.

I finished the 100 by the 11th, which is good, because on the 12th... We got home from a memorial service for our DIL's grandfather (whom you should be jealous of not knowing, because he was an amazing person. 21 years a Marine, two tours of Vietnam, and a very open and loving person...I liked him from the moment I met him, and treasure having known him at all) and I sat down--promptly throwing my back out.

Gettin' old, y'all.

Good news...it's already feeling better and I *think* I can get back on the bike in a day or so, but I'd planned on a 50 mile weekend. Inside. In front of a TV. With a fan blowing right on me. Because I'm tough that way.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦


Next up, the one I most look forward to, is the Great Cycle Challenge in September. This one raises money for the research and treatment of childhood cancers, which is a whole other animal than adult cancers. 

I set a goal of 300 miles, same as last year, but barring injuries, I have hopes of surpassing that. Since things are opened up now, unlike last year, and I'm vaccinated, I think hitting 350-400 is doable, because I'll have more options to take breaks. Last year it was a matter of riding what I could, going home for a break...but once I was home the discipline to get up and go out again vanished. If I'm out, I still have to get home, which means additional miles.

The only hiccup in getting extra miles in is the Spouse Thingy put in for time off for my birthday, and we may actually go do things unrelated to cycling. Fun things. Maybe. We're keeping an eye on COVID numbers and while we've both been stabbed, that doesn't mean we want to risk picking up the Delta variant. 

Sure, the odds are that we wouldn't get sick enough to require hospitalization, but we could pass it on to someone who hasn't been vaccinated. Or a kid who isn't old enough. 

We've talked about going to San Francisco and a few other things, but if the numbers go up, we'll probably stay home. And ride.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Maybe even work... I got 100 pages deep into a manuscript, but may start over. The storyline shifted on me, and if I let it go where it wants to go, those 100 pages won't work.

Tell ya what, it's a lot harder to work on Wick things without my furry little writing buddy, but I still hear his voice and I don't think the tone will change. 

There's the rub about hitching your career to the wagon of a pet...when they go, you lose not just your treasured buddy, but your professional voice. It took me a while to find it again, and during that time I questioned whether I wanted to keep at it or not. I considered moving on with something else, but... there are still those things "we" had planned, and I don't really want to let them go.

Just a hint...I'm gonna be a tiny bit mean to Hyrum. The one who deserves it the least.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Hey, according to a large number of people, I'm going to Hell anyway. 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

If I don't get any work done, it'll be because I'm still basically addicted to Animal Crossing and started a new island. With 3 active players and 1 who only exists for reaping his money tree. That takes time, y'all. Who can work when there are villagers to gift every day, fruit to pick, land to terraform, and fish to catch? 

I'm a busy, busy wabbit.

Yep.

Thursday

29 July 2021

Something new for me: my first inclusion in a Story Bundle.


This is an eclectic mix of cat wonder: cats and time travel, steampunk cats, magic and romance, and...cats! It's a pay-what-you-want offering, with $5 being the threshold for the first four books--and The Emperor of San Francisco is one of them. But spring for the whole thing, because there's some stellar writing in the exclusive stories offered in the extended bundle.

I really wish this guy was here for this. I'm sure he would have all kinds of opinions about his work being included with some prestigious authors, and he would be happy that there's the opportunity for people to also toss a few bucks to AbleGamers, a foundation dedicated to combating social isolation through play.

He often said there simply wasn't enough cat fiction in the world.

Shuddup, he did, too.

Max said a lot of things about a lot of things; I never thought I would miss the nonstop stream of consciousness that spewed forth from his mouth, but damn...I do.

Yep. His writery side would be 13 kinds of tickled about being included in this, and a couple more over having the other books read to him.

Just about every night...



Sunday

16 My 2021

This is the last day of the ACA DetermiNation Classic Ride; I have ridden my final ride for this, and I have to say, I am happy enough with my mileage. I am also kinda kicking myself (but not really) because I fell a bit short of a second goal set three days ago.

This was a virtual ride in which participants could select either per-determined race mileage or set their own; I decided to set my own. 200 miles seemed doable; if not for months of not riding much at all I'd have shot for 300, but I haven't been doing much and I knew better.

I hit 200 on the 13th, which was the 6 month anniversary of Max's death. I miss that little shit--I miss both of them--but he was not just my writing buddy, he was also the engine behind a lot of my fundraising efforts. Hitting that mileage on that day wasn't significant to anyone but me, I realize that. But it did matter to me.

Both of my parents went through cancer treatment, kidney cancer for my dad, lymphoma for my mom. My grandfather died from kidney cancer. I have several friends who are currently in treatment, many more who have survived. A few who have not. And both Buddah and Max were lost to cancer. Hank the dog probably had cancer--the vet felt a large mass on his spleen--but we'll never know for sure. 

This cause matters to me.

On the 13th, after hitting 200, I considered the notion that 250 was not out of the realm of impossible. That was a smidge over 16 miles a day, and I can do that.

Spoilers.

I did not do that.

I finished  few short, 240 miles done between April 16 and today...and I am not unhappy about that. There were a few days of not-riding when the Spouse Thingy took a week off work and we went off to do some fun things we hadn't done in over a year. We went to the Crocker Art Museum. We hit up the flea market for the first time in at least 5 years. We wandered around Costco just for the hell of it. And we ate out waaaay too many times.

We also played an insane amount of Animal Crossing and did a whole lot of nothing when it suited us.

And as a surprise to no one...I also bought a new bike, which really spurred me into getting the last 100 miles done.

The pretty orange bike I ordered last September was supposed to be here in time to do this ride, but it's been pushed back to January 2022. I was not surprised by this, nor upset, because it's a casualty of COVID...so many people bought bikes at the start of the pandemic and then ordered bikes they could no longer get in shops, that a domino effect began. The delay is because so many people are getting into cycling, and that's a good thing.

I was willing to wait, but then this bike popped up in a shop in Sacramento, and despite not really wanting a black bike, I jumped.

Turns out the black has shiny flecks in it, which makes it totally all right.

I have not canceled the order on the orange bike. Because of reasons. Who knows? 

And meandering way off topic. Which was I finished the DetermiNation ride, did 240 miles, and y'all donate a whopping $2000+!

Monday

19 April 2021

Grumble grumble grumble.


I should be excited.

Should be.

I am not. I am irritated. very irritated.

After my post about the bike I had as a kid, a friend found said bike on eBay and within a few minutes, I bought it. The listing looked great; it was a restored 1974 Schwinn Continental, same blue, same grip tape, same everything.

Restored.

It arrived today in a box that looked decent; no outside bangs or tears, perfectly acceptable condition, as good as other bikes I've taken shipment on, bikes with no shipping damage.

[Insert audible groan.]

I was not daunted by the idea of assembling this bike; it wasn't any more complicated than the last two and I didn't screw those up. So I carefully removed loose stuff from the box--the wheels and paper--and laid it down, and promptly said things off the Bad Word List.

Bent chain ring.

So I was already ticked off. But I began cutting all the zip ties holding the protective foam on, and it just got worse.

Lots worse.

But we'll start with the chain ring.

That's bent.

Very, very bent.

Bent enough that I don't think that with the chain in place, it will spin. But I decided not to completely lose my chit yet, because who knows?

Maybe I just can't see it well enough.

Ahem.

Maybe.

This "restored" bike was absolutely filthy coming out of the box. But worse than that...

Rust.

Lots of rust.

I didn't expect pristine because, face it, the bike is 47 years old. 

But I did not expect so much rust on a restored bike; I didn't expect pitted components.

Perhaps I should have, but the listing did not mention these things.

I'd like to go back and check it, but once something sells on eBay now, the listing comes down.

Go figure.

The front wheel... =sigh=

No matter what I do, how tight, how loose...it's not straight.

I'm not sure it will ever be straight.

The quick release axle looked straight, but...who knows. By this point I am not surprised at all.

In any case, the skills to seat it correctly are apparently beyond my set and I don't have truing equipment anyway, so...

Yep.

Restored bike.

Yep.

[Insert more things off the Bad Word List.]
 

Now, if you don't look at it too closely, it's a shiny, decent looking bike.

But if you get close, oh holy hell.

It's missing the derailleur hanger, so I can't even get that in place.

Pretty sure that if I could get it on, and spin the wheel or move the pedals, the cables would snap.

Can it be made rideable?

Maybe.

Someone better than I needs to take a look at it, but my gut says I just flushed $500 down the toilet. $400 for the bike, $100 for the shipping.

I am trying to come up with the right words for an eBay review that won't get me banned...I'm not sure that even contacting the seller directly will do any good. If he sold this as a restored bike he doesn't give a shit what the buyer thinks. And now I question the reviews he does have, because they were good and they were why I took a chance.

Worst case, I clean it up and it hangs on the wall. But dammit, I really did want to ride it, at least a little.