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.


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. 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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Totally does.

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


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...


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.


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.

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.


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. 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.