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...


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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: 


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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. 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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.


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.


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'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.



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...


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.


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 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+!


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.


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.



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


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'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...


Restored bike.


[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?


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.


11 April 2021

Carmi wrote about his 28 year old Specialized Stumpjumper the other day, and it renewed in me the feeling of really missing my first "real" bike.

I mowed lawns all through 1974 and into 1975 to raise the money to buy a new bike; I'd had a purple banana seat bike (probably a Schwinn, but honestly I don't know) that I had coveted from 2nd grade on, but I didn't get it until 6th grade when I was really too old for it. That purple wonder was fun, but by the end of 7th grade it was mock-worthy and I took a lot of crap for riding a little kids' bike.

I began to covet something new, and all I wanted was a 10 speed. I knew there was no way in hell I would get it for my birthday or Christmas, so I asked if I could take over mowing the lawn. My parents had been paying the son of a family friend $4 a week to cut the grass, and were (surprisingly, to me, because that was "boys' work") agreeable to it.

So I cut the grass and was given $4 a week for it during months when it needed cut. By the end of 8th grade, I finally had enough to get the bike that I still desperately wanted, and in a stroke of luck the bike shop had it in a metallic blue that damn near made me squeal.

It was a 10 speed Schwinn Continental, very much like the one pictured, and I loved that damned bike. The color was perfect. The grip take had metallic flecks. It was so well balanced that even my 13 year old self could feel it I rode it everywhere until we moved from Texas to California, and once we were settled in a new house, I rode it as often as I could...which was not as often as I wanted, because school and real life gets in the way.

[It did prompt my dad to complain that I "never" rode it...I did. While he was at work. Somehow that didn't compute LOL]

When I decided to take history and English in summer school (for fun...yes, I was that kid) I rode it to school most of the time, though by then I had a driver's license and access to a car. There was something about being able to ride wherever I wanted, just for the joy of riding. For no reason or any reason; that bike was my first taste of teen-aged freedom and before I got my license, it was my way around.

I dragged it with me to Utah and BYU my junior year...where I sold it for $50 just before senior year.

Now, granted, at the time $50 was a decent chunk of change. And it was a matter of sell the bike or not eat for a few weeks, because money was super tight, but I have always regretted it.

I want that bike back.

Every now and then I surf through eBay, looking for one for sale from someone who will also ship it, but I haven't found one in good enough shape. But if I find it? Surprise, Spouse Thingy, I'm getting another bike.

I mentioned it to a friend online last night, and her reaction was puzzled. Like, isn't cycling a new relatively new thing for you?

Not really.

I mean, it's fun to hear all the newby-advice and get those teachable moments, and no one needs to be stopped so I can say "Yeah, I started riding pretty young" because 1) new bike tech is new to me, and 2) cycling now means something different than it did then, and the terminology is different than it was 40+ years ago. I did take several years off more than once and in between the Continental and more recent acquisitions, I had a lot of really crappy stuff barely worthy of being called a bike. But I did ride.

I stopped what, 8 years ago for a bit after passing out on a ride. But then came the screaming pink electric that gave me the confidence to give it another real go...and here we are, just a little obsessed (and right now angry with myself for taking a break just long enough that I am out of shape again.)

I'll probably never find that Continental again, and that's all right. I remember how it made me feel. And I have a bike on order that's coming hopefully sooner rather than later, that shows promise in being today's version of that Schwinn, with that feeling of freedom that comes when zooming down the road. It's not top of the line, but it's all I need and all I really want.*

Now all I need is to win the lottery so we can move somewhere close to safe, accessible bike paths. Because drivers? They suck, and I hate sharing the road.

*Oddly, no, I don't want a carbon bike. In fact, I ordered a bike a couple months ago because it was available before this one is supposed to arrive and it was at a great price, but realized after I placed the order that it was a carbon frame. It went back the same day it arrived, box unopened.


9 April 2021

My hair has not grown nearly as much as I would like and while I can see it's gotten a tiny bit longer, it feels like I'm still damn near bald and I want my hair back.

Ignore how stuff is sticking up all over; I have helmet hair here.

Now that St. Baldrick's is over, they've received all the funds--including an uber-generous one that had to make its way from overseas via the mail--I'm looking to the next event.

Oh, as an aside...y'all donated over $7000. I am so freaking grateful I can't begin to express it.

But the next one...yes, I am jumping into something with both feet firmly planted on the pedals of my bike, and will rack up as many miles as I can from April 16 through May 16. Officially I'm supposed to do 109, but I think I can best that, despite not having ridden much at all since late September.

After I finished the Great Cycle Challenge (which I will do again this coming September) and Buddah got sick, I sort of...stopped. There were a couple of short rides in there, times when I thought, hell yes, I'm back at it, but I just needed time to stew in my own grief, gain a few too many pounds, and find another way through it.

I haven't really watched any TV since Max died; neither have I done much reading. I know why: my lap buddy isn't here to curl up and help me watch all the things and read all the words, and it's just been uncomfortable. But once we changed his room from Max's Room to our own little game cave, I felt myself sliding away from all the feels, and into some sense of normal.

Doesn't mean I don't miss those furballs as much as ever, because I do, but I distracted myself enough from their absence that my brain began working on the story line to the book I'd been planning before, while just having some fun.

We each have our own Switch, run our own islands, but visit each other when we're playing at the same time. The number of ridiculously stupid things we do to each other--

--like blocking him on a toilet so he can't get off of it, or chasing each other with nets and axes, makes me laugh so hard sometimes I kinda want to throw up. It is stupid, but it's stupid fun.

And it helped.

And thusly did I get back on the bike today, and while I felt every bit of it because I am now out of shape, it didn't feel like the Great Big Awful and I am looking forward to the next ride.

Which brings me to the next event: the DetermiNation Cycling Classic to benefit the American Cancer Society. I did this one last year as a virtual ride and enjoyed it; this year it hits home because I have friends who are actively trying to survive treatment for breast cancer, lung cancer, and brain cancer. Both my parents survived cancer--kidney cancer for my dad, lymphoma for my mom--and it doesn't escape me that it could be in my future.

Even so...we all need something to fight for, this is mine.

Last night I chatted online with a friend who asked, reasonably I think, why I didn't just raise the money. Facebook makes it easy. It's not like I have to do anything.

But I do.

I believe in sweat equity. In giving something back. In doing something that isn't necessarily easy, earning back those donations.

So I will shave my head every year.

I will ride the miles.

I will put one foot in front of the other.

Not because anyone necessarily expects it of me--y'all have been amazingly kind when I've fallen short before--but because it's the right thing to do. It shouldn't be as easy as asking for donations; there needs to be something, anything, and it should require effort on my part.

Ask just about anyone who has done a 3 Day walk on behalf of breast cancer. It's a party atmosphere and the participants have fun, but, y''s hard. Harder than anything else I've done.

Well, except maybe for getting that tumor yanked out from the underside of my brain. That was a different kind of hard.

"Have you ever added it up? All you've raised?"

Nope. But I have a ball park idea and that's good enough. The real thing is that number isn't mine; it belongs to you people out there, the ones who have supported my whims and given me reason to shave, ride, and walk.

I appreciate it like you wouldn't believe.

And my hair still isn't growing fast enough.

19 March 2021


Tomorrow is the official St. Baldrick's shave...but it's being held inside a mall, and I am not fully vaccinated (1st shot done, tho!) so I opted for a virtual. Done at home, in the back yard, with a clipper set that is not ideal.

Not ideal as in...ouchy. Very ouchy.

This year, thanks to your generosity, I raised over $2200...which mean that DKM had to cut off 12 inches of her hair for charity (pics at the bottom) so y'all get a 2fer!

I gotta be honest. This year it felt kinda...meh. It's just a hell of a lot more fun done at the bar, getting a drink before hand, and watching as the crowd grows and participants get rowdy. Last year's shave was the last normal thing the Spouse Thingy and I did just before everything shut down...the upside to this year's lonely shave is that it marks the very beginning of life getting back to some sense of normal. He's fully vaccinated, I will be next month, the Boy will be by the end of this month, and our DIL should get her first soon.

So. I didn't want to skip this year, so the back yard it was.

Do I look thrilled? He was threatening to leave it like that.

And this is when I realized how bad the clippers are. It's like getting stabbed in the head with toothpicks.

This is as short as we could get.

Look closely, you can see a couple of places where it got me.

Any further hair will have to be taken off with shaving cream and a razor. I'm waffling on that. This actually is as short as I've been at a couple of the events. It's about the same length as in this picture, taken right after my first event 8 years ago.

They didn't make me bleed tho LOL

Last night a friend asked me--she does pretty much every year--how many more years I'll do this. And every year I'm not sure. Because I hate this, I hate the looks I'll get, I hate how cold I'll be, I hate everything about it.

BUT...I do it by choice. And too many people don't have that choice. I went into this year with someone specific on my mind, someone who has just started chemo for breast cancer, and it breaks my heart because she absolutely does not deserve this.

Neither do any of the kids for whom St. Baldrick's raises research funds.

I'll do it for sure until I reach year 10. And unless something happens that thins my skin out too much for it to be safe, I'll probably keep doing it.

Because I have a choice. And this is the least I can do.

Y'all...give mad props to Michelle--DKM--because she had a choice, too, and she did not have to do this to help me bump up donations. 

That's a lot of hair!

When we're both fully vaccinated, I'm totally taking her to lunch for doing this.

Also because I miss having lunch with her, but also for this!

Again, y'all THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!


2 March 2021

Toward the end of February last year, the Spouse Thingy and I sat in the local Cenario's Pizza, discussing the news as we waited for our medium half-pepperoni, half-bacon pizza. The topic was, of course, COVID-19 and what to expect, and his take was simply, "This is going to be bad. Really bad."

I'd had an inkling and an impulse: already on its way from Amazon was an 80 roll case of toilet paper. We'd just bought a multipack of paper towels at Costco. What we pondered as likely to happen as the virus permeated the U.S. was centered more on a crush of people clearing out food stocks in grocery stores than anything else. And while I admitted it was a knee jerk reaction, I told him I wanted to get a freezer to stick in the garage, and to make a just-in-case major grocery store run.

We bought one the next day; it was stocked by March 5th. We had enough for a month; if things went to hell, we at least had everything we needed for a month. It felt like we'd gotten ahead of the curve. He still had to go to work, but I was fine with staying home for a few weeks. That was not a big deal.

We honestly thought a month was about what it would take. If everyone did what they were asked, the curve could be flattened, and it would be just weeks.


Here we are a year later.

Who'd've thunk it?

But hey, at least we had a lot of toilet paper to get us through the first 6 months or so. And now we have a spiffy garage freezer. And some stuff stuck in the back that will likely never get eaten.

Right now all I want is to get the vaccine. I am jealous of those who have had both doses. Happy as hell for you, but jealous.

Eyes forward, folks. The light is there, it's just moving toward us a little more slowly than we'd hoped.


28 February 2020

 Oddz-N-Endz #868,859,392x33.01

It looks like I was the only one who registered for St. Baldrick's this year at the venue I they've moved me to another one a little later in the month. The problem I have with that event is that it's indoors, at a mall, and I refuse to step foot inside a mall until I'm fully vaccinated, and there's zero chance I'll even have my first shot by then. looks like I'll be doing a virtual shave. I still need to contact the event coordinator to tell her that's what I'm doing (and why) and beg to get my t-shirt regardless (because it's all about the t-shirt) but I am still doing it. But at least this way I also have a couple extra weeks of hair growth to shave off. The Spouse Thingy can man the clippers and we'll just do it in the back yard. We had to do it this way a few years ago when I was took sick to attend in person...well, I could have gone but that would have seriously been a dick move on my part.


The bike did not stay in Max's old bedroom very long. The weather is improving and I pulled it off the trainer so I can ride outside on my favorite bike (though the one is still hanging on the wall because it's freaking art.) seemed like a better idea to turn that room into something for both of us, not just me, something that would get used more than I would have used it for indoor riding (which will still be done, but next to the treadmill in a front room, where I had the trainer set up before.)

We've both developed a serious addiction to Animal Crossing. Initially, one of us played it on the TV in the living room while the other used their handheld Switch, but we're old and the screen on the Switch is kinda small. The answer clearly would have been to take turns, but we also discovered we liked playing at the same time, spending time talking and making fun of each others' player characters.

So we did this...set up two TVs in the spare bedroom, dragged two chairs in there, and thusly it became the gaming room, though right now the only game is Animal Crossing. I'm pretty sure that will change over time; we own other games and the way this is set up we don't have to play the same one at the same time. 

Mostly...I really needed this room to not be Max's bedroom anymore. It didn't matter if it was the bike room or not; I just needed to get to the place where I didn't look in and expect to see him there. I also still look to the top of the TARDIS closet, expecting cat ears to poke up, but there's not much I can do about that. We need the storage space, and I'm too lazy to paint it again.


And a little bit of truth... I am not as okay with the cats being gone as I believed I was. I thought I was ready to get back to work; I managed about 50 pages but stopped because my heart wasn't in it. I thought I was ready to get back on the bike, but I took a couple of really short rides and just kinda of didn't after that.

Right after Christmas, like the day after, I started having some serious heartburn, and it escalated into some serious abdominal pain. I ate Tums like candy, and learned quickly that I cannot eat Tums like candy, lest it morph into making me think I'm heading into a bout with colitis. The worst of it woke me up every night, feeling like someone had plunged a hot knife into my stomach; I discovered quickly that eating helped the pain abate, allowing me to get back to sleep, which made the Spouse Thingy think I had an ulcer.

I'm stubborn. It took me far too long to admit I needed medical intervention; instead of making the Spouse Thingy sit on hold for half a day to get me an appointment, I messaged my doc through the portal system, and by that afternoon I had his opinion: hyperacidity, based on the symptoms and the fact that I had started to wean myself off Prilosec last year.

Given the stress of the last half of last year, I picked a bad time to try to get off that. He put me on Pepcid AC twice a day with Gaviscon as needed, and suggested that I try that for a bit and if it didn't work, then see him in person.

A week later...yeah, I think he was right.

But was just another symptom of the last six months of 2020. I stopped doing things I enjoyed, at first because my focus was on Max and making his roller coaster ride a bit less intense, and then on Buddah, and then on Max again, but I just couldn't get back to those things. Without riding, I wasn't moving much, and we both indulged a little too often in foods we normally don't. Initially I think we were both pleased that we hadn't succumbed to the COVID 15...instead, we discovered the Grief 15.

I thought I was okay. I can barely talk about the cats without choking up, and the physical symptoms of being weighed down with that grief have pretty well convinced me that I'm not. I will be, but I'm not. I just have to let myself take the time I need.

Part of that was finding something I truly enjoyed, something different, and if it's a stupid video game that takes up far too much time, that's fine. We're having a great time playing it, and a better time playing it together. 

He visited my island AND HIT ME WITH AN AXE!

Not having my old routine isn't helping anything, either. Most of my writing woes aren't tied exclusively to Max not being here, sitting on the arm of my chair, while I work. I was so used to hopping on the bike, riding anywhere from 5-8 miles, stopping at Starbucks for an hour or two while I wrote, then riding home, taking another 5-8 miles. I could get out and ride, stop somewhere to sit for a few minutes, and then ride back, but it's not the same.

I am looking forward to getting fully vaccinated, everyone getting fully vaccinated, and being able to ease back into the routine that worked for me.

Until then...I'm not going to beat myself up for not writing or riding as much. Though...I have noted lately that the story I started working on has taken better shape in my head. Enough shape that I keep thinking I need to sit down and craft a schedule: housework, write, play, ride, play, write, make dinner. Because if I don't start a schedule soon, it's going to be: surf online, play, lunch, play, make dinner, play. Which isn't bad, some point I probably need to expand my daily tasks.

At some point.

That's probably not today.