Monday, July 16, 2018

Forever in the % of we don't know what the f is wrong with you

Monday (1.5) Working from home most of the week as Dave is in NC.  It is really nice to get up and not have to rush around.  Jax gets me up early, which I don't appreciate since he has his breakfast, barks with his barking buddies, and then goes to sleep on his chair for an hour and then moves to the couch so he can stretch out.  I want to be my dog.

Do something for me -- Jax

Today was the follow up with the new Rheumatologist.  My labs continue to show massive inflammation but the Lupus markers from the previous 2 sets of labs were gone.  My chest x-ray shows no signs of interstitial lung disease, which is a good thing.  The bouts of pleurisy are short-lived and probably due to me overdoing it.  Undifferentiated Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder is now the diagnosis and Lupus falls under that umbrella as does Scleroderma, Sjogren's, and Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder.  It's all nasty stuff don't google it.  There could be other things (cancer) causing the inflammation but the doctor doesn't think that is anything to worry about as my symptoms are abated/controlled with the Plaquenil.  More labs and a follow up in 3 months. I seriously want to be my dog.

Wow Beth we have long legs -- Jax

Per usual, I am in that % of the study population where "rare occurance may happen".  51 years of this and I really should be used to it.  You never get used to it, believe me.  

Hello Turtle, sorry I punch you each time I go into the house  -- Jax

The new gravel tires, I settled on the 28mm, arrived and I put them on the Dolce.  I could have gone with 30mm there was enough space.  A quick cruise up and down the road showed these to be pretty comfy tires, I rode without bike shorts.  Granted it was just over a mile, but still even up and down the street on the Ruby in regular shorts is ouchy.  Got the breaks tightened up.  They weren't really grabbing on my test ride, so the downhill back home was a bit scary!!  I have to fiddle around with the shifters to get into the big ring and make shifting smoother.  I'm sure it's more a factor of sitting for years and not being used.  And put on the black bar tape.  The white was so freaking gross.  I know the handlebars get dirty but I don't want to see the grease, dirt, grime, and snot!!

Holy crap that was strong.
I don't remember walking the dog.

Jax took me for a walk and so ended our day.

Ugly disgusting Bar tape

Tuesday (1) The humidity dial was turned up.  Faith came over to deliver some beers and share some of mine and take Jax for a walk.  It was nice to have human interaction.  I forget I actually like talking to people after nearly 4 days of being alone.  I think I sidetracked the conversation no less than a billion times as a new thought sprung into my head and had to be released. 

Pretty clean bar tape

It was one of those days where I felt off all day.  It is weird, and generally, that is followed by a few days of feeling normal. Now if I could just figure out how to time these days to when i want to not feel off.

The Dog's Bed
His new Camping Bed

Wednesday (1) I have totally lost track of the days.  That is kind of nice, fortunately (or unfortunately) my life is scheduled around a calendar that pings when I need to know something or be somewhere.  Despite getting rousted at 5:30 a.m. with a thunder and lightning just around the corner from me I couldn't grasp the fact this would cause the humidity to lower as the day progressed.  I took Jax out early and it was humid and he was miserable.  I have a Wednesday night commitment so taking him when it was much drier and cooler wasn't going to happen anyhow.  It all seemed to work out and he seemed to figure out Dave was coming home sometime today so he's been on edge the entire freaking day.  Gak.  This must be similar to what it is like when the dogs (now dog) figured out I would be coming home that day.  Probably worse because Dave is gone for more than 8 or 12 hours like never.

Short Hike on a humid day

I've enjoyed my time working from home and getting actual work done and small chores around the house, those best done without a spouse staring over your shoulder.  


Thursday (1) UGH back to going into work.  That was a bit of a shock to my system.  My new 'boss' from my 'temporary' assignment needed to re-re-schedule our meeting to be right smack dab in my 2-hour run/walk/eat lunch window.  I couldn't re-re-re-schedule this, I just couldn't.  I think I scare her a little bit because she has only managed very low-level people and is used to an overreaction to her requests.  I get to requests in a reasonable amount of time and I know if I knee-jerk on something it always goes poorly.  I need to think things through before acting.    We had a small kerfuffle over a request from a senior leader with a little panic on her part that I wasn't moving fast enough so more people got thrown in the mix and well, we looked bad.  I think we've moved past that.  It was one of the things I directly asked her about.  She also needs to feel more secure with me I think that helped.  

Hello Dinner Ball -- Jax

Dave was busy getting out of vacation mode and into work mode and had no interest in taking Jax on a hike.  I took him on an in town walk and he really seems to be hating these less and less.  

My present!

Friday (3.5 & 30)  Time to get back to getting exercise.  I took a week off, I probably needed it mentally.  

Those two birds watched Jax walk by and he didn't even notice them.

Ro and I did the 'easy' beach loop and when I got home I had a short rest and then went out for a 20-mile ride that turned into a 30-mile ride and ended up getting locked out of the house.  I REALLY need to remember house keys!!!  

Marshmallow Farm!

I did a modified Tour de Farms, I added on a loop through Eric's neighborhood. Ahhh, it was a very nice ride.

Good beer

Saturday (4 & 2)  Volunteered at Run with The Beavers at the water stop midway through the loop.  Always fun.  I'm finally figuring out how to hand off to the elites.  Always a good time and I enjoyed catching up with Shawn about his knee replacement.  There is hope for decrepit old before their time bodies!!


Took Jax on a walk about town after I finally got the gravel grinder gears and breaks under control.  Damn the Ultegra components are nice and work well.  The Shimano I have on Dolly are so clunky!!  Can't wait to get her out on the gravel roads.  Probably not till August as there are other commitments in the near future.

Excellent Beer
Sunday (30 & 1) I bailed on riding with Mikey from the Y at 6:45 because it was supposed to rain.  It was raining pretty hard when I was up at 4:30 a.m. so I figured I made the right call.  I didn't.  Jax had us up at 6:30 and it was foggy but not rainy.  I went out about an hour later for what started as a loop ride to get 30 miles but the weather kept getting better and better... silly weather predictions.   

Bike, coffee, chocolate croissant YUMMY!
We took Jax for a romp at the field and he was such a goof!!!  He enjoyed wading in the pond and was pretty stinky.  He got a bath, before dinner.  He wasn't so pleased but our noses were!  Boxers are pretty clean dogs, so they get a yearly bath if that.   Gizzy and Gus got one in the fall and spring because it really helped loosen the shedding fur.  

The only plant I can't kill!
Mileage:  Oh who cares anymore?

Knitting:  Slow progress is progress.  There was a flaw in the yarn dyeing, I still didn't start them at the same spot coupled with the flaw, they don't mirror image each other.

Reading:  Listened to Crimetown Pod cast on Providence.  It left me wondering if we stopped glamorizing criminals if they would lose their appeal?  I also wonder if people really did the correct thing instead of what would advance them or not piss someone off, if we'd be better for it? Or basically people are evil and some can control it while others cannot?  

All in all a pretty good week.  I got off my bum and did something and felt better for it, funny how that works!

Beth, wondering what the next set of test results will reveal

Monday, July 9, 2018

Ramping it up a bit and Epic Napping!

Monday (1) Quick walk around the camp for the last time before we headed back south.  Vermont is so nice and calm.  I really enjoy going up there.  One thing we noted was the lack of fast food restaurants where we were.   I'm sure they exist but it wasn't until we were in MA until we saw a sign for Mc Donalds or the ubiquitous Dunkin' Donuts.  These New Englanders love their Dunkin' for sure!

Ok so I don't have many pictures sans beer - don't get alarmed! Water is not a fun feature in picutures!
I love this hammock!

We got home to the heat and worked on our separate chores, Jax hung out on the porch.  I put the AC in the bedroom, Dave questioned if I knew how to do this.  In this heat (anything above 70 is hot to me and add in the humidity and my fuse is non-existent) it took all I had to not say anything.   Who bought the darned AC in the first place, huh???    The copper roof on the porch was so cool, I nearly laid down to take a nap and cool off!!! 

Jax Melted it was so hot in VT

Funny aside, a few weeks back I was sitting out on the porch in the Adirondack chair, Jax had gone inside for dinner.  I was kind of slumped in it, simply being sloppy in the way I was sitting.  All of a sudden the car driving by stopped and rapidly backed up the driver shouting through the passenger window "ARE YOU OK??"  he thought I was passed out on the porch!!  That really gave me hope for humanity.  I love sitting on the porch in the evening, there is a cool breeze and it is shady.

Tuesday (0) Back to work for a day, the week with two Mondays and two Fridays, not feeling like doing anything in the heat, so I didn't.  I really am struggling to get my hydration under control.

It is a light beer (light in color) and I love it!
And no this was NOT my hydration plan.

Since I don't have much to say about this day I'll tell you the story about the second bald eagle Dave and I have seen on our travels this spring.  We were heading south on I-91 in MA and saw the bald eagle flying towards the median.  And then he flew in front of us, like 50 feet!  We were terrified this was going to end with us killing him and going to jail.  That bald eagle swooped down, just as calm as could be and picked up road kill and then flew beside the truck with the carnage in his claws, flapping those huge wings and looking over with those piercing brown eyes with this "Gotcha" sort of look.  It was so freaking amazing.  I'd love to have a picture of it to share, however, I'm more glad the image is burned in my brain.  So amazing.  And I'm glad he knew what he was doing and we didn't go to jail for killing a bald eagle. 

Wednesday (0) I got the gravel tire on the front of the Dolce adjusted the breaks so they hit the rim correctly and pumped up the tire,  TOO BIG!!!  No way!!  I have to go down to a smaller gravel tire, I was hoping for a 32mm to cushion some of the blow.   Dave thought the back looked bigger so I ripped off the tire from the front, pulled out the tube and put the whole thing on the back tire.  Nope... the same problem.  I can get 26 or 28 gravel tires I may get one of each and take or send back what doesn't work. If the local bike shop has the Panaracer Gravel King in the right size or not...

Something more expected

Meanwhile, I wrapped new bar tape on the handlebars of the Ruby and decided to hold off on anything further on the Dolce. 

That activity caused quite the sweat fest I took a break and read for a few hours.  Trying to not slump sloppily in the chair on the porch for fear of freaking out another person! 

Thursday (1)  Dave left for NC at 3:30 a.m. and Jax realized he was gone and sulked.  He is fine when I leave for work M - F, that is normal, that is part of the schedule.  However, these deviations really throw him for a loop.  I'm sure he is bored home alone, I didn't plan well for working from home and had a meeting I had to be in person for.

We took a stroll downtown so I could take a book back to the library and he could catch up on all the local dog gossip.  Clearly, a lot has been going on in town, he had a lot of smelling and replying to do and once home passed out in exhaustion.  I was really pleased he seems to be much more accepting of an in-town walk and running errands than he was a few months ago.  There was only one struggle getting him to stop paying attention to a man with a beard and a baseball cap, otherwise, people with strollers and people, in general, didn't seem to phase him.  Although he was a bit wiggy with a couple behind us and he pulled over to smell something and waited until they passed till he resumed our walk.  He's a weird dog.

Greenie saves the day!

I had to go in to be part of a clinical experiment for a dermatology fellow trying to determine what people interpret as a "thin layer".  Very cool.   Oh and Mikey needed to stop by to check on me because I haven't posted on Strava in a few days.  It loads, I don't bother to make most stuff public, it's nothing interesting so why bother?

Friday (2) Clearly a bit too long of a walk for Jax, he kind of melted but managed to revive himself splashing water all over the floor of the pantry and hanging out in the cool spot between the ceiling fans where the AC bounces off the ceiling and down on him.  We were supposed to have torrential rain most of the day and getting him out after wasn't going to be a great option, although pig pen would love to get muddy and sloppy.  

OMG I'm tired!

The weather didn't pan out as predicted, oh well, it did get dry and cool and by the evening the window AC was off the windows open and we were camped out on our spot on the porch for the evening.  

Saturday (30 + 2) The plan was 60 miles of hills, Grace delivered 3K of climbing in 30 miles and I was, stick a fork in me, done!  I could have curled up for a nap by the side of the road after the last big one!   Ro and Grace did another 20 miles, for 4K in gain.  I maybe probably could have managed that, but I'm trying to learn when enough is enough.  My goal was to get in the hill climbs, the tough 10 and 15% ones as my last nasty hill work out before the Mount Washington Century.  There will be 6K of gain over 109 miles, the hills are long and enjoyable to climb, not short, steep, and pure torture like the ones we climbed.  I had not been on the bike in a week and really didn't do much physical activity during the week, I was spent, frustrated, overheated, and in need of a real break, which I got.  No point in overdoing it the first day back!

Jax doing his Arte Johnson impersonation
"Very interesting"

Jax and I went for a walk in the late afternoon, we had to make a deposit in the First National Poop and Trust because someone thinks he can poop on the front lawn...  I told him that made him geriatric, I don't think he understood me or found that funny, ha ha ha...   On the way home, he decided he'd try and I'm not sure what, catch? meet? sniff? attack? Yoko the Crazy Orange neighborhood cat.  That didn't go so well and Yoko spit on him, puffed up and stood there spitting and hissing.  Jax lost his shit and I pulled him away.  All I could picture was Jax as some stupid punk doing the "you want a piece of me" routine to an uninterested bystander.  He really should be embarrassed for himself.  He wasn't.  Yoko wandered by later in the evening flicking his fluffy orange tail at Jax.  

Sunday (27 + 1.5)  Mikey texted about riding on Saturday, I couldn't, other plans, but I could on Sunday so we met up with Tommy for the flat beach loop.  Some of the 'hills' felt like mountains to my quads, but it was a super mellow nice ride.  I'm glad they invited me along!  Nice to jibber jabber and ride.  They took me on some new to me roads and I have some more to add into when I venture out solo!

The overwhelming urge to nap won and I had a 3-hour epic* nap making me feel like a new person.  What is it with those naps where you cannot move, or think you cannot move and are so completely out you wake up not knowing what time it is or even where you are?  

Jax is on the lookout for that Crazy Orange cat

*I know epic is overused it has lost its meaning... but seriously this was epic, at least in my book of not using that word except when it is really called for!

Jax and I took a stroll after dinner and he was so well behaved.  I am SO not used to that!!!  Good Boy!


A little progress on the socks, mostly Rory and I jibber jabber.  At least my shoulder is feeling better, maybe I can avoid rotator cuff PT?

I think I remembered why I got tired of socks!  Or maybe I'm not stationary enough to enjoy knitting... guess we shall see when the snow flies again.


"Fahrenheit 451"

by Ray Bradbury

Status:  Finished

Wow, for something written more than 50 years ago about the future, Bradbury comes close to nailing it.  While we don't have surround TV in our parlors, we do have devices attached to our hands that our faces are constantly staring at....

The clear message: books are only dangerous when read, they are ok to be collected and displayed, not read.  

"Beneath a Scarlet Sky"
by Mark Sullivan

I started this a while back, December I believe.  I forgot about it until I was looking for something to read on my Kindle.  Picking this back up I have no idea why it lingered, other than my brain was only in the mood for solitaire in the evenings.  I thought the writing was great, I had a little movie going on in my head as I read!  So much has been written about WWII, this was a perspective I had not run across.  The story from the Italian (non-fascist) perspective, a spy into the Nazi machine.  When I think of the Italians in WWII I think of Mussolini and the contributions the Italian forces made to the Holocaust, siding with Hitler and the Axis powers.  This is very different, one man risked everything, and lost most everything, to spy against Hitler and those under his command.  


Crimetown by Gimlet media

Not a book, a podcast.  Thought I'd give them a go again. First up is Providence, all about a city once run by mobsters, the Patriarca crime family out of Federal Hill. I'm midway through but it doesn't seem like the Prince of Providence, Buddy Cianci, was ever really going to clean up a crime city.  He, may he rest in peace, was a politician thinking government could be run like a business minus strict and enforceable anti-corruption policies.  So far this continues to enforce my skeptical belief that someone, anyone, is truly out to make the greater good for the majority.  People working on such a grand scale are out to make the greater good for their own bank account and ego.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying this, however clearly, Buddy's motive wasn't cleaning up the city, it was being the big boss.  Kiss my ring, pay tribute, and all that Bullshit.


Feet:  8
Saddle:  58


All in all, I think I can sum up the first 6 months of 2018 as a challenge, a challenge I believe I met head-on, of course, I had my meltdowns and my frustrations and a few frothing fits.  But all in all, I'm OK.  I'm nowhere near the mileage I was last year - I haven't actually checked, I stopped my spreadsheet, but I'm pretty sure I'm not and I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave that spreadsheet to die a slow death. The past 12 months have been a challenge.

Beth, remembering "comparison is the theif of joy".

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A much needed low activity week

Monday (0) While I'd love to have gotten out, I didn't.  My body was sore, walking up stairs was taxing, and my resting heart rate was not where it should be.  I suppose listening to all these signs I did the right thing, right?

I have noticed since I stopped running my resting heart rate has gone down significantly and I've lost weight with no change in my diet or drinking.  Or this is because I've stopped pushing it so much and so hard and my body isn't continually swollen with inflammation?  Or this is because the Lupus is somewhat under control?  It is probably all of the above and I can't and shouldn't point to one thing as the cause. This has not been a controlled experiment, rather a very uncontrolled experiment.

While I miss running I don't miss the constant pain.  As I told Eric in the gym on Tuesday, I had no idea I could actually feel this good, is this what normal people feel like?  He laughed and complimented me on always finding the bright side.  I appreciate that.  It is hard sometimes but who really wants to listen to someone complain?

Tuesday (6) I took a brisk walk down to Eastern Point Beach and back, saw Steve and Brandon.  Funny, father and son have the same running stride, the floppy left foot.  I'm sure Steve really enjoys the summers of running with his son at lunch.

The Pawcatuck River as seen from the road leading to the entrance to Riverwood Preserve

Jax and I went on a short hike in Riverwood.  It was mostly peaceful and he didn't have much to say but seemed annoyed I kept talking to him.  I miss Gus and Giz, they listened or at least didn't make faces at me.

Wednesday (5.7)  Hills with Ro, we eased off a bit on the big ones.  I had some pleurisy on Monday and Tuesday, it was worse on Monday, to the point of coughing hurt, taking a deep breath was horrific, but coughing, ugh.  It really cleared up on Tuesday and was gone by the time I woke up on Wednesday.  Not exactly sure what causes it, but it does seem to happen when I've been pushing up against the edge of overdoing it.  If my body is going to send that out as a warning sign rather than dive into the full-fledged feeling of I just ran a marathon with the flu and hungover I'll listen to it.  Trust me it is hard to function otherwise.  Oh yeah, let us not forget not being able to remember how to spell my name or find words.  Good times.  Good times.

I really didn't have a lot of pictures this week.
A favorite beer - Rachel asked her dad to bring me a 6 pack

After a half an hour of fighting with the rim and tire, I got the gravel tires on Dolly's front tire.  And then the tube had a hole.  More fighting to get it all off and then back on with a new tube.  Now it is all on and pumped up and holding air.  I'll deal with the back on Thursday.  Holy crap what is it with the tires these days?  Am I that weak I have to stand on the freaking tire and take a hairdryer to the tire (thank you JV for THAT tip) to get the tire on the rim?  My fingers hurt!  Thank goodness I'm not a girly girl with nails, they'd be toast!

I hope this works... It will open up more options for fall winter and spring riding.

Thursday (1) Rain was predicted most of the day and into the evening.  We kind of needed it and I was happy to have a slow day.  Work got chaotic with Cecilia's last day and OMG can I get into her eMail archives and what about this and what about that.  She tried to slip out quietly, she didn't succeed without having to be bombarded by me.

Jax led us on a short hike in Burlingame in between the raindrops.

Another favorite!  Dave is supposed to bring me back some from NC. 

I did get the back derailleur adjusted so I could get into my granny gear, I'm still getting a bigger cassette.  When Dave checked my work on the back derailleur he noted my front wheel was rubbing.  I said, yeah I have to move the break assembly.  He plinked some of the spokes and said "No, your wheel is out of alignment, have you hit any big bumps?   I replied "I bike in RI and CT, of course I'm hitting the occasional pot hole."  He plinked the spokes and tightened this one and that one and re-plinked until it all sounded right.  All the plinking sounded the same to tone deaf me, to him there was a difference.  

Friday (1) Camping in Vermont's Coolidge State Park was on tap for the weekend!  It was going to be a hot one.  This is the first horribly hot with no relief  in the temp or the dew point for the summer season.  Considering we are almost in July I was hoping to skip this least favorite part of the summer season.  No luck.

Filling up with water for the weekend!

The camp loop was a mile, 1/2 up hill and 1/2 down hill.  The only flat parts in Coolidge are the camp sites, and some of them aren't even flat! 

 Very sweet park for camping and hiking

All in all we are figuring out our roles in getting out of the house and on the road and into the camp grounds.  Dave does the grocery shopping for the trip.  If I could only convince him he is also qualified to grocery shop for home since he is the one who eats there most....  My job is to plan the route which I didn't know was my job, so it is done on the fly consulting a big map of New England and this wayyyyy coool spiral bound very detailed atlas.  I have nearly stopped trying to 'blow up' the picture in the atlas with my fingers.  You know, how you blow up a picture on the phone screen.  Dave laughs when he sees me do this and comments on how much screen time have I had lately.  Shaddup.  Jax's job is to not get in the way or run out of the house when we are making multiple trips in and out.  He is not very good at his job, or he doesn't trust us to remember to bring him?

Saturday (37 + 1) Because the temp on Saturday was going to be cooler than Sunday, I got to do my adventure first. Like 90 is cooler than 92...  My 62 mile ride turned into a 37 mile ride when an hour into it it was hot and cloudless and I was miserable.  It is much easier to be hot and miserable when you are with a friend or friends riding.  It is not so much fun alone...  I'm disappointed I wasn't willing to suck it up and just ride the planned route, not disappointed enough to whine and bitch and beat myself about the head and neck over it.  I also think I was a bit worn out from the last two weeks of some pretty intense activity.  

The covered bridge I missed on my last ride

Being the gentleman he is he took my bike out of the back of the truck and noted my headset was quite loose and explained how to properly tighten it.  All of this adjustment is a result of the very bumpy roads I ride on.  Makes sense, and I honestly didn't notice because it was so gradual.    

A cool Dragon for Sheila!

The ride was good.  Next time I'll do what I planned on doing.  At least this time I did get to see a covered bridge I missed from my last VT ride. 

Sunday (1) It was hot, Jax was not at all into doing anything.  I certainly didn't want to do anything. I bought a hammock before we left and we spent the day chasing the shade, and me hosing down Jax and swinging in the hammock while reading and Jax watching our friendly butter fly and napping.  This was the most chill he's been since we started camping.  It was quite nice.  Dave went to Killington to do downhill mountain biking.  Jax and I had the truck so we could go explore.  We didn't.  

Our campsite.
Finally figure out how to do the panorama on the iPhone


Feet: 16
Saddle: 37


I knitted a bit on the socks.


"A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Daily Life"
by Greg Jenner 

Status: Finished

Immensely entertaining and educational! The author walks us through a typical day, and discusses the history of the key parts of the day from keeping time to brushing teeth to breakfast to food to going to sleep. I really enjoyed this!

"War Brides"
by Helen Bryan 

Status:  Never going to finish 

Ugh, not at all well written and the author kept losing the plot.

"Fahrenheit 451"
by Ray Bradbury

Status:  In progress

Immensely interesting and eerie, how did he know what life would be like now way back then?

Beth, happy to share the biggest event of the week.  The review of Dave's new bass was published!

Smith Creek Mandolin - Christopher Bass Double Bass Guitar