Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meet the New Little Guy

Thanks to a myriad of technology we got to see this little face over the internet last night, live with audio as if we were sitting at the ultrasound in Calgary. It's a new 3D ultrasound that is broadcast to the web. He was camera shy and kept one or two hands over his face most of the time, but even seeing little hands and feet seems like a miracle. Already have my best Christmas present. Thanks Mike and Mel.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Time Passing

After a soggy morning ride on wet pavement and slush the new tires got a real test on the ride home. What was wet was frozen, what was slush was ice again. Much easier to ride on. I know it sounds odd but it wasn't cold enough to ride this morning.

More than a year after first seeking help I had an appointment with the only doctor in town doing the electrical testing for carpal tunnel. Result...minor in the right hand and moderate in the left. Since the sciatica I have been sleeping without the prescribed wrist supports and most of the issues have lessened. The biggest was early morning stiffness in both hands, without the braces I have no problems other than some tingling occasionally. Hopefully they won't get worse and surgery can be avoided.

Just a few more days of Christmas parties for Sal at work. She's been running on fumes all week. And yet she's been spending her off time baking and running errands, taking care of everyone.  I'm really not sure what I ever did to be with such a special person. Just wish I could slow her down and get her some real rest.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Diagnosis

After days of soul searching I finally found the answer. Not happy with what it is but the realization has already made a difference.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weather It

When it was raining I put on fenders, barely a drop since. Cold and snow resulted in studded tires...and soaring temperatures. If only I could deal with my real problems so easily. But that would require knowing what they are.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not Ready to Park

I picked up some studded tires today. Farzam's suggestion was the Schwalbe Ice Spiker as seen below, 304 studs per tire. I'm just not ready to park the bike just yet. Getting around with everything going on is still easier on two wheels. These will make the bike more surefooted than I am in boots. Once the snow banks narrow the roads drastically I'll give it up.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tired?

Sleep has been at a minimum lately. I was riding to work one day this week after about 4 restless hours. I often talk to my bikes, part of the reason for giving them names. I said "lets go Lizzie", then realized I was riding Eyowen. The next thought was even worse, "can't even remember which car I'm driving." Car. What car?
I got to work and locked the door behind me and headed to the bathroom. Came back and realized Eyowen was outside. Going to be a long day I thought. They all are.
That's it, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Searching for a Dragon

Watching someone you love in emotional pain is heart wrenching. There is no dragon to slay, no heroic action that can make it all go away. Only time will provide a remedy and even years will not ease it all. I know I can't fix it but can't help trying.

Trying to be there and not be in the way. Searching for the right words that may never be heard as intended. Keeping the right distance, never out of arms reach but allowing enough space to work through the emotions.

My God, I never knew anything was this hard. And yet I know the pain is so much more difficult that I feel weak even putting this in words.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Late Ride, Great Ride

All I could think of for the three plus hours at the Gardens today was if it's nice later I can go for a ride. It was and I did. Mission Marsh was my destination and Lisbeth was the bike of choice.

I was anxious to go and didn't bother changing or grabbing any water, just dumped my pack, put my phone in a pocket and headed out. I got to the east end bridge and slowly climbed the short incline hoping as I spun up that I wouldn't find any leg cramps. So far so good, over the top and let her go down. As I got over the top of the bridge to the island I felt less than great but decided to keep going, I really didn't want to climb back up again and that's the only way out.

Before I knew it I was halfway there and right into deer country. Apparently some people are not scared off by a $5000 fine as there were cars pulled over feeding them right out the windows. The deer have no fear any more. They used to run from cars and now are more likely to run to them.

I got to the parking lot of the marsh and there were para-surfers out on the lake. It was cool and windy and just looking at the water was enough to run a chill up the spine. I took a minute to check then out and headed back. After the bridge I decided to check out a new 'park' at the foot of the bridge. Not sure why they made a big deal since it's just a small overlook. Doesn't even overlook much. I took a couple pictures and headed home feeling like I haven't in a long time, great. It's late to start getting out more but we'll see.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Grandson Countdown

We have another grandson due in March. Mike and Mel are expecting and decided to be more prepared and let the secret out. Today we found out it's a boy! They will be great parents and we can't wait to go back to Calgary.

Riding in the Rain

After slogging around through the rain on Friday I decided enough is enough. Although I hate spoiling Eyowen's good looks, I had to put on fenders. A rainsuit keeps about 99% of the water out but splashing tires make your feet wet.

Over at Petrie's installing fenders is one of the most hated tasks and I did mine at home with the bike flipped upside down on top of our freezer...ssshhhh don't tell Sal.

It took about 2 hours and turns out I had some clips in wrong (damn German instructions) but had it fixed in 10 minutes once Farzum pointed out the error. Two hours is about normal and I could have cut that by about 45 minutes if I had used a proper stand where I could flip the bike upside down. But then somebody else would have ended up doing most of the work and I wanted to do this job myself. With fenders and lights she's a real commuter now, sorry about that.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More German Tech for Lisbeth

When putting together the parts list for Lisbeth brakes never really seemed like an issue. Until I tried to bring her to a stop with the cantilever setup I chose. My hands don't have the strength to squeeze hard enough to do more than slow down with them. About as effective as dragging a foot Fred Flintstone style. My hands aren't that bad, the brakes were. Farzum suggested the Magura HS33 hydraulic rim brakes.

Last night I finally had a free evening and took her to work in the afternoon and straight to Petrie's after work. I stripped the old brakes and dismantled the cables from the rohloff. About 3 hours, 15 skate sharpenings, and 3 shopping goalies later the Magura units were ready for a test run.

I also found a shorter stem. I find Eyowen my most comfortable ride so I measured some of her geometry and matched it on Lisbeth. WOW. Like a different bike. And that was before I tested the brakes. One finger is enough to come to a quick stop. While most people and manufacturers are going with disc brakes I now believe these are the absolute best, employing the power of hydraulics and the size of the rim to take advantage of the physics. And no squeaky pads or warped rotors to sweat.

There were a couple of kids in the shop and they wanted their 20" bmx singlespeed bikes weighed. I thought Lisbeth was getting pretty heavy but she actually tipped the scale almost 2 lbs. lighter and she's got 14 speeds!

Magura HS33 Caliper 
Hi-tech German rear end

Just 1 finger required to stop 30lb. bike and xxxlb. rider
Amoeba short stem, scavanged
the new American Argyle helmet

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blogable for All the Wrong Reasons

After another run around Saturday I felt pretty good, everything that needed getting done, was. A longish ride was in the back of my head when I jumped on a bike at the Farmer's Market to get back to the car and load it and 2 others for the trip back to Petrie's. I was thinking Lisbeth has never even been to Mission Marsh.

A few hours later Sal was off to work and I got ready, donning cycling shorts for maybe the third time this year. I thought about changing the pedals so I could put on cycling shoes for the first time this year but decided against it. I really didn't feel like falling over if I forgot I was anchored to the bike.

Filled up a water bottle, grabbed a peach and headed west for the nice calm area around highway 130 and River Road. As I pedaled easily at 20k per hour through the bike path out to Parkdale I felt really good. Wind in the face and the prospect of riding for an hour or so without stop signs or traffic lights was a great carrot. Commuting back and forth even 4 times a day gets pretty mundane. I mix up the routes as much as I can, even going down Memorial and making a left into the McIntyre Center for some variety. But it's not the kind of ride that is memorable or blogable.

About the 8-1/2 km mark while heading west on Arthur things got blogable. Leg cramps, high on the calf just under the back of my knees. I had taken off without stretching but stopped minutes after leaving and grabbed a tree trunk to stretch out. I thought I had been drinking enough and I wasn't even sweating.

I stopped and downed the peach and some water just past the old Jones place. Do I turn back or keep going? I kept going another 1 km and they started again. I stopped across from the West Arthur Community Center and limped across the road. Less than 10 km and I knew I was done. I stretched again and drank half of the water I had left. I gingerly headed for home, disappointed but glad I didn't have to call for a ride. I took my time, letting Lisbeth roll down any inclines without my help and felt a bit better once I absorbed more of the liquids. I stretched the return out and finished at about 21.5 km. I guess it was blogable since here we are but not really what I had in mind.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Autumn of Ouch

After a long summer of pain with the sciatica is it not time for a break? No it's time for a new source! How about a nice shiny new kidney stone to make you forget all about that other little nerve. Gee can I?

Bedtime Saturday I knew everything was not right. I've had at least one kidney stone before but I don't remember the pain being in the front as well as the lower back. An ultrasound showed gall stones but they had never bothered me. Still I was doubting that the pain I was having was a simple kidney stone. I visited mom and dad without any major pain but when I got to the rink for three hours of fun it started in a big way. I started to sweat and become nautious a few times but just stepped into the cool Delaney arena for some quick respite. After two and a half hours I was done what I had to get done and loaded up the car in the lovely 28 degree fall heat wave. I went home and told Sal I better go to emergency.

We got there at 6:30 and I was home by midnight. It took that time to get a sample, some blood, and a prescription. Way too many drug addicts tying up the staff. I get home and open my meds and they prescribed a whopping 4 percocets. Taken two at a time every four to six hours and I had enough to get through a bad night. Then what? Fortunately I didn't need any until late Monday. I called my family doctor Tuesday and luckily got a spot late in the day for a further supply. I had one heck of a spell at work before lunch Tuesday, rode home and felt fine. Another whopper Tuesday evening where I actually used up the last of the original pills. Since then I've had no major attacks so hopefully it's over. I always feel guilty whining with what mom has gone through.

I'm fighting with the city over the ice they have given me for this season, no where near enough unless people want to come out at 430 on weekdays or 8am on sundays. I have already refused to sign the contact but who knows how this will turn out. Thunder Bay minor has refused to play at the tournament centre so I'm guessing that had something to do with it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Original Announcement

Sal and I were sitting in Montana's last Wednesday and my phone rang, Mike from Calgary (almost wanted to say Mike from Canmore, close). He could hear the background noise and asked where we were. Hearing that we were out for supper after work and a hockey registration he said he would call back. Something seemed strange about a call mid-week so I texted back 'everything ok'? I was thinking with school starting maybe he got moved around to another school and wouldn't be too happy. He replied that all was good. About three minutes later I got an email notice on my phone at the same time Sal did, a picture was attached.
I asked "is that what I think it is"? I called him back immediately and a very cheerful conversation ensued. You can't imagine how much I wanted to be back in Calgary right then. I'm sure glad I've been racking up the airmiles with tuition etc.

All in all, a very original way to share some great news.

Last Day

Normally all we want to do is head for home. Not this trip. We had a full half day planned and started off at Perkins for another great breakfast, gassed up and were on our way. A lot of businesses don't open early in the morning and with the time difference working against us we had to plan carefully. We made our way up France and Lake to the Midtown Global Market. It's an open space with dozens of ethnic restaurants and shops, every kind of food imaginable. We stopped for some cupcakes at The Salty Tart Bakery, one of the few open in the market. 

Next was the Freewheel bike shop which is behind and below facing the Midtown Greenway, the main bike route across town. They have a full shop for repairs or rent, coffee and juice bar, showers and lockers, bike storage, wifi and everything a bike commuter might need. You can literally ride right in!

From there we headed back to Hennepin Ave. and made our way downtown without the gps or freeways. Beautiful old buildings, especially churches, neighbourhoods and small shops were just a few things you won't see from I-35. Traffic at 10am local time was amazingly sparse so I was able to look around. Even downtown the traffic was relaxed and we arrived at Kramarczhuk's Sausage (a Diners Drive-Ins and Dives location) in search of the elusive blood sausage. The sausage hoarding masses had headed back to Milwaukee so we were able to taste and buy two rings. Not what Great Grandma use to make but maybe a hint of that taste we remember so fondly. 

We had one more stop before it was time to leave, the outdoor sculpture park. For that I flipped on Gloria and she had us standing under the twenty foot cherry on a spoon in about ten minutes. There were workers all over the grounds setting up for an event so getting a picture without them in the scene was tough. We walked slowly back to the car knowing the best vacation we've ever had in Minneapolis was ending, nothing left but the six hour drive home. But this was one trip that while short, was full of activities and discovering new-old parts of the twin cities.
    

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Few Pix










fresh flowers at St. Paul Farmer Market


 the Bee guy









a look down the aisle









another Diners Drive-Ins and Dives location









Guy's sign of approval









at Lake of the Isles with 'Jean Claude'










from the bridge









in the sculpture park, cherry and spoon

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tandem Anyone

After a great breakfast at Perkins we headed to Calhoun bike rentals and nabbed one of their two khs tandemania rentals, a silver beast named Jean Claude. We walked two short blocks to the Midtown Greenway and then made out first attempt at riding, successfully.

Our first intersection wasn't labeled to the route we wanted so we rode for a bit without knowing where we were going but probably just as well. We checked the maps and asked a few other riders who were mostly as mixed up as we were. We finally turned back and found the turn and made our way around Lake of the Isles. Quite the set of pathways they have here. They just added non-profit bike rentals all over the twin cities, for as little as $5 you can grab a bike at one station and drop it at another, just like Paris. Use it for one half hour and there's no extra charge. Then use it for as many half hour trips as you need, still no extra charge. Yearly membership is only $40 and then you can do it any day April to November.

I found a new helmet at Calhoun Bike, lots of interesting rides there. Recumbents,  folding, cargo and trikes. A niche to say the least.

We came back for a drink and some of us had a nap before shoe shopping for the Ginko. Kohls came through again and Sal even grabbed herself a pair. We strolled through the ritzy Galleria mall and then to the Cheesecake Factory for a great supper. Cheesecake to go please. We were both stuffed.

Just half a day left in the twin cities. We'll be hunting blood sausage in the morning.

Monday, September 5, 2011

State Fair

After a quick breakfast at Denny's, Perkins was packed, we headed for the U of M to park and ride free to the fair. Well Gloria had never heard of the exact address and the one I punched in with the same name was close, I knew something was wrong but trusted the tech and it cost us an hour. We finally found our way and a ten minute bus ride later we were dropped at the same spot we came to with Ginko several years ago. The Web site did not list park and rides near the hotel but apparently they still have them.

We wandered through the hordes of happy eating food off of a stick people, saw a newborn calf, a cowboy trailer race, deep fried whatever you can imagine and probably 200,000 people. After 3 hours of strolling we had fries and a cherry choke, bought a bucket of chocolate chip cookies and went back to the bus. What took 90 to find probably took about 15 on the return.

We wanted to go to the Cheesecake Factory for support and even knew where it was. We got there and daw only signs for Ruby Tuesday so we have it a shot. Not bad but we found the place we were looking for right after. They need some outdoor signage. We thought about taking in a movie but there was nothing playing till later so we went for a drive. I'm not sure why but I pulled into a Walmart. We were looking for a headache remedy not available in Canada and ended up striking gold, or in our case people, as in grape fanta. We took it all. Sal is smiling from ear to ear and I could probably swing a new bike right now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Whirlwind Shopping

We started our first full day, and a cool one it was (high of 65 and breezy), at the St. Paul Farmer's Market. Amazing produce at even more amazing prices. We were wishing we could buy a bunch and take it home. Bouquet of fresh cut flowers $4, a three foot high basil bush for $6, any vegetable you could think of. All laid out in the smartest system. Outdoors but covered, vendors back up to the aisles and put their wares on tables at the back of the truck. We went over to the Black Dog cafe for a great breakfast sandwich and coffee that held us till after 4.

Then we headed to the Angry Catfish bike shop. Farzum would die for the space they have on the floor. Another shop with coffee and pastries from the bakery two doors down. Farzum would be 300+ if he worked there. Lots of cool bikes and friendly guys. Saw a very cool Salsa Vaya, road style with disc and off road tires. And orange. They had s Salsa Mukluk snowbike that was very intriguing. Grabbed a Surly t-shirt and one from the shop. We looked for another shop close by but it was nowhere to be seen.

We hit the Mall of America and spent more time going up and down the elevator than we did shopping, bed and bath and the dollar store and we were gone. Up the road to more shops. REI has a ton of outdoor gear and bike stuff, too much in fact as I left without spending a cent. On to Kohls, a new favorite of ours. We bought almost $100 at 50% off, grabbed another $10 and they gave us $20 for our next visit. $10 for every $50 spent or another 20%. We went to Target but left there empty handed, really.

Then downtown to Kramarczuk sausage in search of blood sausage. We got behind a family from Wisconsin and before we could even try it they bought every piece and probably about $300 worth of other sausages. Two and a half rings all gone just seconds before we were served! All they had left was frozen. Since we didn't get a taste we didn't want to risk it, maybe Tuesday. We were close to another bike shop so we went there, closed. Ok time for some lunch, off to a triple D spot, the Modern Cafe, closed.

Frustrated we headed for the hotel and the baked good we picked up at A Bakers Wife near the bike shop earlier. Looks like an early supper. As much as Gloria our GPS drives me crazy at times she sure makes the visit worthwhile, we saw all new parts of the Twin Cities today.

Our first choice for supper was Olive Garden. We thought we'd be early at 5:30 local time but arrived to a full parking lot and about 35 hungry people waiting outside. We almost defaulted to Red Lobster but let Gloria find the Macaroni Grill just a few minutes away and were seated immediately. Service was almost too fast, food was pretty good. We took an hour drive down France Ave. and Lake St. to check out some other spots for later, came back to the hotel and TV is out across town, at least according to the front desk. So I have time to blog.

Stevie Ray's Comedy Improv

We just got back from dinner and a two hour improv comedy show at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. The meal was good, the comedy was fair, the slightly intoxicated bride to be next to us was hilarious, she roasted or snorted at everything. We were there about 16 years ago and had to drive an hour around 694/494. This time just 15 minutes from our hotel.

All in all a pretty full day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Driving to Minneapolis

Surprise! Sciatica nowhere to be seen or even felt. High sides on the bucket seats are a bit of a pain but to both sides. Uneventful drive, my favorite kind. One tank of gas, one stop at the Blue Water for breakfast. Some construction on I35, but they gotta fix it sometime.

We arrived just in time to check on, a few hours to relax and then off to Chanhassen for a comedy show and supper.

Friday, September 2, 2011

MRI Results

I finally got the results of my MRI today.I have a bulging disc and my doctor is sending me to a former surgeon by the name of Hoffman for his non-surgical opinion. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Be kind to your back was the wise advice I was given.

Got to spend a few hours sitting on the Ginko tonight, very well behaved. He just can't figure out how the Xoom can download a game, so I showed him. Then he played for 45 minutes, I think he was playing me too.

We're off to Minneapolis in the morning for a few days. I almost wanted to take a bike but decided against it. If we want we can always rent. Since i'm still taking it easy it's just too much trouble for a short ride.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Let's Ride

As I was getting into 'where do I want to go' mode Sal asked if I wanted to go for a ride. It would be her first of the year, my fault not hers. So we headed out at about 11am under sunny skies and a perfect temperature. Around to the bike path, through Chapples Golf course and I was heading for Tims but she suggested the Burger Barn. That would involve some street riding but if she was game then why not. We were able to ride the bike lanes for about 50% of the way and being Sunday morning the traffic was minimal. We stopped and had a burger, made an appearance at Petrie's and then home, just over 12 km.  Still taking it easy.

I joked that I finally saw someone else riding the lanes. I took the new Victoria Ave. lane and Walsh St. yesterday and the only guy I saw on a bike was on the sidewalk. A beautiful Saturday afternoon and nobody riding. Shame. With the new lanes you can actually get around the south end of town. I can't imagine why the city is painting lines in late August but if this continues the lanes may prove useful. We saw a couple ride by as we had lunch, the traffic doubled in an instant.

Farzam said Sal had to take care of Felix as the Cafe line is the toughest to buy. So she had him professionally cleaned and lubed when we got home. I wonder how she happened upon a bike cleaner right here in the wilds of Wiley St.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where To First?

I just want to ride somewhere that is not work. Work as a destination I mean. A little work on the bike will be fine I just don't want the ride to end at FCD. It's a toss up between Mission Marsh and Westfort right now.

Our new beds arrived this morning, not just new but bigger. The bedroom needs some further arranging but the delivery guys took care of the tough part, negotiating the treacherous switchback staircase.
The chiropractor said I could start doing things again but to be careful of the Danger Zone, the place where you feel good and overdo it. He and Sal have both vowed to hurt me if I get out of line.

Surly announced some new products for 2012 on Friday. They must spend half their time on product names. The new big wheel snow bike is the Moonlander, the Trolls 29" brother is the Ogre, 3.5" tires are Big Fat Larry, wheels for the Moonlander are Clownshoes and my favourite Large Marge wheels for the Pugsley. I hope to visit their headquarters in Minneapolis in a few weeks if we get away as planned.


Friday, August 26, 2011

As If Cyclists Don't Have Enough To Deal With

Cars, drivers, rain, flats, thieves...the list goes on but what we don't need are cyclists begging to be the enemy of everyone behind the wheel. They give us the right to ride on the road, even paint some lines to mark our space. This raises the ire of many motorists. And to some that's just not enough.

I've watched guys ride up the wrong side of the road, the sidewalk and just about everywhere they don't belong. On Victoria Ave. this morning I watched as an adult rode illegally down the sidewalk which parallels the new bike lane. At 5 I was passed by the guy in full racing kit on a road bike. He comes to a stop sign, rides left across the front of the waiting cars in the crosswalk, another illegal move, then up the wrong side of the road until he goes across the road and continues along his merry way. He knows better. Anybody with as much invested as he did knows.

I expect those who ride by necessity rather than choice to break the rules. They ride the cheapest bikes and just don't care, they don't think of themselves as cyclists. But the guy who spends that much on his gear, clothing and extras who thinks of themselves as a cyclist has to think of what he is projecting to the man behind the wheel.

There are people in town who want to march to city hall with a petition asking council to force bikes off the street and back on the sidewalks 'where they belong'. It's not the councils call but it shows the chasm between the thoughts of those on 2 wheels and those on 4.

If you are a cyclist then remember how hard we fight for that 18 inches of the road. Obey the rules, use your head and keep it in a helmet. Maybe in time, maybe not in your lifetime, but in time the majority will accept the bicycle for what it is. A simple machine that could help save the planet.

It's Official, The Girls are Free!

I just left the chiropractor and have been officially un-grounded. It's a good thing too as I rode to my appointment. Details too follow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

54

At this age it's just another day, or is it?

After riding Lisbeth to work yesterday I decided to take it easy and be driven to and from again. Honesty I didn't hurt anything with 5 easy km. but I just don't want to go backwards. I told the chiropractor and he said he would beat me severely if I started to push things too early, and I'm confident he would. I really appreciate the rides but miss the freedom of going where I want when I want.

I had absolutely no pain this afternoon, not from sciatica anyway. The pain in my butt came from another source I won't go into just yet.

The Android update I had been waiting months for showed up yesterday, one day after mom got her Xoom.  Today the Swype keyboard was upgrade and wow it is a great addition. They added a simple function for cutting and pasting. Makes typing so much easier.

As I left the chiropractor I discovered I was missing my wallet. I called Brian in case it was in the car and then found AJ and we headed to work to look. Fortunately it was right there where I left it. My lucky day I guess. Told you.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Morning Hope

6 am. I wake up and see my new longest night of sciatic sleep revealed by the clock of our cable box at the foot of the bed. There's something missing. I remove my apnea mask and wrist braces. I'm stiff from not moving in 7 hours. I decide to get up and slowly make my way to vertical. Something is still missing. I gingerly make the descent of the stairs. As I get into the shower it dawns on me, that didn't hurt.

I shower away the stiffness and the pain is still absent. I bend to pick up a towel and it's there but just a sip of what it has been for weeks. I make coffee and sit to check email, read news and write this. I get up after about 15 minutes and still only a trace.

Since asking the chiropractor about piriformis he has added several stretches for that muscle to our sessions. It is great when someone takes your concern and research efforts seriously. Brandyn sat in on yesterdays session and smiled through my ordeal.

Or maybe it was the secret ride around the block on Eyowen that I took after cutting the lawn last night. I had walked home from work, had supper and a short nap but forced myself to push the old human powered mower for half an hour. My leg felt good so I took Eyowen out and down the back lane and then round the block. Felt no worse but decided to stop and not risk it.

I truly hope this is real.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Different

I slept until 5:35 this morning and once I was up I felt different. Much less pain but a little stiff. I walked home last night so maybe that helped. I really hate walking and being passed by people on bikes. I enjoy the walk but would much rather be pedaling, just jealous I guess.

Phone calls have started as the Key is out online. We only have 14 spots left so people had better get going. I wish I could record the answers to the questions I get over and over. I put the answers in the ad but it doesn't seem to matter as people don't read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Diagnosis?

I've done a lot of reading about what is causing the pain in my a** and leg but because I was concentrating on sciatica I may have missed the real cause. Piriformis syndrome is a tightening of the piriformis muscle which in turn puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. The piriformis gets tight from things such as rowing and you guessed it, cycling, without stretching properly. And you can guess the next part, I never stretch before hopping on a bike. I have tried a modified version of the stretching exercise that is supposed to loosen the muscle and can already feel something positive. That or I just want it to feel better and am convincing myself that it's working. I have another appointment at the chiropractor today so I'm going to talk it over with him. Keep you fingers crossed. It's a very rare form of sciatic problems but I'm anything but normal so just maybe that's it.
I talked with the chiropractor at todays session and he said he told me that was the area we were working on. I guys I missed it in all the latin he was throwing about.

Tempted

After weed whacking the jungle at the back of Kresack manor I found myself in the basement standing between two orange beauties. Eyowen said, c'mon you worked hard, just around the block. Lisbeth asked, just take me out for some fresh air. I was tempted but decided to wait. It was tough. Everything felt great while I was hacking away buy something said hold on, give it some more time.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Sad Little Boy

Made another trip to the chiropractor this morning. He was going through the preliminary back stuff and came across a knot in my shoulder. "What have we here" he asked. I swore his thumb was going to come out the other side, wow did that hurt. Right now it feels perfect. We're making progress as I have more flexibility and things are no where near as sore. Soon girls, soon.

Sal had Brandyn today and we went to Tim's for a quick lunch after my appointment and as we ate he asked if we had seen Lola. No not yet we said. Sal asked if he helped out with his new sister, he loves to help out with just about anything. He got a strange look on his face, eyebrows almost together, very concerned. No he said, they don't let him help. He hasn't fed or held or been a part of anything. Very sad. So concerned with the safety in one and so irresponsible with another. I won't go into detail but it's safe to say he'd be better off elsewhere.

Apparently the leagues of Lakehead minor are miffed because they gave the four directors a vote and things aren't going as they planned. We only got votes as part of the change to a recognized body. They were a necessary component. The members voted to give the vote but now don't like the fact that we can help forge policy that is good for hockey and answers to no agenda. All four of us have no kids, no grandkids or motives for putting in time there. They will be hard pressed to find four others with the years of experience and skills to manage the crazies that make up the hockey world. We're asking for a vote of confidence and then deciding on the future.
,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Polish Miles Davis

When an author in a novel mentions an album or song I often try to find any that I'm not familiar with just to check the intended mood. A detective in a recent read was listening to Tomas Stanko, the mood was supposed to be mellow. So I googled the name and found a trumpeter known as the Polish Miles Davis. Pretty good jazz. I'm listening to Dark Nights streaming over the net as I tap out this post.

I slept through til 4 am last night and am hoping for another good one soon. I see Dr. Trevisan, or Hawkman to you Northwoods hockey fans, again tomorrow. The half hour session is a bit painful but they seem to be working as both nights after have resulted in better sleep. I'm missing the bike in a big way and can't even walk to work as he wants me to go easy until things are better. Unlike my gp who said to keep doing what I was doing.

Work has been pretty steady lately as we have best last years June and July numbers and are heading to best August as well. Not that you'd know it from the lack of any response or way to gos that are passed around.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Setback

I was all ready to get back to reality until last Saturday. Mike and I were going out to Lakeshore Drive on the bikes. I decided Jill needed a ride as she has only been out for one ride all year. I pumped the tires, moved the seat post over and took her outside. As I turned to come inside it came back. Sciatica grabbed my right leg from my hip to my knee and would not let go.
After standing through a family breakfast on Sunday I wrongly thought I could ride over and watch the boys play some tennis. I made it but couldn't even stand. I paddled and walked home. Jill was just not going to go for a ride.
Every night this week has been hell. Minimal sleep. Hot. Painful. Unlike the two months with sciatica that had all but ended, the pain was not controllable. Used to be if I stood for a few minutes it would subside. This week I've spent so much time standing that my feet are sore. Worst of all riding is painful. Sitting in the car is torture. I've been reduced to walking to work, I don't mind walking in the winter but not when it's 32.
I go for my first visit to a chiropractor tomorrow morning, I just hope relief is in sight. I was considering canceling the mri. Now I'll just do whatever I need to do to get back on track.
Mike just called as they pulled back into Calgary safely. It was great to see them. Wish I had been able to go for a few more rides with him, maybe next year. Sure is hard to think that we won't see them got that long again.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's Time

Enough overeating, enough lazing about, enough excuses. It's time to get back to feeling good. Sciatica seems to be on it's way out, hands are no better but no worse either. I need to get more active and lose a bunch of weight, I was much happier and felt so much better before I let it all slide and then conned myself into thinking it was all because of physical ailments. Physical ailments didn't force me to up my intake when I couldn't do some of the things I enjoy to burn calories. Stay tuned, it's going to be an ugly start but drastic measures are in order.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Calgary Kids Hit the Bay

Mike and Mel got home after a long wet drive on Wednesday. Mike brought his bike over for a look at the brakes. Brake trouble was just the result of a few other ailments. A quick look and I figured it out and got Rachel back on the road. I rode her to work to check out any further problems and then met Mike at Petrie's to pick up a lock bolt that was missing.

After work I went back to Petrie's to build a front wheel for Lisbeth. Hanging out with Farzam is always entertaining. A kid brought in a bike for a tuneup. Farzam recognized it as stolen 2 years ago, checked the serial and told the kid he needed to know where he got the bike. The kid said his friend and little else. He was determined he wasn't leaving without the bike and was getting ripped off. Farz tried to explain that he would not call the police but needed the name of the seller. The kid left crying. The kids is about 20 so should be able to understand that the rip off happened when he bought the bike. The original owner had the bike less than 24 hours.

One more day of work and then five days off with a few at Mink Mountain. Hopefully the weather cools off a bit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lisbeth x14, Trolloff Lives

After 4 months of exclusively riding singlespeeds I took my first short ride on Lisbeth with the Rohloff Speedhub this afternoon. I took the frame and a front wheel in to Petrie's at 9 Sunday morning for the build. I arrived to see Farzam with his glasses on and his head buried in the manual. We dove in and finished the basics in just under 3 hours. German translations in the manual are a bit dodgy at times and unlike any other systems there are 2 cables running from the shifter to the rear wheel. One to upshift and one to downshift. Along with that is the ability to (somewhat) easily remove the wheel to fix flats etc. That ability requires quick disconnects for the cables and adds complexity to the installation.

The cables were on and off the bike at least 5 times, first the shifting was reversed, then a few cuts that proved too short. We finally got a third pair of hands holding the shifter in position and got the length right and shortly after the basics were done. I left to take Sal for dimsum (have to keep the person behind this all happy) and Farzam installed a tire and set up the rear brakes. We brought him some of the Canton's delicacies and I went out for a quick lap around the block. I stopped to tighten a few things, thanked Farzam and told Sal I'd meet her at home.

I rode over through Chapples to check out the Little League All-Star games but it was too hot to stand and watch so I just kept going. I rolled up a few short hills to try the lower gears and wound her up around the golf course. The range is amazing. 14 speeds with an even 13% spread between every gear. The shifting is so smooth, you barely feel the change other than the spedometer climbing. A 27 speed setup with derailleurs has more gears but many of them are just 5% apart and shifting can be tricky and anything but smooth, going up and down with the front shifter. The Rohloff requires just a twist of the wrist and no chain moving. It's not a light setup but there are no races in my near.

A huge thanks to Sal and my kids for making this happen. You've given me something I only dreamed of and would never have done on my own. Lisbeth is one of a kind. I took the long way to work and back four times today racking up 20 km on a ride that is just 2 km if I go the short route. Riding wasn't just transportation today, it was a blast.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buble in Duluth

Our weekend in Duluth began Saturday morning with a search for passports. They weren't where I believed them to be. Sal had an idea but couldn't locate the overnight bag where she hoped they were. The bag was found complete with passports. A long uncomfortable drive followed as sitting in bucket seats is probably as painful as it gets for me right now. We got through the border without the long wait that we heard others faced later in the day. We stopped in Grand Marais for breakfast at the Blue Water Cafe. We arrived in Duluth during the lunch hour and drove through Canal Park without seeing any open parking spots so we took a chance and headed to our downtown hotel in hopes of the room being ready early. We got lucky and I was able to stretch out and give my aches a chance to cool.

We headed back to the waterfront at about four and strolled around a few shops before deciding on Famous Dave's BBQ for supper. After supper some more wandering and then over to the DECC as anxiety over finding our way to our seats took over. Sal found a park bench and I tried to locate the car so we wouldn't get lost after the concert. Along the way I found the main door where Buble goodies were being sold and brought Sal back so she could pick up a t-shirt. We waited near the front of the line for the doors to the Amsoil Arena to open.

At about 7:15 we were headed to our seats which turned out to be great, just 4 rows off the boards and even with about the 10th row on the floor. The stage stretched all the way to the boards so we had a great unobstructed view. We knew we were in for a good show when Naturally 7, the opening act, got the crowd on their feet and into it. They are 7 guys who use only their voices for all instruments and had done some back up work on the Crazy Love cd.

After a short break the lights went out again and the silhouette of Mr. Buble and his 14 piece band projected onto the curtains and they jumped into my favourite track from the Crazy Love cd, Cry Me A River.
I have to say this was one of the best concerts I've been to. He really connects to the crowd with humour and humility. He mentioned more than once that the crowd had spent big money to be there, even joking to the those at the front as he sang from the sound and camera platform at the back of the arena. The band was very talented and his introduction of each member was hilarious. He's one lucky Canuck as he draws a crowd made up of every age group from screaming teenage girls to older couples who enjoy his rendition of music standards.

A short walk back to the car and amazingly we were back in the full hotel parking lot in 15 minutes. I had to use the overflow lot up the hill behind the hotel and then go down and around and back up to the room. By this time my body was saying enough already.

Sunday we had breakfast at Perkins and then hit the mall, Target and Kohl's. We spent some time searching for Twin City Cyclery and I was disappointed that they had no Surly gear in sight. We drove into Canal Park and over the lift bridge out to Park Point. A mass of traffic in the distance had me turning around and then as we waited for the bridge Sal saw a small bear up in a tree about 50 yards away. How a bear would get to this highly populated narrow strip of beach I cannot imagine.

We returned to the hotel and got our tablets out to check for a restaurant for supper. We decided on Va Benne, a small Italian cafe on Superior Street. We shared an artichoke dip and Nicoise salad. Sal had pasta primavera and I had arrabiata al padre ricardo which can be ordered with heat from 1-10. I choose 6 and that was plenty warm enough. The meal was excellent. We returned to the hotel and solved the parking light mystery on the Impreza without removing any fuses. I had tripped a switch on the steering column and it left lights on while we were eating and I was sure I would have to remove a fuse to prevent draining the battery but a search of the manual pointed to the simple solution.

Monday morning we packed up and headed for breakfast at one of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives feature spots, At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe. We both had the meal that was shown on the show, french toast with wild rice and cranberry bread. Speed was not important and that was a good thing as service was slow but well worth the wait. I was in no hurry to make the long uncomfortable drive home anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day Surprise

When I was working at Petries I was working on a dream bike with Farzam. More dreaming than working really. We were searching for a frame that would accommodate the 14 speed Rohloff Speedhub. As reality returned and I went back to fulltime work elsewhere, the dream fizzled. Along came the Surly Troll frame in late 2010. It was Rohloff compatable but I saw just a great all round cromoly steel frame that almost any combination of drivetrain and brakes could be mounted, plus it fit with my remaining credit and was available in only one colour, Agent Orange. The Speedhub was no longer in the plans though I had thought of a Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub (like Mike's Felt X-City 'Rachel' has) which is much more inexpensive but nowhere near the rugged 14 speed German made unit from Rohloff, sorry Mike.

After supper on Sunday I was given a heavy box to unwrap in front of a few cameras, strange? I knew something was up but never imagined I'd be getting my father's day, birthday and Christmas presents (for a few years) all in one box. I ripped off the wrapping paper and must have looked pretty damn surprised as I revealed the Rohloff logo. Getting it on Lisbeth will take some time as a wheel needs to be built around it but as much as I'm anxious to get it rolling and try it out, this is a project that calls for expertise. Farzam expertise. I'll stick to taking pictures and trying to figure out what to do if something ever goes wrong. According to the website they simply don't break. Cyclists that have more than 70,000km of world wide travel swear by them so I don't think I can break it.













Here's a video of the assembly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Epic Thoughts, Unlikely Reality

I've been reading a few books on adventure cycling. Jill Homers account of her first Iditarod, the 350 mile race in Alaska in February is one I was familiar with from her blog. Now I'm on to the story of an Englishman who had never ridden a mountain bike that enters the Tour Divide, a 2700 mile ride from Banff to New Mexico. Jill holds the womans record in that one and her book on the trip will follow. They make me want to do something epic. Then today I received email from conquer cancer. It was easy to forget about sore legs, numb hands and all the old reasons why I haven't entered for a few years. It was my epic but somehow it never felt that big. They do have a 200 mile option now, hmmmm.

I rode over to watch Ginkos soccer game and any thought of 100 mile rides was soon washed away, for now anyway. I did accomplish one thing on the ride. I proved that it is possible to trip the sensor in the road and get a green light. Just lower your steel frame to the top of the diamond and instant action. I used it at my least favorite corner that has no way for a cyclist to get a green. No pedestrian button, no timing. If a car doesn't come along you just have to run the red or wait. Not anymore.

The back and leg were better this morning, not prefect but better for the first time in quite a while.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aleve, No Thanks I'll Walk It Off

I woke up Sunday morning and my right leg from cheek to calf was on fire as soon as I moved to get up. I limped downstairs for ibuprofin and ice. The ice took the edge off but I had to stand to put the pain at bay. As it was 6:30 I really just wanted to sleep a bit longer. The rest of the beautiful day was spent in various uncomfortable positions either standing or lying on the couch, sitting is not an option. I thought a day of just relaxing would repay my leg for the ride Saturday.

That thought was proven wrong at 3:15 this morning as I woke to more of the same. Down I went for ice and this time and definitely the last time for an Aleve. I lay on the couch just hoping for a bit more sleep. I woke again at 4:30, the ice no longer cold enough to be effective and the Aleve only having effect on my stomach. I walked up and down the hallway for a bit and slowly trudged the pain away. Then my stomach started acting up and I was forced to take a seat.

Three more trips to the bathroom, an hour standing through Soprano repeats and it was time to go to work. I grunted as I put on socks but never bothered tempting the fates by trying to tie my boots. Walking might be the least painful mode but it was too late for that so Lisbeth was pushed up the stairs and I rode gingerly, standing about half the time until my leg got loose. Other than being tired I was fine. The day went ok until about 10:30 when I looked over at Lisbeth and saw the rear tire was totally flat. At lunch I borrowed a car and zipped home for a quick bite, a tube and my pump. I had the tire off and the new tube in and inflated in about 10 minutes, my bike shop training coming in handy. I made it through the rest of the day and rode home, Ginko was here and I watched him play Angry Birds on the Xoom until the game came on. Nice try Canucks but it's better to win at home anyway.

I can't judge another's pain but I can't believe Mom has been enduring that kind of pain for so long.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Surprise, Free Saturday

To my great surprise I was the only one that showed up for an x-ray at 8:00am this morning. Sal decided to drive me and then go for a few groceries. I was in and out before she got back to the store. They took shots of my hips so I'm guessing that there is a possibility of problems there and maybe not just sciatica. I've had a pain in my hip maybe twice after 100km rides but nothing I can recall lately and definitely nothing lasting. I guess we'll see.

So with our new found free morning we got some errands done and made a run to Creekside for flowers and then some breakfast. We picked up a movie and stopped in at Petries. I'm going to help man the tent at the Bike Rodeo Sunday morning. Just quick tune-ups and advice, some of the bikes kids showed up with last year were new but in pretty sad shape. Bad enough to buy a bike off the floor at a department store but they really spend no time assembling them and problems start in a few weeks. It should be against the law to sell a bike to a kid with loose handlebars.

After Sal left for work I headed out with Lisbeth for an hour and a half and did 27km holding 20kmph again. I stopped about half way out to talk to one of our hockey coaches for 5 minutes and when I hit the road again my leg was not feeling like pedaling. I kept things slow for a bit, loosened up and carried on, not too many choices out Rosslyn Road. Calling that a road is an exaggeration by the way.

When I got home I watched the Swedish version of 'the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' and even with subtitles it was pretty good. Lisbeth is quite the character.

I read through the comments regarding the new bike lanes on one of the local news websites. Apparently if you ride a bike you are a pinko that doesn't pay taxes. Comments from the cyclists weren't much better. I checked a similar story from Calgary and the online battle of words was just as bitter. Honestly what they are trying to do with bike lanes, or at least the reason they claim, getting more people out on bikes because they feel safer in the bike lanes is not going to happen. Novice cyclists are not going to ride on the street, with the lanes or without. It seems the more emphasis put on cyclists and bike lanes the more resentment there is from drivers. When the streets are in ruin it is understandable that people want to see them fixed before money is put into anything for a bike. What we really need is a north south way to get around. The bike lanes don't address it and without widening a major artery bike lanes won't be a solution. There is a way with one hurdle. You can get from Westfort to Port Arthur by going up Ford ane then connecting with the bike paths . The problem is getting across Arthur Street. A simple set of pedestrian/cyclist controlled lights at Ford and Arthur would fix it but the city is afraid. They work elsewhere I can't see why TBay is any different. Try getting from the south side of town to the north at 5pm on a bike, not easy or safe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Suspension is the Biggest Hit

My visit to the doctor didn't really answer any questions yet. I have to get x-rays and another visit 2 weeks after the x-rays are done. No appointment just show up at the Regional and wait for a spot. Oh boy.

I may have finally dialed in a hand position on Lisbeth that is the least numbing. I rotated my Ergon grips about 20 degress this morning and my hands were almost perfect during the short ride to work. I decided to take a longer route home and even after a full 5km the right was 100% and the more problematic left was about 85%. A big improvement over Sunday when I spent lots of time with one hand on the bars while shaking out the other. I even mentioned the long ride Sunday to the doc and he just asked if I ride alone or in a group, commented that biking was great because you don't need anybody else to do it. No mention of not riding!

Aaron Rome of the Canucks being given 4 games for his hit last night seems like an injustice. Yes he hit Horton in the head but he merely stopped in his path and let Horton run into him. Yes it was a bit late but Horton is as responsible for admiring his pass. The fact that the Bruins are happy with it makes it a few too many games. Taking away any chance to return to the series has got to be devastating for Rome. There have been numerous hits in the playoffs that had more intent and have gone totally unpunished, Torres on Seabrook comes to mind. This is the most severe suspension ever handed out in the finals for something that was not the most severe incident of the playoffs. If the stiffness of suspensions handed out all season had been relative I'd be in total agreement but this seems to be setting a new standard at the wrong time. The hit on Crosby which saw him lose half a season and all of the playoffs (and who knows how much longer) went unpunished and the intent was obvious. The NHL needs to clean up its act but consistency has to part of the cleansing. Good luck next season Shanny.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Remembering

I guess I had forgotten a bunch of things that make me want to do it. Since I finally got an appointment to see a doctor for my various ailments tomorrow I wanted to go for a longish ride before I'm told not to. Can't do much harm at this point. So hands and sciatica be damned, we're going for a ride. I switched a bottle carrier on to Lisbeth, boiled some water to clean out my long unused water bottle, donned my bike shorts for the first time this year and headed west.

Yes my hands go numb. Yes the right side of my oh so glutious maximus and the back of my thigh were a bit tight. But I finished what I started. A loop out Broadway across Twin City Crossroads and back in on Oliver. 38kmin just over 2 hours. Averaging almost 20kmph on a single speed means lots of pedaling.

I had forgotten what cresting even a slight hill and then rolling down the other side feels like, wind blowing over the smile on your face. Had forgotten getting into a rhythm when you don't touch the brakes for an hour or longer. The pedals going up and down and your legs just continuing to churn along like they have a mind of their own. Somehow the fact that a headwind going west does not always fulfill the promise of a tailwind when you turn back to the east slipped my mind. The taste of warm water and dandelion fuzz seemed new at first. The continual playing of a song deep in your grey matter that you just can't turn off, no matter how bad it may be. The snobs on road bikes that won't return even a simple nod. The jarring smell of a freshly dead skunk as you roll inches from it because the shoulder is that narrow. Being alone with your thoughts and free to go anywhere you want. Good and bad, things to smile about as they happen and many more that only bring a smile after they have time to ferment.

Can't wait to do it all again.

 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Well That Was Fun

All day long I was looking forward to riding over to Ginko's soccer game on a nice warm evening. Well the wind was blowing as strongly as I have ever riden in and my destination was directly into it. Dodging twigs, small sandstorms and nearly being stopped dead a few times as I got caught in a strong gust, I made it just as the horn sounded to start the 6:30 games. Only problem was the Ginko and most of his Grey team had yet to arrive. 15 minutes later I headed for home with the gale at my back. Even that was dicey as crosswind gusts tried to push me into the road. I don't know what's burning off to the southwest but the smoke came in quickly and was alrady making things look foggy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hands Full of Bees

After trying three sets of handlebars on Lisbeth I finally went back to the On One Mary. My left hand buzzes no matter what I use but with the large sweep on the Mary my right is good and the left is minimal. I did an hour ride on Sunday with a flat bar and was constantly shaking out one hand or the other. I rode to Ginko's soccer game tonight with the Mary bar and I think I'll stick with them for now. She bit me again tonight, just a scratch this time. Not sure why but my legs look like I own a cat with issues. AJ brought back a Surly Tuggnut from Minneapolis which keeps the rear wheel in place and the chain nice and tight, and serves double duty as a bottle opener.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Name That Troll

Since a troll is a mythical scandanavian character I set off on a google search of scandanavian names and bingo, I found what I was looking for. I finished reading the Stieg Larrson's Millenium Trilogy about a month ago and the lead female character was a unique young woman. An abused child that persevered over all of the crap that life dropped in her path by her father, the secret police and the government programs she was buried in. Sometimes through her computer hacking skills and more often by physically stomping her enemies with her 120 pound tatooed frame. If you like mystery/detective/thrillers give The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest a read, in that order. You'll meet Lisbeth Salander, the name sake for my Surly Troll.

Bike Lane Procrastination

I received an invite to the next city council meeting to support a presentation that will request funds for another 9.5 km of bike lanes. It's May 22 and the first bike lanes that were designated last year are not officially open. They need paint, a good sweeping and some more promotion to remind drivers what those now faded lines mean. The city council meeting is June 6th. At the speed that things happen with council I would suggest maybe the presentation might have been scheduled in the other month that starts with J, namely January. Cycling season for everyone but the diehards is about five months. If council approves the new lanes we won't see them in 2011 or at least not in the months that are comfortable for riding.

I won't even go into what most cyclists think of the true value of the lanes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Caution She Bites

Today was interesting. I was left to fend for myself this afternoon. Friday before May long is traditionally quiet so I convinced the boss to take off for Minneapolis at 1:00. I had a few calls, did some inventory work and a couple of deliveries with the phone forwarded to my cell. It went by in a flash.
Started making the ride in and home longer this week. The Troll bit me again yesterday. Coming up the street yesterday and two kids were playing ball hockey across the entire street. They let a truck pass that was ahead of me and then one of the geniuses shot the ball off the back fender. When the truck stopped the kid high tails it across the street, and right into my path. Missed him with the Troll but caught him with a few verbal jabs. If only I could direct the spikes on the pedals where I want them to bite. That's my leg, by the by.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hi, Dumbass

Coming home Tuesday and a car rolls though the stop sign at the end of our street. I give her the sarcastic wave to say 'hi, I'm here.' Dumbass waves back like I'm saying hello.

Took the day off for Sal's birthday. We went for groceries. Nope we're not old at all. Just got back from the Keg, everything was great but the $13.95 crab cakes should have been called maybe muffins. I've seen bigger scallops.

The as yet unnamed Troll bit me on the back of my leg today. She's earning the Surly label. Trying another set of bars. I took the LL2BS (least likely to be stolen) Molly to work and the bank.  The bars on her that I assumed would be the least comfortable were just the opposite.

One of the guys at Petries is suffering through carpal tunnel and he said he just got in for the testing and was told he has a moderate case. He's been in much more pain than I have. Also said his doctor gave him some meds that really helped. His doctor is also mine, time to check that out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trolling for a Name

Still no name, can't pick one where it might come back to haunt me, cause no one wants to be a surly troll. The Surly is to Ford as the Troll is to Mustang. Surly is actually located in Bloomington MN so I might just stop in at Surly HQ some day. But really just look at her. Isn't she a thing of beauty, in an odd sort of female shot-putter sort of way.
The ride is pretty smooth. I love the feel of a steel frame and big tires. One of the kids working at Petries Sunday morning was bugging me about all the high end components I should put on to save weight. I said when I lose 100 pounds I'll look for a lighter bike. We put on some carbon spacer rings on the top of the fork just for him. Shaved off at least a gram. He thought the frame was cool so I guess it's not just an old guy thing. There's not another one in Thunder Bay and no official dealer, maybe I'll start a new trend.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surly Troll Build

9am and I'm at Petries with a few spare parts for the building of the Troll. She'll begin as a singlespeed and hopefully end up with some kind of internal geared setup. In all it took about 2 hours of work and 3-1/2 hours of Petries time, the extra time for stories and customers. Good fun. Kind of miss it.
Now she just needs a name.




Friday, May 13, 2011

Trolls, Bees and Dirty Old Arabs

My new frame arrived Tuesday, the Surly Troll in a beautiful bright colour called Agent Orange. I'm anything but ready to get it assembled and on the road. I've started taking longer rides and they have made it clear that my hands will be an issue in the decisions leading up to riding the Troll. I thought maybe drop bars would provide a better position for my wrists and tested that theory by taking Jill off the wall for her first ride in 2011. Well that didn't pan out. My wrists fall into positions that bring on the bees in a hurry. Too much weight over the bars and then on my hands. Next maybe high rise bars and a banana seat.

Jill also highlights the condition of our roads, in a word, ouch. The stiffness of the frame and 100 pounds in the tires over cracks, holes, lumps and bumps is not much fun with sore mitts.

Sciatica, another new medical term I've learned to hate. Every time it seems to be subsiding I go into a coughing fit that sends the pain further down my leg. Getting old is so much fun.

The Seals grabbed a 'small college library' sized amount of intel from bin Laden's hide out, but now it appears the not so holy maniac was more interested in porn than world destruction. I can't believe people think he should have gotten a fair trial, the only thing dumber is saying it out loud in the media. How many hostages would have been taken to bargain for his release?

I read about a study that partially explains the recent demise of the worlds bee population, cell phone signals. Apparently they confuse the bees to the point that they won't return to the hive and die. So you are less likely to be stung but also less likely to be able to afford food in the future.

I'm sure glad I picked up the Motorola Xoom I'm plunking out this post on. I can only sit comfortably on the couch so I've spent almost no time at my desk lately. The Xoom let's me stay on top of almost everything from the living room perch on a heating pad.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Define A Minute

An ad for the single cup coffee brewer we have came on last night touting a fresh cup in a minute. Now wait a minute, do you mean a minute as in 60 seconds? Or do you mean a minute as in "dad can we play catch". Or maybe you mean the minute left in the football game. That must be it cause it takes a minute in the microwave to heat the luke warm cup that dribbles out in about 3 of the 60 second variety.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jazzploration

The exploration of jazz is a long and confusing path. There are just too many forms and styles even within the work of a single artist. I searched online for the top 100 jazz albums and then started grabbing what I could at the library. Of Rolling Stones top 50 albums there are only 2 in the jazz category. Miles Davis 'Kind of Blue' from 1959 is great. I only had to listen a few times to get into it, very cool.  John Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme' is also on the list but I just can't get that one. Sounds like a bowl of notes that someone is randomly throwing at the mic. A review that also listed it right up thir also called it the first of his 'unlistenable' albums. I don't understand the juxtaposition but unlistenable I agree with. Funny he plays sax on Kind of Cool and is much more listenable. I've always been ok with smooth jazz but it's like riding a bike on the sidewalk. Safe but won't get you very far. I guess I'll just keep exploring.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One Fall, No Drops

A combination of ice a a bit of a slope dumped me in some fresh snow this morning behind Sysco.  No injuries or damage, it was a good place to go down. Straightened the bars a few degrees and carried on.

On the positive side the wireless is working as advertised. I'm lying in bed typing and listening to Miles Davis "Kind of Blue". I went to the library in search of some jazz and of the 10 albums I had checked out online it was the only one on hand. I used to be able to read with just about anything playing in my headphones but now only instrumentals let me concentrate on the book. So jazz it is.

The two motions I had worked on for LMHL were passed last night. I left early for the Michael Winslow show at the auditorium so I missed the fireworks that came later. It might be an interesting summer AGM.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fingers Crossed

I might have stumbled into a wireless configuration that is acceptable to everything and everyone. So far it's reasonably fast and hasn't been dropped.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Turtle Time

The Habs playoff style is a lot like a turtle. Keep the head in and let everything swirl around, poke it out long enough to get a quick bite and then duck back in to safety again. Sort of a boring style but it seems to work. It will be interesting to see whether the bear can take a bite out of the turtles tonight.

I hate wireless networks when they act up. I search google for solutions and without fail my system never has the settings that are suposed to cure everything. I have a network app on the phone that sugested a change to another channel and that seems to have worked, so far.

This week I rode home at lunch every day and it sure maks the day go by. Just a bit of fresh air and exercise and I feel better. I was taking out half bags of garbage just for the fresh air, sort of ironic I guess. Farzam called me at work, a rarity, and let me know the 'Troll' frame is in the works.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh Rory, I Feel For You

The Northwood banquet went off without a hitch on Saturday. 315 in attendance, 5 dropped trophies. In my prep for the evening I went back to 2000, the last season I had a kid in the league. Never would have guessed it had been that long.

Wow quite the finish to the Masters. With so many in the hunt who would have picked Charl, heck who knew who he was. Analyst Feherty told a good one while they went on and on regarding fellow Irishmen McIlroy. Dad comes home from the club with maybe a child's portion too much Guiness in him and asks mom "is my dinner still warm"? Yes says mom, it's in the dog.

Sal had a dream about losing some cash in the wind, when she took the deposit of banquet ticket money to deposit today the dream came true. She gathered it all up without losing any.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Back to it, Soon

The Northwood banquet is three days away and I'm nowhere near ready. Trophies and all that are all set but I haven't started what I'm going to say up front yet. I usually say a short paragraph about each award winner but my back has kept me from sitting in front of a computer any longer than work requires all week, might have to wing it a bit. This post is coming from the phone as I sit on the couch with the heating pad. It's better today but I dont want to push it, now my hands are getting sore.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hoping for Hope

I worked the penalty box for the two medal games of the Ontario Bantam AAA tournament yesterday. Bronze medal game took awhile to warm up with nothing but offsides and icing. Game ended up being pretty good, 7-5 back and forth. The gold medal game saw the Missasauga Rebels jump on the Soo Greyhounds right away and put them down 4-0 in the first period. Four power play goals on mostly dumb penalties. We had one major and a handful of double minors from a crease crashing, slashing and spearing. It took about 5 minutes just for the paperwork and sorting out for that one.

Another election? I predict less than 50% of Canadians will vote. It's not apathy, it's frustration. Save about 200 million and just give us all a million, we'll fix the economy. We'll hire Americans cause we won't need jobs, heck we'll fix their economy too. Seriously, if one party could find someone with something positive to offer rather than just spending hundreds of thousands on ads demeaning the opposition personalities, we might have reason to vote. In 2008 13,929,093 votes were counted and the election cost the country $278 million. This was the only time the percentage of eligible voters that cast a vote (58%) dropped below 60% since 1867. We may see that drop below 50% if this short campaign doesn't provide a reason for hope.

Monday, March 21, 2011

From the Rink

3-2 with a minute to go, goalie pulled, one kid cherry picking at the far blue line and skating backwards towards the empty net. He is offside by about four feet and the ref is right on the line as they go in 3 on the twine. The puck carrier shoots and hits the post. Thank God.

Matt Cooke gets 10 plus the first round. Seems about right. Are they going to use the Lemieux rule and fine the Pens?
I bet they trade him before next season if Mario is going to practice what he preaches.

I'm off to the Gardens tomorrow night to work the penalty box got the bantam AAA Ontarios. Should be some great hockey.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Most Beautiful Site

Why? Because she's outside after a one hour ride and my hands are no worse for wear. I wore the brace on my more troublesome left wrist and yes these were a few bees buzzing around but just the tame North American bees not the killer bees of Africa. With a brace, a long sleeve dry-wear and a sweatshirt it was tough to pull a glove over the multiple layers but it went on. The glove came off about a third of the way along and other than being a bit cool my hand was fine. I'm going to raise the bars a bit and try for a little better wrist angle. All in all I'm very surprised. My butt was a bit sore but that took my mind off of my hands. Once it warms up I can wear the braces without any trouble and will at least be able to ride with Sal for a couple of hours and maybe longer.
I just finished the 2nd book in the Stieg Larsson Millenium triology, the Girl Who Played With Fire. I can't remember whipping through books this fast, ever. Reading a magazine in bed, even with the braces on causes more discomfort than riding did, so being able to hold my phone with one hand allows me to read as long as I want, or as long as I can stay awake anyway. Great detective books by the way. Lisbeth Salander has to be one of the strangest heroines ever.













Link to google map 14.4km ride 19-March-2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Going To Be A Long Meeting...

The directors of LMHL drafted a change to our penalties and suspensions bylaw, adding suspensions for repeat offenders of the checking to the head penalty. At the same time we want to include tournament games where LMHL teams compete. We often get chastised for incidents that take place in tournament games and are not in our jurisdiction. The motion will change that and allow us to track the evil-doers no matter where the evil deeds take place. The email went out a few days ago without much response until today. Opinions ranged from taking body contact out of all age divisions we administer to lowering the age it starts to 7. We'll need only half of the associations to vote in favour of our motion so hopefully it will pass, but I think we're in for a long night.

Not Your Papa's Lego

Wow...Lego has sure changed. They make everything with custom themed pieces for Star Wars etc. This is a Space Police thingamadoo Ginko made this morning out of some of the 9000 pieces he got for Christmas and his birthday. My take is that the old box of blocks inspired the imagination, I guess this gets him to follow instructions.  Maybe he'll get inspired and create original vehicles later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Ride To Work, Finally

Temperature, check. Precipitation, check. Tires inflated, check. Tail light working, check. Head light, nope, dead battery, check anyway. Off we go.

Eyowen took me to work this morning. My butt hurt, my hands buzzed and I loved every minute of it. I found a small crack in the frame where the seatpost goes in. Time to call in my credit at Petries and order, the Surly Troll. A very versatile frame that I can load up with all the parts I already have. And it's orange.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Snow Fort

On Sunday we headed to mom and dad's with the Ginko. When I saw the huge pile of snow in the driveway I knew we'd be making a snow fort. Sal wanted to make a snowman but it was too cool for the snow to be sticky. The Ginko loves digging tunnels in the snow and he started out at the top of the 12 foot high pile while I started about 8 feet south in the base. He thought we'd dig through in no time. With his tiny emergency shovel that is perfect for kids, he excavated the snow to about knee deep while I had a hole about 4 feet in and ever expanding. He then went on to making a place to store snowballs for when 'they' came. He had a whole scenario all thought out for what he would do when 'they' came, just who 'they' are remains a mystery. During the dig I took a pile of pictures and this is probably the best shot I've ever taken of the Ginko. Trying to see in the sunlight with nothing but bright snow in the background makes every shot a roll of the dice. The second one of the whole crew was handled by the tripod and self timer.
We did finally dig from the top through but from directly above. Sal made the initial break through and of course he had to slide from the top into the bottom. Earlier he jumped knees first into his snowball storage hole and could not get himself out. Tears ensued but he had a great time and had a nice long, fresh air induced nap on the way in.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Scary

Of all the pictures and video I saw regarding the quake and tsunami this one is the scariest. The buildings in the foreground look so small in comparison to the wave approaching in the distance. That much water going up to 500mph is just not imaginable.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One More Day

Another season of hockey is almost done. In a few hours two teams will be crowding around a trophy, two others will have a short cry and then leave it all behind. It's been a good year, no major problems. I've tried to downplay having a grandson in the league and since he's not really a big factor in the games yet it has been easy. It will get harder once he gets more involved. Two weeks ago they were down 1-0 in a game against the weakest team. The other team had 2 in the box and a minute to go. The clock might have run for a few seconds longer than it should have. A parent wanted me to have the timekeeper put time back on the clock. Not going to happen. I'll be pulling for his team quietly in their big game today, but very very quietly.

Sal and I stopped in at Petrie's this morning. Farzam was quick to show me some of the new bikes that have come in. Hopefully I'll be able to ride once spring gets here. My hands haven't really gotten any better. Not sure what to expect. Some mornings they are so stiff I doubt I could squeeze a brake lever. It's going to be a long way back. Walking has stabilized my weight but I still feel lousy. Maybe just feeling sorry for myself but there are so many worse things so I should just get at it.
 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

G'Daffy

Interesting news from Libya today. Ghadaffi claims his intelligence officers have intercepted transmissions from Al'Queda agents and they are behind the uprising that is threatening his hold on the country. If an ex-justice minister announced I had ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 innocents in 1988 I'd say that Bin Laden was my opposition too. Maybe then the Americans won't help in the effort to see him to the door.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Android Power

This is the first time I've posted from Sal's new iPad. I'm watching a recorded Santana concert as I plunk away. He is amazing. He's been around since Woodstock and still rocks, I love his slow instrumental ballads. His solos come flying in from amid the Latin rhythms so distinctively, and then he just drops into the mix again.

Wow it's howling out there. From dodging puddles to skating home on shear ice today. AJ and Jess left for Mexico about an hour ago. Yeah I know, Mexico scares the *%#¥ out of me too but Curtis' parents are on the same beach so it should be safe. Sal's parents just got back from Hawaii and had a great time. She's has always wanted to go so we have started the five-o fund and are saving towards a trip to the big island.

I finished another e-book in just 3 days, having my phone with me everywhere gives so much time to read and it really is not hard on the eyes. I can set the font size so that I don't even need my glasses. Besides can you carry around War and Peace, Tarzan, Call of the Wild, The Invisible Man and a few books from the library along with 50 albums, all your contacts, calendar, alarm clock, camera, barcode scanner, gps and the Internet in your coat pocket? And only about half of the storage is currently being used. Oh yeah it can make phone calls too.

Back to Northwood playoffs Saturday and Sunday. I just noticed I've been typing and browsing for an hour and my hands are good!