A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more


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A few Thoughts in the Aftermath


Just a thought, something to think about:

16996455_10154384967016593_6380890565890889414_nI was not in an accident. “Accident” implies something unpreventable, unavoidable.

I was in a crash, a collision.

Everything about what happened on Friday was 100% preventable.

I was traveling at nearly 23 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. There was no reason for the vehicle to pass me.

I clocked it on the video. Seven seconds elapsed from the time she began to pass me until the point we collided.

In no more than two more seconds, had we not collided, I would have passed the entrance to the parking lot. Had she waited behind me instead of passing me she would have reached the parking lot entrance three seconds later than she did by passing me.

She risked my life to try to save three seconds.

If I had been in a car traveling 23 miles per hour, two miles per hour under the limit, she would not have even considered passing me.

Fact is, I am not aware of any Bike/Car collisions that were not preventable if either the motorist, the cyclist, or both had exercised a little more care, attention and consideration.

Is the life of a cyclist really not worth three seconds of your time?

Mental Changes

The collision occurred at about noon on this past Friday.  It is Wednesday morning as I write this.

In the five days since the collision I have run through every imaginable emotion.

In the immediate aftermath I tried to make the people around me more comfortable.  I was joking with the police officers and EMTs.  I was lighthearted and casual on the phone with Missus.  I was trying to reassure them and myself that I was ok.

Then I was frightened.  I was in pain.  More pain, covering more of my body than I can remember ever experiencing before.  I was starting to feel the effects of the concussion and that frightened me.

in waves came despair, anger, fear and more anger.  I was confused, felt guilty for getting hit, worried in turns about getting on the bike again, worried about missing work….

I really don’t know how I will feel when I am able to ride again and I get on a bike for that first ride.

I do know how Missus will feel.

She watched her husband get on his bike and ride off.  She fully expected that she would see me in about two hours, tired but smiling and ready for a shower.  If she got a call during the ride it would be a mechanical problem I couldn’t fix on the road and a “please come get me”.

Now when I go out the door and she watches me go down the road she will fear an entirely different phone call.

I won’t forgive the motorist for that.

On The Grand Scale.

This is not all that bad.  I am alive.  I should be grateful and move on I suppose.  I get that sense from some of the comments I hear.

A friend and cycling buddy suffered a far worse collection of injuries from a car/bicycle collision.  EJ was hit when a driver turned in front of him from the left.  It was also a t-bone but where my bike and I were pushed sideways, EJ hit straight on.  The results were nearly fatal.

I know of others who had it worse than me.

I know this but this is me.  This is my trauma.  Make no mistake.  This is a trauma.

My head is feeling the effects of the concussion and will for months.  My left leg is in constant pain.  The damage to the skin will take weeks to heal, months to fully heal. My right shoulder is in steady pain and I face weeks of physical therapy to get the shoulder moving right.   My arms, hands and fingers are all dealing with some sort of physical issue.

And I feel fear about riding again.

SO I get it.  I know that on the GRAND SCALE I am alive, all my injuries will heal, I will be able to ride again and I get to go on with my life.  I know.

But I am hurting.  Physically and emotionally.  I always trusted my riding skills.  I always trusted my decision making skills out of the road.  I believed that my awareness of everything around me would help protect me.  Maybe it did.  Maybe this was the one I could not have prevented.  Maybe this one required the driver to care enough about me as she did about saving three seconds.

 

Peace.  And be safe.


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Another Day, Another Effort.


Back to the Walking

When I started the Journey back in 2011 the first bit of exercise I did was to walk the track at the local high school. Today I did just that. Unlike my first walk, where I struggled to walk one mile, today I walked three miles at a brisk 15-minute mile pace.

Felt good.

With the walking and some hiking, and time on the trainer with the bike, I plan to keep the fitness level up this winter as I continue to shed weight.

Lunch with a Friend from long ago…

Today I went to breakfast with my younger son. It is a Saturday morning tradition for us. The younger fellow and I go to a local landmark diner for breakfast, conversation, some laughs, mostly for time together.

grange-rougeFour hours later I was back at the same place with Missus. We had lunch with a friend of mine from high school. JKS and I were friendly in high school. Not close but always a warm welcome and a how are ya. We had choir together for three years and one summer during our college years we worked at the same plastics plant in the neighboring town. My nickname for her was Twiggy, after the 1960’s supermodel. It always elicited a roll of the eyes…

In any case, we had not seen each other since that long ago summer at the plastics plant and recently reconnected due to Facebook.

Today we met for lunch. Missus and Me and JKS and her husband SS.

I hope they had as good a time as Missus and I did. Good conversation, good food, good company.

I had a Greek Salad.   Very tasty. Very in line with how I like to eat.

Eating out has always been a challenge. Servings are large and it is difficult to estimate how many calories are involved…. I think I did well by eating the salad. The veggie burger and fries was tempting…..

Writing even when I am not sure I have anything to say….

I am committed to writing every day when ever possible to do so. I will write even when I have nothing much to say because I need the discipline that comes with the writing. Bear with me.

As when I first started this blog, there will be days of triumph and days of disappointment and I will write when I am manic and when I am depressed… The point is to write, the chronicle, to keep the light on.

Goals

  • Back to 210 in late spring, early summer
  • 3000 miles on the bike in 2017
  • My first century ride
  • Raise $5,000 for the Ride for Autism
  • Ride the Century in the Light House ride in Maine
  • Run a 10K (Yes, run. Me. Run)

The first one is the tough one.

 

I hope you will keep reading and commenting….

It helps

 

Peace


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14 years ago


the familyApril 5th, 2001 was the last time I saw my father.

We stood on the front porch of the house on a very warm early spring day and watched the children playing in the front yard and Lucky barking at the dog across the street. Dad gave me a pack of film for my camera, we were laughing and enjoying the weather.

Then I went upstairs to dinner.

I never saw my father alive again.

He died the next day; a heart attack in the parking lot of the bank. He died before he hit the ground.

The call from Missus came at about 10:00 AM as best as I can remember. The police had shown up at our door. They told my wife Dad had a heartattack and was rushed to the local hospital. They didn’t tell her he was dead.

I drove from work to the hospital at barely controlled speeds. I don’t clearly remember the drive. I don’t remember much of anything. I only remember the nurse leading me in to a room and telling me that they had done all that they could but my father had died.

And so the hardest day of my life had begun.

I went in to the room where my father was. I stood and sobbed for a few minutes as a nurse steadied me. I then drove home and tried to think how I was going to tell my wife. How was I going to tell The Older Son that his beloved Pop-Pop was gone? We lived in the same house. The Older Son saw Pop-Pop every day. He adored his grandfather. How do you tell a learning disabled child, or any child for that matter, that his grandfather is gone and never coming back?

Missus met me at the door and she saw in my face all that she needed to know. I told her that he was gone; he had died. And we stood in the doorway and we cried.

I sat with The Older Son, not yet ten years old and I told him that Pop-Pop had become very sick and had to go to heaven and could never come back to see us. Tears were in his eyes but he didn’t cry. I didn’t know if he understood. Months later The Older Son would ask me if Pop-Pop could come home.

Now I had to call my family and the family friends and I had to tell the people at work. Dad and I worked together. Everyone knew my father, some for 25, 30 years; some for longer.

The first person I tired to call was my eldest brother, PC. No answer on his cell phone. Not sure how I came across his work number but I called him there. Out to lunch. I had to call SR, my father’s girlfriend. She was expecting him to be at her home in the early afternoon. I don’t remember if I told her before I told PC. The day soon became a blur.

I called SR and told her. “Dad had a heart attack, he’s gone, he didn’t make it”. She started to cry and begged me to tell her I was kidding. I think I called her son and told him. He was working in Maryland at the time. He left immediately for NYC to be with his mother.

PC called me back and had me on speakerphone. I asked him to please pick up and I told him exactly what I had told SR. It had become my script. My brother’s reaction was shock and I could hear the strain and pain in his voice. I could also tell that he was struggling to keep it together.

The hardest call was to my Aunt. I didn’t know how to reach her. She worked at a bank and I had no idea where. I called her son, my cousin, and spoke with his wife who gave me the number to reach my aunt. ES, my cousin’s wife, called my cousin.

I should have waited. I should have told him and asked him to tell his mother. I wasn’t thinking very clearly. I called my Aunt and they put my call into her office and I told her that her brother had died. She began to scream and cry and became hysterical. Fortunately, my cousin on getting the news immediately headed to the bank. They would later tell my grandmother.

What followed over the next few hours were more phone calls. A call to my sister, PS. She cried but regained her composure. She offered to tell our brother, BM. I was relieved to take at least that call off the list. I have always felt guilty for not making that call. Somehow, I feel I didn’t live up to an obligation.

Aunts, Uncles, cousins, co-workers, friends….

I don’t know how many calls I made. I don’t know how many calls I received.

PC arrived at my house in the mid-evening hours. He had reached his wife who had flown to Texas with their three children to spend Passover with her sister and now had to turn around and get to New Jersey.

BM and PS and their spouses were getting flights arranged. My 89-year-old grandmother was preparing to make what would prove to be her last trip, to bury her son.

As the night drew to a close I climbed in to bed physically and mentally exhausted.

I don’t remember much of the next several days.

I remember that day in chunks and vignettes. I remember the agony I heard in the voices of the people I called. I remember the awful pain of having to say again and again “my father had a heart attack, he’s gone, he didn’t make it”.

I would relive April 5th for several years after he died . I asked myself time and again if there were signs I missed. Was there anything I should have seen? Should I have realized that he was close to a heart attack? If I had been paying closer attention might I have realized that he needed to get to a hospital on April 5th so he might have lived past April 6th?

Slowly I have come to accept that there was nothing. No hints. He was happy, laughing, looked well, seemed to feel well. He was moving and acting and looking normal.

I can still hear his voice and his laugh.

I am in the same industry where my father spent his career. I still come across people who knew him. They all knew the same man. They speak of his honesty, his fairness, and his integrity. They speak of his brilliant mind, gentle nature, sense of humor, storytelling ability and his generous nature.

Fourteen years have gone by. I have missed him every single day.

He was my father, my mentor, my guide. I followed in his footsteps in the plastics industry. He lead the way, taught me the industry, taught this Theater Major to think like an engineer, a manager, a leader.

Far more important than my career, he was the example of what a father should be. Dad was firm but loving. He would get loud only when the situation truly warranted it. He was steady, strong, and gentle and devoted. His love for us was never in question. He worked two jobs when we were young. At a factory Monday through Friday and waiting tables in the Catskills on Weekends. Somehow he still managed to share a lunar eclipse with me when I was five, still managed to come to my championship Little League game when I was ten. He never missed a single play I was in. He made every concert his four children were in. He never let us feel that anything came before his family.

He took us hiking and camping. He became a scoutmaster so he could spend that time with his boys.

His love of music and theater was shared with all of us. One day he even, grudgingly, admitted to liking the Beatles.

Fourteen years and the wounds are still raw. I do still, once in awhile, wonder if I should have seen something, some clue…
Fourteen years later I still wonder if I could have told people more gently.
Fourteen years later I still think to myself “I should ask dad…”, oh yeah.

I look at my siblings and I know Mom and Dad would be proud. PC, BM, PS and I have all grown to a productive adulthood. PC has raised three children to productive adulthood. I see in my siblings the generous spirit of my parents. I hear my fathers voice in the stories we tell, the laughter we share. I see my mother in the family ties and the gatherings we all seem to have, and our shared tendency to show our love for friends and family with food.

After my father passed away one of my mother’s cousins told my brother PC “J and H batted four-for-four”. They had raised four children in difficult times and had raised four good people.

Fourteen years. I miss my father. I miss him everyday. Every day I find myself trying to live up to the example he set.

I guess there is no better tribute than that.


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The Journey, The Shoulder, The Winter and the Coming of Spring


The Journey

Long time. How are ya?
This winter….

Despite the impression some may have, I am not done with my Journey. I took a break from writing because I wasn’t sure I had much to say. After this difficult winter, the pressures of my job (I got a promotion!) and the depression I have been dealing with over some physical issues, it just wasn’t in me to write. I am still working on a healthy life, eating right, moving more. I did gain weight this winter, a little over 20 pounds, but nothing like the weight I have lost and nothing that sets me too far back of my plans and goals or discourages me. I knew from the start that I would have successes, failures, victories and setbacks. Admittedly, this winter was not a victory and it was not a success. It is not how many times you fall that determines success. It is how many times you get back up. I keep getting back up. I am back up now.

The Journey, as I have said from the first, is a life-long thing. There is no final stop but there are many stops along the way. I know what I want from the Journey. I know what I want from me. I want to be fit. I want to be reasonably lean, 200-210 pounds. I want to eat right and still enjoy what I eat but in smaller portions and without snacking and indulgence.

I want to encourage other and to be encouraged by other. I want to recognize in myself the issues that have driven the obesity. Why I overeat if I let my guard down. I want to be optimistic but cautious and practical in my approach. I want to ride my bike, go on hikes, be comfortable in my skin and happy with the course my life is taking.

I see in some people a disturbing tendency to revel in the failures, misfortunes, missteps and pain of others. I feel sad for those people. Sad and twisted little beasts who cannot enjoy the success of others because their own life is hollow and riddled with failures they cannot see as their own.

When I learned that I am responsible for all that I am I was able to start this Journey and make of it what it is. It is a ride. I have had up days and down. I have lost weight, gained a little back, lost it again, gained a little back….. I blame no one because this is not an issue for blame. It is a part of life, my life, my Journey.

Anyway, Hi, I am back and I hope you will stop by and read a little….

My Right Shoulder

A couple of years ago while doing longer rides I started to experience pain in my right shoulder and between my shoulder blades. In 2013, while riding the NYC Century, the pain became so sharp that I nearly abandoned the ride at the 35-mile mark.   I continued on despite it all and I was able to ride 75 miles. It was a week before the shoulder stopped hurting. It has been a constant issue since then and it has really caused issues with my riding. Anything over 35-40 miles and the pain in the shoulder and between the shoulder blades became hell. The pain in the shoulder became a constant companion. Something like a dull toothache with occasional flares of eye-crossing pain. Since I crashed last summer there has not been a day without some pain in the shoulder. Since last fall it has been a steady presence.

I finally went to the Doctor about it last week.

The news was not good but it could have been worse.

Torn Labrum

Bursitis

Arthritis (this getting old stuff…)

 

A cortisone shot has helped with the bursitis. We are taking a wait and see with the rest of it.

The upshot is that I was able to ride yesterday for the first time in a long time. I did a short ride, fifteen miles, and I didn’t push it but I rode and I didn’t have pain in the shoulder.

This is a victory.

I am out of shape, carrying 20 pounds more than I want to, but I rode and it didn’t hurt.

It’s a start.

Winter

Maybe winter is finally leaving? We had snow just a few days ago. Not much, an inch on the lawns, sidewalks and cars…

But still snow.

My mother used to have the “winter blues”. Today they call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I too do not deal with the long winters as well as some. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have SAD but I don’t like the winters the way I once did. I didn’t do any cross-country skiing this winter; I didn’t ride my bike at all. I went outside only so much as necessary. And this has been the winter that refuses to end.

Yesterday made it to the low 60s and I rode my bike for the first time since last November. It is a grey day today but warm enough to ride and I will get in another hour ride today. Tomorrow I will hike with my friend PGB. Starting to get outside again. Starting to get fresh air in my lungs.

It is finally feeling like spring. Finally feeling like there will be warm sun on me.

Though my ride yesterday was short it was a great feeling. The wind over me, the legs pumping, the heart beating harder the lungs pulling in the air… I love the feel of sweeping through a turn, bike leaning, tires digging in to the road. I got that feeling yesterday and though I only averaged around fourteen and half miles per hour I did have short stretches of good speed. And it felt wonderful. It was the type of first ride of the year that makes you want to get back out the next day.

So, yeah, winter seems to be leaving and spring, though a little later to the party, seems to be bringing with it the excitement I usually feel when spring and cycling season arrive…

The Journey…

Peace


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Three Days


 Back at it.

I am back at it.  Three days.  Back to the plan, focused back on the goal.  Eating Right, Eating Less, Moving More.  I have pulled my calorie intake back to weight loss mode (sub-2000 calories) and I am making the point to do laps of the plant floor a few times a day.  Started Monday Morning.  3.6 pounds back off as of this morning.

I am not sure why I drifted.  Tired? Stressed?  Both?  Don’t know, and this is what concerns me.  For more than two years I was able to stick to it and then I drifted off and put 20 pounds back on much faster than I took it off.  Scary and frustrating.

Back at it.

Eat Right.  Eat Less.  Move More.

I know how to do this and so I am doing it.  I am making it happen again because getting fat again is not something I can allow or will allow to happen.  I didn’t like begin fat.  I was miserable, depressed, sad….

Since I lost the weight I have felt better physically, mentally, emotionally……  All ways imaginable.  Riding the bikes, climbing the hills. Hiking the trails and paths are all things I could do fat and I am not going to give them up.

I had gotten up to 230.2 pounds.  This morning I was 226.6.  Tomorrow? Well, who knows.  All I do know is I am back at it.  Eat Right.  Eat Less.  Move More.

I will get back under 210.  There is no option for failure.

 

Peace


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Time, Life, Moving along, a Reminder of the circle of life and Hikes and My Annual Maudlin List of Thanks


Time

I have been a busy fellow.

I have been working 11-12 hours per day at my regular job.  Many reasons.  We have much to do and the goals are high.  We have all been pushing to improve operations and we are making headway but it makes for long, long days.  I have stopped working at the bike shop for now.  I need the time off to rest on weekends.  The shop owner has been very good about giving me this time off.  I have been off from my regular job the last five days.  I burned off my last vacation day for the year on Wednesday and the plant has been closed since Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

This adds up to five much-needed days of rest.

Now I have the energy and the time to sit and write  blog post.  See how neatly this all fits?

Life gets in the way

I have been trying to get the time to work on this blog.  I know I haven’t posted in a long while.  Really I have been just too tired and too wrapped up in my day-to-day to sit and put my mind at rest enough to write.  It’s a shame because I love writing this blog and it just hasn’t been in me to write.

I have also gotten careless and lazy.  I haven’t been recording my weight or what I have been eating and the result is that I gained back 20 pounds.  I am very unhappy about this but I am working hard to take it back off and get focused back on the plan and the goal.  There  are a great many reasons and excuses for this.  The truth is I simply lost focus.  Life got in the way.  Work at both jobs, stress, a battle with the Black Dog…  I lost focus.  I am getting back to the focus now.

Moving Along

A co-worker at the bike shop, the fellow who brought me in to the shop as an employee, the fellow who sold me my Trek Madone two years ago, is moving along.  He has been at the shop two or three years and he has decided it is time to move on.  He has taken a “dream job” with a bicycle company and will be moving to the Midwest.  NP has been a source of support, information and inspiration for the last two plus years and I have enjoyed working with him the last year plus.

Missus and I met with NP and his Missus this morning at a mutually favorite place for breakfast.  It is actually the first time we have gotten together socially.  It was enjoyable.  We chatted about the shop, about his new job, the move to the new area, the adventures he and his Missus have in front of them.  We laughed a good deal, Missus and I enjoyed their company a great deal and we wished them the very best and asked them to stay in touch.  Missus sent them off with a couple dozen of her famous chocolate chip cookies.

We all meet people in our lives who in a quiet way help you move along.  NP was one of those people for me.  Though a far more skilled and faster rider than I am, NP never declined an opportunity to ride with me, never showed impatience with my struggles up hills, never failed to listen attentively to my dumbest questions.  He helped me a good deal to move along in my cycling life and along my Journey.

Now he is moving along to a great adventure and opportunity.

I hope we do stay in touch.

The Circle of Life

Wally and I met the first week or so of our freshman year of high school.  He introduced himself to me by saying (in a deep bass voice no 14-year old should have) “HI, I’m Big Wally”.  I responded “yes, yes you are” and a friendship was born.  We would remain friends for the next 35 years.

Thanksgiving Day would have been Wally’s 54th birthday.  He died in 2010.  It was a tough Thanksgiving for me in any case.  No friends or family for Thanksgiving dinner, nowhere to go for the holiday.  Just a quiet day with Missus and the boys.  That it was also Wally’s birthday made the day darker and harder.

The next morning I learned that old friends of ours were presented with their second Grandchild.  On Thanksgiving Day.  On Wally’s birthday.

My mood lifted.  I now have a happy thought to go with November 27.  I will always think of Wally on that day.  Now I will also think about my friends and their second Grandchild.

You can always find a happier memory to soften the harsh memories.

The circle of life.

Hiking

??????????MT and PGB and I went for a hike today.  Seven or so miles, some climbing, on snowy, slushy, sloppy, and sometimes icy trails.  It was chilly but not COLD and it was a good brisk hike that soon had us opening our jackets and taking off our gloves.

??????????

Though it was a gray day, it was not a bad day for a hike.  There were a great number of people on the trails with us today and everyone seemed to be enjoying the day.  I think everyone was also surprised as we were at the number of people out and about.

??????????

The hike was fun, pure and simple.  MT and PGB are intelligent and knowledgeable on a range of topics so the conversation is good.  The park we went to, Harriman State Park in New York State, is not all that far from us and it presents some challenging trails and some easy trails and some of the views are spectacular.  The three of us have hiked it together several times and PGB and I have hiked it together a few times as well.  I always enjoy the hikes.

??????????

Today was not a difficult hike but it was a hike that demanded our attention.  The trail was slippery from the recent snow and the warming temperatures had turned some areas to slush and some areas wore a thin layer of ice.  Concentration and attention to the trail was important today.  At the end of the hike I was tired.  I also felt great!

??????????

Cycling has become painful for me due to some issues with my right shoulder so I need hiking to tide me over while I allow the shoulder to heal (or not).  Last time I went on a hike with PGB and MT, about three weeks ago, I had some problems with an erratic heartbeat.  I have had the issue for years and it is not anything that I worry about.  It just flares up and saps my energy when it does.  That hike was difficult.  I was very tired and the climbs were difficult due to the heartbeat thing.  As suddenly as the flare-ups occur is how suddenly they stop and the next day I was fine.

The heartbeat thing hasn’t reared up since that day and it left me alone today.  I was able to climb and hike strongly and I felt good throughout.  So yes, I was tired but I felt strong and I came out of the woods energized.

My Annual Maudlin List of Thanks, 2014 Edition

I am thankful for my boys.

The Younger One is growing in to a pleasant young man who has a level of kindness and patience in him that he certainly did not inherit from me.

The Older One is loving, sweet and funny.  The last year has been difficult but he has settled down a little bit as the new medications have helped.  He still will always face challenges and life will always be shaped by his needs but the love we get from him and the beauty he brings to our lives is immeasurable.

I am thankful that Missus and I are still together after 26 years.  No marriage lasts this long without some major bumps in the road.  I am glad that we always seem to find a way to smooth them over.

I am thankful for my siblings. PCG, BMS, and PCS are good, caring and loving people.  It is an unfortunate fact that we are scattered across the country and we do not see each other as often as we would like.

I am thankful for my siblings-in-law. KBS, who has been in a part of my life for longer than nearly anyone I am not a blood relation to (except for JKN and KEB), and who is much more a sister than a sister-in-law, CBS, whose company I truly enjoy and who I wish we could see more often (if she wants to bring my brother along that is ok), and GG, with whom I know I would be close friends if he didn’t live 3000 miles away.

I am thankful for my nephews and my niece.  MS, GS, and NS are wonderful people.  Caring, intelligent, loving and committed.  They are proof that involved and loving parents raise good children.  I am proud to be their Uncle and thankful that they seem to enjoy spending some time with me.

I am thankful they have J, A and H in their lives.  I adore J and A and I am truly happy that MS and GS have such wonderful ladies in their lives.  I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know H but I look forward to it.

I am thankful for my Grand-Niece.  She is a real cutie and I am excited by the opportunity to watch her grow.

I am thankful that I have the world’s best Mother-in-law.  She is a caring and wonderful lady.  She has never once interfered in our lives but has always been there for us. I am thankful that at Ninety she is still with us and still sharp.  NC is a pretty great sister-in-law.

I am thankful for SR.  She is a Grandmother to the boys and a friend and advisor to us.  She is involved, supportive and loving to all 5 of her “grandchildren” and we are all better for it. And I am grateful that I have formed such a good friendship with her son.

I am thankful for our group of friends.  The last few years have seen our group shrink for a variety of reasons but those remaining are dear to me and I am truly thankful to have them in my life.

I am thankful for the 39 years of friendship with the girl with the yellow rose.  Everyone should have in their life a friend who will embrace you when you are down, smack you out of it and hold you while you steady yourself.  We are that for each other.  I never doubt that when I need her she well be there.

I am thankful for the 41 years of friendship with The Little Girl Next Door. I have not been the friend to her that I should have been over the last year plus but she has understood and she has accepted.  I am thankful that she is finding her bearings again after her loss.

I am thankful for The Teacher.  She is a good friend and though we don’t see one another often, I know she is there and I am thankful that she will kick me when a kick is what I need.

I am thankful that SS has HH and I am thankful that I can call them both my friends.

I am thankful CRF has MF and that they are both my friends.

I am thankful for the friendship with NI.  He is a true friend and a great partner in cycling crime.  The good times and the laughter do not seem to have an end.

I am thankful for the friendship of The Friends.  My hikes with PGB and MT and our occasional dinners are a critical part of my journey.

I am Thankful that MTT found UJT and that they have committed to a life together.  Though MTT and I are not as close as we were years ago he is still my third brother and always will be.  His joy in his life is a joy I share.

I am thankful for and grateful to BP and CB.  Welcoming me in to the CC family and their support, patience and encouragement is deeply appreciated.  They have helped me on my Journey in more ways than I can list.

I am thankful that when the new ownership of my company “cleaned house” I was one of the few left standing.  I see good things ahead and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to “show my stuff”.  That is all anyone can ask for.

I am thankful that I have seen the age of 53 and will soon cross 54 in good health and fit and trim.  The Journey continues and despite some setbacks and stumbles, it moves along. I am thankful that I have a family that understands that I need to cycle and hike and they are patient and forgiving of my time away from them to do this.

I am thankful that I can laugh and love and write and talk and can be with friends and family.

I am especially thankful that my friends and family have made it through since last Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for life and the richer place that it is because of the people who are readings this.

Back on the Journey, back on the path, back towards the goal.

Peace.


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Losing Myself


A Hard Stretch

I haven’t written in a very long time. I just haven’t had my brain in the game.

I will not make excuses. I have put on 15 pounds and I am not pleased with myself. I know why. I have been eating too damned much. And I know why I have been doing that. The Black Dog has won a few rounds recently.

I have been working 12-14 hour days at my regular job. I have been working Saturday and Sunday at the bike shop.

When I take time off on the weekend it has been for organized rides or to attend to family responsibilities.

What I have not been doing is taking time for me.

And I am paying a price. Maybe a very high price.

I am exhausted. My abnormal heartbeats have returned. I am not sleeping at night. If I had much hair I am sure it would be falling out.

It is hard to put to words exactly what I have been feeling. Almost numb but not numb enough.

Vacation would be good but I am out of vacation time.

This has been a hard stretch and I don’t see an end.

I took Sunday off this past weekend. I had hoped to do the Tour De Bronx, a nice relaxed pace ride around The Bronx, but shoulder pain is keeping me off the bike right now. I hiked instead. MT and PB, my hiking partners of the past couple of years, and I went on a hike here in North Jersey. 7 miles or so. Not too difficult. Fun. When the hike ended, we went to lunch and shared some good conversation. I didn’t really want the afternoon to end but they went their way and I went home. Reorganized and rearranged our bedroom. Relaxed.

Not nearly enough but it helped.

Yes, this has been a hard stretch.

Finding me.

The last couple of months I have had the sense that I am having trouble finding my center.

In the past just being on the bike has been enough for me to clear my mind, correct my mood, get me centered.

Lately it has not worked.

Riding has been painful. My right shoulder. The muscles between my shoulder blades.

I last rode three weekends ago. My shoulder still hurts. Deep in the joint.

Cycling never hurt before.

Now it is hurting every time I ride and I am developing a fear of the pain.

I am trying to rest the body, give it time to heal, give me time to rest.

But not cycling hurts the mind. I miss the feeling of the bike under me. I miss the rides.

The last time I was off the bike for any length of time was in 2012 when I injured my knee. I am not enjoying this right now anymore than I did then.

So I have to find a way to find me. A way to blow out the buildup of stress. Away to clear my mind. I need to find a way to focus on me so I can focus on my family, my friendships, my life that does not include working.

I have 15 pounds to lose.

I have a mind to refocus.

I have much to do.

 

Peace.