Category Archives: Uncategorized

Still Here

Feeling pretty well today, so I decided to pedal a few errands.  It wasn’t easy to get out the door.  I could run through the process, but the punchline is this–I was scared.  I hung a few charms on body and bike–a bright orange hoodie for me and blinkies front and rear for my ANT Light Roadster.  After adding some air to the tires, I was off.

Down Western to the library to return a book–a Murakami novel Lacey had finished.  Next northwest to my friend’s home.  I wasn’t able to say hi, but I am glad to have tried.  Then west to the garden.  Chill in the air reminded me it is about time to take the hoses home.  Peppers, tomatoes, crowder peas and greens are still producing, but the warm weather lovers are near the end.haul-09-24-16

Finally home.

Our driveway never looked so welcoming.  It was outwardly a very nice ride.  All road users were super safe and polite.  No racing engines.  No close passes.  No horns.  Thank you.  I needed that.

Inside wasn’t so tranquil.  I was on edge.  I did things like stop when I had the right of way to make eye contact with with a motorist before proceeding though an intersection.  Zero assumptions were made.  I can’t pedal that tentatively forever, but I hope I won’t stray far from it.

Although today’s ride wasn’t the most fun I’ve had on a bicycle, I was very glad to be out there.

I haven’t driven a car yet.  I’m as nervous about that as I am pedaling.  Those pesky things are simply too heavy and fast.  So much responsibility.  I’ve long felt that way but do a bit more so today.  But I will drive and I will do so very safely.  As I always do, but there may be a bit of extra caution added around the edges.  At times I may go a bit under the speed limit.  While stopped, I may look three times before traveling through intersections.  Etc.

Frida’s rememberation station is to my right as I type.  Lacey and I paid a formal visit to it earlier today and she asked if I had thanked Frida for helping me through my collision.  I had already bowed there in gratitude, but I spoke the words this time.  I will continue to thank her and the sum total of the world for helping me through that awful day.

I wrote to Joe Bell to ask if he’d repair and repaint the Rivendell.  He said it was toast–it would never be the same.  I appreciated his candor.  He suggested I remove the head badge as a memento.  It is a swell badge.rivendell-headbadge-09-23-16

I am going to get back to it.

Thanks for listening.  Be well.

Wrong Time

I enjoyed my loop again today until heading up the hill on 2nd Avenue at Elizabeth.  I was traveling west and a car traveling east turned left into my path.  I was going slow–it is one hell of a hill.  He was going pretty quickly, probably 25 or 30, and didn’t slow much to turn as the turn for him was more than 90 degrees.down-tube

I was hit squarely by the front bumper.  I landed on the hood, traveled to the windshield and ended up, somewhat mysteriously, seated on the roof facing forward.  The glass sunroof was closed, so the driver was subjected to a “glass bottom boat” experience that he never wished for.  At least I wasn’t wearing lycra.

I didn’t hit my head.  My mirror and glasses are fine.  Based on my minor aches and pains, and the fact that (I think) I broke the windshield with my left shoulder, it seems like I executed a pretty textbook stuntman roll.  Not taking credit for it.  Pure luck and physics.  I had all of half a second between the realization and the impact.  I just “went with it.”top-tube

After a minute or so I crawled down off his car.  I felt good.  Scared but good.  Nothing seemed broken.  Only a light abrasion on my left knee and a mild soreness in my right thigh.  I borrowed his phone to call Lacey who came to pick me up.  The driver waited with me.  He was very shaken.  I was in relatively good spirits.  Happy to be alive with working parts, right?

We had a nice chat.  Intense situations allow strangers to cut the bullshit and talk about good, deep things.  We did.  I harbor no ill will.  To my eyes, it was a mistake plain and simple.  I was starting to let it go before I got off the roof of his car.  Thank you, Buddha!  Hands palm to palm, as we say.

Lacey arrived and I made introductions.  Then I said good bye, loaded my bicycle into the car and rode home, where I had a shower, ate breakfast and headed to Urgent Care (out of an abundance of caution).

A bruise on my right thigh was was swelling, but I was pretty sure there were no broken bones.  Five x-rays showed no breaks or fractures.  Even though my head, neck and back felt good, they performed some neurological diagnostics.  Passed. I laughed to myself when they asked what I had for dinner last night.  That’s the kind of question I might not be able to answer in the best of circumstances.  But after one beat, I responded crowder peas, grits and kale.  Sounded good to me.  I was for a moment proud of my meal.

Eight hours later, I am still feeling pretty good.  My shoulder is sore, but not terribly so.  I took one ibuprofen, but probably won’t need another.  My left big toe bled a bit.  Saw that through the sock.  The nail was pushed into the nail bed just a bit.  The toenail may come off.  That is the sorest part on me just now.

Sound the trumpets for my beloved but probably deceased Rivendell custom.  Top tube and down tube are crimped.  One fork blade is crimped at the lug.  One seat stay is now gracefully curved.  The front wheel is out of true but I will try to correct it.  The Brooks Cambium saddle is abraded.  The rest of the components will come off the frame to be held in reserve for another frame in the future.  Rivendell Rodeo or wait and see?  The latter is probably best.  I have a few bikes in reserve.seat-stay

I’ll sound like a broken record, but I’m pretty sure Frida was with me when I was hit.  She was certainly there as I pedaled (I felt strong today), so perhaps she laid her spine along mine to strengthen it during the impact.  Lacey reminds me she was a terrific jumper, and that maybe she carried me safely to the roof of the car.  Yes.  I think that’s right.  Thank you, dearest girl.

Huge thanks to nurse Lacey.  I’ll let the bike frame go.  I’ll try to let Frida go (later).  But I’ll hold onto Lacey, thank you.  Sweetest, lovingest, Lacey, caring for my mind and body.  My treasure of treasures.  Kisses!

That’s it.  I hope that’s the last of it.  Raise a glass for soft landings!

Take care.

Time

I’m still enjoying pedaling the suburban, country, trail and urban loop.  Yesterday was dicey, though.  Dense fog had me going slow and on edge for sixteen of the eighteen miles.  Would have been better if I had lights with me.  As it was, I was solely responsible for my safety.  Kind of like always, but worse.  I won’t go out in predicted fog without good blinkies again.

The longer rides are giving me great condition for the only event I really care about–getting groceries by bike.  Today I hooked up my trailer, talked to a neighbor about his new patio, pedaled to the co-op, bought three bags of groceries (including a lot of bulk stuff which you know takes a bit more time), pedaled home and put the groceries away in under an hour.  Might be a record, but I don’t keep records.  It felt good and that’s enough for me.

Lacey and me recently enjoyed a week at Spitfire Lake with friends.  A magical place.  I was most struck by the quiet.  Motorboats are allowed but there weren’t many.  Maybe ten a day and none after five.  The loons were the loudest thing going most evenings.  It probably helped that it was late in the season and that we stayed Wednesday to Wednesday, but there is no need to analyze it too carefully.  It was perfect.img_4691

The camp is accessible only by boat.  Although our host would have run us to our car if we had wanted to buzz around on day trips, we didn’t want to leave the area and didn’t.  The furthest we strayed was in a canoe through a slough to the western edge of upper St. Regis Lake.  Two hours round trip.  We had set out to find, and found, a dock and a trail that lets visitors connect to a main trail up St. Regis Mountain.  We’ll do that next year.  There is also a nice three mile loop that leaves right from the camp.  Did that twice.  Self propelled adventures are the best.

We also took a small motorized fishing boat through a different slough to Lower St. Regis Lake to enjoy a lunch at Paul Smith’s College.  The cafe is staffed entirely by second year students who rotate through all the jobs.  The food was amazing.  A little too haute for every day eating but as a treat it was just the ticket.

The campers took turns cooking lunches and dinners, but I was happy to get to cook a nice hash in this beauty.  img_4671

The last two camps I’ve been to have had Griswold cast iron skillets.  That will be my next kitchen purchase.  Have to save up a bit.  They are well known and eBay prices are high.  The hash?  Potatoes, carrots, onions, a Padron, garlic scape pesto, tofu and a couple of spoonfuls of marinara gave me a heaping plate of hot, happy breakfast joy.  I should have taken a picture.  Thing was, I was parking my phone in our room and barely touching it.  It was used so sparingly that I didn’t have to charge it for three days!  Try it some time.  Amazing.

We are missing Frida so much.  We’ve set up what we’re calling the Rememberation Station.   Corny, but under the circumstances, we’re allowed.  It contains most everything Frida used during her twelve years with us.  Except her cart.  That I still use most every day.  Makes me sad, but a fella needs to haul things by bike, you know?

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Although we’re not balling our eyes out, there is a baseline weight in my heart that hasn’t varied since we said goodbye.  It will subside but I am not anxious to feel well again.  I want to miss her.

Friends are sending pictures they had on their phones.  We’re loving seeing pictures we haven’t seen before.  Like this one.  img_4745

Send one or a hundred if you have any.  Each one is like a little digital visit from our beloved girl.

Hope you are well.  Speak to you soon.

 

More Time

One year ago we drove an hour and a half to watch our nephew play soccer.  Lacey’s sister had often seen dogs at games at this field, so we didn’t investigate further before bringing Frida.  

We were greeted by a no dogs sign at the gate.  If it weren’t for the drive, we’d have turned around right there.  I like following rules.  But I also hate wasting gas and wanted to see my nephew play.  Someone in line echoed Lacey’s sister and said we should walk right in.  We did.  Phew.  
Frida sat under my chair to stay out of the sun.  15 minutes later an authority type figure said we’d have to leave.   Someone had complained.  Sigh.  We left.  

Flash forward to last weekend.  My nephew was again playing at that field.  We weren’t there but got a report he’d scored four goals and dedicated them to “Frida’s revenge.”  First, four goals.  Wow.   Second, he remembered Frida had been ejected and cared enough to think she needed revenge.   What a sweetie, he is.
Although he scores hat tricks pretty often, I’m going to believe Frida was in his legs on that field.  She finally got to watch him play and help from within his body.  Four legs are better than two.  

I’ll get to watch him play this weekend.  I’m really looking forward to it.  Only wish corporeal Frida could be there with us.  Onward. 

Have a great weekend.  

Oxygen

IMG_4638This morning I pedaled the 18 mile suburban, country, trail, city loop (the “SCTCL”).  Left at 6:00 am, so I didn’t have to share much with anyone.  Four deer, three people and one car (excluding for convenience the people and cars on the final city leg).

I was delighted to find that Frida has inhabited my body and assisted my efforts with her strong legs.  I floated up hills which were previously a struggle.  I cried a little but mostly smiled.  I sang a song about Frida that came to me as I pedaled.  It was beautiful and is now gone.  My favorite kind of song.

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Lacey reminded me that Frida had watched me bike all her life.  For years from the curb and in the last year from her trailer.  Now she can get on the bike and go a bit faster since the trailer full of corporeal dog wasn’t behind us.  Today she saw local sights she had previously not seen despite living here for eleven years.  I think she had a ball.  I did.

Back at home, Lacey mowed the lawn and I took down the Frida proof fence around our backyard garden.  Cleaned up the weeds that were hard to pull because of the fence, and weeds between the rows.  Closer to my standards now.

I can’t thank you enough for all the sweet calls, notes, gestures and comments.   My sincerest hope is I will be able to cook for each and every one of you someday.  You’re all wonderful.

Have a wonderful day.  Maybe Frida will visit you, too, to say thanks in person for all you’ve done for her.  Maybe you’ll pedal a bit faster, sit a bit more quietly or enjoy more than ever before a walk in your town.

A tip of my hat to you from the three of us here in Albany.

Next Day

Decant a good ferment on a cloudy day when sour is in the air.  Like today.  Four quarts sauerkraut and four pints of beets.

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Except it’s hard, under those conditions, to make a good photo.  I think the photo below is from the first day Frida was in our lives.  Early days, anyway.

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Frida hasn’t visited me yet.  I’ve been really still, listening.  No dreams either.  I’m patient.  Lacey is feeding me memories–a life sustaining IV drip.  I’m stitching together our video clips of Frida into a movie.  Twelve minutes so far.  I could watch it on a loop for days.  Glad I don’t have a VR headset or I would sink into it.  The mail carrier left in our box yesterday a letter from Hearts United (the shelter that shared Frida with us).  Just a periodic request for support, but it was spooky and heartwarming.  Friends on the other coast called Little Anthony’s and had them deliver pizza, ziti, salad and garlic bread.  It tasted so good.  So many kind notes from warm souls. Thank you all very much.  It really helps to know you’re out there.

I’m going to be with Lacey now.  Have a great day.  Speak to you soon.

Frida’s Passed

I don’t have words.IMG_8193

Maybe someday, but not today.

We’ll be fine.  This is “not our first rodeo.”  But we’ve never done it with this girl, at this stage of life and in this situation.  So I am open to the possibility of being not fine.  But if I had to place a bet, I’d bet on us.

Thanks in advance for your kind words and support.  Speak to you soon.