Saturday, April 19, 2014

Finding My Mojo!

My work schedule is allowing for us to attend 'tech sessions' at Foci and we're both happy about that. There's so much good information we're exposed to during these 90-minute presentations. I brought along my video camera to record some of what we saw so I could link to it on Foci's Facebook page for others to see.

Swedish Overlay with Eoin Breadon

I woke up Thursday morning feeling more tired than usual. After feeding the pups and letting them outside, I proceeded to plop down in front of my laptop and waste the next 3 hours clicking away. I really hate when that happens especially when I've got a dozen other things I need to check off of my to-do list. I recovered somewhat and went down on my CompuTrainer for a late afternoon ride to assuage some of the guilt I was feeling. It worked!

Friday morning would not be a repeat of Thursday. I was out the door for a walk with the pups before 9:00 and on my bike before 11:00 after allowing for the temp to creep up just a tad from where it began the day. It was a breezy morning but I kept my focus on my watts and let my average speed (the number I used to be a slave to) sort itself out. Halfway through the ride, as I turned out of the wind to head for home I noticed I'd been averaging 16.5 mph. I was pleased.

I got home and wasted little time getting out in the garage for an afternoon spent organizing stuff that had been piling up. It was time well spent. I love the feeling of being organized. I still need to get up in the loft in the garage for some much-needed attention there but that can wait for another day.

I was still feeling my mojo this morning and continued where I'd left off yesterday by knocking off a few more jobs on my to-do list before the beginning of my work-week this afternoon. I got nearly everything done and made it to work with 2 minutes to spare!

Tammy has a nasty head-cold that I'm hoping to avoid but I know it's almost pointless to try.

Rachel and Tony are in the cities tonight attending a roller-derby event. It sounds fun! She sent me a photo and text earlier from Snuffy's in St Paul where we used to go many years ago when she was taking violin lessons. They're planning to come over afterward and spend the night with us. I warned them about Tammy/Mom so the ball is in their court but I'm hoping they throw caution to the wind and come by anyway.

Wishes for a blessed Easter for those who find meaning in this day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Has Arrived!

I was back at Twin Cities Orthopedics Monday morning to have my right knee looked at yet again. I was last there 17 months ago when I was considering stem cell therapy for my knee and wanted to get a more educated opinion about going that route. Stem cell therapy looks promising but as my doctor cautions me, it lacks enough case studies to support its efficacy. He doesn't feel it's ready for primetime. I have a friend at work who's had it done and swears by it so I'm a little conflicted about it.

Dr. Johnson took another round of Xrays and suggested I consider a corticosteroid injection. He said the cartilage in my right knee has deteriorated to where there are areas where it's nonexistent. I asked him about Synvisc and he said that would also be a good course of action but that my health insurance provider will require me to have the steroid injection first. I agreed to give it a try.

He stressed that my cycling is the best thing I can do for my knee and to keep at it. Keeping the muscles strong that support the joint is crucial to its health. I don't know if he really appreciates how hard I ride though. I'm considering fewer hard days on the bike and more days where I allow myself to soft-pedal through a workout but it seems I've had this discussion with myself before. It's so much easier said than done but the thought of not being able to bike isn't one I want to think of so I have little choice.

Speaking of biking, it's never been more dangerous out there for those of us who love this form of recreation. Look no further than my video from one of last week's rides to understand why I say that. If I had to guess, I would say the driver of the truck in that crash was likely preoccupied with their phone. It's that sort of lack of attention which leaves me feeling even more vulnerable than just a few years ago. Fortunately, airbags protected both drivers from serious injury in the crash I witnessed. To increase my odds of continued safe riding, I've added a Dinotte taillight to my bike. It's so incredibly bright that it's not for night use. The flashing of this light should do lots to alert people of my presence well in advance. It can't hurt I figure.

We were in the studio on Thursday morning and had the place all to ourselves. We kinda liked that.

I got a text from Rachel while we were there asking if we'd like to meet her for coffee when we were done. I told her we were both pretty grubby looking but yes, it would be nice to see her. I too often forget that she works in Minneapolis three days each week just a few miles from us when we're at Foci. There's a coffee shop in the same building where she works so we settled in there catching up over some drinks and eats. It's always nice to see her!

Some warm air finally settled in over us this past week if only for a few days. I took advantage of it by going out for a longish, nearly 12-mile walk on Thursday afternoon. It was so nice to feel the sun on my face. I even got the deck furniture out and fired up the grill. It's almost as if a weight has been lifted now that our oppressive winter is no more with the exception of some still mostly frozen lakes; a chilly reminder of the winter that was.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Last Dance and an Alert GoPro

I was thinking that because of our lingering winter it would likely be April before I'd be able to get up on the roof and take down our Christmas lights. One more day and it would've been! I'm glad to say that the job is nearly done thanks to some very welcomed mild temps earlier in the week. We've still got some lights buried under snow which needs to melt before I can get to them.  70º on Wednesday should make a good dent in whatever snow remains. This was the view Thursday morning after 7" of snow fell overnight. I got the snowblower out for (hopefully) one last workout before putting it away until next winter.

Rachel starts a new job in May working as a medical scribe at the People's Center in Minneapolis. From this link: "A medical scribe's primary duties are to follow a physician through his or her workday and chart patient encounters in real-time using a medical office's Electronic Health Record and existing templates."  It should be a nice addition to her resumé when she begins applying to PA schools in another year. It pays fairly well, too. We're really happy for her that she got this position. It's going to give her such a good experience, shadowing a doctor throughout the day and watching firsthand the doctor/patient interaction.

She's finishing up her last ballroom dance competition as I write this. She and her group are down in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the weekend. I got a text earlier today saying she and her partners are doing well: "Iowa dancesport classic, I placed 1st with Tim in bronze and silver level Latin. His first time doing the style against maybe 24 other couples. I got 2nd and 3rd in rhythm cha cha and swing with jimmy and made finals with the rest of my partners."

It's a little nostalgic for her considering it's the end of the line for her college ballroom experience; she's gotten a little teary-eyed at times she said. I do hope she finds a way to continue dancing. Maybe it'll take a few years before her life settles down enough for that to happen but I'm confident she'll find a way to keep alive this important part of who she is. I sure hope so!

I had an interesting ride on Friday afternoon. I took my Mukluk out into a stiff northwest wind toward Prior Lake, not sure how clear our roads would be after 7" of snow the night before. The roads were fine and I could've easily been on one of my road bikes but I didn't mind the extra weight of my fat-tire bike. I was waiting for the light to change at the intersection of Highway 13 and County Rd 42 with my head down checking my phone for messages when I heard a horn honk followed by the distinct sound of metal smashing into metal. I looked up just in time to see one of the vehicles involved rolling slowly to a stop. Sure enough, my GoPro was pointed right at the collision and I was sure it caught the entire incident (video embedded below).

I waited to be sure the intersection was clear before proceeding across and setting my bike aside before checking to see that both drivers were okay. They appeared to be fine although I'm sure they were both pretty rattled. I told them each that I didn't actually see the crash but that I was pretty sure my GoPro did. I gave them my email address so they could contact me later once I'd processed and uploaded the video. I planned to provide them both with a link. The driver of the truck never emailed me.

I was a little disappointed to see that nobody else was getting out of their vehicles to rush to the two people involved in the crash to check on their condition. No doubt calls were made to 911 but still, I would've expected a little more help from the people at the scene. The driver in the Hummer directly behind the Mazda that was hit didn't actually drive off as it appears from the video. She went to park her vehicle then came back to tell the police what she saw.

Two officers arrived on the scene in probably less than 5 minutes but it seemed to take much longer. One of the officers took my name and phone number. He would eventually call me a few times in the two days since getting information on the crash and the video. He said that in his 27 years of working as a cop he's never had something like the video I took to work with. I told him that I pretty much leave my camera roll all the time now when I'm out on the road. It may do nothing to save me but I figure it can't hurt.

The driver of the truck was at fault having blown through a red light. The woman who was hit was turning left on a green arrow. Both of them were adamant that they weren't to blame. I think the video shows it's pretty clear that one of them was mistaken.