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.
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.
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.