Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Damn Cold Run - 1-18-2020

This morning started out at -5*F, yeah negative numbers on the donut, but Bennie didn't seem too bothered by it - well at first. About 100 yards up the road, he suddenly developed a bad limp in his back left leg, which miraculously stopped bothering him once we turned around. When he starts the fake exaggerated limping, I get the message that he wants to turn around.

Darn dawg. :-)

On his second walk we did the full mile even though it was still only about 2*F, without the wind it isn't really bad, but it was still cold. Bennie was a real trooper and seemed to enjoy being outside even though it was that cold out. However, by the time we got back he was shivering pretty good, so going any further was not an option even though he pulled a little to keep going up the road. I forced the right turn into the driveway.

However, I was very impressed by my Pixel 3a's camera as you can see by the two photos below. I have always liked the old VW van in the field down-back, but couldn't believe how clear the zoom was.

Once we got back to the house, I made sure that Bennie warmed up and stopped shivering, then I decided to go for a run.

Since we had to leave in about an hour, I didn't have time to go into the gym in Augusta and run on the treadmill, so I bundled up and headed out the door. The temp according to our thermometer was 4*F and with that slight breeze -- yeah, it was slightly chilly.

The biggest problem really wasn't the cold, it was the footing on the road, it was more ice than the road, so I just went slow, which was really a good thing, because the hamstring and left leg really wasn't grumbling, but never loosened up either.

Somehow in spite of everything, I managed to get 2.0 miles done.

Which was enough.

I was starting to develop the icicles on the eyelashes and while I didn't really feel cold, I wasn't warming up either, so it was time to shut it down and get cleaned up.

We had to drive over an hour to attend a Celebration of Life for our neighbor who passed away in December. It is tough going to those kinds of things when the only person there that you know is the spouse of the deceased person. We paid our respects, looked at the memorial and watched the slide show and quietly left.

It is a sad thing, but the right thing to do.

When we got home Bennie got another mile walk in and then I got on the elliptical for a quick 4.0 miles on that beast. I am going to start doing that most evenings after his last walk. I just feel that I need a bit more work than I have been getting since the hamstring issue began. The elliptical does not bother my hamstring, so I can see some quality time on that, while things continue to heal up.

As I look out the window while writing this, there is about an inch of snow already, so I imagine that the 6-10 inches of snow that is predicted tonight will end up at the higher end of the range in the land that the weather never forgets.

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Friday, January 17, 2020

An Actual Day of Resting - 1-17-2020

This morning was not the kind of morning that either Bennie or I enjoy getting out the door.

When I looked at the thermometer, it read 2*F and yes, the wind could be heard making the house groan a bit too much. One of those sounds of winter you learn to recognize if you live in a place long enough and when you hear it, you just shake your head, while you start bundling up.

It is the time of year that Grammy Bertha used to call the "killing time". When it is so cold and if the wild critters have been weakened for any reason, they die. Mother Nature's survival of the fittest is answered during this time of year.

Which means that I made sure that the long johns were on, then came the fleece-lined canvas pants, two layers of technical shirts, a fleece vest, my down jacket and the winter jacket that I purposely bought a size too big for the down jacket to fit under. Then the merino wool socks, ball cap with light clipped to brim, a faux fur winter hat that wraps down around the face, winter mittens and a reflective vest. I was ready to battle the cold winds of January come lately.

Yeah, I looked like the kid in A Christmas Story.

Bennie - he had his harness on. If you put any kind of doggie jacket or sweater on him, he refuses to move - at all. We have tried several times each Winter and the story is the same one, he refuses to move once you put clothes on him. So he goes out in all types of weather - nakid.

Today, he went out did his business and got himself back in the house shivering and shaking in less than 5 minutes.

I guess the -17 to -20*F below zero stuff and the stiff wind got his attention in a hurry. Me I wasn't too bad, but I also didn't bother to do a walk to the top of the hill either. Once I got my arse back in the house, it only went out to feed the crows, squirrels and little birds their daily offering. Which was attacked and quickly disappeared.

So there was not going to be a lot of outdoor activity this morning in that kind of bitter cold.

For Bennie's second walk, it was still below zero with the wind chills. We stayed out a bit longer, but not a whole lot longer. By the time we got back to the house, Bean was shivering pretty good. I waited around long enough to make sure he stopped shivering and had warmed back up.

Last night I pooched my iPhone 7 during snow removal and when I tried it again this morning, nothing happened, so I planned on going down to BestBuy and get a new phone. After more than a couple of hours of research last night, I figured that I would end up with a Google Pixel 3a unless they had a killer deal on something else.

I was one of the first customers in BestBuy and an hour later I walked out the proud owner of a new Google Pixel 3a. It took just about the amount of time I thought it was going to and yes, I put it in a case and gorilla glass over the screen. With my history with phones, I even sprung for a year of the replacement insurance - it seems when I don't I pay a lot more in the long run.

Now me moving to an Android phone from IOS is not really a big deal, I have bounced back and forth between the two over the years and it is just the idea of getting the muscle memory switched over and getting used to the updates that have happened since I last had an Android phone.

On the way home, I stopped at Planet Fitness with the idea that I was going to do a workout, but when I got to the parking lot, I got to thinking about when was the last time that I really took the day off and just relaxed. A pretty long time.

At that point, I texted Mary on my new phone - I still have to get the Google Assistant set up the way I want and headed home. Other than a few household chores and a late afternoon walk with Mary to the top of the hill, I relaxed. I didn't transfer any data from the iPhone, so I had a clean install, but I still had a bunch of stuff that needed to be done to get it about 70% set up the way I want.

It felt good to relax a lot for a change and not be rushing here, there and everywhere or attempting to get this or that done. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, a bunch of stuff in the morning, going to a Celebration of Life about an hour away and then another 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow night. So the weekend is going to be one of those busy ones.

By the way, the Pixel 3a does take some pretty good photos.

I thought that retirement was supposed to be life slowing down a bit, it certainly doesn't seem to be working out that way around heah - lately. ;-)

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Not the Day I Expected - 1-16-2020

Well, Bennie and I woke up to the snow that was predicted overnight, well actually it didn't start until around 4:00 A.M.-ish, so there wasn't really a whole lot to worry about. At that point, it was more a nuisance than anything.

As the day progressed the snow got to be a bit of a pain and the roads were nasty enough that I decided to skip the workout at Planet Fitness this morning. I figured that I would get plenty of time behind the snowblower later (I was correct).

However, Mary had a dentist's appointment for the afternoon, so I needed to drive up to Waterville with her. The roads in Sidney were about as bad as I have seen in a long time, but I also know that the Town Crew is running pretty short-handed so I can't blame them, but still, if I had not needed to be out there it would have been a lot smarter to have just stayed home.

You Are What You Do

You are what you do.

Many years ago, actually, late April of my Senior year of high school my Grandfather - Osvil Elston told me something that I would never forget while we were working on my old Ford Torino out in his garage.

He worked as a body and fender man at the garage in Pittsfield (at the bottom of the big hill) and he painted cars on the side at home. So I had conned him into painting my banged-up Torino so that Dad could sell it after I left for Coast Guard Boot Camp in June.

We had finished the Bondo and sanding parts of the prep work and were in the process of taping to get ready to paint the old beast. We're talking a bit about everything while were getting it all taped up. I was in a hurry because I had someplace that I wanted to be later that afternoon.

I had just taped up the rear fender and he walked by and told me to re-do it because the overspray from the paint gun was going to get under the newspaper and get on the chrome. I did the cheesy complaint thing and how it was my car and I didn't really care.

Gramp looked at me and started taking off his painting stuff and said, we need to take a break.

We went inside and sat in the living room for a few minutes - the same one as in the photo. I was going in the Coast Guard as soon as I graduated. As a result, I was getting a bad case of "I am too good for this place, plus a lot of senioritis in my attitude (looking back, I was just being a jerk).

As we were sitting there Gramp told me a few stories he had about serving in the Navy during WWII and how he had become a golden gloves boxer while stationed in Brooklyn and that he had surprised a couple of professional fighters who were training him and how he thought he was getting to be pretty good and was bragging about it a bit. He was invited to a spar a couple of rounds with the better fighter and he did pretty good in round 1, but when he woke up after starting round 2, Gramp chuckled and told me he had changed his attitude about how good he was pretty quickly.

I didn't quite get the message he was sending out.

At times I was pretty thick-headed and while I sort of listened, I wasn't all that great at hearing what I was being told.

I now put it off to being young, but sometimes I wonder if it really doesn't matter how old we are and that it is more that we too often just listen to what we want to hear and ignore anything that doesn't match up with how we think things should be?

We sat there talking for about an hour and I finally asked Gramp if we were going to finish taping my car and get it painted that day?

He said probably not.

When I asked why not, his answer was straightforward and simple. While my memory might not get the exact words my Grandfather said to me that day, it does convey what I did hear.

"Since you do not respect me enough to do the taping correctly so that when I paint, it is going to look like I screwed up, not you. People will see that back bumper and know that I painted your vehicle and wonder if I am worth going to anymore. So instead of doing a crappy job on your Torino, I am not going to paint it at all."

He looked at me took his glasses off and said.

 "One thing you have to remember is that people judge you by what you do every damn day. You can talk a good game, think about great you are and all that, but what it finally comes down to is the things that you actually do in your life."

At that point, I got up without saying another word and went in and fixed the taping job on the fender and also ALL of the other places that I had hurried through and done a half-assed job on.

About a half-hour later, Gramp came back in and looked over the taping job, put his painting stuff back on and fired up the compressor. I finished taping up the Torino correctly and he smiled that smile of his and picked up the paint gun.

He got the Torino painted and it looked pretty darn good after he got done - a nice custom paint job - Iceberg Blue with the black leatherette (tauno?) top. Also, it didn't have any paint overspray areas, that a certain young fella taped correctly after our little talk.

The reality is that

It is pretty amazing the little things that stay with you and how something that was said to me by my Grandfather back in 1975, is something that I still remember as if it was yesterday. I would like to think that the balance sheet on my life shows that I have done a LOT more good things than bad and that I pretty much followed the advice that I was given that day.

When I look back on my life, it was always doing the small things right daily, which made it much easier to keep doing the right things for the right reasons when other choices to do stuff came around. It was when I stopped doing the little things right, that it became too easy to make poor choices

Although I do know that I have made mistakes and probably will again in the future.

However, the older I get the more I am careful about the things that I do and realize that my actions and even the words I use when I am doing something, often have unforeseen (good and bad) impacts and ripple effects on more people than just myself.

All I can do is continue doing the best that I can.

One thing that has not changed over the years is that people still judge us on what we do or have done and those things (good and bad) will be a part of who we are until we are gone.

My Grandfather's advice was good advice for a young man who needed the lesson badly back in the mid-'70s and is still good advice for him almost 45 years later.

Is there any advice that you were given when you were younger that you still remember when and where you were when you got it and what was said that day is still an important part of your life?

What are you doing?

Yes, you are what you do.

Originally posted on Aging - My Thoughts and written by Harold L. Shaw.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

An Actual Run and Pretty Quiet Day - 1-15-2020

Bennie didn't even complain this morning about our walk, so maybe he is getting over the meechiness that had plagued him lately. Naw, I think it is more it wasn't that cold, windy or nasty outside. He like the rest of us as we get older has less tolerance for crappy and cold weather than we did when we were younger.

On his long walk, it was one of those gorgeous Winter days where the temps hit the low 40's a bit of sun before the clouds rolled before the 4-7" of snow that is expected in the area tonight.

Since roads were snow-covered, I headed into the gym for my workout.

Which was made up of the usual pre-run warm-up/stretching routine, with some serious foam rolling added in for good measure.

The left hamstring was feeling pretty good so I decided to try a run, planning to shut it down if it started to grumble or complain too much.

1.0 @ 6.1 mph - Yes, I ran a mile without too much grumbling. However, I didn't want to push too much so I changed things up a little.
1.0 @ 3.6 to 4.0 mph @ 15% incline. Yeah, that last quarter was tough, but the hamstring felt pretty good, just a little tired. So I could tell that it was starting to think about grumbling. So of course, I had to be just a little greedy. I walked for an easy .10 @ 3.5 mph and then sped up the treadmill to 6.5 mph just to see how things felt.

Perhaps I could have done okay if I had done that speed at the start, but after a couple of miles, the hamstring started to complain and put the speed back down pretty quickly. Then I walked for .20 @ 3.5 mph.

No harm, no foul, but I needed to know how far I could push before it started to grumble a little.

After that, I decided to get on the elliptical and do a couple of easy miles on that. No issues whatsoever.

The legs are pretty tired, but that is okay and is part of the deal.

I did get my Christmas presents out, I wanted to see how they would do on the treadmill and they were just fine. The New Balance Propel in Wide. They seem a bit more comfortable on my feet than the D width ones I have which I use for outside running. These are too purty right now ;-).

This afternoon we took Hunter to our Vet and he said that for his age Hunter seems to be doing pretty good. They did some blood work and stuff, but it seemed like a pretty good visit. We did have an issue one of the front desk personnel over our 18-year-old cat's medication, but that was quickly resolved by the Vet when we brought it to his attention. An unnecessary stress from our point of view, but sometimes you just can not let things go.

An interesting day to say the least. At least I got a little run-in, but know that the rehab process for the hamstring is going to be longer than just getting back to my normal running tomorrow.

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.