Friday, December 31, 2010

Last bike ride for the year

Man, was it cold out this morning. Still is, actually, but was especially so at about 6:30 am when I set out for my morning ride. I was wearing quite a bit too - cycling shorts with knee warmers under a thin pair of sweat pants - and all that under my wet weather biking pants. Thick socks in regular sneakers. Two pair of gloves, because just the one pair wasn't cutting it yesterday. A t-shirt under a sweater, a thin hoodie and an insulated coat over that - today was not the day for my rain shell, it was too cold for that the other day. Under my helmet was a toque and a scarf wrapped high around the back of my neck.

I still wasn't warm. I really needed some sort of a wind breaker, like what I get with the rain shell. On today's ride the wind was extending through the layers I had on my arms and torso, leeching what little heat I had from me. At least the double pair of gloves worked better than just the single. To compensate, I chose to ride at a slower speed, but on hills so I could be working hard enough to stay warm without the wind chill. I didn't bother with listening to my podcasts on this ride because I didn't want to have to stop and take off a glove to change tracks, etc. At least I remembered to change the batteries in my lights though, so I was extra visible.

Overall, the ride wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't horrible either. It was dry and I noted that the ground now has frost in it, something that wasn't there just last week. And as for cold, well it was at minus 6 degrees Celsius. That's cold on a bike, but I have been in worse and fared better. It's just becoming a little clearer to me what sorts of things I am going to need to keep riding in this weather. Like perhaps an insulated biking jacket for starters.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Running on little sleep

Last night, Holly asked if I wanted to join her in doing something 'crazy'. That something, as it turns out, was a late night grocery run. There were several factors that led us to this expedition: the car coop doesn't charge the hourly fee after 11:00 pm, we needed groceries for our open house party this weekend and most compelling of all, we hoped that we would avoid the mad rush of holiday shoppers by being out at such a late hour.

Overall, it worked. What we did not count on was the aggressive restocking that goes on at that time though. While there were very few actual shoppers, there were at least as many warehousemen busy unloading pallets of stock. We had to negotiate our shopping cart around their pallet jacks on several occasions. Still, the staff were friendly and helpful with finding items we couldn't so overall I think it was a good plan.

By the time we got home, the pair of us were completely exhausted. I remember looking at the clock shortly before dozing off and it was almost 3:00 am, meaning that I would get roughly half the amount of sleep I normally run on.

Getting out of bed this morning was difficult. It was so very comfortable and warm. Maybe a nap this afternoon will help.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Different Strokes

We have been visiting the family on Holly's side over the past week, which involved a lot of driving and eating of sweet potato pie. It was a very good visit with family. Near the end of our stay however, we got news that my mother had suffered a stroke. This came out of the blue for me, although in hindsight I should have been able to see the signs. I started calling other family members straightaway to do what I could to take some of the load off of Dad. Being on vacation in the US meant I really could do little else, and I needed to do something.

The kicker came when I got in contact with my cousin in Hamilton, or rather, when his wife called me back. She informed me that my uncle (mom's older brother) had also had a stroke just days before and was also in the hospital. I began to wonder if my mother's clan had expiry dates.

In both cases, they had bad strokes. When I say 'bad' I mean ones that dealt significant damage. This isn't the first stroke that my uncle Don has had - he's had significant strokes before as he has the misfortune to inherit very bad circulation from my grandfather. This was Mom's first stroke though (at least a diagnosed one), so when she posted a comment on my brother's facebook page that read
Was in the hosp for the day today. Symptons, frothing at the mouth, delerious, diagonozes. take an aspirin a day, come back for more blood tests. ha ha Did have a c.t. scan, blood work and ekg. Was back by 3:30, not bad
both Shawn and I figured that Mom was joking around. Neither of us understood what she was saying at the time, even though in hindsight all of it is pretty clear except for why the doctor let her out of the hospital after reporting symptoms like that. Of course, Mom wasn't able to get out so easily on her second visit.

At this point, both Mom and uncle Don are conscious and in the hospital (in different cities.) Both are recovering at whatever pace they are able to and for the rest of us it is still pretty much day by day. More later as this develops.