On Birthdays, And Continuing To Have Them

More than a week ago, it was my birthday, so once again, what is it to me?

Wedding at The Alps, Boulder Canyon Inn September 6, 1997

25 years ago, at a very advanced and nearly-spinsterly age, I married the love of my life, David. We met in Colorado, and a little more than a year later, we got married in Colorado, at a B&B that’s now closed and for sale. Much has changed since this photo was taken – my mom on the left died in 2006, and my mother-in-law Leah died in 2012. The Alps closed a few years ago; we stopped by on our June road trip to Colorado and spent a rather sad hour walking around seeing if the owners were there to condole with. We had stayed there a half-dozen times over the years and in its prime, it was the nicest B&B on the Western Slope, IMNSHO.

The Alps Boulder Canyon Inn – closed but not forgotten

So it was my birthday, and I’m not having it. Meaning, I didn’t want to make plans, or be the center of attention. And yet attention is insisting on being paid, as my in-laws dropped by with a card and their cat in a carrier (their house is on the market and was being shown).

Linda and the Aged Person

This is Linda, my step-MIL, and me looking about how you do on 20 minutes’ notice that company is coming and maybe one might want to brush hair and put something on other than pajamas. So I chose my “unicorn travel consultant” T-shirt because I’m all about formality and shit. Gracie the cat stayed in her carrier, she’s somewhat grouchy on decanting and would deffo be disenchanted to be encanted after only about an hour.

Sheldon, my pop-in-law, brought Dunkin because he had a gift card.

I was all set to have a nice lazy Saturday morning, bloggity blathering about my natal day indifference, when we got the call. WBEZ was comfortably into Saturday Edition, we had coffee, I had my lap desk and iPad and wireless keyboard set, WordPress set, and… “ring ring, can we drop something off for the birthday person in about half an hour?”

There was consternation, vigorous miming of reluctance, eventual acceptance, and then David leapt heroically into the shower while I bustled around finding something to wear and tidying the living room.

I’ve been very, very anti-social this year, some of which I detailed in a recent blogpost, but when they arrived, they had Gracie in a carrier and just wanted to hug, hand off the card, and go sit in their car at Dunkin and wait while the realtor showed a prospective buyer around their house. I came out to see Gracie, barefoot on a cool, autumnal day, and thought “Oh, for hell’s sake, why not just make coffee?” They brandished Dunkin Donuts gift cards and said they weren’t planning on staying. I suggested that I could make a pot of coffee, they could go get donuts, and come back to hang out in comfort, with Gracie in the carrier.

It worked out fine. By the time they got back I had a coffee tray all set up with creamer and mugs and a carafe, and even a bottle of Bailey’s that I usually set out on Christmas brunch. What the hell, socializing isn’t so bad even for a near-recluse. So they came, and we had a pleasant time discussing the sale of houses and the renovation of houses, and now they’re off home to wait to hear if there will be an offer or not.

Today’s plan: have to get some stuff together to go down to Aurora for the Tour de Cure, which I’ve been very quiet about this year, too. I spent the last 5 years begging for donations to my fundraiser for TdC and this year…. I just didn’t want to keep begging on Facebook or at church, didn’t want to go to church at all, didn’t want to post anything on Facebook at all, and so on. I do have some gift checks to log. The ride is tomorrow and I haven’t ridden more than a few miles this year, because Reasons.

UPDATE, a week later, because I had some important reclusing to do.

Eric Spade, Laurie Scheffers, Carlos Gravis, and me. PICKLE JUICE

Tour de Cure was Sunday, September 25th, but the night before, we went down to Aurora to stay overnight because David was riding the metric century and had an early start. He ended up riding 67.49 miles – he said “bonus miles” which usually means a) he made a wrong turn or b) the official route had “mileage creep” once they finally positioned the rest stops and finalized the route

We had dinner at Two Brothers Roundhouse with Rita Barksdale, who came in from Virginia to ride with us. David leant her one of his spare steeds, and she also had bonus miles because she couldn’t decide which route to ride and freelanced her way to the shorter route after deciding the metric century was biting off more than she could chew on a borrowed bike.

Rita Barksdale, me, David, and Kate Cogswell after everyone finished.

I came in earlier than the others so I had the fun of cheering for people crossing the line and dancing by myself to the musical stylings of an okay Heart/Styx/Cheap Trick cover band. I ached the next day more from all the gyrating on a hard surface than a piddly little 14 mile ride. I’m way out of training, and also I stubbed my toe badly on Saturday so I didn’t want to risk losing the toenail. Ugh.

It was good to see friends that we hadn’t been with in years; I spent a lot of time jabbering with Eric Christy, who used to be a chairperson of the planning committee. We groused quite a bit about how things were organized for this first year back post-Covid, but we weren’t involved in planning (in previous years David was on the planning committee and headed Team Red Chicago). We’ve all drawn back the last few years.

Attendance was down; the event was moved to September from June during Covid when they thought there was still a chance of putting on an in-person event the first year. In 2019 we had a rainout due to a severe thunderstorm that forced a cancellation as we were all ready to start; it’s severely impacted the Tour de Cure ever since.

You can still donate to my fundraiser for a month, here’s the link if interested.

Ride With Ginny

Anyway, I wore my Red Rider jersey and yelled “Go Red Rider” every time I saw someone else wearing one, but it was so cold and windy that I had my windbreaker on for the first half of the ride. So I didn’t hear any callouts in kind.

I have to get serious about riding and nutrition again, because for the last few years I’ve been really slack on doing regular blood glucose tests and my weight has crept up. So after my experience last week, feeling sort of let down, I decided to start testing consistently again.

And it’s clear my numbers have crept up again along with my weight. I seem to go into remission when I’m fitter, so it’s time to get my indoor trainer tidied up and figure out how to get Zwift started again.

I prefer indoor riding to outdoor, anyway; I get more consistent results and I completely avoid issues with road-riding nerves.

I do want to continue having birthdays as it’s kind of a requirement for living. As I’ve reached the advanced age that confers Medicare coverage (yes, I signed up) and I see and hear my friends’ stories of various health problems, it seems like a dumb idea to ride the couch instead of my bike.

Also, in November we’re going to Shit Lake Salty to help my niece Holly celebrate a big birthday and her retirement (she’s a VA nurse-practitioner muckety-muck of some kind, goes to international conferences sometimes). My whole family will be there so I’d like to be looking and feeling fitter. Need to get a few things done before then, too

I may not like celebrating my own birthday, but it’ll be fun helping Holly celebrate hers. Many happy returns!

I may dabble in mask making again… singing without a mask is too damn risky

Masks for singers: design specializations for breathability, filtration, fit and acoustics based on the science of singing, particles & COVID.
— Read on makermask.org/constructing-masks-for-singers/amp/

Someone at church contracted Covid during Holy Week; we’ve relaxed mask requirements, but now that seems risky. Especially for those of us in the choir, and though we have “singers’ masks,” they’re not very good. Meanwhile, infection rates are trending upward, a young family member tested positive, and an older family member has an upper respiratory infection (not Covid).

It seems to me that we’ll see a summer spike as people attend large events – we’re traveling, too – and I expect that masks will be needed intermittently.

This pattern looks… hefty but I’ll make some this week and see if it’s more comfortable/less foggy than my current KN95s. I have some 3M N95 masks (“3D style”) arriving tomorrow. I will test one for “singability” and whether my glasses fog up with every sustained note and exhalation.

But I have the right kind of materials to work with:

  • Tightly woven cotton, especially batik, for the inner layer
  • Nonwoven polypropylene like Filti or interfacing
  • A different cotton for the outer layer

Not to mention all the elastic, cord stoppers, and other notions. I took a look at the “burrito method” of construction, which minimizes center seams while adding a channel to insert boning to hold the fabric away from the lips and nostrils. My previous box pleated design kept fabric too close to my lips, my curved design has a vertical central seam.

Here’s a YouTube playlist with the original singer’s mask design, and the updated construction method.

The designer has a Spoonflower account, where I like to browse for quilting fabric for making small projects, so I have to look her up. Her construction method of the original open source pattern actually makes sense.

Quilting Inspiration: Ruler Roll Project by Angela Attwood | Sew Steady

Quilting Inspiration: I’m not ready to invest in quilting rulers to make these elaborate stitching designs. But this pattern just gave me a brainstorm about my next project: a table runner and set of placemats, with a self-binding and mitred corners – the top is patterned and folds over to the back, and they would be reversible.

This project will give you creative practice with your Westalee Design Ruler Foot Starter and Sampler Template Sets.
— Read on www.sewsteady.com/product/ruler-roll/

How to Sew Easy Mitered Quilt Binding

I’ve spent the last 2 years re-learning how to sew. First as a necessity, to make masks for family and friends, then as a creative outlet while furloughed from my travel job. After returning to work last year, I started getting interested in quilting.

The Spruce Crafts site was extremely comprehensive – every time I looked for info on how to do something, their clear, written tutorials showed up. I looked at this one for a recent project, and although I went with a different method from a video by Jordan Fabrics, this is an excellent starting point and reference.

Bind a quilt with easy mitered corners with step-by-step instructions and illustrations to sew a perfect binding every time.
— Read on www.thesprucecrafts.com/sew-easy-mitered-quilt-binding-2821069

How to Sew Easy Mitered Quilt Binding

I’ve spent the last 2 years re-learning how to sew. First as a necessity, to make masks for family and friends, then as a creative outlet while furloughed from my travel job. After returning to work last year, I started getting interested in quilting.

The Spruce Crafts site was extremely comprehensive – every time I looked for info on how to do something, their clear, written tutorials showed up. I looked at this one for a recent project, and although I went with a different method from a video by Jordan Fabrics, this is an excellent starting point and reference.

Bind a quilt with easy mitered corners with step-by-step instructions and illustrations to sew a perfect binding every time.
— Read on www.thesprucecrafts.com/sew-easy-mitered-quilt-binding-2821069

Diabetes Sucks, But My A1C Is 5.8

It’s a numbers game, and currently I’m on the winning side. My first A1C (long-term average blood glucose) came in at 5.8, down from 6.6 when I was diagnosed in December.

So that’s great, right? Yes, and despite the claims medical hucksters who’ll sell you a cure in a kit, I still have diabetes. It’s just well-controlled at the moment. I’m lucky that at this point it’s not advanced farther.

I’ve raised 1405.00 toward my goal of 2000.00 for the Tour de Cure charity ride, with just a month to go. 

You can help me achieve that goal by visiting http://www.ridewithginny.com (checks cheerfully accepted if you ask for my address).

My longest ride so far is about 20 miles but bad weather on the weekends has cut into my training, though I’ve gotten in evening rides during the week (10 miles last night, partly with Vince Patrizi). I should be able to finish on the day, but I’d still like to log a 30 or 35 mile ride first.

Still, it’s been a long process getting to this point. My numbers are good; do you know yours?

  

Retail Induced Shutdown Syndrome, I’m Having It

Errands have been run, money has been spent, stuff has been bought. Never having been a person energized by shopping, I’m taking a break at Panera.

But I’ve got the solution to the Christmas tree problem in the car – this year, it’ll be out of Riley’s nomming range, on a riser that doubles as an ornament storage box.

I’ve made a start on the stocking stuffers everyone gets on Christmas morning, and I’ve got David sorted. He’ll get stonkin stuffers, too, so that’s on track.

I’ve got a solution for the kitty box problem; the problem is that the box is currently in the hall bathtub because I use flushable litter and there’s no room outside the tub. It’ll have to move to my office closet, so I got a big mat. But then I’ll need to transfer stuff for disposal, nuts. So I’ll have to figure how that’ll work.

I’ve also got lots of cables and adapters, because thanks to Apple, I now require a Lightning charging solution. Went to 2 tech stores and an organizer/gadget store to get that done.

I’m pooped, I had to break for lunch and to rehydrate. I don’t feel like stopping at the grocery store but I have to.

I have stupidly mundane problems.

It’s cold, snowy, and it’s getting dark soon. Gotta go.

Lifehacker: Do You Like Working From Home? Me: Yes. Did IBrush My Hair Today? Don’t Remember

Lifehacker wants to know if I work from home, but they
apparently don’t want me to quote their article, just comment
there. So I did, but kept screwing up their sign-in screen. What’s
the deal with creating a key that can’t be copied, only shown on
screen as an image?

Anyway, yes, I like working from home. It was particularly nice today watching the latest winter storm blow in and dump about 5 inches of snow.

20130226-190740.jpg

However, network problems made my day somewhat challenging, and as David was home today too, he had to listen to my howls of outrage from my
upstairs office. Still, it wasn’t as challenging as the co-worker
who had to replace her hard drive on her computer today, with tech
support on the phone walking her through it no doubt! Link: Do
You Work From Home?