Monday, February 19, 2018

March Update

The first of March is upon us. We can see a light end the end of the winter tunnel and hope it is not a train. I need to get the blog up to date in preparation for another summer of travel.

Sandy and I both started the new year on a low note. With no immediate deadlines or responsibilities, we just laid on our respective couches and watched TV. It had all the hallmarks of depression, but there was no sadness involved. We saw the doctor in mid-January and he said we were OK. Sandy actually improved in her answers to his test questions on depression and I said I'd be fine. I was chastised for an A1C that was back up to 10.0. He also told me I should get back to the gym, somewhere I haven't been since last March.

As February began, I looked at a few tasks I was stressing over related to Safe Ride Home and put them on indefinite hold. My first objective was to address the blood sugar so I started a strict diet of protein and green veggies. It took several weeks, but the daily number slowly declined from 15 (270) to 6.5 to 7.5 (117 to 135). It could be better, but the improvement so far has been massive.

The next task was to address my weight, which averaged 208.9 pounds in 2017. How do I know that? Come on, this is me. I measure and record everything, and then chart it. So far this year the average is only down to 205.7, but I have only been working on it for a month. Once I get past the set point at around 202, things should progress quickly. I expect lower weight will translate into even better blood sugar levels.

The last thing I needed to address was the gym. I plotted my activity since the end of 2001 when I joined the YMCA. Faced with the cold hard data, I had to accept that I have not gone to the gym nearly as much as I thought I did after the first couple of years. I only spent four days there in 2017, all in last March. So, on Monday February 19th, I took my gym bag and left the house shortly after 6:00 AM. I got to the Y to find it was Family Day, a statutory holiday in Ontario, and the Y would not open until 8:00 AM. Rather than go home, I drove to Lively and got a coffee at Tim's. Then I drove to Val Caron and checked the Freedom Riders PO box. By the time I got back downtown, it was 8:00 AM. I have gone every second day last week and this week. I plan to upgrade to every weekday next week. The target right now is 40 minutes of cardio at a sustained heart rate of 120 to 125 beats per minute. So far, so good.

The NASCAR season started on February 18th with the Daytona 500. OK, it actually started a week earlier with the Clash, but that wasn't a points race. Yahoo cancelled their NASCAR Fantasy League where VROC has participated for years, but Jamey T set up a new league at It works differently but should be fun to figure out. I didn't do well in the Daytona Demolition Derby but rocked it in the second race last weekend at Atlanta.

Although the weather was exceptionally cold at the beginning of the year, February has been quite warm. Regular excursions above the freezing mark have resulted in significant snow loss. Hopefully  this means an early spring but, if March comes in like a lamb, it might go out like a lion. Regardless, I am ready for both the motorcycle and the golf course. I renewed my membership at Cedar Green Golf Course this past week. Our trips are planned. So hurry Spring. We're ready for you.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Years Day 2018

New Years Day 2018. This is just a short note to wave goodbye to 2017 and welcome another year of (hopefully) adventures.

We finished the first Safe Ride Home Sudbury campaign after 4:00 AM this morning. Overall traffic was down a bit from the last Operation Red Nose season, but we still got a lot of local people home safely without any mishaps. The re-branding has been a success. Now we need to look at the details and identify areas where we can do even better next year.

The Freedom Riders supported Safe Ride Home Sudbury

Christmas was quiet. We picked Jan up from Extendicare and brought her to the house for the day. Sandy and I don't exchange gifts, finding the practice counter productive when we can get the exact things we want at any time. It was a pleasant day.

Sandy and Jan looking at family photos

Heather flew up with Jasper and Fiona after Christmas. Tom had to work and came up on the weekend. We took the kids to Science North but not out much more due to unseasonably cold weather. They left for home this morning.

Breakfast at Tutti Frutti 

Tunnel entrance to Science North 

 Grandma Sandy and Fiona at Science North

Fiona likes housekeeping

Looking back at 2017, it was a good year. We had our usual springtime in North Carolina and Fall in Arkansas. There was another trip to Solvang, California with a stop in Wisconsin for the Boscobel Rally. Riding in eastern Missouri proved to be better than I expected. And we finally checked the Outer Banks off our bucket list.

Health wise, Sandy was stable. I managed to bring my A1C (measure of blood sugar) down throughout the year by being careful what I ate, but that all went out the window when we started Safe Ride Home in November. The free sandwiches and pizza, coupled with the irregular hours, resulted in my consuming way more carbs than I expected. Daily glucose readings were up to 15 (270 on the scale used in the USA). Although my eyes tested fine again, I need to get this under control before I start having real and permanent problems. My aortic valve stenosis has been steady for several years, remaining at the bottom end of acceptable. That is monitored with annual echo cardiograms. The important thing is that it is all stable, the key question when obtaining medical insurance for traveling to the US.

We have plans for 2018. Smoky Mountains again in May. Eureka Springs, Arkansas in September. Williams, Arizona and Topaz Lake, Nevada in June. And I need to get out on the golf course more when I am home. It looks like it is going to be a good year.