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Thursday, October 16, 2014

What, Now? Wow. Ow.

My brother Jed came back East from BC for two weeks with his new family in tow, two weeks ago. We stayed at Steve Davis's house Tuesday night so I could drive them all to the airport before sunrise, Wednesday morning.

Stop-and-go traffic all the way to the airport, starting at 6am?! That's just wrong.

Jed Dillingham and Family

It was very hard to say goodbye to them all. Alycia is Jed's perfect counterpart, 4yo Michael is nearly his perfect clone (but cuter than he ever was), 4yo Rachel (M's twin) is quiet and sweet and very smart, and Gracie is curious, cuddly and learns to say new things faster than the parrots do. And repeats them more. Except for a very brief visit less than two years ago for Gil Riley's funeral, I haven't seen Jed in seven years, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried on my way back to Steve's house after saying goodbye at Logan.

Steve and I ate breakfast on their front porch and then dressed for the ride. It was to be surprisingly warm, and had rained a bit the night before so we were expecting more humidity. Before we left, we swapped my tires for the new ones I'd brought with me, then we were off.

3.7 miles into the ride, I was pulling and we were making a right. I remember thinking that it was nice of Steve to have the roads re-surfaced for our ride, and was going to say something like that to him eventaully. No, really, that's the last thing I remember about the ride. The next thing I remember is a very brief flash of the inside of an ambulance. "Huh, what's that now? Did I ride right into the back of an ambulance?" Then some jumbled stuff, and people repeatedly asking me stupid questions like, "What's your birthday?" and, "Who's the president?" over and over again. As if the president knows my birthday. Silly.

Corinne was there, somehow. It was like magic! She was ninety minutes away, at home. Probably cooking something delicious, hopefully thinking about me, definitely missing me! Then suddenly people are asking me too-repetitive questions and she's there in the room, in the background. Not sure how that happened.

I remember being put in a CT scanner. Then suddenly I was out of it again. Pretty sure there are two meanings there! I remember asking for water, and being told NO. Then being given water in the form of ice. Whatever, it's water. Why'd you say no? Now your pants are on fire!

I told them they wouldn't find anything looking my head with that thing. Clearly I was right.

Shots and other violations? Plenty. They put an IV in my left arm. "Just for fluids." At some point I pointed out something pointedly obvious, and they agreed with me and detached it because I'm a genius, and they let me have more not-water-because-it's-ice. And a tetanus shot in my right arm that I barely felt. The local anesthetic shot in the skin next to my eye so skinny doctor could put stitches in my eyelid? Most painful part of the day and I still haven't forgiven her. Not sure how injecting a cocktail of lemon juice and burning gasoline into my skin is supposed to numb the pain, but I was Mr. Tough Guy and didn't let on that my inner child was now hiding behind the headboard in his room and moaning in delirious, tortured agony. Bad doctor.

She said she liked me, though, because I was… something. Funny? Sassy? Steve, help me out here, I can't remember. Probably not funny, nobody thinks I'm funny.

What, Now?

Oh, I called this "tally," so here's my tally of momentos (keepsakes, even) from my shortest ride of the year:

  • Road rash all over the right side of my face: next to my eye, on my nose, my cheekbone, my lip and my chin.

  • Four or five stitches on my right eyelid. Skinny doctor was soooo confident that I won't have scars like I got from the other stitches in my childhood. Yeah, I'm going to be disfigured for life.

  • Black right eye.

  • My ears are so small and tucked in close to my head that the road just couldn't reach them. Undamaged! You missed a spot, so maybe next time, suckah! Nyah nyah!

  • Bruise and road rash on my right shoulder and right forearm just below the elbow. The bruise on my right shoulder is deep, moving that arm generates funny noises from my mouth. Odd, huh?

  • Scraped all the primary knuckles on my right hand.

  • Matching holes at the middle knuckles of both thumbs. Nobody can figure that one out, so I'm guessing I was sliding along the ground with both thumbs up like the Fonz (as he jumped the shark).

  • What feels like a watermelon stuck to my right leg just below the hip. It's not actually a watermelon, it's just a giant bag of hurt. The hospital was fresh out of real watermelon.

  • Road rash on my right knee.

  • A bruised and dislocated rib on — wait, can you guess? — the right side. Bruised as in "huh, that hurts to touch it, but not like it's broken. I know broken!" Dislocated as in, "I don't think it's supposed stick out from my sternum like that. And when I cough it hurts worse than the watermelon!" No external bruising there, though. Ellyn says it's because of all my rolls of fat. (I got those from the almost 3,000 miles of cycling this year.)

How did it happen?

How does anything happen, really? Forces interacted with masses at surfaces, and effects were generated.

In this case, I went around a corner, slid on a new crosswalk wet with rain, and the bike hit the ground. Me, too!

Steve went down behind me, even though he "strongly affirms" (he never swears) that it's not possible for him to lose traction with his diamond-spiked, sticky-as-bug-trapping-spider-silk tires. Which means he saw me go down and did what any friend would do and ran me over, then fell halfway across and kicked me in the eye with his cleats. He got a booboo on his right knee and right elbow. The poor guy.

Note that I have no memory whatsoever of the crash as it actually happened, so I'm trusting Steve's recounting of the story… which conveniently did not include anything about running me over and kicking me, nor him getting a ride home with the very pretty police officer that was directing traffic just up the road. So I probably made that all up.

So, congratulations! Now you understand what happened yesterday at least as well as I do.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank You

Thank you, Father, for the uncountable and innumerable blessings you've poured into my life.

Thank you Corinne for the love in your eyes and the touch of your hands and your humor and for putting up with mine and for sticking with me even when all seemed lost.

Thank you Lauren for being such a sweet, smart girl and for lighting up so brightly whenever you see us. I dare say I've learned as much from you as you have from me.

Thank you Mom and Dad for raising me, for teaching me the way I should go, for helping me to see the wonder and beauty and hope and humor in this life on God's Way.

Thank you Mikel and Shannon for adopting Corinne and I as surrogate parents, for letting us love you and Richie, Lauren and Sam, for coming home again, for letting Lauren still be such a huge part of my our life.

Thank you Katie for being one of the most wonderful people I know. Come home!

Thank you Ellyn for agreeing to be my only big sister (instead of my aunt), for forgiving me for NOT being there when you needed me a few years ago, and for loving me like only a big sister can. ;-)

Thank you Ben and Mandi for becoming more than "just cousins" to me this year. I love you both.

Thank you also to Lilly for being one of Lauren's best friends!

Thank you Steve for the excellent discussions of the truth and our life in it, for the many hours together on our bikes, for your patient and constant work to reunite something which looks permanently broken to so many others.

Thank you Mark for being there whenever anyone needs you, for always trying to be The Blessing that we seek for our brothers and sisters, and for being one of my oldest friends.

Thank you Darren for keeping me sharp, as David says, "like iron sharpeneth iron!" I've learned things from you, too, that I didn't seem to be learning anywhere else.

Thank you Frank and Bonnie for loving Lauren so much, and Frank for our new friendship!

Thank you Jim and Dee for trying to see past (or ignoring) my foibles, for being our friends, and for always reminding us to keep the Kingdom of God at the top of the list and the front of our minds.

Thank you Eric and Bonny for forgiving me for my temper (which got the better of me a couple years ago) and for everything you bring to our ecclesia.

Thank you Rich for the friendship and the work over the years. 7 ½ years!

Thank you Joseph and Andy for the work and the chance to make something(s) fun.

Thank you Corinne for the love and magic you work in the kitchen, and for how much you love to share it with our brothers and sisters (and anyone else who eats real food).

Thank you Robin for coming back into Corinne's life. She's my best friend, and you've made me happy by making her happier than I could do alone.

Thank you to Kim and Dave and Tiff and Joshua and Jed and Sarah and dozens or hundreds of other people, too many to list, who have brought love or peace or adventures or joy or laughter into my life, who have taught me something, or somehow managed to learn something from me.

Thank you, Father, for blessing us all so thoroughly, and for providing each of us as blessings to each other.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ten years? Really?

In 2001 my work life was all about Conversant, my personal life was all about Corinne, Shane, and a house full of cats and birds.

I don't remember much about 2002, except that I reconnected with Steve Davis, someone I've known practically since I was a baby. We've always had our faith in common, and found that now we also have our bikes.

Two years later Shane was gone. That's all that year (2004) was about. Nothing else mattered. Hanging on to Corinne, propping her up, making sure she understood how much I love her and need her still, and trying to help her cope with a pain that defies belief.

2005 was a pretty big year. It included the release of Firefox Hacks (my first time in print!), tutoring the Pride kids (Avonlee and Ethan) in math, the PMC and its software auctions, the main author of Firefox Hacks (Nigel McFarlane) committed suicide, Corinne and I met the crew of the Atlantia, Jed moved in with us, I made friends with Jimmy Lehn (morning DJ at a local radio station), and we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Westerly WARM shelter. Finally, 2005 was the year I first started playing with Prototype. (Wow, i can't believe it was that long ago.)

In 2006 I met Greg Pierce years after he had worked for me at Macrobyte, my friend Darren and his wife Angi brought home their adoptees from Nepal, I wrote the "custom events" code for JavaScript that is *still* being used on Apple's web pages, attended the first Rails Conf, and I finally got to meet and begin forming a friendship with Rich Siegel and started working on language modules for his company's main software product, BBEdit. Jed left us, and headed for British Columbia and the woman he would eventually marry. Finally, we met Mike and Shannon late in the year.

2007 was unreal. If not for the pictures, most of it would be forgotten. I helped man the booth for Bare Bones at MacWorld Expo. Mike and Shannon moved in with us. Lauren was born! Mike and Shannon went away for a while. We did our best with Lauren and truly, completely fell in love with her. Visited her parents a lot. Finally met Jim Roepcke and Sean McMains at the second RailsConf (while Corinne stayed home with lauren). Jed married Alycia (and I got to attend, way out there in B.C., while Corinne AGAIN stayed home with Lauren), my grandfather turned eighty, Jed and Alycia came out for a visit (and haven't been back since), Corinne and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, and my sister and brother-in-law had their third daughter.

Shannon came hom again in January of '08. Lauren started walking and talking, and turned one. We got news (on the day Shannon came hom) that the house was being sold so we'd have to move (after ten years). Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren went to FL (Lauren's first plane ride). Richie (Shannon's eldest) came to live with us. My parents came to live with us, for a few months. I went to FL in October with Ellyn and the grandparents to pack them up and move them to Ellyn's house. The year ended with a terrible sprained ankle and a move from Mystic to Westerly.

In January of '09, Mike came home and the family was all back together. Unfortunately, in June they all left again. The relationship slowly thawed, but then in September they disappeared to North Carolina without warning and we thought they (especially Lauren) were gone forever. We got a ten day visit with Lauren in October, but taking her home was the second most difficult and painful thing I've ever done.

2010 started out with a brief visit from the Deanes, but after that the contact (via Skype or telephone) dwindled to nothing within a few months. I entered a serious depression (my first), which I tried to fill or bury with World of Warcraft. In March a rainstorm tried to wipe RI off the map, and in May I was brutally attacked by some blood clots that came from nowhere and landed in my left lung (killing part of it). In June, the Deanes moved back to the area, and we got regular visits with Lauren again. It took her a few minutes to remember us, but once she did it was like we were never apart.

As I write this, Lauren and Corinne are sleeping in my bed, above my office, just a few feet right over my head. I don't know what changes are coming our way next, but right now we have joy and I'm taking nothing for granted.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

PMC Day 1: Sturbridge to Bourne, by the Numbers

Saturday, August 2, 2008

This was my sixth year riding the PMC, and my fourth year to include the Huckleberries ride (which makes it a three-day event). Those previous three years, I was totally exhausted on Saturday morning from the hard ride on Friday.

This year was different...

Read the Full Story

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rides #37, #42 and #44: Friends, Hills, and the Slimming Effects of Lightning

Corinne has been hearing about my lack of updates here on [tw] from her friends, who I think mostly just want more pictures of Lauren (I don't blame them!). I've been much too quiet lately.

I'm going to pay for that quietness, soon. The PMC is in less than two months, and I haven't raised a penny yet. What an idiot.

This particular update, however, is not about Lauren, Corinne, her friends, or the PMC. It's about my riding (and weight loss) over the last month. I'll start with:

Ride #37: Birthday Loop with Steve

Steve Davis came down on May 23rd to ride the storied Birthday Loop with me.

Steve is in fantastic shape, much better for mid-Spring than I've ever known him to be, since we started riding together years ago.

I, on the other hand, was still getting over my cold. I'd only ridden three times in the previous two weeks, and was still coughing quite a bit.

The result: Steve was very patient with me. We did the whole ride, of course, but averages only 17.5 mph. He easily could have handled a 19 mph average, which is quite impressive with all the climbing.

My stats are missing a couple of miles because my bike computer mysteriously shut off for a little while. However, Steve had exactly the same average speed as I did when we were done, so I'm just going to stick with what mine said.

Stats: 52.56 miles (84.62 km) in 3h 0' 0" for an average speed of 17.52 mph (28.20 kph).

Ride #42: Cracked 260

This ride is notable only because I finally cracked 260. That is, my weight finally dropped below it.

I thought that was quite an accomplishment, so I checked my stats for last year. EXACTLY THE SAME DATE!! Oy! Still, last year my weight was only below 260 for two days, then it went back up and stayed there for another month. This year, it's continued going down, and I'm hoping to drop below 250 before the end of the month.

How far can I drop before PMC? This will be my sixth PMC, and I've never been below 250.

Stats: 43.91 miles (70.69 km) in 2h 17' 12" for an average speed of 19.20 mph (30.91 kph).

Ride #44: Lightning Has Struck My Brain!

Sorry, the title for this ride was just a hook to get you to read the story. (Ok ok, I'll stop. I'm sure Sean, at least, is moaning by now...)

(Update, 10 months later: that humor was a little too subtle. "Lightning has struck my brain" is a quote from the movie, "Hook". The statement "just a hook to get you to read" was a hint. Nobody got it.)

This ride was on Sunday, the beginning of our current heat wave. I left the house planning to do the birthday loop again, after spending 45 minutes carefully cleaning up my drivetrain. The first 20 miles were quite hot, but I can handle hot. After the first ten miles, I saw the storm coming in but hoped it was going to pass to the North.

No such luck.

I climbed Cossaduck hearing thunder. Second time this year I've managed to climb it "out of the saddle" from bottom to top. Once again, I forgot to set the lap timer on my bike computer, so I have no idea how much I've improved. (My first trip up the hill this year was a pitiful 4:40!!)

Heard a lot more thunder while I was on Gilliver, but they were still five or six seconds after the flash so I figured I was ok. At that point, I was riding away from the storm.

In the last mile of Route 49, just before the turn onto Wyassup, the sprinkling started and I knew the storm was going to catch me, but now I was in farm country. What was I supposed to do? I kept riding.

On Wyassup, with the thunder rolling almost constantly, I crested one of the hills telling myself "think negative thoughts! Think negative!" (Lightning is electrons and have a negative charge. Negative thoughts would therefore repel lightning, right? Keep up with me here, folks.) But, at the top of one of the two hills (I can't remember which, now, but I think it was the second), everything around me went bright purple! I'm not kidding, I thought at first that I'd been struck. There was enough time for me to yell "yi" before my "yikes!" was drowned out in the loudest thunder I've heard in 30 years.

I wasn't hit, obviously, but it must have been cloud-to-cloud right over head. (Or perhaps it hit the ground near me.) That was exciting.

Aside: When I was quite young, I remember standing at my grandparents back door in Berkley, MA, when lightning struck the back yard just a few yards away. That was some kind of loud, and I've had a love for lightning every since.

After that, the rain started in earnest and I just rode home. That took about ten miles off the ride, but it was fun. (Now I need to clean my drive train again!)

Stats: 44.67 miles (71.91 km) in 2h 30' 21" for an average speed of 17.82 mph (28.70 kph).

Oh, and I'm now down to 254. :-D


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