For the past year and a half, I’ve been watching Angel during many of my trainer rides.

Last night was the last one in the series. Grrr. Aaarrgh.

mutantenemy.jpg

Angel-watching is generally reserved, it seems, for two types of rides – mild rides, when I am not attempting any particular fitness workouts, or near the end of very long rides, when I just want to focus on something else to make the pain go away, but I’m not mentally sharp enough to follow a long complicated movie. Last night was the mild variety.

There’s this thing that happens, though, at the start and end of each episode – my cadence on the bike goes down to 60 RPM.

last angel ride

See the white line? I was running around 100 RPM except about three minutes in, and then about 44 minutes in. That’s when the Angel theme music kicks in, and it’s very compelling – I have to slow down to 60 rpm and pedal along with it, and then when the music fades, I crank it back up.

I might be doing a high-cadence interval, or perhaps I’m slogging through a long climb – it doesn’t matter. When the music starts, I go to 60 RPM and stay there.

(There are 110 episodes of Angel. When you do something 110 times – or, in this case, 220, since the theme plays at the start and the end – it becomes a part of you. That’s a law. I’m sure that there are studies that prove it.)

As I said, last night was the last episode. (I should point out here that I’ve seen the series before, but it had been long enough that I had forgotten most of it). I’m going to miss it. I’m in no hurry to pick up another series, though.

Hmm….We were watching Bones, because I mistakenly thought that it was over, two years ago

(editor’s note – the Pucketts only watch series after they have finished their run. This is the result of having watched the revamped Battlestar Galactica, in which they had so many amazing and impossible story lines unfolding, and then ended the series by waving their hands and saying “So long, folks! Show’s over!” – we never want to go through that again)

…..and I just checked, and they are saying that 2017 will be the final season, so we can’t watch it until then. It would be nice going from Angel to Bones – an interesting change of pace for David Boreanaz. So, no, that won’t be it.

Maybe I’ll go back and watch Lost again?…it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten most of what happened.

I’m just a little sad that I won’t be hearing that music anymore. Even if it did slow me down to 60 RPM.

 

 

I got the new Counting Crows CD, “Somewhere Under Wonderland”, a week and a half ago.

counting_crows_somewhere_under_wonderland_0914

(editor’s note: yes, I know that this CD came out in 2014. But, to me, it’s the “new” one. Don’t bother me. Up until this, I still considered “Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings”, released in March of 2008, to be “the new one”).

I put this in my car player the day I got it, and I haven’t taken it out yet – I listen to it during most of my driving. I’m really enj0ying it. N.B. – “most of my driving” isn’t much; there’s not a trip that I normally take that is longer than 10 minutes, and most are under four – a benefit of small-town living.

I knew after the first time through that these songs and I would wind up being long-term friends.

The problem that I have in these situations is that when I find new music that I really like, it seeps into my brain, and I find my ThinkMan® starts playing it without my permission. (Everybody has a ThinkMan®; it’s that MP3 player in your head. I generally have control over my ThinkMan® and use it while running, as it allows me to change volume and tempo on the fly; I sometimes listen to {almost} the entire Gin Blossoms CD “Congratulations I’m Sorry” at about 180 bpm during tempo runs, and sometimes have it repeat favorite verses or guitar solos. You can’t do that with your iPod.)

Getting an “earworm”, as they call it, isn’t too bad under most circumstances – the problem that I have is that sometimes the song that my ThinkMan® has on repeat plays even while I am asleep. Then I wake up over and over with the song in my head, all night log.

This time, I’m being careful. I’m not allowing myself to repeat a song in the car – it has to play all the way through the CD before I hear it again. I’m hoping to avoid the dreaded waking up with music that nobody else can hear by not allowing any one tune to take up residence. But it’s tricky. Right now, “Dislocation” is playing – as I type this, the chorus is running through my brain.

(Time for a pre-emptive strike – I just started listening to Classic Trance on Pandora, and that seems to have squelched Adam Duritz for the time being.)

So there’s a fine line that I find myself walking – listening to the new music enough to gain a relationship with it, while avoiding the all-night replays.

Wish me luck.

UPDATE: It didn’t work. “Earthquake Driver” woke me up from my noon nap.

 

Here’s what Coach Erin posted for this morning’s coached swim:

Today Swim

(editor’s note: this is not the workout that I did, for several reasons:
1 – I did 600 yards before I started
2 – I did the main set (the 3x[box] twice, and
3 – This is a 20 yard pool, not a 25 yard – but Coach Erin is an old-school swimmer, and just can’t seem to express herself in anything but 25 yard lengths/50 yard laps. So her 25s are actually 20s, her 50s are actually 40s, etc)

I’m doing a lot of swimming these days – last week was almost 13,000 yards. I’m doing a lot of biking these days – last week was about 180 miles.

The astute reader will notice that I did not completing the previuos paragraph with a summation of a third activity. There was one that was conspicuously absent. The fact that I’m not running (much at all) is why I’m swimming and biking so much.

I’m injured.

My calf is owie – when I try to run, it says “owie. Owie.” It says owie until I stop, and then it says owie for several days, to punish me for not listening to it immediately. I’m in physical therapy and I’m treating it, but nothing seems to be working – yet.

If you’re a runner and you can’t run, that’s not a good thing, generally speaking. But if you are training for The Big Race, a 140.6 mile mumble-mumble*, and you can’t run, it seems a lot bigger.

I’m currently signed up for three triathlons this summer – an Olympic in Frenchtown in early June, a half Ironman in Coeur D’Alene in late June, and then the full-distance mumble-mumble in late August. And I’m having to address the question – what if I can’t run?

Right now, I’m entertaining the notion of doing the Olympic and the Half as “aqua-velo” events; that means, just the swim and the bike – use them as training opportunities, and as chances to practice my transitions.

And that leaves me with the question – what about the full mumble-mumble?

I may just have to walk it.

That means that I’d have to do the swim and bike fast enough to leave me enough time to walk a marathon, and still get it all done in 16 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

It sounds crazy – but, then, what sounds SANE about a mumble-mumble?

So once this calf calms down, I’m going to hit the elliptical for about four hours a week; this will (I hope) serve the dual purpose of allowing me to keep some of my running conditioning, while also prepare me for the possible eventually of walking 26 miles 385 yards (after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112).

Is this a path to glory? No, it is not. Is “Swim, Bike, Walk” what I wanted on my tombstone? No, sir, you betcha.

But will it get the mumble-mumble monkey off my back?

Oh, yes, sir:)

 

*we don’t actually use the term Ironman in this house, unless we’re referring to a Half Ironman– if we’re talking about a Full, we just mumble incoherently (“mumble-mumble”) rather than let the phrase “Ironman 140.6” pass our lips

Things have gone fairly crazy here at Chez Dogpoop.

Last thing first – last night, Abby got loose in the closet. I don’t know how she did that – I had it pulled to – and I don’t know how to stop her from doing it, as this is a pocket door that doesn’t clasp shut; just pushes against the door jamb. But she got into the closet, and pooped in my shoes.

dogpoop

This is the closet after Ethel spent a half hour on it. Looks like there’ll be more work to do after the carpet dries.

(Editor’s note: if you’re wondering why Ethel was cleaning the carpet, it’s because…I don’t do well with poop. But I’m fixing the meals today – breakfast was a spinach, mushroom, onion, bacon and cheese fritata with a fruit cup (strawberries, blueberries and heavy cream). I’ll trade cooking for poop cleanup any day.)

But this is just the latest punctuation  mark in the long, run-on sentence of our lives over the last six weeks or so. Our triathlon training is now in full swing; I’m doing 12/16/18 hour week cycles, and Ethel had her biggest training week ever two weeks ago. In addition, we’ve had a lot of service commitments, and business travel – me to Pleasanton two weeks ago, Ethel next week to SLC.

Then there’s spring – which means yardwork and garage cleaning, and changing out snow tires, and – oh, yeah, your old summer tires are too bald to put back on. You need to buy new ones, Mr. Puckett. You too, Mrs. Puckett.

And then there’s this business of a new puppy in the house.

How did we get so busy? How is it that, as we get older, we wind up doing more? We have tighter schedules as empty nesters than we did when we had a toddler.

(At times like these, I look forward to retirement. But I have a strong suspicion that retirement will just be a different kind of busy. But I must admit to this fantasy of laying in the hammock in the breeze, and then waking up to go inside for an afternoon nap.)

In two months, we will be on Cozumel for three weeks. Now, that sounds restful and relaxing – until I remember that our A-races are in August – I’ve got the Coeur D’Alene full mumble-mumble on the 21st, and Ethel has the Vikingman half-Ironman in Burley, ID on the 27th.  So those three July weeks in the Caribbean really translate into heavy-volume training – in the heat and humidity. (We really need smarter hobbies).

When does it stop?

There was an episode of “Andy Griffith” in which Howard Sprague moved to a Caribbean island and was living in a grass shack drinking rum.

I think that Howard looked like this in that episode:

HowardSprague

This is me, during our last Cabo trip. For some years, we were alternating – Cabo one year, and Isla Mujeres the alternating year. Last year was supposed to be Isla, but we wound up moving to Montana (you might have heard) and that used up money, time and energy that we would have needed to hit Isla for three weeks.

So this year, even though Ethel is training for (and has already signed up for!) a Half Ironman 70.3, and I’ve got a Half in June and a mumblemumble (we don’t actually use the term Ironman in this house, unless we’re referring to a Half – if we’re talking about a Full, we just mumble incoherently rather than let the phrase “Ironman 140.6” pass our lips) in August, we’ve already set aside three weeks for Cozumel.

Cozumel is NOT Isla – it’s not the sleepy town that we’re used to. Heck, when we go to Cabo, we don’t go to Cabo San Lucas, which is “drunks naked on the beach covered in whipped cream” Cabo; we go to San Jose del Cabo, which is “walking on the square and buying empenadas from the little old lady with the cart’ Cabo. And Isla is like that, only moreso.

But this trip is in July, rather than the April or August/September trips that we’ve taken before, and the problem is that Isla will be even sleepier in the hotter months, which means – probably nobody at the English-speaking AA meetings. So we decided to drop down the coast to Cozumel instead.

Cozumel has a lot more people, and it has the cruise ships stopping in – but it does have a lot more meetings, and a lot of diving, as well. We’ve gone through AirBnB to get a condo owned by a local, and we’re hoping to miss the crowds and stick to the local areas….

Now, when I started typing this, I started watching the aforementioned Andy Griffith episode…and now, 7:52 into the episode, Howard has bought his ticket and is headed for St Benedict’s – “land in Trinidad, and get there by boat.” And the thing that talked him into it, really, was Andy’s assumption that “nobody really does that sort of thing. People talk about it, but they don’t do it.”

My friend George Ritter once told me that “Lots of people talk about moving to a ski town, but nobody ever really does it.”

Today, they delivered seven trees from the nursery – now I get to dig a bunch of big holes and plant them. I get to do that in between working, and meeting my service commitments, and training for a MumbleMumble, and paying my mortgage, and then I get to take care of the trees, and paint the house….

….Okay, Ethel. Just let me know when you’re ready. We’ll go live in a grass shack:)

 

 

As far as I can tell, about six to eight weeks ago, I must have been thinking.

I really don’t need to be more specific than that, do I? It wasn’t the “what about” that caused me the problem – it was the “thinking”. Or maybe I should say that I wasn’t thinking about God, or about my family, or about what I could do for others – I must have been thinking about me, and about what I thought I wanted or needed.

And, as a result, I now have a problem.

problemchild

This is Abby, my problem child.

I call her that because, as far as I can tell, I must have been thinking that I didn’t have enough problems, and needed to add one. Because I certainly have done that.

As those who follow this page will know, we picked Abby up just over five weeks ago, at RezQ Dogs in Dodson, MT. She came home with us scared out of her wits.

The “scared” is largely gone now – we’re left with the “out of her wits”:)

Abbilicious alternates between skittish and just plumb goofy, with the “goofy” getting more and more play time. She’s talkative and playful, and learning a lot, and doing very well indeed! She is a lot of fun, and it’s heartwarming to watch her change and grow.

There are still some confusing aspects about this relationship, though – for one thing, she doesn’t seem to have much of a relationship with ME. She’s pretty much always with Ethel – because Lucy is pretty much always with Ethel.

According to our trainer, Abby sees Lucy as her comfort, and me as her structure.

I’m not sure exactly what that means in theory, but in practice it means that I feed Abby, and train her, and make sure that she gets outside, and walk her, and give her treats, and brush her fur – and the rest of the time, she follows Lucy around.

I don’t know if she’s ever going to be my dog, but she is, certainly, my problem:)

Which is what I’m talking about – I’d forgotten how a dog rearranges one’s schedule. When I wake up, I don’t just grab my coffee and take my morning time – everything gets rearranged depending on whether or not Abby gets up when I do – and since both of the dogs eat breakfast, the morning also depends on whether or not Lucy gets up, as we want to make sure that they eat at the same time.

During the day, I have to remember that there’s a dog with a bowel and a bladder who doesn’t yet know how to tell me that she needs to go outside – sometimes I miss the timing, and then I get to clean stuff up. And she needs to be walked and exercised, and she needs to be trained.

I really don’t mind doing any of this – but it means, again, that things have to be rearranged. And that is pretty much the nature of a problem – it means that something has to be done or addressed differently.

And I can’t remember any time recently when I said to myself “I have too much free time, and not enough to do.”:) …but I must have said that very thing to myself, and my self listened, and arranged things…like this:)

I saw this car parked like this this morning, here in Bozeman:

parking

Now, in most towns, this would cause some consternation, but in Bozeman, that’s just the way that people park.

There are many things that we Pucketts love about Bozeman and the surrounding countryside, but it occurred to me this morning that the things that I don’t care for all have to do with lanes.

Parking lanes, driving lanes, swim lanes.

Parking here is strange; it truly seems to have nothing to do with the little lane markers on the pavement. It’s occurred to me that perhaps this was because there was often snow on the parking lots, so you couldn’t see the line markers. Now, obviously there isn’t always snow on the asphalt (in fact, the snow is mostly gone these days; it snows some every day or three, but it melts fast) but I thought that, perhaps, since they can’t count on seeing the lines, maybe they just ignore them.

My friend Scott says that no doubt there used to be plenty of parking in Bozeman, so folks simply assume that it’s okay to park any which way. And there may be something to that. This area has been growing very fast for quite some time, and the infrastructure may be having a difficult time keeping up – but let’s be plain; the infrastructure will NEVER “keep up” in terms of providing two parking spots for everybody:)

There’s obviously nothing that can be done about this; it’s just one of the adjustments that I’ll have to make. Folks in the Bozone simply are not going to park inside the lines.

Driving lanes are a different problem, but perhaps a different manifestion of the same issue; folks in Big Sky country drive slower than anywhere else that I’ve ever lived. Coming west from town to our neighborhood, the last couple of miles are 55 MPH speed limit, with five lanes (counting the suicide lane in the middle). But I’ve already adjusted (mostly) to the fact that, when I’m coming home from the gym or church or meeting or pool (90% of my trips to town, easily, fall into those four categories) I’m not going to be going 55 MPH to my home. Folks simply don’t get too close to the speed limit; they seem to have an aversion to getting closer than 5 MPH to that number that’s posted on the sign.

The strangest thing about this is that this is one of the states that used to have “prima facie” speed limits – pretty much “anything went” on the highways as long as it was “reasonable and proper”. ( I sure do wish that I’d lived here, with my BMW Z3 or my Audi TT, when that was the case). But now that the speed limits are enforced as such, folks seem to be scared of getting too close to them.

Or maybe it’s another symptom of growth – folks here aren’t used to so many people on the roads, or so many buildings/homes/etc on the roadside, and so they slow down in self defense.

Or perhaps it’s simply that folks in Montana are not in a hurry, and don’t want you to be in a hurry, either. Maybe – just maybe – they are AGGRESSIVELY not in a hurry.

But it means that I have to drive slower – or not drive at all. It’s true that I don’t drive much these days – a tank of gas will last me a month – but I do drive OFTEN. So I get plenty of opportunities to practice acceptance.

Swim lanes are a different issue – but, again, it might be the problem with recent growth. But the ratio of lap swimmers to swim lanes in Southwest Montana is much worse than Utah or the East Bay in California. Those are the only places in which I’ve done much lap swimming, so I can’t compare to anywhere else. But in Utah, I seldom had to share a lane; when swimming in Pleasanton, I might have to share a lane, but it’s just two folks to a lane, so each person gets a side – but if I want to swim the 50 meter lengths at the Bozeman Swim Center, then I have to swim “circles”, which means that the swimmers are swimming down one side of the lane and up the other side – which means that they have to be swimming at similar speeds, or there is passing and being passed, which interferes with everyone’s pace and rest times.

This is the only “lane” situation that might improve, here in Big Sky Country; there is supposed to be a new high school being built out at our end of town, and also a new YMCA being built about 2 miles from here, as well; the YMCA won’t have a pool until the second phase, but it still means that there might be some relief in the next couple of years.

I just hope that, when they build those places, they put in plenty of parking.

 

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