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6 June 2017

As is often the way it works, I am sick when I don’t want to be. It’s not bad. I am coughing up bright green/yellow goo. Last night I slept about 9 hours but I don’t feel rested. Because I’m a 40-something man, I’m up every few hours to pee. That makes me less than optimally rested most of the time. I didn’t work out and took a very long hot bath. Today I’m dehydrated.

But I came to work because I needed to come to work. I have pressing items on my to-do list and if I don’t get them done there are going to start to be whispers. So here I am running simulations at ten to eight with a bit of a cold sweat on my brow and a headache. I know I’m supposed to stay home until I’m not sick anymore, but no one really has that option.

Tonight I have to do a brick: hour ride and 40 minute run. Which means I need to get a lot of water on board this morning, or I’ll be really screwed for the run part. Hopefully I can muscle my way through and not suffer too much. We have a half marathon Sunday and I want to finish it and get a nice medal.

Summer Fitness Goals.

2 June 2017

OK. I’m definitely a little out of shape after my long vacation. We did get in two runs while we were away, in Lake Bled and in Vicenza. But only a total of about 8.4 miles. But we walked (often with heavy packs) for some 100-120 miles in 11 days. That definitely keeps up the basic fitness, but it doesn’t keep my cardiovascular capacity up. So my first run home, on Wednesday, was difficult. I only did 4 miles and it was hot and my HR spiked all the way to 190 despite a slow pace.

Yesterday I did a 35.2 mile bike ride after work. It was slower than my last two long rides at only 14.4 miles per hour, but give the heat and wind I was ok with that. I was tired when I started and 35 miles is a long way no matter how you feel. My watch thinks it was a 2500 kcal ride. I kind of doubt that, but I was definitely famished when it was over. I’m having trouble imagining running after a ride like that. Getting fit for the half-Ironman is going to be more difficult than I imagined.

But I now have four race goals for the summer. Next weekend (June 11) I’m running a half-marathon. It’s a fun run in a local large municipal park and I have no intention of doing anything other than slow-jogging it. BB and I signed up on a whim and we’re going to just show up and have fun with it. Hopefully another medal to hang on the wall.

Two weeks after that I have my Olympic Triathlon. That’s a 1500m swim (0.93 miles), a 40km bike ride (24.9 miles) and a 10km run (6.2 miles). Depending on the weather, it’ll be a challenge. I did one of near identical length last summer (the bike was 19 miles for that one). I’m probably in shape for this one, but I’m not sure that I can do the run right now, without taking a walk break, after the swim and ride. We’ll see. I’m going to work hard on my running for the next three weeks and see what happens.

The next race after that is a 10km race in August. It’s always hot, humid, and miserable. But it’s a great local race that supports my local running store and so I’m excited to do it. I just really need to get my runs in so that I’m fit. I haven’t been running nearly enough. Getting enough biking in really stomps on my runs. And while biking is great exercise, it doesn’t keep me in running shape.

Finally, Sept 18th is my half-Ironman. As I train up for it I am realizing just what a monumental undertaking it is. The swim is no biggie. But the ride is, and so is the run. 1.2 miles swimming, 56 miles on the bike, and 13.1 miles to run. I have so much work to do. I’m daunted and unsure I can make it. But I will try. I will try.

Annoying People.

31 May 2017

Ok, I understand that I am one. I have personal quirks and mannerisms that a lot of people don’t like. I can be obsessive and impatient. I can take things excessively personally even when I know they’re not. I need attention and affection. I like to be the center of attention. I talk too loud. I boast. And I could go on and on, but that’s another one.

But at the moment I’m dealing with an annoying person I have no real right to complain about. There’s a new guy at my men’s meeting. He’s not obviously an alcoholic. He never shares during the meeting. But he likes to come out for dinner with us after. I’ve only been out to dinner with him once. He didn’t bring enough money, and he asked a bunch of questions about what AA was. He didn’t discuss anything about himself.

He seems to be homeless, but of course I can’t tell for sure. He’s very soft spoken. He asks a lot of questions. He says strange things like, “Feel free to start conversations with me. I’m a little shy about starting them myself.” But he isn’t. He talks and talks. He claims to have PTSD and “trauma” but has never said about what.

I gave him my phone number because I give lots of new guys my phone number. Now he’s texting and asking me questions, calling. He wants to hang out, be friends. He doesn’t seem to understand how friendships start. And he seems to see the AA meeting as a place to go find friends, rather than as a place of recovery.

I have rebuffed his efforts at friendship because I find him peculiar and off-putting, as well as disingenuous. He seems guileless, but at the same time he doesn’t seem to be in the rooms for the reason they’re there. He comes across as mentally ill and lonely, not alcoholic seeking recovery. And while that seems like a sad thing, I’m not the person who can solve that. I’m not looking to be a tool to correct someone’s loneliness, especially when I have nothing in common with him.

He seems to think making friends consists of saying, “Let’s hang out and be friends,” rather than building a base of shared experience. I can be, and have been, friends with homeless, mentally ill people in the program. But they’ve all been alcoholics who were there to recover first, and we gradually got to know each other. But really, I only have three or four people from the rooms that have become what I would really call “friends.”

There are plenty of people I like and am friendly with. But only a few I’ve met outside the meetings or dinner after. That’s just not what I’m there for, nor is it usually what they’re there for. We’re there to recover. I’m not looking for friendships among the recovered, generally. And I’m really not looking for friendships among people who don’t need to be there for alcoholism.

I feel like my space has been invaded. By someone too simple to realize he’s invading. I’ve told him some of this by text message. I said, “Sometimes people become friends over years of sharing in the meetings, and if that’s what you want then you need to start sharing.” But then he just says he can’t talk and moans about his “trauma”. He’s perfectly capable of talking and reaching out. He’s not willing to talk about himself.

But of course I don’t know him or what he’s dealing with. I just know that I’m there to connect with alcoholics working on recovery, and if he’s that I’ve seen no evidence of it. He’s strange and disquieting. I don’t like him. And I don’t have to.

But it’s an open men’s meeting. He has as much right to be there as I do. So I need to just chat with my sponsor about it.

Travel Recap and a New Endeavor!

30 May 2017

Wow. I’ve been on some great trips in my life, but this was a great trip. Northern Italy was magnificent, and Slovenia was like a perfect gem. We did so much I can’t begin to explain it all. We flew into Venice, spent two days wandering the canals (and dodging armor-piercing mosquitoes). From there, we went to Lake Bled in Slovenia, a stunning little town nestled in the southern Alps. Describing it is a fool’s errand. It looks like heaven would look if it were designed by Bob Ross.

From Bled we went to Ljubljana, the charming and intimate capital city of Slovenia. Thence to Vicenza, a smallish town in northern Italy entirely designed by Andrea Palladio in the 1500s. Stunning architecture. We hiked around in vineyards and ate so much gelato. After Vicenza we went to Bergamo, a city on a hill surrounded by 16th century walls still entirely intact.

From there we returned to Venice and home. I can’t begin to explain all the amazing things we saw. And of course we ate some amazing things too. We ate at both Antica Osteria Cera, and El Coq. Michelin-starred restaurants in Venice and Vicenza, respectively. Incredible food. The first bite I had at Antica, a bruschetta with roasted tomato and mozzarella, was probably the best thing I’ll ever eat in my entire life. Stunning. Revelatory. Astounding.

Pictures will never do this trip justice. But BB and I have created a new social media experiment for you to follow, when we travel. It’s called “Rocco and Fetti Travel the World“, on Instagram. Please head over there to see some great pics from our traveling companions. They’ll be with us every time we travel, and I’ll be filling in some pics from previous trips as time goes by. Follow them, if you will, to keep up with us as we journey around the world.

Vacation Postcards!

18 May 2017

Ok no promises but if you want a postcard from my mystery vacation destination you can email (infactorium at the g mail server machine) your address and I will do my best to send you one.

If not, I’ll post some pics here when I return!

Vacation Now.

16 May 2017

I am on day two of four sitting like a blob at home on my two week vacation before I jet off with BB to parts unknown for 10 days. We tend to go on two trips a year, a long one and a short one, and this is the long one. We’ll be somewhere wonderful and fabulous, and because of my horrific flight home last fall American Airlines owed me $1,000, so our tickets were nearly free. Obviously, blogging will be light for the next two weeks.

Sitting at home, I’m planning to do a little training for my triathlon (today I have gym, bike, and run – if I can find the motivation.). And I’m composing a little chamber piece to be played at a fundraiser for music therapy services at MECMC. I was asked to play piano at it, but I feel uncomfortable playing for an audience that’s sitting and listening to me. I don’t ind playing in a public place, I do it all the time, but not for a seated and attentive crowd.

But writing a piece for professionals (or talented amateurs) to play? That’s gratifying. So I’m hopefully going to be able to put out a piece for flute and piano that people will like. I’m not a gifted composer, but I am also not shitty. Hopefully I can create something that will not leave everyone nauseated.

Mostly, I’m glad to be relaxing, off work, and I’m definitely feeling less stressed. I know it will all come back in a minute once I return. But for now… aahhhhhhh. I could get used to not having a job.

Final Approvals Secured.

12 May 2017

My boss and my VP have agreed and I will be joining the PHRG on a part-time basis as a Research Scientist. We’ll follow up and review how it’s going at quarterly intervals. My, my boss, and my new mentor. I will have to work a lot harder I think, but I will be getting to do far more exciting stuff than I’ve been doing in a much higher profile environment.

I will have an outward facing website and an excellent new title, and even a horrible fishbowl glass-walled office. It’s very exciting. I share the office, but I think it’s a time share not a concurrent thing. I’m not entirely sure. Those are the trappings. That’s the neat stuff that I’m glad to get instead of the basement cube I have now and for the foreseeable future.

But the really exciting stuff is I get to work on public health and epidemiology again. I get to apply computer simulation to policy and analysis and write blog posts and white papers and give talks and attend meetings where my ideas and innovations will hopefully be taken seriously by people who actually write policy and influence those who write legislation and regulations.

The kind of people, support services, and international credibility that the PHRG has will help my work find its way into better papers and may yield some new grant funding. They have that stuff locked in – it’s a funding machine. They secure millions of dollars a year for their work. I will be able to participate and hopefully benefit those efforts. I’m really excited. Apprehensive, naturally, but excited.

I hope to be able to do some good work.