I went and did a thing…

Okay, so I bought another bike. And before you say anything— yes I have a problem.

But it’s sooooo pretty!

It’s a vintage (1981) Miyata SixTen. The guy converted it to a single gear, but it has the original chain ring and crank set. Original frame in pristine condition. Original headset. Original seat post.

He replaced the bottom bracket with Shimano componentS. New shimano brake levers. New Tektro calipers. New Nitto (fucking sweet Japanese component manufacturer) stem and handlebars. And almost best of all- new Honjo hammered aluminum fenders- the front one to which he added a custom leather “mud flap”.

This bike was lovingly and thoughtfully customized and crafted. The attention to detail, the precision, and the deliberate selection of componentry makes this bike special. And It’s fucking gorgeous. And I am seriously in love.

The guy selling it was cool (and also a fucking hot daddy). He has a love affair with vintage bikes (like me) and he loves fixing them up. So does his college age son, who works as a bike tech. His son is home right now and helping fix up and sell off many of their basement full of bikes.

It’s like the guy and I were twins. We were both about the same age. Beards and salt n pepper. Both wearing Patagonia jackets and Blundstone boots. He talked about his obsession with custom bags and accessories to fit the racks on his bikes. And he likes bikes with stories (just as I do): this particular bike he got from an older woman out in Staten Island! He was amazed at the condition- definitely a unicorn.

One of my goals is to custom build my own single gear bike. And I still plan to do this at some point. Honestly, I had started to research what all I needed to do to strip down my Holdsworth so I could turn it into a single gear. But I was talked out of it by a new biker friend.

This guy (Reece) is a hard core biker and fellow bike nerd with way more knowledge than I have. He knows components and vintage bikes. And also has a good handle on true hipster cool vs poseur cool. We got to taking and sharing bike pictures and he talked me out of stripping the Holdsworth because it’s in good shape as it is- and very original.

He’s also the one that found the Miyata.

After changing my mind on the Holdsworth, he said “You know you can buy a new single gear for the same amount that you’ll put into your own build.” Then I explained how I like old repurposed steel frame bikes. And the idea of customization. And the fact that I want bikes that are unique and head turners (at least to bike jocks who know). And while we were chatting about all this he jumped on Craigslist for MInneapolis. You know, just to look.

“Dude! Check out this Miyata! It’s fucking SICK!!” And he sent me the link.

And the rest is history.

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With the extra free time I have in my hands, I’ve been looking into some of my New Years resolutions and seeing if I want to focus more on some of the activities I had listed.

Like writing a book.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, the process, the editing, etc. And writing a novel has been on my to do list for a long time. With spending more time inside, this may be as good a time S any to jump start the book I started sons ago.

And then there’s music composition.

Now is a good time to sit down and actually write some of the musical ideas I have burbling in my head. Just the other day on my walk, I came up with a theme for the third movement of a suite I’ve been working on for several years. I whistled several of the motifs into my phone to record them for later use.

I also want to make my own single gear bike.

Now this one— it may be cheaper to find one already made and then tweak it than to build one from scratch. Cheaper too. We’ll see about this idea. Or I may just fix up my Holdsworth with some more custom work. Here— hold mah beer.

I also want to get a new euphonium, a better one, and then practice up a bit. I’ve got a line on a compensating 4 Valve horn that won’t break the bank. Fingers crossed.

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Tasty Tuesday

In lieu of taco Tuesday, I thought I’d present tasty cakes Tuesday.

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Werkin on mah fitness

One thing that has been a challenge is keeping up with my workouts. I was hitting the gym 6 times a week or so, and using a personal trainer for a half hour session once per week. Naturally all that’s gone away, and I’m concerned about my weight and health.

It’s definitely been interesting coming up with home workouts. Thankfully the weather is getting a bit better, so outdoor cycles will become a good option soon. But we aren’t quite there yet. So, walking at lunch has been stepped up. And I’ve been doing living room workouts.

My own workouts have been running in place, aerobics, kickboxing, push-ups, squats, lunges, etc. Oh, and running series of seven flights of stairs at my condo. And occasionally doing jump rope.

The good news is that my gym has made “virtual workouts” available online. They’re actually pretty intense 30 minute workouts (shred, cardio kick, warrior sculpt, etc) and they really get me sweating. Plus they have yoga and other classes too.

In prep for more bike riding, I was able to get my baby “Ghost” in for some much needed service. There were some bearings going out, which I don’t have the tools to replace, so he is currently being fixed up. I should be getting him back in time for the nicer weather to kick in.

Until then- it’s all about home workouts with body weight resistance. And better eating.

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Keeping Busy

I’m not going stir crazy— at least not yet. I think that still having to go into work every day keeps my routine somewhat stable and also affords me a change of scenery. Even if I do still dislike where I work. The nice part about social distancing is that I’m not in contact with all the assholes at work- so my mood is WAY better!

I have been doing things around my condo to keep busy. A LOT of cleaning. Like hand washing floors type cleaning. Like cleaning the baseboards type cleaning. Scrubbing sinks. Descumming the glass shower doors. Things like that.

This weekend I borrowed the tall ladder from the condo building and got to work. I installed four new ceiling lights— LED and dimmable. And actually brighter (and more efficient) than the dated halogens thst were there. I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile, and now I had the time.

So the new lights are in the kitchen area and the entryway. All controllable by Alexa too.

While I had the ladder, I also used it so I could reset a smoke detector, clean the dust off the tops of the sprinkler runs and the duct work, clean the dust off the fresh air vent above my entrance door, remove a temporary light I didn’t need, dust all the vent covers, and clean off the top of the kitchen cupboards. Phew!

All the dust was pretty gross. So many big chunks of dust fell everywhere! There was lots of secondary cleaning afterward. But I feel like I accomplished something and made my space better, so that’s good.

I’m also playing piano more and finishing several books. Oh, and getting creative with lots of home workouts. I’m also cooking more and eating a little better. Maybe when this is done, I’ll have shed a few extra lbs too!

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Day brighteners

I need to pare down the number of photos in my phone, so here are some day brighteners to start your week.

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This whole Covid-19 thing should have me waaaay more stressed than it does. I hate uncertainty. I like plans and routine. And all this hourly/daily change should have me in absolute knots.

But it doesn’t.

I mean, sure I’m concerned about the virus and being exposed. And potentially exposing others. I don’t want to get sick and definitely don’t want to die. But I’m strangely not anxious about it.

I’m washing my hands a ton. And disinfecting surfaces. And keeping distant (which, let’s be honest, isn’t that hard for me given that I’m a hermit.)

As I was going for a lunchtime walk the other day, I started to ruminate on why I’m not more stressed. And honestly, I think it’s because so many of the stress inducers in my life have effectively been eliminated as of late.

The stress of my job? Well, we are now doing virtual meetings, so I no longer have to sit in a room and listed to political and racist banter with people I hate. Stress of finding a new job? I’ve had a good series of interviews and I’m hopeful about receiving an offer (although I’m comfortable if it doesn’t happen immediately given the current crisis).

Stress induced by music rehearsals, practicing music outside rehearsals, concerts, etc? (I had rehearsals for 2+ hours every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday). Those are all cancelled or postponed. And with this is the elimination of having to memorize music, and being section leader, and striving to be note perfect.

There was also the stress of carving out time for the gym. I mean, I pay for the membership so I need to use it. And I also felt the pressure to work out 6 times per week to keep the lbs at bay. And also to work with a personal trainer. All that has been tabled for the time being too.

And then there was the Fear Of Missing Out on weekends. The constant feeling that I should be going to happy hours or out with friends to the bars to at least be somewhat social. But if I didn’t go, I was always besieged by thoughts of “What am I missing? I bet it could be fun, if only I got off this couch!” But of course, there are no events to go to right now.

So yeah. My time has freed up immensely. All the “need tos” and “have tos” and “get tos” are basically gone. I feel like I have time to breathe, to relax. Time to reflect and count my blessings— of which I have many. And to really focus on Buddhism again.

I’m focusing on what I can control, and letting all the rest be. My wish for you all is that you may experience some peace in this time of uncertainty too.

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Just like everyone else, my life has changed a bit in the past couple weeks. Strange that such a tiny fragment of RNA can upend the entire world. It’s sort of elegant in an extremely creepy and frightening way.

Anyway, when things like this happen, my planning mode sort of kicks into overdrive. Fortunately Minnesota is about a week behind in all of this, so I have the benefit of “seeing the future” before experiencing it first hand. I was able to get toilet paper. And stock up on some other supplies. I’ve been shopping in short spurts- getting things like soup and oatmeal and tuna and such so that I have food options. Oh, and plenty of cat fud and litter for Luna.

I have also pulled up the service appointment on my FJ cruiser. While I don’t have high miles, it is 10 years old. So I’m writing this at the dealership where I’m getting the fluids and filters replaced. While not cheap, I’ll feel better having it done, and it also gives these guys something to do. (It’s kind of a ghost town in the service department).

I’m guessing we’ll be getting a “shelter in place” mandate soon— but we haven’t yet. Which is why I’m doing some additional errands today (medicine, sundries) in order to make sure I’m ready for an extended stay. I just hope we don’t shut down the state until after my interview on Monday.

Oh! One brings spot. Last night my book club tested out the Zoom app. We had kind of a virtual “meeting” where we drank and kvetched. We also figured out how to play jackbox games online from our individual spaces. It all worked pretty slick, and it was good to have interaction.

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Thirsty Thursday

I’m getting might parched all on my own….

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Job Interview 2

So, as you may be aware, I have ramped up my search for a new job. I just really can’t stand where I work anymore; it’s well past time for me to get out. And now that we’ve passed the Christmas bonus and the 401k contribution, there’s no better time.

I tweaked my résumé, and have been applying for basically any job that fits what I can do. I’m all over glass door, monster, linked in, etc. I’ve had several rejections, a couple nibbles…

And one bite.

About 2 weeks ago I was contacted by a company in a suburb of Minneapolis who is looking for a quality manager. I have like 97% of the qualifications to do this job. Good things about it are the fact that it’s a well established international company, it is NOT automotive, and the compensation is right where I need it to be.

I had an initial phone interview which went really well. This afternoon I have a second phone interview with the manager to whom I would report. It was supposed to be a face to face interview, but Covid protocols have changed it to the phone.

I’m cautiously optimistic.

I mean, this is a weird time to be looking to jump ship. There’s probably a recession coming, what happens with healthcare, what if I have to start but work from home, etc. But if not now, when?

I hope I’m not trading a horrible work environment for an equally bad situation. I’ve already started a pro/con list– so far the biggest con is a longer commute.

Send good juju around 4 pm central.

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