Tag Archives: biking

Life update, Halloween edition

Lots of stuff has been going on, mostly good things!

Social: I’ve been leaving the house and hanging out with people!  Which means I need to give a few people some nicknames. (Pause…)  Done.  I even made a page for my cast of characters.  Yesterday I hung out with Zelda for like 6 hours.  Her friend Domino joined us for lunch, and we hit it off too, and then the three of us spent like an hour in Joanns gleefully shopping for 70% off Halloween decorations.  Last Sunday I had coffee in the morning with Rose for two hours, and then spend the afternoon with Zelda.  I am such a social butterfly.

Hellooooooo nurse: I’ve been contemplating having a sex life again.  I don’t want love, but friendship with benefits would be awesome.  I’ve even been flirting with people.  Shocking.

Brain Fun: doing fairly well on most days. There was a four-day depressive streak last week during which I only left the house once.  And the week before that I struggled with occasional bursts of impulsive recklessness.  Like, “if I ride my bike down this 65mph highway, it’s not like I’m actually attempting suicide, right?  I mean, it has a bike lane…”  But mostly I’m okay.

Thursday I started decreasing my Lamictal dosage.  I’ve been on 200mg twice a day for years, and I’m fed up with the severe memory loss it causes.  I’ve forgotten almost everything I learned in college.  I don’t remember most of my childhood.  The memories are still there, I just can’t access them.  (Thanks to my psych degree and a stint volunteering in a neuropsych lab, I know a bit about memory testing and have done some.  I store memories just fine; it’s retrieval that’s the problem.)  I consider this to be the best way to lose memories, as it means I have a chance of regaining access.  If I wasn’t storing them when they happened, I’d be completely SOL.

Lamictal is what prevents my mania.  If I start getting manic I’ll just sedate myself and then resume my former dose.  Easy.  I hope this works.

Therapy: haven’t had an appointment since my last update.  I’ll have one tomorrow, though.

Cycling: still doing it, although not as much as I’d like.  That whole reckless thing has made me a little scared to ride much.  I’ll talk to my therapist about it.

I’ve resumed my daily walks, though.  Because outdoor exercise of any kind helps my mental health.

Crafting: two inches left of Nephew’s pillow.  I’ve been spinning a lot.  Nothing else, though.  I’ve been too busy reading.

Reading: alllll the books.  So many books.  Mostly paper ones.  All non-fiction.  Which reminds me, I should update my Goodreads account.

Cello: I’ve stopped lessons until January, so that I can afford school and Christmas presents.  I’m sad, but I’ll be back to it in the new year.

Follow-up from last update: I had to reschedule the dentist, because I’ve been having some trouble with nausea.  The craft fair this last Saturday was fun, although it was just me and Mom.  I got a new journal.  Now I just need to keep up with it.

Upcoming plans: Hiking November 11th!  So excite!

Mid-month update

I seem to be stuck updating biweekly…

Therapy: not as intense as last time, but stressful nonetheless.  Talked about how I dissociate so much, both deliberately and involuntarily.  How it makes me feel safer.  How when I cried happy tears the other day, I had no idea why my eyes were watery and it confused me, and how once I realized I was happy-crying I was even more confused because how could I not know that’s what I was doing?  I have serious mind/body disconnect issues, and I want to fix it.

Reading: Saturday I started reading a book that wasn’t fanfic.  Since then I’ve read four more books and am almost done with a fifth.  The last one I finished was a novel, which delighted me.  I want to read more fiction.  I hope this lasts for a while.  Oh, yeah, and three were paper books.  Maybe I need to switch back to physical books.  Yay for good libraries!

Biking: still at it.  I’m having to take shorter rides now, though, because long ones hurt my bad knee.  I have dual rear baskets now so I can run more nearby errands on my bike.  In a little bit I’ll be riding to my sister’s to babysit…

Crafting: My ex-MIL loved the washcloths I made for her birthday.  I finished the pillow for my nephew, only for him to tell me one of the colors was wrong.  (Never mind that he had picked it out.)  So I’m waiting on new yarn to come in.  I warped for my tunic but haven’t started weaving yet.  I haven’t finished the dishcloth I started a few days ago, because I’ve been reading so much.  I got the yarn for Mom’s birthday present (washcloths that match her bathroom decor) but haven’t started those.  (Gotta finish the dishcloth first, as it uses the same needles I need for the washcloths.)  Oh, and Friday I cut out all the pieces for the change purses I’m making.  Now I just need to figure out how to sew on the zippers.  Haven’t done any spinning in a couple of months.

Mental stuff: much less depressed.  Not napping often.  Not eating junk food.  Still dissociating but not as much.  So, better overall.  I’ve been having more good days than bad.  Never did hear back from Hillary’s campaign.  I should call again.

Also… this is going to sound weird and sad.  For the last couple of years I’ve only had a libido when really depressed.  Like, I only get myself off when I’m miserable, because when I feel better I’m not interested.  What does it say about me, that arousal is a sign of depression for me?  I get anhedonic except for lust, and even then I frequently feel desire without being able to do anything about it.  But today I got turned on while in a good mood.  It felt weird, but I’m happy about it.

Also, watching cisgender porn as a trans person is hard.  Because my private fantasies are always with me in a male body, and so sometimes gay porn is awesome, but then like today I wanted to see my own physiology reflected so I was watching straight porn.  Neither feels quite right, but there’s a lack of good trans BDSM porn featuring submissives whom I can identify with even a little.  Stupid transgender problem #873987984789375…

Upcoming plans: Thursday I finally see the dentist.  (My appointment was rescheduled because of the last hurricane.)  Pride festival is Saturday, and I’m going to go for at least a little while.  Next weekend I’m going to a craft fair with Mom and ex-MIL.  In November there will be hiking in Georgia.  And cello lessons!  I resume those on Nov. 3rd.

Cycling, therapy, cello, etc.

Cello: I have cancelled my lessons for the month of October.  I need to go to the dentist instead.  Joy.

Therapy: Today’s lesson dealt with some unpleasant shit from when I was a teenager.  It was kind of awful.  Afterwards I went to the Harn Museum of Art to make myself feel better.  Except, parking was $4 and I had no cash.  Sigh.

Depression: The Sunday before last I decided to try to get a part-time job, just stocking shelves at the grocery or something.  The stress of putting together my resume made me suicidally depressed for the next three days.  So that’s not really an option.  I’m trying to volunteer for Hillary’s campaign, but haven’t gotten a call back yet about when to come in.

Crafting: I’m knitting a pillow for my youngest nephew, and knitting three washcloths for my ex-MIL as a birthday gift.  Both projects are by request.  Today I set up a spreadsheet for planning weaving projects, and I really need to warp for my black and green tunic.  And do some sewing.  Can’t focus on anything that requires brain cells at the moment.

Reading: I’ve been so scattered I haven’t been able to read anything, even slash.  Annoying.

Cycling: padded bike underwear are awesome.  They feel like wearing a overnight-strength maxi pad, but because of them I’ve been able to ride two days in a row.  Nine miles yesterday, at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, and seven miles today, around my part of town.  It helps that it’s been in the low 70s in the mornings!  More about biking under the cut.

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Cycling, week one

I’ve been on three rides since my last post.  Two were at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail.  I was riding at the western (Gainesville) end, which is quite hilly for the first four miles or so.

My first time out, I went out to the Alachua Lake overlook, which is about 2.75 miles from the trailhead.  I was planning on continuing on, but I was having problems shifting so I just rode back to my car.  (I took it to the shop later.  I’d accidentally installed the base for my U-lock over the shifting cable.  Oops.  Easy fix, anyway.)

Second time, I rode out to the five-mile mark before turning around.  It is so, so, so beautiful out there.  There are different micro-ecosystems you pass through:  a forest, views of Payne’s Prairie, a sawgrass field, a hammock… and that was just the first 5 miles.  The trail is 16 miles long.  Next time (tomorrow, most likely) I’ll drive out to Hawthorne to try the eastern end.  It’s supposed to be flat, and I want to see how far I can go.  Eventually I would like to be able to ride the whole thing, all 32 miles of it, in one go.  I think it won’t take me too long to get there.  I mean, I can already do ten miles, and that’s the hilly part, and it was only my third bike ride so far.

My last ride, yesterday, was near my house.  Eight miles total.  Before I got a bike I was terrified to ride on roads, but yesterday I started on the sidewalk and then noticed how nice and wide the bike lanes were, and how little traffic there was…  Definitely easier than riding the sidewalk.  Although I wouldn’t do it in the dark, even after I get my lights for it.  Not that brave…

Right near my apartment is a scenic road a lot of Serious Cyclists like to ride on.  They all ride at the same time I like to ride or walk, so I’m used to seeing them every morning just after dawn. They ride the GHT, too.  They all have road bikes and are stick-skinny and go really fast.  I don’t want a road bike, I don’t want to dress all in Lycra and weave through traffic, but I can’t help but feel like a kid on a tricycle.  I got a basket for my handlebars, to carry my water and stuff in, and it’s very practical, but… kid on a tricycle.  Ugh.  I’m going to get a serious-looking commuter bag instead so I don’t look like such a dork.  Not as convenient for me as the basket, but I won’t feel as self-conscious…

Anyway.  I’ve ordered a pair of inexpensive padded shorts, because the only thing stopping me from riding every day is that my vulva gets sore every time I ride.  It’s getting easier, but if the shorts work I’ll buy a couple more pair so I can ride daily.  This morning I went for a walk, like I did every morning before getting the bike, and it was so boring in comparison.  I’m definitely hooked on cycling.

Divorced and cycling

On Tuesday, Sept. 6th, 2016, at 9:15am, I became a single person again.  So, so glad.  My ex was upset because her mom, my mom, and I were chatting happily while we waited for our turn before the judge.  We were making plans to see one another, gabbing about family and stuff, and completely ignoring Ex.  My ex-MIL likes me better than she likes her own child.  I should feel bad about that, but I don’t.

The day after, I went down to the local bike shop my sister likes, Bikes and More.  I’ve been eyeing a new bike for a while now.  I had a GT Aggressor hybrid and hated it, so I didn’t ride it for years.  At the shop I ordered a 2017 Raleigh Circa 1.

Circa 1 manufacturers photo

Circa 1 manufacturers photo

I picked it up yesterday.  The salesperson took me on a short ride to test my settings.  Several adjustments later, I was good to go.  It’s weird to not have my butt on the seat when I’m stopping and starting, but I’m getting the hang of doing it the right way.

This morning at 7am I went for my first real ride.  5.68 miles, fastest mile 9.0mph. So not terribly long or fast. Lots of fun though. Hopefully my crotch will stop hurting enough I can do it again tomorrow. (The seat is comfortable, I’m just not used to biking.)

It was more of a workout than I’d had in ages. I’ve been walking at least 3 miles a day, if y’all remember. I did it fast enough to get my heartbeat around 125bpm average, topping out at 142 or so. With the bike I got to about the same, but it was using very different muscles. And more of them! I wasn’t expecting to feel it in my biceps. My core is also achy, which is awesome. I need that.

I did have to double back for my helmet, having forgotten it.  I was a little shaky at first, but then it was like flying and I was in love.  I have some technique stuff I need to work on.  Besides starting and stopping more smoothly, I need to remember to pedal with the ball of my foot and not the arch.  And get better at stabilizing with one hand so I can make hand signals more easily.  But yeah, it was awesome.  Happy divorce to me!

Last week sucked.

Sometimes, usually when I’m depressed, I go through periods when I don’t want to talk to anyone.  I’ve been having one of those.  So hello to my online friends, I’m not dead or anything.  Actually, yesterday was fantastic — I woke up with a ton of energy, and set about cleaning my bedroom and bathroom.  Did two loads of laundry, swept and mopped the tile areas of the house, even washed a dozen skeins of handspun yarn.  And went for two walks. And started knitting the pillows for the living room futon.

Today I woke up a little slower but still did a 5 mile walk, then babysat, then ran errands, then got a bunch of online crap done.  So I’m doing pretty well on the productivity front today, too.  Still have to go to the grocery…

I did my July budgeting.  Ugh.  Spent too much this month (purple Docs, I’m looking at you, you beautiful things).  Something I’ve figured out in my budget spreadsheet (which probably everybody else knows, but I haven’t had credit cards in ages) is to calculate the amount of interest I’ll owe if I don’t make a decent credit card payment, and wow does that work as motivation to keep my balance low.  Because losing $50 to interest payments will piss me off.  So I’m not doing that, and July will be tight.

I am, however, spending the $70 to get my current bicycle tuned up.  The woman at the bike shop said they might be able to fix my setup so that riding is more comfortable for me, because, after thinking about it some more, a new bike is definitely not a need, and I’d be better off spending that money (basically the same amount) on a college class, because learning things is more fun than riding bicycles.  If I still want a new bike by Christmas, I’ll consider getting one then.  In the meanwhile, I’ll see if I even enjoy riding once my current bike is set up/tuned up.  Because, while walking is awesome, and I’m still doing a lot of it, Florida is fucking hot in the summer and it would be nice to feel a little breeze on my face during my daily workouts.

Speaking of walking, I mapped a new route this afternoon.  Took a drive down the opposite way I normally go, and it’s quite beautiful.  And shady.  Yay trees!  It’s 3.5 miles round-trip, which means it’ll be good for days I want to do a short walk.  (My long route is just under 5 miles.)  And I have to take my camera one day, because it’s beautiful down that way.

I’ve been able to read again lately.  I’m almost finished with a book on the history of the American highway system.  It’s fascinating, although I’m sure it sounds dull to most of you.  Next up is a book on how Dante’s Inferno permanently changed Western society’s mental picture of Hell.

While I’m on the subject of media: As previously reported, Mom and I were binge-watching The Blacklist through Netflix.  We quit on Friday, because the stupid burned so much that it’s not even worth watching for James Spader.  It just… it was never that good to begin with, except for him, and it just kept getting increasingly dumber throughout the season.  We finished it (season one), but fuck that show, seriously.  Last night we started Luther.  So much better.  (Mom has a thing for crime dramas.  She reads crime novels, too.)

And now, for something completely different: I started seeing the new therapist last week, and I like her bunches.  Hopefully she can help me get over my PTSD shit.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Loki showing his belly.  Because he’s cute.

Upside-down Loki

To bicycle, or not to bicycle?

I hate my bike.  It’s a GT Aggressor hybrid, about ten years old, and I hate having to bend over it and put all the weight on my hands.  It sucks.  I was looking at cruiser bikes online and thought that I could sell my GT and get one of those.  I went by the bike shop my sister uses to see what they had.

Saleswoman: What’s your budget?
Me: $200-ish. I think I want a cruiser.
Her: We can do that!
She shows me a cruiser in my price range.
Me: what I really wish I could get is one of those Dutch-style commuter bikes, they’re really cool but I can’t afford one.
Her: Here’s one for $300, and we set it up for you, and the first tune-up is free instead of $70, and you get discounts on parts, so you save a lot of money, if you really want one.  Also it’s black.  You said you like black.
Me: drooooooooool
I pause.
Me: I wish I could ride more, but I’m always afraid of going too far from home and the bike breaking and me having to walk it back or get stuck.
Her:  Good bikes kept in shape don’t do that.  Learn how to change a flat and you can go anywhere.  And later you can upgrade to fancier tires that rarely go flat.  You shouldn’t have to be afraid to bike!
Me: …I think I’ll start putting away some money…

I don’t know if I’ll do it or not.  I mean, it doesn’t hurt to save more money anyway, but I don’t know if I’ll put it towards a bike.  I know some good places to ride that aren’t on the street, like the walking/biking path I always take my walks on, and my aunt is retired and into biking so I could maybe do longer rides with her, if I got some endurance built up…  I’ll think about it.  No harm in thinking.