Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The spoiled bike commuter

The management at the building I work at is quite bike-friendly. They recently re-arranged the loading dock area where the indoor bike parking is located.
The entire area's floor got a nice new paint job, more lighting, new walls and even a bike rack to hang the lesser-used bikes. What was once a grungy, dark, dusty area is now a plush (by bike-storage standards) bike parking paradise. Hey, I was delighted to have my grungy toaster rack and indoor parking, this new area is opulence.

I just need a fix-it station and this would be the Taj Mahal of bike parking!





 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Open Streets- where you can high-five the Pope

Look at all these cyclists!








I got a chance to greet Jeremy Raymer

After OpenStreets, the 4 of us enjoyed some brews
 Some non-bike activities:
We enjoyed some time at the spray park down the street.

I love the view from the hammock!

There's a new mural Downtown in Strawberry Way.
 Back in March I started a 311 request to the City to restrict the parking at the entrance(s) of the Strip District trail. One of my panniers was damaged while I was trying to squeeze my bike through the cars blocking the entrance. Finally, 3 months later, I got my no-parking sign and there was compliance on it's debut. YES.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Feeling 'normal' without breasts with some help

In August of 2015, just before I was officially diagnosed and just after the lumps nearly materialized overnight... I had an inkling that I might have cancer. For an entire month, I spent the daylight hours trying not to stress about my situation and my evenings lying in bed burdened with worry. It was then that I happened to catch an standup comedian on HBO named Tig Notaro. She joked about her breast cancer diagnosis, she took off her shirt halfway through her set and performed the remainder topless. Her mastectomy scars disappeared as she continued; they vanished. I and the audience ignored what we were at first shocked by and learned to laugh with the topless, breastless woman. I admired her while fearful of what awaited me.

I knew I'd never be as normal as I once was, but she helped me to feel that this new body I would soon have wasn't quite so horrendous. She was the first person to help me feel normal with no breasts even before I had lost them.

Then, I too decided to try and go topless with mastectomy scars. I'd learned through fellow cyclists that it was perfectly legal for women (or anyone for that matter) to go topless in PA (exceptions for State Parks like Point State). I could sun myself topless in Schenley park? With some encouragement and reassurance I did so. It's rather refreshing and feeling the sun on one's chest is a feeling I'd never experienced before. I truly enjoyed it.

I'm not ashamed of how I look now, but I fully understand it might make folks a bit uncomfortable at first if they see someone with the scars I sport now. On the rare occasions I've sunbathed topless, I've done so in a location fairly remote from others. I plan on doing it in the future.

I also have Tig Notaro to thank for feeling that the humor that we used to approach this 
illness was normal. I wondered aloud where my breasts were now: "You think they're in a landfill somewhere? What did they do with them?" I felt relieved after learning that she too had this discussion with her significant other. "Do you think they just threw them in the trash?" "I sure hope so; recycling's not an option." 

If you choose to, you can click on the link below and see what cancer does to the human body. Be forewarned, you may find the images disturbing, shocking, etc...or you might not... you might be enlightened, moved or inspired... and that would be my intent. However, if you're offended by the images in the link below, I feel badly for you.

http://rustyredriding.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_28.html




Monday, June 20, 2016

The Rainbow Ride, radiation begins and more foraging

This month's Flock ride centered around support for and solidarity with the LGBTQ community: The Rainbow Ride. The trailer cranked out Queen and Bowie tunes. The route hit several locations important to Pittsburgh's Gay history.



I recently started the next phase of my cancer treatments: radiation. They're daily. For 6 weeks. Yeah, my jaw dropped when I heard that. 5 days a week for the next 6 weeks. Wow.
I managed to have them scheduled at a time that allows me to bike there before work and get it out of the way. At least there's that.

We went for a short hike (we did not use the bikes! *GASP*) in 40 Acres park, soon to be Hays Woods City Park.



We collected raspberries

...saw interesting 'shrooms

Turkey tracks!

Toad!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Ride of Silence that wasn't.

I recently had my final chemo infusion. 6 months, 16 rounds and numerous side effects later... I got to ring the Bell, my coworkers threw a party for me with macaroni and cheese and 4 different types of pie. I like pie.





DING!

Stella, one of my favorite techs at the center.

Me= not brave.

We were all set to take part in the Ride of Silence, as we waited and socialized before the ride, birds took a liking to our  bikes, they landed on several bikes handlebars and fenders. Interesting behavior.

However, as the throngs assembled, I had a vicious bout of chemo-fatigue set in and we decided to wait out the episode on the benches. The riders left, and when I felt well enough to ride 20 -30 minutes later, we rode home.



Marko and I made the rounds of many of the Bike to Work Day cafes and socialized with our fellow bikey people.

My next course of treatments is 6 weeks of daily radiation zaps and daily doses of anti-estrogen therapy.

SIGH...
Can I get another pie party when those are completed too?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Forageneuring season begins

Yale offered to take us out to Indiana county for a morchella and allium tricoccum hunting trip. Ramps and Morels!

We collected a small sample of cup fungus and a fern too, but they weren't edible



We rode the Ghost Town trail. We saw the Eliza Furnace, beaver dams and found a small number of morels, both the yellow and black varieties. Yale has an excellent eye for them. I relaxed while they dug up bagloads of ramps. I helped to transport them back to the car. I peed in the woods. It was a good and productive day.
Marko sauteed the morels in butter, they were very tasty. Ramps are delicious as well, we've had them in omelettes and on pizza so far and the freezer is full of them.


The Eliza Furnace

Beaver dam



A gorgeous day on a new-to-me trail!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Chemo- 1 ; Red -152

I'm 24 weeks into chemo treatments, I have 3 more to go.  
Just 3 more weeks. 



Chemo kept me at home today, not feeling well enough to venture out on the bike for the Cinco DeMayo ride. I was looking forward to tacos and friends and bikes.
The side effects are wearing on me. I'm tired, have frequent bouts with hot flashes, sleeplessness, gastric issues, nausea, nose bleeds, dry mouth, hairloss, and now my fingers and toes are going numb. I've been dealing with those annoying problems fairly well, but by now, I'm counting down the days to the bell ringing.
I'd learned that on someone's last day of chemo, the infusion center has a bell that they ring afterwards to celebrate.
Here's an article about the woman who donated the bell to the center.
http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/8045402-74/cancer-crawford-bell#ixzz3VUC0ggDZ





On the days that chemo hasn't whooped my ass:

I ran into the Bike Bird, finally.


I learned my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires will succumb to carpet tacks.