Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fin de Semana ... Parks

Really nice weekend. Mellow Friday off with Care. Rode 80+ miles out to Purcellville and back; Care partnered through to Ashburn. Saturday, last U19 race of season, Juniors' Day Out. Awesome squad swept most categories (overlooking our champion's crash with 100 meters to go). Pic of the big guns below.

Avery (above, far right) built up his new 54 cm team frame (upsize from 48). He's had a good year and next year, racing age 16, will be awesome. Probably national championships, with a number of teammates. Sunday slept in (to 6:30 AM), meandered through WashPost and Times, a few cups of coffee. Dickered with Ethiopia healthcare press release and such. After lunch tuned in Ken Burns' "National Parks: America's Best Idea" on hi-def. Extraordinary!

Burns is a great photographer. The national park (and John Muir) story is compelling. Today's chapter featured Yosemite and Yellowstone, places I could return to again and again (if only I had time). (I remember backpacking through Lamar Valley with my sister when I was 15, and later showing my children and Care.) High mountains, rivers, trees do much for me.

Here's a recent shot of Rocky Mountain National Park; we may visit in a couple weeks when we see Nate.

Stirred by Burns, I hopped on my bike and headed to the national park closest to my house, the C&O towpath (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park), rode out to Great Falls National Park (Maryland), rode back streets home through Potomac Palisades and Arlington. It was raining a little when I left, then the sun came out, so the water and trees had that luxurious warm hue and mist. No camera on the ride.

Saturday, took a few pics of 15-18 year old race and crowd candids, posted here. In Oregon I did a no-no, quickly changing lenses at a wine party. Got some dust and fiber on the CCD (sensor). As a result, many of the subsequent images had to be retouched to clear the junk, slows down post processing and frustrating. A week ago, I dropped my 5D at ProPhoto -- 1902 Eye Street, NW -- for a sensor and lens cleaning. Very pleased with results -- don't have to spend 10 minutes retouching a landscape with a black strand and freckles ruining the sky.

Also this weekend I threw up some old shots from Nate's graduation and Care's recent work trip to Italy. (She took the G10 and it worked pretty well -- middle shot below.) As my technique settles down I'm finding myself trying to find more avant-garde shots and processing. I like the good fellow pictured at bottom.

Busy week ahead. Cheers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Los Passionarios ...

Full weekend: Funeral for a friend; rides with Care in Poolesville, Ave at Schaeffer, many laps at Hains; Skype with Nate; 24th Anniversary dinner at Blue Ridge (extraordinary! -- thanks, Eli) ... Lovely weather ...

Ode, written 12.26.2002, ever more true. Happy Anniversary, Care!

Angel Time

Is real time.

Waking, she stretches, bends low, showers -- warm
water, soap over her gentle breasts, long legs. Dry
towel, clothes, coffee, yogurt. Early, very early,
she goes off, mind set, clear in her mission, caring
for my health, humanity's health, touching crystals
deep in the mountain, invisible to all but a few
modest priests of this new science.

In her laboratory, she scans gels run overnight,
tabulates bars marking amino acids, sets the course
for her staff (diverse like exotic flowers). On to her
desk, cased by paper stacks, a sunny corner, she scans
email. Emergency! A young boy has leukemia; second
case. Gene therapy has stopped. What to do? She
carries this pain, silent and secret.

A new mission unfolds. Children, born with broken genes,
unimmune to even simple colds, die very young. The new
treatment, gene therapy, bolsters the system and gives
these wee souls a new, normal life. Then came leukemia,
white cells out of control. Two of fifteen, what to do?
Politicos will call, "Gene therapy must end." Pulpits
may rage; the French march. Should fifteen have died?

Alive by a slender thread, their fate of early death
passed over, what will be their future? What is the mark
of science? Think, check, analyze. Do no harm.

Silently she comes home, stirs dinner, guides her two
boys through homework. Dad comes in, a normal day
casting software, done. We supper, touch on publishable
events, negotiate our family agenda. The kids are
released to games, we settle in bed, under a down
comforter. I turn and touch the belly of an angel.

"How was your day?" I ask. Only she sleeps, deep in
her only time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I've shifted gears on the fitness front. Usually, this time of year, I've dropped about 15 pounds, the result of riding over spring and summer. No such luck this year, though I've ridden hard. What happened? In March I started Lyrica (pregabalin), a seizure med that is experimentally used to treat central pain syndrome -- from which I increasingly suffer, due to adolescent traumatic brain injury and aging. Lyrica has helped with pain and improved my sleep architecture, but it added pounds and blurred my vision. So I'm weaning myself from the drug and increasing my fitness regimen. I've hired a personal trainer and nutritional consult; bought a high-end Retul bike fit; cleaned-up our home workout room; and am riding as intensely as ever.

Results so far are promising. I do weight training twice a week, ride 100-200 miles/week, and have trimmed my diet. My weight is down a few ticks, and should drop more quickly as my muscle build/burn rate amps. With the weaning, my pain (mostly left peripheral with some spasticity) is increased but tolerable for now. In a couple weeks, I meet with the folks at Georgetown to discuss an intrathecal baclofen pump -- an implanted device to push a low-dose into my spine. Given my current tolerance, I think this may not yet be appropriate, but it's good to understand the option.

Life is good. I feel bad that this pain stuff has taken some engagement off the table -- fewer good days to enjoy with Care and the boys, lost athleticism. The human condition.