Category Archives: My life


I’m feeling under the weather this weekend, and the H has the kids, so I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix.  What a waste, but I really do feel quite lousy.  In any case, I rewatched the movie Copenhagen.  It’s quite good.  The premise is that a 14-year-old Danish girl and a 28-year-old American male tourist form a connection which is not entirely innocent.  The thing is, the idea of a 28 year old and a 14 year old is disgusting, but when you watch the movie, it doesn’t seem unappealing.  Why?  Well, the “14-year-old” actress is played by a 20-year-old who more or less looks her real age.  The male actor is 30, but looks young.  The movie would have been a lot more challenging if they’d actually used a young actress, or at the very least an actress who looked young.  Nevertheless, it’s oddly good, and falls on the list of my favorite romances.

A few other romantic favorites?  When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones, Before Sunset, Amelie, Cairo Time, Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Lost in Translation, Monsoon Wedding, The Piano

saddle woes and the revelation that I have a big butt

My comfort while riding the bike has improved since I started thanks to Chamois Buttr and high-end bib shorts.  Still, at the end of a typical ride, my butt hurts more than my legs, and this just seems wrong to me.  Shouldn’t my legs be the limiting factor?  I decided to try upgrading my seat might help me, and without getting too explicit, I thought a seat with a channel down the middle could be the ticket.  I ended up getting this seat:

This is a Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow saddle.  I found it massively on discount from the list price of $200 from some sketchy internet site, 60% off or so, and ordered it.  (Coincidentally, or not, I had $6000 in charges on my credit card rung out a few days later and had to cancel it.)  It came in two sizes, small and large, and I decided to go for small.  I mean, I don’t have a bit butt, right?  I decided to test drive it on my planned 44 mile cycle this weekend.  What could possibly go wrong, I ask you?

About 10 miles in, I noticed the soft tissue discomfort I have been dealing with for the last year or so was completely absent.  No discomfort, pain, nothing.  Perfection!  Unfortunately, this had been replaced by increasing levels of discomfort on my sit bones.  At 18 miles, I texted H and told him he might have to come and pick me up.  At 28 miles, I told him I was still surviving but only just.  Basically, it was torture, and it was just got more and more painful.  After a certain point, I just couldn’t handle the pressure on my sit bones anymore, and was sliding forward and back on the saddle, bearing pressure on other places just not really meant to bear pressure, and I got some nasty chafing.  I’m still in a significant amount of discomfort today.  I guess I am stubborn, because I refused to stop, and finished out the whole ride, with only a small “short cut” that cut a couple miles off at the end.  Said shortcut is a route that I normally avoid like the plague because it features a massive hill.  I’d in fact never ridden up it before, but I was in so much pain, i said screw it, and 40 miles in, up I went: only 0.4 miles, but 8% average grade, peak grade 17%.  At one point, I was going back and forth like it was a ski slope, trying to reduce the effective grade.  It was BRUTAL.  But worth it.

Anyway, I’m not really sure where to go with the bike seat thing at this point.  I measured the location of my sit bones.  (I really could have lived my entire life without measuring this.)  Turns out, I have an above average size rear for a female (and women are wider-arsed than men.  Who knew?  I always thought I had a small butt, but I guess not.  In some ways it makes sense.  My labors probably wouldn’t have been as “easy” if I were truly narrow-hipped.  Anyway, I’ve re-ordered the saddle from the sketchy website in the large size, and I’m waiting to see if this new credit card will be ripped as well.   I also ordered a couple of other saddles.  I’ll sell or return all but one, and hopefully I can find one that will work for me.

This weekend’s ride:

42 miles, 2100 feet of elevation gain.  It’s definitely my hardest ride since last summer.  I went slower thanks to the saddle issue, but I still think I got a good workout.  Now let’s hope I can get this sorted and be back on the bike next weekend.   I had been hoping to do 45+ next weekend, but now I’m thinking I’ll repeat this ride.  I still have to spend a lot of time consulting directions on this route.


et tu, morgan?

Morgan Freeman, too, really?  Are there any men in Hollywood over the age of 35 who aren’t misogynists and/or harrassers?

What I find fascinating in all this is how all these men, or at least the ones you hear about in the news, have a pattern.  Consider this from WaPo:

In the report, published by CNN, several women — including production assistants, office workers and journalists — said that Mr. Freeman had engaged in inappropriate behavior, ranging from unwanted touching to suggestive comments that made them feel uncomfortable.

The thing is, unwanted touching and suggestive comments are bad, but if a man were to make on inappropriate suggestive comment in his career, is that forgivable?  I would say almost certainly yes.  People are allowed a mistake.  But in terms of the men you hear about, it’s never an isolated incident.  It just goes on and on and typically impacts MANY women they work with.  It’s like they’re either unable or unwilling to control themselves.  I’m sure they justify it in their heads, somehow.

Of course, unpleasant as it must have been for the women impacted by Freeman’s actions, it sounds like what he’s done is very mild in comparison to men who routinely engaged in sexual assault.  But the pattern is the same.  Some men feel entitled to behave in a certain way towards women, and oblivious to societal standards and rules, they just happily continue.  Freeman is 80, so it’s possible he grew up in a time when society not only permitted him to behave in this way, but also didn’t even consider it wrong.  But messed up as our society may be, sexual assault and rape have never been considered “OK” by the vast majority of men and women, so I’m not sure how to explain the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.

Freeman said:

“I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women — and men — feel appreciated and at ease around me,” he said. “As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way. Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended.”

The thing is that I kind of believe him.  There are men who do try to make women feel at ease by flirting with them.  I think there are men who flirt with women they’re not attracted to in order make those women feel good and accepted.  I can see how a film set would be different from an office environment and lead to more of that type of behavior.  However, men need to understand that this type of thing is just not acceptable at work.  There is almost no reason to ever touch your co-worker except a handshake.  (People hug at work after launches, so there are exceptions.)  There is no reason to ever call your co-worker a pet name.  It’s possible to be friends with women without flirting with them.  It really is.

My only negative experience of THIS nature at work was with a particular co-worker who called me “hon.”  I asked him, in writing, to stop, and he persisted on rare occasion.  I actually doubt it was intentional.  I suspect he called ALL women, or all younger women, hon, and found it hard to remember to specifically avoid that with me.  The guy in question held a lot of power in the company, and so while I could have escalated it to one or two of the people with more power still, it seemed absurd to pursue something so trivial.

I’m glad to see Harvey get his comeuppance, and I’m glad to see that Freeman’s milder but still inappropriate behavior is being called out as unacceptable.  (But is that because, at 80, his marketability and financial value to the industry has declined to the point that he’s no longer protected?)

democracy and burying one’s head in the sand

We owe 25K in taxes this year.  I don’t mean that we owe 25K in total.  (Obviously, we pay a lot more than that.)  I mean we will be writing a check for 25K in a few days.  Typically, it’s been between 10 and 20, so this is a new high.  No interest, no penalties.  H pays estimated tax three or four times a year (whatever you’re supposed to; he deals with this all on his own.  I’m not sure I appreciate him as much as I should).  Anyway, I’m just curious if my friends write huge checks in April, or if you have your withholdings set such that you break even or get a refund, or at least pay a lot less.  I kind of like the annual reminder that I pay the federal government a hell of a lot in taxes.

I’ve had three days of short, slow runs in a row.  Hopefully I can keep the streak going.  To get in my planned 4 mile run tomorrow, I’ll need to get up at around 5:30.  I am not morning person, but if you want to be a parent and a running person, there aren’t a lot of options.  At least it’s been beautifully light recently.  I love the spring and summer so much in Seattle.

I enjoyed this article from the NYT about a man who’s chosen to bow out of awareness.  The thing is, as a society, participating in our democracy is so critical.  Writing letters, discussing things with your friends, participating in demonstrations, donating to groups that represent your interests; I believe in all these things.  However, as an individual, the impact you can have is negligible and unlikely to impact your life.  The most liked comment said the following:

I’m jealous of Mr Hagerman because he can afford to ignore the news. It seems that he has accumulated enough wealth and does not have an immediate family to care for where any of the current decisions directly affect him. On the other hand I have to continue to work at my right to work (fire you for any reason) workplace, pray my 401k won’t take another 2008 hit because of regulation roll back, and hope I don’t die in an emergency room of a totally treatable disease because of American healthcare or af an AR-15 wound from an at school parent teacher meeting because of the NRA-GOP party policies.

The thing is, this one man’s choice to read the news, write letters, donate money, demonstrate, whatever, probably has zero impact on his 401K, healthcare, and gun rights.  He would probably be happier if he buried his head in the sand.  If EVERYONE did this, it would be catastrophic.  But for an individual, participating in the national “conversation” provides virtually zero benefit and for those of us who care, lots of tooth-gnashing.

I personally made a choice when our esteemed president was elected not to open articles with “Trump” in the title.  I’ve probably read fewer than ten articles since Trump was elected.  I’m not bragging.  I feel vaguely guilty, but not too much.  As someone who’s been struggling with anxiety, I view it as my prerogative to make choices that help me get through the day without panic attacks, and not thinking about what Trump has done today definitely helps.  The guy in the article takes it to an unreasonable extreme, but I think I can safely say that I’m happier not knowing what Mr. T is up to.   I think a lot of other people would probably happier if they spent less time reading the news, but I guess we’d be worse off as a democracy as a result.

I just finished reading (well, listening) to a fascinating book: Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets.  It’s all about the fall of the Soviet Union, with a significant secondary focus also on living under Stalin, or living having lived under Stalin.  I loved the way it made me reflect on the pros and cons of democracy and socialism and of course, communism.  It’s easy for us to be a bit laissez faire about the incredible gift we have to live in a free country, and I like to be reminded of that from time to time.  On the flip side, the chaos that occurred when the USSR fell was horrible for minority groups – Russians living outside Russia, Belarussians living in Russia, Chechens, etc.  When people took on national identities instead of Soviet identities, everything went to hell.  Reading about this made the appeal of Putin obvious.  I would want Putin in charge, too.  Trump or no, I feel we, as US citizens, are incredibly blessed to live where we do with the opportunities we have.

this and that

We have had an almost miraculous stretch of good health in our family this fall.  I think L has missed one day of school, and she probably could have gone if she’d really wanted to.  The kids had one cold, and H and I have been perfectly healthy.  This is unexpected since L started school, and we thought perhaps she might start getting sick more often.  H and I have been reluctant to even mention it lest we jinx ourselves.

However, all good things must come to an end.  H was out of town, but the kids and I suffered through a cold last week.  Then, before she’d even really gotten better, L got a second bug of some sort.  She’s on day 4 of high fever, congestion and coughing.  She’s been sleeping with H and I.  This morning, I woke up feeling lousy, and I can’t decide if it’s because I was up half the night with L or because I’m going down with the creeping crud as well.

I’ve been working a lot, definitely 40 hours a week plus, which is a lot considering I’m only the office four days.  I feel like I have something to prove and doing well over the next few months will (a) be good for the group and (b) good for me.   However, the extra hours are making it hard to find time to run and nearly impossible to find time for anything else.