Sunday, January 25, 2015

I been up, I been down.

Light snow, freezing temps. We have a crust which cannot be shoveled.

Today the boy would play with his band at the Beachland, but he woke with great pain in his left knee, the one on which he has been hobbling. Tomorrow we see an orthopedist at 9 AM. I am sorry it has taken a week to get him to see one.

It makes me sad, I am currently unable to lift, which means it is difficult to help him limp from one thing to another. He is such a big boy now.

We shall see about the gig. He is currently in the bath.

Temperature: 27°
Distance: 3.5 miles

Why a run, why today? Because it is Sunday. Because I can. These short runs are place holders until the weather breaks, and hopefully, my own physical difficulties abate. I will make another appointment with the PT, to see what the next step should be. The pain is not what it was, but it has localized, and not disappeared.

Also, there is time, at the moment, right now, to do this. No idea what will happen later.

1975 Playlist
Kashmir * - Led Zeppelin
Rhiannon - Fleetwood Mac
Island Girl - Elton John
You're My Best Friend - Queen
Tush - ZZ Top
Squeeze Box - The Who
Rock and Roll All Nite - KISS

Wow, Sir Elton! I've never listened to the words before, but that song is really fucking racist!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I gotta get me get up and run.

The boy and I both love this one best.
The back exercises have been very successful. The past few days I have been largely pain-free. My physical therapist believes I should eventually be able to bend at the waist without pain. At present, however, that is the move which most makes me hesitate, that of bending over at all.

Certainly, leaning forward and down to retrieve anything can hurt ... or not. Depends. Driving my car no longer leaves me stooped over. Well, a little. Sometimes. Sometimes not. That's improvement.

This is a major improvement over last weekend, when the exercises were difficult, becoming painful (from sheer repetition) and leaving me despondent. Will this be the new normal, constant feeling of pain in my lower back? I guess not. Lucky me, again.

However, the kind of work which caused this herniation, lifting heavy objects, I feel should be avoided. And that makes me unhappy. I like working in the yard, and do not want to fear re-harming myself. Be careful, I guess. Move slowly.

The boy injured his hip during soccer practice a week ago Friday. He was unable to perform in his rock show last Saturday. We went to his lesson Tuesday night, but he still can't hit the bass with his right foot.

They fixed him with a double bass pedal, he started learning the bass line he's been practicing with his right foot for three months with his left. And he picked it up with no problem. It's like putting in an understudy for opening night after six weeks of rehearsal with someone else.

I have been there, too. You are anxious, even disappointed in the change. But you should be so happy for committing, and for continuing, for moving through. Nothing is perfect. Everything changes.

Temperature: 27°
Distance: 2.25 miles

Man. Too slippery. Stressful.

1974 Playlist
Jackie Blue - Ozark Mountain Daredevils
You Haven't Done Nothing - Stevie Wonder
The Life of the Party - The Jackson 5
Oye Como Va - Santana
Stone Cold Crazy - Queen
Verb: That's What's Happening - Zachary Sanders

Monday, January 19, 2015

What's coming round the corner?

This morning I have decided to run first, then do my back exercises. Yes, sure, why not. It has been a low-key, four-day weekend, by design and also accident. And that is all right with me any my wife. Last night was not a late one, spent largely editing a work of Shakespeare and Middleton.

There's a lot of verse afoot, and I am trying not to take any of it very seriously. Right now I am also reading something from K.W. Bromley which I have not picked up before, and that is helping me keep it unreal.

Temperature: 36
Distance: 1.75 miles

Okay. So? Mistakes I have made this morning:
  1. I neglected to eat anything first. Making breakfast for the girl and her sleepover friend, I did not think to prepare any for myself.
  2. Never had a glass of water. Taking care of the right now.
  3. The sidewalks of a sidestreet clogged with icy mounds of snow, I jogged into the street, hit a patch of ice and tumbled to my hands and knees. In the street.
No damage, not even my cold weather pants. You know, I have had this one par if pants for ten years, I think. I think my brother got them for me for Christmas in 2004. They hold up.

What I have not mentioned is that there was a car heading in my direction. It was not close, it was just turning the corner up ahead about a thousand yards. But I saw it as I fell and scrambled quickly to get my feet, to move. I looked up, it was still far ahead, moving slowly, but so what? What if it hadn't been?

The driver slowed to ask if I was all right. I was, except for the fear. And my knees sting a little. My back is okay. I was foolish. I must make such careless mistakes several times during every single run.

1973 Playlist
Travelin' Prayer - Billy Joel
Skokian - Hot Butter
5.15 - The Who
Living For the City - Stevie Wonder
Mother of Pearl - Roxy Music

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Do you remember the shape I was in?

Who is he ... and what is he to you?
Plans fall hard. The boy injured his hip somehow at soccer practice on Friday. No harm, no foul, just drills. Suddenly, he couldn't walk. Took him to the doctor, had an x-ray and everything. Nothing, just a pained hip. He was supposed to play with his rock band yesterday at the Beachland, but the doctor doesn't even want him getting around too much. Made the day a little different.

This morning he and I each got to sleep in while the females went off the her soccer game. The boy with the bad hip, the man with the bad back. Some have asked if I am considering surgery, the answer is no, no thank you, things would have to be considerably worse for me to consider back surgery, we haven't gotten there yet. Who knows, the physical therapist may be correct, I may be able to alleviate this with regular exercises.

However, at the moment ... last night my wife and I took in a rare double feature at the Cedar-Lee. Birdman and The Imitation Game. The last ten minutes of the former irritated me, pretty much all of the latter irritated me, and sitting in a movie chair for four hours was by far most irritating of all. You can only sit straight up with your feet flat on the floor for so long.

However, spending six uninterrupted hours with my wife (we started with dinner at Lopez) was certainly worth every moment.

Temperature: 37°
Distance: 3.5 miles

Running is pain-free. Sun even broke across the skeletal neighborhood trees. The streets are wet, sidewalks choked with crusty snow where it had never been shoveled.

I have a goal to run at least 10 times in January, because any less would be absolutely lame. At this rate, and with the forecast for the week, this is a doable thing.

1972 Playlist
Who Is He? (And What Is He To You?) - Bill Withers
Rock and Roll Pary 2 - Gary Glitter
I'm So Free - Lou Reed
The Ballad of El Goodo - Big Star
Get On The Good Foot - James Brown
I Wanna Be With You - The Raspberries
Hi Hi Hi - Paul McCartney & Wings
Stairway to the Stars - Blue Oyster Cult
Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers

Saturday, January 17, 2015

You get nowhere.

So. Ha ha. Yeah.

I have a herniated disc.

After dealing with this lower back pain for a month, I finally saw a doctor. I mean, come on. The holidays and everything else. But I saw her and she saw me, and sent me to a physical therapist who said, yeah. You have a herniated disc.

On Dec. 8, I was in the back yard felling trees and must have harmed myself. It didn't hurt until the next night, but he's pretty sure that's how it happened and I guess I am, too. The physical therapist does not believe it is permanent, that it is something I can take care of with a regular set of exercises which I have been carrying out diligently as prescribed since Wednesday.

And it has helped, though it has not made the pain disappear. But the difference is remarkable, as of Wednesday morning (pre-visit) it felt like I hadn't made any progress at all, and I haven't felt anywhere near that poor since.

So wish me luck. And listen to my wife.

Temperature: 46°
Distance: 2.7 miles

Running in shorts. The breeze was biting, but blimey that was beautiful. Running isn't a problem. Bending over and picking things up is a problem. Today is a good day, though, and I can only hope they will get better.

1971 Playlist
You Shouldn't Do That - Hawkwind
One of These Days - Pink Floyd

Two songs in twenty-two minutes. Those were the days.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just as fast as my feet can fly.

I can deal with old man jokes. I work with people half my age. I was born when Johnson was President ("What, Andrew Johnson?" Chennelle asked last night over beer at Parnell's, ha ha ha) and tell stories about when everyone smoked and Tremont was cutting-edge.

What I cannot stand, or to put it another way, makes me very unhappy, is when I feel old. Actually feel it. As I was approaching my fortieth, I had blown my left knee, my meniscus was torn, it was swollen and difficult to bend, could not run. Under these specific circumstances, I was not thrilled to receive the inflatable walker. Lucky me, I had the operation, and felt "normal".

A little over a month ago, I did some strenuous yardwork. It made me tied, but I did not feel injured. The next day I participated in a television interview for WVIZ and shortly thereafter felt as tough I had thrown my back out. It still hurts.

It feels better, it feels worse. I thought it would pass, it has not. Driving long distances in my car aggravates my back terribly. Being in a refrigerated school auditorium for a week has complicated the pain, and even today, there it is, deep in my lower back.I have to stoop to pick things up. I have to hold onto something to sit. Getting up I have to bend slowly and stretch.

Every now and then I catch my reflection, and I see the stereotypical old man pose, walking bent, stooped, with a hand or two on my back to stand. Big sigh. And I don't have a sense of humor about it.

Temperature: 16°
Distance:1.75 miles

Running is easy. Standing up is hard.

Much warmer than than last time. No, seriously, every degree is a noticeable difference. Get above twenty degrees, to me it will feel like a crisp, fall day. Especially after all this. The first half-mile feels cold, then it stops. feeling that way. Face is flush, feet are warm. Kids are making chicken wings. Time for supper.

1970 Playlist
Mama Told Me Not To Come - Three Dog Night
The Man Who Sold The World - David Bowie
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
Up Around the Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Spill the Wine - War ft. Eric Burdon

Thursday, January 08, 2015

I'm in at the deep freeze.

These days afford little time to run. I can deal with cold. What I cannot deal with are these terrible
sleep patterns. I am not tired, actually, surprisingly, but the evenings have been challenging, with diffuse, disparate family, work and personal responsibilities occupying my forebrain. Makes it difficult to consider braving the cold.

Just a few moments outside, walking in this weather, can be wearying. After a few hours out in it, walking streets bundled up, getting groceries and other errands, I found by the mid afternoon I was listless and spent, almost dazed. No, I do not wish to run. Except that I do, very much.

Temperature: 10°
Distance: 1.75 miles

Yes, that was it. Thank you. A short run in the sub-freezing temps, I burn like furnace.

1969 Playlist
Your Good Thing (Is About To End) - Lou Rawls
Grits Ain't Groceries (All Around the World) - Little Milton
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Simon & Garfunkel
Sally Simpson - The Who
Cold Turkey - John Lennon

This summer I be will directing some Shakespeare in the park. Last time, it was modern, corporate, everyone clinging smart phones. This time it will be 1970, collegiate and groovy.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

I'm a genius, genius.

I do not know why we went to bed Friday night at midnight. I cannot tell you what happened that would have made that possible. What I can say is that I had to work yesterday (yes, a Saturday) and rising at six o'clock was a new, fresh hell, my face feeling as though a small, fat child were sitting on it, after having first hit it with a hammer.

And it only got better incrementally, and never entirely. Last night I begged off my family at 8 PM, or more accurately, said I wanted to go to bed but was finally ordered to. I really wanted to spend the evening with them, I wanted social time with my wife and kids. Not going to happen.

So I slept from 8 to 11, then couldn't sleep for an hour, and then stayed more or less at rest until 7 AM when she woke me and I thought WTF? Really? She let me sleep for another two hours.

My new year's resolutions are not coming to fruition, but then, I have been working pretty much since New Year's Day. Keep them in mind. However, if reports are correct. the earth has waited for the holidays and the arbitrary demarcation of the new year to pass before socking us with another winter of the Deep Death Freeze.

The annual runs will be few and far between this week, I can tell. I do not feel like running right now, but if not now, when? Again, I will keep it short. This is what we call paying it forward - to yourself.

Temperature: 46°
Distance: 2 miles

No rain at the moment, little wind. A breezy, cool, new day. One resolution this winter is to plot and execute more weight-bearing exercises. The wife noted how disciplined I was when training for the running play. When I think of that period, I do remember trying to make sure my lanky body (I weight thirty pounds less six years ago than I do now) looked sinewy and not all loose and flabby, but also that I was recovering from an operation on my knee - that came first. Late fall 2008 was spent rising very early in the morning to do physical therapy, at a clinic and also at home. Every morning.

Exercise, every morning. Not the year I have had so far.

As long as we are destined to be housebound in the foreseeable future, I intend to add free weights to the wii fit routine. A little will do a lot.

1968 Playlist
Let the Sunshine In - Hair Original Broadway Recording
You're Gonna Miss Me - 13th Floor Elevator
These Days - Nico
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Girl Watcher - The O'Kaysions
Grazing In The Grass - Hugh Masekela
Astral Weeks - Van Morrison

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Show me the way.

For God's sake, Mr. Nichols.
Happy New Year. Regular followers know I motivate myself to continue running through the coldest months of the year by planning and listening to playlists representing each year of my life. In fact, the winter months are often those in which I run the most, so it has been a successful little mind game.

The year before I got clever and included 1967, the year I was conceived, and then last year 1966 because it was a pretty great year musically (see: Revolver). However, my reptilian hindbrain now thinks that was a bad idea. It's not me, it's not my life, I do not want to go back any further in time. And besides, my catalog is not deeper enough to satisfy.

I will stick with 1967. I was conceived on November 23, 1967 - Thanksgiving. Right there on the table. Actually no, that would have been very awkward and traumatic for my six year old brother Denny, though it may explain a lot. Regardless, the popular music of that year, though it was not actually played on any devices in my house, seeped in or at least were in the air when I emerged the following July.

We begin where I began, and so ladies and gentlemen ... 49 Playlist for 49 Years (again!)

Temperature: 34°
Distance: 2 miles

Night time, it is colder. Why is this? I can run in shorts as long as it is above freezing, but not at night. I think this is a fallacy, perhaps I only notice this when I choose to. When it is breezier, that is definitely not a good time to wear shorts. I came home wheezing, because I was running faster than I would have otherwise desired, just to get home.

But it is a good start to the year. Today's playlist, heavy with R&B, filled my head with all kinds of images that I may incorporate into a play I will be directing this year. Summery music for summer time.

Supposed to snow Friday.

1967 Playlist
Star Collector - The Monkees
Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town - Johnny Darrell
Sweet Soul Music * - Arthur Conley
(Your Love Keeps Lighting Me) Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson
Magical Mystery Tour * - The Beatles
Blindman - Janis Joplin
Tighten Up - Archie Bell & The Drells

Blindman. Definitely a song that seemed into my memory as a child. I heard it for the "first" time last year and yet I feel it's always been ringing in my head.