54 and Counting…

54 down, ? to go…

Today marks the completion of my 54th trip ’round Sol, a time for reflection, celebration, and looking to the future. Not to wax philosophically, but with what is certainly the greater fraction of my life gone by, it is a bit of an eye opener.

There are good things to be thankful for. My health remains good (even though I could stand to lose some weight,) I am doing meaningful – if highly stressful – work, I have a wonderful family, my wife and our two fur kids, and finally, it could be a lot worse.

The downside of aging is that you find it difficult to do things that were once pleasurable. I grew up riding motorcycles, but in my early forties, I realized that my reflexes were becoming shit, so I gave up the habit. I traded my two wheeled toys for a sports care. Now, more than a decade later, I find that my body doesn’t quite like folding itself into a pretzel to fit within my Honda S2000. While I am at a point in my life where I could afford an upgrade to my sports car, I find myself looking to a compact SUV to replace the Stewie, mainly for the comfort it provides. The 25 year old Geoff would be horrified.

Likewise, I spent a lot of time in my youth playing guitar. It was a passion, an outlet, and something that I enjoyed immensely. Alas, life, the career, and other pressures on my time have made it so that I barely play. Too, I have developed pretty severe osteoarthritis in my left hand (mostly the base of the thumb.) This has led to it being painful to play. I have switched to the lightest strings, and spend more time on my nylon string guitar, but a 30 or 45 minute session is followed by a couple days of pain. At a time in my life where I could buy that Flying V, that Les Paul, that Eric Clapton Signature Strat, I can’t possibly justify it, due to how much I play. I might buy a new amp though. Eyeballing the Laney or Mesa Boogie combos. Who knows.

Having grown up on 2 wheels, I also enjoy bicycling. My prior main road bike, the venerable steel-framed 2002 Lemond is your classic drop bar bike, that folds the body in to an efficient crouch for aerodynamics, and the optimal position for the spinal erector muscles that provide so much of the power to cyclists. However, my 54 year old body rebels from that position. I did end up buying the Trek “Fitness” bike I was eyeing, and the ride is far more comfortable than the Lemond, and the bike is lighter to boot. Is it faster? Evidence says no, but if I can ride farther, longer, and more often because it doesn’t twist my back into agony, then it is a win. Anybody in the Bay Area looking for a good 56cm road bike? It has fairly fresh Fulcrum Racing wheels on it.

A little known fact is that I worked my way through school in restaurants, ultimately spending time as a chef. One discipline I never really mastered in my culinary career was baking. More of a science than an art, when I was younger, I lacked the patience and discipline to master the art of baking.

Anksarum Assistant, a heavy duty mixer for kitchen duty
The Anksarum

If you have been following the blog for a while, you have no doubt been following along with my experimentation in baking bread. It started with a no-knead boule that was quasi sour (because you use a small amount of yeast, and let it ferment for 24 or more hours), and then moved into a traditional levain, or sourdough starter raised bread. Now I have good recipes and experience making rustic sourdough loaves, multigrain sourdough boules, and most recently working to replicate the Swedish coffee bread that I recall my grandma Anderson making when I was growing up (and that my mother tried to make, but never could get quite right). I have added a heavy duty mixer to my repertoire, as well as brotforms, dough scrapers, rolling pins, and baking pans. I am still looking for a great cinnamon bread recipe, and one day I will go decadent and make sticky buns. Great stress relief.

The future

One thing that has sucked the energy out of my life is my role as trustee of my Step Father’s estate. He passed away last November, and the estate has been slowly but steadily getting in shape for dissolution and distribution. The house, the principal asset, is nearing readiness to sell (there was some significant must-fix items in addition to the renovations to help sell it that are delaying the go live date), and once that is done, I can begin the final accounting, and division of the proceeds (and pay of the bloodsuckers hounding me for his reverse mortgage).

Once that chapter is behind me, I can begin to get back int he mold, to read more, to write more, to enjoy more.

It’s been a wild year, and I know that the frequency of posts has gone way down. I need to get back into a cadence.

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt