Monday, January 31, 2011

Move Along

.... nothing to see here. My life sure feels that way these days, with nothing much to punctuate the boredom and fatigue, but actually, things are getting a little better each day.

I'm pretty sure my collarbone is 'stuck' together again now, and has been for ~ 10 days, so barring bad luck, it is what it is, and will be for a long time I guess. Ribs still hurt, and I still sleep better when I take half a Vicodin, but I'm up for 8-12 hours a day now. Still struggling to be really alert for long enough to study tech books, but I've been watching a lot of Red Box movies of late.

Maybe I will get though that mountain of laundry, taxes, bills and have time to remove the rear wheel and take it back to Mad Cat Cycles to get the spoke replaced and the wheel trued. Hey, my goals are modest these days!

I'm hoping, after taking a 10-day course of antibiotics for some dental problems, that I will have more energy, and so have been turning my thoughts to rehabbing my injury, and working out in the gym again.

To that end I wanted to re-blog this video from my friend Mary Rambin. I knew about the situps form break, but the Eliptical Machine form was new to me. The treadmill form break totally offsets the benefits of adding incline, and doesn't promote balance and using all those small muscles in a coordinated way to insure proper balance. Thanks Mary!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tomato & Black Bean Chicken Soup

As promised, I made a hearty tomato-chicken soup with black beans the other night, and it's great to be eating hearty and healthy again after Subway sandwiches and TV dinners.

I thought it was time to share it, as it's really filling and warms you to the core on a cold winter day. Also packed with lots of veggies, especially tomato, and the black beans add to the hearty taste, texture and appearance.

Start by putting 1 pound of black beans in a 3 qt sauce pan along with 7 cups of water and some garlic powder, a clove, or to taste. I don't add any salt, as I have to watch mine, and salt isn't necessary here, as it is in reducing the other vegetables. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour. The simmering beans will be poured into the soup last.

Chop 4 white or yellow onions, salting lightly as you set aside in large mixing bowls. The salt is needed here to draw the moisture out of the veggies. Salting each layer as you go puts the salt where it's needed most.

Chop 3 bell peppers and quarter 2-3 fresh tomatoes, salting lightly and placing in large mixing bowl. (If I had a juicer, I'd love to try adding a few cups of fresh celery juice)

In a large stock pot, or large heavy (cast iron) frying pan, lightly saute the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside on very lowest heat.

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.

In your largest, heaviest stock pot (mine is 15 quarts) heat 4 tablespoons olive oil until smoking hot. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over bottom of pan to keep chicken from sticking. Place 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts carefully into the searing hot oil using tongs. Cook 3 minutes on each side.

Leaving the heat on high, add chopped red bell peppers, and sectioned tomatoes. Stir lightly to break chicken breasts free, adding 1 quart of V-8 juice. Bring to boil again and add sauteed onions from stock pot. Bring to boil again. Add 2nd quart of V-8 juice and 1-2 tablespoons of crushed red peppers.

Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 large can tomato sauce, and one small can of tomato paste. Stir in beans and then add water as necessary.

Cook at low boil/high simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with pot screen to allow soup to reduce.

Place uncovered stock pot in oven at 250-275 for 2-4 hours, removing occasionally to see if chicken is ready to shred with fork and tongs. Bake for 1 hour after chicken is shredded. Remove from oven.


  1. 1 lb of dry black beans, well rinsed
  2. 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  3. 3 fresh tomatoes
  4. 3-4 white or yellow onions
  5. 3-4 fresh red bell peppers
  6. 2 quart jug of  V-8 juice
  7. 2 cans diced tomatoes (with jalapenos if possible)
  8. 1 large can of tomato sauce
  9. 1 small can of tomato paste
  10. Crushed red peppers
  11. Garlic powder or cloves
  12. Olive or canola oil
  13. Coarse sea salt
Let cool a bit, and ladle out a serving for a very satisfying meal. Serve with milk, buttered sourdough bread (or a hearty dark bread), and be prepared to break into a sweat. Jalapeno pepper jack cheese is a nice side. With ridiculous amounts of protein, this soup will feed sore muscles just what they need.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On The Mend

After a good night's sleep, and waking to a sunny day for a pleasant change, I have a little bounce in my step today, so I thought I'd check in and thank friends on Facebook for their support and encouragement. It really helps, especially on bad days where the pain and fatigue make sleep a welcome refuge.

Speaking of sleep, wow am I sleeping a LOT - 18-20 hrs a day for the first 2 weeks, and still 12-16 hrs a day. Bone must be congealed sleep! I am also trying to get lots of protein, minerals, and vitamin C to make collagen, as that is always the 1st thing the body uses to stabilize and begin to heal a serious wound. Most of the bruising is gone, except for the blunt trauma bruise under my armpit. That's taken more than 3 weeks, but likely gone in another 10 days.

After my outrage that I didn't Tazer the perp or beat him bloody, I had a few days of despair as it sunk in that the ARPT is really a completely lawless environment where anything goes and there is pretty much no recourse unless you can get a pic of the perp, have some witnesses, and can get him/her to give up a valid set of contact info.

Still thinking about the pros and cons of riding so much on the ARPT, but to the extent I do, I will have to be even more defensive, maybe having to do some TDF style shoving of peds. Hope my lawyer is making some progress. That would be welcome news.

I'm learning to do the business of daily living with essentially 1 arm. It's not easy, and can be really frustrating, but you do get better at things as you go - like putting on a turtle-neck sweater, or even a hoodie. Taking them off is actually harder. Showering is the worst, but a back scrubber makes that a lot more manageable. Long soaks in Epsom Salts are very nice, and provide needed magnesium for bone and collagen.

I really miss my own cooking, as going back to TV dinners has been awful. Hard to get the fiber I need, portions are too small (OK, I AM losing a little weight, but not much), and not enough veggies or protein. I'm going to try making a hearty tomato chicken soup tonight with a big dose of black beans. The beans really add a lot to the soup, especially welcome is the protein, fiber and potassium. I use V-8 juice instead of water, and finish by baking in the oven for 4 hours at 275 degrees.

I realized a few days ago that I have to go back to the periodontist in a week to check up on the progress of the bone growing around the titanium implant. As sore as my shoulder is today, I hope they can remember not to bump me. May have to put off anything beyond a checkup for a while. Shouldn't be a problem, as that's more healing time for the jaw bone.

The last few days I have been able to do a little work on the computer, and am working my way through an SQL Server SSIS tutorial. Just ordered a new book, as I found out I'm not dense, the example in the book just doesn't work. I downloaded some new source code from SAMS publications, and will give that a try. The usual stuff attendant with software development. Nice to have an external focus for a change.

I still have a ton of things to catch up on, like getting an estimate of the damage to my bike, and filing my taxes, but my mood is definitely improving. I am a little worried about some possible rotator cuff damage from stuffing my shoulder into the road, but worrying about isn't very useful, so I might as well get on with life. A huge pile of laundry, and dirty carpets are calling.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Broken Collar Bone

I was bumped by a malicious pedestrian taking a line through a turn on the ARPT on the 27th of December. He appeared to be with his wife and daughter, and she said he turned to say something to me as I passed, but then was quickly shuuushed by him.

My line would have missed him by 4-6" - about all the room I could give him as there are blind turns in that section of the ARPT with sharp, hilly turns and my wheel was on the center line already, so about a foot of me was already hanging over the line. My guess is he hit me with about 6-8" of contact, so he must have taken a very deliberate step into me at the last moment, as I was thinking I was past him at the time we connected.

I am exasperated that this behavior goes on all the time on the ARPT, and nothing ever seems to be done about it. The guy clearly didn't bother to read the rules of the road online, or the same rules stenciled on the trail in large, white, block lettering. I am considering criminal assault charges against the guy, so law enforcement can get the required phone records.

After all the balance sports I've done, skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, skateboarding, aerobatic flight, there is no way in hell I miss a line by a foot - especially at 12.6 mph. I don't know what was on his mind - maybe he was divorcing his wife - but he was making little or no effort to move towards the shoulder as I approached, which is why I kept coasting, letting my speed decline. Unfortunately, the alternative in those blind turns is getting hit by a biker head-on, so you really can't cheat the lane anywhere in that stretch. Very frustrating.

By law peds are required to be off the pavement and on the shoulder, walking single-file, facing traffic. He failed on all 3 counts. He helped me back to a nearby street, and called my friend's cell number from my RoadID band, but as it turns out, my friend's cell doesn't keep track of incoming phone numbers! :-O  I didn't even know such phones existed.

As it turns out I should have asked for the guy's (John was his name) contact info, but since he was the only one around to help, I was reluctant to piss him off. From now on I will carry a Sharpie and just write contact info on my arm or clothing. Lesson learned.

Since this is my only way of contacting the guy, I am now trying to get the info out of my friend's carrier. Needless to say I am super pissed that my friend didn't mention this to me when I asked him if I could use that number before ordering my RoadID. Worse, his truck was in the shop, so after waiting for 2 hours, I ended up taking a taxi home. Thank God I had a couple of Advil in my 1st Aid kit.


I fell sideways onto the end of my handlebars, as you can see from the photo. Fortunately, it was my left side, and there was almost no road rash. The blunt force trauma to my ribs from falling onto the handlebars was more painful than the broken collar bone, especially where the ribs attach to the spine, but seems to be healing pretty well. My breathing is somewhat restricted, but otherwise healing nicely. Xrays are from a local clinic my friend drove me to in my car. Good service, and $212. Good decision there.

This picture is as of about day 10. The bruise under my armpit didn't appear until ~ day 6, as it was a very deep bruise. I was actually relieved when it appeared, as it finally explained why I was having so much rib pain.

I went to an orthopedic surgeon yesterday, after 2 weeks, and the break looks exactly the same, but he told me to come back in a month and expects it will heal on its own. I just looked at some YouTube videos of the surgery, and wow, I would like to avoid that!

So, this is the reason for me being MIA the last few weeks. An expensive and tough break I would have liked to avoid.