2 years of Tonal

Today is my 2-year anniversary of using Tonal and today I completed my 14th program, Unleash the Beast, with my favorite trainer, Coach Paul. I still love the thing, maybe even more than I did a year ago. I’ve surprised myself with the consistency — except for vacations, I’ve used Tonal every other day.

Over the 2 years, my strength score has gone from 442 to 1,310. I’ve “lifted” 3.88 million pounds in 320 workouts doing 130 different movements.

I originally planned to do only upper body exercises thinking that I do enough lower body on Peloton. But after about a year, I started doing full body workouts and I’ve noticed that I feel more stable, have better balance and, strange as it sounds, I feel like I have more control of my body.

I’ve also seen a lot of software improvements over the 2 years, like Smart Flex and Apple Music integration and all the subtle graphical improvements — like Peloton’s good design, it just gets a little better all the time without drastic changes. The trainers and the videos have improved so much that doing an old program feels old. And just yesterday they started doing live workouts, similar to Peloton’s classes, which seem interesting.

I feel like a shill for Tonal, but I’d give up Peloton before Tonal (and I ❤️ Peloton!). I’m super glad I got it 2 years ago.

Besenzoni P246 Smile seat and their quality control

Our boat has helm seats made by Besenzoni in Italy and the model is the P246 Smile (pleasant name). The seats are very nice and very comfortable, I can’t help but say. However, when our boat arrived, I couldn’t get the captain’s seat to work properly. It’s supposed to go up and down on a pneumatic cylinder like an office chair: pull up on the lever and it goes up, sit on it while engaging the lever and it goes down, release the lever and it stays at that position whether you’re sitting on it or not. But the lever couldn’t be moved at all and the seat always went to the highest position and when I sat on it, it went to the lowest position. It was as if the valve on the cylinder was always engaged. It turns out that it was.

I contacted Cranchi and Besenzoni about it and after 3 or 4 weeks, I received no good answers and no guidance to make it work. The other seat was also missing a bolt and a spacer that the bolt goes through that held the frame to the seat cushion.

One bolt is missing
One spacer, the other is missing

Besenzoni referred me to Marine Solutions, a Besenzoni partner in Florida, for the parts. It seems odd that knowing the model of seat and my description they couldn’t tell me the part that I need. The seat doesn’t have many parts to it. Marine Solutions asked for the serial number on the seat so they could tell Besenzoni and then could determine what size bolt I needed. Have they really made that many different versions of this seat with different size bolts in the last several months? Besenzoni said the serial number is “stitched” into the pedestal — I think they meant “etched” (probably an Italian to English translation mistake). Trying to figure out what the serial number was impossible since it wasn’t visible anywhere on the seat or pedestal that I could find, not even on the base of the pedestal under the boat deck. I sent photos to Marine Solutions asking where I would find the serial number, they forwarded the photos to Besenzoni but they never answered. I decided to take the captain’s seat off the pedestal thinking the serial number night be on top of the pedestal because it wasn’t visible anywhere else. It isn’t there either. But I discovered why the seat’s pneumatic operation didn’t work!

The problem was that the two steel plates shown in this photo were not fastened to each other.

They were clearly supposed to be, there are 4 bolts that were just dangling from the top plate and the bottom plate was separated from the top plate, the plates could easily move up and down separately so the whole pneumatic cylinder and lever mechanism was inoperable — the pneumatic cylinder was all the way up, the lever could not be moved because it was pinned to the underside of the seat by the cylinder. Sitting on the seat caused the lever to engage the valve pin at the top of the cylinder and the seat would go down but it wouldn’t stay at any position because the valve was always open. and the spring in the cylinder could always push the seat up when no weight was on it.

The bolts were not attached because the bolt holes were too big for the bolts — they could easily slide in and out of the holes. It’s hard to tell if they were even threaded, but maybe they were and whoever put them in did such a sloppy job that they stripped the threads. How did that person not realize the bolts were not secured?! And note the sloppy welding job around the circular hole. The steel was cut very jagged too, my fingers have lots of little cuts from reaching inside it to secure the new bolts. Granted, this part is not normally visible so they probably don’t care but a well-built product by a company that takes pride in their work should not look like that, in my opinion. It’s surprising given that Besenzoni seats are well-regarded and expensive.

I fixed it by buying longer bolts and secured them with washers and nuts. This was much easier said than done because the tube is so narrow that my arm could not reach into it to secure the nut on the underside of the plate. Thanks to my son for helping me! Now the chair works perfectly and has quite nice action. Unfortunately, Cranchi and Besenzoni were of no help at all.

I also replaced the missing seat bolt myself thanks to one of my favorite stores: McMaster-Carr. It’s stainless steel and not painted (yet) so it doesn’t match the color, but McMaster-Carr’s drawings are so precise and complete I could measure an existing bolt and figure out the correct diameter and thread sizing and my first attempt at sizing was exactly right. That’s rare for me! I now have 4 extras in case I need to replace any of the other bolts. FYI it’s this part at McMaster-Carr: 93395A544.

Besenzoni seems to be entirely at fault for the manufacturing and assembly issues and their customer service was not helpful. However, Cranchi’s quality assurance people should have tested the seat to verify it works as it should! They should have also noticed a missing bolt and spacer in the other seat. Furthermore, I initially contacted Cranchi for help with all of this but they were not helpful at all either.

Hudson’s 13th Birthday

Hudson turned 13 today — he’s now a teenager! We had his pick of Jimmy John’s sandwiches (he really wanted Jersey Mike’s but they’re not close by) for lunch and Ramen for dinner. Havana made him a chocolate Among Us cake. His friends Bowie and Eli came over to play video games all day spend night, which seems like almost a normal day for him, but it felt special to him.

Hudson was born at 12:05am which reminds me how glad I was he was born on the 25th instead of the 24th because of who he shares a birthday with.

Hudson’s 12th birthday.

Solo dinner on Lake Union

Nobody wanted to go on the boat today but I know that summer is ending and I haven’t spent enough time on the boat, so I had (reheated leftovers) dinner by myself and watched the sunset on Lake Union.

I live in the prettiest city in the country!
Sunset over Aurora Bridge and Gasworks Park

I’m finally reading The Boys in the Boat and read a chapter of it during and after my dinner. It felt very appropriate to be in a boat at the very place the book is set. Speaking of, I noticed today that the Pocock Rowing Center is right there by the University Bridge that we go under on our way to Lake Union– George Pocock is a significant character in the book and was the most prominent boat builder for crew teams across the country. I love the history.

Camp week

As in 2019, all three kids went to Camp Orkila this week leaving Gay and I childless. On Sunday, we went to dinner at Eden Hill.

Carpaccio at Eden Hill

On Monday, we had dinner at Terra Plata with the parents of our kids’ camp friends. Tuesday, we finally got a reservation at Canlis and were going to go with Deirdre & Patrick but I was so tired that I didn’t go and they all went without me. Wednesday evening, we took Barley and stopped at Seattle Caviar on the way to the boat and, trying to do something decadent that the kids would not appreciate, had caviar and champagne on the boat in Lake Union. Then we had a late takeout dinner from Rione XIII at home. Friday, we went to Altura, one of our favorite restaurants, and we still think it’s the best restaurant in Seattle for creative and pretty food. (Still not as good as our unforgettable dinner at Schloss Elmau in 2018, but close)

STUZZICHINI

APERITIVO: SPICY CUCUMBER SODA
OSETRA CAVIAR, FERMENTED POTATO, NASTURTIUM
MAHOGANY CLAMS, FERMENTED POBLANO PEPPER, KINOME LEAF
SAVORY CANNOLI, HOKKAIDO SEA URCHIN, PARSLEY ROOT PUREE


MUSTARD GREEN SPONGE CAKE, KANPACHI VENTRESCA, CAPER LEAF
GRASSFED BEEF CRUDO, PARMESAN FONDUTTA, CURED EGG, CARASAU

Sockeye Salmon: CALABRIAN CHILI, PADRON PEPPER, ZUCCHINI BLOSSOM, SWEET CORN
WARM OLIVE OIL ROLL
SEA BREEZE FARM DRY-AGED DUCK
NEW POTATOES, SUMMER BEANS, PORCINI, FOIE GRAS
VANILLA GELATO, CHERRY GRAPPA, AERATED HOT CHOCOLATE
PISTACHIO ZABAGLIONE, SUMMER BERRIES, ALMOND TUILE
GRAPPA PRESERVED CHERRIES, MARZIPAN, CHOCOLATE

Albuquerque 2021

Because my dad died during Covid, we delayed his memorial service until this summer, when we thought the pandemic would be over. It’s not, of course. However, it worked out well because his birthday is August 5th so my mom scheduled it for that day.

We flew to Albuquerque on August 4th, checked into Hotel Chaco and then met almost everyone else for dinner at El Patron. My brother Todd, my sister-in-law Rozanne, my niece Kristin, my sister Trish, brother-in-law Jeff, their daughters Sarah and Leah, my aunt Lorna, my cousins Jodi and Delene and my mom, of course, were all there.

Dinner at El Patron

The memorial service was the next morning at their church. It was a nice service and my sister, brother-in-law Jeff and I spoke (I transcribed what I said here). I have a fear of public speaking so I was very very nervous about it. My sister was too, and fortunately, I brought airplane bottles of Maker’s Mark so we snuck away before the service and we each had one to calm the jitters. 😝

We had a family lunch at my mom’s house after the service. My uncles, a.k.a. my dad’s brothers, Bob and Roy, Roy’s wife Leslie and Bob’s daughter Carole were there too.

Gay, Sarah, Trish, Leah, Kristin, Jeff, me, Hudson, Havana, Bob, Eva, Rozanne, Todd, Carole, my mom, Leslie, Roy, Jodi, Lorna and Dalene

Across the street from our hotel was Sawmill Market, which was fantastic. We ate almost every meal there, trying to never repeat anything, and we still didn’t try 3 or 4 places. Next visit to Albuquerque, I guess. Everything we had was really good and it was so convenient to go there and everyone could get what they wanted versus spending 20-30 minutes on Yelp before every meal trying to find a good place to go.

First dinner at Sawmill Market

The highlight of the trip (of the year?) for Havana and Hudson was meeting Charlie Heaton, an actor in Stranger Things and other things. Several Netflix shows are filmed in Albuquerque and he was filming season 4 of Stranger Things so was staying at the same hotel and happen to be sitting all alone next to all of us at dinner on Friday night at Level 5 where we had a big family dinner. I sent him a beer and we got him to come over and say hello to everyone. Later, we had dessert and invited him over to share desserts and he hung out and talked to all the kids for a while.

Eva, Havana, Charlie and Hudson

Our hotel room had a nice big terrace so we hosted everyone for pizza dinner, from Sawmill Market, of course, on Saturday night. A bunch of us went over to order the pizzas beforehand and then had a drink outside in the courtyard waiting for the pizzas. It was a very nice evening all around.

My mom, Jeff, Hudson, Eva, Carole, Sarah and Gay

Orcas Island

We got out early on Thursday and went to Orcas Island for 2 nights, staying at Rosario Resort. We got to the island in time to have a great brunch at Outlook Inn and we had a fun dinner at The Mansion. On Friday, we had lunch at the casual restaurant overlooking the marina, went to the pool, got takeout pizza from Hogstone, a James Beard nominated restaurant that you just can’t get a dine-in reservation to, took the pizza to a nearby park by the water to eat and then drove around the island before coming back to the hotel, watched a little of the Olympics and then went to bed.

Tour de France 2021

I had fun the last 3 weeks watching the Tour, getting up at 6 or 7am for the last half of it and watching it with my morning coffee before the rest of the house woke up.

Tadej Pogacar had the race won in the first week after all his rivals, including Primož Roglič who I expected to win, crashed out early and he maintained a 5-minute lead the rest of the race. It’s his second Tour and his second win, which is very impressive for a 22 year old. Jonas Vingegaard, a 21 year old, finished second which might mean he’s the next cycling star. Carapaz finished 3rd. Sepp Kuss, an American, won a stage for the first American stage win in 10 years.

My favorite story of the race was Mark Cavendish who returned to the Tour unexpectedly after not racing it for 3 years. At 36, he wasn’t expected to do much, but after a couple of his sprint rivals also crashed out early, he ended up winning 4 sprint stages tying Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins that has stood for almost 50 years. Disappointedly, Cavendish did not win the final stage in Paris which would have given him the record-breaking 35 wins. I expect that it’ll be a long long time before the 34 stage wins record is broken as no one else is close to that.

I’ve been watching the Tour de France since 1995 or maybe 1996. That means I’ve been watching it every summer for at least half my life. Yet, I still feel like it’s new to me.