Nature from the easychair

OK, pure and simple it is HOT!  Today, once again, we hit the 90s, and in Washington, most of us do not have A/C.  But then, most summers we get one or two days in the 90s, and that is usually July or August.  It does NOT do this June and sure as hell not for a week or two in a row!

Today, I left work at 1 and braved the heat for a 35 mile ride.  I emptied three bottles of water/powerade along the way! It was a hard 35!

Since it has been so hot, we have spent a lot of time in our comfy red chairs, in front of the fan.  With more sitting, I have noticed more that goes on in the back yard…. Continue reading “Nature from the easychair”

Some things still amaze me

 

 

You know, today was a long day and a late night.  Had a lot to do at work, and tomorrow will be busier (I have to try to help a Brit control his language (loves the F-bombs) during a presentation with up to 30 people at a time).  Then the Manchild caught a bus to Seattle, we went to see Thor 2 (helluva flick!) and then I took him home.  It’s now after 930, and almost passed my bed time!

 

 

 

I thought about just skipping the post today, no one would mind.  But after a while things become a habit.  And there were just some things that made me think today.

 

 

 

It was a day of past and future for me.  I love days like this.   Continue reading “Some things still amaze me”

Every Day Blogger

I am sitting here in the red chair at my house, after a VERY long day.  Traffic and weather were both bad this morning, I got a lot done work, AND I drove down to have Parent/Teacher conferences with the  Manchild.  I am tired.

So I am here, and I just got my butt kicked in Words With Friends by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Teri.  (But then she and her sister Barb kick my butt often!)  with the lap top open while I was playing, pondering my next post.  I just wasn’t sure what to write about.  And I considered crawling in bed and not posting at all.

It just seemed wrong to do so though.  I always post… Somehow, in the last year, I became an everyday blogger. Continue reading “Every Day Blogger”

An Epiphany

A word of warning here folks, I am attempting thoughts a bit deeper than normal.  I know, I know, after the ride I had this weekend is it REALLY a smart idea to strain myself like this?  Well I am taking precautions:  I have the iPod on, I am sipping a Diet Mountain Dew, and I am sitting down.

So here we go.  I was thinking about the big ride on Saturday, and the vast differences in my moods.  I am meaning no disrespect here at all, but after Saturday, I might have an inkling of what a bipolar person goes through.  The up hill slogs were at times brutal.  And as I said in the recap post, I was close to giving up.  Continue reading “An Epiphany”

Thanks Mom!!

I’ve had a lot of fun with this blog since I started about 5 months ago.  I’ve shared a lot of old stories, new experiences, opinions and some of my favorite photos.  I also, so I’ve been told, caused additional gray hairs to appear on my very young-looking mom’s head!  Some of the stories I share about the adventures I have had over the years, she has not heard before.  Or if she had, not in that detail.  Sorry Mom!

However, this week I learned that I owe her a big thank you!  (Ok to be honest, I am sure I, just like almost everyone out there, owe mom a helluva lot more than just one thank you.  But this is the most recent reason I do! )

Mom reads my post every day when she brings up Facebook. Yep my kids have a cool grandma.  Not only does she do Facebook, she has a smart phone, AND knows how to text!  Hell her phone is better than mine!

Sorry I digressed.  Mom reads my blog every day.  She read the one titled “Two-Wheeled Time Machine” in which I talked about how young you feel every time you ride a bike.  She sent me a message on Facebook telling me a story.  In short, her mom, my grandma (we called her Granny) never  let my mom have a bike.  She and her sisters had trikes, but when they outgrew them, that was it.  Granny was afraid with a bike, mom and her sisters would ride in the road and that was dangerous.  So no bikes.

No one messed with Granny!  I thought she was scary even when I was in my 30s.  Once I was building a deck at my house.  Granny was over visiting, sitting in the living room.  I smacked my thumb HARD with a hammer, and dropped an F-bomb that echoed off the neighbor’s house.  From inside, in a quiet icy voice, I heard “I heard that young man!”  “Sorry Granny….”  (no lie I felt like I was 5 and was honestly worried about having my mouth washed out with soap! Good thing I knew I could outrun her!)

So how does this equate to a thank you to my mom?  Well, when I got my first bike, with the training wheels, we lived very close to Granny.  My dad was away in Vietnam at the time, and Granny was at our house pretty often.  This means, my mom agreed to the bike, knowing Granny would probably find out and disapprove. Risking the wrath of Granny!   It would have been very easy for her to say “Nope, it’s dangerous, my mom always said so!”  And had she done so, 10,000 miles of experience, and an untold number of kid adventures never would have happened.

So, I know that I have become more worrisome to my mom in my adult years than I ever was as a kid (I was pretty damn boring actually), with my climbing, hiking and now riding.  But mom, I very much appreciate you NOT perpetuating the “NO BIKES IN OUR FAMILY” rule.  Riding the bike was one of my greatest pleasures and favorite things to do  growing up, and it still is.

THANKS MOM!!  and thank you for being one of my biggest blog fans!

The Down Side of Cycling

This blog was started and is very much dedicated to cycling.  I encourage everyone I know to grab a bike and get out there.  The exercise, the fresh air, the wind in your hair, and the things you can see make it a fantastic hobby.  Young or old.  In fact, one blogger I know shared his definition of elderly:  It’s when you stop riding your bikes.  Yep there are a many MANY reasons cycling is excellent….

However, today, reading the post I reprinted from my buddy Jim about the stars, I realized there is a downside….

Jim talked about taking time to look at the sky and take in the stars, and beauty of the heavens above us.   It actually started me thinking, and I honestly can not remember the last time I even saw the stars!  Hell, even the moon!  Now part of that is the time of year.  Around here, it doesn’t get dark till almost 10 PM, and it starts getting light about 5-ish.  I’m in bed….  But even before it started staying light longer, I can’t remember the last time I was outside looking for satellites, falling stars, the big dipper, etc.

Then I started thinking about other things I haven’t done in a while.  When I was a hiker, I loved to hang out at lakes.

image

I would get there, find a place to sit either in the sun or in the shade, depending on the time of year, and break out a book and read.  I would read some, watch fish jump, swallows skim for bugs, and occasionally toss a rock into the water for the fun of it.

Or at a river.  I liked to stop on bridges and watch the water flow under me.  The faster the better.

Carbon River
Carbon River

I’ve never out grown the tossing of a piece of wood into a river.  It instantly becomes a boat, trying to stay a afloat in big water.  Trying to watch it as far as possible, and hoping it doesn’t get stuck on a rock.  That plus just the sound of running water, just captivating.  Or if the river is wide enough, skipping rocks.  I used to skip rocks for hours, walking, gathering a bunch, skipping them, then moseying some more.  No idea when the last time I skipped a rock was.

Sitting on top of a mountain, just looking at the 360 degree view.  Sitting and eating lunch, taking pictures, or just watching the birds fly above and often below my level.  Nothing is more satisfying than a long hike, knowing the rest is downhill, and there is no hurry to get there.

Sitting in the lodge at Mt Rainier, seeing the mountain, drinking coffee or tea for an hour…. You don’t even have to be a guest, anyone can be sit in the lobby…

Even the ocean, now Michelle and I did sit in our room and watch the waves and saw whales right off our deck.  It wasn’t enough time though.  I love the ocean, and one thing I have never done, but dearly want to, is to go to the ocean when a big storm is coming in.  Watching crashing waves would be amazing.  Not to mention the sounds, sprays and smells.

So why am I saying that all this is part of cycling’s downside?  Well for me, when biking, it’s about the miles.  I really like to see how fast I can get from here to yonder.  Now I am going slow enough to look around, but the only stops are for a quick picture of something cool, or for food/drink refills.  Hell, sometimes I am eating while pedaling.  I am either training for a big ride, or on one.  There is very little leisure. Luckily for me, I do get to sit and relax with Michelle in our comfy red chairs. but watching the cats really doesn’t qualify as nature.

I enjoy it though.  I truly have a good time.  I like cranking out 100 miles in a day.  Or pushing it hard on the ride home from work.  Doing a fast 40 or 50 on a Saturday so I can get home for errands or chores.

But there are some things about not being a hiker any more that I miss.  Not this year, but maybe next I will fulfill a bucket list and climb a mountain at dusk and spend the night watching a meteor shower.  This winter, maybe Michelle and I can get to the Oregon coast for a storm.  And after my last big ride, it might be time to climb to the top of a mountain and sit for a while.

So the downside of cycling, which seems ironic to say since the whole time you are biking you are sitting on your ass, but the downside is just not enough “ass-time” enjoying what is around you….

Its been a good week!

Ya know, I don’t normally do posts like this, but I was sitting here, drinking some Powerade, and thinking, this has been a pretty damn good week.  I’ve already posted about the Century ride on Sunday.  I consider that a complete success for many reasons!  Not the least of which was the free piece of apply pie afterwards!  Mmmmmmm  love apple pie!

An apple pie made from scratch, showing both t...
An apple pie made from scratch, showing both the crust and the filling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now in the past, I have given myself a few days off after a hard century.  However, I firmly believe I am in better shape at this point in the year, than any other year I have been cycling.  So, since I am on the bike commute team at work (this is Bicycle commuter month in Washington state) I decided ta hell with a break!   I commuted home Monday, to work Wednesday and did a round trip yesterday.  Add it all up, that’s 168 miles since I woke up Sunday.  The best part was I felt GREAT during the ride home yesterday.  No pain!  The training rides are finally paying off.

 

Now I did pull one bonehead move.  I sent my backpack with my iPad home with my wife today.  I didn’t need the iPad, but I DID need the sunglasses that were in the bag!  CRAP!!  Well, as I always say, in the event of an emergency, hit up REI.  I got the “cheapest” pair they had, which aint that cheap.  These will reside in my desk at work from now in just in case of brain farts in the future.

 

The weather has been GREAT! Blue sky, no head winds, not too cold in the morning, the perfect early May bike weather in the Northwest.

 

Now lets add some family items.  The manchild (as we affectionately call the 15 year old) has pulled all of his grades out of the basement.  He even has a B in AP human geography!  Unheard of!!  We also went to Lunchbox Laboratory Sunday after the ride, and had HUGE burgers!  Damn those were good!  Maybe it is a good thing I haven’t sold him on Craigslists.  (but lord I have considered it!)

 

And my gorgeous wife has been named the adult honoree for the Arthritis Foundation Seattle Jingle Bell Run in December.   This is a huge honor, and is a reflection of the woman’s huge heart and perseverance. She is a tougher person than I will ever be, and I am lucky to be her husband!

 

I’ve also rejoined Toastmasters, and yesterday was my first speech!  I based it on my post “A Question I have Never Been Asked Before”  and I received rave reviews.  Some even said I inspired them to make some changes in the way they perceive themselves!  Made me feel VERY good.

 

Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, Michelle and I fly out this afternoon for a weekend away.  We are going to the Wine capital of the Northwest, Walla Walla.  Neither of us has been there before.  We’ve rented a one bedroom house, and we plan to hit up  some Wineries, I am going to get a National Park stamp, and we are going to have some good food.  Just the two of us, no kids, work or anyone else!

 

I am not sure if I will be able to post before Sunday night, but I will make sure to take a lot of pictures and fill everyone in then.

 

I hope y’all had a good week as well, it was nice working today and realizing “Hell, I am in a pretty damn good mood!”  Here’s hoping this weekend and next week is the same!