Friday, July 13, 2018

Something Touched Me Deep Inside, the Day the Music Died.

We went to fabulous Clear Lake, Iowa last weekend and it was, fun, fun, fun, and our daddy didn't take the T-Bird away. We went so John could race bikes there. I always used to race too, but this year has been to hormone roller coastery for that, so instead I played and it was just grand.

We drove there after work on Friday and met our friends. We went to the little brewery in a house and sat outside until we got eaten by mosquitoes.

We also got to see the sunset over the lake. One of my favorite things to do in Clear Lake.

I woke up at about 6 the next morning. John had his first race at 8:45, so he got up early and headed over there to warm up.

I went for a lovely morning run, and checked out the lake again and met some lovely King Charles Spaniels and got some dog petting in.

I like to explore a town by running, because I see things I've never noticed before. On this run I found a putt-putt golf course and some wetlands.

After my run I went to the donut shop across the street and got some goodies. John normally won't eat sweets, but I got him a raspberry cream cheese danish, just in case and what do you know, he ate it after he got back from his race.

John decided to take a quick nap, so I rode my bike to the South beach and read my book for a while. It was so perfect.

I got a call from John. he had just woken from (awakened?) from his nap and wanted me to meet him and our other friends for lunch.

After lunch we went back to the beach and swam and watched other people swim and play.

John was supposed to race again at 3:15, so he left to get ready and warm-up before the race and I went on a little bike ride.

We originally thought that the nice road with the fat bike lanes went all the way around the lake, so I figured I'd ride that little route and end up in Downtown Clear Lake in easily enough time to catch John's race. Unfortunately, we were wrong about the road. I ended up out in the country, on the road race course they were going to use on Sunday. Then I found myself in the town of Ventura, next on a bigger highway with very little shoulder and FINALLY back in Clear Lake. At least I got to ride past the Surf Ballroom.

I did make it back in time to see John race and talk to some friends I hadn't seen in a long time and get a great deal on some sale bike clothes, just in time for RAGBAI this month.

It was a great day of racing and John did pretty well for not really racing since the end of May.

After the races, we headed back to that bar/restaurant to get a drink and watch the sunset.

Moscow mules were the perfect choice.

It was a very nice last night in Clear Lake.

The next morning, I got up and headed to the beach to hang out while John did his road race. It was so nice.

Our friends came out and joined me and we sat on the dock with our feet in the water and just relaxed.

John finished his race and joined us. He said it felt pretty good to jump in the water after riding his bike so far.

We were all starving, so we headed to lunch where John and I ate a bunch of appetizers: peel and eat shrimp, crabmeat Rangoon nachos, bruschetta, and fried cheese curds.

Before we headed back  home, I made John stop at the Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper Crash Site.

Do these glasses make my head look small?

It was a little underwhelming, but it was only about a ten mile drive out of town (like John said, they didn't get very far). So, now I can say I saw it.

I'm hoping this weekend is just as fun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

End of the Spring and Here She Comes Back.

So, before I write about last weekend, I thought I'd do my traveling through books post for June. I read seven books during the month of June. My Summer reads are generally less intense than some of my colder weather reads. During beautiful Summer days, I just don't have the attention span to read Russian novels or whatever. I learned the hard way a few years ago when I tried to read "Wolf Hall" in July and it was a baaaaad idea.

Now I try to pick books that I think will hold my attention and be fun or good escapism. Beach books, if you will. Last June's books were all good Summer choices.

1.) The first book I read in June was "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee. it was a beautiful, but sad book about how Korean immigrants have been treated in Japan. The characters were complex and sympathetic and the story was epic. All in all, it was an important book trip to take.

2.) My second book trip took me back in time to the story of Orestes and his wacky family. "House of Names", by Colm Toibin was good, but very dark and violent. I took a lot of humanities courses in college, so it was good to get back to some of those stories.

3.) "Girl in Disugise" by Greer McAllister probably isn't going to win any literary awards, but it was good escapism. It's about Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective. It took place before and during the Civil War and it was a perfect Summer read.

4.) "The Association of Small Bombs" by Karan Mahajan took place in India and told the story of a car bomb and the people surrounding it. Those who set it off and those who were killed or injured by it. It was an interesting way to look at an event and it showed all sides of a tragedy.

5.) I finally read Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" last month. It was dark and violent, but it was engrossing and I've always been a sucker for those strong, young, women who stick it to the man.

6.) The Sixth book I read in June was "Less", by Sean Andrew Greer. It won the Pulitzer prize last year and man, do I agree with their choice. It was such a fun read. It was also a great trip. A writer is turning 50 and gets invited to his ex-boyfriend's wedding. He doesn't want to go to the wedding, but he doesn't want to appear bitter or slighted, so he decides be out of town and in order to do that, he takes any trip offered to him to give a reading, or accept an award, or write an article and it ends up taking him all over the world. It is a funny, well written, trip.

7.) The last book I read in June was Louise Erdrich's "The Round House". I love Louise Erdrich's writing and this was one of my favorites of hers. It takes place in the late 80's and it's sad and strong and sweet and frustrating and it was an incredible read.

Since we're almost halfway done with July, I will say my streak of fun, Summer books is continuing. I hope you are all finding fun adventures through the books you're reading as well.

Friday, July 06, 2018

I'm a cool Rockin' Daddy in the USA

Wow, kids! July Fourth is over already. This Summer is going WAY too fast. I hope you all had a nice holiday, and if you had to work, I hope you get a nice day off soon.

Surprise, surprise, John and I celebrated the birth of our nation with a bike ride. First I got up and putzed around in the garden, then I read on the screened-in-porch and drank my tea. THEN we went on a bike ride through Amish Country.

We rode up and down many hills with a strong South headwind. Luckily, at some point a big tractor drove in front of us shielding us from the wind. Thanks, farmer!

We finally made it to Frytown, which has a large Amish community. We always stop at this garage place and get an ice cold root beer. It was ridiculously hot on the Fourth this year, so the root beer tasted like pure magic in a can.

We also had to take a photo in front of the phone booth, because how many times a year do you see one of those?

The scenery was so beautiful and in Amish country you don't even see power lines.

We headed to Sharon Center where we just missed their parade. I thought the flag on the tractor was a nice Iowa touch.

We made it to Hills and stopped at the Casey's there to get some cold water. I started feeling like I was going to pass-out from the heat, so I had to sit down on the floor in Casey's until I could cool down a little. I'm a class act, I tell ya.

We finally made it to the lake and not a minute too soon. Some friends of ours met us there with their paddle board. One of my goals this year was to try stand up paddle boarding  and I was finally able to do it. It was a holiday miracle!

Our beach was full of fun families and college kids with cocktails. Everyone seemed so happy and festive and I was happy not to be fainting. It's the little things...

We finally grudgingly left the lake and went to Big Grove so I could drink my one holiday beer. We headed home and I grilled some BBQ chicken, which was heavenly and had it with mashed red potatoes from our garden and beet salad, with mostly things from our garden. I really don't know how we could have celebrated our country and Summer any better.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Just a Perfect Day. Problems All Left Alone. Weekenders On Our Own.

Everyone has a different idea of their perfect day. Would yours include sleeping in air conditioning all day, or playing with puppies? Would yours include your family, or anyone but your family members?

I had a nearly perfect day on Saturday. It was a little too hot outside to be totally perfect, but I will always "settle" for close to perfect.

It started out, as many of my perfect days do, with a bike ride with our friends.

The prairie flowers looked amazing.

We rode to Riverside, Iowa to get to the Trek Fest Parade and to our friends' annual party.

The Trek Fest parade is always such a hoot. John asked me what the guy with the shower curtain thing over his head was supposed to be. I told him I thought he was supposed to be beaming up.

It was about a hundred degrees out, so I had to really give credit to all of those people in their polyester Star Trek outfits.

There was a float handing out these book marks and cheesy pulp sci-fi novels. I've had a geek virus since I was born and I don't want any treatment for it, thank you.

the Shriners will always pop-a-wheelie for you if you ask them nicely.

After the parade, we hung out at the party and ate their delicious food and stayed away from the keg, as there were some sketchy characters hovering there.

I know I mentioned that it was hot that day, right? Well, we rode home from Riverside and headed straight to Sand Lake. We threw our bikes down, and jumped into the water. It really felt like being ten years old again and what's a better feeling than that?

The water felt great. There were plenty of people at that beach and then John suggested that we check out the beach on the peninsula. Don't mind if we do...

That beach was even better and there was only one other family hanging out there. We all said that if someone would just bring us food and beer, we'd live in the lake and be ever so happy.

Sadly, no one wanted to bring us beer or food, so we had to get up and head to Big Grove in Iowa City and order our own. The only thing better than living like a ten year old, is being able to drink legally as well.

Sunday was a different kind of day. I woke up with a migraine for the first time in 72 days. That's right. It's the longest I've gone without a migraine since my early twenties. I used to get bad migraines at least once a week, so if I have to have a bad migraine day once in 72 days, I consider myself pretty damn lucky.

So, I scrapped my plans to ride bikes and read my book on the porch for a while instead. Which was just fine.

I made eggs with cut up grilled stuffed peppers and cheese and hash browns for brunch.

I started to feel better later in the day. I had so much to do to get ready for the work week. John rode his bike and asked me if I'd meet him at Sand Lake for a swim. Originally, I was all for that, but then I mowed the lawn and that took longer than I thought and I started thinking about all of the things I needed to do before the work week started and I bailed on John. I did make up for it by making enchiladas for dinner and cooking up some beets for us to use for beet salad on the Fourth of July. All in all, it was a good day...Even if it did start with a migraine.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Sunday's in the Meadow and Friday's in the Corn.

Oh, kids. In regards to my last post, let me tell you how magical last weekend was for me. First of all, the weather was perfect. Second of all, there were so many people out riding their bikes and playing outside and it makes me so happy to see that.

In the morning, I woke up and headed to the Farmer's Market and got some asparagus and fun treats. Then I came home and puttered around in the garden and then our friend Burne came over and we headed out for a bike ride.

We went to Sutliff Bridge, which is about 50 miles there and back. It was a lovely ride and when we stopped at the bridge we got to check out this 1909 Stanley. The owner said it ran on kerosene and something else. It almost sounded like it had a steam engine. It was pretty damn cool.

We headed back, and stopped at Big Grove in Solon for lunch where I had a beet salad and some Millstream root beer. It was all delicious.

We got home around 5. Just in time to feed the cats. Whew! Our friend Burne found a book on the street right in front of our house. It must have fallen out of someone's bike basket. I was just going to leave it there in case the person came back to look for it, but I was afraid it would get wet sitting outside overnight. So, I took it as a sign that the universe wanted me to read this book and I'm hoping the person how lost it was rich and could just buy another one. It was another thing that made the day magical - a free book.

We were going to head down to the block party downtown and meet Stinky and her friend and some other people, but we both felt too old and tired, so we stayed home and had tuna fish sandwiches and potato salad for lunch and watched the newest Blade Runner movie. It was perfect.

On Sunday, the good just kept right on coming. We had some friends come over and ride out to the town of Hills with us. Ironically, the ride out to Hills is very flat and it's only ten miles out and ten miles back, so it's great for people who haven't been riding much. They stopped in Hills, but John and I kept going to Kalona.

I always say this because it's true, the ride to Kalona is one of my favorites because it's so beautiful and full of horses and other livestock and amazing gardens.

Of course, on this ride, we ran into a young Amish whippersnapper who came flying out of his driveway, in his horse and buggy without looking and almost hit us on our bikes. Causing John to say, "I'd like to see the accident report THAT would have caused..."

The young Amish whippersnapper did make a point to apologize when he passed us up a hill, and we told him it was fine.

We continued on and made it into Kalona.

We ate at Kalona Brweing Company where we shared a pizza and a beet salad and I got my root beer. That made it four days in a row that I got to eat beet salad. I love this time of year.

On the way out of town, I happened to notice this cut-out. As you all know, I love cut-outs, so I made John stop and take a picture of me in one. I will say this again and again. My husband is a damn good sport.

We rode back home through Amish country and saw those boys playing on their swing set. I just love seeing everyone playing outside. Maybe just because it always makes me so happy. For me, the key to being happy in general is to play outside as much as possible, and I'm sure the reason I felt last weekend was so wonderful and magical, was because we did just that. I just hope this weekend goes as well that way.