Friday, May 25, 2018

It's a Nice Day for a White Wedding


Sorry I didn't write much this week but we are at Defcon 5 with the wedding preparations right now. My baby girl gets married this Sunday and I'm sure I'll be a huge mess all three days...But I'll be a happy mess.


On top of the wedding, John is racing Snake Alley in Burlington on Saturday morning and the Davenport Criterium on Monday morning. We should be busy all weekend. I'll miss my garden, but I have it in pretty good shape, so I'm not too worried about it.



We'll  have to spend all night tonight doting on the cats, so they don't get too upset during all of the hubub.


Happy Memorial Day weekend to you all. I tried to plant a ton of poppy seeds but I think only one of them took. I bought the above poppy plant and it has been really showing off this week in anticipation of the holiday. They aren't red, but there are some red hints in them.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Bicycle Races Are Coming Your Way, So Forget All Your Duties, Oh Yeah


So...Lookee here. I actually have a race report! It's my first one of the year and the first one on my new team.

We had the first installment of our Time Trail series last Wednesday. The weather was absolutely perfect, but I'm STILL not in the best of shape.


Since I had only been on my TT bike once so far this year, I stupidly decided to do a 25 mile TT ride two days before my race. It felt pretty good while I was doing it, but it wrecked my legs for the race.


I had a lot of things slowing me down for this. The main thing is that this race is very hilly, and I suck at hills. Riding up hills better is one of the big things I'm trying to work on this year. The other thing I need to work at, is going faster on the turn around. Since I'm so overly cautious, I inevitably put a foot down and kick-off, which, apparently is slow and all the cool kids make fun of you when they catch you doing that.


So, needless to say, this wasn't the best race in my life, but I did learn a lot. I got good at learning how to shift gears up those hills, and I learned not to do a hard work-out two days before my race. I still haven't learned not to dab a foot on the turn around, but I can keep working on that.

The best thing, is that since I started out that slow, I only have one way to go, right? I hope so. Wait. The best things about the race were that we had a good turn out, the cars that passed me where very respectful and I had a blast during the race and afterward, at dinner, it was great to catch up with a lot of the racers I hadn't seen in a while.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mother Don't Worry, She's Got a Garden We're Planting Together


This past weekend was Mother's Day and we couldn't have a crappier weather weekend...Well, I guess we could have had there been a tornado or blizzard, but it basically was cool and rainy all weekend. It meant that I stayed inside most of Saturday, and THAT meant that Archie took the opportunity to follow me around whining and getting underfoot, so that I tripped over him, either injuring myself or him. Stupid cat.


The good thing about it was that I spent much of the day cleaning the house. It needed it and Archie, as always, was thrilled to lounge on the stools in a different place than they normally are. It's the little things...Or the big things on top of the little things, in Archie's case.


I also wanted to show you the cool project that John has been working on. He took all of the metal vents and painted them black. They used to be completely rusted, or a dingy off-white color. I think they look pretty slick with the black ceiling fans.


We ended the day on Saturday by swimming laps at the University Campus Wellness Center. Because it was graduation day here, it was pretty empty. Just the way I like it.


Sunday was Mother's Day. I'm not the biggest Hallmark Holiday kind of person, but my girls said they wanted to come over for brunch for Mother's Day, which was sweet, but...They didn't once offer to  help cook or do the dishes. I was a little hurt by that. I just thought, what the hell? You are "celebrating" me by making me cook and clean for you? Hmmmm. Not my favorite holiday, that.


John and I were going to go for a nice bike ride to Sutliff Bridge and  back because the weather was SUPPOSED to be nice, but Iowa can be cruel that way. John went on a nice walk with his mom in the morning. I will give Stinky this, she did help me in the garden for a bit after brunch. I made a nice, new teepee for the sugar peas I planted and she helped me get that going.

Then I gardened for the rest of the day. At least 8 hours worth. It rained on and off all day. It was nice to get that much done, though. Especially considering that I now have the vegetable garden in the front yard, the shade garden in the backyard, the partial shade garden on the side yard and three, count 'em, three flower gardens in the easement of my front yard. I am really curious to see how it all looks once everything comes to fruition.


I was happy to see my neighbors new bees coming over and checking out the garden this weekend. I just hope they start going for the actual flowers and not the petals that are dropping on the ground.


So, not to be a total complainer, here is the pillow my daughters gave me for Mother's Day. It is garden related and it appears to be helping the cat fall asleep and leave me alone for a while. So, I can't help but be grateful for that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Laughing and a Running, Hey, Hey. Skipping and a Jumping.


So, yeah. It's my oldest daughter's 26th birthday today. Holy cow! I was 26 years old when I had her, and according to the above photo, I still looked like I was 12.


She has always been such an independent person. I always said I wanted my girls to be strong-willed, but of course, that means they're strong-willed against me first and foremost. Sigh.


What I've always hoped for her is that she would learn to cut herself some slack, keep playing outside as much as possible.


She should sing and dance and dork-out every chance she gets too.


I hope she is able to fulfill her goal of visiting every National Park in the USA. A couple of years ago, she backpacked through Isle Royale with her Uncle Bill and loved it.


She just got a new big girl job today and I hope it all goes well and that she loves it. Since that job is teaching, she will probably still have to serve beer on the weekends, but at least not every day.


I also hope that she continues to stay close friends with her sister, no matter how much they drive the other crazy, and that her beloved Cubbies do well this season, since that seems to make her very happy.

Keep growing and playing and working, little girl!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Make No Mistake, We Will Call You Back to the Lake



So, like I said, I took a vacation day on Monday. It was perfect, but very busy. I worked in the garden for hours in the morning and early afternoon. Coadster called me after she got off work. Since she had some depression over the weekend, I had made a Monday date to play outside and then go to Dairy Queen for ice cream afterward. As far as I'm concerned, nothing takes away the sads like playing outside and eating ice cream.


We headed to Lake MacBride. There is an easy, two'ish mile trail that leads to the Spillway. So, we took that. It was lovely outside and there were tons of people fishing and kayaking on the lake.


We had a nice talk, where I tried not to bug her about applying for big girls jobs too much. It's hard to turn off my mom persona sometimes...Most of the time.


The scenery is always lovely. If we had had more time, I wouldn't have minded taking a dip in the Lake.


Instead, we just took off our shoes and got our feet wet.


We made it back in town, just in time for me to meet some of the boys for our Monday Night Ride. We headed to North Liberty to a restaurant named Tin Roost. It was a tad pricey, but the beer and food were really good. I had shrimp and grits with a really nice sauce. It made me very happy. We rode back home and I think I read an entire page of my book before I fell fast asleep. Playing outside can cure the blues and it's a great sleep aid.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

In the Garden of Fruitfulness, You Plant and it Grows, Yeah


Well, I'm writing a garden post today. Last weekend I went to town with planting things and getting everything ready and I even took Monday off to continue on that path.

I planted a bunch of daffodils and some more tulips last Fall. They bloomed and are still lovely, but I had a few more plants that had a bulb on it, like it was going to bloom and by Saturday, they still hadn't. The sad thing was, I couldn't remember what I planted. Then I looked more closely and realized they were Aliums and now I can't wait for them to bloom.


Since we spent most of the day on Saturday riding bikes, I decided that Sunday would be a good day to plant things in the garden. While I was wandering around my yard muttering to myself, (otherwise known as gardening) I noticed my neighbor was in a bee keeper suit along with another man and I looked closer and realized he was now raising bees. I am so excited! I've always wanted to raise bees, but we have a small yard. The next best thing, is having my neighbor raise them, where I can see them and love them. My neighbor told me he was glad that I raised so many pollinators close to his bees and I offered to give him some seedlings that were pollinators and he said, "Hell, yes!" Then he brought me a bucket of Cannas and later in the day I brought him some basil and tomatoes and all was right with the world. As you all may know, I love to share things.


I worked in the garden from about 9 am until 2. I got all of the plants I bought the day before planted, and some seedlings and some seeds. I planted even more stuff on Monday, but I'm probably barely half done with getting it all done. This weekend...

I did get the Blue Jay garden poke that I bought from my friend at one of the garden sales placed next to my tulips. He looks good there, doesn't he?


So, here's what it looks like now, with most things planted and the straw and the mulch in place. I can't wait to watch it all grow up this Summer.


Most importantly, I made my first batch of sun tea on Monday. Ahhhhhhh.


Oh, and you'll all be happy to know that the lilacs bloomed this week. I wish they lasted longer, but I'll be huffing them as long as they're here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Summer Skies and Lullabies


I know I suck at blogging this week. I took Monday off as a vacation day and I've been catching up ever since, here at work.

This will be mostly a photo post, so that I actually DO post.

Saturday was a really fantastic day. The weather was incredible and there were many places for me to buy plants for my garden...And THEN we went a really long bike ride.

I couldn't sleep, so I woke up around 6 am, ate some toast, drank some tea and headed to the Farmer's Market around 7:30. I found some good herb and pepper plants, then I hurried back home so I could pick up Stinky and her fiance and head to some more plant sales. Stinky's fiance wasn't quite so into the plants as he was into the food and I totally get that.


After spending too much money, but excited about my kick-ass garden, I sped home again to make lunch and then ride bikes to Cedar Rapids and back.


I met a weird looking friend along the way, but most importantly, check out my new cyan colored bar tape that John just put on my bike. Pretty.


 I love the ride to Cedar Rapids. It's amazing how bike friendly that town has become. There were literally hundreds of people riding around and stopping at all the restaurants, bars and coffee shops.


We met another man wearing a utility skirt while we waited for the light to change. He was telling us about his bikes and that he used to live in Cedar Rapids, but was just back visiting and didn't have his bike to ride. You definitely meet all kinds of people when you aren't encased in a car.


We made it to the Sag Wagon for a late lunch. There were many, many people there playing Corn Hole, sand volleyball and basking in the sun. Since it was Cinco de Mayo, they had cans of Corona for $2.50. I wasn't planning on drinking, but it was hot and who am I to pass on such a good deal?


Our friend John is always amusing. I found him lying on the ground doing some kind of exercises? When I decided to photograph him, he said, "I'm not doing anything that would require a photograph." Um, okay...


We finally got it in gear and headed back to Iowa City, but not before we saw some baby geese. I love them so much!

The only drag about the day, was that we all forgot that we hadn't been riding as much as we usually do by this time of year, and that 70 mile ride really kicked our asses. It was a good thing for me to see where I was as far as my physical shape was concerned. I'm not at all where I want to be, but I was a little stronger than I thought I'd be. I guess I'll keep training the way I have been and hope for the best.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Vacation All I Ever Wanted


It is now the first week of May and that means it's time for this month's escapism and travel through books post. This month finally got warm in the last two weeks, so I didn't need to travel just to get away from the bleak Winter/Spring, but I do like to take trips and see new things no matter what, so books are absolutely necessary for me.

1.) The first book I read in April was "Autumn", by Ali Smith. It took place in England around the time that Brexit was passed. I still want to see England, even if they do have stupid fear legislation.

2.) I read "Peace Like a River", by Leif Enger. It took place around North Dakota and by Yellowstone in the early 60's. it was an interesting look at things, but it was pretty damn cold for most of it. I guess it made me happy for our little snow storms at the beginning of April. It could always be worse...

3.) "The Book of Joan" by Lidia Yuknavitch was another book that made me thankful for where I am and what I have now. It was a futuristic take on the Joan of Arc story, and man, was that future grim.

4.) Man, if you want escapism and happiness, then feel free to read "Tales From the City" by Armistead Maupin. it takes place in San Francisco in 1976 - ten years before I moved there. I know some people have said they didn't like it, but I devoured it in a day and it made me homesick for San Francisco of old'ish.


5.) " A Little Life" by Hanya Yanigahara was a gut wrencher. It had an ambiguous time frame but took place mostly in New York City. It was nice to fantasize about being that rich, but the early life of the main character was horrible. The book also could have been better with the help of some editing.

6.) I generally love Dan Chaon's work, but "Ill Will" wasn't my favorite. It takes place in the suburbs of Cleveland for the most part and is a thriller. It wasn't quite as suspenseful as I had hoped, but the writing was good.

7.) "The Color Purple", by Alice Walker is a two time travel for me. It took me back to Georgia during the earlier part of the 20th Century, but mostly, it took me back to my second semester in college and my first semester at the University where I now work. I was assigned the book for a class I was taking. I went down to the Wheel Room in our student union to read a chapter or two, before I went home. I couldn't stop and I read the whole book sitting right there. It was a book that spoke so hard to me at that time in my life. I'm happy to say, it still resonates with me.

8.) "The Great Influenza" by John Barry took me back in time to the 1918 and since it was a pandemic, all over the world. This was a non-fiction book that was an engrossing read, just another book that would have benefited from a good editor...Or even a bad one.

9.) Holy cow, kids! How have I never read this book before? I was an English major in college and was never assigned it, and if it was in our house growing up, I never knew it. If you want to take about a great trip to take for escapism and general hilarity (Mr. Bennett is hilarious), this is your book.


Thursday, May 03, 2018

Lots of Fun for Everyone On a Bike Ride to the Moon


Okay, now we're on last Sunday. It was a busy, but fun day. I got up around seven, got ready and rode my commuter bike downtown to volunteer to masrshall a corner for the bike race downtown.

Thanks to John Heck for taking this photo of John riding his bike past my work building.

For the last couple of years, this race day has been cold and rainy, so it was nice to finally have beautiful weather for it.

John raced at one. He felt like he wasn't in the best of shape, but he still got fourth in his category, so I always take his claims of not being in race shape with a gigantic salt rock.


I loved watching the kids races. They were all so adorable.


It was very sweet that both my daughters, John's mom, and a lot of our friends came to cheer for him. It was really fun to hang-out all day.

Thanks again to John Heck for taking this one of me taking a photo of John racing.

I also love to watch John race. I wish I was even half that strong. Sigh.



After John got done racing, we all got to hang-out together and watch the other races. We were at the Deadwood, when some guy rolled a cart full of vintage clothes, trying to sell them. It was fine at first, but the drunker the guy got, the pushier he was. As I informed him, I really hate the hard-sell. If I tell  you once I'm not interested, then you need to quit bugging me. He finally took the "hint".

We also all went out for lunch and had great talks. It was such a nice day. We didn't get home until after 5, so the cats were a little ticked-off, but the piss us off too, so we figure it's only fair.