Friday, November 21, 2014

Some Get By but Some Get Old.

Thanks, Angy Snoop for taking this.
 Okay. Here it is documented proof that I race Jingle CX last week. The old "photos or it didn't happen" rule still applies in the internets.


Also, because it's Friday, you get cats and house photos. Here are the cats on the screened-in-porch Friday. After a crazy, bitterly cold week, the temps are supposed to get up into the 40's tomorrow. Woo hoo! There might just be some more cat porch settin' happeneing this weekend as well.


John cleaned off the front and top of our fridge last week. Probably because of how humid the air from the crawl space is and that it comes up and makes moisture all over everything we own. Most of the photos on our fridge were starting to get moldy. Some we were able to save, some we weren't. We got rid of all the refrigerator magnets on it, except these great trophies from the Chamois Time local series here in Iowa City. Seriously, the best trophies ever. You should do the race, just for a chance at getting one.


Okay. You all have a wonderful weekend. Don't mind Archie. He'll just be here, hanging out and gutting the chair with his back claws. Awww. What a sweetheart.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Would Have Made the Right Move, But I Made it at the Wrong Time.

Photo taken by Mauro Heck.


 Here is a photo of me at Jingle CX. It will serve as proof that I was actually there this year. My bright, red, face will serve as proof as to just how damn cold it was there this year.

Soooo, it looks like they tried to fix the results for the race I did this weekend. It's different every time I check, so I'll probably wait a couple days and hope it stays the same for a while. It is more accurate at least right now. They have me 38th out of 41. Nothing to get excited about, but I'd rather have it be accurate, than have falsely positive results.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful, but the Bike Race is So Delightful.


Well, I don't have much of a race report from Jingle CX, sadly. I did get to race one day. I don't have any photos of me racing, so you get all the party on the hill pics instead. A much prettier option, really.

The mother of all cowbells.

I woke up on Friday with a light migraine that never left me. I did race that evening, but I was weak and tired. I did the best I could. I will never know how I really did, because one of the officials screwed up and pulled a lot of the women off the course after the 2nd lap. There were 3 big categories in the field and he was trying to get the slower racers off the field, to keep it less confusing, but had an epic fail. He got some of the women ahead of me and all behind me, but he didn't get me and a couple of others. I was feeling so crappy, I really wanted to get pulled. I kept trying to establish eye contact with all of the officials, but no such luck. They gave me 25th place or something out of 42 racers, but I know I was closer to the back of the pack. I am curious to see hwat kind of points I get for that. Hmmmm.


 After the race, John and I went on the hill to watch the other races and drink beer and have a dance party. Everything about that was good, if not a little weird...

Thanks to Burne Sippy for this shot.
 John's ex and her current boyfriend showed up at our house around 9:30. We got them settled and we finally went to bed. I woke up the next morning, and my migraine was even worse. That was it. I had to call it then. I took my meds and figured I'd spend the day watching other people race and hanging out with my friends. Not a bad alternative at all.

John did pretty well on Saturday and said he had a lot more fun racing than he had had the night before. Which is way more important than results, as far as I'm concerned. We watched until the last race of the day, then we went to the store and got stuff to make for dinner. Our guests were fine with staying home and chilling out. Did I mention it was really, really cold and we were all happy just to hang out somewhere warm? We had a nice dinner of pasta, salad and bread and then watched the movie, Nebraska. What a great film. If you haven't watched it  yet, you should.

Another great shot from Burne Sippy.
On Sunday, it was still snowing and my migraine was still raging. Sigh. Another day of not being able to race, but again, I had a great day watching everyone else. Our friend Burne showed up during John's race and by the time John finished and we ordered pizza, Burne offered to buy us beer. What the hell? We drank some most of the day and played around as we watched all the races. We helped tear down the course at the end, and then went home and had pizza with Burne and a couple of other friends who stopped by to eat.

It was a great weekend, but man, was I exhausted after 3 days of hanging outside all day in freezing temps. I was also very socialed out. I love people, but then I need a break to recuperate. I will try to do that the rest of this week.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Want Long, Straight, Curly, Fuzzy, Snaggy, Shaggy, Ratty, Matty Oily, Greasy, Fleecy, Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen...

 It's Friday and time for cat and house photos. We're having some guests stay with us this weekend. One of John's ex-girlfriends is coming with her boyfriend (got that?) because he is racing Jingle Cross with us.


So, we've been doing some furious house cleaning. I know I always say this, but I love my house. I love the hardwood floors, I love that it feels like a cottage/Hobbit house, I love how big the rooms are and that it's not one of those newer McMansions, where everything is perfectly boring...Especially when it's clean.


Also, I love our cats, even though they're assholes.


Here is our spare room, close to finally being done. We still need art on the walls and maybe a rug and a lamp and to paint the window sills, but the big stuff is done.



Last night, John shaved his head for an organization that raises money for cancer survivors. He was able to raise over $500 by himself. 


 This is the third year John has participated. He hadn't cut his hair since last year, so it was quite a big difference.


 Of course, I think he looks pretty damn snazzy no matter what length his hair is.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ice Age, Heat Wave. Can't Complain.


 Tuesday was a good day. I took off work a couple of hours early to clean the inside of our house, since we didn't have time this weekend when we did all of those other projects. The UPS guys came and dropped off the fake fireplace we got from Amish Yard. Just in time for the coldest day we've had all Fall. It's a warm and lovely thing, that fake fireplace is.


 I got the stairs to the dormer room primed (the first layer anyway). Those stairs were so disgustingly dirty, that no amount of elbow grease on my part could clean them, so I scrubbed and sanded and then put primer on them. I'll put another coat on in the next week, and then I'll paint the tops of the stairs light gray and the middle part white.


Coadster was coming to have dinner with us on the way to the Quad Cities to see her uncle one last time before he died of cancer. Stinky told me she had to work and couldn't make it, but she and her boyfriend showed up. She traded shifts with someone and didn't tell me. Luckily, I was making nachos and we had plenty to go around. The grand puppy came with Coadster and she was, as usual, very, very excited. Archie was so not amused with Bailey's over excitement and kept hiding on the tops of dressers and the hot water heater, except when he would do a reconnaissance mission to try to eat Bailey's dog food.

It was a hectic but lovely night and it was so nice having a full house and just as nice having peace and quiet after all the "kids" left.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

And Here Is the Best Part, You Have a Head Start If You Are Among the Very Young at Heart.


 I don't have a race report in the traditional sense, since I wasn't able to race this weekend. My calf is getting much better and I continue to work on stretching it and walk/running to get it back up to snuff, but last weekend, I was still recovering and so we got some work done. A LOT of work done.

Friday was lovely. I gave myself a nice walk/run and saw the lovely leaves in my neighbors yard. Then I came home, made fish tacos for dinner and John and I watched the movie, Chef. It was a little Hollywood in some ways, but really fun and I bought the soundtrack, I loved the music so much.


On Saturday, I woke up with a migraine. I took my meds and went back to bed. When I woke-up again, John was already starting on the windows. We have that lovely 1950's house with the old windows that you have to switch out the screens for storms in the Winter. All of our windows need to be replaced, and at one point we thought we would just go to the vinyl windows, but then realized they were disposable and only lasted about 20 years and we really do want to keep the "charm" of the period of the house, so we have been talking bout just redoing the windows and doing one or two a year until they were all done. Of course, Saturday was windy and John had the windows leaning against the cars to spray them down and a couple of them got blown to the ground. Oops! So, now we will get going on redoing those two windows that broke and quit just talking about, I guess.


We cleaned all of the windows and put up the storms before we got started tearing out and dragging the fiber glass, styrofoam and other detritus from the crawl space. We figured it would take us several days and we would just quit on any day where we reached our saturation point, since we had several weeks before the basement encapsulators we due to arrive. We dug in and pulled out 11 industrial sized trash bags of very full crap from the crawl space before we called it a day. Then we went to Eastside Shorts and had dinner and a couple of beers. just what we needed.


On Sunday, I woke up migraine free. Hooray! I walked the mile to Hickory Hill Park and then mostly ran on the trails there for a couple of miles before I went home. It felt great and my calf wasn't too sore.

We continued on with our crawl space project. Only this time, John had to travel further from the window to get the stuff, so while I waited, I raked leaves. Many, many leaves. By the time we reached our saturation point, we had finished 15 more bags and finished most of the crawl space. John said he has probably another hour or two of cutting chicken wire and taking the plastic off the ground, but we're done for the most part. I also raked up most of the leaves from our yard and got them to the curb for pick-up by the city this week. Can John and I kick out the work, or what?

We decided we earned some fun and we headed out on our cyclo-cross bikes for a little renegade ride around the Eastside of Iowa City. John took me to construction sites, school yards, parks and this really cool back part at the ACT campus where they have all these cut trails with park benches by ponds. It was so beautiful and really fun to ride.

We went home, showered and made it to Big Grove Brew Pub for Happy Hour. I love that place, I just wish they had more vegetarian options. Anyway, this was our conversation when we got out of the car.

John: Hey, we're actually going out after dark.

Me: Yeah. It helps that it's daylight savings time and it's dark at 5...

John: Still in time for the early bird special!

Me: Don't call it an early bird special. Call it Happy Hour. We'll sound so much younger.

Friday, November 07, 2014

I Welcome You to Cracker Box Palace.


Oh, Kids. Don;t get me wrong. I love my house. I REALLY love my house, but it has so many issues. Right now we are spending tons of time to fix them, but it could be a rough road for the next couple of months.

 Last weekend, we trimmed some branches off of our pine tree that were hitting our roof and messing with our shingles. I love to climb trees, saw off branches and cut them up for the wood pile. I really miss not doing that for a living. Sigh.

Then a couple of days ago, our handyman guy came over and reshingled that section of the roof and fixed the roof on our beloved screened-in-porch, that was, as my friend Pete would say, "hillbillied" originally. Whoever did it, used scrap leftover crap, and didn't seal anything, so it leaked and all the wood was rotting. We're hoping this does the trick.


 On December 11th, we're having a company come and encapsulate the crawl space. It will keep the air in our house from being so humid that we're breathing in floating mold. It will cost a ton of money and it won't make our house look any better, but it will help keep our house from killing us. Plus, it should make it less attractive to termites and keep our beautiful wood floors from warping. We will save ourselves $1500 by going down and ripping the old, gross, wet insulation out of the crawl space ourselves, and that is our next project that starts this weekend. We will soon find out the value of $1500 in real, gritty, gross, terms. My plans to ease up on my drinking might have to wait a month...

These were the last hold-outs in my garden. I will miss it until April. Lucky for us, the catnip is still going strong.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

She's a Restless Spirit on an Endless Flight.


I have no race report from this weekend. My calf is still too sore to race, but I had the costume all ready and I wanted to wear it. So, I did and now you will have to see too many photos of me all green faced and wicked.


 I wasn't the only one at the race in a costume. In my opinion, everything is better and more fun when people dress up in costumes or wear fun socks or whatever. Like how I strapped my broomstick to my bike? Me too.


I met this adorable puppy at the race. She is an 11 week old Mastiff. You should feel how soft those little wrinkles are on her head. 
 
Photo Credit, Julie Goodman.

 John told me I didn't need a costume for this. I told him, "Shut-up" because I apparently really don't need a witch costume. Any other time, it is just implied.


After the races, we met our friends, John and Shannon at a place called Eatery A in Des Moines. The food and drinks were lovely and both John and I agreed that Des Moines races are so much better this year, now that we hang out with John and Shannon afterward and then get to hang out with Coadster and her boyfriend and the grand puppy after that. So many good things in one weekend.

Photo Credit, Kim Pierce.

Here is me riding my broomstick bike on the course. Even though I couldn't race, I still had fun riding my bike around. I hope this calf issue heals quickly. I am officially tired of not being able to race during CX season.



































John did great this weekend racing. He's been having some back pain, but he said it's been a little better in the last week or so, since he's been doing certain stretches.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

He Got the Action, He Got the Motion


 So, yesterday was National Cat Day? Oops! Looks like I missed that one on my blog. I'll just make up for it today. Archie helped sniff out my Halloween costume this week. I now have everything for it. I just have to figure out how to strap that broom to my bike and affix the witch's hat to my helmet somehow. Don't worry, I'll be sure to show you all the finished product.


Last night, Archie kept me company while I finished my latest ghost story, The Ghosts of Belfast. Today I am starting Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I think I'll probably continue my Halloween, scary reading into November for a while too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Until We Dream of Life and Life Becomes a Dream


 Here in Iowa, we don't always get Spring or Fall. It can go from Summer to Winter, seemingly in a day. So, this Fall has been particularly amazing. It has been perfect temperatures, with some rain, but not too much and the trees are almost overwhelming in their colors.


 Basically, this post will be me bragging about how incredible our Sunday bike ride to Kalona was. it was a beautiful Sunday with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60's. We went out a little later, so John and I could celebrate his mom's birthday by taking her out to brunch.


 By the time we rode to Kalona, ate and drank at the brewery and then started back home, the sun was already casting long shadows against the dried, and as of yet, unharvested corn, making for more great alien looking cyclist shadow photos. My favorite.


 I love all of the colors and textures of the countryside. I will miss that this Winter when everything is different shades of gray.


All of that beautiful gravel riding gave John a flat tire, so we were detained for about 10 or 15 minutes while he fixed it and got his CO2 cartridges to work. We made it past Hills and almost to Iowa City before we lost our sunlight. Luckily, we brought our lights. Next weekend, we'll be lucky if we get into the 50's for temps. We were happy to be able to enjoy the last warm days of Fall while they lasted.

Monday, October 27, 2014

And If You Hear of Something Good, Don't Hold Back, Pass It Around!


We raced Bobber's CX this weekend and it's one of my favorite races of the year. Not just because it is in our own backyard and most of our friends come by, but mostly because they offer so many categories for women. I know I complain all the time about this, but normally there are 2 categories for women. You are either a beginner or you race with fastest girls. It's maddening, especially since there are tons of different categories for men. I've had officials tell me they can't add more categories because they don't get that many women, but if there were more categories, I think more women would race AND it doesn't take much at all to shuffle an extra category in with another race (especially if not that many women are racing it). Offer us shwag or a funky medal/trophy as a prize. if we want to win money, we can put on our big girl chamois and race in the open women's. But as a 50+ slower racer, I'd be happy to have the option not to race with the hotshots in their 20's and 30's (or even a hotshot in her 50's). Anyway, I will always a race that supports more options for women. Yea Bobber's CX!


 John had a good race for the most part. He crashed on a root at the beginning and then had to make up a bunch of places he lost because of that. He was leading the race for most of it, but he said fighting so hard to catch up at the beginning, killed him on the last lap. Like he said, he never feels bad losing to the guy he lost to, because that guy is an amazing racer.

Thanks Angy Snoop for the photo.
 Since I had so many options to race, I signed up for two and brought my mountain bike. My plan was to ride my mountain bike in the master's women's race and my CX bike in the Cat 3 women's race with a nice 3 hour break in between. It was a blast to ride a mountain bike. I had never done it before and I loved it. Of course, I'm sure it slowed me down some, but I figured out of the 3 women racing the master's race, it was a pretty sure bet I'd get 2nd, so I didn't think it was a huge gamble to try the mountain bike. I was right. I did get 2nd out all the master's women and 1st in the 45+ master's category.
Thanks Angy Snoop for the photo
 What I love about these series of photos, is the ridiculous faces I'm making in pretty much every single one. Hey, at least I'm amusing when I race.

Thanks, Angy Snoop for the photo.

 So, while I was racing, I noticed that problem with my calf starting to flare up again. it was fine when I was riding, but any time I had to get off and run uphill or in the sand, it would hurt. I thought about DNF'ing at one point, but I thought I could tough it out...And I did. But I decided not to do the 2nd race. After I saw how swollen my calf was, I'm sure I made the right decision. I will spend the rest of this week, trying to stay off of my fatted calf as much as possible, in hopes of racing next weekend at Spooky CX. Wish me luck!




 After the race, we got to play with our friends. We started drinking pretty early, and probably had a little TOO much fun, but that's not really much of a problem. There really is no such thing as too much fun, is there?

All in all, I ended the day with a t-shirt I won in the participation raffle and a new frisbee I won in the raffle tickets I paid for and 1st place master's 45+ women's medal. See why I love this race so much?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Set Me Up My Friend. I'm Running Low

 Lately, my blog is all about fixing up my house and playing outside, but that's only because it reflects my life. And I'm okay with that. On Wednesday, I stayed home so a company could come over and fill up the ground underneath part of our garage with some filler stuff to make it even with the other part. Apparently, it had settling issues. Anyway, that meant I had a day to get stuff done around the house.

 I made some black bean soup in the crock pot, read some of my new book, tried to work on organizing our 5 million gloves and socks and hats that we have previously just thrown into drawers and then wondered why we couldn't find anything that matched, and tried to keep Archie awake so he would quit coming in our room and waking me up several times a night (that in itself was a full-time job).

 As soon as the guy was done with the work, I set out to run, only to be stopped short by my neighbor in the open field with his new bulldog puppy.What a great way to get stopped.

I headed out to hickory Hill Park to do a trail run. My calf was still tight, but it was so nice out, I just wanted to run no matter what. It was so worth it and I felt pretty strong too.

Of course, when I got done, my calf was making me limp around. So, now I'll try to behave and wait for it to stop hurting, and then do shorter more frequent runs and see if that helps. I don't regret a thing with that run, though. October in Iowa can be magnificent when it wants