Tuesday, November 14, 2017

That May be All I Need.

Oh, kids. I got a weekend. A WHOLE weekend where we didn't race or work on the course (except to put the last of the stakes in barrels and take them to their final resting place at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, but that only took 2 hours).

Anyway, so here's what I did on my lazy Sunday. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath. I woke up very late and then John and I watched some professional cyclocross races online. I also ate toast and drank tea and finished reading my book that was a novel about the beginning of the French Revolution.

I finally got my ass in gear and went out for a 3.5 mile run. I love running past that dragon. The first time I saw it, I was running in the morning and it was still dark and it scared the bejeebus out of me, but now that I know what it is, it makes me laugh every time.

I guess the real danger of me staying home on a weekend, is having time to indulge my passion of obsessively taking stupid pictures of my annoying cat.

Here's something that ought to put you off your breakfast, a morphed selfie of me and Archie. A veritable meeting of the empty minds.

I finally got around to making lunch and John thinks every meal is better if the food is hot enough to make him sweat. So, I cut up some jalapenos a friend of mine gave us from  her garden. It's kind of nice to still be eating garden food in November in Iowa.

I also got to work in the garden for a little bit on Sunday afternoon. I tore apart most of the flower garden in the easement. I ripped up the sunflower stalks and some other things from the garden and then put some in our compost bin and the rest in the yard waste can for the city to haul away. I still have a lot more to go with all of that, but it was a nice start.

Since my hands were freezing from working outside and the air is getting so dry around here, John and went to the gym. Not to work-out, mind you, but to sit in the steam room. It was lovely.

After our time at the gym not working-out, we decided to try a new restaurant on Melrose Street. It's called Maggie's Farm Pizza. the food was great and the ambiance is really nice. It was a great way to end my relaxing weekend. I can't wait for the next one.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Come on and Cheer Until You Hear the Final Gun (or not)

Coadster as a football with the quarterback in 1992.

As most of you know, I'm not generally super into ball sports. But, I do live in a college town and I always want everyone to be happy, plus both my daughters work in bar/restaurants here where they make more money when we win. So, I'm usually very happy when the Hawkeyes are doing well.

This last Saturday may have been the only exception. We went to a restaurant where one of my daughter's works for dinner that night. We were enjoying our meal and were loving how happy everyone was when the Hawkeyes were stomping the Buckeyes. It's always fun to be somewhere where the whole crowd is passionate about the game...With one small exception. There was a couple sitting at the bar and when we got the first turnover, they high-five'd each other. After the second turnover, they hugged each other and then when we made the third turnover, they kissed. I just didn't know what to hope for. I wanted the Hawkeyes to continue doing well, but with how things were progressing, I didn't really think I wanted to see that couple having sex on the bar.

Luckily, John and I left before things got TOO passionate and the Hawks won. The perfect solution.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Must be the Season of the Witch

Happy Halloween, all of my blog readers. On this day in my little college town, I like to play, "Is the person wearing the cape dressed up for Halloween, or just a theater major?" It's lot's of fun.

I am going to try harder to be better about writing in her more often. Our big cyclocross race is this weekend, so I'm hoping to have more time after that. Until that time, have a great holiday today.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Words are Stupid, Words are Fun. Words Can Put You on the Run


check this out. You can go on the Merriam Webster page, put in your birth year and it will tell you which words were first used in print on that day. You will not be surprised to hear that the word "spaz" was first used in print on the year that I was born.

Friday, October 06, 2017

And Everybody Tells Me That It's Cool to be a Cat

It's Friday and since I'm not up for writing a real blog post today, I will leave you with pictures of my cat. I know, it's not much of a prize, but it's probably WAY better than listening to me ramble on.

The first photo was from when Archie was still a very active kitten, John didn't live with me yet and the bottom kitchen cupboards had yet to be sanded, primed and painted. Things are so much better now than 7 years ago on all fronts.

I hope you all have a great weekend. It's Homecoming here and supposed to be very rainy. Two good reasons to stay away from downtown on Saturday. Holing up at home or heading to Des Moines for a race are looking like my best options.

Okay, so... May your weekend be long on fun and short on fat orange cats.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Sunflower Good Morning. You Sure Do Make It Look Like a Sunny Day.

So, the garden is on its last legs, but I'm still getting some things out of it. This weekend I finally decided to try and harvest some sunflower seeds.

The sunflower innards are funky looking.

I had originally planted them because they are beautiful, but also because we feed the birds in our backyard, sunflower seeds and I thought it might relieve us of the cost of a couple of bags of seed.

I probably waited too long to harvest them because, as you can see, the birds got a head start. I guess the seeds are for them anyway, so it's not like I'm mad that they ate them in the Summer as opposed to the Fall or Winter...It's just less work to get them off of their flower head thingies.

Anyway, I did my thing and it took about an hour and half to cut the flowers off of the stalks, get them all together, brush the pollen off of the seeds and then pull the seeds out. Those damn birds better appreciate all of this.

Now, the seeds are drying out and I only have a few more food projects with the garden. I still have to cut up, blanch and freeze the butternut squash and then make some pepperoncini with the banana and Anaheim peppers that are still growing like crazy.

All of this sunflower seed harvesting was lots of fun and everything but the weird, busy, patterns from the flowers and seeds are enough to give me a migraine. They do make for some cool photos, though.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Have to Sing About the Book I Read

When we were in Madison, I finished reading the novel I brought with, so on Friday night, John and I rode to a great independent book store, where I could pick up something else. You know, because I might just die if I don't have a book in hand to read at all times...

Anyway, while I was buying my book (Elena Ferrante's "My Brilliant Friend") I saw that they had "I read banned books" stickers for free at the desk. So, in honor of Banned Books Week, I slapped that puppy on the fender of my commuter bike and have been toodling around town brazenly announcing my habit of reading banned books ever since. I highly recommend that you all try to read some banned books when you get a chance as well (and ride your bike around town as often as possible). You all know that banned books are the best books. They wouldn't have anyone trying to ban them if they weren't full of sex and violence and radical political ideas...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

You Write the Words and Make Believe

Well, Kids. I'm finally writing here again. I had a crazy weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, where I had the lamest audition for old lady "Baywatch" ever.

I also narrowly escaped being attacked by strange, prehistoric, metal, creatures.

We may or may not have gotten into some trouble and John and I tried to make a clean get away...

...But were caught and put behind bars.

Fortunately, we escaped and rode off into the sunrise...

...Just kidding, we really just went to Madison for John's birthday and to go to a bike race. We did have some great adventures, though. I promise to tell you all about them as soon as I get around to writing about the other things I've done since late July.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Everybody's Got a Bomb, We Could All Die Any Day. But Before I Let That Happen, I'll Dance My Life Away.

Oh, kids. I suck at blogging lately. I still have one more OOBRAI/RAGBRAI post to write and then there's all kinds of stuff that's gone on in the last two months that I have yet to write about too. Of course, we're going to Madison on Thursday, so I don't know how much I'll get to before then, but I will do my damnedest.

In the meantime, as you can see above, I'm keeping myself busy by continuing to be obnoxious and ridiculous and amusing myself at any cost.

Photo credt - Russ Ellis' Instagram.

Jingle CX was this past weekend and we had a blast...All except that time John crashed riding really fast down a hill. Luckily no one was harmed while making this photograph.

I promise to try to be better about posting and I hope you all are having fun out there too.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Thank You For Being a Friend

So, last weekend we went to Mason City for a bike race. We decided to drive the 10 miles to Clear Lake to eat dinner at the place we drank at during OOBRAI, where the owner so graciously offered to give John a ride to a bike shop. We like to put our money where are mouths are...Wait. That doesn't sound right.

Anyway, I sent a group text of the above photo to John and some of our other friends and captioned it: Look! We're making drunk friends.

Then John responded: No. We're drunk. They're working for tips.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Sometimes the truth is hilarious.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Right, Wrong. I Just Can't Stop It.

On the third day, we were finally going to catch up with RAGBRAI. First, we had to get John's wheel situation rectified. He called the bike shop in Clear Lake and they said they could help him. So, he rode out to them and they set him up with a new wheel and we were ready to go.

We only had about 56 miles or so to ride, which seemed like nothing after the last couple of days, but the shorter distance was welcomed by all of us after the treacherous day before.

The biggest problem for me, was that I was getting a migraine. I tried to take some Advil to see if that would help, to no avail. We stopped at a Casey's in a small town that had lush grass and lovely shade trees behind it. I told the gang that I needed to take migraine meds and rest a little while. They were very sweet and just fine with it. After about an hour, I felt much better. The meds meant I couldn't ride very fast for the next 24 hours, but at least my head wasn't splitting.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. We met our RAGBRAI group in a little town called Algona.

Our RAGBRAI friends are lovably goofy. In the photo above, Bry forgot his helmet and picked up an alternative one....

I was so exhausted from migraine and my meds, so I basically ate and went to sleep.

The next day we were in full-on RAGBRAI. It meant that we wouldn't have to hitch rides if anything happened to our bikes, there would be tons of stuff to do, but we would be surrounded by thousands of people all day. Sigh.

I was still pretty weak from my migraine meds, but I had a good time and the beer tent sold root beer as well. So, I was happy.

We rode and ate and played and made it to Clear Lake. It was only a 54 mile day, so we had enough energy to hang at the show at night.

The Wailers played. Of course, it wasn't the real Wailers. I saw Bunny Wailer in 1986 at the Oakland Coliseum. This may have been a grandson or just people who sounded like the Wailers. The music was good, but after a while I started to feel that bad vibe. You know, the one where people are getting too drunk and pushing people in the crowd and it just starts to feel weird?...So, I asked John if he wanted to take off and we headed to the lake where we could still hear the music, but weren't engulfed by drunk people.

It was supposed to storm the next morning. Which meant a lot of riders got up really early in the morning to try to out ride it, or didn't ride at all. We didn't worry about it. We got up at the normal time and headed to Charles City.

The clouds started to roll in early on our ride, so we thought we'd try to make it to a breakfast burrito and coffee place and "ride" out the storm at the farm there.

It started raining just about the minute we got our food and coffee. We holed-up in a dilapidated barn with some other riders.

When the storm started to let-up, the farmer who's barn we were hanging out in, walked past us and said, "Yeah. That's a pig barn..." and pointed back to the clean, dry, garage where several other riders were waiting out the storm. Oops!

It sprinkled here and there, but we decided to ride on to the next town where we saw several of our group. The photo above is of John and one of his best friends since high school. They have been doing RAGBRAI for 20 years together.

The coolest thing about the bad weather, was that there were hardly any people riding that late in the day, so there were very few lines and we didn't even have to get off our bikes and walk through towns like we normally do. Best of all, there was a cool pond swing.

We talked my brother into doing it (which wasn't hard at all). Then when it was his turn to get up to the platform we all chanted, "Uncle Bill! Uncle Bill! Uncle Bill!" The guy who was talking to people and getting them set up on the swing said to my brother, "Okay, Uncle Bill. Here's how it's gonna go..." Hilarious.

What I did discover that day was that I must have done a lousy job of washing my legs at that splash pad on the 2nd day of OOBRAI, because the weird itchy blisters were all over me. They have left some nice scars after the blisters cleared up. So, there's that...

We met up with some of our team and were riding through a town, when we spotted two other teammates sitting on a bench with a 12 pack of PBR. I guess that meant we were stopping.

It was actually a good thing we did. We found hula hoops and the boys played a game where they handed each other beer and tried not to mess with their hula hooping. None of them seemed very good at it.

When we finally got back on the road, we passed a woman who rode with her dog on her back the entire week. His name was Zazoo and he seemed to love the experience.

Our last stop of the day was at the Craft Brew tent. They had bags (corn hole, if you're from Iowa) and sting rays (why?) in these tubs for people to look at and beer, of course.

We all played frisbee and because our friends are assholes, it all degenerated into some kind of tackle game where you try to keep your friends from catching the frisbee. Apparently, we play a lot of weird games.

We did finally make it to Charles City and stayed with some lovely people. As I've said before, there are parts of RAGBRAI that can be hard for me, but the fun adventure days always make up for those things.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles

Okay. So, now we're on day number two of OOBRAI. Thanks to Chelsea, Burne and John for any of their photos I used. We had a lovely evening and the next morning, my brother joined us. We'll just call him Uncle Bill. And then there were five...

We knew we had a long ride ahead of us, but from the git-go things started to go wrong. I will call this our day of getting thwarted. Don't get me wrong, this day was epic, but it was hard. Of course, from a month away, I mostly just think of it as a wild adventure, but at the time, we were all pretty roughed-up from the day.

This picture above was my first mistake. We had some leftover pizza and everybody ate it while I was in the bathroom and I didn't go back in to get some real food before we took off. D-U-M, dumb.

We weren't going to eat lunch until we got to the town of Hampton and that was going to be almost 70 miles in, but, of course, it was a lot farther than that after everything went to shit with our route...

At first the trails were lovely, we thought we'd have about 30 miles of them, according to Google maps.

After a while, the beautiful trails got ugly. We thought we might be able to go around the bad parts, but quickly realized the trail was all bad parts.

We went out to the road next to the trail and then took a wrong turn...Or really, took a wrong straight, when we were supposed to turn. It got us onto this VERY low maintenance road.

It was beautiful, but it was all sand and some of it had giant puddles on either side. I thought it was a lot of fun to ride.

We figured out we were going the wrong way and hit a gravel road to get us back on course. I always bring dog treats, because there are usually more dogs on gravel than paved roads, and I'd rather distract them with a treat than have to kick them away from my bike when they come at me.

It also means I get to make friends with some very fine creatures, like Kiera here. She was a good girl. Her human stopped mowing his ditch and came over to talk to us. When I asked him if it was okay to give her a treat, he said, "Sure. And you'll probably be able to convince her to rob a bank with you after you give it to her too..."I would happily rob a bank if it meant I could hang out with Kiera more.

We hit the small town of Clarksville and headed back out to the next set of trails that we hoped wouldn't be ripped up.

So far so good, we thought...

Until we looked across the highway at what was supposed to be our trail.

We headed down ANOTHER gravel road to see if we could connect to this illusive "trail" that Google Maps assured us existed.

Welp, This strip of shoulder high weeds was the "trail". We think what happened was that at some point, people thought they were going to make a great multi-use rails to trail and they ripped up the old railroad tracks, but then either ran out of interest or money or both and it all went to hell. We had no other way to go, so we soldiered on.

After riding way too long through thistle, and burrs and poison ivy and wild parsnip, John said he heard a road. So, we picked our bikes up over the barbed wire fence to see if we could find a more pleasant riding experience.

What we really found was a feedlot. The farmer who owned it probably had every right to shoot us for hopping over the fence onto his property, but he only waved to us when he saw us and his dog gave us quite a fierce show, until I threw a treat his way. Then he grabbed it and trotted off after his human.

We wondered if other people had bailed on the non-existent trail onto his property before.

We rode a gravel road into the next town where, wonder of wonders, I found a splash pad. I tried my best to wash off any of the bad oils from the poison ivy and wild parsnip, but I didn't have any soap.

We did, however, have better luck with roads after we gave up the trail. we were on our way to the town of Hampton, when I lost every last ounce of my energy. We were going up a hill and I kept fading. We happened to be on a road with a narrow shoulder, so it was harder for anyone to look back and see that I had dropped. I realized that I was bonking - it's a term that means I didn't have enough fuel and it makes a person overly emotional and tired and stoooopid. I stopped myself, set my bike down on the side of the road, sat down in a ditch and dug around in my bags for some food. I have no idea what the motorists must have thought when they drove past me, crying and shoving food into my mouth.

I finally had enough fuel and strength to get back on my bike and head up the rest of the hill. When I was almost at the top, I saw John coming back to find me. He said he asked Burne where I was, since he was the last in line and Burne said he had no idea. So, John rode with me and we met the rest of our group at a nice, shady park and we all made a big point to eat plenty of food before we took off again.

We finally hit the town of Hampton and found a great Mexican restaurant. We ate lunch at about 3:30 and headed out for the last 40 or so miles left.

About 5 to 10 miles out, John realized he broke a spoke. It was on his drive train side, so he couldn't fix it on the road. A person can usually ride with a broken spoke, but it can also upset the balance of the whole wheel and break more and more spokes. John told us he would just see how far he could get, since we only had 26 miles left before we hit Clear Lake. Five minutes after he said that, most of the spokes on his wheel broke all at once. Crap! Since John couldn't ride his bike like that, his plan was to try to hitch a ride to Clear Lake, while we rode on. My brother joked, "Don't put-out unless you have to..." har har har, but I was really worried. I wondered what the odds would be that John would find someone to give him and his bike a 26 mile ride to Clear Lake, and then drive 26 miles back to where they lived on a Sunday evening.

On top of all that, my brother started having real problems with cramps. We also realized that Google Maps was trying to tell us to ride a gravel road the 26 miles. Burne was smart enough to say, "Eff that!" and find us a nice quiet paved road back to Clear Lake...If only Uncle Bill could get over his cramping. Burne's girlfriend had some electrolyte tablets and Uncle Bill tried those. They seemed to do the trick and we pedaled on. A little later, I got a text from John with a photo of a van and he said he got a ride from a guy who would take him to Clear Lake. I was glad he took the photo, in case the guy was a serial killer.

We finally made it to Clear Lake, about 114 miles, many issues and 12 hours after we started. John had run to the store and bought some beer for us. He had also checked out places to eat and drink in town on a Sunday night. We went to a place called the Surf District. The owner was closing but he told us to come in anyway. He was a great guy. He told John he'd be happy to take him to the next town in the morning to get his bike fixed.

We had a beer and then headed over to the pizza place and ate dinner. By the time we went to bed, we were all exhausted. It had been a rough day for all of us. The next day we would ride to meet up with RAGBRAI, at least if we could get John's wheel squared away...