Friday, July 22, 2011

Stranded in Iowa

the guy and I finishing up our 204 mile weekend ride in June.

So, tomorrow I leave for RAGBRAI. It is a bike ride (about 450 miles) across the great state of Iowa in one week. I assume it will involve a lot of sweet corn, pie, meat on a stick, beer, drunken cyclists, feedlot smells, very hilly roads, heat, high humidity levels and a chronically sore ass. Because I'm obviously insane, I'm looking forward to it.

Here are some Midwestern wild flowers for you.

I will be back when it's all over to report - hopefully, with fun pics and wonderful stories...And pie. Lots and lots of pie.

See ya real soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'd Still Own the Film Rights and Be Working on the Sequel

Here are the remnants of a stone building.

While I was reading that book Shadow Tag last week, I realized that Louise Erdrich was the first author I ever saw read in person before. Then I started thinking about all of the readings/speeches I've been to and decided to make a list - kind of like those things on Facebook where people list all the concerts they've been to, but WAY nerdier. Ready?


Louise Erdrich
Maya Angelou (twice)
Denis Johnson
Dan Chaon
Dave Eggers
Tom Barbash
Ethan Canin
Lorrie Moore
Michael Cunningham (Pulitzer winner)
TC Boyle
Lan Samantha Chang
Marilynne Robinson (Pulitzer winner)
John Irving (twice)
Michael Chabon (Pulitzer winner)
Paul Harding (Pulitzer winner)
Colm Toibin
Toni Cade Bambara


Derek Walcott
John Ashbery


Ralph Nader
Walter Mondale
Jesse Jackson
Angela Davis
Noam Chomsky

I'm sure there are a few that I've forgotten, but I think I've caught most of them there. I sorely regret missing Kurt Vonnegut read the million times or so he was on campus and I'd still really love to see Joy Williams and Toni Morrison at some point if they ever come here, that is. Looking at these lists, I do feel pretty damn lucky to live in a community so rich in literature.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Joey Never Met a Bike That He Didn't Wanna Ride.

Maybe I'll just get a new orange cat to keep Archie in line.

So, I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. Really. It was that good. This will be mostly a photo post, detailing the loveliness.

Friday morning, Coadster took The Guy and I out for breakfast before they both went to work. I got home, putzed around the house, went running, mowed the lawn, packed, ran errands and read my book - The Help, for a bit.

The Guy got home from work and we packed up and took off for Galena. We got there around 8. Since we were both exhausted, we decided to just eat at the Irish hotel - where we were staying and take it easy. The food was okay there, nothing too exceptional, but not bad.

The Guy tasting different kinds of balsamic vinegar.

We woke up the next morning and watched a bit of the Tour de France. They were at the mountain stage. I have so much more of an appreciation for how badly that hurts, after trying to race a bicycle up big hills. Those men are beasts.

We went to downtown Galena after that. We walked around, checked out stores, climbed stairs, had lunch, made a reservation for dinner and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for our first bike ride.

We rode out along the countryside of Galena and it was gorgeous. At one point, we discovered this cute little country store type place in an old train station. We stopped to drink a beer and meet the owner and talk to some of the locals there. It was great. We took off from there, scaled some more hills, got a little lost, found our way back home and then got ready for dinner at the hotel.

We ate at an Italian restaurant that everyone suggested and it was very nice. Then we took a little stroll along the river under the almost full moon. Stinky called from camp and told us she loved us. What a perfect way to end my birthday.

On Sunday, we went out earlier for a bike ride, since it was so hot. We rode much the same loop as the day before, but we started out by the falls and then back out to it to end again.

The hills were pretty tough, but they never seem to look as bad in pictures. It still makes me laugh that people think Iowa or near Iowa is flat.

When we finished our route, we were hot, sweaty and tired. We went back to the downtown area for one last walk around and a later lunch before we headed back to Iowa City.

We made it back to our air conditionless home and unpacked, took care of a few things, then ordered a pizza and settled in to watch Jaws. The perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Have a Drink, Have a Drive. Go Out and See What You Can Find.

So, I turn 46 on Saturday. As I've said many times before - I'm not one of those people who freaks out on my birthday or gets depressed about getting older....Yet.

I'm off work tomorrow and Monday. Tomorrow morning, The Guy and Coadster are all going out to breakfast together. Then they will both go to work and I will play and play. Well, I'll at least run and bike and probably mow the lawn and pack.

That's right. The Guy is taking me to Galena for the weekend. We're going to stay in the Irish hotel there and ride our bikes to a vineyard/winery and maybe kayak too. Yea! I'm so excited. I hope you all have a lovely weekend too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sun Come Up. It Was Blue and Gold.

Here is a planter made out of overalls. I'm not sure how I feel about that one plant hanging from the butt, though.

So, things are going great. I was going to try and run after work last night, but I was already getting rained on while riding my bike home. The Guy called me and said he had to work late, but would love to meet me downtown for dinner and a drink when he was done. Sweet! What a wonderful alternative to running 6 miles. Tonight it should be nice and sunny, so I'll probably plan on taking a nice bike ride out in the country.

Now, I will relate a couple of witticisms in my life as of late...

1) Co-worker: How can I be 52 years old and still getting a gigantic pimple?

Me: Don't you hate it when your zits and wrinkles have to compete for face time?

2) Last night I was on the phone with Stinky and Coadster was hovering and listening in.

Me: Your sister has been on kind of a bitchy tear tonight...

Coadster: No, I'm not. I'm being funny and honest.

I suppose it's all about perspectives....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Come On, Come On. Let's Go Again

This weekend was lovely. We went to Clear Lake and raced bikes and checked out the sights and sounds - the sounds were pretty disappointing, but everything else was nice. We also checked out all of the Buddy Holly/Ritchie Valens/Big Bopper stuff.

Here I am in doing my Vanna White at the memorial.

My race on Sunday went okay. I'm still not even close to being in the running, but I'm learning a lot and getting better and better. I stayed with the pack a lot longer and tried not to give up, after I got dropped. I even passed a couple of people toward the end. Of course, one of them had a flat, so she didn't really count...But at least I wasn't last.

Guys registering for the road race under the watchful eyes of Buddy, Ritchie and the Big Bopper.

The rest of this will be a photo essay of our weekend.

Very many Buddy Holly images in the interior of the Surf Ballroom.

A guy cleaning up the ballroom right before the road race.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Helter Skelter in the Summer Swelter

This is what I woke up to this morning. Damn Vandals.

Last night was lovely. The Guy was finishing up editing a labor law manual for a friend of his, so I spent most of the evening on the porch reading with Archie and a glass of wine. Exactly the relaxing evening I needed. The Guy finished at almost the exact same time Coadster got done with her night class. We all sat down and watched an Andy Griffith episode and then had a nice talk afterward.

Archie sitting guard over the bird feeder. His favorite post.

I woke up today to a nicely egged car. of course, I didn't have time to get it washed before work, so I guess that will be my first order of business this evening. My second order will be to make some beet salad and get things ready to grill sweet potato fries and salmon. Coadster loves salmon and even said she'd hang out and eat dinner with us tonight. Hurray!

Archie reaching out to harass Heidi. Just another night at our house.

Tomorrow morning, The Guy and I will wake up early and head to Clear Lake, Iowa. We will get to see the land where the music died and race bikes there. They have a Bikes, Blues and BBQ festival there every year and I think a lot of the music gets played at the Surf Ballroom (where Buddy Holly and Company performed right before they died).

I'm excited about the road race on Sunday - even if it is longer than I've ever raced before. It's a 42 mile jaunt. My legs are tired just thinking about it.

Coadster wrestling her foot away from Archie.

We will spend the night in Clear Lake and do one more day of racing before heading home on Sunday. As always, I'll let you all know how it goes...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sometimes I Think It's a Shame When I Get Feelin' Better When I'm Feelin' No Pain

Here are some lovely lilies I grew.

So, reading that Louise Erdrich novel is really making me want to write some fiction again. Of course, I have to find the time. It seems like hours and whole days get swallowed up with people and things.

Last night, I thought I might have some time. I was tired and swam in the morning, so I decided not to run or ride my bike after work, and I thought I might be able to write later. Instead, I made Coadster's favorite dinner - cheese tortellini with pesto made with basil from my garden), then my friend G. came over and we had a nice talk on the porch, then I picked Coadster up from class and she was crying from a horrible migraine. I tried all of my tricks to ease her pain, she eventually threw-up and started feeling better, but it took a while. I feel so awful that my messed-up gene pool causes that for her too. Anyway, by that time, it was late and I was fried and had to go to bed. Maybe tonight.

I guess the good and the bad thing about me, is that I love to fill my life up with adventures and projects and passions. Bad - because I can overwhelm myself and create self-imposed pressure when I don't always need another excuse to spaz. Good - because I rarely feel bored or even just ho-hum about my life. I've heard there's this thing out there called balance, but I haven't seen it much with my own eyes....

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Saturday Made Sunday Feel Like It Would Never Come

Me taking a pic of someone taking a pic of me...Again. This was on our Saturday bike ride to Windham.

I had a great, long weekend. On Friday, I got off work early and took Coadster to the Quad Cities and then drove back home. The Guy and I ordered pizza and then watched Creature from the Black Lagoon. I hadn't seen that movie in forever. We were talking about how all the underwater shots must have been so fascinating to people when the movie first came out.

The Guy meeting Bry's girlfriend's kids before the fire works on Sunday night.

On Saturday we got up and did a few things before we met people for a 30 mile bike ride. It was a nice, slow ride and the weather was perfect. We got home and were exhausted. We showered, ate sushi and decided to take a nap around 7 pm. Of course, we never really woke up, until the next morning, so it turned into an awfully long nap.

On Sunday, we went on another bike ride. This time, to Solon. We went a little faster than the last one and then rode back. I decided to run my 4 1/2 mile route when we got home. Then I made pan seared scallops and steamed asparagus for dinner.

We headed downtown at 7 to meet our friends and their kids and watch the fireworks. The fireworks here were pretty damn impressive, I have to say. I had a migraine on and off all weekend and it was ON Sunday night, so I went home and went to bed after the fireworks were over.

Bry with his girlfriend's son - getting all silly.

On Monday, I know this will shock you all, but we went on another bike ride. This one was an easy, shorter one. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant to eat on the way home too.

We got home and I did a little cooking, a little cleaning, a little grocery shopping and a lot of reading on the screened-in porch. I'm reading Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich and I like it just fine.

So, I rode bikes, I ran, I ate good food, I read a great book, I got a sunburn and watched fireworks. I'd call that a pretty nice Fourth of July weekend.

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Million Miles, Our Vagabond Heels Clocked Up Beneath the Clouds

Archie and The Guy doing their core work-out in the morning.

Soooo, three days off this weekend...But that just means more time with Archie. Oh my!

Archie trying to get into Stinky's suitcase....

Stinky left for camp for the next month and I'm taking Coadster to the Quad Cities for the weekend. It will be the first time that The Guy and I have ever been without a surly teen in the home. Now, if we could only have stowed Archie off in Stinky's suitcase...

...Getting closer...

I'm not sure what all I'm doing over the weekend. I plan to run and ride bikes and get some work done in and outside of the house and who knows...Maybe I'll even start that painting I've been talking about for years...

Score! Too bad, Stinky didn't accidentally take him with her.

How about you all? Do you have plans for the weekend? Do you know of any good ways to get ride of undesirable pets? Will you find a considerable lack of surly teens in your life for the next couple of days?