Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Voices Carry

Archie would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. He is one hell of a turkey, weighing in at 21 lbs. He has asked to be stuffed with salmon and tuna juice, please and thank you.

I will leave you for the holiday with some of my favorite overheards from the Living History Farms run:

At the beginning of the race a girl started yelling, "Go faster! Run! Ruuuuuun!" Her boyfriend said something to her that I couldn't hear then she said, "Wait. We have seven miles of this? Oh my God! I'm gonna diiiiiiieeee!

Half way through the race, a dad said to his son, "You didn't come here to stay clean, did you?"

On the home stretch, I was looking at all the muddy butts ahead of me, when I said to John, "We all look like we pooped ourselves." The guy dressed like King Tut, running ahead of me, turned around and said, "Some of us actually did!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Gotta Keep On Movin'. Yeah, Movin'.

Last Saturday, John and I did the Living History Farms Run. it's the biggest Cross country running race in the country. It is 7 miles with insane muddy ravine climbs and ice cold stream crossings. A lot of people dress in costumes. The guy in the photo above parked by us and let me take his photo. I would love to have seen what that dress looked like after the race, but never saw him again. 

I had no idea how I would do in the race. I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to finish it. My first goal was to run 3 miles of it without my calf hurting me too much. After I accomplished that, my next goal was to run the entire 7 miles without stopping. Once it was clear I was going to be able to do that, my goal was to finish the run in an hour and 30 minutes. I was able to finish in an hour and 14 minutes. Like I always say, set your goals low enough and you will actually meet them.

I found this photo on the internets. The only reason it's on here, is so you all can see Gene Simmons in a heart blanket in the background. So sweet.

Photo of the booze cruise, by the booze cruise among the river ice chunks.
After the running race, we had a couple of hours before we did a bike race called Survivor CX, along much of the same brutal, muddy terrain. There was a group of amazing women who call themselves the booze cruise who do the race and bring flasks and those little hotel bottles of liquor and they do the whole "race" on a lark and drink and ride and take photos.

I wanted to see how well I could actually do in my 2nd race of the day and my daughter was going to come by around 2:30 and pick me up for an hour or so before she had to go to work, so I was under a time constraint. I had to decline the invitation to join the booze cruise. I got stuck behind them at the start and had a hard time getting around, but when I did, I thought I'd power as much as I could before I got to the first creek crossing. Right before I hit the water, I felt something hit my wheel. I looked down and saw a large stick had shot up and jammed my rear derailleur into my spokes. Crap! I got up the creek and had a guy bend the derailleur away from the spokes to see if I could keep going. the booze cruise caught up to me and when they found out my predicament, one of them offered me a flask of Fireball and said, "Well, it sounds like as good an excuse as any to drink." I took a swig and figured I'd try to ride with them for a lap and then DNF. My bike was ghost shifting all over the place and it was driving me crazy. That didn't last long before my derailleur completely snapped and it, along with my chain, was hanging loosely from my bike. I shouldered my bike back to the start, handed in my timing chip and texted Coadster that I was done early.

It just so happened that her appointment got canceled, and she showed up at my car a minute or so after I texted her. Weird. We took off and John said he would meet me at the Machine Shed when his race was over. Around 4'ish, he thought.

Coadster and I found a place to eat appetizers and had a good talk and as we were getting ready to pay the bill, I got a text from john. He, by some bizarre coincidence had also snapped his derailleur and had to quit the race. Coadster got me to the Machine Shed and I drank beer and hung out with John and the Des Moines racers until about 6 o'clock when John and I headed back to Iowa City. I found out later I won a Brooks saddle in a raffle. So, it made up for not getting to finish my race.

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.