Monday, April 24, 2017

Hee-Haw 'Til Judgment Day. Don't Tie Me Donkey Down There.


This Sunday, we got some of the University athletes to do their community service hours working on some trails to help us get a cyclocross course set-up. As part of the project, John was supposed to tell them the ins and outs of the sport and talk about his bike.

While it sure was nice and sweet of him to inform the kids, and while I'm sure those kids were all very special...


...You can see from the photo above, John will talk about his bike with just about any jack ass.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Well, They Dug For Their Coal 'Til The Land Was Forsaken. Then They Wrote It All Down as The Progress of Man


I didn't get this posted yesterday, because I was outside playing most of the day, but since every day is Earth Day...Happy Earth Day, everybody. Please respect the planet and take care of it so there is something left for the youngin's. Also, it was great to see photos of the Science Marches all over the world. My sister ever marched. Yes!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

You Like Tomato, And I Like Tomahto.


Here I'm finally going to talk some about my ambitious garden plans for my yard. I'll first start by saying I don't understand why people want their yard to look like a golf course and spray poison all over them to kill dandelions that are really pretty and make the bees happy.

My goal is to make as much of my yard as possible into a garden. Since my backyard is very shady. I'm adding many hostas to the ferns and lilies that are already there. My front yard is now sunny, so I get to plant all of the things that haven't been able to grow well before the big tree died that made it all shady.


As you can see from the photo above, I dug out most of my front yard for a garden. It's a damn good thing I don't live in a housing development or I would have to get permission.


Two Sundays ago, John put up a great rabbit fence for the garden and I helped. I have never been in a relationship with anyone who works as hard as I do and who is so accommodating. When I asked him to help me put up the fence, he researched it, bought all the stuff and put it all up with a little help from me without grumbling or bitching...Except for a few swears when he had a hard time getting something to work correctly, but that's understandable. And I'm sure he doesn't really care that much about whether we have a rabbit fence or a garden. I feel very lucky to have such a great and caring partner in crime.


I also got all the seedlings into bigger containers a couple of weeks ago. They are growing much faster than I thought they would and since my tomatoes were getting a little too leggy, I decided to plant them outside last weekend. While I was out working in the garden on Easter, an older woman walked by, looked at my tomatoes and said, "My you are overly optimistic..." I told her that I did check the weather channel and there is no chance of frost through the first of May and I can always cover them if I have to. So there.


I do love working in my garden in the front yard. So many people walk their dogs or run or ride by and say hi and sometimes stop to talk or tell me that my garden looks great. It's a nice way to meet a lot of the neighbors, now that my kids aren't young and running around and I don't walk a dog around to meet people. The only drag is that I really love to talk to myself and sometimes I look up after living in my own world and having a detailed conversation with myself to see someone giving me the worried, arched eyebrow. Whatever. All I've ever wanted was to be a curmudgeonly old crone, and I'm finally getting old enough to make it happen for me.


My friend Burne was nice enough to drop off a pick-up load of horse poop that's been hanging out at his farm for many years. The plants love the soil it makes.


Right now, I have most of the Spring veggies/flowers planted: sugar snap peas, English peas, lettuce, arugula, spinach, carrots, beets, poppies, some kind of African Marigolds, brussels sprouts, lavender  and the not early Spring tomatoes. I've also lined the garden with Marigolds and a few torch sunflowers. I was able to swap seedlings with a neighbor for the lavender, some Impatiens and a moon flower. I have a few more weeks worth of set-up, planting and gardening to do before I get to start harvesting and will be bogged down with weeding. I can't wait.


So, I'm sure I will annoy you all with many more shots of my garden whenever it morphs this Summer, but hopefully it will be pretty.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

And Oh, Mexico. I Guess I'll Have to Go Now.

Another trip the whole family was on together in Chicago.

So, I got a text from the Coadster yesterday. It seems that she and her fiance have completely changed their wedding plans and now they want to do a destination wedding in Mexico. I get it. It was too expensive to have the wedding they wanted in Des Moines and they were getting grief about which family members they were choosing to invite...Or not.

They don't have all of the details ironed out, but they think they're going to still shoot for a December wedding. Not sure what that will do with the long sleeved wedding dress Coadster already purchased. I'm sure that it can be altered, and if that's the worst of her worries, it will probably be WAY less hassle than trying to have a big wedding in Des Moines.

What this means for me, is that I will have some Firsts coming up here soon. It will be my first real trip out of the country ( I went to Nogales, Mexico when I was a kid, but it wasn't any different than the part of Arizona I was in). It will my first time on an airplane in about 30 years. Nothings changed much since the '80's, eight? It will be my first time to see the ocean in almost 10 years. And it will be the first time I'll be the mother of the bride. Sniff, sniff.

As soon as Coadster lets us in on the details, John and I will plan our trip there. I think since there's all these firsts involved, we'll plan on being there for a little over a week. Either before or after the wedding festivities, we will hopefully get to do some hiking, and kayaking and snorkeling and maybe even some mountain biking. I am crazy excited about the whole damn situation.

Monday, April 17, 2017

When Streams are Ripe and Swelled With Rain.


Today I am mostly going to post photos of all my early Spring flowers.

This first one I found in my backyard just last year. I love it. It's called Pulmonaria or Lungwort. I hope to plant a lot more in my garden. It is a very early Spring bloom, but after it's done blooming, it still has those cool, spotted, leaves to look at for the rest of the Summer.


I planted some Hyacinths in my garden a few years ago. I originally planted purple, white and pink ones. The purple and white have taken off, but the the pink ones died out for some reason. They have a double bonus of smelling really good. And Archie likes them too.


I'm a big fan of tulips. I planted a bunch in an assortment of colors a few years ago. Then last Fall, I bought 25 more tulip bulbs and this time they were different variations of purples, whites and pinks. They are all blooming now and they make me very, very, happy.


The first Spring after I bought my house, I saw this scraggly looking bush coming up. I almost tore it out, thinking it was a weed, but I figured I'd wait and see if it was something cool. Turns out, it was something very cool. My bleeding hearts are some of my favorite flowers.

Of course, my lilacs are starting to bloom already, so I may not have to even go a week without some kind of flowers in my yard until Winter.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Summer's Here and the Time is Right for Goin' Racin' in the Street


Race report!

Yes, I actually did a race last weekend. With my health problems and my "change of life" issues, I'm just looking at racing as a call it like I see it that day and decide. So, on Sunday I was exhausted from riding so hard the two days before, but I wasn't all dizzy or migrainey, so I figured, what the hell. I love this route and I was just going to have fun and ride my bike.

John didn't race, because he helped out with the race instead. We met at a bar/restaurant in a little town called Hills and everyone all rode out to the race site together. I always lag in the back, because I remember being the slowest person even on the ride-out and I don't want anyone else to be confused about where we're going if they get dropped by the big pack. So, I rode along with the guy on a mountain bike doing the race and we whined about the wind.


Speaking of the wind...Holy crap! was it windy. This race is part gravel and part pavement. Gravel is generally way hillier because they don't have to grade it for big trucks to be able to drive on. Since there were so few women, we started with the B men. I had a bad start. I couldn't get my foot clipped into my pedal and everyone got away from me from the get-go.


Again, I didn't care. the only other 2 women were about the strongest women in Iowa and it wasn't like I was going to keep up with them. It just would have been nice to have someone to block the wind for me at the beginning of the race.


So, I caught about 5 of the guys I raced with and then passed the fastest woman because she got a flat and was walking her bike back to the start (the only way I'd ever be able to pass her). Then on the second to the last lap I saw an older guy ahead of me. He seemed to be having a harder time on the big gravel hills.  He would try to go too hard at the bottom of the hill and have nothing left at the top. So, I was almost right up to him on the last big hill before we got back on the pavement. We were both screaming down the hill before it and he started pedaling really fast at the bottom. I let him use up a bunch of energy while I coasted a little longer. Finally, when I started to lose momentum up the hill, I started pedaling. The guy was dying and I actually passed him on the hill. I'm a bigger person, so I rarely pass anyone up a hill. I was able to hold him off the rest of the race too.


So, I finished the race, and got 2nd out of 2 women, which was fine with me and passed a few of the guys, but I was sooooo wiped-out. I still had to ride back to my car and I wasn't sure I could make it the couple of miles it took.


The wind and hills took it out of me, but I was glad I did it. I love riding my bike and every race I do makes me a better cyclist. I'm still old, fat and slow, but I do love to test myself, and it's always fun to kick boy's butts.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

But Tomorrow May Rain, So I'll Follow the Sun

Archie found the sun in our house.
Well, kids. We finally got rid of our Seattle-like weather this weekend. So, I decided I better get my ass in shape, and apparently, I thought I could do it all in one weekend. Silly me. I think I've mentioned how hyper I get in the Spring. I have a hard time sitting still at all and when I do, my heart seems to be racing. Sleeping is also tough for me when the weather gets better. I suppose, if I die of a heart attack because of all of that, anyone who's ever met me, won't be surprised that I spazzed myself to death.


So, Friday after work, I did a 26 mile, very hilly, bike ride after work. On Saturday we did a windy, 35 mile bike ride to Riverside. Since a lot of our friends hadn't been riding much, I jumped up front to help shield them from the wind during the ride to Riverside, Iowa.


We had a nice lunch once we got there and then stopped over at our friend's house. He had his 1966 (?) Honda motorcycle out and all of our friends wanted to take it for a spin. It was pretty cute, but I'd rather ride my bike.


It was in the 70's and Spring was screaming at us in various shades and colors.


The ride back should have been less tiring since we had a nice tail wind to help us fly, except John decided he wanted to make us suffer, so he took off and a couple of us tried to chase him and keep up with him. Ouch! But on the cool side of things, we did go 31 mph for one of the miles. Zoom!

We got back into town and stopped at Big Grove. Originally, we were going to try and have a ping pong playing tournament there, but it was Mission Creek Festival and a big retirement party and too crowded for ping pong. When we rode up, there were so many bikes and drunk people running amok, that my friend said, "Damn! It's like RAGBRAI here."


Because it was Mission Creek, there were all kinds of free bands and many people we knew there. Originally, we thought we would only stay for a little bit, but we ended up there until about 8 o'clock. That's pretty late on a Saturday night for us. I love being old.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Sometimes I Wish I Could Stop You From Talking When I Hear the Silly Things That You Say.

 This is some fictiony stuff I'm working on. I hope to post more installments on here as a kind of serial thing:



Well, shit. We made it all the way down the runway, when the plane slowed down, turned around and stopped. Apparently, there was something wrong with the engine and they discovered it while we were taxiing. That doesn't seem to be inspiring a whole lot of confidence in their pilots or engineers or whomever is responsible for making us safe on this flight. Luckily, I've never been afraid to fly. Well, at least the one other time I flew on an airplane when I was ten in 1975, I wasn't afraid to fly and I'm not freaking out about this flight yet either.

I am not all that excited about the prospect of sitting on the plane for however much longer, listening to the loop of Billboard's top 10 songs on the headphones the plane provides - "We are the World", "One More Night", "Material Girl", "Nightshift"... There. Now you have to have to have them in your head too.

They just told us we have to get off the plane and wait for a new one. Some people are freaking out, but I'm just trying not to think about what could have happened if we had actually taken off. I'm good at not thinking about things. It's the only way I do anything. If I look to closely at any one thing, I scare myself off. I'm too cautious. So, I just try to charge right ahead, without thinking too much, like a bull in a china shop, when the whole world is the china shop. That's how I got here.

I was screwing up in college. I had a lot to recover from. I know everyone feels like they have a lot to recover from in childhood, but I seem to have had more than most of the people I knew in college. I once even had a guy tell me that he thought I was totally entitled to be crazy after he heard what I'd been through. Of course, I know. There are so many people who have been through worse, but I don't have to live their lives, I just have to figure out what the hell to do with mine.

Right now, I'm deciding to take off. Fuck it. I screwed up in college, I messed up my grades, I didn't feel like being there. I wanted to feel like I was helping, doing something to make the world better, even if, or especially if, I didn't have the means to make my own life better. Fixing someone else's shit is so much easier than fixing my own, right?

Where am I headed? To California. Why? Well, it's like this... I was working at a restaurant and screwing up my classes (as I've mentioned already several times) and I wanted to do something else for a while. My roommate was telling me about her sister who was in the Conservation Corps for a while a few years ago until she met Dinah Shore's son and moved to Eureka to grow and make every food item possible out of marijuana. "Jody used to talk about what it was like to have Burt Reynolds as a step-dad," my roommate Lisa said. She also said she thought that her sister and Jody would let me use their address to get into the conservation Corps.

So, I looked into it all. I had to actually show up in person to apply and get a physical and then it could take another month to see if I got into the program.  Which meant I had to move to California, apply, wait it out and hope for the best. Never mind I didn't know anyone in California I could stay with, or that I didn't have a car (and didn't even know how to drive if I had one). I was just going to wing it. Super smart.

"So, where should I go in California if I want to live somewhere relatively safe and cheap and I can't drive?" I asked one of the dishwashers who was originally from California. He said, Santa Rosa. I went to the library, found a Santa Rosa phone book and looked for motels. The Redwood Motel sounded nice. I called them and reserved a room for a week. I had no idea where they were located in Santa Rosa, whether I could walk where I needed, if there was a lot of crime in that area or what I was going to do after that week, but the beauty of not letting yourself look to far ahead, you just don't worry about that until later.

I'm sitting in the airport, waiting for our new, hopefully functional, airplane to show up and listening to my Walkman. I always hope that people take the fact that I have headphones on as sign not to bother me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I've been lucky so far today.

A half hour later, we are called to board the new plane. Some people are still freaking out and suspicious. Me? I'm not thinking about it and I'm not thinking about what will happen when I reach San Francisco and then in Santa Rosa. I'm listening to my Walkman and hoping no one will try and talk to me and stick my head in a book, or the sand, to take my mind off of everything that could go wrong.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Can You Feel It? Now That Spring Has Come. That It's Time to Live in the Scattered Sun


I know I have really sucked at updating my blog lately. Don't worry, though, I have an excuse AND a scapegoat. It's my damn seedlings. They are so needy and they require so much work. Hopefully, that will translate into beautiful flowers and delicious veggies in the next few months. But for now, every morning when I would usually put pics up for the blog before work and then try to write when I could fit it in during the day or evening, now I look at, water and rotate trays of seedlings. They are awfully cute, let's hope they're worth it in the end.


In another development...My hyacinths are almost ready to pop. Happy Spring!

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Heat Was On (Burnin'), Rising to the Top, Huh!


I've been meaning to write this post for the past week, but things have been crazy bust for me latley. In a good way, though.

Not last Monday, but the Monday before, our friend, Burne asked us and another friend to help him and his sister to do a prairie burn on about 30 acres of their land.


I love fire and I've dine some prairie burns before, but never one that was so big.

We did get to ride on funky vehicles and stand-up and ride in the back of pick-ups and tractor type things. It all felt so 1970's, and it was so fun.


Burne's sister started the first fire. I got to wear the water back pack. It was pretty heavy, but I would just try to reposition it when the straps dug in too much.


I pretended it was a jet pack, but it didn't give me powers of flight. Awwwww.


Burne had me watch the side of the fire. It was better than the back part, because all the smoke was taking over the boys at the back part of the fire.

At one point, I got some "civil emergency" notice on my phone. At first I thought that someone had reported the fire and that the rural fire department was on its way and warning others, but it turns out, that it was some kind of mistake. Don't worry, it's just a civil emergency warning. That's one hell of a mistake...


Finally, Burne and our other friend showed up to trade me out and move me to the next task...



...Starting the back fire. The back fire was better, because the smoke blew away from us.


As the sun set, the fire got bigger and more dramatic.


Personally, this little pyro was happy to start fires. It was a little scary, when the fire got so high, but man do I love to watch shit burn.


My friend Burne took this photo of John using a leaf blower to contain the fire. How bad-ass looking is this?


It was such a great night, and according to this picture that Burne took the next morning, it looks like it did what it was supposed to do - burn down the old weeds to help the soil and make way for the indigenous plants to grow in the space and make the critters and birds happy. I love conservation and making the world a happier and more beautiful place. You know what they say, leave the planet better than when you came into it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Yes, You're Lovely, With Your Smile So Warm.


This weekend was a crazy, busy, mix of many of my favorite things.

Stinky and I left at 8 am on Saturday morning for Des Moines. We were going to meet Coadster and Coadster's soon to be mother-in-law, sister-in-law and aunt-in-law to go wedding dress shopping. At one point on the ride, Stinky asked, "So, are you going to cry when you see Coadster in a wedding dress? To which I answered, "Well, I'm perimenopausal, so I might just cry seeing her wear jeans..."

We had a nice 2 hour drive listening to cheesy 80's CD's and singing along at the tops of our lungs.


Coadster got her dress at a woman's house where they had great deals. Apparently, there's some thing where no one is supposed to see the bride in her dress before the wedding. So, I'm just posting one of the dresses she didn't pick. I guess wedding dresses are much smaller than other clothes, so Coadster, who normally wears a size 2, had to get dresses that were a size 4. And I'm sure I'd have to get a size 24...

She ended up getting two dresses. One is bigger and fancier with a long train and the other was shorter and more casual and she might just wear it to the reception, because it will be more comfortable to dance in. They had a deal where she got the 2nd dress for half price and both dressed together were about $1,000. From what people say, that's pretty reasonable, but would have no idea, since my entire wedding probably cost that much.

Coadster is no Bridezilla in any way shape or form, so she had her dresses picked out in less than an hour and we were on our way.


I got to see my Bailey girl grandpuppy, which was so nice. I gave her hugs and kisses and she always thinks I am going to play red dot with her, because I do when she's at my house. It makes it hard to take her photo, since once I pull out my phone, she thinks it's a laser and immediately looks at the ground. Silly puppy.




















After the dress shopping, we all went out for lunch and then stopped at Trader Joe's since we don't have one in our college town yet.

It was a great day and then I got home and did some raking and yard work, which always makes me happy.

Then after I ate dinner and John and I watched a movie, he went to bed and stayed up a while and read "The Hobbit" for the first time since the 1970's.
























On Sunday we went on a nice, if very windy bike ride to Lone Tree and back. From my photos, you might think that we always stop at convenience stores on bike rides...And you'd be right. But it's only because that's where they keep the Gatorade and the caffeine in any small town.


We ended our ride at the new Big Grove for dinner and beer. Stinky met us and it was so nice and the food was great.



After dinner, we rode home and it was nice enough out to hang out on the porch and talk with our friend, Burne until it got dark. We were supposed to help him with a prairie burn at his farm, but it was too windy. So, it was postponed until Monday evening.

Tune in tomorrow when I post impressive photos from said fire.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This Was a Pizza Hut. Now It's All Covered With Daisies. You Got It, You Got It.


Oh my god! Remember when I told you I was going to try and plant Gerbera daisy seedlings, but I was nervous about it because they were so hard to germinate? Well, lookee there. I have about 25 of the 100 seeds sprouting and they just started a couple of days ago, so there could be more!


I guess the Gerbera Seeds are super fragile and you need to make sure you get them from a good place and plant them as quickly as possible. I got the seeds on Friday and planted them on Saturday. Also, they need good soil and lots of warmth and light. I mixed some light, fluffy black dirt with about half peat moss and soaked it all in warm water before I planted the seeds. The seeds need to be planted almost at the top with very little soil on them because they need lots of light to germinate. Before I got the seeds, I asked John if he was cool with using some of our joint account money on a grow light. He was not only cool with that, he researched them and ordered one and set it all up for me. We have it timed to light from 6 am to 6 pm every day and it seems to be working very well. Of course, I have no idea what color any of the flowers will be, but it will be fun to find out...As long as I don't screw them all up before I can get them planted outside in May.