Friday, December 03, 2021

A Straight Line Exists Between Me and the Good Thing

Okay. So, it's been a while since I've written. I could give you a million excuses, but who cares. Right?

Instead, I'll just pretend that I've been keeping up with my blog this whole time and get right to the super (not) important thing I'm going to talk about today.

As I always say, we could and should be working on our house all day, every day, for the rest of our lives, but we don't have the money or the time. We almost always choose playing outside to working inside. Big picture: If I died in a car accident tomorrow, would I be glad that I spent my last day tiling my bathroom, or would I be glad that I went on a fun bike ride instead? Also big picture: If I live another twenty or thirty years, would I be glad I finally tiled my bathroom for a couple of days and skipped a bike ride or two? Yes. Yes, I would. Sometimes it's really hard to weigh my priorities.

Luckily for me, I may not have to do so much. Last Friday my brother contacted me to see if he could come and stay with us for up to a week and work on some of our house project while we're at work. WUT?! Of course, he can stay and do all of that. What a gift.

Our kitchen is almost done. We still need to install a vent hood over our oven. It will be so incredible to have a light above our stove, so I can actually see what I'm cooking. My brother will have to cut into our house to install it, which, to me, sounds absolutely scary and impossible, but he doesn't think it will be that bad. Hmmmm. He also said he would put on the baseboards in our kitchen after we tiled the floor last year. Then we'll be mostly done with the kitchen. Yea!

My brother also said he would work on some things in our bathroom. We have a shower surround that is DISgusting, and we talked about just buying a new surround for it, but as John said, "Do we really want to bring a gigantic piece of plastic into our house?" We really don't. My brother said he would replace the surround with subway tile for us, and we are thrilled. 

We thought we might replace our sink too. Our current sink is a very tiny pedestal sink, and I wanted the cool, 1950's style sink in the photo above. Because our bathroom is so dam small, we had to measure out the sink dimensions and see if it would work. 

Of course, I cannot visualize how the whole sink would fit just by pulling a tape measure out. So, John being the sweetest husband that he is, made a model of the sink on top of ours, so I could have a better feel for how much space it would take up.

I'm going to go ahead and give you a trigger warning before you scroll down any further. Our bathroom is awful and gross (Which is why we're renovating it).

So, here is how far the dream sink would stick out, if we bought it. Which means, it's too damn big. Wah.

 We still aren't sure if we'll get a new sink at all. There are a million other things we could spend money on in our one and only bathroom, so we may just leave well enough alone, and do the five million other bathroom projects that are way more pressing.

Since I punished you all with the before shots of our gross bathroom, I promise I will show you some afters, and I'm sure we're all hoping for a HUGE transformation.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Well, If You Want to Say Yes, Say Yes.

Okay. So, I am going to keep trying to keep all my "what I did on my Summer vacation" posts going, but they are long and take a lot of time to do, and as you can see, I'm not getting very far with them. Soooo, I will still be inserting shorter more current posts in between these.

Now, back to my California vacation in July...

On our first full day in Point Reyes, we decided to do the one big hike I wanted to do. It was a hike to a waterfall on beach. It's called Limantour Falls and the full hike is about 12 miles long but there is a shortcut, which I will get into later.

We got there early to avoid lots of people and to make sure we could find parking. We were also trying to contact our friend Nick, because the night before he asked us if we could meet him in Point Reyes to hang out in the afternoon. Of course, there is almost no cell service, so we had no idea if he was getting our emails or tests. It also meant that we were going to have to hurry up our hike if we were going to meet him on time.

The hike was GORGEOUS. We walked along the coast at first, and had amazing views of the craggy cliffs below.

We also came across a couple of lakes/ponds that were beautiful as well.

At one point, we saw this homemade arrow made of rocks and pointing to this little path in the underbrush. I kept telling John it had to have been made by cannibals and not to go in there at the risk of becoming lunch.

John being John, took that as a challenge and went right in. He said it didn't really lead anywhere that he could see, and I told him that it for sure meant that there were cannibals or trolls in there trying to lure us in. My suggestions was that we pick up our pace.

The first part of the hike was about six miles long, which wasn't a big deal, for the most part. It was so pretty, that had I not been a decrepit old lady, I would have hiked it for days. I have this weird problem with my feet called metatarsalgia (which I guess just means unexplained pain in your feet). It doesn't always bother me, but when it does it feels like someone is stabbing knives in the balls of my feet just under my toes. It started when I was in my late 30's and it seems to be getting worse and worse. At first it only bothered me when I ran 10 miles or more, and then it started bothering me when I ran shorter and shorter distances and now it hurts me sometimes when I ride my bike and walk or hike. Hurray for getting old, ad also, it's always something with me, isn't it?

Anyway, damn if my metatarsalgia didn't start acting up on this hike. I barely made it to the beach where I could take my shoes off and walk in the sand and cold water, which seemed to really help.

We walked along this desolate beach until we finally came to the waterfall.

It was worth all the pain and all the miles of the hike.

We stopped by this adorable, but ridiculously pricey little market in Inverness the night before and picked up some sandwiches and salads for our beach picnic. However quaint it is to have a picnic on a beach, it ALWAYS means that everything is served with some crunchy sand.

While we were eating lunch, we were contemplating our route back. We needed to go faster if we were going to meet our friend Nick at the appointed time, and I needed to walk fewer miles to keep my feet from hurting so much that I wanted to just saw them off and walk on the stumps.

We saw a couple of guys come down the cliffs, and we figured that it must be the shortcut that they took. We had read all these warnings about how nobody should take the shortcut because the trails were dangerous and tricky and went straight up the cliffs. We asked the guys if they were really that treacherous and they said they thought it would be harder to go back up them than it was to go down. A little while later,  a young woman who was hiking by herself came down the cliffs and we asked her about them. She looked us up and down to measure our strength and mobility, and then said, "I guess it depends on what you're used to hiking. I've done a lot worse..." John and I talked it out, and we decided that we both had probably done worse (especially in Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota). We decided to try it, and if it got too hairy, we could just go back down. Boy, were we glad we did. It didn't seem all that treacherous at all to us. We both grew up being monkeys and climbing trees and rocks, and even though we're old, we had definitely done worse. Also, at the top there was waterfall after waterfall. A double waterfall where one led into another.

As you can see from where John is, I wouldn't recommend taking the trail up if you had never had experience climbing up and down slippery shale and rocks.

This double waterfall was a side by side one. 

We hiked back and cut off about two miles or so on our hike. My feet still bothered me, but when it got so bad I couldn't stand it, we would stop and John would rub my feet before we started back again. I promised John I wasn't just making this pain up so he would give me foot rubs.

We realized that homemade rock arrow wasn't for cannibals to lure us into their den at all, it was marking the shortcut to the cliffs. I still think cannibals was a WAY more logical explanation.

Lucky for us (but not for him), Nick got a flat tire on his way to Point Reyes, and we ended up all getting there within about five minutes of each other. We figured we'd take him to a couple of cool places, so he could get a feel for the area.

We started with the shipwreck in Inverness. 

 Pssst! The not so secret secret is that it isn't really a shipwreck at all, but some boat a guy was working on and didn't finish for some reason, and he just left it on the beach there.

It was more fun to pretend it was a real shipwreck, and soon The Goonies were going to show up and do the Truffle Shuffle for us.

Next we thought a trip to a swimming beach would be nice. Point Reyes is on Tamales Bay, and not directly on the ocean, so the water is warmer and not as rough and you can actually swim there. We chose Shell Beach.

It was so nice.

There were all these little inlets to even smaller beaches, and I claimed the one above as my own. If I had more time, I would have gone back to that beach every day.

John swam out to the buoys and said he could see tons of jelly fish, so I made sure to stay closer to shore.

After the beach, we headed up to the light house.

It was after five, so it was closed. On the walk to the light house, I was saying that I'd never seen a whale in the ocean before, and about five minutes later, Nick pointed out to the water and said, "Look!" There's one right there." and sure enough, you could see water coming out of the blow hole and it jumping up and slapping back down in the water. I don't think it's all that common to see a whale around there in the Summer, but we got really lucky.

 When we came back to the light house, we headed over to Tap Room. Apparently, Wednesday night is sushi night, so we were getting lucky all over the place. At first, we were each just going to order one roll, but then we would have missed out on some other amazing rolls, and we had hiked SO. DAMN. MUCH. that we said, "Eff it!" and got the extra rolls too. We couldn't finish all of it, but it was great for breakfast the next morning too.

We said goodbye to Nick and went home and fell asleep about two seconds after we went to bed. These amazing days can be really tiring.

Friday, October 01, 2021

If I Have Weaknesses, Don't Let Them Blind Me, or Camouflage All I am Wary of

 Okay, so you know I think that butterflies are perfect and can do no wrong? Well, this Summer I realized something about them. If you've ever met me, you probably noticed that I have this really annoying habit of humming whatever shit song is in my head. I usually don't even know I'm doing it. So, this Summer while I was putzing around in my garden, abashedly humming away, I observed that the Monarchs would follow me around. Then I would stop humming, and they would go about their business like I wasn't there. Because I'm super smart, I concluded from that that Monarchs must have REALLY bad taste in music. Stupid music illiterate butterflies...I still love them, though.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Do You Remember, 21st Night of September?

Okay. So, the last week has been insanely busy with celebrations. Mostly, we celebrated John's birthday. If you know me at all, you know that I celebrate birthdays like a mad woman. Birthdays should be celebrated for at LEAST a month, and the birthday person should get to eat and drink and do anything they want. Duh.

John's birthday was on a Tuesday, so we both took vacation days on Monday and Tuesday to give us a four day weekend. Ahhhh.

When we got off work Friday, our friend, Nick came over, and we picked up Pagliai's pizza for dinner (Pagliai's is a local pizza place that uses a VERY thin crust). Then we watched "The Conjuring" outside to make it extra scary. John loves scary movies, and I do too, but I also get a little stressed-out, ESPECIALLY when they are super suspenseful and they have creepy dolls in them. I don't mind telling you that I had my head under a blanket for parts of that movie.

On Saturday, we woke up pretty early. I ran to the Farmer's Market to get a cinnamon roll and some cookies from the Mennonite lady there. If I'm going to ride at least a hundred miles, I'm going to eat as many cookies as I can fit into a day. Did I mention that we were planning on riding 100 miles that Saturday? Did I also mention that I had only done four road rides altogether in the last two months, and all four of them only added up to a little over 100 miles? Am I some kind of an idiot or something? Yes. Yes, I am.

The plan was to take the Cedar Valley Nature Trail all the way from where it starts to Waterloo, Iowa. Then sleep in a hotel, then ride that same distance back. Remember, I am an idiot and thought that was a great idea.

We did that ride five years before when we were heading to RAGBRAI with some friends, and really loved it. Of course, I was younger, and less perimenopausal, and thinner, and in better shape, and I was probably prettier and smarter back then too. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. ANYWAY, it's a beautiful ride and most of it is on one of the rails-to-trails bike paths.

People along the trail will dress up their backyards to make things fun for the cyclists, and you know how much I love a good photo op.

We rode the first 33 miles and made it to Cedar Rapids for lunch at around 11:30. We go to this place called Parlor City that has decent food and a good beer selection. Then we rode and rode and rode some more.

I made John stop in Brandon, Iowa so we could take pictures in the World's Largest Frying Pan. I mean, who wouldn't? Also, it's probably not the WORLD'S largest frying pan, but definitely Iowa's largest.

There are always cool things along the bike path. I'm assuming these gigantic structures are somehow ag related, but I grew up in the Phoenix area, so I really have no idea about farming. I think they'd be great props for some post-apocalyptic movie, where our protagonists could try to use them as shelter, only to find a gaggle of zombies (what is the correct term for a group of several zombies?) hiding inside.

Okay. So, next we made it to La Porte City. I can honestly say using my expert opinion, that the BEST thing in La Porte City is Tootsie's ice cream place. Look! It has a Volkswagon Bug on top of it. Also, the only time I've been there is when I've been in the process of riding 100 miles on the bike path, so my opinion might be just a little bit skewed.

Ninety-five miles and a VERY sore ass later, and we made it to our hotel in Waterloo. It's the second time we stayed at the Fairfield Inn there. It is a great little place, the people who work there are always so sweet, and most importantly, they are just a couple of miles off the bike path.

We rode seven more miles there and back to Single Speed Brewery for dinner. It was worth riding the few extra miles. They are located in an old Wonder Bread factory, and they use the old walk-in cooler doors for their bathrooms. Pretty cool. They have really good, fresh food, and I like their beer. With my migraines, I can't really drink that much, but I did make an exception and had their Oktoberfest beer. I really like those malty Oktoberfest beers, and Single Speed's was superb.

The next morning we were back at it and left Waterloo by around 8:30'ish. If I thought I was sore and tired the evening before, that shit just gets worse after you let yourself rest overnight.

We rode along and stopped for a few photo ops. I'm not exactly sure what this cross with a bunch of bikes under it is supposed to be. Some kind of bicycle graveyard? I've seen weirder things...

The longer we rode, the sorer (more sore?) my ass got. Apparently, there isn't enough Chamois Butter in the world for this perimenopausal woman. I'm not gonna lie, I was in some pain.

It helped to stop here and there and take photos, but since the bike path seemed to run past a bunch of stagnant ponds, the mosquitos were horrible.

We rode over bridges, and through tunnels, and on paved surfaces, and dirt roads.

Parts of the trail were closed, because they were working on them, but we're always so sure those closed signs never pertain to us. Basically, except for about two miles, that whole section was paved, but the chunks in between weren't quite connected yet, so we had to do some finagling.

I made it about 60 miles from Waterloo to Cedar Rapids on Sunday. We had some friends meet us there for lunch, and then they were going to ride back to Iowa City with us. I was shot, done and dusted, and my butt and legs were so sore that I really couldn't go on. Our friend Doug had driven all the kids to Cedar Rapids and kindly offered to give me and my bike a ride home. Thank jeebus!

 After I left John to ride home and play with his friends, I made myself the biggest, hottest, stinkiest bubble bath and tried to live in it. I had a lovely weekend, I rode my bike 161 miles in two days, and tried to make John's birthday weekend as special as possible, and most importantly, I didn't die.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

We Are a Family, Get Up Everybody and Sing


One rainy morning last week, John was giving me a ride to work. Unfortunately for John, I spent most of the ride telling him about my concern for one of my siblings. I'm sure I probably went into too much detail in vent/worry about that person, but I felt like I was helpless to aid someone who didn't want the help, and who wouldn't care for themself. As I was about ready to get out of the car I said, "I'm sorry for going on and on about my family. What a great way to start your day..."

John responded, " That's okay. I have to go to work and return my mom's email asking me why the doctors can't tell her exactly when she's going to die."

"Okay. We can end our day with me listening to you vent about your family tonight."

I'm sure everyone's family isn't weird and concerning and I don't wish that on anyone, especially John, but it is nice to be married to someone who knows first hand what I'm going through.

May all of your families be normal (whatever that means) and not concerning. There has to be families out there like that, doesn't there?

Friday, September 03, 2021

I'd Like to Rest My Heavy Head Tonight On a Bed of California Stars

On Tuesday we spent our last hours in San Francisco. We had our granola, yogurt, fresh berries and tea breakfast on our rooftop deck. Apparently, John was REALLY into it.

We had a couple of hours to kill before we had to be out of our motel, so we wandered the Castro. I hadn't been there since 1988, and I missed it. I also missed Double Rainbow Ice Cream. They used to be all over San Francisco when I lived there, but it seems like there was only one left and it was in the Castro. Of course, it was too early so it was closed. Which got a pout from me. It is NEVER too early for ice cream in my world.

Oh, The Castro, with its rainbow colored sidewalks...

...And its naughty sense of humor. I have never had a manicure, but I was tempted for the first time by this place. Who wouldn't be?

The Castro wouldn't be complete without this rainbow painted Harvey Milk mural. 

We got some coffee for John and Chai tea for me, and got in our car and headed North.

Highway One is so beautiful, but if you have motion sickness like me, you spend a lot of time with your eyes closed in the car. Don't worry. I wasn't driving.

We stopped at Stinson Beach for a bit. It was the first beach I played on since 2008. I really needed the therapy of wave sounds and the salt air, and the sand between my toes.

Stinson Beach was lovely, as usual, and I had the extra added bonus of making fun of my husband for rolling up his jean shorts. He thought it would keep him from getting soaked, but all it took was one big wave, and he may as well have not gone through all of that trouble. At least I got some funny photos out of it. Which is the most important thing.

 There never was a happier old lady than me to be in the ocean.

Although, John looks a little tense, I think it's because his rolled up shorts did NOT protect him from soaking. I didn't ask, but it was cold, and there may have been some shrinkage.

So, here's the part where I actually tell a little story. Very little. Maybe more of an amusing anecdote?

Anyway, we drove up to Point Reyes Station, and had to wait a few hours to get into our Air BnB in Inverness. PRS is an adorable town. Except, earlier in the week, nothing is open...Or very little is open. One of the places that was open was the Old Western Saloon. So, we stopped in and had a beer. I did notice the pictures above the bar, but I just assumed the frumpy looking older couple were the owners of the bar.

While John and I were sitting at the bar, these two couples walked in. One of the women was super outgoing and hilarious. At one point she came up to me and said, "Hey! Didn't I see you at Stinson Beach this morning? Do you live around here?" I told her that we were on vacation and we were from Iowa City, Iowa. She said, "Wait. Really? I know some people from Iowa City. Do you do the RAGRAI?" I said we did do RAGBRAI sometimes. She asked me if I knew some people, and I didn't recognize their names. I told her that Iowa City was a big college town, and people move in and out of it all the time. She tried again, and asked me if I knew a woman named Buffy. Ding ding! I did know that woman. She was on a RAGBRAI team that we had a dance-off with a few years ago. So, the woman Facetimed her friend and we all had a good laugh. What are the odds? Really.

Then she started talking to me about the photos above the bar. It turns out that the pictures were not of frumpy middle aged bar owners, but really of Prince Charles and Camilla. Oops! 

Anyway, according to the woman, The town of Point Reyes Station wasn't do that well, but Charles and Camilla's visit revitalized the town. So, she asked me if I would take a picture of her and her friend from grade school recreating the photo. Of course, I would. Then she started laughing about how us women were all so much more social than our husbands, who were all sitting quietly at the bar and NOT making spectacles of themselves.

She asked me if I wanted her to take a photo of me and John pretending to be Charles and Camilla. I said I thought it would be fun, but my husband hates to have his photo taken. She said I should tell him I needed him to take a photo, and he would want to help, and once we got him in the doorway, he wouldn't be able to say no to her taking a photo. She was right, and it was stupid and goofy fun taking photos, which, as  you know, is one of my favorite things.

Then it was time to head to our AirBnB in the town of Inverness. We said, "See you soon!" to Point Reyes Station, with it's old guys sitting on rocking chairs on the porch of the general store, and dogs coming for pets and scratches, and bicyclists stopping to refuel on their way down the coast.

Our place in Inverness was just lovely. They had chickens and dogs and cats. We were missing our cats the whole time during our trip, so we were happy to hang out with other people's animals.

Out AirBnB hostess designed what looked like a huge porch turned into an apartment in a French country style.

Our bedroom was super cute too.

Since almost everything in both towns were closed on Tuesday, we drove the five minutes back to Point Reyes Station and the only restaurant was open. We took the opportunity to have our first fresh oysters of our trip. MMMMmmmm. Slimy goodness.

 The food was great, we got to dine outside and after a couple of margaritas, we were both ready to fall fast asleep. We knew we had to get up early the next morning for our plans, so we were out like lights. What a great introduction to an area.