Friday, August 31, 2018

Stuck Out In the August Rain. Out in the Cloudburst Again

So, here it is the end of August already and I've hardly written anything on my poor blog this month. Just to show off my lameness, I thought I'd do a quick recap of this month.

Let's start with the fact that I actually raced this month. Weird. I've been plagued with migraines and dizziness for most of the Summer, so I haven't been able to train, let alone race. We'll see if my stupid hormones let me race this Fall at all...

My first race this month was the State Time Trial Championships. Since I was the only woman who did the 40K race (two other women did the 20K race), I not only won my category, I won every female category...By default, but whatever.

We celebrated by having a HUGE breakfast at the Midtown Family Restaurant, complete with pancakes and a HUGE glass of chocolate milk. Apparently, I only race for the excuse to eat all the food.

Later that Sunday, we had our first team dinner at Big Grove in Solon. It was great to meet some of our new team members and to give one of our teammates a hard time. He couldn't make the meeting because he was on his way back from Colorado after racing the Leadville 100. He showed us a photo of him with his feet up and we sent him one back. I love our new racing team.

On the 14th of August, I used up my last day of vacation for the Summer. It was really hot that day, so I went mountain biking in the morning after I FINALLY got my name changed on my social security card.

Playing outside on my bike was a good antidote for having to be practical in the morning. You all know how much I hate to do practical things.

Another thing that happened in August, was that my fat, orange, baby, turned 8. How can he be eight already? Sure, he's big enough to be that old, but he will never be mature enough to be more than a kitten.

I also spent plenty of evenings on the screened-in-porch with an after work beer. Annoying my family by taking pictures of them was just an added bonus.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the funeral of a friend. She was only 55 years old when she died, which was too damn young. She fell down the stairs and nobody found her for a day or two. It breaks my heart.

She worked at the Felton Place Elevator in Dubuque, so they had her memorial there. It was great to see so many friends and my brother and his wife. My friend Emily gave a great speech about her and we all got to hang out after he favorite bar afterward.

On the following day, we went my friend Harriet's wedding. She is part owner of a restaurant called Leaf. Part of the wedding was a potluck. I have never seen so much amazing food all in one place. Holy cow!

I spent a time hanging out with Harriet in the late 90's and early 2000's, so it was nice to see a lot of my friends from that time too.

Needless to say, it was a very social weekend, which was wonderful, but I needed a week of alone time to recover from it.

The students came back to town in August and so the last couple of weeks have been crazy at work. There is a part of me who thinks it's great to be part of the beginning of so many people's adult lives, and then there's the other part of me who just gets tired by the whole process.

I got six books read during the month. The cats and I still love our upstairs reading room and anticipate much snuggling in the coming colder months.

Thanks for the photo, Angy Snoop.

My second race of the month was my first cyclocross race of the year. As I mentioned above, I'm in pretty crappy shape, and it was ridiculously hot and humid last Saturday, so I didn't so very well. Which I have to come to terms with. I love to race cyclocross, and I can't get upset if I'm old, fat and slow.

I got back from the bike race and then had to get ready to go to John's ex-girlfriend's bachelorette party. One of the younger girls I race bikes with thought it was weird that I would go to her bachelorette party, but I'm friends with John's other girlfriends and his wife. Maybe that's the difference between being in your 20's and 30's and being in your 50's...Or maybe I am just weird.

Finally we had a "lovely" storm last Tuesday with 70 - 85 mile per hour winds. It was not at all kind to our garden. We lost most of our sunflowers and some of our other plants. Of course the squirrels and birds were pretty happy when I put all of the heads of the flowers full of seeds out for them.

Sooo, weddings, funerals, bachelorette parties, races, and big storms. Now you all know why I'm too busy to write. As always, I'll try harder next month.

Friday, August 24, 2018

No Such Day As Tomorrow, Only One Two Three Go!

I know I've been bad about writing on here. I've been crazy busy at work, since classes just started at our university here and I am starting to train for my favorite race season, on top of gardening, reading, drawing, painting, hanging out with my family and trying to cook up all of the good food coming out of my garden. As always, I promise to try and be better about writing. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

And So It's All the Same to me. I Think I'll Just Let the Mystery Be

The Sedum plant at the top of this photo is what I'm talking about.

The world is a weird place. I like that about the world, but even in my 50's, there are still many mysteries I will never uncover.

One of those mysteries happened a few weeks ago in my front yard. Earlier in the Spring, one of my coworkers asked me if I wanted to Sedum plants. I looked up what they were on-line and said, "Hell yes!"

I planted them right close to the road and hoped the bunnies and deer wouldn't like them. My hopes were dashed when I noticed that the flower buds on one of the plants had been chewed off, presumably by deer. They didn't bother them at all after that until a couple of weeks ago. When we got back from RAGBRAI, the Sedum plant closest to the road was completely gone. Like someone had dug it up by the roots. I thought it must have been an aggressive deer and figured I'd try to get another one to replace it next Spring.

Then last week, I went to water those plants and saw that someone (or something?) had placed the whole plant, roots and all right next to where it had been planted. What the hell? I have no idea what happened. If someone or something pulled up my plant and left it somewhere and someone else who walked by my place, knew where it was supposed to go and returned it? Did a deer take it and in a fit of remorse, brought it back? Was it abducted by aliens, given a rectal probe and then dropped off back where it was taken? I may never know. I guess some mysteries of the universe won't ever be solved. Weird.

Friday, August 10, 2018

We Slide, Slide. We Slide Into the Light

Let's do a traveling through books post today, okay? During the month of July I got to get out of town a bit and STILL travel through books. It was a good month for me.

In July I read seven books. Two of those books were considered non-fiction. That's pretty good for me.

1.) The first book I read in July was "More Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin. It wasn't quite as good as the first book, but it's still fun to travel to San Franciso in the late 70's. I believer there are seven in this series, so I hope to read all of them eventually.

2.) My second book trip was "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman. It takes place in England and it's a look at a woman who is on the spectrum and had a horrible thing happen to her in her childhood and she meets a friend who helps her see the world differently. I like this book more than I thought it would. I thought it was sweet and hopeful.

3.) The third book I read in July was "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly", by Anthony Bourdain. I had never read him before. I have many friends who worshiped him. So, after he died, I thought I'd check out what he had to say. I worked in tons of kitchens, bars, and coffee shops in my adulthood, so a lot of what he said struck a chord. Yes, he was a bit pompous and he admits that about himself, but mostly I found him endearing and entertaining.

4.) The fourth book I read was a reread. I originally read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou when I was a kid, and it has always stayed with me. I've heard her read two times. The first time I went to a reading in San Francisco in 1986. It was at a small library and I got to speak to her afterward...Or I tried to anyway. As she held my hands in hers, all I could spit out was, "I can't even begin to tell you..." And then couldn't finish, so she said, "I guess you can't". I tell that story all the time and it always cracks me up. So, this book was a trip back in time to when the story takes place and then to when I first read it as a kid and then to when I went to her reading when I was 21. So many layers of trips and lives.

5.) My fifth book was "Mrs. Fletcher" by Tom Perotta. I thought it was a great read. It was about sexuality and how it is changing with the times in general, but how it changed for a divorced mom who is a recent empty-nester specifically.

6.) The sixth book I read was "The Mothers" by Brit Bennett. It is about a girls who's mother kills herself and how it changes how she looks at life and the decisions she makes based on what she thinks her mom would want her to do. It takes place in an African American community in San Diego. It made me want to go see the ocean and miss living in an urban area.

7.) My last book in July was David Sedaris' "Squirrel Meets Chipmunk: A modest Bestiary". It was basically Aesop's Fables for adults in the 21st Century. It was dark and entertaining and it was good Summer reading.

I won't be travelling and reading books in cool places this month like I did last month, but I will still take fun book trips from the sanctuary of my own home.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

I've Got to Admit It's Getting Better. A Little Better All the Time

Well, I guess I suck at Blogging lately. As always, from now on, I'm going to try to be better. I still have to get my RAGBRAI photos together, so I'll just let you know what I've been doing since RAGBAI.

John caught a bad Summer cold pretty much the day after we got back from RAGBRAI, which I caught from him a few days later. It sucked. The only good thing about it was that I had an excuse to hang out on the screened-in porch drinking tea and reading until I fell asleep with a fat cat on my lap.

 As I started to get better, it was Archie's turn to feel crappy. Last Friday he had to go to the vet and get his teeth cleaned and also have some blood work done. His blood work all came back great, but he came back all messed-up. Poor guy. The vet assistant said that since Archie was so fat, they couldn't easily find a vein, so they had to shave his legs. I guess better them than me...She also said the procedure was harder for him too, since he was so big.

Anyway, he came back from the vet and was totally out of it and was just lying around the house not getting into any trouble at all. I knew he wasn't feeling well because he was so well behaved.

On Saturday, I still wasn't up for running or riding and it was really hot out, so John suggested we buy some inner tubes and go back to Manchester, so we could just float down the river for a few hours.

It was the best idea ever. We had such a blast, even after we made fun of the mural.

The river was full of families and kids and they were all so nice, even when I accidentally bumped into them when I couldn't control my tube in the rapids.

This was my view and it was amazing.

After we floated, we went across the street and checked out the Franklin Street Brewing Company.

It was so cool. The beer was good, the bartenders were fun and friendly, we had jalapeno cheese curds, they had board games to play and did I mention they had jalapeno cheese curds?

The next day Archie was finally feeling better. He could even jump on things without falling off of them. But his shaved arm still looks hilarious.

I spent a lot of time at home on Sunday, reading books, working in the garden and making tons of food.

Since it was still pretty warm out and I was feeling a lot better, but not enough better to ride very far, John and I rode bikes to the beach at Sand Lake and back.

The scenery was very nice there. Ahem.

We returned home and ate the food I made - tostadas with refried beans and pico de gallo salsa and guacamole.

Since I was finally feeling better, and John did such a good job of taking care of Archie and myself the past week, I asked him out on a date to St Burch Tavern for seafood and cocktails. We sat at the bar, which we like to do. Then we were going to go to the rooftop deck at Joe's Place, since we had never been there before.

So, I texted the girls to see if they wanted to join us. Stinky was just getting off work at Micky's. She asked me if I'd order her some cheese curds and she came to meet us at St Burch's.

We headed to the rooftop deck next and waited for Coadster to show up.

Before she got there, we encountered a sudden downpour and headed inside and downstairs.

Stinky suggested we play darts. Coadster finally got there and we commenced to playing. Which means that I commenced to losing.

We made it home before 9 o'clock, because we're old and need our sleep. Later I thanked John for sharing our date with my daughters and he told me he loved hanging out all together as a family. To which I said, "It's probably nice for you to have people to make fun of me with". To which he answered, "Duh."