Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stretching out the Holiday Fun

Christmas Eve Oklahoma City was hit by a day long blizzard, ending up with a record snowfall. I met up with the kids, their dad, and Miss Vivian for lunch instead of our usual dinner because Samantha was scheduled to work that evening. By the time they arrived at the restaurant the roads were going downhill fast and sensible people were headed home. As soon as our orders were filled the kitchen closed and the restaurant closed behind us. I got home without incident (except for my hair standing on end), but all of the interstates closed and it took everyone else three hours to get home. To those who long for the 'White Christmas" of song I say Bah Humbug. I've had many in my life, and they nearly always suck. It's lovely to be snowed in but just awful if you need to get out.

Shana and I had planned to have Christmas dinner with friends and go to a movie after calling on various family members, but with 14 inches of drifting snow on the ground we rescheduled our dinner for Saturday night and spent Christmas Day snugged up at home. I had a big bowl of chicken soup for my Christmas Dinner and went to bed early. Just as well, as my cold bloomed into a full on snot fest that I would not have liked to share with everyone.

Saturday night we had our festive dinner with friends and slid on out to see Sherlock Holmes which we we all thoroughly enjoyed. I'm hoping to get out today to deliver my cookies so I don't eat up a lifetime supply all by myself. Tomorrow I'll be back at the coal mine, but today I hope to spend mainly knitting, reading, and watching movies at home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Holiday Home Stretch

This weekend we've "enjoyed" some (very) minor drama. Friday we were blessed with such a beautiful day that I took Roxy and Skippy to the dog park. They had been so bored hanging around the house in the recent cold weather that they were getting into every possible kind of mischief. Roxy was so desperate for entertainment that she actually ran and played with other dogs, which she rarely does. Skippy has not felt like playing fetch for some time but Friday he wanted to, so I threw the ball for him. Unfortunately amid all of the running and leaping he landed awkwardly on his tired old ankles and hurt his right foreleg. By Saturday morning he was no better, and the leg was noticeably swollen. Off the the vet, and $200.00 later we were back home with doggy NSAIDS and orders of rest. Poor old guy! At least we are certain the ankle is not broken, which I thought it might be.

Shana came down with a cold Friday which has since turned into laryngitis. This did not bode
well for the yearly ceremonial opening of Rita's wallet. Luckily Rita can read lips well, because she could not hear Shana's whispering at all. (Rita also thought the laryngitis might be a permanent condition) I went along for the shopping trip to translate and laugh. By the time we were ready to leave Target Shana was worn out and Rita had had as much stimulation as she could stand.

After the shopping expedition I helped Aunt Rita with her annual quick bread. This year we made pumpkin bread. One of the ladies Shana works with shared an excellent recipe which Shana had already tested earlier this season, so we put it to use again. I think that is the last of
the baking for this year except for Shana's office gift cookies which she will make herself. Although I like to bake for the holidays by the time I am finished I have well and truly lost interest in the process. Still, the gift trays will be pretty, and once I have them made up I know I'll be happy I made them up.

I finished my shopping early Friday afternoon when I was waiting with Samantha for her car to be repaired. I am now down to one simple grocery store item and I can sit back and enjoy the fun. It doesn't hurt a bit that I leave work early on Wednesday and don't go back to work until Monday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Crazy Cookie Weekend

This weekend I performed my annual marathon cookie bake. Friday I went to Hobby Lobby for my cookie plates and to my favorite grocery for the rest of my supplies. Buy For Less happens to be a locally owned chain, which is a big plus for me. The fact that the deli and produce departments are outstanding doesn't hurt. Because it is locally owned the various stores can have a slightly different inventory to suit the customer base (one of them has an excellent Mexican bakery). I found everything I needed there. Of course that was no big problem because most of my Christmas baking requires pretty ordinary ingredients. The list of treats: Brown Irish Soda Bread, Sugar Cookies (which Aunt Rita helped me decorate), Almond Spritz cookies, Paula Deen's White Chocolate Chunkies (subbed cranberries for candied cherries), Cranberry Pecan Pinwheels, Walnut and Black Pepper Biscotti, Saltine Toffee, Haystacks, and Aunt Bill's Brown Candy (Shana pitched in and did half of the 10 minutes of vigorous stirring it needs). I did everything but decorate the sugar cookies in one day and moved everything out to the freezer as soon as it cooled. I have a freezer full of treats in my garage all ready to make up gift trays and bags. Making everything in one day is hard work, but doing it that way I can just leave all of the supplies out from the time I bring them home from the store until I have finished making everything and only have to clean up after baking once. This is an obvious benefit to those who have ever seen the kitchen after I finish with it. Many years ago my nephew Kyle used to help me. In more recent years Aunt Rita has worked with me, but she's not up for the long day anymore and really would rather just decorate cookies. This year streamlined the decorating by making all of the cookies in one shape - trees. I just piped green icing on them and Aunt Rita sprinkled them from our large selection of sprinkles. It went quickly and with very little mess.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner. Again.

In the spirit of making sure I enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner with everyone I made a complete dinner for Samantha, Alex, and Vivian today. We had a nice visit, although you might think only Vivian and I were there. Sam wasn't in the mood for pictures, and Alex is not a cooperative subject. More pictures over on Flickr, as usual.

Friday, November 27, 2009


...has been turning out cute amigurumi this week? Me, of course! With several little cuties to craft for I've been tucked into my chair with all kinds of crochet supplies making mommy and baby owls.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's All Fun and Games

No danger that someone will get hurt, though. My most recent projects have been amigurumi. They are lots of fun to make, partly because they are toys and partly because they take so little time to make. It's just about instant gratification crafting. Also because it's crochet if I don't like the way the pattern is done I feel confident enough to make changes on the fly. If I don't like my results it's no big deal to pull it back and do it again. It should be a good stash buster, but of course I want to buy new colors for some projects and I am sure to end up with more partial skeins than I started with.

Furnace Wars continue here. It got down to 57 in the house early this week and I thought I was going to have to either give in and turn on the heat or put on a hat, but we had a little break in the weather and a bit of sun so it's just a little warmer now than it was earlier in the week. Inside it's now a toasty and tolerable 64. 56 is about my limit for interior temperatures. When it gets that cool I don't want to get out of the shower and the dogs pull long faces at me when they're not curling up into tight little balls.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last weekend I drove to Atlanta to visit Jennifer and The Little Prince. I'm worn out and won't post much now, but zip on over to Flickr and get a look at how he's growing. Also he has proven himself to be "one of us". In preparation for all of the pictures I was sure to take during my visit he got himself a nice black eye!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drilling Isn't Boring

At least it isn't boring at Statoil in Norway. Maybe if we did a little more like this business would go through the roof?
Last weekend was a hodgepodge of idleness. The weather here continues to be suitable for outdoor activity if too windy to enjoy cycling. My cycling loss was the dogs' gain as we took a trip to the dog park Saturday. Roxy had been so bored all week that she ran all over the park like a wild thing at first. Usually Roxy is ready to go home in about forty minutes, but she was having a good time and we stayed over an hour. Skippy doesn't see well these days, and doesn't really hear well enough to track me when I call so Roxy goes to get him if he's slow to follow. His nose is fine, so he loves the dog park meet and greet.

Holiday crafting continues apace, with the most urgent projects finished. Of course as I complete one I think of three others I'd like to add to the list, but the looming deadlines will
take care of that. I'm on a crochet kick. but since I have to look at my work when I crochet it's putting a dent in my valuable TV time - how can I watch every golden moment of V and still make progress on my adorable crochet toys?

Sunday night Shana and I went to see our local NBA team. We'd been to see the New Orleans Hornets during their stay in Oklahoma City but this was our first visit to see the Thunder. We sat up in the chicken roost, but in the Ford Center all seats are good seats and we were able to follow the action quite well. One year Shana and I went to see the Celtics at their old facility. We had "obstructed seats " and were only able to see the lower half of the players. That rather reduces one's enjoyment of the game IMHO.

I'm driving to Atlanta for the weekend to spoil the Little Prince and visit with Jennifer. I made up my packing list yesterday and as so often happens these days it seems I'll be taking a big bag of electronics (and chargers) and hardly any clothing. It's the oddity of my modern life, I guess. I've got some fun audio books for the trip, so even the road portion of the weekend is shaping up to be big fun. The only thing missing from the fun will be Roxanne. There are resident cats where I am going. Roxanne would consider this to be a big plus, but they would be less than happy to see her so she will have to stay home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Haunt the Zoo

Rather than trudge from house to house in the dark Samantha and I took Vivian to the annual Haunt the Zoo event at the Oklahoma City Zoo. I had never been to the event before and it was a winner. Various local companies sponsor displays and hand out candy on a loop through the zoo. You don't get to see much in the way of animals because the zoo is dark and you have to stay on prescribed route, but the silhouettes of three lions looking over the crowd from their enclosure were memorable. We were fortunate enough to have perfect weather, and approximately a bazillion people turned out to enjoy the evening. Samantha and I both felt like we got our exercise for the day, with a long walk through the zoo passing Vivian back and forth between us. She didn't like to walk too much because of the crowd.

Fall Weather is Here

Last night I faced facts and brought my tropical plants in from the patio to winter in the garage. It gave me something nice to do while I waited for the Evil Wild Dog of the Prairie to come back from her midnight escape. I may have been a little early, as the near freezing temperatures I was expecting did not materialize, but it's been obvious for a while that the cool nights are not agreeing with the tropicals. They've stopped growing and have been just squatting out there giving me the Evil Eye. It feels like an odd exercise this year because if all goes as I hope I will not have a place for them next summer. Someone else will have the pleasure of my Little Shop of Horrors sized aloe vera and the big tub o' gerbera daisies. I'll bring Shana's kitchen herbs in today - I think the light in the garage is good enough to keep them going for the winter. I cut a nice bouquet from the annuals still going strong in the front yard; they make a pretty display and I may as well enjoy them a little longer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shana's Little House on 60th Street

Shana's love of cooking is branching out. She's been intrigued by canning lately, and a taste of some green tomato pickles created by a friend at work combined with the recipe and a free sack of green tomatoes took her from curiosity to cooking. We now have six jars of green tomato pickles cooling on the kitchen counter. They smell great and by the sound of them are sealing nicely. I for one would love to see some home made jam or pear butter in my cupboard. The beautiful canned goods are giving her a little farm lust. I've nearly got her convinced that if she had a big garden to can from I'd really need some chickens to eat up the bugs!

Shana also made some Halloween themed cookies for Aunt Rita to take home and share with the
staff at the home. It was a good thing Aunt Rita
came over this weekend, because as it turns out she has a sinus infection. She had a persistant cough and Shana took her to the "Doc In A Box" around the corner and got it taken care of. Since Rita is not much of a complainer (except when it comes to the gossip-worthy) the staff could easily have missed this until it got much worse.

I was not moved to cook personally, although I did have a hand in decorating the cookies. I made
a felted crochet hedgehog which I'd been thinking about for a while, but I don't know that it is gift worthy. I had intended it as a present for one of the children on my gift list, but we'll see. Although it is kind of cute, it resembles nothing so much as a hairy football with eyes. I suppose that's why in the pattern book it was only shown head on or peeping out of a basket full of other cute toys. It didn't take me long to make it, or much in the way of purchased materials, but it was not so much fun to crochet with the fun fur and wool held together. I had to have a lot of light and even then missed stitches like crazy. I have some little amigurumi in mind which are less ambiguous in appearance and I may just stick with them for prezzies. I'll have a pair of socks finished this afternoon and maybe a little critter if I can pry myself away from gawking at other people's projects online.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cutest Thing in Tulsa

I spent most of the day Sunday in Tulsa visiting a variety of restaurants. I can safely recommend a couple, but the highlight of the day was seeing a dog wearing goggles riding in a sidecar. If only The Amazing Roxanne were a candidate for this adventure, but we all know she would run off screaming.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Moving Day Fun

Not my own moving day, I'm happy to say. Nancy's house is finally sold, so it's time to empty the house and take the contents to Texas. Nancy and Larry have been down there for a while in temporary digs, leaving the bulk of their belongings in the house in Oklahoma City. Matt drove up with her to empty the house. There was a lot to do. I wrapped pictures in bubble wrap for the trip, and did a little packing. The guys got everything in the truck. Nancy made final decisions about what was going and which things would be donations. Matt, James and Jeremy provided most of the muscle, with Alex pitching in for a while too. We all had our pick of the donations before the truck came. I picked up a (ceramic) chicken and a pretty basket for my knitting. It was hard work, but a good day for all except maybe Matt, who with every item loaded up into the truck imagined himself unloading it.

Nancy will be back in a couple of weeks to clear out the few remaining things. It should only amount a a couple of boxes. Then the house will get a quick clean up and it's done. The move has been a hard one for Nancy but everything is falling into place now.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Miss Vivian Comes to Play

We were lucky enough to have a Visit from Miss Vivian today, so I tried uploading a video. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

And to Think That I Saw It on May Avenue

I had to work this morning (one of the sad consequences of taking a vacation), and Shana encouraged me to meet her at Firestone on North May so I could drop off my car for an oil change and tire rotation. This falls somewhere along the continuum between washing windows and buying a new broom. However, I got a reward for driving down May Avenue this morning, aside from that warm feeling of having taken care of my car. I got to see the best car in Oklahoma City! The owner was there, and while I did not ask the most burning question in my mind (What did you pay for this?) I did visit with him just a little about his ride. He did not create the green lizard car himself, but said he bought it directly from the artist. There were several people hanging around asking questions, so I never did hear who the artist was or why he bought it. There are little stickers on the windows which I thought would say "do not touch", but instead they said "invite someone to church today", so I think the owner was there taking advantage of the attention his car gets to pass along this message. I had to run along because Shana was waiting for me, but not before I got my pictures!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Benvenuto a Miami

All flights were cheaper going in and out of Miami this year, so Shana scheduled everyone's flights through there. The time difference between driving back and forth from Miami and Fort Meyers is surprisingly little, so we just go with whichever is cheaper. Normally all we see of Miami is the airport, but this year because we were picking Shelley up in the middle of the day later in the week we decided to do a little sightseeing. The weather was bad, but true to our usual feeling about vacation weather always being good enough, we did not care.

When we arrived in Miami and were waiting for the rental car shuttle we found out about the Super Shuttle. Suddenly the thought of having to drive over to the airport from our sightseeing, cruise around the no-parking airport looking for Shelley, and go out to find another parking spot in town flew right out of our minds. Yay Super Shuttle! All Hail the Super Shuttle! All we had to do was park the car, pick a spot for cocktails and lunch, and tell Shelly where to meet us. She was a little hesitant at first (Oklahoma City is NOT where you learn to love public transportation) but it worked out great. Later in the week when some of us were
leaving after dropping off a rental car Shana and Shelley took the Super Shuttle to South Beach to sightsee while waiting for the vacation reinforcements to arrive.

Saved from these practical considerations, we proceeded to find a restaurant on Ocean Drive to watch the action and stay out of the rain. We immediately ordered cocktails the size of our heads (2 for 1) and snacks. After Shelly arrived we walked over to the beach (where we got
to see the very odd sight of a cruise ship sailing out), bought some jewelry from a street vendor, walked around on Ocean Drive and Collins and checked out a few shops. We took a picture of Shelley at the Shelley Hotel and got some coffee to go. Then it was back on the road to Marco for us. By the time we got to Naples we were all starving and getting headaches from our
giant cocktails so we hustled on into Cracker Barrel for a nice comforting dinner. The last time I went to Miami I was not impressed, but this time I had loads of fun, so next time we may just try a visit to Miami again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not the Worst Restaurant on Earth

Over the years Shana and I have often driven across the segment of the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Miami and always noticed the Miccosukee Restaurant that was one of the few places where a person could get a meal. On one trip several years ago we stopped to see what it was like. It was not the best experience. The daily special sounded good, but was "sold out" unless you happened to be a local, several of which were served after we were told it was not available. We waited for a rather long time to be served deadly red hot dogs by a surly waitress while being eyed with suspicion by the other customers. We had joked about it so often in subsequent years that I insisted on driving to Miami by way of the Tamiami Trail in order to get a picture of it so I could feature the Worst Restaurant on Earth in a post. Well, the joke's on me, because the Miccosukee have decided to improve the place all out of recognition.

On the outside it is much improved, being painted up in tribal colors, and features a nice information center next door. On the inside we found a nice clean facility with hospitable staff. We sampled the sofkee, which is a typical tribal food (and a common food among many other tribes as well). It's basically a gruel made of corn, or sometimes other grains. We also enjoyed a delicious cafe cubano. Afterwards we slipped outside to look for alligators, then we got back on the road for Miami.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life's a Beach

Although every day on Marco Island seems like a precious and singular jewel, a large part of the fun lies in every day being somehow exactly the same. Every year's visit is very like every other, which somehow makes the week seem longer in a funny way because the years run together. We go to Walgreen's or CVS nearly every day. We go to the beach store nearly every day and examine their entire stock minutely although it's always pretty much the same from year to year. We go to Publix (Where Shopping is a Pleasure) and express surprise and envy every single time that you can buy wine there. We take a cocktail to the beach nearly every night, and eat breakfast on the balcony every morning. We pass Garage Man four times a day and wave every time whether he is there or not. Garage man is a retired Navy man who sits in his garage on an old seat rescued from a long gone van watching the traffic. One time we stopped by his house to take a picture and meet him. How I wish it had not been a cell phone picture, but at the time the point had been to get a picture of him to send by phone to make Shelley laugh because she couldn't come to Marco that year. We were so far out of season this trip that some of our favorite restaurants were closed for the month and one other was gone because it blew away in a hurricane a couple of years ago. We were forced to go to NEW PLACES. The sheer adventure of it nearly killed us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Have Friends in Low Places

Very low places, in the case of what I like to call Beach Vultures! I'm back from vacation and will be posting within the next day or two. I'll load up some pictures over on Flickr, too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gloomy Sunday

The gloom is mainly the product of the weather. I've lived in Oklahoma since 1975, and my mental state and expectations have adjusted to the local weather. Oklahoma weather is generally sunny with nearly constant wind and liberal infusions of dramatic thunderstorms. I always think of Oklahoma (at least central Oklahoma) as having six seasons: Cold and Dry, Fire, Tornado, Hot and Dry, Fire, Tornado. Seldom do we experience the kind of protracted grey and rainy periods I grew up with in northern Ohio. If we get three grey days in a row I grow despondent. This week has been cloudy and intermittently wet every day, culminating in steady light rain from yesterday afternoon through this morning. I cancelled my weekend cycling plans and devoted myself to indoor pursuits.

Fortunately I have plenty of indoor activities to keep me amused. Aside from college football yesterday and pro football today I have housework and naps (!). There is also the intense amusement of sorting out my selection of vacation packing. I'm "going carry-on", so everything for my trip will need to go in one bag and a tote. Not too hard as a person doesn't need much for a trip to the beach. Still the stack of possible choices waxes and wanes while the dogs pull long faces and sulk. I've finished some knitting projects, so I am down to one in progress and therefore free to choose a new project suitable for vacation knitting. It will surely be socks, as the silk shawl in progress would be a poor choice for humidity. At this stage it's not really colorfast and I can't really see myself enjoying my vacation with blue hands. I wound up a skein of Mountain colors Barefoot during the Ohio State/USC and Sooners games yesterday and I think I've got the perfect pattern picked out.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Look For The Union Label

The official end of summer is here with the return of the Labor Day Weekend. These days it is celebrated as a long weekend of barbecue and Nascar, but it was not always that way. For anyone that's ever complained about unions, please remember that it is unions that won the 40 hour work week, paid sick time, overtime, Workers' Compensation, OSHA, and any of the other rules that keep the workplace relatively safe for all workers, and paved the way for the American middle class whose living is currently being offshored. These concessions were not all won in board rooms and meetings. Some were hard fought in the streets of American cities. There were casualties among the heroes of labor, and we should not forget them. Buy American made if you can, and by all means look for the union label.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why I Fell Off My New Bicycle

The first ride I took on my new bicycle I fell off, to my great embarrassment. I thought I was past the stage where I fell off every time because I was just getting used to being clipped into my pedals. Apparently not so. On my weekly training ride I pass a little property where there are a few sheep. They're kinda cute and I usually slow down to get a look. This time they were laying around on the front porch like a bunch of dogs, and I had to get a picture. I was trying to hurry to get stopped and get my camera out because sheep are a little skittish and I wanted to get them before they got nervous and moved. So. To keep the sheep from getting scared by the sight of a cyclist stopping and getting off the bicycle (something even cattle don't seem to like much), I treated them to the sight and sound of a cyclist falling to the ground cursing with the bicycle stuck to her feet. I have a souvenir bruise the size of my foot on my backside, and another in a long list of humiliating tumbles witnessed by my cycling friends.
I loaded my Hotter n Hell pictures up to my Flickr gallery this morning, so you can go see them there. I was hoping to get come cute pictures of everyone but due (I suspect) to having my camera jammed into my top tube bag with so much other stuff that the controls got messed around I did not always have it set to "automatic" and a lot of - read most of - my pictures taken in the evening and early in the morning of the ride did not turn out to be of identifiable species of sentient beings.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Take Me to the Promiseland

I did not know this before, but The Promiseland is in Wichita Falls Texas! Apparently it is not the land of milk and honey I thought, but instead it's a somewhat seedy looking bar in an out of the way part of Wichita Falls. It's conveniently located just a ways down the street from the MPEC, where all the big events happen. If I had known the Promiseland was so easy to find and located so close to the center of Wichita Falls I would have gone there long ago.

I'm back in town after another century ride at the Hotter n Hell Hundred, a bit tired, sunburned, and a little sore in various body parts. Most body parts, if the truth be told. I think just about every distance ride offered was represented in our group, and (I hope) everyone had a good time. I know I did. I had signed up for 100 miles, but until the day before the ride I had not quite committed to the distance. The 100K is a good ride, and a distance I knew I could cover without killing myself. The weather turned out to be perfect and I have a new beautiful bicycle, so I stepped up and did the century. Helen was riding at about the same pace I was so we were able to meet up at the last few rest stops to encourage each other. She rode in with me to complete her first century and we were both thrilled to have finished and relieved it was over. We also could not wait to cool off in the spray from an open hydrant and get a corn dog. My goal was to finish before 4:30, which extremely modest goal I achieved. Because the weather was so good and I had done a century ride before I was able to relax and enjoy the ride much more than I had the first time. On a tough ride I am so fixed on just maintaining forward motion I tend not to see much beyond my front wheel.

This time I enjoyed the rest stops more, although I did not stay long at any of them. I had my (sweaty and dirty) picture taken at several and visited all but one. The last two stops were just quick roadside pauses for me as I was ready to finish up. Various organizations sponsor the stops and they each have a different theme with music, costumes, and a bunch of great volunteers. There were a record 14,200 riders, and a lot of people took advantage of the unusually good weather to go for the century, so rest stops were crazy busy but the 3,500 wonderful volunteers cheered us on all day. We also had loads of encouragement from residents who sat out (sometimes all afternoon) to enjoy the spectacle and wave at us. Because of the large crowds of riders that persisted far into the course there were a lot of accidents, but apparently no serious injuries beyond the usual road rash, broken wrists, and broken collarbones. The mild weather meant only a minimum of heat related problems needed treating, mostly new riders who were not prepared for long distances. Fortunately no one in our group was injured or involved in any mechanical mishaps.
We have already reserved our rooms for next year, and as we did last year, we are resolved to ride later into this year and start up earlier next year to be in better shape for an even better ride. My personal goal for next year is to ride the 100K ride at every event (except the Streak, where I am sure the 100K would be the death of me), and to get in at the Hotter n Hell by 4:00pm.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Schlegel Fest

This weekend's cycling event, aside from a very fast ride to El Reno Satruday morning, was "Schelgel Fest": a promotional event hosted by Schelgel Bicycles, a high end bike store in downtown Oklahoma City. Hamburgers and hot dogs were served, free minor repairs and a big sale brought in a good crowd. The timing for a promo event is perfect - the week before Hotter 'N Hell, and a chance to bring in some extra traffic to move the end of season clearance and catch more of the stock up business for participants getting ready to go. At the Hotter 'N Hell there is a big expo where loads of bike stores bring in their new cool stuff and their old end of season stuff, so if Schlegel wants to catch any of us with disposable bike $$$ in our pockets this is the time. I spent quite a bit of time poring over their stock and examining their assortment of women-specific complete road bikes. There were a couple with eye catching paint jobs, but nothing that was really any better than the bike I have in terms of frame composition or components. Schlegel had a great selection of cruisers and several nice men's road bikes, but not a lot in high end women's road bikes. I can ride a man's bike if the frame is small enough, but I have a women's bike in mind. The shorter length from seat to handlebar and the shorter reach on the brake and shift levers makes a big difference in comfort. Because I put more emphasis on distance than speed those features are more important to me. I had a particular interest in shoes but did not try any on - I think next year I may indulge in a pair - and I didn't see anything I coveted. I also was thinking of a new helmet - I have reached the conclusion that my current "hat" looks like a big blue tortoise is sitting on my head. I plan to check helmets out while I am in Texas, and I did not see anything here that would look good with Big Blue. I looked at a few seats, because I am currently not completely satisfied by the one I have. I picked up a couple of electrolyte items and went on home. Just as well I did not find a helmet to suit my taste. After several months of hinting around Shana stunned my by telling me she wanted to give me her Trek Madone. It's a beautiful all carbon Dura Ace bike, women's geometry and components. I must admit I have had HUGE bike envy ever since she bought it, but not enough to shell out the dough for a new ride for myself. Shana has not been riding nearly as much or as far as I have this year; she's going to finish the season with Big Blue and evaluate what she wants to ride next spring. I spent a happy hour in the garage raising the seat on the Madone and tuning up the fit, swapping out the seat bags (I carry a lot more gear along than Shana does) and transferring my computer over to My New Bike. I'll be looking for a red helmet in Texas to match my new ride. Tomorrow I'll take it out for a spin around the lake and adjust Big Blue to fit Shana.

Shana's cousin Glenda was in town to visit this weekend. Glenda took Rita all around town, and we all got together for a cookout with Uncle Buddy. One new feature this time is that I was not the only one taking pictures. Buddy and I were having "dueling cameras", Glenda and James also brought theirs. A good weekend and too soon over.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Grab Bag Post

I've got an odd combination of too much going on which eats up my blogging time and nothing really new to say. Cycling continues unabated, with ever more miles every week, except for last week when I took the week off to rest my aching legs. That may have been a mistake, but I'll fix it this week. I still can't commit to a distance for Hotter 'N Hell which is only 11 days away. Spin Your Wheels this year featured high temperatures and a continuous heavy crosswind which tried our endurance. Lucky for my fellow participants I only took a few pictures at the start of the ride when everyone looked good. Trust me, no one looked this good afterwards. In addition to the traditional sweat and salt all over, the wind had added new features to our appearance. At about the 30 mile mark someone had chosen that morning to plow, so we received a nice gritty layer of dirt to stick on our sweat. I had foolishly forgotten to put on sunblock, so I fried my arms. Because of the heat I had tied a bandana full of ice on my neck, so not much sunburn there. Because the wind was intense I had my head down, sparing my face from the worst of the sun.

That ride went through El Reno via old Route 66 with no time to stop in town. Yesterday Shana joined Diane and Sharon and I for a ride out to El Reno on the back roads, which we far prefer. The wind was even worse, although temperatures were a little better. We had a lot of fun, but it was a very strenuous ride. We stopped a few times to break it up. The llamas I see at The Carpenter's House (some kind of non-denominational church) on the way into town had a baby, so we had to stop a minute to gawk at it. So cute. I wanted to sneak up a bit closer, but I thought Momma might take a dim view of it.

Farther down the road some donkeys caught Shana's eye. These were the same ones that got Diane's full attention on an earlier ride. This ride she had no time for them as she was trying to get in a boatload of miles by riding on and circling back to taunt us. Shana stopped to enjoy them, even giving one a kiss on the nose. Good thing they are a friendly pair.

In knitting news I'm still working on the Canal du Midi socks, and a secret project that cannot be revealed until after a certain baby shower. The Float Stole is calling me sadly from the bottom of my knitting box, but it will just have to wait. Deadline for the baby project is a full month sooner than I had expected, so I have to concentrate on that.