Monday, January 31, 2011

113/365: That's Not Snow

The Bread Co parking lot at the Loughborough exit.
I didn't get the call last night.  The storm is now supposed to move in late this morning, first with freezing rain and sleet and then with up to 20" of snow.  It is being called the storm of the century and I'm still skeptical.  People are preparing for the worse as is evident in this photo.  I stopped by Bread Co for breakfast and the parking lot was slathered in salt.  It was so prevelant that I thought that had already gotten a dusting of snow.  It wasn't until closer inspection that I realized they were actually prepping for the storm.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

112/365: Will They Ring?

I learned quickly that any time there is snow or ice forecasted, I sleep with my phones by the bedside.  Sometime tonight, tomorrow, or tomorrow night there is an "epic" winter storm supposed to hit St. Louis.  Now I know that could mean a foot of snow or flurries.  Still, nothing is worse than hunting for the phone or phones at 4:30AM.  And now that I have multiple phones, I cannot predict which one, if any, will ring.  Personally, I don't care so much about a snow day tomorrow, I'm rooting for Tuesday.  I'm supposed to work until 8PM on Tuesday night and I'd love to have that night home with my family.  Anything else would all be gravy.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

111/365: MOBAR

This the sum of the results of my 2010 road season.  My goal for the season was two fold, to win the state championship races and to win Missouri Best All Around Racer (MOBAR).  My efforts for a state championship jersey did not produce the results I wanted, so for the last month of the season, I focused on the other piece of my goal.  I'm happy to say those efforts paid off.

I raced a lot in 2010.  I believe I only missed four MOBAR races.  By the end of cx season, that sustained effort took a mental and physical toll on me.  And then waiting for the final results of MOBAR to be calculated took an even bigger mental toll.  While I believed my ciphering to be correct, there are nuances to MOBAR calculations, especially for Cat 4 women, that I still don't understand.  While I may never own a state championship jersey, I will hang this proudly on the wall in the basement and race MOBRA races for free this year . . . just not all of them!

Friday, January 28, 2011

110/365: Rainbow Cupcakes

My assisants

Start with the purple.

Next is blue, then green.

Bella likes the blue batter.
The orange is added.

Today we baked.  The kids have been after me to make cupcakes so today was the day.  And it wasn't just any kind of cupcakes, they wanted "rainbow cupcakes like Nellie's".  Of course I had to oblige.  Boo and Bella lined the muffin pans for me.  (Mom, why are the cupcake wrappers for a birthday?  Because that's all they had at Market Place unless you wanted plain.)  I mixed up the cake batter and divided it into six small glasses.  Then the fun began.  I added food coloring to each of the glasses, blending it well.  Next I divided each glass' content among the muffin tins.  The mix said it would make 24.  It lied; we only got 18.  Each color in then layered in on top of the next.  These go in the oven for the alloted time and voila! rainbow cupcakes.  I used my Pampered Chef decorated to pipe on the icing and Boo and Bella added the sprinkles.  (three for the cupcakes, three for Bella)  Klucker says his mind is tricking him and they taste like Fruity Pebbles.  I think he's a little Fruity Pebbles in the head.

The finished product.

The rainbow on the inside.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

109/365: The Last Minute Phone Call

Boo is chatting with Klucker.  We were in the private waiting room prior to his surgery this morning.  This was the second time he's had outpatient surgery in his short life.  Both times it's been for tubes in his ears.  And I think each time was more traumatic for mama than it was for him.  Today was easier in that I knew what to expect.  I knew how disoriented he would be as he woke up.  I also knew he'd sleep like a rock once I got him to lay down this afternoon.  This time the ENT is going to monitor him more post surgery.  We'll be going for a check up every four to six months to make sure the ear drums aren't being sucked out of shape.  He'll also have to have a complete allergy panel to see if there is some outside cause for the fluid.  These tubes will also have to be removed in a few years instead of falling out on their own.  I have to say in spite of how much it stressed me out for him to have these procedures, I'm thankful for them.  Boo's only ear infection since August 2009 came after that set of tubes became dislodged.  Before that it was four to six infections a year.  But by tomorrow the little man will be back to normal, bear hugging his sister, sassing his dad and loving on his mama. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

108/365: Sweet Dreams

I don't know what it is, but I haven't been sleeping well as of late.  I fall asleep without issue; that's never a problem.  But then I wake up frequently through the night.  I'm hot, then I'm cold.  My arm falls asleep.  Diesel rolls over and spreads out so I can't move my legs.  Daisy paws at me to lift her in bed because she's cold.  And on, and on, and on.  I'm not a big one for taking any sort of meds, supplements, OTC, or prescribed.  I try to solve issues naturally, holistically before turning to chemical help.  I've tried varying the temperature in the bedroom.  I've tried varying what wear to bed.  I've tried banishing the dogs (that didn't work at all).  I've tried having a glass of wine.  I've tried not having a glass of wine.  Nothing has been fool-proof.  So tonight I'm giving in to melatonin.  Klucker swears by it.  I've taken it on occasion, but not really known if it's worked or not because I hadn't been having problems.  Tonight will be the real test.  Wish me luck and sweet dreams!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

107/365: Celebrating Birthdays

In my family, birthdays were always a big deal.  I can remember as a child always having a family party.  My mom has three sisters and my dad had a brother and sister, so I had lots of cousins.  They weren't elaborate affairs.  We would have a meal of some sort, typically mostacolli, chili or sloppy joes, and cake.  I can only remember ever having one party where I invited my friends. 

I've tried different things to celebrate birthdays with my kids.  Bella's first birthday, and Boo's first three birthdays, were celebrated with huge family parties.  We had all of both sides of our families--great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and the like.  With just my side, that's 30+ people if everyone shows.  It was a production and I didn't have fun.  For the last several years, we've just invited grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins--the kids' not mine and Klucker's.  That purges the guest list down to 12 . . . a much more manageable number.  And this year we let Boo have a kid party, with family invited, at Chucky Cheese. 

Tonight my cousin had a party for her youngest child--he was three today.  She invited the entire German mafia, i.e. our aunts, uncles and cousins and had chili, hot dogs, and fixings.  It originally seemed odd to me that she had it on a weeknight until I thought back to our childhood.  (Only nine months separate us, so we have a lot of shared memories.)  Our birthday parties were almost exclusively on a weeknight.  Tonight was a nice, controlled affair.  People stopped by after work and had dinner.  We got home at a decent time.  And the kids had a great time playing with their cousins.  (The kids don't know that they're really second cousins or that Aunt Teri and Uncle Lou are really cousins as well.) 

The only event this evening begged me to question how to celebrate the birthdays for my children.  As a kid I often wished my mom would let me have friends over to our house for my birthday.  I also frequently wished that I didn't have to share my birthday party with Jeffrey . . . which may be the reason that birthdays are so important to me now.  I want my kids to be able to celebrate with friends, but I do enjoy having my larger family there to celebrate.  How much is too much?  Where do you draw the line?

Monday, January 24, 2011

106/365: Company on the RTN

I usually ride the RTN solo.  I go to the basement, turn on the TV, and spin it out until I'm done.  The kids come down and visit, but typically don't stay because I'm not watching "kid tv".  I worked a little late tonight, so I was chatting with Klucker on my way home about when he would rather me do my workout.  I usually do it before dinner so that I can help with bedtime.  He shocked me a little by saying after dinner and that he would ride with me.  We got through dinner and the kids in jammies.  I put a movie on upstairs and I headed down to the RTN, wondering if I'd actually have company.  Down he came with bike in hand.  I can honestly say I do not remember the last time Klucker rode the trainer; and I could probably count on one hand the number of times in total.  It was a good change of pace to my normally solitary confinement. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

105/365: Snow Ride, Take It Easy

There are some rides that are more epic than others. And then there is just plain craziness. This one falls somewhere on that spectrum. Lo & Alice planned our little adventure this morning--the City on cx bikes. Kate and Cindi were on board, and I invited Ryan to our little adventure.

Ryan had time constraints, so he and I met a little early. We headed down West Pine to Forest Park. I didn't know if I'd make it upright through those two blocks. It was thick and slow going. I kept telling myself to pedal through softly. We hit cleared pavement and the rest wasn't so bad. We did a lap through the park and headed back to meet the rest of the group. Somehow West Pine didn't seem as treacherous on the way back.

The group headed east from Ventana. Just as we were heading out, the snow began to fall. Couple that with an east wind, and Lindell was a bear to ride. Cindy turned around near downtown because she was riding slick cx tires and the roads were getting sketchy. From Lindell we took Broadway to Choteau. We stopped at the Taco Bell parking lot because I swore I had another flat. (I did have a tire kit with me though!) It was solid, but I think the snow and ice on my rim caused it to feel bumpy. Ryan needed to head back from there, and considering I had lost feeling in my fingers, I decided I would too. The ladies kept going for a bit longer. Our ride down Choteau was excellent. We had a tail wind the whole way. We cut back over to Ventana via Vandevener, and enjoyed a latte before heading home.

Kate had the right idea with the ski goggles.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

104/365: Getting off the RTN

My workout schedule for this weekend called for 3.5 hours on the bike one day, and a 30 minute run and Frostbike the other day.  Frostbike was cancelled due to the massive amounts of snow we got on Wednesday and Thursday, and the forecast for more snow Friday night and Sunday.  And the fact that the City only plows main arteries.  I decided I would get the longer workout out of the way first, so I needed 3.5 hours today.  I sent out emails trying to gather a group for a Katy Trail ride or a trainer party, but to no avail.  I hopped on my trainer and started spinning.  My plan was to break the workout into three 70 minute segments with a 10 minute break between each.  I have Season 1, Disc 1 & 2 of The Closer from Netflix, so I was set. 
My first break was timed perfectly.  Jeffrey stopped by to see Bella, so I hopped off and hung out with the family for a bit.  I got back on for round 2 and was entertained by a Nerf war around me in the basement.  It was amusing to watch grown men pit children against each other, even building a fort for Bella's defense.  All good things must come to end, and eventually Jeffrey had to leave.  I managed to get 80 minutes done during this session. I had thoughts of going longer, just staying on for the last hour without a break.  Then I checked Facebook and Accuweather.  The mtb reports from people looked inviting.  Accuweather said it was sunny, 26F, and no wind.  To hell with the RTN, get Eddy ready I'm going outside!
I decided against my "normal" cx route because I didn't trust my climbing in snow abilities, and I've actually only ridden the first hill the entire way once.  So I stuck to the roads until I hit the trail by the Legion where the old railroad tracks used to go.  The gravel section was easily rideable.  I found I did better if I made my own line and avoided foot prints.  I hit the rock section next.  It was a little tougher of a go, but not bad at all.  Then I hit the paved section.  It was smooth.  It was also peaceful and beautiful.  No one else was out.
Once the trail ended, I hit the road.  I only had about 30 minutes left to do, so I decided to go out and take a lap down the levee.  Depending on how it looked, I could come back the paved road or a farm road.  At some point I noticed my heart rate was running high and that I felt like I was working hard.  The roads weren't completely clear, so I wrote it off as that.  Then I turned off the main levee to a short section and felt my rear tire slide.  I knew what that meant.  I wouldn't be deciding to take the farm road or field road, I would be walking.  I was flat.  I had no tube.  I had no levers. I had no CO2.  For a few minutes, I tried to ride it out.  I was less than four miles from home.  I was going no where fast though.  I finally called Klucker for a ride.  That didn't stop me from trying to get those last fifteen minutes in though.  I even tried shouldering it and running a bit. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

103/365: Before

The term "neat freak" conjures up visions of someone walking around, straightening items on desks, pictures on walls.  I'm not like that.  But I have a thing about organization and order.  I think it has to do with me trying to squeeze as much into my waking hours as possible.  I've kept a calendar since I started college.  I about lost it a few months ago when my flash drive crashed and I lost my Christmas card chart and address labels.  I have a template for my grocery list that's laid out in the order your walk through the grocery store.  While I've gotten a little less rigid since having the kids, I still have a need for everything to be in order. 
Today I had a snow day and, wouldn't you guess it, it's smack during the middle of the elfa sale at the Container Store.  Ever since I did Bella's closet and my laundry room closet last winter, I've been dreaming about doing my entire laundry room and my closet.  In the perfect world, I would do be able to do both at the same time.  Reality inhibits my spending though so I had to prioritize.  The laundry room is more crucial than my closet, so it's up to bat.  In order to document this process, I took before pictures.  You can tell there's a little bit of everything in here.  In addition to the washer and dryer, our large freezer is in here.  We also keep Diesel's kennel in here, and our cycling gear.  The scope of this project is requiring that it be phased in.  Phase I was stacking the washer and dryer, which has been completed.  (Thanks, Klucker!)  Phase II will be painting two walls:  the one with the door and one with the window.  Phase III is installing elfa on the wall with the window.  Phase IV will be painting the rest of the room.  Finally Phase V is installing elfa where the current shelf is located.  It's going to be a ton of work (most because of the painting) but I'm gitty about it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

102/365: Raising a Girl

I almost cried when I found out I was pregnant with a girl.  Having grown up in a cliquish, small town and having worked in education for 12 years, I knew how difficult girls were.  Being the mother to one scared the hell out of me.  Now, four years later and still at the beginning of my long journey as the mother of a girl, I can say I was right to feel that way. 
From the beginning raising Bella has been quite a different experience.  While she talks non-stop once she gets comfortable with someone, she's always slow to warm to people.  What gets me the most is her relationships with other kids.  Boo made a best friend and girl friend when he went to pre-school.  Even though he doesn't go to school with either of them any more, he'll still refer to them both that way.  Bella changes besties almost as frequently as she changes clothes, which on a weekend is two or three times a day. 
Tonight Bella had a birthday party for a girl in her pre-school class.  She has gone to preschool with the girl for almost two years now.  I was really excited when this girl started because her mom and I are friends.  For the first 15 months this little girl was there, Bella wanted nothing to do with her.  I'd ask her about the girl and she'd roll her eyes.  I'd hear about one of the other girls, the friend du jour.  But yesterday, Bella tells me she wants to have a slumber party and have the birthday girl and another girl spend the night.  The other girls now tease her.  The other girls are mean.  I would wonder if my daughter were a victim but tonight I heard that she told a different little girl to "toughen up, buttercup."  Ah, Bella--while it still scares the hell out of me to think I am raising this little creature, I can't imagine my life without the joy, and drama, she creates.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

101/365: He's Growing Up So Quickly

You always hear the line "they grow up so quickly," but it doesn't sink in until you watch it happen, and some days I'm afraid to blink because I'll miss something.  Today was one of those growing up moments, a small milestone, but yet still something that made me realize Boo won't be my little boy forever. 
Let me start by taking you back to Saturday.  I came home from riding and we were going to have leftovers for lunch.  Boo didn't want enchilada casserole.  He wasn't eating it.  Using one of my favorite "mom" lines I told him I wasn't a short order cook and he could either eat what we were having or fix something himself.  Now he's six, I really didn't expect him to fix something himself.  I expected him to pout and give in and eat enchilada casserole.  I should have known better.  He got a stool and took it to the pantry where he proceeded to get the loaf of bread.  He then went to the refrigerator and got ham and cheese and made himself a sandwich.  I just watched in disbelief.  As he smugly ate his sandwich, he asked me when he was taking his lunch to school again.  I told Wednesday.  He then asked Klucker if he could pack his own lunch on Wednesday.  Klucker told him yes as long as he was dressed and ready and wasn't "goofing" in the morning.
This morning I came upstairs from the trainer and sat on the couch for a few minutes before Klucker's alarm went off.  I heard movement upstairs and assumed it was Bella, my non-sleeping child.  No, it was Boo who climbed into my lap fully dressed, ready to make his lunch.  He cuddled me until I had to get ready for work and then he patiently watched Netflix on my iPad until Klucker finally told him he could pack his lunch.  He got out the ham and cheese while his dad got the bread for him.  We had a talk about having a healthy lunch, although that didn't stop him from asking for candy. 
I know it won't be long until his Buzz Lightyear lunch box is replaced with a paper bag or something else.  And while it scares me to think about my little boy growing into a young man, I love watching him grow and learn.  I love watching his excitement and enthusiasm when he does something for the first time. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

100/365: The Hidden View

I've had a hard time taking photos and writing the last few days.  I was fixated on it yesterday as I sat down to upload photos and blog.  When I decided to begin my 365 project, my goal was twofold; first was to increase the amount of photos I was taking.  I realized that when Boo was first born, I was a shutterbug, snapping the smallest thing.   But I haven't been that fidel about it as of late.  I realized that during 2009, I took more photos of races than I did my kids.  That bothered me.  My second aim was to increase the amount of blogs I posted.  I wanted to move past my race reports, although I still plan on writing them during the season, to move consistent writing.  The reasoning is that my bucket list still has the line item of getting published.  It has felt like my posts the last few days have been no more than checking an item off my to do list.  Writing is easiest to me when I find something that moves me, something that has a pull. 

Today on my way home, I found a photo that did just that.  This house is on the corner of Union and Delmar.  I've passed it many times, but today it spoke to me.  In another life, I would be an architect, specializing in restoration of historic buildings.  I've always had a thing about structures that have withstood the test of time.  This house has.  I would have loved to pull over and take a variety of shots so that you could see the true beauty of the front facade.  But this angle actually speaks to me more.  At one time, this house was surrounded by other homes.  You would not have seen the rear additions, the functional walls.  You would have only seen the front, what the builder wanted you to see. However time has not been kind to this neighborhood.  Urban decay has plagued the structures that once surrounded this one.  Can you picture the building that might have stood on the corner, possibly a shop of some type?  I would almost guarantee both the front and the side were designed for aesthetics. 

How much is this lone building like we are as people?  We put up that front facade that we expect everyone will see.  But what happens when those flanking structures fall?  What happens when we stand alone?  What's the harsh reality that remains?  How do you make sure you will stand the test of time?  Those aren't simple questions to answer, but I believe that the answers lie in knowing who you are and being happy with that person.  It's also realizing that people are going to form a perception of you, good, bad or indifferent, and you cannot control it.  Being a bit of a control freak and pleaser, that part is hard for me.  It's hard to accept that I can do my best and be the nicest, kindest, ooey-gooeyist person I know how to be and someone may still just not like me.  But I also know, that someone my view me like I view this house.  Even though I see the parts that were supposed to be hidden, I still think it's lovely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

99/365: Two Pot Day

Two pot days don't happen very often for me.  Normally, I get one to two cups of coffee and have to call it done because I'm out the door for a ride or work or something else.  Today was different.  I got up and ran early before Klucker left for work.  I had two cups when I got home and then hit the trainer.  If it would just be me, I would have stopped there, but Jamie was coming over.  That was my excuse anyway.  The second pot almost tastes better than the first because it's such a rare thing, especially on a weekday.

Most of my second pot days come on a weekend afternoon when the girls come over to ride.  And it's almost always in the cold weather.  We come in, and while we unlayer, Klucker brews coffee for us.  It's to the cold on the inside what the fire in the fireplace is to the outside cold. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

98/365: She May Not Sleep, But She Loves to Cuddle

Bella is the most non-sleeping child I have ever met.  She seriously would survive on eight hours of sleep a day if she could.  For a four year old, that's unusual.  And while she hates to sleep, she loves to cuddle.  The first thing she does when she gets up, be it in the morning or from a nap, is come looking for me.  She'll nuzzle her head into my legs if I'm standing, or simply crawl up on me if I'm sitting.  Today I was on the couch so she scrambled right up on top of me.  I lifted the blanket I had and under she went.  If you look closely, she's still not quite awake.  It usually takes her about 10 minutes before she can speak.  And after that, you can't get her to stop.  I have to say, the moments like these are the ones I treasure.  I know as time passes, they'll become few and far between.  I drink them in now while I can.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

97/365: I Still Can't Trust Him Completely

I came home to this sight tonight.  I forgot to weight the lid of the kitchen trashcan.  Diesel-nator 10-5000, the ultimate chewing machine, reaked havoc.  I bought a pork roast at the grocery store today and repackaged it to freeze.  I then threw away the original packaging as well as packaging from other food.  I guess to a brittany/beagle mix, it smells like a feast. 

Diesel, in most ways, is the best behaved dog with whom I've lived.  He listens to me.  He crate trained easily.  But like most beagles, he's a chewer.  He's just a few month shy of being two years old, so there are still a few puppy ways left in him and this is one of them.  I guess I still need to work on my own training to remember to take the food trash outside or weight down the trash.

Friday, January 14, 2011

96/365: It's Genetic

Have you ever wondered at what point men think they own the remote?  Well, obviously by age six if you count this as evidence. 

Boo is such a funny, little guy.  He told the pedetrician in November that he can't read but he certainly can look at a program guide and figure out if Ben Ten, Bakugans or Phineas and Ferb are on.  He was also able to figure out how to stream Netflix to our tv downstairs after sitting there while I set up the account.  He amazes me with how quickly he picks up on things.  The good news is, while he's intuitive, observant and perceptive, he's not sneaky.  It's the only thing that'll save us.  My brother predicts the current over/under for our house is six...that's how many times the police and/or fire department will be there before Boo is 18.

im Speicher

I got the text to call when I had a minute.  I had some stuff going on, so I waited.  I finally called and got the news.  I didn't expect that.  I hung up and the tears came.  I didn't expect to hear that she was gone.  I've been worried about the health of so many others, but not her.  She hasn't really been with us for a number of years.  Her body's been there, but her mind was either trapped or moved elsewhere.
The last time I saw her was a party at the nursing home, maybe for last Christmas.  They wheeled her out, but she didn't know most of us.  She had glimpses of lucidity, but the gears just weren't catching.  I think the last time I remember her as her was some right after my daughter was born. 
We take for granted the people in our lives.  We go through the motion of day-to-day living, assuming our loved ones will always be there.  We don't take the time to call or visit because "we're just too busy."  I stopped taking the time for her after college.  I was teaching, coaching, going to school.  I got married, divorced, remarried, had kids.  I didn't call, I didn't visit.  I invited her to celebrations.  I spent time with her when we were at the same place, but I didn't make an effort.  For that, I am truly remorseful.  She was a special lady.
When my parent adopted me, there was a law that for the first year of my life with them, I could not be cared for by non-family members.  That meant while my cousins all went to daycare as infants, I went to her house.  It must have made an impression on me, because I remember as a three-year-old throwing a small tantrum that I would not go back to Miss Lee's, I wanted to go to her house.  Since my fits were pretty spectacular, and even at that age I was headstrong, my parents acquiesced.  So until I went to kindergarten, my days were spent with her. 
I remember kneeling on the kitchen chair, rolling out dough for chicken and dumplings.  I remember her chasing a snapping turtle into a garbage can with a broom so she could make turtle soup.  I remember frozen glazed donuts, heated in the toaster oven, for breakfast.  Each day after nap, I'd get to watch Mr. Rogers; our game was always guessing which color sweater he would choose.  I remember VBS at the Lutheran Church.  After I started school, I would go to her house on holidays.  She'd always send me to the basement where I'd bring up a jar of blackberries or pickles or some other goody she had canned and knew I loved.  I drank my milk out of a plastic coffee cup that was kept just for me.  It's probably still there.  I can remember her giving me a perm when I was four and I cried because I was afraid my mom wouldn't recognize me with curly hair.  I remember being driven to her house every year on Halloween until I stopped trick or treating because she wanted to see me in my costume.  Most of all, I remember she loved me unconditionally.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

95/365: The Days Slowly Grow

As I drove home today, I was struck by the amount of light.  While it isn't the long days of May and June, Accuweather says we're up to 9.7 hours between sunrise and sunset.  That's good news to me.  Last winter, as I worked to implement my training schedule with more fidelity, I became more acutely aware of the amount of light and dark.  I found myself pushing my limits in November and March, eeking out the daylight I could.  I tried some night riding in November this year, and while I enjoyed it, it's not as plausible on my poorly lit home roads.  So I long for the time change.  I crave 10+ hour days.  I relish the thought of after work rides followed by impromptu dinners.  They will come.

For now I will enjoy the days that I can actually see a sunset through the clouds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

94/365: Meet Jimmy

Happy Father's Day, Anniversary, Birthday and Merry Christmas all rolled into one!  This is Jimmy, Klucker's mountain bike.  After his first crit this spring, Klucker decided he wanted a mountain bike.  That's significant, but more about that in another entry.  So he did his Klucker-thing and obsessed over it and researched it until he finally found what he wanted, a Dillinger from Soul Cycles.  I've been married to him long enough to know when to give in so I did so quickly. 

"Fine, order the frame, it can be your Father's Day present."

Because after all, he already had all the parts he needed in the garage from building up someone else's bike.  (I knew that was a bunch of hookie because I've fallen for similar lines like that from him previously.)  So June got here, but the bike didn't.  It was back ordered, it would be here in late July.  Luckily I got him a great Specialized race bag for Father's Day.

July came and went with no frame.  We bought each other furniture for the basement instead of the frame, or a trip to Mexico. 

August came, but a frame did not.  It would be early September.  I tried to buy Klucker a different MTB, but cancelled the order after he pouted.  I also took him to Big Shark and told him to pick one out.  He sulked like a little kid.  Instead, I got Klucker a pair of Time MTB pedals; I figured if the frame ever got here, he'd be set.  Good think I plan for contingencies 'cause the frame material got held up in China.

Somewhere in early November, Klucker got an email saying the frames would be ready in a couple of weeks.  About that time, Klucker mentioned that he would need a few things for the bike when it got here and he a shopping cart on a website with those things in it.  Oh, and by the way, he'd also need bars, a post post and a wheelset.  (But he had everything in the garage!)  So I hacked into his shopping cart and ordered what he had in there.  I was well prepared for the frame not to arrive. 

Christmas morning came and Klucker opened his mtb in a box.  He acted surprise.  And then, December 27, he successfully ordered the frame.  And then came the wheelset, bars, and seat post.  Somehow he made out like a bandit in this whole deal. 

So the building began.  Tonight I came home to the finished product.  Hopefully, this obsession will not go the way of the airsoft guns, the climbing harness or the telescopes.  Our garage is much too full for all of his unused whims.  This one needs to be fully utilized.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

93/365: Walking Home From School

With the amount of time I spent on the couch yesterday, I didn't manage to squeeze my workouts in my day.  And being the rule follower I am, I felt like I needed to get do them.  Thankfully today was a snow day!  I needed to make up yesterday's 45 minute run with six striders and a 60 minute spin with neuromuscular and muscular endurance work.  Today is a recovery day, so my workout was a 40 minute walk with the dogs.  I managed to do my spin and run indoors, but how do you walk the dog indoors?  Plus, the kids gave me grief about picking them up early today.  (Boo did not have a snow day.)  So I had an idea.  Diesel and I could walk over to Boo's school and get him and the three of us would walk home.  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Having kids has taught me to plan for contingencies.  I knew Boo left the house wearing a hoodie and jeans with his Nikes.  He had on his winter coat and gloves.  He was dressed appropriately for the weather.  But after being his mother for six years, I know he doesn't always return home in the same condition in which he leaves.  So I packed my messenger bag with his snow boots, another hoodie, gloves, a scarf, and a hat.  I snuck Diesel out of the house because I knew Daisy would want to go, but her old legs and fat belly wouldn't be game for the two hills we'd have to walk.  Off we went.

In my mind, school was a lot farther than it actually is.  I gave us 35 minutes to walk there.  It took us 12.  It was 22F and the wind was blustery, so Diesel and I kept walking.  I was afraid we'd get cold if we stood too long.  So we headed over to the school with about 15 minutes to wait.  We stood behind a wall to block the wind and watched the parents drive up and stay in their running cars to stay warm.  The Dieselnator began to shiver, so I had to kneel down and cuddle him.  Finally the buses pulled out and we moved to the red pick up line.  Boo comes out holding his teacher's hand.  (Of course he does, where else does the teacher put the class clown?)  Wait for it, wait for it.  Yep, there it is!  He sees Diesel, beams, and comes running.  That's what I was wanting! 

My first question is about his gloves.  They're in daddy's truck.  Next, what does he have on under the hoody. A thermal t-shirt--that'll work.  I reach in my bag to pull out the boots and other items to find there is only one boot.  You've got to be kidding me!  Where did I drop it?  I can't do much about it at that exact moment, so I just set about adding the appropriate cold weather accessories to my son's person.  Scarf around the neck, hat on the head, and finally gloves on the hands.

"Mommy, what are you doing?"

"I'm getting you ready to walk home."

"Why Mommy?  Where's the Audi?"

"At home."

"How'd you get here?"

"I walked."

Sometimes the brightest ones can still be a little slow on the uptake.  I really don't want to have to buy him a new pair of snow boots, so I decide we'd retrace the long path Diesel and I took on the way to get him.  I held my hand out and we set to walking.  The first thing I realized was that his little legs need three steps to keep up with my long strides.  I know I asked him at least seven times if I needed to slow down.  I would and then, without realizing it, I would speed up again.  I think he ran tempo most of the way home.  We finished the add-on section of the walk and still no boot.  Boo was convinced it would be on the big hill . . . and it was.  He sprinted up the hill as fast as his legs would take him.  We stopped at the boot so he could put it on before we continued home.

I have to say this adventure was one of the best "mommy" times I've ever had.  Boo and I talked our entire walk.  He openly talked about his day at school without me feeling like I was prying.  I think he repeated, verbatim, the entire lesson on penguins.  He tried to convince me we should walk to pick Bella up from CP.  Everytime I would give him a reason we couldn't, he found a way around it.  And he's already looking foward to the next time Mommy can walk him home from school.

Monday, January 10, 2011

92/365: They Never Tasted So Good

I don't know what happened.  It started in the early evening yesterday.  I didn't feel quite right.  We were supposed to go out, but I cancelled and I'm glad I did.  From about 7PM Sunday night until about 5PM tonight, I have limited recollection.  The stomach bug hit hard.  I tried eating dinner on Sunday.  I tried to sleep it off.  I tried the bed.  I tried the couch.  I think I actually hallucinated for a while.  This morning I had Klucker bring me crackers.  I tried one and waited.  An hour later I tried another.  Ok, I thought, I'm out of the woods.  I tried to get up to fix toast.  I made it from the couch to the kitchen table and had to sit down.  After a few minutes I ventured to the pantry where I had to sit on the floor.  After segmenting this simple event into tens of steps, I got my toast.  The next six hours were filled with brief waking moments of me looking at the television to see what time it was and rolling back over.  Around 4 I actually was able to sit up for more than 10 minutes.  But then the awful headache hit.  I waited to shower until Klucker got home because I didn't know if I could stand that long.  Tonight I graduated to about a half cup of mac and cheese.  It's been two hours and I think I'm ok.  The funny thing is, with all the sleeping I've done today, I can't wait to go to bed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

91/365: You Ride Your Bike in This Weather?

To answer that question quickly:  YES!  Frostbike 2011 began this weekend.  The purpose of Frostbike is simple, to get women comfortable with riding their bikes in all types of weather.  We get them to push their limits.  Sunday, at ride time, it was about 22 degrees.  Yet over 30 rode through the streets of St. Louis.  What's even better is that we had 15 women riding on Saturday in colder temps. 

Once upon a time, I had a riding threshhold of 40 degrees.  And I thought I was amazing.  I made a promise to myself that I would get out and ride at least once a month all winter long.  And I did it.  I can remember thinking how much better of a rider I would be than everyone else because I was so hard core.  I laugh at my foolishness.  Last year, my promise was to get out and ride at least once a week all winter long.  And I did it.  I can't tell you it wasn't hard at times, but I will say it was fun.  I did it because I knew there would be other racers out riding in the cold and they couldn't get stronger than me.  If I wanted to be competitive, I'd better ride.  The coldest weather we rode in last year was 11F at ride time. It warmed up to 14F by the time we finished.  I am now sensible enough to know that no matter how much I push my comfort and my extremes, there will be someone who goes further.  I'm ok with that, but I'm not ok with being a slave to the climate.  My goal this winter is two-fold.  The first part being the same as last year, at least once a week outside on the bike.  The second is to not miss a workout. 
Our Sunday Group

Saturday, January 8, 2011

90/365: When Papa Says No

Boo is Papa's boy.  I think I've written before that my father-in-law takes his role as sole grandpa to my son very seriously.  He often indulges both of my kids, spoiling them rotten, as a grandparent should.  At our house, the kids get extremely excited when they go to Grandma and Papa's.  Saturday morning, Klucker had to work so he took the kids to his parents' house for a few hours so that I could get my training done.  (yes, I'm spoiled too.)  When he got there to retrieve them, Boo could be heard outside yelling that he wanted to go home.  That's never happened. Klucker got them packed up and brought them home.  Our plans for the evening were to go back to my inlaws for a Klucker family dinner . . . all the Kluckers.  It was a pretty big deal.  Boo did not want to go.  He was adament about it.  So much so when we got there, he wouldn't get out of the car.    We went inside and shared this with Big Klucker who went out to retrieve him.  Within minutes, Papa was carrying Boo in the house with the boy being all smiles. 
So what was the problem, you ask?  Because I certainly did.  It seems as lunch time, Papa made PBJ for Bella and offered ham and cheese to the boy.  The favorites for each of them.  Enter the problem.  Papa couldn't find the cheese.  Well, in Boo's world, you can't have ham without cheese.  He crossed his arms and refused to eat.  He gave Papa a pretty serious look as well.  Impressively, Papa didn't cave to the pressure.  He told Boo that's what he was getting, nothing else.  He didn't give into the terroristic demands of my playboy six year old.  He also mad him remain at the table.  And so began the screaming. 
I have to say that Big Klucker couldn't have made me happier.  He drew a line for my boy and stuck to it.  More than that, he did it with love and compassion. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

89/365: Another Day I'm Glad I'm No Longer a Principal

As I looked out the window this morning, I thought of another reason I'm happy I'm no longer a school principal--snow.  The forecast today is for intermittant snow, a dusting, no accumulation.  However I can still hear the voices "Dr. J, will we get out early?" or "When are we going home?"  The latter was actually my favorite question because my answer was always "after lunch."  I just didn't say how long after lunch.  If a light dusting actually occurs before dismissal, the office will be flooded with phone calls from parents about if school would be cancelling.  Or then there are the parents who just show up to get their kids because the roads are getting bad.  Ah, the good old days! 
Instead, I now get to sit in my office and enjoy the view.  I went out at lunch and got coffee because a good strong cup always tastes better when it's snowing.  I can also happily look forward to a fire and red wine when I get home tonight.  That's what snow should bring.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

88/365: I Assume February Will Bring a Heart

This is Boo's latest "family" homework project.  Decorate the attached snowman so we can hang him in the hall for January.  November was a turkey and December was the Christmas tree.  This one was more a family project than the last two, primarily because we used hot glue and I was afraid of burns and a trip to SLU.  Klucker attached the twig arms and the holly badge.  I did the embossing powder on the hat and hot glued the eyes and nose.  Boo did pick out all the buttons we used. 
We should be getting Boo's report card soon.  The semester ended in December and I'm sure teachers had to have grades ready this week.  I'm in a little angst over it.  Boo is very smart--not sure whether to say gifted or just well-prepared and supported.  Regardless, so far he's got this kindergarten curriculum whipped.  You'd assume that's a good thing.  It would be if Boo were a pleaser like Bella.  Little man is not; he is a clown--an active, hyper, sarcastic clown.  He doesn't sit still well, he's in constant motion, and he's usually two steps ahead of the game.  That doesn't bode well in a traditional classroom setting.  During conferences in October I heard how he had mastered all of first and second quarter, as well as part of third quarter objectives.  Then the other shoe fell about him talking out and not sitting still.  I was expecting this and I actually prayed that his teacher didn't mention ADHD or medication; that would not have ended well for her.
I will admit it, as an educator, I was bothered that my son was not the best (i.e. smartest and most well behaved) kid in class.  It took me a few days to process and come to the decision that I really don't give a damn about him getting in trouble for talking and being loud as long as he's not being mean and is doing the assigned work.  I've seen too many bright kids turned off by our education system . . . they get in trouble at school, and then at home, and then begin hating school.  They are disengaged by middle school and either struggle or drop out of high school.  NOT MY SON.  I won't allow it.  We talk about his day each evening.  I ask him what he learned and if he had fun.  When he tells me he got in trouble, I encourage him to be calm and quiet.  Then I hug him and tell him I love him.  In the morning I tell him to have a great day and tell him I love him again.  I know eventually I will be back at the school advocating for my son.  I will not be as accomodating to his teacher as I was in October.  I will asked her reflective questions as I would with a teacher whom I had just evaluated.  If she doesn't seem responsive, I will move to a more directive roll.  I will be relentless on the quest for an outstanding, challenging education for him.  He deserves nothing less. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

87/365: My View This Morning

I got the idea for this photo from my friend Steph's blog.  She's working on writing more and wrote a blog entry while on her trainer.  So this morning, iPad and camera in hand, I headed to the basement.  Wednesdays are my tough workout days.  Coach Chuck had a 40 minute run with 2 fartlek ladders and a 60 minute easy spin on my schedule.  Plus, I choose to do a conditioning class on Wednesday evenings because I love to feel humiliated at how weak I am and be barely able to walk on Thursdays.

While I didn't write this entry from the trainer, I was much to groggy for that, I made myself acutely aware as to how I was feeling during the workout.  By necessity, I am a morning person.  I do many of my workouts from 4-5AM so that they don't interfere with my family or work.  Plus, during the summer months, it's a great time to be outside.  During January, not so much.  Typically my AM workouts are my runs.  There is no one out that early to see my poor form or to laugh at the painful expression as I trudge up and down the streets of town.  Today I chose to do my bike in the morning because speed work is much easier for me to do on a treadmill.  (I can make myself run at a specified pace that way.)  To be able to workout that early, I plan ahead.  My clothes are sitting out in the bathroom, shoes are along side my bike, a filled waterbottle is in the fridge, and my Garmin is sitting by the top of the stairs.

As I locked into my pedals I thought about how heavy my legs felt.  It was as if there were extra weight added to them.  It took a lot of effort to spin at an 85 cadence in an easy gear.  I thought about feeling lucky that today's bike was an easy spin.  I turned on the DVD plan and loaded the next episode of Mad Men.  I questioned myself about how I was able to run so easily this early, but the riding was feeling so difficult.  About eight minutes in, I added a gear and finally was able to hit 90rpm.  I switched between sitting straight up and having my hands on the hoods.  I could seem to get comfortable.  Somewhere after 15 minutes, the blood began to flow better.  My head still felt foggy, but my legs had more life in them.  Actual proof, to me, of the value of a warm up. 

I picked up my camera and took two shots of my view.  Nothing exciting to see.  Most trips to the trainer require me to pick up Barbies, Nerf toys and Wii accessories.  I looked over at the iPad and decided against trying to blog and ride.  I wasn't sure I had that much in my brain or in my ability to coordinate so many movements at once. 

My brain finally began to clear about 35 minutes into the spin.  I began to contemplate the day ahead, what I had to do.  As I did this, I noticed my cadence was speeding up as well.  I was finally maintaining 90+ without concentrating on it.  I was beginning to feel normal.  It made me question those people who are up and out the door in the morning.  Do their brains really engage that quickly?  I would be forgetting everything if I didn't take the time to process my day ahead. 

My hour passed quickly.  I hopped off the bike and headed upstairs to the day ahead.  Work and two more workouts await.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

86/365: Law of Abundance

I'm not a superstitious person.  I will step on cracks.  I will go in one door and out another in a house.  I will try to pet the black cat that's crossing my path as I walk under a ladder.  But last year in January, I was feeling a bit vunerable.  I was in my first year at a new job, just got word that my salary would be frozen which actually meant it was being cut because the state required us to increase our retirement contribution, and I was writing the final check to pay for Christmas.  So when I heard about the Chinese Law of Abundance, I gave it a shot.  The idea is this:
Within 24 hours of the first new moon of the year.  You write yourself a "blank check."  It's made out to you, the memo says "paid in full" and it's signed "Law of Abundance."  You date it, but you leave the amount blank.  You're supposed to carry this with you everywhere and periodically take it and look at it and visualize financial success.
I wrote the check on January 14, 2010 and folded it and put it in my wallet.  When I switched wallets, I put the check in my new one.  And almost everytime I took out my racing license, I looked at my check.  Now I can't say that we came into a huge windfall during 2010, but I can say that we weathered the pay cut and other things well.  And I can say it gave me some calmness when I stressed about money at different times.
This year, the new moon came a little earlier.  It's funny, I was actually thinking about my folded check and the lore behind it when I saw a post on Facebook about the Law of Abundance, so before going to bed, I wrote my check.  It's now folded, in the location of last year's.  And I'll see what happens.  Afterall, I figure it can't hurt.  There's definitely some truth the power of positive thinking, so I'll keep thinking that we'll be financially abundant.

Monday, January 3, 2011

85/365: Ready for School

Back to school for all of us today.  The kids were both home for ten days.  For me it was 16 days away from work.  I enjoyed it, but I recognize that we all need structure in this house. 

Boo is not a morning kid, he is a sleeper.  Most days we have to wake him to go to school.  Getting him to get dressed is usually a chore, so I don't even bother with his hair.  The funny thing is, at some point today, he realized how he looked.  He came home this evening with his hair down and neat.  When I asked him about it, he said he wet it down in the bathroom and make it look nice.  What a player!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

84/365: Whose Christmas Present Was That?

Klucker bought me an iPad for Christmas.  I love it.  It's exactly what I was hoping it would be.  I can have it on the end table and check Facebook while I watch TV.  I can have it next to me on the trainer.  I take it to the kitchen to Google recipes.  I'm already addicted to the App Store, but am pacing myself.  The only real problem I see with it is that I have to pry it out of everyone else's hands.  This photo is a perfect example.  One of the coolest things it will do is stream Netflix (and yes I know any computer with internet access can do that).  The kids have become fans of "the baby show"  a.k.a. Rugrats.  They also like the bubble game and the snowman game.  It amazed me to watch them pick it up and instantly know how to navigate the apps.  Klucker is also hooked on the bubble game.  The moment the iPad is set down, it's in someone else's hands.  And typically it's not my hands!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

83/365: Her Daddy Even Made Her Wash the Dishes

After almost a week, Bella got to bake in her Easy Bake oven.  The first creation was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting that she ate all by herself.  Klucker, having not had an Easy Bake as a child, got to help in this process.  They mixed the cake together and he helped her slide it in oven.  They pushed it through to the cooling chamber and made the frosting while it cooled.  Bella then iced it herself and sat down to enjoy.

The best part of this process was Klucker making Bella wash all of her own dishes.  He kept reminding her that he didn't leave dirty dishes out when they made gingerbread.  He'd check her work and made her wash several pieces twice.  And considering Klucker's already looked up Easy Bake recipes on Google, I'm curious as to how many father/daughter baking projects we'll have.