Monday, February 28, 2011
Poppy was my dad's dad. He was from Southern Illinois. He and my Maama lived there until the 1940s when the CCC work was done and Poppy needed a job. He walked into the B&O Railroad to see what they had available. They asked him if he could type. He told them he had taken typing in high school. They told him to sit down and get to work. He responded that he hadn't brought dinner (lunch) with him. They told him there was a diner across the street. So Poppy worked there until the late 70s/early 80s when he retired. After he retired, Poppy got into a lot of things. One of the things he did was to make wind chimes. All of his kids soon had a set. While his chimes weren't as pretty as these, the sound of wind chimes always make me think of him.
These chimes, in particular, hold a special place in my heart. When my daddy died almost five years ago, my cousins bought these for me in leiu of flowers. Their hope was that these were more permanent than flowers or a plant and that the sight and sound of them would bring me happiness. It does.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I wish, instead, I could have taken a self portrait today as I was riding. I glowed. I did something today I've never done. I rode up Hanover Road from Bluff Road. I had a shred wish today. I rode four hours yesterday, and I wanted to ride hills today. I wanted my legs to ache. Now in hindsight, I probably have ridden steeper, longer hills in Hermann or Ste. Gen, but I have never had enough confidence in my riding and climbing to take on this hill. Don't ask me why, I can't tell you. But today, I was mad enough, frustrated enough, that I wanted my legs to hurt as much as my heart is hurting right now . . . more on that later. Next up is D road.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
I've been thinking a lot about technology and the way it has shaped our interactions with others. In many ways I am so much more connected with friends and acquaintances through Facebook, Twitter, email and blogs than I could have ever imagined. I don't hesitate to send someone a quick text when I'm thinking about them, whereas prior to the that technology I wouldn't have been so quick to pick up the phone. It's opened pathways I wouldn't have thought possible as recent as ten years ago.
Technology is having an impact on the ways our kids interact and learn. I recently read the first three chapters (sent out as a tease...it worked) of a new book, Understanding the Digital Generation. The gist of it talks about how we need to teach kids skills for the 21st century instead of the skills we focused on during the Industrial Age until now. I'll probably end up buying the book, hopefully electronically!, because it really peaked my interest. I had the opportunity to hear two of the authors, Ian Jukes and Lee Crockett, speak within the last two years. Interestingly enough, much of their collaboration for this and their previous book occurred without them ever meeting face-to-face. That idea was my real muse of the idea of connection for this shot today.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
My friend Shelly from high school has been changing up her Facebook profile picture a lot lately. Some of her portrait shots are very cool. I think she may have an app on her iPhone for editing her photos and adding monochromatic color. Whatever she's doing, I really like them. Today's photo is an idea I borrowed from her. She had a similar shot posted as her profile pic for a few days. I liked it so I decided to try it. Taking it helped me learn a little bit more about my camera, which is one of my goals in this project. I learned how to use the timer . . . and I did it without reading the instruction manuel!
Some of my photos subjects will be changing. I did some googling today and found a site called the Daily Shoot. It gives a daily photo "assignment". I'm going to try to complete their daily assignment in addition to looking for other things which resonate with me. I'm hoping it will jump start my sometimes stalled creativity.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
When I got the low battery signal on my watch about two weeks ago, the impending sense of dread came over me. It was time to ship it to Texas and to do without data on run for two weeks. The thought crossed my mind to just buy a Garmin Forerunner 410 and be done with Polar. But $30 versus $450 didn't seem like a logical and economical move. I decided to try something else.
I follow Polar's CEO on Twitter (@ChrisPolarUSA) and so I tweeted him asking how to speed up the process. He involved the Polar repair center in Washington state (@PolarGuy88) and the next thing I knew I had a promise Rob would put the new battery in and ship it back to me the day he received it. I would still be without it for a few days, but it was looking much better. I mailed the watch via USPS Priority flat rate box on February 11. Rob sent me a message on February 14 that it was finished and he was returning it via USPS Priority. I checked the tracking number on Tuesday and there was no update. I checked on Wednesday and there was no update. I check on Thursday and it was at my local post office. I was shocked! I would have my watch back in less than a week--Amazing. I shouldn't have celebrated so soon. Somehow it took my local post office (that serves a town of 9,000) until Saturday to have it delivered. And by that time I was in Texas at base camp. In all reality, I got the watch back sooner than I would have otherwise. Still, it makes me wonder if FedEx should be my choice next time.
|131/265: Jimmy's "art". There's a small crack near the chainstay. Still beautiful.|
Saturday we started with a pre-ride meeting at 8:30. The weather was overcast, 60, with mist. We rode out a few minutes after nine for an 84 mile route. The terrain reminded me a lot of St. Clair County in that the climbs were quick and steep, many of them stair steps. It was very much like riding up Triple Lakes Road from Stolle Quarry. We had great sag support, and only made one wrong turn! I also learned about cattle guards. These are sets of metal rods in the road that keep livestock from crossing. And boy did we see the livestock: cattle, steers, goats, sheep, alpacas, and llamas. By the end of the day I was tired but my legs felt pretty good. My lower back was tight, and my lady business hurt though. After a quick shower we went back to the ranch for Coach to talk on nutrition. As a group we headed back to Hondo's for a protein heavy supper. Knowing Sunday brought another long day, I opted for an early evening.
|132/365: Our first stop on Saturday. Beautiful riding if not for the mist.|
Sunday afternoon brought a quick 20 minute massage, a trip to town, and another nutrition talk. Supper was at Alamo Grill. The fried food proved a bit too much for me as I revisited it around midnight.
|133/365: One of the shops we visited in town had license plates all over the floor. Never fournd a MO or IL.|
Within 30 minutes of getting off the bike, I was showered and we were headed back to the Metroplex to see if I could catch on earlier flight home. While we made it to DFW with time to spare, AA had overbooked the early flight as well as my flight, so we had some time to kill. A little sushi, wine, coffee and conversation made the time pass quickly. Unfortunately bad weather in Chicago and Minneapolis caused my flight to leave 45 minutes late. Wheels touched down at 9:406 St. Louis time.
|134/365: The beginning of a biker's tan. I have a feeling it will fade before it's truly set in for the season.|
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
|Step 1: Eat all the sprinkles. |
|Step 2: Lick off all the icing.|
|Step 3: Scrape remaing icing off with your teeth.|
|Step 4: Shove half the cupcake into your mouth.|
|Step 5: Shove the other half in your mouth. |
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
I'm not a big jewelry person. I used to really love pretty jewelry. I would anxiously await the new Tiffany's catalog and then look longingly at all the pieces we couldn't afford. I used to wait with baited breath to see if Klucker bought me a new piece of jewelry for me birthday. Then I started racing my bike. My carbon envy changed from rings and pendants to frames and forks. And I'm ok with that.
All joking aside, here's the story of my wedding ring. When we talked about getting married, I told Klucker I didn't want a diamond engagement ring. I didn't want to be like everyone else. So my engagement ring has an emerald as a center stone and has the same design as my wedding band on either side. But they didn't come as a set. We were out looking for bands, and up until the point we bought this one, the plan was for ours to match. We walked into Beins Jewelers downtown and I saw this one in the case. My immediate reaction upon seeing it was to say to the salesman, without asking size or price, I'll take that one.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The weather was beautiful. While I thought I was prepared for the muck of the roads, I know I didn't expect this. No, those aren't spotted tiger sharks on my knee warmers, that's road grit. The patch of skin I had showing between my knee warmers and my socks looked like I'd been sunning in Jamaica due to the dirt I collected along the way. I will happily tackle the laundry issues if it means that outdoor riding involves less than three layers.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Boo: Mommy, how come we never order pizza?
Me: We have pizza every Friday night.
Boo: Yeah, but you make it or it's frozen. We never order it.
Me: That's because we're poor.
Boo: The TV says it's only $10 at Pizza Hut. I have that much allowance. If I pay for it, will you order pizza?
Me: How about this? If you get a sticker everyday this week at school, we'll order Pizza Hut and you can even choose what kind we have.
Boo: Sissy, we're having pizza from Pizza Hut Friday! It's gonna have cheese on bottom, pepperoni, hamburger, cheese on top and cheese it the crust. You'll like it.
That's how the conversation went last Sunday. And sure enough, even with kissing OR on the bus, my scammer of a son was able to pull off a perfect week of school. Since I was going to be out last night, he agreed to put off having Pizza Hut until today. We even decide to eat there instead of having it delivered. And he got the pizza he described to his sister and even managed to eat three pieces. Now, if only he's that good at school next week!
Friday, February 11, 2011
We don't see each other or talk as often as we should, so tonight was special. Shannon had a birthday last week, so we went to dinner to celebrate before heading to a party for another classmate of ours. It amazes me how easy our conversation is, how willing we are to share details with each other, even though we'll go weeks or months between conversations. Ours is a friendship from a simpler time, from a time where you swapped peanut butter and jelly for extra potato chips. We have lived through friendship beads, leg warmers, junior high, big hair, birth, break ups, divorce and death together. Ours is a friendship that has withstood the test of time. It's a safety zone for me. It's a warmth inside. I can't quantify it or measure it. I can't explain it. I can just feel it. It's like that pair of warm, fuzzy sweatpants you reach for when you've had a rough day. It envelops me with a comfort that lets me know everything will be ok.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Let me start by saying that I learned many things during my year. I got valuable information on SMART goals and data use, things that schools should be doing but typically only give lip service. I got opportunities to listen to renowned experts and talk to some of the best minds in my field. But I hesitate to say life-changing, or even career-changing, in that regards.
One of the most talked about pieces of the Academy is the outdoor experience. The cadres from throughout the state converge on Lake of the Ozarks State Park for team building experiences, including a day/night of orienteering. During OLE, you are in a group of 10-12, and it is doubtful you know any of them. On our first day, we repelled and climbed a rock formation in addition to participating in team building exercises. On our second day, after some rudimentary instruction, we, with our two guides, were taken out into the woods and dropped off. We had to traverse the woods using topo maps and a compass, and locate eight flags. We "cooked" two meals while we were orienteering and had many, many hours to form bonds. As of today, I can name one other person in my group and my two group leaders. So much for lasting relationships.
Overall I did make some professional, and deeper, friendships with my local cadre. I feel very comfortable calling upon the group if I am looking for a resource or idea. For the first 12-24 months, there were a few that I talked with regularly. As far as long-lasting friendships, there is only two participants with whom I still talk, and one of those is a current colleague.
I write about all this because I wonder what about the experience was life changing for enough people that aura. I wonder if it's my personality that prevented me from being rocked to my core by the year. I wonder if it was our group as a whole because I only know of a few who still speak to each other, and they were friends prior to starting. I wonder if it's just a lot of hype created by former participants to justify that much time away from work. I'll never have a definite answer, but I'll keep my commemorative mug on my desk and continue to ponder.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
I would venture to say I complete 94-100% of my workouts every month. My only non-completion days lately are when it's sub 20 and I'm supposed to walk for 40 minutes. I can't seem to dress warm enough or get my body temperature high enough to stay warm.
It's funny, as much as this sheet of paper seems to dictate a large portion of my life, I never fail to get excited when it arrives in my Inbox.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Today Steph, Kate and I took the cx bikes out for a ride on the Columbia Bottoms. In spite of the massive amounts of snow we've gotten lately, the roads were in pretty good condition--cinders being the only real hazard. On the way out past the sod farm, I was counting down the minutes until I got to turn around and begin heading home. I assume my head was down because I didn't see this tree. Of course, I've ridden past this point countless number of times and I can't remember this tree. I don't know if it was recently struck by lightning or if I've just been oblivious or if the starkness of it against the snow caused me to take notice. Whatever it was, it caused me to stop my hard effort to snap a shot. The landscape in the bottoms felt raw and harsh yesterday. The snow had blanketed the fallow fields, with only the carcasses of past crops showing through. During the ride, the barreness seemed to zap my energy and make me feel as if I were running from something. While it was good to be outside, not on the trainer, I was happy to be finished and home where it felt more secure.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
|Waiting for Castlewood to open.|
|Meet Ernestine. She's the newest addition to my stable.|
Klucker loaded up the bikes and while I took care of some Frostbike business. We headed west. The highways were anything but clear. As we descended to the entrance of Castlewood, I really wondered if it was a good idea. We got there and had to wait for the gate to open--they were still plowing the lot. We finally got geared up and ready to go at 8:30. Ryan, Mike, Lee, Klucker and I headed down the road. It only took about 200 yards before Ryan got an up close idea of how deep the snow was. We stuck to the trails down by the river; that was fine with me. My bike handling still needs a lot of work. All in all, I was pretty happy with my efforts. I wiped out twice. Only one section where I felt like I had to walk the bike. But of course we were on the flat, easy trails too. I'll give mountain biking another go next weekend. I don't see it becoming my main focus, but it was a good way to be able to ride outside in some pretty unfavorable conditions.
Friday, February 4, 2011
We got home and I began getting things ready for tomorrow's ride. I tend to forget things if I'm rushed, so I typically plan and organize ahead. For some reason, I focused on the kitchen counter. It's then that I realized that a bag of bagels was missing. I love good bagels, so I buy a baker's dozen from Bread Co every two weeks and keep them in zipper bags to stay fresh. It's a much better option than grocery store bagels. However, recently I've had to buy bagels weekly. Why? The picture should tell most of the story. Diesel has amazing reach and a love for good bagels that matches mine. Leave that baggie any where near the edge of the counter and poof! it's magic. Diesel makes them disappear. The furry fiend ate four tonight. He's been know to take on a half dozen. I've been getting better and either keeping them in the pantry or at the very back of the counter, but our cleaners must have rearranged the items when they wiped the counter off this afternoon. This dog and his bagel habit are getting expensive.
Ah, the good ol' days . . . you remember, don't you? The time of milk and honey—the days when kids and society weren't "soft"—the days when kids trudged to the bus stop or school through snow and ice and extreme cold. Just because we did it, does that make it right?
This winter has really gotten under my skin. Perhaps it's because I'm a more frequent visitor on social media sites and so I hear and see more of people complaining about days off school for kids. Yesterday about half of the school districts in the area cancelled classes. I can't answer to the exact reasons for all the districts, but I trust, since yesterday's cancellation became the first "make up" day for most districts, it was made in good conscious. What bothers me are the people who are complaining about it. And what really bothers me is that they are continually pushing back to the days when they were in school, as if nothing has changed in education or society since 1982.
When I was in school, we didn't have computers in every classroom. I guess that means we shouldn't have them now. When I was in school, teachers didn't have telephones in their classroom or voice mail. Let's pull them out. When I was in school, a typical lunch consisted of a slice of pizza, corn, apple sauce and milk. Let's bring back that uber healthy fare. When I was in school, I rode my bike there without a helmet. Let's do ban bicycle helmets. When I was in school, students with special needs were pulled out of the classroom and labeled and stigmatized and regarded as stupid. Let's revive self-contained classrooms. When I was in school the teachers still smoked in the teachers' lounge. Let's fill our schools with smoke again.
I'm not an automatic fan of the latest and greatest of everything. If something isn't broke, I don't take the time to look for a solution. I also don't make a habit of second guessing professionals in their business. If my accountant tells me that a deduction isn't allowed on my taxes, I don't take it. If a radiologist tells me my arm is broken, I trust that it is broken. If my technician tells me my car needs a new battery, I replace the battery. If your child's district cancels classes, trust that they believe it's the best decision for the kids. And trust that if they err, it will be on the side of safety. It won't be done because the superintendent wants to stay home. Typically he or she travels to the office regardless. I know it's frustrating to rearrange a schedule to accommodate a snow day, but it's also part of being a parent.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today Bella and I were home alone, as Boo went to work with Klucker. She's such my clingy child. She sat on the floor in the laundry room, with my iPad, the entire time I was painting. I had to giggle a lot because I heard how I must sound as I encourage her to do things. "You're doing such a good job, Mommy." "Your painting is so pretty." "You're really doing a great job staying inside the lines, Mom." "Mommy you're a great painter."