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Adventures of Oberon
 
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    Thursday, February 14th, 2013
    10:11 pm
    Think summer! Bikes! Vacation!
    (x-posted with bostoncycling) Some of you may know I work on the Mass BikePike Tour, an annual bike tour celebrating our state and raising money for Massbike. (we are their #1 donor the past few years).
    This past summer I actually got to work at the event, and I truly fell in love - it offered a great mix of super riding that was as challenging as you'd wish, the friendliest riders, and just a wonderful "summer vacation" vibe. I hope you'll join me at the 2013 edition - the early bird discount ends at the end of the month, and the ride will sell out, so sign up asap. Here's more information below:

    Give us two vacation days – and we’ll give you a Massachusetts bicycle adventure!

    The Mass BikePike Tour is a scenic bicycle tour celebrating all the best that Massachusetts has to offer! Taking place from August 1st to 4th, it is “The Friendliest Ride in the East” and is suitable for novice to experienced cyclists. It’s a GREAT use of limited vacation time - join us after work on Wednesday and we’ll enjoy the next four days of exploring on two wheels. You’ll return home Sunday afternoon with new friends and fun memories.

    2013’s ride features the rolling hills and picturesque towns of north-central Massachusetts, from the Johnny Appleseed Trail to the Connecticut River Valley. The ride will also head north into Keene, NH, and (long ride only) Brattleboro, VT.

    The Mass BikePike Tour offers two routes each day. The shorter route is between 25 and 45 miles and the longer route is between 45 and 70 miles.

    Each evening features a pre-dinner “social hour”, and optional nightly field trips to local attractions. The Mass BikePike Tour is affordably priced – less than $400 if you sign up before March! – and proceeds go to the MassBike Coalition. There are some volunteer options that allow you join us for free. For more information please visit www.massbikepike.org.
    Thursday, September 27th, 2012
    9:28 am
    Fluff is Saturday - a few last-minute volunteer needs remains
    It's not too late to join the volunteer crew at What the Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Invention on Saturday. Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts helping with kids' games, our unique stage shows, or at the infamous Fluffy's on the Square. Please contact Karin at volunteer@unionsquaremain.org if you can join us. Thanks!

    If you are interested in attending, it's from 3-7 PM in Union Square, and it's the most original and wacky festival around. There's nothing like it!
    Friday, March 9th, 2012
    5:11 pm
    2012 Mass BikePike Tour to return to Berkshires - fantastic new routes
    Hi all - one more bike event to Save the Date for...there's also some fantastic volunteer opportunities available. Volunteers get to ride half time and work half time. Please contact me at karin AT tugboat23.com if you are interested.
    Have a great weekend!

    The Friendliest Ride in the East returns to the Berkshires this August

    The 6th annual Mass BikePike Tour is a scenic bicycle tour of Western Massachusetts. Taking place from August 2nd to 5th, it is “The Friendliest Ride in the East” and is suitable for novice to experienced cyclists.

    The Mass BikePike Tour offers two routes each day. The shorter route is between 25 and 45 miles and the longer route is between 45 and 70 miles. The longer route also includes optional challenges like a Mt. Greylock hillclimb or a scenic detour to Bennington, VT!

    Each evening features a pre-dinner “social hour” for participants to mingle. The Mass BikePike Tour is affordably priced and proceeds go to the MassBike Coalition. For more information please visit www.massbikepike.org. Sign up now – the last day for the early bird discount is February 29th!

    “This was our first tour--but definitely not our last. The staff of the Mass BikePike Tour consistently went above and beyond the call of duty.”

    -John-Paul Ferguson, California resident on the 2011 ride

    · One of Bicycling Magazine’s “Top ten multi-day tours”

    · Named to spryliving.com’s “America’s best bike rides”

    · Featured in Adventure Cycling Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Hartford Courant, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the Springfield Republican, and the Berkshire Eagle
    Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
    4:09 pm
    Stolen bike alert
    Hi folks,
    My husband's bike just got stolen from where it was locked in Davis Square Plaza (with the tattoo shop and the Davis Square Family Practice) this morning between 11 and noon.
    He's already called in a police report and is checking Craigslist, but on the off chance:

    It's a Specialized Roubaix Comp 2006 (I believe) in Black, shiny carbon bike with yellow/grey highlights. It has higher handlebars than most, and a layback seatpost with a Flite saddle on it. It also had two notable stickers on it: a silvery peacock and a Macaw (I like to sticker-bomb bikes).

    Anyway, we're not too hopeful, but you never know!
    Any leads, please e-mail me at karin at tugboat23 dot com

    Thanks!
    Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
    1:31 pm
    Joseph on July 5th (10.5 weeks)
    He is such a happy kid! Last night we did fireworks and yet, this morning he was the happiest I’ve seen him. He fed at the beginning of the show (just before and for 5 min in) and then he watched the rest, eyes wide open, totally silent (though I did see him smiling at some points). It was an amazing show – I couldn’t stop saying WOW.

    Last week was “leg week” – all he worked on was kicking his legs. Very excited about that. Tummy time was leg-focused as well. Just Saturday or Sunday he started noticing the texture of things. He is now starting to be able to hold things with his hands…the blanket, his toy…

    Yesterday we went into the yard in the shade and had naked time on the blanket. He seemed to like it.

    On the T home last night (11:15 PM!) he spent a while smiling at Nick, over and over again. It was the longest he’d ever smiled continuously, and they were really big smiles. And then, tired from the effort, he conked out for the rest of the journey.

    He thinks the sound of crunching chips in really funny, though he’s not laughing per se yet. He HATES being sat up to burp when he’s sleepy and eating.

    He has a little flat spot at the top of his right ear that is still left over from being squooshed at birth. It is so sweet that it is still there even now.

    We came up with a song that he LOVES – to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic:

    “You really love your pants ‘cos they make you want to dance x 3” (while I march his legs back and forth)
    They just make you wanna go PFFFFT (zerbert on belly)
    Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
    5:26 pm
    Everything we need
    Back when I was doing a lot of bike touring, I really loved being out on the road with my panniers loaded. There was something great about being so self-contained, with everything I need right there with me.

    We hadn't intended to have Joey sleep somewhere besides his crib - it hadn't really occurred to us one way or the other. But since his second night home, he's at least started out the night in bed with us (then I move him to his bassinet - also in our bedroom - so we all have more room to sleep). At night, I find myself having similar thoughts to those from bike touring: when it's Nick and Joey and I all sleeping or relaxing together in the bedroom, it is really all I need. What a great feeling.

    He is smiling more every day, except when he's conked out like now of course. He had his first vax shots today at his 2-month appointment. He was FURIOUS - bright red face, and crying at a 7 (the highest) on the Wug Scale. I fed him immediately afterwards in the exam room, and he would pull off every so often just to remind us that he may be getting nice milk right now, but he is STILL not happy with us. Then I put him in the Bjorn and 5 minutes later he is out cold. He's still fast asleep, a few hours later. Maybe resting up for Game 7??
    Monday, June 6th, 2011
    2:21 pm
    6 weeks and a bit
    A bit about Joey, just for my memories.
    He is sound asleep in the Bjorn right now. Whatever he does, he does it with gusto. He is a champion sleeper and eater and is packing on the pounds like crazy. When he cries (which is really not so often) he really MEANS it. He is very dramatic about the crying. I have loosened up enough that it secretly makes me smile, even as I'm quickly trying to address whatever has him upset. He really puts some force into it.

    Just after 5 weeks, he started smiling for real. We have some suspicion about an earlier instance, but it's so definitely the real deal now. Today I had my 6-week checkup at the midwife office. He had slept on the bus on the way there (and really, he'd been up and alert for long enough that it was time to sleep) but then woke up in order to spend my appointment in a bouncy chair, smiling and looking around. I never thought my heart would melt so many times a day at a baby - I am so not a baby person - but it is constant.

    I took him to Foodmaster afterwards and he still stayed awake, and as Nick and I predicted, it was hard to get around for all the strangers saying hello and asking about him. A baby doesn't get much attention in too cool/too young Harvard Square, but he does in a townie hotspot...

    He is currently going to sleep for the night between 9 and 11 PM. We don't have a real huge routine yet, but if he's alert I read a bit of Mother Goose. I sing three songs - "Dream a Little Dream" (Night Owls arrangement), "May You Always" (we sung this in 8th grade), and the Frost Valley goodnight song. Some nights we have multiple wugs as he falls asleep; others are easier. Last night he was lying still, facing me, and even in the darkness I could see his big eyes staying open for quite a while. They are like little buttons.

    He falls asleep in our bed, and these days I am sneaking him into the bassinet for his first (and longest) stretch of sleep. The past few nights, it's been around 6 hours or so. He starts making coffee maker noises loud enough to hear through my earplugs, which is time for feeding. That's usually around 4 or so. The best is when he falls fast asleep after this feed. Then, one more feed around 2 hours later - at this time it's bright out but we manage to have a snuggle-sleep time on the bed for another hour or so depending on what the day's schedule is.

    He is getting better with the car but truly prefers the bus. He's on it at least once every weekday and he's cried twice I think. The drivers on the 67 mostly recognise him now - it's a sleepy local bus except during rush hour so the drivers are cheerful and ask after him. I love that they mostly wait until I'm seated before pulling away.

    It's a whole new world being immersed in the slower pace of newborn care. But not a bad one. For all the social life I'm on hold from, I am gaining a new one. With all the resources out here for new moms, I'm constantly meeting new people. Nick and I are appreciating Boston more - we're unofficially trying to introduce Joey to all our favorite places - and new ones we've always meant to visit - during the summer. I miss biking especially on a beautiful day like this (I am having some hip problems) but have been able to get out for very short rides and swims. 20 minutes feels like utter joy and release. It feels selfish to be so excited about the exercise except that when I return, I feel even more present and excited about Joey. So it is a win-win. And nice to have a midwife who could relate to exercising before the all-clear (though, with the hip issue, not the brightest thing to swim all-out, whoops).

    Unexpectedly, we are eating really well. We are now keeping a food schedule so we can plan our meals better. Should have done this years ago! Nick is responsible for a few nights and is really enjoying cooking again (I had been a bit possessive over cooking, though he's a fantastic cook), and I am either heating up the stuff I premade (I went nuts and filled up two freezers with food, plus friends brought tons of stuff over) or making very simple meals. Now the farmers markets are open and we're a few days from our first harvest at home - scapes! - so things will be even more fun on the food front.

    So in general, feeling very very lucky to have a wonderful, expressive, happy, mellow baby and a healthy-enough set o parents! And spring is ABSOLUTELY the time to give birth! We entered the hospital on April 19th and there were only hints of spring - when we left on the 25th, spring was bursting out all over. Amazing!
    Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
    11:23 am
    Countdown
    I have neglected this LJ forever but wanted to mark the date - we are due with our kid on April 14th....which means our countdown has just hit single digits.
    I had been nervous in so many ways about the discomfort of pregnancy - but have been lucky to have had an accomodating kid so far. I have introduced him/her already to biking, xc skiing, snowshoeing, skating, jogging, swimming, kayaking, Red Sox games, ice cream, and chocolate. These are a good introduction to the best things in life! I especially tried to acclimate the kid to nice cold weather. If we are going to live in New England, it makes more sense to enjoy the long winter than to curse it.

    I am glad gestation is a long period in humans, because there's a lot to get my head around. People ask if I'm ready, and I guess the answer is yes and no. I don't know if there is a "ready", and I certainly have no prior experience with infants. But we're excited, and prepared for the rollercoaster to do its thing...it definitely does feel a bit like those moments where you're inching up the first big hill - looking around, seeing a view that would otherwise be peaceful, feeling each moment vividly, but knowing so well that chaos is about to ensue!
    Friday, June 18th, 2010
    1:14 pm
    Quiet
    Sometime in February or March, I was riding back to work from some meeting or lunch in Boston. I pulled to a stop at the corner of Hampshire and Columbia, as the light had just turned red.

    Then the strangest thing happened. For a few moments, it was absolutely silent. No cars pulled up, no one was walking down the street or entering a shop, no planes were overhead, and the drone of 93 was too far away to be noticed. It's funny, even when out camping or riding in the woods you can typically hear some noise, whether natural or man-made.

    It was an unusual moment and I'm glad I caught it.

    On the topic of sound, last night I had another funny noise experience. I had gotten sick on a bike ride (still not sure what happened) and I was wiped out so I went to bed despite intending to listen to Game 7. (I don't care enough about basketball to actually hook up the TV, but my Boston pride made me feel I should at least listen). It was the 3rd quarter and Boston was ahead when I got in bed. But I couldn't sleep and figured I might hear some of the celebration...even though we're not in town, there might be some yelling, cheering, whatever. Well, I heard a bunch of booming noises and assumed they were fireworks. It was right around the time that cars started driving around again, marking that the game was over - and I just guessed that maybe people wouldn't go around honking out here.

    Of course when I woke up Nick told me right away that the Celtics had lost.
    So either we have secret LA fans in the neighborhood, or there are always gentle booming noises if you listen hard enough.

    In other noise news, there was a baby bird outside before dusk making the most enormous racket. I haven't figured out who it is yet, but vuvuzela choruses have nothing on begging baby birds!
    Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
    12:57 pm
    Ooops!
    It has been pointed out that I have not updated in a while!
    I haven't even checked my LJ recently, but yes that is true.

    Since then, water has been a focus -
    Floods of mid-March, when we all depended on the kindness of neighbors and watched crazy things like The Minuteman Rapids. Crossing the basement for a drink of water to then find a heck of a lot more than a drink's worth, and suddenly!
    Trip to Tucson, where there was (for them) a lot of water which meant we got to see unprecedented desert wildflowers and got to ford a rushing wash on our way to or from mountain biking at the 50 year trail. It was a stellar vacation, full of birds, bikes, and plants - just as we'd hoped.
    Floods part two, no joke, we had one nice day when we got home and then the floods came back. We were MUCH more prepared which is good because the water was fierce!
    And now, we just finished three days of the boil-water order. Not too bad, really - I hope everyone is appreciating their water authority. Clean water is an amazing resource and so many people don't have access.

    In other news - I have myself some weird back problems. They are preventing me from riding the road bike, which is fine because I really enjoy riding Tugboat, my commuter, and also getting out and mountain biking. I had briefly planned on doing a half-Aquaman (1.2 mi swimming and 56? mi on the bike) but I am having back issues with swimming as well - I'm trying to get lessons to do a new stroke but teachers seem to be a bit flaky, boo.

    Oh and Hobnob had a cheek abcess and after many vet visits, we went to Angell and they diagnosed and fixed it. He had a shaved cheek and whiskers but was very happy. Now, you'd never know except that he is easier to pick up (he had twice-daily antibiotics - via mouth - for 20+ days) and he is a little bit more alpha to Jaffa.

    Okay, I'm very thirsty but there you have it.
    Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
    1:17 pm
    Spy Pond!
    I have been superstitious about the ice on Spy Pond for years now - I have heard various scare-stories dating back to the 1920s (from my friend Carl, who grew up near the Pond) and just hadn't felt good about venturing out. But I finally got the scoop on inlets (none really) and other hazards (none really) and a reliable thickness (9 inches, now more like 12-14) and so we went this morning. We'd been at Flint Pond in Tyngsboro on Sunday, but the ice wasn't great, leading us to stay mainly on the bumpy but reliable plowed-track. The ice at Spy Pond was still not perfect, with snow patches and some wider cracks and lots of fishing-hole remnants to avoid - but it is such a fun venue for skating. We had a great look at a hawk who didn't seem to comprehend that we were humans to be wary of (there something about seeing wildlife from an unexpected angle; I encounter this while swimming as well), and we saw the Blue Jays who flirted with harrassing her. There were also hidden Blue Jays mimicking the hawk's call, which seemed to irritate Ms. Hawk.

    Plus, we got to look at the back side of all the fancy houses along Pleasant Street, another thrill. We got to get close to Elizabeth Island in the middle to see what life was like there. We got to watch cars going up the hill of Route Two. We ran into other wild-skating friends - the local ringleader Tom, and Josie from our first year of skating at Bay State. She is properly Dutch and a lover of outdoor ice. The fire department came as we were leaving to do an ice-rescue drill. Some little kids are going to love that - the junior firefighter who "gets" to fall in, not so much.

    Sliding around on the ice admits you to another world - it's a limited-time admission and I'm trying not to kick myself for not getting out last week though in fairness that was a ridiculously busy week! But we'll try once again tomorrow morning before the snow flies.
    Thursday, February 4th, 2010
    3:13 pm
    Don't need a groundhog to know which way the wind blows...
    Tuesday was groundhog day, but the bigger sign of seasonal change happened a little later - on my way to work, I heard drumming! (not a drum circle, though I suppose that would REALLY be a sign of spring) Two little Downy Woodpeckers were doing their drumming display...so clearly they are getting ready for spring! Later that night I saw a brazen skunk crossing Hampshire Street in Cambridge - February is mating season for skunks - and heard my first-ever bikepath Screech Owl hoot. Very exciting, and also pretty eerie sounding.

    Today I had to be in Boston for the morning; on the ride back there was an enormous headwind. But then something funny happened. I was riding up Hampshire Street and pulled up to a stoplight. There was one car in front of me, and two cars waiting in the other direction. But then, life hit a giant MUTE button. In the midst of Cambridge, I found myself in a one-minute oasis of pure quiet. No planes, no car noise, no cross-traffic, no nothing. Just a breeze near the end to keep me from believing that I'd suddenly gone deaf.

    Then the light turned green again and life returned to normal. But what a gift - even out camping in the country, real silence is rare.

    We have our Khoury's (now Casey's but I still think of it as Khoury's) 15th anniversary run tonight. I remember the 5th anniversary easily - it fell during the Chinese New Year and I made a flyer with a dragon on it for Year of the Dragon (very lucky) and bought a bunch of New Year candy in Chinatown. It was pretty low-key - I think the birthday suit deal didn't start until the following year but I could be mistaken. It is very exciting to be part of a tradition that is really feeling like a fixture. I mean, 15 years is no small potatoes.
    Thursday, December 31st, 2009
    4:03 pm
    Everybody wang chung tonight
    It has been forever since I updated here! Lots of ruminating on a new year and a new decade. Didn't get to do that last time around, I think, because the YEAR 2000 was just so big and crazy that "the 90s" didn't even factor into thought. But wow, back then I was just finishing up being 23, which was a total blast in retrospect - truthfully, I think I even enjoyed the drama while it was happening. I was really just so, so happy to not be in school anymore. Even working a desk job in the summers wasn't so bad, what with the freedom of earning my own keep, not having papers to write, no artificial world where everyone is aged 18-22 (okay, postcollegiate Boston isn't that far off, really)....and of course I was still thrilled to not be dating someone completely unsuited.

    A lot has happened in the decade - I still haven't decided in retrospect whether I'd assumed I'd be married by 2010. I know I always pictured marrying late as it would take a while to find someone. On the other hand, I remember Carolyn once saying that she always thought I'd meet someone and that would be that. So she was right, and so deliciously too. I have enjoyed growing up with Nick ever since '02. I think the biggest mental shakeup was halfway through, in 2005, when so many friends moved away - the cautionary tale of living in a transitional city - I think it was maybe 10-12 people in six months. We had to re-learn how to get out there and meet people. Over the past few years that's really solidified into a great, active group of friends. I am really thankful.

    Of course we've had multiple health issues to deal with, regarding Nick's back. On the thankful side, though, we have been lucky to enjoy good health with the rest of our family for the most part. And we have a joy of birding thanks to Nick's recovery, when we needed to be outside but he couldn't move well.

    2009 has been a fun year. No big changes - same job, same volunteer gigs, same husband (phew!), someone nice winning the World Series, no big injuries, still suck at cyclocross - but I did further discover how much I enjoy mtn biking. We did get two wonderful nephews thanks to our siblings who are much more on-the-ball about procreating. No dramatic long vacations, though we stopped over in Iceland on the way back from Nick's parents' ruby wedding, and we had a perfect-weather week in northern New England. Hey, that perfect weather was a BIG DEAL after our rainy summer! Almost no swimming happened due to all the cold and rain. The garden was defined by kale and garlic - the tomatoes blighted and I was slow on digging the potatoes; the broccoli didn't head up but we were pulling off yummy florets into December. I am still wondering why there are no records of Ancient Kale Rituals praising the bounty of kale. Six little seeds produced more than we could ever eat from late May to mid-December. Wow!

    And gerbils of course - Jaffa and HobNob are our two adorable squeakies.
    Okay, I'm going to shut up now. Wishing everyone peace, health, and happiness in 2010!
    Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
    4:48 pm
    Berlin Wall
    I read a quote that struck a chord with me in the NYT coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling:

    "For many Americans of both political parties, 1989 seemed a wonderful example of the embrace of universal values that happened to be theirs, and some believed it was only a matter of time before all dictatorships crumbled before the same forces of strength, openness, economic liberalism and people power."

    If you are 13 when this happens, it means you've probably had maybe just a few years, maybe 5 at the most, of being aware that there is a world around you with history and different countries and problems and triumphs. So, that would put me at age 8, in 1984.

    What we learned about the world: Russia is evil, it's communist. There are mean people who divided up Berlin into two halves - they are so careful to keep them separate that they made a big wall and they have mirrors under the cars to make sure nobody is sneaking in. The word "Russia" was like a curseword; there was graffiti in my town saying "the only good Russian is a dead one." As a kid of half-Russian ancestry, I especially did not like this!

    So then when five years later, you see the whole Eastern bloc falling apart - and Russia itself not far behind - and on the TV you see all these nice German people celebrating and they are not much older than me...Well, you sort of think "Well, that was easy!" I think there's definitely a sense of optimism born of seeing only the tail end of the Cold War, only a movie's worth of A-Bomb fear before the happy ending and the credits roll.
    Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
    4:38 pm
    Anniversaries
    Today is October 27th, the 5th anniversary of the Red Sox World Series win. A pretty big deal, though I think I could say that I experienced it in unique circumstances. See, yesterday was the 5-year anniversary of Nick breaking his back. So I spent the time of the game (a) watching it in the hospital with Nick (b) on a portable radio waiting for the train from the hospital (c) on a very empty train, with the portable radio and (d) walking around downtown Boston, finally watching the last outs with others, through a window of the Beantown Pub.

    I spent a lot of time after the accident trying to wish it away. There were a lot of "if onlys" that could have been created - especially if you deal in logistics the way I do. I am lucky in some ways that I don't seem to retain bad memories that strongly. In fact, I am almost surprised at remembering the actual details. This is the case also with hospital stay II in 2006, which was much worse and triggered some horrible followup anxiety in me a few months later. For whatever reason, I can remember the lighter moments - putting stickers on Nick's brace, travelling first-class Amtrak home for Thanksgiving because Nick could lie down in the fancy lounge - and the random moments: buying lots of apples for hospital visits so that Nick could have fresh food; the library giving me grace periods on the books I took out in a bit of a daze on the afternoon after the accident.

    It actually ended up that we took a random vacation day yesterday to enjoy the perfect weather. We went up to Massebesic for four hours of killer mountain biking. And don't think I'm not unbelievably grateful that Nick is able to ride on the mtn bike (road bike is too static for him; mtn bike keeps him from "locking up") - we didn't plan it for the anniversary, but it's nice to see how far we've come.

    I wish he didn't have to feel pain every day, but what can you do?

    The one learning that everyone should know: never go to a sports event/practice without a change of clothing. Skinsuits are no fun to sleep in!

    As for the world series win, frankly I have so many other memories and stories from the insane postseason of 2004. And the best one was of simple anticipation, on the afternoon leading up to Game 7. We need more Game 7s in baseball, really.
    Friday, October 16th, 2009
    10:46 am
    Obrigado to kale
    In our garden, kale is our zucchini, that vegetable that causes you to plot about leaving "gifts" for people. There's that saying that people in Minnesota only lock their doors in August because that's when people might otherwise gift them some zucchini.

    I was thinking about this because it was gross out last night and I stayed in to make kale soup. While I was packing it up, I saw from one of my food labels that we've been harvesting our kale since May 31st. Our kale plants are still going strong; they are enormous and gorgeous and (this morning) hearty even with a bit of snow on top.

    I never thought I'd like kale soup, and maybe like is too strong a word, but I do eat it for breakfast every day if I'm not having oatmeal. Last night I made it non-vegan for the first time, starting it out with a little bacon. To be honest, it doesn't taste that different - the mix of spices I use is so close to imitation bacon (paprika, garlic powder, salt, and a few other things) that it's not needed.

    Two nights ago, we had a sudden wondering as to whether it was bad for onions to be exposed to a hard frost - so I went out in my pajamas at 11:30 to pull them up, and discovered that most of them were leeks! Well, that is just great! I went to bed telling Nick about a potato and leek gratin pizza I will make as soon as I get the chance :)

    Last night I also pulled out the forgotten lettuce, maybe enough for one 2-person salad. We have no lettuce skills. So that's it for our harvest, except for one last cabbage and the indestructable kale, and our broccoli which is flowering itself into eternity.
    Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
    10:48 am
    Providence!
    As usual I'm in between events again. One yesterday, big one on Friday. The latest stress is that it may snow on Friday. Ooops! So we may have to change our last-minute marketing to stress the "warm and cozy" factor. It actually seems like the perfect antidote to being cold - come inside and eat and dance and enjoy great music - I am looking forward to it even though tracking down the final silent auction prizes is a beast!

    Anyway: Providence. There was good and there was bad!

    I loooved the course, especially the Sidewinder-style "spaghetti bowl" where momentum took you flying up and down the course. I especially figured this was a space where comfort with the technical stuff would help, and that seemed the case. Unexpectedly, the start of the race was like this as well - on the preloop, it hadn't seemed technical at all but with 57 women all trying to ride it at once...well, that changes things! So I went from the last row at the start to about halfway up when we got to the grass, and passed a bunch of people in course of various falls, flats, and who knows what else. The race could have ended there, right? Anyway, the whole first lap went pretty well, until...hm, actually I don't remember when/where it was that my chain fell off for the first of three times!

    Yup, three times - after two years without chain drops, now it's happening all the time :( So I am working on getting a doohickey this week that was recommended by my buddy Chris Iglehart (I figure he should know!!) Anyway, each time my chain fell off, 3 people passed me. On the bright side, I was psyched that I'd been in front of them in the first place. On the booo side, now they were ahead of me! It was hard not to feel totally deflated by this stuff turning my race from *best ever!!* to just okay. Still, I'd wanted to beat 10 people and I beat 8 finishers (and 13 didn't finish, so if you listed me as 36th out of 57 starters that sounds even better). So now I have specific stuff to work on:

    *remember to push on the pavement sections. I mentally take offense to pavement in cross, and that's where people pass me. I should fix Oxo so I can get into the big ring, and use it, and stop being annoyed at non-dirt!
    *don't give up when passed. Bleah!
    *switch back to my argyle socks. My red stripe / blue stripe combination was not as fun, and a complete stranger came up to me at the start to bemoan the lack of argyle! :)

    The post-race was great - various friends had been cheering, and it was fun to catch up afterwards! And there was heckling. Oh yes, definitely. I should really doublecheck with Cute Rob (he seriously is just a cute guy) if he's okay with a bunch of girls chanting "go cute Rob!" as he rides by :) I'm married, he's married (I think!), it's all fun, and an appreciation of cuteness. My cx friend Christine was very excited by the cheering, there is great photographic evidence of us giving the lungs a workout after the race!

    Okay more later. But the morning sports were definitely superior to the afternoon sports aka the Red Sox losing, heinously and curse-of-Bambino-style. Or would it be the "curse of Hendu throwing out the first pitch against the Angels?"
    Friday, October 9th, 2009
    12:09 pm
    Gloucester! (day 2)
    It has been a crazy busy week. Most are here, really. The crux was having an event on Tuesday night and then a very early wakeup on Wednesday. I am so spoiled, as I usually get up at 8:30 - so having to be downtown for 9 AM without riding (it was raining, and it was a fancy meeting) was taxing! Oh woe is me :)

    Anyway, the event went great - I took over an event series that I'd conceived in the first, so it was all good. 20 people at an Ethiopian restaurant. What lovely food and hosts!

    So, Gloucester. I've missed it the first two years for various reasons, even feeling a snarky about it - it's so popular, but not even technical according to the reviews! Well, luckily a nice amount of mud on the course made for more running and sliding, which is just how I like it! On the down side, we'd had loud neighbor issues the next before, and long story short, I wasn't asleep until well after 2 AM. This on top of having just been sick on Friday, I was pretty woozy on the warmup.

    So, I felt a little more nervous than usual, but then had a fun chat with one of the officials, enjoyed my crap staging position, made some friends, and we were off! I felt pretty psyched to be on my new tires and in general, I had a blast on the course. I swear I was grinning like crazy on every downhill, and I was loving the run-chicanes and riding on the just-packed-enough sand. The whole race was just pure fun (I mean, in that heinous cross way) and it helped to have stretched enough that my back didn't hurt. I have read reviews since the race that mention a "sketchy off-camber downhill" off the pavement - after mtn-biking all summer, didn't even feel it.

    So it's sort of exciting, because I'm already feeling as good as I did at the end of last season, except it's only early October. Not that I'll get good or anything, but I look forward to seeing how much more I can put into the power.

    (unfortunately I got a little *too* excited and pulled my calves during a run-up workout on Wednesday - duh!!! but I'll figure it out!)
    Thursday, October 1st, 2009
    4:27 pm
    Now that's it's October, it's time to think about Halloween!
    So I'm doing lots of online research about the Sesame Street martians. I found the following synopsis of one of the martian episodes, which cracks me up:

    1985 — Ernie wakes up and is unable to find Bert. Ernie imagines that the Martians appeared in the middle of the night and asked Bert to join them in outer space. Bert then enters the room and informs Ernie that he was only in the kitchen making oatmeal. Bert leaves the room, and the Martians appear in exactly the way that Ernie had imagined. When Ernie yells to Bert asking what they should do about the visitors, Bert does not believe his story and replies, "Ask them if they want any oatmeal."

    I am laughing because it sounds like just the sort of dream I would have - and of course I was thinking of that in my last entry. Which, frankly, I was sad that no one seems to find it as amusing as I did. Either that or everyone's backing away slowly :)

    Anyway, all the Martian research is because I am working on a costume for the cross race that is on Halloween. There's a lot of barriers (hah!) to creating a costume for on-bike use, particularly one where you would get on and off the bike, and attempt to ride fast. From experience, I know that a witch hat slows you down more than believable, and a turkey costume gets stuck easily. So I have been designing something that hopefully won't get in the way, be terribly un-aero, or terribly hot. And a Sesame Street martian (aka "Yip Yip") it is.

    This cracks me up because I was terrified of them as a little kid. My biggest fear was that they'd come to my house and tickle me - these were my earliest nightmares, long foreboding sequences in which things were....not quite right...ending in abject martian-caused terror :)

    And yes, I could have been sprinting up Powderhouse Hill at lunch instead of riding to the craft store for materials...Pffft, I say! :)
    Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
    11:02 pm
    Dreams, they complicate my life...
    Okay, so I was on a cross ride with some of the girls tonight, and dreams came up. See, I've been keeping a very loose dream journal since June, after an interesting conversation with Jenn C.

    I thought it would be interesting to recap a few short phrases from the notebook, because they are cracking me up, and randomness (and a view into my psyche) should be shared. So here's some highlights. Some of these I barely remember (I am at various states of consciousness when I write stuff down) All are from different dreams - parantheses are clarifications

    I have four kids, name Amelia, Prime, Blueberry, and Kevin (this was the dream that started it off)
    Jeff Van Gundy is head astronaut (former Knicks coach, I think)
    Cotton Mather!!! (I have no idea)
    Boat entry tickets available but there is poison ivy on them! (um, of couse!)
    Montana takes two days to hike across
    They (a hip artsy SF boutique) have a poison oak bouquet with one spring of poison ivy, and a dried berry arrangement that was poison ivy berries!
    Side dream that had lots of GERBILS. Lots of different gerbils, a cheerful hamster, and a rat covered in pee!
    There were neck guards but they were for all-star catchers
    At some sort of fairgrounds, Ellie Gordon gives us another gerbil
    Strange cyclocross race with no bikes in an old mansion vs. Paul Stone (6th grade crush)
    I'm supposed to get to STL for a Sox game but STL is 4 hours away! (the inaccuracy - barring interleague play - of this dream is killing me!)
    Hummingbirds flying in formation, like cars at Dodger Stadium (this may have been after a hall of fame visit)
    Colleen Herndon (friend from 4th grade) is a skunk, and sprays me
    Having a baby is easy!
    There is some bizarre movie everyone is watching where "number 6" is the killer
    Every time you see a movie, someone cuts down a tree (!?!?!)
    Carol (work friend) stayed at the bar for 12 hours and watched the Yankee game
    Sing Monteverdi (renaissance music!) while looking at wall map of Canadian maritimes
    I give the homeless people rainbow gloves in exchange.
    Everyone has me read Chicago (the musical) because it's genius
    Working at West Point graduation - official job is to hold a beef shank at the end of a row during processional
    A Heath Ledger lookalike is advertising himself as a Vegisexual Recreationalist (??)

    So there you go. I am not sure what to think, except that I am easily amused both in and out of consciousness :)
    I do have boring dreams too, but they are always fun because I'm seeing colorful and exotic birds that do not exist in real life, or I am in some class and I have forgotten to attend all semester. The usual stuff.
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