Friday, February 27, 2009

Reward for Forgetfulness

This week, I've been losing the ongoing battle against forgetfulness induced by mom disease (that inability to keep track of one's own stuff because one's brain is filled with kid-related details like remembering that today is stuffed animal day at the elementary school). Yesterday, I made a wrong turn on the way into work because I thought I was on a different street than the one I was actually on. On a bike, this can make a big difference. I did eventually make it after some seat-of-the-pants re-navigation (just turning around would've been too easy and less interesting). Today, I headed out to pick up some bread ingredients and bulk herbs at Country Sun, my favorite source for these kind of things. It's a nice ride over to Palo Alto. But, halfway there, I realized that I had neglected to grab the pannier bag on the way out of the garage. The pannier bag that I had just a few minutes before, pulled off the shelf, and set down right in front of the garage door. It's bright yellow. Don't know how it got missed... Anyway, now there was the dilemma about what to do with the groceries once I picked them out. Country Sun does not use plastic bags (a good thing, in my opinion), so I didn't have the option of somehow affixing a plastic bag to the rack. Happily, they did have a nice sturdy-looking bag-in-a-pocket thingie that stuffs into its own tiny little pouch. Nice strong but light nylon, and it was easy to tie onto the rack, stabilized a little by my bike lock. And, it's small and light enough to just live in the bike saddlebag when I'm not using it, so I don't run into this particular problem again :)

Happy Ma gets a present.

Unrelated picture of Chad applying caulk to a seam at the edge of the roof outside the office window because it's just funny:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ski Week Part 2: Sugarbowl

After spending a long weekend in Downieville, we headed over to Stephan's ski cabin near Sugarbowl to do some resort skiing. Chad's friends Robert and Kathleen joined us at the cabin, leading to entertaining post ski festivities. Skies stayed blue, Nim had two full days of lessons with a good instructor, and our legs became noodles due to the sheer amount of abuse we subjected them to (this is a good thing).



At the end of each day, there was time to take a couple of runs with Nimue -- she was gung ho to keep going until the lifts closed despite ending up on a slope that I had to sideslip her down the first day and missing the lift and having it go over her head the other. Helmets are good.

Nimue took over Robert's computer, and also whatever iPhone was available.

For those who want to see Nim's actual turns, here are a few:

Ski Week Part 1: Downieville

The snow finally came to California, just in time for ski week! Over President's Day weekend, we drove up to Downieville to relax and play for a few days. Fun was had by all, with lots of time for reading, watching the poor cyclists riding the Tour of California get drenched (I, in particular had great sympathy for them given my ride in similar conditions the previous week), making snow kitties in Linda's front yard, and of course playing on skis. Chad and I got out while the snow was still pounding down, and had an amusing afternoon climbing a hill only to find that there were weird holes laying in wait under the powder just waiting to swallow the unsuspecting skier who might happen by.

By Wednesday, the precipitation let up and the sun came out, so we put Nimue on her snowshoes and headed out to play again.

She bravely hiked in about a mile, and made an excellent snow fort with Linda while Chad and I hiked up the hill and skied (Chad) or poofed repeatedly into the snow (me). Though I vowed to rent A/T gear after last time, it didn't actually happen. Fortunately, the snow was deep enough to hide my mistakes in the curve of the nice S-turns we left on the hill for passing snowmobilers to admire.

 The hill before we came.

 The hill while we were climbing. Note the deep pow :)

 At the top. Note the excellent slope.

 After the first run.


Six and a Half


Need I say more?


Nimue kept Chad company while he got his first batch of beer at the new house started a couple of weeks ago. Not sure how it turned out yet, as it's still festering for a few more days.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fluffy the Pet Rock

Nimue found a friend on the way home from school this afternoon. Stay tuned for results of the planned makeover. (Fluffy doesn't feel fancy enough, apparently.)

The Fava Bean Forest



As an experiment, I tossed some fava bean seeds out into the garden patch last November, and they seem to be beaning! Also note the fine crop of Meyer lemons. So far we've enjoyed Meyer lemon sorbet, Meyer lemon meringue pie, Meyer lemon tea cake, Meyer lemon chicken, Meyer lemon cookies, Meyer Shaker lemon pie, and probably a few delicious things I've forgotten.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Rain is Opaque

Today was a day for a nice, mellow, flat ride in the sunshine, and for the first 15 miles, things went pretty much as planned. The sky was blue, I took a nice route along the bike path out to Shoreline and Palo Alto Baylands to ride along the edge of the bay, and everything was good. I started feeling like yesterday's cold descent down Montebello Road was just a dim memory of some other season. Silly me.

Since I was feeling pretty good, and it was still awfully nice out, I decided to loop back toward the foothills and do a little climbing on the way back home. This led me right past Old La Honda Road -- that infamous hill that always inspires an internal time-trial -- and of course, since things still seemed good, I decided to climb it. Silly me.

Not that I knew it at that point. The sun still shone. The legs were still strong. I was not exactly fast, but was not as embarrassingly slow as I was a couple of weeks ago. There was an amazing variety of little green plants sprouting on the side of the road to admire. Ah, springtime. There were no cars to intrude in my happy place. At the top, it seemed like the thing to do was to turn left and follow the top of the ridge back in the general direction of home, as the alternative was turning around and going back down into stoplight- and traffic-infested territory. Those little sprinkles? Nothing to worry about...

Silly me.

The next route down off the ridge was about 6 miles up, and by the time I got there, it was pouring, and puddles had formed everywhere. Somewhere in there, I noted that the rain looked a bit solid, and felt like I was being pelted with small needles sweeping in from the west, but I figured it surely couldn't have been quite that cold. At any rate, by then, the pavement was very slick. This opportunity to descend -- Page Mill Road -- has some steep sections and I know too many other cyclists who've crashed and damaged themselves descending it when it's wet. No way I was going down there (not that silly), so the only thing to do was to continue along the ridge another 6 or 7 miles to where Route 9 comes down (a much gentler and safer descent).

Dogged Ma continued along the rolling ups and downs along the ridge. I felt pretty good when climbing, but started to shiver every time the road headed down. Frozen fingers, frozen feet, and I started to smell wet wool, which meant the rain had penetrated through my jacket and the fleece layer down to the wool jersey underneath it all. Argh. I tried really hard not to think about my legs, which were only protected by a pair of bike shorts and a decomposing pair of spiderweb-like tights that are suffering the last stages of lycra death. Surely if I only thought hard enough about riding in the Arizona heat, I'd start to feel warm, right? Ha. As I noticed that my socks had started to get that nasty soggy feeling they get when they reach full saturation and that both pairs of gloves were soaked through too, I saw big white icy chunks of precipitation starting to land on my gloves, thus destroying any illusion I had that it couldn't really be that cold. That darned preciptation really was full of sharp, opaque, freezy bits of misery-inducing slush-snow.

ARGHHHHHH! Didn't I swear to not do this to myself again the last time it happened?

Silly me.

A few more frozen miles, and then the cold really began, as I proceeded to descend a couple thousand frigid feet back down to civilization. Even through I wasn't going that fast (wet pavement), the windchill was still quite apparent. I stopped once to beat the circulation back into my hands after they started to feel like claws on the brakes. Thankfully, near the bottom, the air started to feel a lot warmer and I made it home without further incident, aside from having a hard time unzipping my pocket to get the house key out. Oh, and it took me a few minutes to get my helmet unclipped too, as my hands were too cold to squeeze it. Pathetic.

It's still winter, folks.

(54 miles and 3400 feet of climbing)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

6000 Meatball World

This is a picture of 6000 Meatball World with meatballs falling every second and some of them are lucky with spaghetti attached to them like glue. The sky is always a scarlet and the ground is always an orange to go with the meatballs and the clouds are like gas but they're just really thin clouds of dust. And days are like 88 minutes or seconds. The End.