Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Medical lessons

I am constantly amazed at how Owen can recover from being sick in a heartbeat.  To go from projectile vomiting to laughing and talking is something that never ceases to cause me a great deal of consternation.  It is probably best that we don't retain this rapid recovery into adulthood or alcohol-fueled parties would be truly nightmarish events...

In wonderfully positive medical news, Joan has received a very good pathology report and is well on her way to recovery.  Please keep her in your thoughts as she deeply appreciates everyone's support.

It pleases me immensely to say that we are back to being a one car household.  While not completely car free, we are as close as reasonably possible for a family of three living in an area with no public transportation.  I went grocery shopping on the xtracycle yesterday to celebrate.

Now I have to get back to school work.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You look relieved

Steve came in to the shop yesterday.  He looked noticeably different from how he has the past few months.  He didn't seem to have such a crushing weight on his shoulders.  Joan is home and recovering as evidenced by her return to using her iphone.  I'm sure her recovery is not going to be easy, but I think it goes with out saying that she will handle it with grace, good humor and aplomb.  I wish I could be such a person.

While I don't think Joan is ready (or able) to be bombarded by a mass of well wishers, I know that both she and Steve appreciate our thoughts and efforts of support.  Continue to think of them, ride your bike, wear some pink and enjoy life because I know those are things that both Joan and Steve will be doing every chance they get.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A ride full of pink

A great ride of pink clad cyclists took off in honor of Joan last night for Mellow Monday.  It was a great time as we cruised along at conversational pace.  Let's keep up the pink until Joan can rejoin us!

I now know that my dream of miniature farm animals in my suburban downtown yard, could be a reality.  The mini cattle that Khelli linked yesterday was a brief shining moment of hope that was quickly and cruelly crushed by my wife.  It isn't that she lacks vision, she just doesn't trust mine.  A thundering herd of 37 inch tall Angus cattle roaming my 1/16th of an acre may yet become reality, but I will place all my eggs in the chicken basket... for now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy first day of Summer!

Last night we had a dinner comprised of food that we grew ourselves plus a few ingredients.  The salad was all from the garden - mixed lettuce, multi-colored carrots (the purple are my favorites), snowpeas and nasturtiums.  We had a chard quiche with it.  Chard was from our garden.  The eggs, alas, were store bought as chickens seem to stay just on the horizon of being added to our household.  The butter and milk were store bought as the idea of a cow in our downtown Lenoir neighborhood is a non-starter - unless there is some variety of pygmy dairy cow about the size of a German Shepherd that I am unaware of.

We had a great Father's Day brunch at The Bistro.  Always fantastic food and the atmosphere to just sit back and relax and have a nice long meal with family.  I decided to do something completely out of the ordinary and we headed down to Hickory to shoot a round of disc golf.  Owen had a good time for a few holes and then left me to my own devices.  While I wandered through the woods throwing frisbees, he went in search of ducks and frogs.  All in all, it was a good day.

Please don't forget to come to the Mellow Monday ride tonight in honor of Joan.  Wear (or attach to your bike) something pink to show your support!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

photo by Jack Dalton
Dad's do a lot for us.  They lead the way when we need to be shown and they let us do our own thing when we're ready to be independent.  They model what it means to be a man for their sons and daughters. 

I'm lucky that I still have my Dad.  After two heart attacks late last year, I could easily be remembering my Dad, rather than having Father's Day brunch with him.  If you aren't so fortunate, I hope that you are able to remember your Dad in some way that would make him proud.  And if you are fortunate enough to still have Dad around, make sure you let him know how much he means to you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Update on Joan

Joan had a long day yesterday - 10.5 hours in surgery.  Steve says she is recovering well and that preliminary reports look very positive.  Keep up the positive thoughts and rock some pink on your bike rides to show your support!

Friday, June 18, 2010

In the trenches

My typical acclimation to working full time in the shop is coming along nicely.  There are slow times when we look at each other and wonder what we can do to keep occupied and then there are times when we wish we could employ 20 people it is so busy.  I like being busy - down time is too much for me to bear.  The best moments come when you get to talk to someone for a while; someone new to the shop or the area who likes bikes and likes to talk about bikes.  Some of the stuff that has rolled in for repair lately has been pretty amazing.

We've had a pair of '60's era Raleigh 3 speed English Tourers come in.  A matched pair of his and hers in British Racing Green.  We even discovered a beautifully worn Brooks leather saddle hiding under a cheap gel seat cover on one of them.  I also got to rebuild a Marzocchi suspension fork from the late '90's for a customer.  Amazing how simple that fork is compared to how most are now.  All in all, back getting my hands dirty, helping people out and getting to hang out in a bike shop all day is a nice way to spend the summer.

Our good friend Joan is heading for surgery today for her recently diagnosed breast cancer.  Joan has been one of the most amazing people in our riding community.  A tireless organizer with a smile and manner that melts everyone around, Joan has turned the Mellow Monday ride into a wild success and has been instrumental in organizing the women's riding group.  We are showing support for Joan by adding some pink on all of our rides and encouraging you to do the same.  If you can wear pink or add pink to your bike to show support for Joan, we know she would greatly appreciate it.  And since Joan has done so much to improve the Mellow Monday ride, we want to encourage everyone to continue participating in the ride.  I know Joan would be disappointed if participation dwindled in her absence, so let's try to make the Mellow Monday ride even bigger than it has been in the past!  Join us monday at 6, bring something pink and we'll take a picture before we start and send it off to Joan.  I know she'll love it.

Don't forget that the Saturday ride will start at 7:30 in the morning to beat the heat.  As always, there will be plenty of people with different schedules to make the ride as long or as short as you would like.  See you then!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've been quiet for a while.  Not quite a case of writer's block, but a conspiracy of available time, responsibilities and a slight inability to germinate a worthy blog entry has been the culprit.  But now, school is out for the summer and it is like a veil of grey has lifted to reveal sunshine once again.

Don't get me wrong, I like teaching, but there are things about the profession (and this time in the history of education) that grind you down, no matter who you are.  I am in my second semester of graduate school and that is reinvigorating my ideas for the classroom and making me feel like I can make a difference.

I was successful in my quest to commute by bike to school everyday this semester.  Through rain, snow and tremendous humidity, I've pedaled away much to the consternation of my students and the admiration of some of my colleagues.  I have ridden my bike to school everyday this year (2010), a total of about 100 hundred school days equaling 1000 miles of commuting to work.  My car literally lies dead in the driveway, unable to move even if I wanted to drive it.

I have enjoyed myself so immensely with this personal challenge that I have embarked on a new one: #Cycling365.  Beginning June 1st, I will attempt to ride my bike outdoors everyday for a year.  No mileage requirements, no minimum ride length, just on the bike riding outside every day.  Simple.  But often the simple things end up being the most difficult, so we'll see what happens...

Like many of you, I watched the Giro and enjoyed every moment of it.  I can't say the same for the Tour of California.  I guess I just have enough attention span for one major race at the time and in that particular little battle, il Giro will win for me every time.  Once Owen gets a little older, our Giro/Italy bike tour fantasy will become a reality.

I, like many of you, have also been fascinated by the revelations of Floyd Landis.  While I am very disappointed about his admission to doping and the weird "I still won the Tour clean(ish)" claim, he is a high enough level rider to potentially blow the lid off of the whole affair and spark real change in the system.  Unfortuantely, the UCI is so heavily invested in the Lance Armstrong brand that he may be a rider "too big to fail" like the onerous banking groups that had to be bailed out from failing by the federal government even though they created the problem to begin with.

I'm not naive.  Drugs are a part of cycling at the highest level.  They are take for survival by most, misguided shots at glory by some.  Floyd Landis (and Tyler Hamilton for that matter) has payed and enormous cost for what he did; effectively ending the life he had built over decades of hard work and unimaginable effort.  I hope this latest shot in the public spotlight will bring him peace.