It was lovely to spend the week in Chicago, altho sadly without any snow this year. I love the city during the holidays – the lights, the decorations, the window displays. While it is a heavy dose of opulence and extravagance, it feels somehow acceptable in is own way – at least on a temporary basis during the holidays.
We walked and walked, took in a movie and a play, shopped and ate … the foods I remember from my childhood, growing up near the city. It brought back dear memories of Christmastimes past, and it is sweet to be able to share it and make new memories with my own boys who have come to love this city.
We saw plenty of bikes, a number of cyclists, but once again, my attempt to capture a bike messenger in flight never happened. One of these days …
Tonight we will ring in the New Year at home with friends, and look forward to adventures on the road ahead in 2012 – and wish you all the same. Cheers!
excuse the dust
Friends … I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Christmas and are now looking forward to celebrating the new year.
I just wanted to let you know that I am currently doing a “renovation” of my blog (perfect timing, eh?); hoping to bring a fresh format, better for photo viewing, and an expanded menu. I am hoping that the “fresh face” will offer some needed improvements, and a better viewing experience for you. I am afraid that the learning curve for some of the changes I intend to make may cause a slight headache for those of you receiving email updates. Please forgive me if you receive several photo post updates – these are being published to enable several galleries within the site. Sorry.
Some of the format-related changes appear to be a little “twitchy” during the conversion, and for this I apologize; it’s largely due to migrating old content. New material and posts shouldn’t have as much of a problem. You may see some changes if viewing on an iPad or mobile device … unfortunately, it’s part of the trade-off to moving into an expanded theme.
So please bear with me for the next few days as I work through this. If I make the entire thing crash and burn, well … at least I warned you(?). I hope you will enjoy the new things to come (keep your fingers crossed).
The packages are wrapped, the cookies are baked … boys, family, friends (and bicycles) make the season bright. Wishing all of my friends, near and far, a Christmas abundant with peace, and surrounded with love. Cheers!
And just when I said I wanted to be brief….
Well, this is simply a shout-out to a bunch of my cyber-cycling pals, and especially to my twitter friend from Seattle, @SognRider, who started a great campaign to encourage cycling and showcase cool cycling caps. Every Tuesday has officially become #CyclingCapTuesday. And I look forward to it each week (even though I wear my caps on other days as well). But I loved the idea – a fun and creative way to promote cycling – and I always enjoy seeing some of the fine cycling “millinery” being worn by my friends. You can too … just visit the Tumblr site, or follow the hashtag on Twitter. And put your cap on!
I really like wearing cycling caps. They’re light and comfortable, they offer a non-obstructive little sun visor, they can provide a little extra warmth on cool days (especially with earflaps), or rain protection (if you have a waterproof cap), and of course you can’t help feeling a little bit “jaunty” while wearing one (lol).
While I have some really great caps that I’ve acquired over the past several years, I recently decided to try an make one of my own. I just happen to have a ridiculous accumulation of “salvaged” wool from … well, let’s just say another “pastime”. (My friends LP and MaryLou know of what I speak – because they will end up inheriting the excess someday. 😉 ) The pattern came from one of the best cap-makers out there, Little Package. It’s a simple sewing project; you can easily make one in less than an afternoon with average sewing skills. And what better way to up-cycle that old wool shirt with a hole in the sleeve?
So @SognRider, thanks for the fun each week (and also for helping me make a dent in my wool stash) – I applaud you! 🙂
my struggle with brevity
I tend to fall behind, as you know by now … On my bicycle, as well as in posting to this blog in a timely manner. I try and tell myself that I should just try to make a habit of “quick and simple” – make it brief – rather than trying to wait for a time when I feel I really have something to say, something to write. I should possibly (probably?) treat this more like my messy disjointed journal and be more spontaneous, simple, and concise.
So I tell myself. And of course I never listen.
This time of year tends to be slightly less than crazy with the holidays just around the corner. My boys have all come home (smiles), the music has returned, the boys and their friends gather around the table for epic games of Risk late into the night, the shopping and the wrapping are in progress, and the baking will hopefully begin soon. (And to my friend Myrna, I am sorry but I have yet to try the macaron recipes… sorry.)
Rather than try to write anything more, I’ll leave it to the iPhone pics to tell the story of recent ridings and other sights. Brief. I’m trying to be brief.
This post probably won’t mean much to anyone but a few of my local friends – Jenn, Jeff, Sarah, et al. But it’s kind of a big deal for me. We’re getting closer to seeing the completion of a big extension of our local Greenway/walking/bike path. Once finished, it is going to be a more convenient way for me to get into and around town, avoiding some of the most congested roadways. The current section under construction is at least a mile or two closer to me (on the north), and I really look forward to avoiding some traffic-hassle in getting to points south, including downtown.
Over the weekend, we ran into Jeff and he mentioned that we all need to take an “inaugural ride” once the new section is completed (yay!). I am looking forward to the day, although the current state of muck-ness through Tinsley Park appears to be a long way from being in rideable shape, even with some knobby tires. Hopefully things will dry out, and they can re-grade at the very least … maybe drop some gravel? I’m not sure if there is a plan to pave this section?
Mostly, I’m just waiting for the thing to be somewhat contiguous; I’ve never quite understood the method to their expansion plans – very piecemeal and disjointed. There are short sections on the north end that have been completed and paved for several years, but never connected to the rest of the path, making them virtually useless. The same thing occurred on the south end at one point. But I suspect it has something to do with obtaining right-of-ways or permits or funding.
Anyway, it’s exciting stuff – seeing the bridge completed and the heavy equipment in use … I really do look forward to the maiden voyage from north to south.
the warm before the storm
It is December. And we are riding in shorts.
Do you ever have those days when your responsible self says: I really should stay at home and get (fill in the blank) done, or do this or do that… ? And then of course you completely ignore it. OK, well maybe you don’t.
With the holidays looming, I have a fairly lengthy to-do list – which does not exactly include spending a few hours goofing around on bikes. Oh well. But there is a pretty serious storm and rain event in the forecast, so we decided to take advantage of the calm before the storm. (So if you don’t receive a Christmas card, you’ll know why).
I will also take this opportunity to thank my amazing husband for going out of his way to let me selfishly spend my time this entire weekend doing the things that amuse me (biking, photo-ing, sewing, reading, knitting, movie-watching, napping, etc.), as well as for his unending patience in letting me take his photo – repeatedly – while riding. He’s actually trying to get somewhere, while I’m completely distracted by the lines of the road and a fence, and a field full of cows…
“Can you just go back down the hill and ride back up toward me so I can get a shot from up here?” (Sometimes said not just once, but several times…) Be glad you don’t have to ride with me… 😉
Today is brought to you by the number 51. A little battered and rusty, maybe in need of some new paint, but still fully functional. A little bit like me. Today is my birthday – number 51. :-0
I think the weather was a birthday gift; simply perfect. Cool but not cold, blue skies, abundant sunshine and a nice tailwind. I took some time for a long and peaceful ride up along the ridge and to the river. Contemplating aging, longevity, fate, the ride ahead.
The fifties have been a little unsettling to me. Not so much out of vanity, or even fitness and health … more of a wariness of fate, I guess. This year, I am on the cusp of having out-lived both my mother and my grandmother. I think it’s always been in the back of my mind: questioning my destiny, wondering if I would outlive them? They each died too young; my mother from an unexpected brain aneurysm during her 51st year, and my grandmother died during childbirth, delivering my mom. She was barely into her twenties.
And while I think I lead a reasonably healthy and active lifestyle, I find myself wondering if it will really make a difference in the end or not? Not that I intend to stop doing what I do – I love to cycle, swim, ski, walk, run, hike … they are simply a part of who I am, what I like to do, and the experience enriches my daily life. I really rarely give the fitness/health benefit much consideration (probably because I don’t work all that hard at any of it, lol.), but I’m sure it’s better than not doing any of it.
Are we a fitter generation? I like to think so, but sometimes I am not entirely sure. Obesity statistics, diabetes and heart disease statistics are alarming. My mom was reasonably active, very slim and always maintained a very healthy weight. Although she had been a smoker during her younger years (like many of her generation), she had given it up. She liked to hike, cross-country ski and play golf. She was a fabulous cook – and instilled in me an appreciation of healthy food and fine cuisine.
So while I consciously attempt to make lifestyle choices that are forward-thinking in regard to health and wellness, I know that it is no guarantee. Several years ago, we were all shocked when I was diagnosed with a tumor in my right breast; fortunately it was completely benign – but I will confess that it scared the crap out of me. I had no family history, no obvious risk factors. It made me realize that despite the best prevention efforts, there are no guarantees. You can do everything humanly possible – eat well, maintain a healthy weight, wear a helmet, ride defensively, raise your heart-rate on a regular basis – and ultimately, you just never know … it might be a log truck, it might be genetics.
For now, the road ahead looks likes a long one, a good one. I will keep riding, wearing my helmet, and eating the good foods. I will swim, and read, and take pictures and try to keep my brain and heart in the best condition I can manage. I look forward to the “someday” when I can take a grandchild (no rush on this one, boys) for a ride on the back of my Xtracycle, and put him/her on her first skis up in the snowy mountains. I am filled with the love of my family and friends – which is as good for the heart and the soul as riding a bike. My goal, for now, is to be able to pedal a bicycle on my 90th birthday. And enjoy a cupcake. I’m not so sure I’ll still be blogging about it by then – but who knows? 😉