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Posts tagged ‘family’

return to routine

Summer is sweet.

With their summer research projects wrapping up, the boys briefly returned home for a couple of weeks before heading back to university life.  It’s been pleasant days of biking and playing around – morning runs for coffee, paddling on the river, family bike rides, catching up with old friends, dinnertime humor around the table.  Summer is sweet.

But eventually, as the sunsets come a little earlier each evening, it begins to feel like time to return to familiar routines.  Back to school, back to friends and regular schedules … all as it should be.  And as much as I love them and will miss them as they leave, I think we are all ready to turn the next page, to return to the story.

I have enjoyed the break of being away from things – putting down the camera more often, leaving the computer to sleep, and spending more time in one-to-one conversation rather than cyberspeak.  I’ve loved the warm, lazy days with my family … and yet as the weather begins to cool, and the books and bags are packed for the semester ahead, I happily anticipate rides yet to come, and the return to routine.

Meanwhile … scenes from summer days.

absence

The month of May brings big changes here at home, and sadly, not so much blogging.  It has been proud parent days again, with my youngest son graduating from High School last week.  My three older boys all arrived home from college, and our home was filled with family and boxes full of college “debris” (which, among other things, included epic amounts of dirty laundry … sigh).

We’ve done some biking, but I’ve tended to leave my camera on the shelf.  My beloved husband is also recovering from a shoulder injury/collarbone fracture (a story for another day).  Spending some time catching up with my boys, our family, has been my priority as the three oldest are about to leave again for summer research positions at various universities near and far, and my youngest begins his own college orientations and preparations.

Time is short; departures begin again next week.  Blogging, Flickr and all other cyber things are taking a back seat – at least for a few weeks.

Bikes, biking, cows and old barns will be back soon … hopefully with a few new surprises in store.

The Graduate:  soon to be mathematics student in University of Tennessee Chattanooga UHON Honors Program … Congrats, G!  You are the awesome-est!

Be back soon …!

peace of the season

the warm before the storm

December ... in shorts

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…  😉

two moo

in the White Oak Valley

heart-stopping

Let me begin by saying: nobody was seriously injured – nor were there any bicycles involved.

Yesterday afternoon I had one of those moments that every parent dreads beyond description – getting a phone call that your child was in an car accident. My youngest son was on his way to tennis practice after school and was stopped behind a van for a driver making a left-hand turn –  and moments later he was rear-ended by a driver who admitted to being “temporarily distracted”/momentarily not paying close enough attention. (I won’t even start on my abhorrence over cell-phones use in cars, texting, etc. – even though we don’t know if this was a contributing factor in this accident).

While I understand that accidents happen, and we are more than willing to forgive and forget, I hope that this will serve as a reminder to both the driver and to my teenage son (who is in that high-risk group, even though he was not at fault here): distracted driving is completely unsafe and irresponsible, and the outcome could have been much, much worse.   Sad business all around.

My cousin sent me a link to this video made by AT&T entitled “The Last Text” about texting while driving, which I made all of my boys watch, and I think it’s definitely worth viewing – here.

Grant is fine, a little bruised and shaken, but we are SO grateful that the outcome was as good as it was. I can always replace a car … had anything happened to my son, well, I can’t even think about it.

One thing that left me fairly shocked (although the attending police didn’t seem to find it unusual for some reason), was that even though the dash basically popped out, or was pushed out by the impact, the driver’s airbag didn’t deploy. I am a bit mystified.  Can someone explain?  I may be asking the folks at Honda about this.

why didnt the airbag deploy? (I wish someone could explain this to me)

As for bikes and cycling … well, I guess this is one way for me to be car-free for a while.  Mark will be driving my car, while Grant drives our other car.  Distances, along with Grant’s before- and after-school activities and Mark’s business travel make it necessary for them to use cars, while I can fairly easily get by on two wheels.  Good thing.

Meanwhile – don’t drink, text, use a phone, apply make-up, shave, read, or do anything else when you’re behind the wheel.    Please.  Please.

a beautiful way to be car-free

the day after

 

by the river

So what do you do the day after #330daysofbiking?  C’mon … did you really think there was any other option?  😉

Two of the boys were home for a brief weekend visit, with the local Battle of the Bands being the driver.  The boys’ band The Night Shines took the win this year (YAY!) – and they have a free download of their song Forest Fire on their bandcamp site, for anyone interested).

Ross and I had a perfect day to take a great ride up to and along the river.  After all of the grey and rain of the past days, it felt so good to have the sun shining.

While I don’t intend to keep a running tally of how many days I ride over the next year or so, I may just keep a personal log of the days I don’t – which hopefully will be kept to a bare minimum.

The perfect cycling life lesson appeared in my friend Jim’s (@bikerly) blog today; it can’t be said any better than this:

 

bikes, the people I love, and a beautiful day - it doesn't get any better

 

the snow excuse

 

there is nothing... NOTHING... better than this - sun, fresh snow, high mountains, my skis and first tracks though the trees

To the people who have known me best over the course of my life, they know with little doubt where my first love lies – on the snow, on skis, in the mountains.  As much as I am passionate about cycling, and as much as it has become such a big part of my life, there is nothing I love more than being on skis on a cold sunny day on top of a big mountain.  Nothing.  Period.  (Apologies to my beloved bicycles.)

A little background  … my father decided put me on skis when I was a pre-schooler, and I still have fond memories of first lessons in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico before I was even able to read.  My dad became a National Ski Patrolman in the midwest where I grew up, which enabled us to ski virtually every day during winter.   I grew up racing and eventually became a ski instructor.   I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to ski in the summer for several years, when I shipped off to summer race-training camps on the high mountain glaciers each June.

 

with "my boys" at 10,000 ft - Storm Peak, Steamboat Springs

Skiing was a huge part of my life, of my family’s life … and despite ending up living in the snowless Southeast and raising my own family, the passion continues with my own boys, who have become incredible skiers in their own right – learning to ski in North Carolina, and skiing each year in the Rockies.   They have become skilled enough to ski everything on the mountain – from the trees to the double-black diamond chutes.

 

Ross shows how it's done ...

 

Mason heads down Storm Peak

powder day ... you can't really tell, but he's grinning ear to ear :)

powder day ... you can't really tell, but he's grinning ear to ear 🙂

So what does any of this have to do with biking?  Well for me, it appears that this crazy obsession/diversion of the trip to the mountains has managed to derail #330daysofbiking.  Since I managed not to get in a single day of cycling while out West, it appears I will be two days short of meeting my goal by April 1.  Rats.  But I just couldn’t help myself – the lure of the snow and the mountains was just too irresistible to do anything other than ski.  It’s my only excuse.

Despite this “failure” – and it is disappointing, because I was so close – I think it was good to have the interruption for sake of perspective.  Maybe it was good to get off the bike for a few days and revisit another passion with the people I love.

Someday I hope that we will be living in a place where I can set another (silly) goal – one that would look something like #100daysofskiing-and-#300daysofbiking.   Load the ski equipment onto the Xtracycle and pedal to the mountain for a day on the slopes.   (Although I might have to add in a #30daysofcupcakes and #100daysofknitting just to round things out 😉 ).

For now, I have a renewed enthusiasm to be on my bike again, and the quest continues to finish #330daysofbiking one way or another.  Since I can only blame my weakness for snow for the lack of cycling in recent days, I’m leaving a few last pictures from the mountains.  Sigh.

 

the snowy day tree

the USSA Junior National Freestyle Championships were being held on the mountain while we were there - these kids were unbelievable; our future Olympians

the art of spotting (and not landing on your head)

I had to restrain myself from buying a pair ... but I seriously thought these would look SO hot while riding my bike

the iconic symbol of Steamboat Springs ... the old barn on a snowy day

... and as the sun sets over the mountains