Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


August 2010

Wayward poster returns

There is a concept in Southern Baptist tradition called Revival.  It’s based on the premise that even though you are completely convicted about your belief system, occasionally you need to be reminded of the grand nature of it, and the best way to do that is through an emotional, spiritual experience called Revival.  It literally means reviving those feelings of awe and joy you associate with your beliefs, but because of the nature of life, you may at times not be able to fully access.

I’m going to apply the concept of Revival to blogging.  I love this blog, this beautiful, training/eating/traveling/child-showcasing/book-reviewing/opinionated blog.  I love the process of it – the seeding of an idea in my mind, the marinating part, the fleshing out/developing part, and finally, the click of my fingers on the keys writing part.  But I find that days and days pass without my posting an entry.  I have begun to identify part of the problem.  I’m a sucker for pictures.  Sometimes I’ll think of a post to make, then I’ll try to create the pictures to enhance it.  I still want to do that, but I’m committing to creating entries that DON’T have the visuals.  Gah – guess I’ll have to make up for it with good writing.

Having said that — here are some pictures!  That’s another part of the problem – I live a fairly busy life, always have my cheapass camera with me, so even though they are of questionable quality, I usually have pictures of my significant events, slowing down the blog process even more!  Since I don’t want to take fewer pictures, I’ll simply make the effort to streamline the retelling a bit.  (HAH!)

Obligatory bike ride picture - the HOT 100 in Murfreesboro

Mass start at the HOT 100, an annual bike ride in Mboro, beginning at Lascassas Elementary school and offering 14, 33, 66, and 100 mile supported routes.  Jesse did 66, I did 33, and there is a reason it is called the HOT 100 – so hot and muggy I was drenched by mile 12.  Weird having Demo’s catering serve out of the cafeteria where my children went to school through 8th grade – used to seeing chicken nuggets, baked beans, french fries, and fruit cups in there.

Knoxville Mellow Mushroom with the wonder twins

Next is a trip to Knoxville to bring the girls the crap they forgot when they took their first load of crap to Knoxville (no offense, girls, my stuff is my crap too).  We got Glenda a mattress and Amy a kitchen table to complete their adorable apartments.

Amy not cooperating with the photographer on her bed

Don’t know how I missed not getting a pic of Glenda in hers, but that will come.  A couple of nights before I got there, Amy had been splashing about in a series of puddles, and found a storm grate.  A raised storm grate.  With her 4th toe.

Notice the appetizing purple bruise that extended to the bottom of her foot.

Next is one of my favorite ways to take a picture of my girls.  I have them from the back in London, Paris, on bikes, on the farm, as toddlers, grade-schoolers, high-schoolers, and now as college students.

Makes me fall in love with them all over again

Then there was the Midnight/Moonlight ride around Cades Cove.  Cades Cove is a little plateau in the Smoky Mountains that during the day, and especially in the fall, is a haven for sight-seeing tourists.  It’s about a 12-mile loop that is full of cars looking for deer and bear in a breathtaking setting.  The road is closed at sunset, and on a clear moonlit night, it lends itself to one of the most spectacular rides you can ever do on a bicycle.  The pavement is good, it is gently rolling mini-hills and it passes several pioneer-era buildings:  churches, a mill, some houses.  Put it on the list as a must-do.

suiting up
Glenda on an ancient, out-of-tune piano at one of the churches
Listening to the serenade
roosting bat in one of the houses
sightseeing score

There were 9 of us who went, and there isn’t a picture to reflect the Echo Area where we stopped and shouted and whistled and clapped.  It was over almost as soon as we started, and the idea that every month it’s just there, waiting to be ridden and enjoyed…well, keep tabs on the blog and I’ll try to give a heads up next time.  This is one of those rides where any bike will do – helmet required – and you can leave Mboro late afternoon and be driving back in around dawn, hoping your coworkers will ask you why you look so sleepy!

Eric's pasture

Then it’s off to Atlanta to take Sam to work for Uncle Eric for a few weeks.  (Uncle Eric graciously funded Sam’s trip to Africa earlier this summer, so that’s part of the arrangement).   Brother Eric lives south of Atlanta and raises chicken, turkeys, and longhorn cattle.

eggs and alfalfa blocks - we ate the eggs for breakfast, fed the cattle the blocks
at the first roundup
American Gothic?
New heifers being delivered - they are magnificent
Part of the herd

Since I have come back home, Sam and Eric have gotten his first longhorn bull.  He’s about half-grown and is black and white – I can’t wait to see him.  Sweet Grandma has named all the heifers and calves flower names (Pansy, Lily, Blossom, Little Blossom, etc) and so the new bull is, of course, Ferdinand.  He’s got a white V on his black face, so I’m trying to come up with a name that connects to that.  I might thesaurus that (rights of a blogger:  creating a verb out of a noun, and vice-versa).

Training continues (default setting – I’ll remark when I’m NOT training).  Family update:  Sam’s a college graduate, planning on doing the ceremony thing in December, girls are back in Knoxville in school, Ben is taking classes in Beaver Creek.  We’re planning a bike ride on the Natchez Trace over the kids’ fall break in October – 6 day 400-mile ride with the bus.  Room for more if you are interested…

Thanks for reading — remember my promise about posting more often – hold me to it!

Another catch-up post

Arrington Winery

I haven’t blogged since Ragbrai, and while there hasn’t been high drama going on, we have had lots of fun with the girls home!

This first picture is of the girls and me at Arrington Winery.   We may not be Napa or Sonoma, but Tennessee has developed some pretty nice vineyards.  Glenda and I stopped at a couple on a trip from Atlanta; one in Monteagle and one in Manchester, right at the Bonnaroo entrance, and we were pleasantly surprised at both the grounds and the wine.  Arrington had a great Blush, and since we were there on a weekday, we were able to taste everything they had!

Not sure what to caption this

Amy made a quick road trip last week, going to Atlanta, then to Athens, then to Asheville, through Knoxville, and back home.  She joined up with her Humboldt posse for all that, and they all ended up here (pics of that bunch later in this post).  This particular trip she rose to the occasion with this onesie, gold belt, gold boots – I think she was representing Tennessee.  Her friends are from Germany, France, Colorado, and Georgia, and she may have been channeling Dolly Parton.

just another picture of perfection
Francois and Matthias, Amy's Humboldt gang

Next was the bus outing to the square in Murfreesboro.  We bought beer and pizza, then parked right next to the courthouse for chat.

Lila and Melanie, Colorado and Georgia girls, via Humboldt
Amy, Glenda, and Aden

Gibson found us and joined us for a bit.  It was hot and muggy, but it was a pleasant way to spend the evening, and to introduce the Europeans to small town southern life.

Amy and Aden making chocolate biscuits

After breakfast, we all piled back into the bus for a trip to Lynchburg, TN, to see the Jack Daniels distillery.

Lila, Jack, Matthias, and Francois
nuff said

After the tour, and BBQ in Lynchburg (only so-so), back home went the bus, showers all around, and then the group piled into the van (me as DD) to visit the hot metropolis of Nashville.

the bar at Coyote's

Glenda made some contacts at a couple of the bars, and may have picked up some weekend work with her hoop, and all in all it was a fun night in the honky-tonks.  The 4 travelers had to hit the road the next morning, leaving Amy and Glenda to pack for their move to UT in Knoxville.

Sam, as I write this, is on a plane from Johannesburg, SA back home.  We’ll pick him up at the airport in the morning as we head to campus.  I’ve taken a couple weeks off from training (since Ragbrai), but will pick it back up tomorrow with a scorching run, even at 8am.

This morning the girls and I met with a group of friends at Starbucks to discuss their experiences in Paris and California, and the differences in those societies and our own here in middle Tennessee.  We had some delightful conversation and intriguing questions, and we plan to meet soon to do it again.

I know, I know, I haven’t blogged about my 50 things – I’ve got some things cooking, and I’ll catch up with that soon (how often have I written that?).

Thanks for reading!

Ragbrai 2010, part 2

To continue with our story…

One big-ass turkey leg, from Tender Tom's Turkey, found daily along the route
Laundry day for Team Fly
what a piece of rock and roll history

I blogged earlier about the significance of the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  What an intriguing place.  They’ve tried to preserve it as much as possible to 1959 appearances, down to even the coat check.

so very old school
outside the ballroom

Good friend and fellow therapist Mandi Parker knew the history due to her Iowa heritage and told me that The Bopper was the Chantilly Lace singer.  Also, Waylon Jennings, a very young man at the time, traded his seat to Richie Valens just as they were leaving for the airport.  Oh, Bobby, you would have loved this place.

Don McLean's American Pie, first verse
our version of taking the kids out to dinner
unofficial team pic, because Jesse is not in it - stay tuned for automatic timer
Sam and Flave on the tandem
another view
sweet Iowa corn on the cob, thanks to Dustin
Amy giving a hooping lesson
ice cream at Beekman's...
...followed by pie at a church
pink breast cancer tractor
talking to Mommy
Toys Aunt Glenda bought Aden with his tip money

The next picture is another story.  Riding into a town down Main Street, we heard the “Free Beer” call, and never being a team to pass that up, we stopped and indulged.  When we started asking for who to thank, and why, we were directed into the house where the table was full of food of all kinds, just because.  The lady of the house refused any donation (“Oh, Goodness NO!”), and said she was just so excited about Ragbrai coming through her town she had been cooking for days.

spread at the most generous lady's home in Iowa

About a mile off-route on the last day, we were directed to the Field of Dreams house and ball field.  We had been through there before, in about 1993, and have a picture of Ben on the pitcher’s mound.  The field was too crowded for the same picture with Aden, but we took one at the field.

House from Field of Dreams
Jesse's pics are better
Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa
Iowa boy

This Ragbrai had been billed as one of the fastest, shortest, and flattest.  However, on the last day, the day into Dubuque, we had a little different picture.  We had been hearing about Potter’s Hill all day long; we knew it was steep, and we knew it was about a mile.  We did not know it was an 11% grade.  I have never walked my bike up a hill.  Until Saturday.  But here’s the best part:  Flava Flave pulled Aden up the hill in the kiddie cart.  He’s a beast, and he impressed all of us.  I think Aden may have been playing his DS at the time.

Hill that kicked my ass, and Amy's, and Laura's, and Jesse's, and Meg's, and Tuck's, and Kirsten's. The boys aren't telling.

And that brings us to the Mississippi River.  I’ll try to get more pics from the other riders of some of that – I stopped short at the bus for my shower.

It was as good a ride as we have ever had.  Except for one rainy morning, the weather was flawless – moderate temps, low humidity, cool nights, and it really was a flat, easy, short ride.  The team was great, and we were so fortunate to have our sweet Aden along!

Thanks for reading – last full week of July, 2011!

Ragbrai 2010, picture post

I don’t know the capability of the blog to handle the pics, so it may take an entry or two or three.  So here goes:

The ride up is most interesting.  We didn’t have Ben and Kirsten, the Colorado duo, for most of the 24 hours because they drove their van to Dubuque, the end town, and got in the bus with us there.  We left Murfreesboro at 4pm Friday, and arrived in Sioux City at around 6pm Saturday.  There were plenty of potty stops, gas stops, and food stops, but even with that factored in, the new engine performed beautifully.  Jesse would love to tell you about it, so ask him if you see him.

Jordan and Amy in the jumpseats, with the door open right onto the interstate
Ahmad and Sean in the coach seats
Sam and Andreas
Tuck and Meg in the first class seats
Laura and Fez
Aden and BenDaddy, now heading west
Izzy and Ahmad, Ben and Kirsten
First night's camp in Sioux City

After arriving in Sioux City and setting up camp, we all converged on the party deck for the annual Riders’ Meeting.  First rule of Ragbrai, Jesse style:  A Clean Bus Is A Happy Bus.

Always wear a helmet, keep your dirty clothes up top, keep your crap in your cubby
Day one, body marking
In case you couldn't read it in the other picture
Aden's conveyance and conveyor
Jordan seriously suiting up
Sam and mom
relaxing in evening town, pre-performance
Fez and Boo
Amy and Jordan at the very intricate, very strange Grotto of Redemption in Somewhere, Iowa
slacklining at camp
Laura, our team ballerina
Glenda's performance on the square
I'm not sure where the videos will end up; check Team Fly Facebook page
no caption needed
out on the route

The next picture needs a little explaining.  We didn’t KILL the roadkill, we just DECORATED the road kill.  And by we I mean the other 20,000 cyclists, not me.  Only because I didn’t have any Team Fly stickers.  I know it’s a little disrespectful, but it’s what we do.

Rocky the Late Raccoon

Okay, so I’m going to post this since it’s about the halfway point of the ride, and start another entry.  I’ve got the pictures and write-up spread over the Team Fly Facebook Page, my Facebook page, and here, plus I’m gathering everyone else’s pics, so just keep looking and being patient!

Thanks for reading!

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