Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'll make a million!!!

Moneywalker asked a question a few posts back about how my new bike has affected my thoughts and observations while exercising. After giving it some consideration and the with healing of my first road rash I can now answer.

Today our weather turned wintry again with rain and snow showers. In the past five years those conditions wouldn't have stopped me from lacing up the shoes and heading out to find shiny, round objects on the roads. I'm certainly not afraid of getting cold and wet. However, those same conditions will keep me off my bike. And that does not make me happy at all.

The last three weeks of riding has been interesting. I'm no longer afraid of cars whizzing past my left shoulder, although I must admit that I still give them plenty of respect and leeway. Mostly they are ignored except at intersections where I'm careful to make eye contact with drivers before crossing paths. Drivers making right turns are especially dangerous, a fact learned fast when I began running.

At first the transition from running against the traffic to riding with the traffic was weird. More than once I found myself on the wrong side of the road. Utah laws require bicycles to observe to all moving vehicle laws. The first time Eris showed me how to cross a major highway in a traffic lane was very unsettling but I'm now getting used to it. Still not ready to "shoot the gap" and don't plan on ever doing it.

As for numismatizing, it is much more difficult but certainly not impossible. There are three car washes along my current route. It's easy to get off the bike and take a quick stroll while catching a drink of water.

Road finds are much harder. But I think I've found a solution. Training wheels. Yup. Training wheels. I'm thinking that if I install them on my rear wheels and duct tape some powerful magnets to the bottom sticky-out side my ride totals will go up considerably. Yes? Just think... I could make a million off this idea!! Bikers of all kinds will be clamoring for my invention!

To answer the rest of MoneyWalker's question, the addition of biking to my exercise routine has had a few surprises. When out ralking there was nothing to keep me from slowing down or stopping altogether. Can't do that on a bike. I have to work to keep the mph at a decent level. I also believe the cardio benefits are much greater than ralking, at least for me personally. Mixing up the workouts relieves some of the boredom that was setting in.

Tonight while talking with Athena about her "boot camp" she mentioned how much she hates a treadmill and stationary bike. I totally agree. I want to be outside with fresh air, marveling at our incredible mountains and feeling the wind on my face. Each time I hear the frogs croaking in the pond or see the newborn ducklings on the canal I love it even more. Athena, you would love it. I dare you.

$1.99 (total from last week)

(The top photo is Little Ms. taken at a July 4th parade in 2009. She is now riding sans training wheels.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My father was a quiet man. Fran, who grew up with him, told me once that sometimes when a group of boys were walking home from school Dad would just disappear. I didn't realize until I was an adult how true that was. None of his three daughters seemed to pick up that trait. We all tend to be outspoken, bossy and quite loud at times. Dad's grandchildren are also a lively bunch, with the exception of one.

Nephew Brett is much like his grandfather. In the past it has been nearly impossible to get smiles out of him when a camera is involved. He is probably the quietest man I have ever met, retreating silently when our large family gathers. One-on-one meetings are a different story. The playfulness comes out and his mischievous side takes over.

Last week I had a fabulous time with Brett and his fiance Jacci taking photos for their upcoming wedding. For over an hour I watched with joy as they played in the field of old farm equipment and antique trucks. Smiles and laughter were everywhere and before I knew it my shutter had clicked well over 350 times. It was difficult to narrow down the images for proofing because I was so amazed at their beaming faces!

Thanks to B and J for sharing your happiness!

$3.58 (finally went out ralking this morning. Boy-howdy, did those streets need cleaning!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


The ground is rumbling in our part of the country. Two days ago there was an earthquake about 65 miles from here. Didn't feel it because at the time I was wrestling children into car seats. But something else is making the ground shudder. This quake is caused by an old friend who is rolling over in his grave, slapping his forehead in frustration and shouting curse words at me, all from six feet under.

Meet Fran. Many years ago we shared adjoining office spaces. Neither of us were especially busy at our respective jobs, he owning a specialty shoe store while I worked in an optical office where the doctor was partially retired. Fran was much older than I, and in fact was slightly older than my father. Nevertheless, we became good friends. We shared life stories, a restroom and most importantly, a refrigerator full of Diet Cola, his one indulgence.

Fran was one of the grounding forces during that unsettled time of my life. He listened to my rantings about kids, the ex, finances and health problems. He provided transportation when I temporarily could not drive. He celebrated when my GPA was good and chastised when it slipped below par. He was one of the few who attended my college graduation. He also never hesitated to give me a solid, fatherly tongue-lashing when I did anything that did not meet his approval, which was often. When I told him about Zeus and our plans to marry he was thrilled. Our friendship lasted many years.

Fran was a biker. Each morning his road bike made a two hour journey from his home to the office. At night it took him home. On Sundays it was a three hour HARD ride. We're talking grueling mountain passes and long, long distances. The pleasure he got out of getting all stinky and sweaty was a mystery to me.

I vividly remember getting to work one day and finding him hunched over in his office, still in his biking clothes, angry and with tears streaming down his face. Then I noticed the crumpled red bike in the corner. "She hit me! Look at my bike!". Totally ignoring the blood that covered his arms and legs, he was devastated about his beloved bike. That night I got phone call. He had been taken to the hospital for some internal injuries that had gone overlooked and spent a few days there recovering. A few weeks later he was back on a new bike.

Peddling those road bikes kept my friend alive for many years past his life expectancy. He had an incurable condition that finally took it's toll about ten years ago. At the funeral his riderless bike was parked next to the casket. Fran is still a legend among seasoned riders here.

In the last ten days I have thought of him often while learning to appreciate the wind in my face and the aching muscles of my gluteus maximus. The patch of road rash that is currently on my elbow is minuscule compared to the large scabs he wore after the three tangles with automobiles. I like to think he would be smiling each time I strap on the helmet and later return home all stinky and sweaty. And I'm sure he is wondering why it took me so long to discover how fun it can be.


Monday, April 12, 2010

What happens in Vegas..

Just got back from three days in Vegas. No, not the kind of trip that one normally imagines when thinking of Las Vegas, although I did manage to leave around $20 in one of the stingy slot machines.

A few months ago the Duchess asked if her royal children could spend a few days with me while they attended a family wedding. Knowing that there would be New York grandparents attending I suggested that an alternative would be to go with them. I would stay with the kids at the hotel during the festivities and in the free time the other grandparents could stock up on some needed hugs, kisses and playtime. Eris joined us as well.

As it turned out, the night of the wedding brought us two additional little girls, ages 4 and 5, whom we had never met. I was a little concerned about how they would react to Mommy and Daddy leaving them at a strange hotel with two strange women for the evening. Little Charlotte and Vanessa were adorable and blended right in with the rest of us. Activities planned for the evening were bowling (Cosmic bowling is AWESOME), a spaghetti picnic dinner in the hotel room (thanks D and A), manicures, pedicures, movies and popcorn! By 9:30 pm the kids were sprawled all over beds asleep. Not one tear shed the entire evening!

Texting conversation between Eris and the Duchess (from the reception) at 8:00 pm:

Duchess: "How's it going with the kids?"

Eris: "Okay. We lost Charlotte. But we found another one about her age. Does D and A speak Spanish?"

The trip was fun. It's also good to be back home. Now I think I will go for a bike ride.


More photos at the Shooting Blog.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spinning my wheels

Oh my goodness! It's like I'm eight years old again! That was the year that a shiny new bike was waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

Yesterday was Christmas all over again! The bike that I ordered last week finally arrived. It's a hybrid Raleigh, pearl white with lots of gears and brakes and other cool stuff. But the best part is the nice comfy seat that protects my backwards tailbone. I had resisted riding for thirty years ever since that fateful day getting off the ski lift...

I was a bit nervous when I test rode a number of bikes after not being on one in years but once I hopped aboard it came back fast. (Eris was with me and claimed to have flashbacks of the time I tried - unsuccessfully - to ride a motorcycle and crashed in front of my children.)

Yesterday afternoon Eris and I rode for a while around my neighborhood. This morning I took it out on the road for an hour and LOVED it!

Hopefully this new addition will put some zing back in my physical workouts. For the last few months ralking has become tiresome, especially while it's been so cold and wet. The plan is to alternate between the two. I'm also excited about riding with Eris, the Duchess and the grandkids. Maybe we can even get Athena to come with us! And Jubee, get ready!

(Obviously the numismatizing will suffer, but I did manage three pennies this morning.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

White Satin

One time I tried to count them and came up with somewhere around a dozen. Athena and Eris, three nieces, two cousins and a number of friends all wore gowns with my "Made by Numi" tag sewn inside. Styles change dramatically and brides are unique in their shapes and desires. Some brides are easy to work with, others deserve the moniker Bridezilla.

Each dress was a challenge. The lair had to be sanitized and guests were banished. Food is forbidden within 20 feet of white satin. With each gown new techniques were learned. Handbeading, boning, hooping slips, bustles, poofing, all were different.

Last night I finished one of the scariest yet. My nephew's fiance is a darling, petite girl who needed her purchased gown shortened by 80 mm. The gown is exquisite with pleating, beading, pearls and a long flowing train. As many times as I have cut into yards and yards of white bridal satin or alencon lace this one terrified me. Perhaps it was because there was no starting over if I messed up. (Yes, that happened once.) It wasn't a simple hem job, no, this one required disassembling the lower half of the gown (all four layers), removing portions of lace, configuring angles and trying to not get Cadbury Egg fingerprints on it. I thought about the process for three weeks, studied the construction, which by itself was something of an engineering marvel, and then finally took a deep breath and started.

Taking the seams apart and peeking inside was easy. But making that first cut into the hem was terrifying. There was no going back. Kind of like induced labor. Reconstruction is now complete. The gown is hanging in it's protective bag waiting for the big day in two months. Diet Coke is now allowed in the lair again. And I can breathe.

Sorry, no photo of the entire gown. That will come later. My nephew hasn't seen it, although he has carried the bag out to my car.


Friday, April 2, 2010

The perfect excuse

It's always interesting to see what walks in my front door on Grandma Tuesday morning. Littlest arrives in her nightgown, fresh out of bed, carrying her blanket and a bag with clothes in it. Breakfast is taken care of first, then often a shower where she will play with the measuring cups and washcloths until the water turns cold. Then she gets dressed and we are free for the day to run all kinds of errands and get in a little playtime before returning home for reading and an afternoon snooze.

This is what we found in the bag yesterday. Two left shoes, one hers and the other Little's. That put an end to the day's planned activities. That's okay. With all of the rain and snow we've been getting it was a perfect excuse to get out the Legos, magnets and books.