Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Morning Spin

We packed it in early last night because we both had early morning plans. My plans involved me, the road, my bike, and some friends to share the time. The plan was to ride out of Blue Jay County Park around 8am. The calls for morning rain had subsided by the time I got around to looking at the news.

Check out the links below to see the details from our ride. Click the MotionBased logo to see all the GPS data or just check out the route on Bikely.

MotionBased Invitation
Thanks for the ride!

Being Me

Blood, Sweat, and Gears pictures are posted. As we were climing a fairly large hill on "Big Hill Road" during the race we encountered the Bird's Eye photographer. This is my picture. Obviously I was posing, check out some of the other people at this point in the race.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pain, Ache, and Humility

Saturday was a great day to ride a bicycle in North Carolina. Check out my ride info, provided by Garmin at The ride was perfect, neither of us had a mechanical failure! According to my GPS it took me 6 hours and 13 minutes to complete the ride, but it stops tracking time while I'm at rest breaks. The race clock showed 6 hours 38 minutes when I crossed the line. The ascents were torture, keeping me climbing for 2 hours and 38 minutes.
Blood Sweat and Gears 2007
Map of Blood Sweat and Gears 2007

Full Race results for Blood, Sweat, and Gears 2007 can be found @ Race Management Systems.

The professional photos should be posted on the Bird's Eye website. (I was bib #189. John (aka "InfinityMan") and Drew can post their number in the comments if they'd like.) I'll post some of my pictures in our photo repository.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Weekend Punishment

Saturday is going a pretty hard day out on the road. John and I are heading to Boone, NC for a nice century ride.

Nice ring to it eh? Yep, it's going to be brutal with over 12000 feet of climbing. I'm actually going to be prepared for this one though, unlike the Foothills Classic back in April. I wasn't physically prepared, nor was my equipment up to snuff. This ride should be much better thanks to my new 11-27 cassette. Combined with the 50-34 compact crankset I'll have an excellent climbing setup when it comes to gearing, and I think I'm in much better shape now. The two other century rides I've completed were on a much flatter course. My pace was 20.5 mph for the Raven Rock Ramble, and for the ride last Friday I was alone and averaged 18.5 mph. I'm hoping to finish Saturday on the inside of 6 hours, which translates to just about 16.5 mph.

This is going to be the perfect place to break in my new training tool. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have married such a wonderful person? After hemming and hawing about what I wanted for our anniversary I finally decided to pick a GPS to use while cycling. My tool of choice is the Garmin Edge 305. This is the coolest thing EVER! It will do just about everything, except the riding. I cannot wait to see what my heartrate averages over Snake Mountain and its 18-20% grade!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Some of you might know that Jon regularly photo documents his daily activities using the camera on his cell phone. While diligently at work today, I received the following photos:

How exciting! Our first ripe tomato of the year, a Sungold!

How cruel! Jon is eating our first ripe tomato!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Say Cheese!

Today I decided to shoot some video around the yard. My original intent was to capture some video of Tucker in his later years, but I realized he still acts pretty young.

Typically dogs that are getting on in the years will start to show the symptoms of osteoarthritis and Tucker was no exception. A few months ago we were playing catch in the yard and the boy was really on his game, like the silver surfer of the dog world, although he had already started to require more frequent breaks. That day seemed like it might be his last "good" day of playing. He was stiff and sore after just a couple of minutes of rest and I was afraid the old standard mid-air catch was gone forever. The stiffness continued for days afterwards and Kate and I began to worry about him. We headed to the vet to make sure that he hadn't hurt something. After a few xrays our vet decided Tucker's hips were hurting him and she recommended that we start feeding him Hill's j/d. It was $60.00 for 30 pounds of kibbles. At first we thought it was pretty expensive, but check out these videos. He's running around like a 2 year old! We've realized that his food is actually pretty darn cheap.

After about 6 hours of yard-work we were pretty sure we'd be chillin out around the house rather than hitting downtown live. Check out the recreated bed in Jer & Selina's yard.

How it began

We reclaimed this bed

Do you know what this is? If you don't know what it is you may want to burn this into your memory and avoid it like the freakin' plague. You don't want to be introduced. It is Poison Ivy, and it's thick in these parts.

After a few minutes into an impromtu jam session Mike was breaking into music about Cash, our new intact pup. He'll be getting snipped just as soon as he's healed up from his heartworm treatment. I got some great video of Mike doing this little improv, priceless I tell you, just priceless!

Someone decided we would just crank up the grill and hang out in the backyard tonight. Jer grilled the bison burgers while Kate ran a freshly created chipotle butter over the corn. She surprised us with ice cream and a great local June favorite, blueberries. As you all know, Kate likes to create great food equally as much as she likes to enjoy great food. Tonight she blew us away with a fresh blueberry sauce and a nice piece of dark chocolate. It was great, unbelievably exceptional!

You know I've got to throw the odd picture from our yard in here tonight. Look at this Lily. What in the world is it doing?

Friday, June 15, 2007

One of Five

During that lengthy episode a few months ago when I lost my access to blogger, I began compiling a long list of topics to write about. Unfortunately, that list has continued to grow even though my access has since been restored. I guess this is one of those instances where my excessive list-making has backfired into creating a sense of dread versus a feeling of potential accomplishment. So it was that I found myself needing a good swift kick in the writer's block. Our friend Liz over at Los Angelista offered the following meme to get me started and to help you learn a bit more about me. The problem is that when you take your finger out of the proverbial dike, well, the water just flows. I've decided to break these five questions into multiple posts so as not to risk losing your interest after the first one anyway.

Question 1) What made you decide to become a vegetarian?

My entire pre-adult life was spent rejecting food, particularly vegetables, which was a real shame because I come from several generations of excellent cooks. My maternal grandmother was from Scotland, and while the country isn't really known for it's cuisine, Grandma Kate was a solid cook and a wonderful baker. When my mother and aunt grew to school-age, she got a job working in a public school cafeteria of Detroit, Michigan. This was in the forties when kids got fresh-baked rolls and home-made cake with their school lunches. Several of our family’s favorite desserts come in the forms of Scottish Shortbread and Empire Biscuits (which aren't really biscuits at all, but rather sugar cookie sandwiches with a thin layer of jam in between the wafers and topped with powdered sugar frosting).

My mother took that foundation a step further and always graced our table with delicious food. I wouldn't say she was an overly fancy cook, but we regularly had more than just your standard fare: chicken parmigiana, cream of chicken on puff pastry shells, melt-in-your-mouth roast beef, pineapple upside down cake, and whipped cream cake are some of my favorites. My mother's Thanksgiving feasts turned the day into my favorite holiday, so much so that I begged for roasted turkey again on Christmas Day.

It is with regret that I look back on my childhood and realize that, for all of the wonderful food I was served, I missed out on so much of it. I refused to eat any vegetables with the exception of corn and potatoes. The color green never graced my plate unless it was in the form of jello. Nevertheless, I took great pride in helping my mother bake and cook and she shipped me off to college with better than average skills in the kitchen.

While sitting down to a tuna fish sandwich in my first college apartment, I suddenly made the connection between the meat that I was about to eat and the animal that it once was. My decision not to eat meat, I think in part, was a psychic shift that resulted from being newly responsible for making my own food choices. The other part of my decision was due to an immersion in a community of 30,000 students and being newly exposed to a myriad of lifestyles and personal philosophies. And so I stopped eating meat altogether.

Over the course of the next 15 years, I embarked on the culinary answer to the question, “But what will you eat?” I was fortunate to meet several great chefs that while not vegetarian, made smart choices about food and held a deep appreciation for vegetarian and ethnic cuisine. I learned about Greens Restaurant, Annie Sommerville, Deborah Madison, and the Moosewood Collective. I learned to love my vegetables. And beans. And tofu. Most importantly, I learned to pay attention to where my food comes from and how it was treated before it reaches my plate.

I do eat some meat now, but I do so with a great deal of mindfulness. To the best of my abilities, I make sure that my food doesn’t travel too far and that any animals I eat had a comfortable life. I say a quiet prayer of thanks. I try to bring others to my table to share in the reverence of the meal because my personal philosophy is to give thanks by feeding others.

More to come:

Question 2) If you were invisible for one whole day, what would you do?
Question 3) What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?
Question 4) A distant relative leaves you a sizable inheritance. What are you going to splurge on?
Question 5) If someone made a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

If you have a blog and would like to participate in this meme/questionaire:

1) Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2) I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions!
3) Update your blog with the answers to your questions.
4) Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5) When others comment asking to be interviewed, present them with five questions.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What's Growing on? (June 14, 2007)

I've been rather lazy about taking pictures over the past couple of weeks and I'm not sure how that happened. Today seemed like a good day to take a few pictures and blog about what is growing at the homestead here in Raleigh. Feast your eyes on these.

Tucker is the "Alpha Dog" in this yard.
He looks pretty serious about protecting his domain doesn't he?

"I can haz Octopus?"
See the cheezburgers!

Fall Gold Raspberry Bush

Golden Sweetness

Heritage Red Raspberry Bush

Heritage Reds

Opalka Tomato

Sungold Tomato (my fav)

Super Shepherd Pepper


Fig Bush

Bumble Bee sleeping on Echinacea


Yellow Canna Lily

Fire Canna (my fav)

Pink Canna Lily

Day Lily

Butterfly Bush


Bee Balm



So, this is where we are today. Watching our beautiful gardens flourish, waiting for an offer on the house. Leaving our friends, and all the things we've worked so diligently to create. Our home and gardens will make some lucky family very happy.

Lunch Buffet

Have you ever seen such a thing? How many birds and squirrels can coexist? A few flew away as I walked outside but there was still 3 squirrels, 5 doves, 6 finches and a blackbird.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Swimming Lessons

Tucker is providing swimming lessons now. Don't be afraid to go underwater.