Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One recovered, one replaced (Or, don't mess with my butch girlfriend)

Isn't that a beautiful bike? Here's the's a follow up to my previous post. T. was driving down Plymouth Avenue in Rochester, thinking..."You know, I've NEVER seen a GT Nomad...if I see one, I will know that it's mine." A few blocks later, she saw someone on a GT Nomad, a young man, stopped in a parking lot talking to a woman in a parked car.

Tanya pulled in to the parking lot, got out of her car, looked him straight in the eye (not an easy feat, since she's 5'4" and he was over 6'), and said, "You're on my bike. Get off my bike." He got kind of flustered, and said that he paid for it, it's his bike. This exchange continued for a few minutes, with him getting more agitated and saying, "I didn't steal your's my bike."

She decided to try another tactic (this was her most prudent moment of the interaction). She said, "Let me start over. My name is Tanya (extending hand). What's yours?" He reluctantly shook her hand and told her his name. She told him that she's had the bike for over 10 years, and it means a lot to her, then asked him how much he paid for the bike...the answer, $20. She said, "I'll give you $40 for it. Get off the bike and follow me home, where I have the money." He did so, she put it on the bike rack, and in her least prudent moment of the interaction, invited him to get in her car.

His female friend said, "No, he'll ride with me." Was she protecting him from Tanya? I don't know, but I'm glad she did it, for whatever reason.

They followed Tanya home, got their $40, and Tanya had her bike back. This whole thing makes me simultaneously proud and terrified.

But wait...there's more. Tanya took the bike to Full Moon Vista to get a wheel (since the thieves had replaced her nice one with a cheap one), lights, etc. While there, she noticed a Trek that she had been researching. She called me to come down and try it out.

Kyle sweet-talked me into buying it (perhaps that's because I practically begged him to give me reasons to buy it). Seriously, I tried it out and I love it! By the way, philosophically I'm totally into buying from Craig's list...but there are two factors against such an approach. First, I'm not so patient as to wait until just the right bike comes along. Second, I did not inherit the lesbian mechanical-skills gene (maybe that's because I'm bi, but that's another story), and would feel totally overwhelmed at having to make major repairs/parts replacement.

One more thing...perhaps you noticed how well the water bottle matches the bike (come on, you can admit it!). Here's a closer picture just in case you missed it...

I bought that water bottle on Saturday, the day before my Specialized was stolen. All I can say is that I must have been meant to have this sweet blue Trek.

I brought it home last night, where it is being kept in an undisclosed thieves, don't even think about it! Like I said, you don't want to mess with my butch girlfriend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Michael Phelps' mom

I know that Michael Phelps has won 8 gold medals.  (Perhaps I should confess that that's pretty much all I know...wait, I know that the opening ceremony was way over-the-top, and that there's a controversy about the age of the Chinese gymnasts.  That's what happens when you don't watch TV and get all your Olympic news from Yahoo and your 17-year old daughter. )

Look, this young man is surpassing all Olympic records, and what did he say after medal #8? According to Paul Newberry of the AP, he said, "There's so much emotions going through my head and so much excitement.  I kind of just want to see my mom."

T. picked up this article in a coffee shop for me, knowing that right now, I sometimes feel a bit superfluous in my 19-year old son's life.  Loved, definitely, but also most definitely on the sidelines.

But you know what? That's my job right now.  I noticed that Michael didn't say, "I can't wait to see my mom!"  He just "kind of wants to see her."  And mom is there, because that's what moms do.  We're there, beaming when our kids do great, picking them up when they fall, and holding our breath in between.

And you know what else?  I bet he couldn't wait to see her, even if he didn't express that verbally...I also read that he quickly found his family to give his mom and sisters a kiss.  It seems like no matter our age, we always want our mom to be there when we shine.

Here's to my shining ones...

Monday, August 18, 2008


You can take my car, my computer, my TV (if I had one), heck, even my wallet (not really!). But not my bike! I have a bad history of bikes being stolen, and each time I have learned from the previous theft. But this most recent time really gets me. The first time, it was stolen from the parking garage next to my workplace. The solution? Bring my bike up and put it in a storage area (thanks to my very bike-friendly supervisor). The second (and third) times, it was stolen from my own garage, which had a bum lock. The solution? Fix the damn lock (yes, I'm a slow learner sometimes).

This, the fourth time? It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my partner and/or I had been outside in the backyard nearly all day, and the garage door was open since we were going in and out of it to get tools for gardening and chicken-keeping related work. Our bikes were in the garage, not visible from the driveway, unlocked.

Thinking that no one would ever dare come into our yard while we were home, with lots of visibility from adjoining lots where other neighbors were around doing their own yard work, we didn't worry about the bikes. When we came outside after a half hour inside, both our bikes were gone. As we looked around, we realized that they had come through our neighbor's back yard, trampling the fence, and into our garage. There was a small kid-sized bike abandoned in the neighbor's front yard.

We think they were looking for bikes and were tipped off by the bike rack on our car in the driveway. We always close and lock the garage when we're not home, but I never would have thought someone would be so bold to come into our yard and garage when we're obviously home. Several of our neighbors who can see our backyard were in and out all day, but somehow the thieves found this window of opportunity.

Funny, I grew up in a small town where most people never locked their houses or cars or garages. There were a lot of not-so-great things about growing up there, but that level of trust is something I really miss. Obviously I need to be a lot more distrustful...we are already discussing solutions to prevent this type of theft.

Anyway, that's my bike above, before the existing fenders were added, and my partner's was a GT Nomad, silver-grey, with fenders, kick stand, water bottle holder, and front pack.
Well, I was planning on getting a second bike this year, but now I'll just get ANOTHER first bike. It's hard to believe, though, how attached I was to that bike. I don't believe in heaven and hell, but there should be a special hell for bike thieves.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Billie is a Billy

See that? That, my friends, is a rooster (the one with the hairdo, of course). A rooster who was seriously trying to boss the hens around, a rooster who made a pathetic crow one day last week, a rooster that my family and I were really fond of, a rooster that is now back at the farm to live out his days and boss the hens around out there.

And that, although blurry, is a hen on the Billie 2. A little younger than Billy 1, she is very mellow, and Ella and Sarah accepted her pretty quickly.  (Just to clear up any confusion, roosters aren't necessary for hens to lay one of my lesbian chicken-keeping friends said, "You ovulate every month without a man, right?"  And given the whole crowing at dawn thing, roosters aren't allowed in city...even if they were, I wouldn't do that to my neighbors.)

Now that...I don't know what the hell that is. Some nasty disease that has wiped out my tomato plants...anyone else know?

And this is one evening's worth of garden harvest for the day...with the tomatoes sparse and the beans not quite in full season, there's not a lot right now.

But, the collards and Swiss chard are doing well, and I planted my fall garden a few weeks ago...I already have beets, cabbage, hardy lettuce, and Brussels sprouts coming up. And pretty soon, I'll have eggs to go along with the veggies!

But I'll still miss Billy 1.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Get out and play


I've already mentioned kayaking as a form of natural air conditioning, but it's also a great way to experience nature without going very far. This picture was taken on a trip at Bay Creek Paddling Center. I have to admit that we could hear the sound of traffic from the highway, but the view was worth it.

The summer weekends are dwindling...get out and enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sunflower fields forever

Did you know that there's a sunflower field in the city? For those of you in Rochester, it's across from Highland Park on Highland Avenue.
DD visited with her best friend, a budding photographer who took the first 2 pictures. And I visited a couple of days later.
Go now before they fade!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pay attention

One of the great things about vacation is that it is a time to take time and pay attention to things I would have overlooked during the course of daily life.

A few years ago, T. and I became obsessed with birding. That obsession has now been somewhat overshadowed by new interests, but I'm grateful for the knowledge I've gained about the natural world through looking at and for birds. And for the reminder to pay attention.

Learning to identify birds by sight and ear requires a level of focus and attention that might surprise the non-birder, but once learned, a lot of the knowledge stays with you, even if you're not using it that much.

Here are a few of the birds that reminded me to pay attention to life, while I was on Cape Cod. The one above is a willet, seen at Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary.

These are black-backed gulls, the largest gull species, also at Wellfleet.

That is a piping plover, an endangered species, seen near Great Island.

An osprey, nesting in Nauset Marsh.

And two oystercatchers, also seen near Great's rare to get such a good view of them.

I wonder how many people walked (or drove) past those birds without a second thought. I wonder how much else I miss when I don't pay attention.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A sustainable vacation

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While "staycationing" is all the rage right now, T. and I chose to vacation this are some reasons why, some tips for keeping it somewhat low-impact, and some pictorial highlights.

1--Sustaining our relationship--Right after our commitment ceremony (11 years ago this month!), we took a two-week honeymoon. That was our last solo two-week vacation, and with DD in Europe and DS on his own, it was high time to do it again.

2--Keep it in context--I must admit that, at one time, we were quite the weekend getaway'ers. Those getaways helped us cement our relationship in the early days, and kept us sane through crazy job stress. At the moment the relationship is fully bonded, the job stress is minimal, and life is goooood. So, we've pledged to keep our weekend trips to a minimum, and when we do take them, we'll go to places within a 1-2 hour drive. Thus, we feel that a once-a-year trip to a distance of 5oo miles is justifiable within that context. (Not to mention our regular bike commuting to work and errands.)

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3--Keep it rustic--We camped all but three nights of the vacation. You can't beat that for low-cost and sustainable. And rather than stay at a hotel those three nights, we stayed at the Sugar Maple Trailside Inn, an inn owned by a rail trail advocate, where they support their local food co-op,farms,and bicycle-powered soap company. Here's their front yard.

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4--Try the local cuisine--We also made most of our own meals, focusing on produce we found along our journey, at farmstands and cooperative foodstores. We always try to hit up farmers' markets as well. You can find farmers' market and other local food sources for anywhere in the U.S. with a quick google search. For Massachusetts, I used Although I'm a vegetarian 99.99% of the time, I even tried a fish sandwich in Provincetown at Townsend's Fish Market, because seafood is such a vital part of the foodshed in that region.

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5--Limit the driving--Obvious, right? Well, we realized that we could limit our driving while we're on vacation much more than we had in the past. If you've visited Cape Cod or the Berkshires, you know that it's hard to get anywhere without getting in your car. Previously we just decided what we wanted to do and drove there when we wanted to be there. This time we were much more intentional about clustering our activities in one general region, rather than driving all over the place. Not only did we save gas, we realized that we were much more relaxed without having to do so much driving.

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And even Zoe had a great time in the great outdoors!

You can see all the pictures at my Flickr page .


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