Sunday, November 21, 2010

...reasons not to ride

1. It's really cold out.
2. White stuff is falling from the sky.
3. Sewing projects are begging to be finished before Thanksgiving.
4. It's really cold out. (Did I mention that?)

All good reasons not to ride.

I'm very glad I rode anyway. Even though my toes were ice cubes by the time we returned. Even though I had to stop and put my headband on over the balaklava. Even though my eyes were streaming at times. Even though Kathie decided not to go. Even though my water was icy cold going down.

Glad I didn't listen to reason.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Friday, November 12, 2010 first set of wheels

First day of school for my older siblings, but sadly, I was left behind. This was 1962 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. Those are beautiful bicycles they got to ride! I joined the ranks the next year, pedaling the two miles to school. My brothers hated mom's rule that they had to stay behind me. I was a slow poke...

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's gray and cold outside.

My best friend is out of town.

Fabric is waiting.

Christmas is coming.

Guess what I'll be doing today?

*** Afternoon update...the gray burned off, the sun came out, Kathie called to ask, "Want to ride?" You bet I do! (There's still 48 days 'til Christmas...plenty of time to get the sewing finished!)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

...a cross-cultural solution

Jack o' Luminaria
(I never got around to buying a pumpkin this year, but wanted my entrance to be trick-or-treater friendly.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

...22 stitches

About a year ago I made an appointment with a dermatologist for a full-body check. My friend Kathryn had recently had surgery for skin cancer, and she wanted everyone in her circle to get checked out. (Kat is fine--surgery took care of it, and she has just a small scar on the back of her arm.) My doctor found nothing, but agreed that given my age, coloring, and the amount of time I have always spent outdoors, having a base-line was a good idea.

A little over a month ago I felt something on the back of my left arm. I took a picture of it so I could get a good look. looked odd. A couple weeks later I took another picture and promptly made an appointment. The "thing" was changing, growing, and itchy.

The doctor looked at it, said he wasn't sure, but decided to do a biopsy anyway. A few days later his office called back and said it was a non-life-threatening form of skin cancer...squamous cell carcinoma. Surgery was scheduled, I arranged for a sub, and tried not to worry too much. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain.

On Wednesday morning I got up early, drove to Walla Walla, and had the "thing" removed. There is a reason I am an educator and not in the health care profession. To say I get queasy very easily is an understatement. I couldn't see what was going on with my arm since I was curled in an awkward position, but I could hear and smell and feel more than enough. When it was all over I drove myself home and crashed on the couch before the local anesthetic wore off.

Thursday was actually worse. I was to change the bandage, but the one they put on was stuck like super glue to my skin. I confess I was close to tears when it finally came loose. I took another picture of the site--and was totally unprepared for what I saw. What had originally been a spot not any bigger than the tip of my finger was now a 2 inch wound! Yikes. (I won't be posting the picture--I wouldn't be able to stand looking at it and don't want to subject anyone else to it either.) The doctor had told me there were 22 stitches in all, inside and out, but what that would look like didn't really sink in until I saw the picture.

Today I was back at school and hyper aware of my arm. A coworker (who didn't know why I had been out) reached out to give me a playful swat on the arm. I quickly dodged his hand, and kept plenty of space between myself and students in the crowded halls.

Thanks, Kat, for encouraging me to find a dermatologist last year. Really, in the grand scheme of things, this was very minor. I'm grateful for my good health and know my arm will heal quickly.

Friday, October 15, 2010 addition to my "stable"

I say "stable" and laugh at myself, as though I'm a serious cyclist like some people who really DO have a stable of bicycles. For years I had one bike at a time--usually a fat-tired hybrid that I rode around town and took along on camping trips. Three years ago I bought a road bike, but kept my fat-tired bike. See? The beginnings of a stable. This past weekend I aquired a third bike, and it has me grinning from ear to ear. In 1940 or 1942 when my Dad was either 8 or 10 (Mom is looking for the picture taken at the time that will verify the date) his grandfather rode the train out to Oregon from Minneapolis. He brought with him a gift for my Dad--a brand new Elgin bicycle, complete with shiny chrome fenders. The bike was so big and heavy that Dad couldn't even ride it at first, but he soon got the hang of it. Dad said he put a lot of miles on that bike, and when he left home at 17 to join the Navy, his baby brother put it to use. When we moved back to Dad's hometown in the 70s, Grandma was riding that bike out to the Grange and back almost every day. It was looking pretty rough by then, but still a good, solid machine.

Every now and then I'd remember the old bike and wonder what had become of it. Grandma sold, gave away, and tossed a lot of things before she had to go into a nursing home because of Altzheimers, so I figured the Elgin was long gone. I asked Dad about it this past summer and he said it was still out in the chicken house at Grandma's (now my youngest brother's) place. When I asked Dave about it he grinned and said yup, it was still there, but he had plans for it. So I shrugged, said I was glad to hear it, and left it at that. That was in July.

This past weekend Dave called and asked if I would be stopping in Cove on my way home from Boise. I hadn't planned on it, but he said he had something to give me. What else could it be? Of course I would stop by!
So now I have a "stable" of three bikes. I can't wait to get the newest addition fixed up and take it out for a spin. What a treasure!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

...the last evening ride of the year

Only four of us showed up. Scott lagged behind. Normally, I would stay with him, but this time Mike did. Nate asked, "What do you think, Sue?" I grinned and said, "I'll let you know if I need you to slow down." We made good time, but it was still dark by the time we got in.

Bliss = Drafting off of a fast guy, holding on with everything I have.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I've been doing a lot of shoe shopping lately, and even some shoe buying. Unfortunately, I've also been doing some shoe returning as well.

I'm in search of the "perfect" shoe. One that is comfortable all day, every day, but especially Thursdays. Why Thursdays? We're on a modified block this year which means that I have a 45 minute prep on Mondays and Tuesdays, a 90 minute prep on Wednesdays, and NO prep on Thursdays. I am on my feet, going at warp speed, from 7:30-2:45, with only about 20 minutes in the middle to sit at my desk and eat lunch. Whew!

So my feet and my legs need and want a decent pair of shoes or two.

I've tried on shoes, thought they were "it," brought them home and tried them on again...hey, why didn't I notice in the store that the left one hurts the top of my foot? I've ordered shoes online, and waited excitedly for them to arrive. This time the left foot feels great...but the right one feels like there's a lump in the toe.

Oh, and since I'm not yet 70? I want my shoes to have a bit of style to them. The young male clerk (who called me ma'am) in the higher-end shoe store I visited today, shrugged his shoulders when I said I was on a quest for the most comfortable, yet stylish shoes on earth. "Let me know if you want to try something on." (Maybe from his perspective there's not much difference between 50-something and geriatric.)

So the quest continues. MY shoe is out there, waiting for me to find it, I just know it. Let's hope we're united soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

...being a bicycle lady

About 5:00 this afternoon I was busy at my desk, making sure I had everything set for tomorrow's lessons. The building was quiet and I was totally focused on the task at hand. All of a sudden two young boys, about middle school age, burst through my door, making me jump. "Do you have a bike pump?!?" one loudly asked. After I peeled myself off the ceiling I thought for a second, then said, "No, I sure don't...but normally I would. I just forgot to put it back in the truck the last time I used it." "Oh," he said, disappointed, "My friend has a flat tire. Someone told us you were a bicycle lady and might have one."
Guess I'd better get the pump back in the truck. I'd hate to lose my reputation as "a bicycle lady."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

...making a change

...a REALLY big change.

The resume is updated.

The cover letter is written.

All that's left is to hit "send."


I've lived and taught in Podunk for 21 years. The kids are grown and gone. The house is sold. The ol' dog is chasing cats in doggie heaven.

It's been time for a long time but it's hard to see over the edge of my rut.

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 13, 2010

...riding with Kathryn

My friend Kathryn is the one who convinced me, three years ago, to test ride a road bike. I am so glad she did! We had planned to sign up for the Tour de Frog in Milton Freewater this past Saturday, but we had both had such an exhausting week that we decided a local (and free) ride on Sunday would give us a much-needed day to rest. We left my place at 6:15 a.m. The sun was just coming up over the rise, and arm warmers felt good. We rode up Holdman Hill and took the back way to Pendleton, stopped to rest our buns and have a cup of something warm, then rode back home along the river. It was a beautiful day to be out on our bikes--barely any traffic, no wind until the last 5 miles, and sunshine, lots of sunshine! We caught up on each other's lives, commiserated about how busy the first of the year is (she's a teacher, too), and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Thanks, Kat!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

...the 14th annual

...Tumbleweed Music Festival
This was the first year that Arlene wasn't able to come for our annual weekend of being hippies in the grass, listening to folk music at Howard Amon Park in Richland. She was just too busy with her new house. But Katie was home for a friend's wedding, so on Sunday we headed over to the park, ate tacos and sopes from our favorite taco lady, and listened to some music. Not quite the same as having Arlene here, but still a good time!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

...going back to school

As I greeted new students yesterday morning at 7:00 a.m. I felt like this:

That feeling pretty much carried me through the rest of the day, and most of today. But by 6:00 this evening, as I gathered my things to come home.....I felt like this:

I resisted the urge to do the drive-through food-that's-not-really-food fix, and instead reminded myself that I had homemade bread and soup in the freezer, just waiting to be heated up. Now it's time to go get some

so I have enough of what this guy has to get up and get going again in the morning.

P.S. I have the sweetest new students! (But then I always do...) :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

...the last ride of August

I wasn't going to ride this morning. I really wasn't. School starts tomorrow, and I didn't feel like my classroom was quite ready. (I can be a bit of a worrier.) But...when I woke up and looked outside...I couldn't NOT ride.

Kathie and Bob

My shadow and I

Scott and Darrell

(And guess what? Everything that absolutely HAD to be ready for tomorrow got done this afternoon. Happy back-to-school, everyone!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

...the end of summer

Oh it's still shorts and T shirt weather, but the truth is...summer is over. We're not officially back on the clock until Wednesday, but like most teachers, I've already put in several hours at school and will put in many more before kids show up a week from tomorrow. It has been a good summer. I spent time with family, took an interesting class, got Arlene moved into her new home (Yay!), sewed like a maniac, read several good books, and put many miles on the bike. I'm rested and ready. It's going to be a good year.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

...a recipe for a ride

  • one bike
  • one rider
  • early morning
  • temperatures in the mid-70s
  • slight breeze
  • blue skies
  • beautiful valley


Get on the bike and pedal. Repeat for 40 miles. Ride around the entire valley. Soak up the scenery. Smile broadly at dour-faced folks on their way to church. Laugh maniacally as you fly down hills. Grin at the deer standing at the side of the road, watching you approach. Stop to take a picture of a sunflower field. Send the picture to your riding buddies at home with the message, "Wish you were here!" Be grateful for such a perfect day. Enjoy!

(Yes, I'm on my way to Boise to help Arlene move, but she's not ready for me yet.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

...becoming a bag lady

This is the bag that started it all.
I made it over 20 years ago when I was going to college and Katie was a baby. When she went off to college, she took it with her, and wore the poor old thing out. She asked if I could make a new one. I no longer had the pattern, so took the first one apart and copied it. That was in February.

Since then, I've made all of these, six of them in the past week. Throw in some aprons, tissue box covers, a couple of shifts for Arlene, a valance and a doo rag....whew! My machine has been smokin'!

I'm off to Boise tomorrow to help Arlene move into her new house. My ancient sewing machine will be quite grateful to be covered up and left in peace for a while.

Friday, July 23, 2010

...winning the lottery

Wouldn't it be lovely if I won the lottery? Then I could just cycle, read, and sew ALL the time! (Minor detail--might have to buy a lottery ticket.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

...riding with the fast guys

I was the only {not so fast} person to show up for the group ride tonight. That meant I'd be riding alone. Harrumph. But, it was a beautiful, calm evening--no reason to be grumpy. I would ride alone--there are worse things to endure--like not riding at all on such a fine evening. The route was decided upon, and I took off early while the guys still hung around fiddling with tires and what-not. I thought if I could make it up the hill before they passed me, I might have a chance of hanging on for a while. My strategy worked, but then it was inevitable--they dropped me. But wait--there were only four in that group. Where were the others? I kept looking back, but never did see the rest of the guys. I'm not sure what happened to them--they should have caught up to me. The first group waited in Echo and were surprised to see me ride in alone. After refilling my water, I took off again--the days aren't as long as they were just a few short weeks ago, and it would take me a bit to get back to the shop. But--what's this?? The fast guys passed me again, and hollered, "Grab on!" They slowed their pace just a tad, and I was able to hang on all the way back to town. I'm still grinning.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

...a baiku

Perfume of hay and mint

fill the air as we fly by.

Ah, summer riding!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

...80 years young

My mom's sister, Lorraine, better known as "Aunt Nanie," turned 80 in June. She asked her children for a picnic at Champoeg State Park, but "Please wait until July, when the weather is nicer!" The picnic was yesterday, and I had no intention of going. You see, I have this class to finish. Papers to write. Mom asked on the phone, "Are you going?" Sorry, no. Saturday morning I got up, intending to walk to the farmer's market to buy blueberries, then chain myself to the computer for the rest of the day. I am motivated to get this work done--as soon as Arlene closes on her house I want to be free to GO. But.... I kept thinking about Aunt Nanie's party. And waffled. Should I go? No. Maybe I should. Nope. Too much to do. But...if it were her funeral I would be there and not second guess my decision. A quick conversation with Arlene clinched it. I was going. I quickly packed an overnight bag, texted Katie to let her know I needed a bed for the night, and was out the door by 10:00 a.m. It's almost a four hour drive to the park, but my little ol' truck made it in record time. Luckily, Katie didn't have to work until 5:00, so she met me at the park. It was bigger than I realized, and we didn't know where to find them. No one knew we were coming, and mom's cell phone was turned off. We strolled past several family gatherings, peering carefully at the faces. Do they look like my cousins? (Nope, nope, and nope, but the food smelled good!) Finally, Katie spotted them, and we joined the party. What fun to surprise them all! Lots of hugs all around. A good decision. (And I'll chain myself to the computer tomorrow.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

...Whew! I'm home again.

(Note to readers: I started writing this post earlier in the week, then got busy working on assignments for the class I'm taking. I've decided to post it as is, then pick up the story later when I have the time.)

The past two weeks were busy and fun...and exhausting. It's good to be home again, sleeping in my very own bed. I've done enough yard work (some at the folks', some at Arlene's, and some at Lani's) to satisfy that urge and realize that I really don't miss having a yard that needs constant attention.

Henry the hippie kept us company when we were outside working in the yard. He's a funny little dog--so excited to see me at first, then he gets cranky if I try to love on him. He's too young to be a grumpy old man, so we're not sure what the deal is. (Nothing I lose sleep over, believe me!)

When I got to Boise Arlene greeted me with the news, "I'm moving!" WHERE?? WHEN?? "I don't know. Let's go house hunting!" she said. So long story short--Arlene's offer on this wonderful little house was accepted, and I'll be going back over in a few weeks to help paint and move. I am sooooo happy for her!

Her new house is close to the Greenbelt, a great walking/biking trail, and a cute little park is in the neighborhood--just right for Jadyn.

On Monday I left Boise and headed for Prairie City. I set up my camp in the local RV park (note to self--don't camp in space #1 unless you want to field a lot of questions!). I wasn't so sure if I'd be staying--not a single bike or cyclist was in sight--not exactly what I had imagined. But soon Storie came roaring in on his bike and introduced me to Bill and Lois from California. Small world, they are from Arcata, which is where Nate's ex-girlfriend Genavieve is from. Her mom, Kate, is a midwife there. Bill and Lois' two grandchildren were delivered by a midwife named Kate! I went for a short ride up the canyon that evening (and took a slow-mo spill--ouch!), then met up with my new friends in the morning for a mountain bike ride up to Dixie Summit. So much fun! I hadn't intended to do that ride--my fat-tired bike is not really a mountain bike, but they assured me it would do just fine--and it did.

The view from the hill behind Prairie City was spectacular!

Coming down this logging road was a total blast. Bill took a tumble just before the bottom, but wasn't hurt.

Later on that evening this injured duck flapped its way through my camp. He was not at all happy with me for following him with my camera

To be continued...