Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Middle Age SUCKS......

I've never let my age bother me much, and I truly believe that age is just a number. Besides, as I get older, "old" people get a lot younger.

I have come to grips with the fact that I will probably never be slim. My water skiing days are probably over, although presented with the opportunity, I would certainly give it a try. I acknowledge that I will probably never do a round-off, back handspring, unless it happens in conjunction with the aforementioned skiing episode.

I try not to dwell on the fact that I take medicine every day to keep my blood pressure under control, nor do I obsess about the fact that I have sleep apnea and have to wear a butt-ugly mask to sleep in every night.

Some things about being middle-aged, however, make me seriously crazy. I could probably write an entire blog just dealing with the lamentations of growing old(er). This post, however, is about a condition known as restless legs.

I realized three or four years ago that I was sometimes afflicted with restless legs. It usually only occurred, however, when I was sitting in the recliner with my laptop on my ... lap. I would occasionally have to put the computer down and get up and walk around. My legs never bothered me after I went to bed.


Not so much anymore.

If you've never had restless legs, it may be difficult to describe. They don't hurt. They don't cramp. I just have to move them. Sometimes the movements are involuntary. I will lie there, trying to relax, practicing a little self-hypnosis, saying to myself, "I won't move my legs. I won't move my legs." Even while I am thinking those thoughts, my legs will move or twitch of their own accord.

It is maddening. I can't describe just how maddening it is.

Last night was probably the worst night I've had with the condition. I haven't mentioned it to my doctor during one of my regular visits, because it wasn't happening with any regularity. And it's not something I would make a special trip for.

I was exhausted last night after the mountain biking and kayaking, and I wanted nothing more than to go to bed before 8:00. We did go to bed early, and I dozed off quickly.

Only to be awakened moments later because of the need to move my legs. I squirmed, I tossed, I changed positions, I stretched, I meditated.

I got up.

I watched the rest of the Braves game. I played the Nintendo DS. I let the cat in because it was raining. I went to the bathroom. Multiple times.

I went back to bed, and the cycle started all over again. I got some extra pillows and put them in the bed, thinking that it might help to elevate my legs. It did no good. I don't know when I finally fell asleep, but it was after midnight.

Naturally I wasn't in the best of moods when I awoke at 6:30 this morning. You guessed it, my legs woke me up. They were sore from the biking, but that wasn't what woke me up. It was the twitching. I was sluggish all day, not only from sore muscles but from sleep deprivation as well. And depressed that getting old has to be so damned annoying.

I was on the verge of tears last night. I was angry and I wanted to throw things. I even thought to myself, "Damn, I know where there's a gun, and I CAN put an end to this." It was that maddening.

I did some research on the condition this morning, and some of what I read said that one treatment is to get enough sleep.

Seriously? Don't they think I WOULD GET MORE SLEEP if I COULD GET MORE SLEEP? Another possible cause of the condition is iron deficiency, but I don't think that's true in my case. I'll find out when I go to the blood drive this Friday, because they won't let me donate if my iron is too low.

I have tried to analyze factors to see if there is something different I can do. It doesn't seem to happen more or less according to whether or not I have exercised. Or exercised strenuously, like yesterday. Another thing the WebMD article said was to avoid caffeine and alcohol. (Is it just me, or do they say that for EVERY condition?) Well.... okay..... I did have a Diet Pepsi for dinner last night, which I don't usually do. Normally I only drink water, but I had already drunk so much water yesterday I felt like my eyeballs were floating. I also had a beer while we were kayaking and one while Hubby and I sat by the pool.

I hope I don't have to give up my morning coffee. But if I have to give up beer to guarantee not ever having another night like last night, I'll do it gladly. And that's saying something.

It was so bad last night that tonight I'm almost afraid to go to bed. I'm going to take a couple of those PM pain relief capsules before I go to bed and see if they help.

And I'm going to tell Hubby to hide the gun.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Got My Butt Kicked but I Didn't Lose.....

I returned today to the scene of my mountain biking humiliation from last week, determined that a measly little 12-mile biking trail would NOT get me down. Besides, Rozmo came over to mountain bike and kayak, so there was no getting out of it.

We did the whole trail, except for a couple of sections labeled "Monster Mile (Advanced)." I already KNEW I wasn't advanced; I didn't need a section of trail to make it transparent.

I was completely demoralized toward the end, when I kept thinking we were back to the starting point and we weren't. And when we DID reach the end, we still had to ride back to my house. It was only another half mile or so, and it was PAVED!

Mountain biking is for the young, not the young at heart. I hurt in places I didn't know I had places. Today's ride was harder than any day on BRAG, and it ranked right up there with a century in 100-degree heat. It's odd how DIFFERENT the hurting places are after mountain biking compared to road biking. For example, my lower back is killing me, and my neck may never be the same. My HANDS hurt, fercryingoutloud, most likely from the DEATH GRIP I had on the handlebars.

When we first started talking about doing this trail ride, I remember thinking, "Twelve miles is such a short ride. Maybe we'll do it twice."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

I had another "I'm-afraid-I'm-going-to-faint-right-here-on-this-trail" episode today, at the top of the same hill. I think I'm allergic to climbing that particular hill. Because today I clearly had enough water, and I still got all woozy and dizzy.

After mountain biking we took our kayaks back over to the park. I wasn't really up to it at that point, but it was okay because all we did was paddle to a little cove, tie our kayaks to tree branches, drink a beer, and talk. Not much work involved at all.

I won't say I WON'T ride the mountain bike trail again, but I can assure you it won't be this week. Next time, however, I'm finding a bail-out path.

It can't compare at all with what I was doing all day on this date 26 years ago. Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lions and Tigers and ...... Lawnmowers........

One of Hubby's friends asked him a while back if I were scared to stay alone when he's gone on golf trips. Hubby replied, "She's not afraid of anything."

He's wrong about that, of course, because I've documented here before that I'm deathly afraid of snakes. And mice.

I also have what I'm pretty sure is an irrational fear of riding lawnmowers.

I don't mean that I have nightmares about being abducted by aliens riding lawnmowers, and I don't have to alter my path if I see someone out mowing his lawn, but I have a fear of OPERATING them.

I can drive our 30' motorhome, I almost never clench my jaws when riding my motorcycle anymore, but I almost seize up when faced with the prospect of using a riding lawnmower.

Give me a push mower any old day. I will happily mow both our front and back yards with a push mower, but don't make me use the riding mower. Well, perhaps not HAPPILY, but still....

Today Hubby got the idea that we could halve the job of mowing both our yard and that of his mother if we both participated. The catch was that I had to use his mother's riding mower to do her yard.

His mother is VERY picky about how her grass is cut. Why not let me do ours, where I represent 50% of the household population? She only stopped mowing her own yard two years ago at the age of 78. Even when she couldn't crank the pull-type mower, she still insisted on mowing her own grass. And Hubby wanted me to do it. On her mower.


It didn't help that I am completely unfamiliar with her mower. They aren't like cars; some of the controls are quite different from model to model. At least from ours to hers.

He tried to show me what to do, but my fear wouldn't allow me to concentrate. "Put your foot here, engage the blade, then put your foot here....." What? Did he say....? What DID he say? Put my foot WHERE?

How do I stop?

Where is reverse?

I made two passes under Hubby's watchful eye, then I begged ... BEGGED ... to use the push mower. I didn't care if it took all day, I did NOT want to use that riding mower. He was unrelenting.

It's not that I'm afraid of running into something (even if I DON'T know how to stop). I'm mostly afraid that I'll run OVER something I'm not supposed to, and I'll tear up the mower. I HATE that sound that I've run over a stick or a pine cone, no matter how small. I close my eyes and draw up, afraid that I've done irreparable damage.

I'm pretty sure I also don't mow properly. I start off following a plan, rectangular and regular. Before long, though, I'm wandering off ... oh, there's a patch over there ... did I get around that tree? ... and the pattern is history. I guess it doesn't matter as long as it all gets done, but I must look like a drunk wandering around the yard on a riding mower willy-nilly.

While I was mowing today, teeth clenched and knuckles white on the steering wheel, I even found myself looking forward to school starting back, when I won't be expected to help with the mowing.

Now that's just sad.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Could Get Used to This.....

While I have been lamenting the brevity of my summer, I have to admit that I'm enjoying the free time immensely. If this is what retirement is going to be like, bring it on.

I could get used to sleeping in, not wearing make-up, not having deadlines, not worrying about what to wear tomorrow, not preparing lunches, drinking coffee and surfing the net all morning.

I only have four more weeks of such slovenly habits, though, and I fully intend to maximize them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but I have favorite cousins. And then I have those who are way down the list of favorites.

This weekend at our family reunion I have been able to spend some time with some of my favorites. One of my most favorites didn't come all the way from Wisconsin this year, and for that I am sad. But we've had a good time, laughing and eating. Mostly eating.

Unfortunately, I've also had to spend some time with those who are NOT my favorites. Some are not my favorites because they bore me to tears. Some are not my favorites because they are critical. Some just plain get on my nerves by being on this earth.

But it's worth it once a year to get together, mostly because I get to spend time with my two sisters. And having Sweet Girl AND Hubby here this year made it even better. Well, Hubby may disagree with that. He may say this is the most time alone he's had all year. But we'll be home tomorrow in time for him to play golf, so he can't complain too much.

I apologize for the "what I did today" blog topic. It's time for bed, and I still have to pack to leave tomorrow morning. At first light.

Because that's the way Hubby rolls.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Motorcycle Safety Course.....

Today Hubby and I rode our motorcycles to South Carolina for my family reunion. I'm not sure quite how I talked him into A) coming to the reunion; and B) riding our motorcycles over here in the 100-degree heat.

Ironically, it was four years ago today that I completed my motorcycle safety course and qualified for my license. Don't ask me how I remember the date - I'm freaky like that.

The course took place over an entire weekend, Friday night from 6:00 to 10:00, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 to 5:00. There was a classroom portion on Friday and part of Saturday, then we got on little 125cc motorcycles (provided by the course providers).

It was an intense experience. I had rarely been on a motorcycle, and I had certainly never driven one, except for a little mini-bike when I was about 11 or 12, and THAT little act of rebellion got my legs striped.

There were 12 people in our class. One guy showed up Friday night for the classroom portion and never returned. You don't get one cent of your $250 back even if you never touch a motorcycle. I've always wondered what happened to him.

I think there were four women in our class (although there may have only been three). I was the only woman who passed the course. One dropped her bike during the final test, and that is an automatic failure. One missed too many points during the road (parking lot) test. Truth be known, if I had missed ONE MORE POINT, I would have failed also. Yikes!

The first thing they had us do on the bikes was simply release the clutch and allow the throttle to pull the bike across the parking lot. In a straight line. With our feet still on the pavement. One guy couldn't do that part. I heard from one of the other people in the course that the guy had never ridden a BICYCLE. He could not keep the bike upright just to idle across the parking lot. The instructors worked with him and worked with him, and he couldn't do it. They finally had to ask him to leave. I felt so sorry for him, walking away carrying his expensive new helmet.

Another guy couldn't figure out the throttle situation. If there's one on the right, what does the handle on the LEFT do? (Nothing.) I guess there MIGHT be a situation where you would need two throttles, but I'm not mechanically inclined enough to know what it is. He would rev the throttle up way too far and then release the clutch way too fast, nearly popping wheelies every time he took off. I don't think he meant to. He also dropped his bike during the road portion of the course, so he failed. I hope either he gets better, or I never happen to be on the road with him at the same time.

One of the things I was pretty sure would fail me was making a u-turn in a box. There were painted lines in the parking lot, a little larger than a parking spot, and we were required to turn the bike in a u-turn without going over the lines. I just couldn't get that. I worked and worked, the instructors spent a little extra time with me, and every time I tried it, I would be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over there in the parking lot and the instructor would be screaming "Where are you GOING?" I fretted and fretted about that part of the test.

When the time came, though, by some miracle I just took off and made those damn u-turns flawlessly. The things I DID get points deducted for were generally involved with going too slowly for the required skill. Hey, I was trying to be EXTRA SAFE, and they docked points for it.

I did pass, though, and I'm glad I took the course. Some of the skills they taught became ingrained in my brain, and I practice them every time I ride. Both brakes, outside-inside-outside in curves (or is it inside-outside-inside?), rise off the saddle a little when going over railroad tracks or other bumps, all four fingers on the clutch and brake handles.

Hubby has been riding for years, and when Georgia started requiring motorcycle licenses, he could have been grandfathered in. He wasn't riding at the time, though, so he had to go to the DMV and take the road test. He got a permit for a few weeks and practiced, then he went to take the test. He was just like me - one more point deducted, and he would have failed.

I sure would have liked to be smug.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How 'Bout THAT Dawg.........

It is a well-known fact that I am a sports junkie. I will rabidly follow any contest, particularly if I feel that I have a representative in the match.

I tried to watch the U.S.-England soccer match, but those damn horns made it impossible. I don't understand soccer AT ALL, except for the "SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!!!!!!!!" part. But I felt obligated to pull for my country. I will try to follow the U.S.-whoever match this Saturday from the family reunion. No, I will NOT simply use it as an excuse to retreat to my room. Maybe.

Wimbledon is something I have been in love with for years. I especially like that it comes on at 7:00 AM. Hubby came home the other day while I was watching a match, and he heard them say something about the two weeks of Wimbledon. He said, "This crap stays on for TWO WEEKS!!!!!"

"Yeah," I said dreamily.

I didn't get to follow yesterday's action because I was at school interviewing prospective students for next year. I didn't know about the epic match between Isner of the U.S. and Mahut of France.

It's not just that Isner is from the U.S.

He played his college tennis at UGA. If you've read this blog more than once, you are more than likely well aware of how I feel about all things UGA. Especially all sports things UGA.

I couldn't believe the match had gone to 59-59 in the fifth set and play would continue for the THIRD day. I couldn't wait for it to come on.

When I discovered they wouldn't play until 10:30 AM Eastern, I called and canceled my hair appointment. Saved that eighty bucks, by golly.

And when Isner prevailed 70-68, I got teary-eyed. I was so proud when he showed up for his press conference wearing a UGA Bulldogs t-shirt.

I hope tomorrow's match doesn't go that long. It starts at 7:00 AM, and we've got to hit the road by about 1:00 to go to the annual family reunion. More on THAT later.

I love sports in England. The Open (which used to be called the BRITISH Open, until they got all uppity about it) is in three weeks.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Going to the Mailbox.....

I have this strange idea about going to the mailbox, which is something I only get to do on Saturdays and during the summer. Not that I CAN'T go to the mailbox the rest of the time, but Hubby is always home before me.

The mail carrier stops at our mailbox, the house next door, which is a dead end (the subdivision was built before they thought of cul-de-sacs), where he turns around and delivers to the three houses on the other side of our short street.

I always wait until he has left our street completely before I go outside to collect the mail.

I don't want him (or the neighbors) to think I'm desperate.

Like he doesn't already know more about my household than a decent private investigator could figure out. He's had more than one conversation with my mother-in-law, who lives at the end of our street, so .... hello? We're like best friends or something.

Going to the mailbox, though, isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be. There was a time when I might expect to get a note from one of my high school buddies, only one of whom I have continued to correspond with on a regular basis. Sometimes I got cute little cards, the kind of things that get forwarded to a gazillion email addresses these days.

I still get birthday cards in the mail, and that is very special. Even my mother-in-law mails my card, and she could almost toss it up here from her house.

When I started my online job, I could look forward to getting an occasional check in the mail, and believe me it was OCCASIONAL. They couldn't figure out how to pay us regularly, so we were just grateful to get any money at all. Direct deposit? Fuhgedaboutit. We have that now, but way back in 2006 .... that was way too much to ask for. So it was a nice surprise every now and then to go to the mailbox and see a real live paper check hiding among the bills. And the advertisements.

Even the bills don't come in the mail anymore. Almost everything we pay is online, and I can make payments even BEFORE the statement date just to make the balance look less. Yes, I am seriously disturbed. I pay my credit card off in full every month, but sometimes I sneak an extra payment in there mid-month. HELLO EINSTEIN, IT'S THE SAME MONEY!!!!!

I get catalogs from a dozen different places from whom I NEVER order anything, but from whom I MAY have ordered something ONCE in the past. Or I get catalogs from when Sweet Girl still lived here (she moved out seven years ago). Oh the irony, when I get a Barbie catalog and a Victoria's Secret catalog on the same day, both with Sweet Girl's name on them.

I would like to stop some of the catalogs. There's one in particular that hurt my pride so deeply several years ago that I'd just as soon it not even arrive in my mailbox. It's for a company that specializes in women's cycling clothing and accessories. Cute clothing and accessories. Designed for STICK-THIN women who happen to be cyclists. When they first advertised skorts for cycling, I ordered one, along with a matching jersey. Because someone had told me their clothes ran small, I ordered up a size. And when the outfit arrived, there was no way in hell it was going around my middle. I packaged it right back up and got my $110 back. I've detested the sight of their catalog ever since then. I suppose I could wear some of their socks, but no way in hell I'm going to give them any of MY business.

I used to get magazines, but I got so far behind reading them that I let them lapse. I was especially fond of Reader's Digest, but they incurred my wrath because they would send renewal notices about two months after I had JUST renewed. It didn't matter that I still had 22 months left, the renewal notices kept on coming. Pretty petty reason to stop getting a magazine I've read all my life, isn't it?

About the only thing we get in the mailbox these days is junk mail. My mother would wash my mouth out with soap for using that terminology, because that was how she made her living for years. She had her own mailing service, and they did mostly "direct mail advertising." Known to you and me as junk mail. I worked for her, both part-time and full-time at different points in my life. Go ahead .... ask me any zip code in Georgia. Just ask.

But just like Pavlov's dogs, we hear the little Jeep that the mail carrier drives, and we head right out the door (watching to make sure he's left our street, of course) to collect the mail.

Then we throw most -- if not all -- of it in the trash.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Will Never Make Fun of them Again......

Hubby and I see mountain bikers at the park all the time, and we like to make fun of them. Actually, Hubby makes fun of cyclists in general because he knows it rattles my cage. Every time we see a mountain biker bloodied and scratched up, I say, "Well he achieved his purpose today. They consider that a badge of honor."

Today I decided to take my new (cheap) mountain bike over to the park and try the trail out for myself. Rozmo has been wanting to ride over here, and I wanted to know the right way to go and be able to tell her what to expect.

In my case, expect to have your ego bruised and battered.

Luckily, that was ALL that got bruised and battered, because after I had ridden 3 miles of the 12-mile loop, I figured out where I was and made a beeline back to the truck.

It's not just the hills and the hairpin turns. It's the damn tree roots. Those mountain bikers LIKE those.

I had a few close calls, having to put my foot down to keep from falling. A couple of times the trail went BETWEEN two trees, and I wasn't sure my handlebars would fit. There was one place where there was an incredibly steep downhill. We all know how much I love downhills. I screeched to a halt at the top of it, because on the other side not only was there a steep uphill, but it was treacherous with ruts and tree roots. I finally rode down it -- reluctantly -- braking the whole way because I didn't want to start up the other side with any momentum.

People do this for FUN? Why don't they just stand in the street and have people throw rocks and bottles at them?

Another close call involved a hairpin turn right next to the lake. Only by the grace of the cycling gods did I avoid riding right into the water.

It didn't help that my seat came loose at about the 1.5 mile mark. It didn't break, but it wasn't tight enough, so it wouldn't stay level. Never mind that I wasn't using it very much, because I had to stand up on the pedals to climb the hills. It was a good enough excuse to tuck my tail between my legs and put the bike back in the truck.

I refuse to be defeated. I fully intend to go back and ride the other 9 miles of the trail. Including something indicated on the map as...... Heart Attack Hill.

Isn't that all of them?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poetic Justice.......

I don't know what made me think of this story tonight on my way home from line dance class.... But as soon as I thought of it, I thought to myself, "Whew! There's a blog topic for tonight and I don't have to sit there in front of a blank screen." It's the little things that make me happy.

Way, way back about a hundred years ago, when I was in college, I sang in the Women's Glee Club. Every quarter I was there. Because I just liked singing, and it filled up some elective credits. Almost everyone else in the glee club was a music major, and it was a requirement for them to sing in one of the campus organizations.

We were invited once to sing at the Southern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. No, I didn't remember all that. I just got the record -- RECORD!!!!! -- out to get the name of the organization. The convention was being held in Knoxville, Tennessee, and we had to get matching dresses and all that jazz.

I was an Alto II, and the section leader for that section went on to become Miss Georgia and compete in the Miss America pageant (she was second runner up. Had to look that one up too.). All of that has NOTHING to do with this story.

I remember our director, whom we ADORED UNABASHEDLY, was going over the rules, expectations, and schedule one day during rehearsal. I don't remember why it came up, but she said, "And be aware that the drinking age in Tennessee is 19."

The drinking age in our state at that time was 18. Although I was a sophomore, I wasn't 19 yet.

My mouth went into gear before my brain could stop it, and I blurted out -- loudly -- "OH NO!!!!!!" No one else was saying anything. It was kind of like when you're talking at the top of your lungs over the music in a bar and the power goes out. Sort of.

Everyone laughed, and the director raised her eyebrows at me, and rehearsal went on.

On the day of our performance, I distinctly remember eating some shrimp salad. At a buffet. One of those that kind of sits out in the hotel lobby or something. Shrimp salad. Buffet. Sitting out. I think you know where this is going.

I made it through the performance, but there was approximately a lifetime of picture taking. I was about to pass out. Because I am short and ALWAYS on the front row, I knew it was going to be quite a scene when I toppled forward. Somehow I got the idea that if I could just take my shoes off, everything would be all right. The girl next to me figured out what I was about to do, and she hissed, "DON'T. YOU. DARE."

So I didn't take my shoes off, they finally finished taking pictures, and I didn't faint. I beat a hasty retreat to my room, and while everyone else was out partying that night, I was praying to the porcelain gods.

On the bus on the way home the next day, the director said something about not seeing me the night before.

She had no idea.


Side story, and I'm not making this up:

There were three couples at that time with the female in the Women's Glee Club and the male in the Men's Glee Club.

Tony and Joni.
Cheryl and Ferrell.
Me and..... Michael. My name does not rhyme with Michael.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

10 Things to Do on a Lazy Sunday......

Ten things to do on a lazy Sunday:

  1. Sleep in (until 7:20)
  2. Have eggwiches for breakfast
  3. Play a gazillion games of Mario on the Nintendo DS
  4. Finish the book for my online book club
  5. Play Bubbleshooter on the computer
  6. Entertain Weesa and Sullen Teenager (they came for Father's Day)
  7. Have chips and dip for lunch
  8. Watch the U.S. Open golf tournament and be glad Tiger did NOT win
  9. Watch the Braves beat the Tigers
  10. Have sandwiches for dinner

10 things NOT to do on a lazy Sunday:

  1. Laundry because you got it all done yesterday
  2. School work because you aren't teaching summer school
  3. A project for your online job because they STILL haven't come up with a contract and besides you have until mid-July to get it done
  4. Wear make-up
  5. Exercise
  6. Work on the family scrapbook because you are pretty much OVER anything having to do with SOME cousins in the family
  7. Clean up the "computer room"
  8. Gather clothes for goodwill
  9. Clean off the baker's rack and move cookbooks to it
  10. Anything requiring energy

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Turning a Negative into a Positive....

I reread last night's blog post and felt a little bitchy for the things I said.

Then my sister-in-law drove up to use OUR pool, and I didn't feel bitchy anymore.

Hubby and I had walked in the park and then taken our breakfast back to the park for a little impromptu early-morning picnic, and then he did some yard chores while I stayed inside and pretended to be busy.

Then his sister drove up, and after a while of doing outside work, Hubby said he was going to get in the pool too.


I proceeded to get busy in earnest. I vacuumed upstairs and downstairs, stripped the bed, put in a load of laundry (it sneaked up on me this week), cleaned the bathroom, and unpacked my suitcase from the conference.

I was out of excuses, and I had to go outside in order to avoid being OUTWARDLY bitchy.

She stayed for three hours. But at least the house is clean.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Little Presumptuous.....

I knew it was a risk of having a swimming pool. Hubby's sister helps herself to it almost anytime she wants to. It would be different if I liked her and I could go out there myself and hang out with her. But when she comes to swim, I feel trapped in my own house. I don't go get in my own pool until she's gone.

The day I got home from BRAG, there she was in my pool. "I thought you weren't getting home until later." Sigh. That wasn't the worst of it. She then informed me that her used-to-be-boyfriend-now-just-a-hanger-on was also coming over, along with his two grandsons, her granddaughter, and her granddaughter's friend. The granddaughter is almost 13, but she's one of those who has to come in the house every five minutes to "go to the bathroom."

All I wanted was to take a nap. She knew I wasn't happy about it, and that made me feel kind of bitchy, but I was exhausted from the week's ride and wanted nothing more than some peace and quiet. I was too tired to care if I pissed her off or not. Luckily a fierce thunderstorm blew in and sent them scampering for home. I guess. They don't let us know when they leave.

It isn't very nice of me, but it's a different story if MY sisters come over. I LIKE having them here. On the rare occasion we are all here together, we hang out at the pool and laugh and talk and have a grand old time.

When SHE'S here I watch the front yard to see when her car leaves.

Hubby feels pretty much the same way I do about his sister, but he's too nice to tell her it's not convenient for her to come over. She called him today (I'm sure MIL keeps her informed as to when I'm not here) to say she wanted to come over tomorrow to "get some sun."

Hubby is taking the weekend off from golf, and that is such a rarity that it warrants something special. Like maybe hanging out at the pool together. Alone together.

When people say they don't want a pool because they're too much trouble, I THOUGHT I knew what they were talking about.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nobody Else Would Have Even Thought of It.....

I'm spending the night at Nurse Jane's house because it is only about 20 minutes from the location of my 2-day workshop/convention/conference/"learning symposium". Give me a break.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony of me having to leave my home for two full days AND spend a night away from home for a conference for my ONLINE JOB?

I am very grateful for Nurse Jane's hospitality.

It's touches like these that make me wish I could be her when I grow up:

If you've ever been on a cruise, you know the stateroom attendants create animals out of towels and leave them on the bed in your stateroom every night.

I went on the same cruise that Nurse Jane did week before last, but do you think it would have EVER crossed my mind to make an animal out of a towel and leave it on her bed if she were spending the night with me?

To go online and find the directions for making such an animal and then go to the trouble to create it?

To make an elephant just because she knew it was my favorite animal in the world? (All you Freudians, pipe down out there.)

To leave a mint on the TURNED-DOWN bed?

It was enough just to have a place to spend the night.

Laughing so hard I almost wet my pants was just an added benefit.

Thank you, Nurse Jane!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Randomness.....

  • I survived the bike ride last week, but doing chores today nearly killed me.
  • I bought a book to read for my online book club (yes, Maggie, I'm actually READING this one!), and then I got a notice that a book I had on hold at the library had come in. I can't read two books at once!
  • I bought a Nintendo DS on the bike ride last week. Not as a gift....for myself.
  • I have been playing Mario, and it jumped from World 3 to World 5. I don't like things that don't go in order.
  • Our cat has developed the annoying habit of claiming one of our chairs every time one of us gets up. He weighs too much to shove off in the floor. I have to rattle a plastic grocery bag at him to get him out of the chair. He HATES that noise.
  • I have to go to a two-day meeting tomorrow and Friday.....out of town....for my online job.
  • I am presenting on Friday, and I have not created my presentation yet.
  • I have been working on the scrapbook for our family reunion for the past three days. I am so over doing captions. I figure at this point if you can't tell who is in each picture, you probably don't give a rip about the scrapbook anyway.
  • I need a separate bag just to carry the cords for all the gadgets I own.
  • I bought a Kindle because I thought I just had to have one, then I sold it because I wasn't crazy about it. I'm thinking about buying another one.
  • I was worried about being off during the summer after Hubby retired. But it has actually been pretty good so far. He's home just enough, on the golf course just enough.
  • It's a little over 10 weeks until college football starts.
  • When did Chipper Jones go from "the kid" to someone contemplating retirement? Where did the last 19 years go?
  • Should a 49-year-old take the poster of Chipper Jones off her wall?
  • Yesterday we interviewed 17 prospective students for our program next year. Some of them made me want to cry. Some of them just made me want to cry.
  • We have another 19 interviews scheduled for next Wednesday, and a day we have set aside in July is already filling up.
  • Teachers have to report back to school in July for pre-planning. That's just wrong.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Impatience is Not a Virtue......

While my daughter would probably argue with me, I think I have made tremendous strides in the area of patience in my adult life. If a driver cuts me off or pulls out in front of me, I pretend he has a sick baby in the car that he's taking to the hospital. I try not to let little things make me fly off the handle. The other day I bent my pinkie nail all the way back, breaking it way down below the quick (?), and all I said was "Bad word! BAD WORD!!!!"

Where I could use some additional improvement, however, is with the internet. I realize that a mere 15 years ago all I had was a slow dial-up service and Prodigy, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I remember my friend trying to explain the wonders of email to me. I asked her, "But what if I'm not ON the computer when you send me a message?"

Now, however, I want things to HAPPEN. RIGHT. NOW.

When I logged on to start this blog, for example, the page took a long time to load. I didn't know if it was A) my computer; B) our internet service; C) the internet in general; or D) Blogger, so I restarted my computer.

That takes a while, so I went to eat some ice cream. At great personal sacrifice.

Then I logged on again, and the little wheel was still spinning very slowly. Maddeningly slowly.

So what did I do?

I clicked on AN ADDITIONAL tab, thinking maybe the Atlanta Braves website would load more quickly. It didn't, so what did I do?

I clicked on AN ADDITIONAL tab, thinking maybe the BRAG message board would load and I could start browsing the many complaints that would have been left in the three days since BRAG ended. (So far I haven't found any.)

Because apparently it isn't enough for the little wheel to spin slowly.

I'm happiest when THREE little wheels are spinning slowly.

Working on my impatience,


Monday, June 14, 2010

My BRAG Peeps.....

This is absolutely the last BRAG-related post you will have to read.

Until the next one.

This one, though, is about what makes us return to BRAG over and over again (me for the 19th consecutive time this year....what is WRONG with me?).

It's the people.

Sadly, I don't have pictures of everyone I would like to include. Either I didn't run into them when it was convenient, I had an inexplicable bout of shyness and didn't ask permission to take their pictures, or we were at a rest stop and the bike (with the camera) was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay over there.

First off is my stoker, Katydid. She powers the tandem and signals turns....when I remember to tell her one is coming up. She agrees to stop (not that she has much choice) when I simply need to take a break, and she doesn't mind stopping just a half mile further down the road because I have a bug in my eye.

Walt is the gentleman on the right in the picture below. He used to be the assistant ride director, but he gave up that position and now he just rides. I have my theories as to why he gave up being assistant ride director, but I'll keep them to myself. He and his wife ride a tandem, but she won't ride in months that don't have an "R" in them. He has always been good to both Katydid and me, even the time we went to him in tears because we couldn't find the shuttle to the hotels.

In the picture below, the gentleman on the left is named Clyde. I see him every year, and every year he blushes and apologizes because he can't remember my name. By the end of the week he's got it, but it won't stick. Next year he won't remember again. I'm going to ask him what his daughter's name is and then just tell him that's my name too. He bought me dinner on BRAG one time after I piled into a Jeep with Linda, Clyde, Wayne, and Fred. This photo was taken at Rest Stop #2 on a very tough day. We had ridden almost 20 miles in complete and total desolation, and then we TURNED AROUND at this spot and rode the same terrain back. Yuck. I didn't see Clyde after this rest stop, and he explained later that he did the U-turn, rode 4.5 miles, realized he had left his water bottle (did I mention desolation?), and had to turn around and go back. Those were NOT 9 miles you would want to repeat.

I posted about the gentleman below last week. His name is Bob, and he's the one from Australia who had his country written upside down on his license plate. He said he was originally from about 10 miles outside Melbourne, but he moved to Brisbane after he retired. He referred to Brisbane as "God's waiting room." I'm not familiar with that expression, so I don't know if he meant that it's a wonderful place to live (as in "God's country") or if that's just where people go to die. Bob's rider number was 200, a fairly early number, so it seems that he came over here from Australia just to ride in BRAG. I find that pretty amazing.

Below is Miles, our favorite photographer. He has been a fixture on BRAG for as long as I can remember. In the old days, he positioned himself by the road and snapped pictures of riders as they came by, then he drove (or biked) into town to find a one-hour photo service, went back to camp and hung his pictures up, charging $4.00 (I think it's up to $6.00 now) for a single 4x6 print. Some of his methods are still the same, but he has gone digital, and he allows cyclists to sit down at his computer and see if they can find themselves. He still has many of them printed out and hanging, because seeing the actual picture is obviously a quicker sale. Miles is a grumpy sort, and you sort of have to baby him. Katydid and I have always gone out of our way to be nice to him. When I was riding alone, I would often stop my bike when I saw Miles, just to chat for a couple of minutes. It cost me very little in terms of time, and it went a long way in making Miles a little less grumpy. One day last week when we rode by, Miles yelled, "I've got a surprise for you two!" We went to see him in camp, and he gave us an 8x10 print of us on the tandem. For free. And all we have ever done is be nice to him, sit and chat with him, and occasionally help him put 200-300 photos in clear plastic sleeves.

The picture below is further proof that it's a small world. Not long after she went into the Navy, Sweet Girl was in a terrible automobile accident in South Georgia. She was mercifully not severely injured, but she did have some scrapes and cuts, so they took her to a hospital in Savannah because that's where my mother lived at the time. The nurse who took care of her asked where she was from, and when Sweet Girl told her, the nurse replied that she had gone through our town on BRAG. She has been riding BRAG since it was called GASBE, more than thirty years ago. When I found out how many times she had ridden BRAG, I included her in my dissertation research and went to Savannah to interview her. She told Katydid and me last week that she thought last year's BRAG would be her "grand finale," but she did so well that she decided to continue this year. At the age of 72. Granted she didn't ride every single mile, but she did some long 12-14 mile legs of ups and downs in some brutal heat. And I have never seen her be anything but pleasant. She's my inspiration.

Finally, one of my best buds, Rozmo. Roz has been working part-time for BRAG for the last several years, and I really miss riding with her. She drove the RV for us last week, and there is no way I can express my gratitude for that. But I'm going to try. Rozmo has a wonderful way with people and is a very calm influence. She is rational when others are emotional and has a knack for saying what people need to hear. She makes a point to compliment parents when their children are well-behaved because she knows that is what parents like to hear. She's not always exactly subtle, though. The very first time I ever captained a tandem, she willingly jumped on the back, completely trusting (or blissfully unaware that I had no clue as to what I was doing). When she wanted me to change gears, she smacked me on top of my helmet. I tried everything in my power to figure out what gear she wanted BEFORE she could smack me on the helmet. It kind of hurt. Rozmo is simply awesome. And she's NOT going to love me for posting this picture of her. This picture was made after the laundry debacle.

Speaking of the laundry debacle, I lied when I told the nice gentleman that I was only taking pictures for my own personal benefit. My plan all along was to post them on this blog to illustrate some of the ways that good intentions can go very wrong.

In our layover town, some organization offered a laundry service. They provided a laundry bag, and cyclists put their dirty, smelly, sweaty clothes in the bag. The bags were then dumped into (I'm guessing here) a huge industrial-sized washing machine and dryer, the bag keeping the clothes all together in one place.

Only one problem.

The bags didn't stay closed.

Cyclists had to come into a big warehouse-type room and pick through the laundry piece by piece to claim theirs.

The last night of BRAG, there were still two tables full of unclaimed laundry. Some of it was nice biking clothes too. A good cycling jersey runs in the neighborhood of $75, and people didn't claim them? Cycling shorts .... at LEAST $50.

How embarrassing. I'm sure this wouldn't be nearly as funny if some of that laundry happened to be mine.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Blogger is giving me fits uploading pictures tonight. I have the post all written, but it's talking about BRAG people, and without the photos it's..... pretty meaningless.

I will try again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

BRAG Day Seven......

It feels strange for BRAG to be over so suddenly. We plan for it for months (not to be confused with TRAINING for it, mind you), talk about it incessantly, and then **poof** it's over with. I will post about some of the wonderful people I've met through the years. I only see them once a year during the week of BRAG, but we consider each other friends. I tried to take some pictures today of a few special folks, but I haven't downloaded them yet.

Katydid and I have come to the conclusion that taking the RV on BRAG is absolutely the way to go. I told Hubby on the phone today that if we never used it for anything else, it was a worthwhile purchase just to use it for BRAG. But we probably WILL use it for other trips.

This is how our post-ride routine used to go, back when we tent camped:

  • Get into camp from a 60-mile ride in 90-degree heat.
  • Look for the luggage truck.
  • Search among 4,000 bags (that's not one of my classic exaggerations either, since there were 2 bags for each of approximately 2,000 riders) for our bags, on which we had tied colorful, distinctive ribbons or bandannas so we could identify them. Never mind that 1,998 other folks had ALSO tied colorful, distinctive ribbons or bandannas to THEIR bags.
  • Drag our bags to whatever spot we could find to pitch a tent. Shade was preferable but usually non-existent. Near a tree or a fence (to use both as a bike leaning point and a clothesline) was also good, but not often available.
  • Pitch our tent in the heat.
  • Go in search of something to drink. Pay for a water or a Gatorade at a booster club concession stand.
  • Find a snack, usually at same concession stand.
  • Return to tent and get clean clothes.
  • Find the shower truck.
  • Shower and return to the tent, by which point we were sweaty again.
  • Search for a cool place inside to take a nap, or crawl into a sweltering tent and try to sleep with all the noise and heat.
  • Search for the computer lab, if the school allowed us to use them, to check email.
  • Get up after a short nap (or an attempt at one) and find the shuttle to take us to a nearby restaurant.
  • Return to camp and wait for sundown so it would be bearable in the tent.
  • Make our beds with sleeping bags and air mattresses and hope the mattresses held air all night long. If they didn't, get up numerous times in the night to pump them up again. Endearing yourself to all your neighbors.
  • Sweat until we fell asleep.
  • Wake up just as tired as when we went to bed and do it all over again.

This is how our post-ride routine was this past week with the RV:

  • Get into camp from a 60-mile ride in 90-degree heat.
  • Find where Rozmo parked the RV, unless she has already called and left a message about where to find it.
  • Park the bike and unlock the door.
  • Start the generator and turn on the air conditioner.
  • Put up the curtain and pull down the window shades.
  • Reach into the refrigerator for a cold Gatorade.
  • Reach into the cabinet for our choice of snacks.
  • Gather our clothes for shower.
  • Find shower truck or indoor showers.
  • Return to the RV, where it is now cool and comfortable.
  • Get out the laptop and sign on to the internet using a connect card.
  • Take a nap in cool, air conditioned comfort.
  • Wake up and play a video game.
  • Reach into the refrigerator for a cold .... beverage.
  • Have another snack from the cabinet.
  • Investigate dinner options.
  • Find the shuttle to take us to a nearby restaurant.
  • Return to the RV and find something on television (where we had reception).
  • Go to sleep in a comfortable bed, having to use a blanket because of the air conditioning.
  • Wake up rested and prepare for the next day's ride. After the coffee finished brewing.
This year we had enough fresh water left in the tank for us even to shower in the RV, avoiding the lines and the masses of people who would be showering in the school. It was only an hour and a half home, so coming home without showering wouldn't have been devastating, but it was nice to come home clean. It was a little weird, however, showering in a parking lot. At a Catholic high school, no less.

It's good to be home. The RV is unpacked and laundry is COMPLETELY done. When Hubby gets home tomorrow, all will return to normal.

Thank you for tolerating my tunnel-visioned blog posting for the past week. I'll try to be a little more original. Until BRAG 2011.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BRAG Day Six......

Before I get to high points and low points for today, I'd like to offer my profound thoughts for the whole week. You're welcome.

When you're riding a bicycle for hours and hours and hours, you notice a lot of things on the side of the road. Actually, you notice a lot of things ON the road. If you've never ridden a bicycle long distances, you might be completely (and blissfully) unaware of just how much information is WRITTEN on the road. I don't know what a lot of it means. My favorite is the word "Sign" painted on the road with an arrow pointing to...... you guessed it..... a sign. Every time we go by that, I say, "Well, yes it is."

Unfortunately, there is also a lot of trash on the sides of the road. We used to see strands of cassette tape strung out along the road, but we don't see that so much anymore. We see the occasional random CD, but nothing like the number of cassette tape innards we used to see.

I have come to the conclusion that the trash on the sides of the road represents only things that are bad for you: cigarette packs, beer cans, soda cups, liquor bottles, fast food bags. I have yet to see an empty vitamin bottle that has been thrown from a car window. Neither do I see NutriGrain bar wrappers. Or even salad containers. In considering people who throw trash out on the side of the road, there must be some connection between the way they treat their bodies and the way they treat the environment.

I'm just sayin'.

High Points for today:

  • Seeing 11.11, 22.22, and 33.33 on the bike computer.
  • Missing 44.44 because we were screaming into camp at 11:00.
  • Screaming into camp at 11:00 because of a shortcut that was mentioned on the route map (and thus sanctioned, at least in our way of thinking) that cut off 20 miles.
  • Sharing the information about said shortcut with the unknowing at a couple of the rest stops. Reluctantly, because they did have the option of reading their OWN damn route maps.
  • Discovering that the majority of riders intended to do the shortcut, thus making me feel less guilty. Oh who am I kidding..... I'm over the feeling guilty thing. After 19 BRAGs, I don't have a thing to prove to anyone. I can skip the whole freakin' day if I want to.
  • Having dinner with our big ol' nephew (he's 6'8" and looks taller than that) and his wife.
Low Points:

  • Katydid having the same cleat issue I had earlier in the week. Luckily for her, we were already in camp, and she was able to take a screw out of another pair of shoes to repair her cleat.
  • Heat.
  • Humidity.
  • Hills.
It is true this year just like every year:

As excited as I was to come, I am equally excited to be going home tomorrow. I'm glad we came, I'm always glad to ride, and I'm glad it's over. We're already planning for next year, and we don't even know the route yet. I'm thinking there may be a loud outcry for a southern (flat) route after the difficulty of this year's route.

BRAG is a lot like childbirth.

In the middle of it, you ask yourself, "What the hell was I thinking?"

And as soon as it's over, you say, "Well that wasn't so bad. I think I'll do it again."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BRAG Day Five.......

I took some (I hope) good pictures today, but frankly I'm just too exhausted to post them tonight. I'll try to remember either tomorrow night or after I get home. One is of the handiwork of Team Ocissus Via (and several people thought we were gross and disgusting just for stopping to take a picture of it). Another is of Bob, the sweet gentleman from Australia whose bike license plate I took a picture of the other day. I love having him go around us just so I can hear that wonderful accent say "On your left." Today he passed us and said, "Look, I'm even free wheeling!" I think that meant he was coasting.

Interestingly enough, I have a hard time eating enough on a bike ride. When we get to a rest stop, there's just so much to do: use the porta potty, wash hands, apply more sunscreen, apply more lip balm, take a few pictures, eat, drink, refill water bottles, and socialize. It's the socializing that gets me in trouble. I spend so much time talking that I run out of time to do the really important things. And believe it or not, when we get to a rest stop, I'm not really HUNGRY. I have to remind myself to eat so I'll have enough fuel to get through the day. I try to eat at least one peanut butter sandwich and a couple pieces of fruit, along with perhaps a cookie or two. Even at the lunch stop, we subsist only on rest stop fare. Gone are the days when we would have a full lunch because we thought we were supposed to eat that much.

Today's ride was extremely tough, but I'm not going to whine. I have to remind myself that no one forced me to be here, and the 4 H's of BRAG (heat, hills, humidity, headwinds) are just the nature of the beast. It is what it is.

High Points:

  • Running into Doug, a guy we see on BRAG every year. When I asked where he had been all week, he said he just started today because he had been at Gay Days at Disney. By the time we left the rest stop, we were nearly rolling on the ground. He wanted to have dinner with us, but we couldn't find him when it was time to go.
  • Talking to my nephew this morning and agreeing to have dinner with him and his wife tomorrow night. It's always a treat to meet up with family members on BRAG.
  • Seeing 11.11, 22.22, 33.33, and 55.55 on the bike computer. I missed 44.44 because I was dodging a car I think. Not really. We were going downhill, though, and there was a car. It may have been a police car.
  • Hearing that cyclists had been ticketed for not riding single file in traffic. Turns out there was a confrontation between an aggressive driver and some cyclists, but it was the motorist who got the citation. The officer did say, however, that he would ticket any cyclists riding more than two abreast or not riding single file when traffic was present. I would have been thrilled if they HAD ticketed some of them. Some cyclists think they can take over the road and not obey any of the rules. They make the rest of us look bad.
Low Points:

  • Beginning the day with a flat tire, caused when the valve stem came out while we were trying to put air in.
  • Heat.
  • Hills.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BRAG Day Four.....

Today was our layover day, two nights in the same town. It's something BRAG started doing back in 2001, and personally I love it. It offers lots of options: ride a short ride, ride nothing and rest, do laundry, shop, whatever. It is also traditionally the day of the Century ride, 100 miles (103 this year) in a single ride.

We opted NOT to do the century. Not in this heat.

However, on a day when we could have chosen to stay in the motorhome and read, play video games, watch tv, or just rest, we chose to ride.

We chose the 55-mile route, which turned out to be 59 miles because we decided to venture out on our own and ride some additional miles on a path that we started out on. We were wandering all over a military base, always an excellent idea. That's just the way we roll. Ha ha ha ha ha ..... that's the way we roll ..... on a bicycle ride.

I'm hilarious.

We were not arrested, followed, or challenged in any way. That is a little disturbing, considering the level of security we are SUPPOSED to be under. We just rode our bright blue bike onto a military base, left the approved path, and got the attention of absolutely NO ONE. I guess they didn't think terrorists would be wearing spandex and pedaling a tandem.

High Points:

  • Riding the first 8 miles and the last 8 miles on the Riverwalk. It's a path along the Chattahoochee River. We can throw a rock from our campsite to Alabama. We probably won't, though.
  • Seeing 22.22, 33.33, 44.44, and 55.55 on the bike computer. Forgive me, it's my weird numbers thing rearing its ugly head again. I missed 11.11. I've missed it every day so far this week.
  • Having the correct tool to repair my shoe cleat at the top of a hill.
  • Finding the missing screw for the cleat still in the pedal. If we hadn't found the screw and/or had the correct tool, we would have had to get in a sag vehicle FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER and return to camp.
  • Finishing.
Low Points:

  • The cleat thing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BRAG Day Three.........

We left again at 6:31 and arrived in camp around 1:30. Today was very much like yesterday, only 16 miles longer.

We had ham sandwiches immediately upon arriving in camp, then we went to find fuel for the motorhome. Since the generator runs off the fuel tank, I'm a little paranoid about letting it get too low. When we got back from the store we had chips and salsa and I had two beers. Then we went to dinner, where I had an awesome crab meat and shrimp pasta dish and two amaretto sours.

I wish I had realized at the beginning of the week that I could do this:

High Points:

Four miles of mostly downhill, where we hit a maximum of 42.9 mph. On a freakin' bicycle! This four miles led to the Flint River, and we stopped for a photo op. We also stopped because it was payback time.

Seeing these two chimneys AND making the decision to stop for a photo. I have mentioned before that I have a thing for old chimneys. Another rider came by while I was taking the picture, and I told her it was our great-grandparents' homestead. That sounded better than "I'm just retarded enough to take pictures of random chimneys."

Seeing this guy's bike tag. I laughed and laughed when he came around us because of the way he wrote his "hometown" on the tag. Then I had to sprint to catch up with him again so Katydid could see it. We finally caught up with him at a rest stop so I could take the picture.

Seeing this in front of a farm along the way. We probably would have stopped anyway, but it was a billion degrees and our **sitting down** parts were anxious for any excuse to get off the bike.

Low Points:

The worse-than-a-shake-n-bake road we were on for a couple of miles. It was riddled with potholes, loose gravel, and sand. Those are a cyclist's worst nightmare individually, much less all combined. It was slow going and dangerous in spots.

Missing the detour onto the bike path leading into Columbus. It isn't quite finished, so the markings weren't there. The bike path would have cut off 1.1 mile. 1.1 miles? How DO you say that? But we found the regular route and made it into camp, so it wasn't tragic. Not like the woman yesterday who missed a turn and started following the symbols for TODAY'S ride. She only rode 9 extra miles, and she has ridden her bike halfway across the country, so it couldn't have hurt her too much.

We are in the layover town, meaning we will spend two nights here. Tomorrow's rides are loop rides, so there are options for ride length. We aren't up to the century (actually 103 miles) in this heat, but we'll probably ride 55.

That sounds like a breeze, considering today's ride was 68.

Monday, June 7, 2010

BRAG Day Two.....

Today may have been a record. We left camp right at 6:30, our standard starting time, but we got into camp at 11:45. We almost never get in that early. It was only 51 miles, but they were tough miles.

High Points:

Hitting 40 mph going down a hill on the tandem. I was just going to let us coast, but then I looked down and saw we were doing 39.9. Oh heck no, that can't happen. So I jumped on the pedals (requiring Katydid to jump also), and we went over 40.

Being at the lunch stop at 9:20.

Watching kids play on a slip-n-slide right outside our RV.

Seeing members of Team Ocissus Via (Roadkill) in their tuxedo cycling jerseys. I am going to try to get a picture this week of some of their decorated roadkill.

Having air conditioned shuttle buses to take us downtown and to restaurants. And to Wally World.

Getting my hair cut at Wally World. After a year of trying to grow it out, I said "screw it." I love it. Getting a haircut on BRAG is definitely a first.

Going downtown to listen to a band. We had roasted corn and Italian ice. This was after dinner, but we had that at 4:00, so it was time to eat again.

Low Points:

Hill #1.

Hill #2.

Hill #3.

Hill to infinity.

Six miles of shake-n-bake pavement. With hills.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

BRAG Day One.....

We left camp this morning at around 6:30. Today's route was either 59 miles (according to the bike computer), 58 miles (according to the GPS on the back of the bike), or 57 miles (according to the lying route map. We got into camp at 12:33, pretty early for us. It got hot toward the end and very windy, two of the things we hate the most on a bicycle.

High points:

(Probably not for Katydid.) Watching Katydid put a packet of fruit punch mix into her coffee because she thought it was creamer. I didn't really watch her do it, or I would have stopped her. Probably. And I didn't even laugh, but I wanted to.

Riding past Atlanta Motor Speedway, on a road that runs along the back of it. BRAG asked that they allow the bicyclists to come and ride a lap around the speedway, but they wanted $6500 for the privilege. What's up with that?

Going downtown to listen to a couple of bands. The first one was pretty good, the second one not so much. But it was free, so I shouldn't complain.

Breaking the speed limit on the tandem. The posted speed limit was only 35 mph, and we were going 35.3, but that is a clear violation. I wish we had gotten a ticket.

Hearing from my nephew that he's planning to come see us on the ride later in the week.

Getting a sweet text message from Gus. That's right, the dog. It was the sweetest thing ever. I would post it here, but my phone is charging.

Low point:

Hearing THAT SCREECHING VOICE not only at a rest stop today, but also at the restaurant where we decided to eat dinner tonight. Out of all the places to eat in town, we had to choose the one where the beeyotch was eating.

Tomorrow is ONLY 51 miles. I think there are some killer hills, though.

Good night.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

BRAG Day Zero........

I try not to make my blog a "this is what I did today" diary-type thing, but this next week will have to be an exception. I will try valiantly not to bore you with the minutiae, but this will probably be nothing more than a day-by-day account of BRAG. It's the first complete BRAG I've done since I started my blog in '08, so at least you won't have heard it all before. Maybe.

Day Zero is in some ways harder than the rest of the week. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Katydid and I help the BRAG folks work registration on Day Zero, and unlike SOME PEOPLE who shall remain anonymous but may or may not include a beeyotch with whom I used to work and only deign to work part of the day, Katydid and I stick it out for the whole noon-to-6:00 process. I started off handing out meal tickets, possibly the easiest job around, and Katydid handled people who had pre-registered but were too stupid to sign the waiver.

Then I moved over to handle route and private vehicle permits, not to be confused with parking permits for people who are leaving their cars at this school for the whole week. It's unusual this year that the ride is a loop, beginning and ending in the same place. Easier logistics for the most part, but some people don't like the loop format. They BY GOD want to ride ACROSS Georgia just like the name implies. Someone asked today why the numbers were down so much. I replied, "Some people don't like the loop ride. Some people don't have jobs."

The reason today is harder than the rest of the week is mainly that it involves dealing with people. People who don't follow directions, refuse to read their packet of information, want their t-shirts (or jerseys or route permits or meal tickets or any number of other conveniences) RIGHT NOW!! For the rest of the week, all we have to do is ride. Fifty-seven miles of physical activity in 90-degree heat is something I can do. Being nice to people who act stupid? Not so much.

We had a bad couple of hours last night about the RV. The generator cranked beautifully, but we had no electricity. No air conditioning. What we had was a big-ass tent that we didn't have to put up and take down. But Hubby and I had the same thought, and we got up this morning and figured out how to work the electricity. The air conditioner is running even as we speak, and it's time to go to dinner.

Life is good.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do......

I have been trying to think of a tactful way to break up with my hairdresser. I know that in a perfect, professional world I would just say to her, "It's not working for me anymore. I'd like to try someone new. No hard feelings."

I just can't bring myself to do it. This is not the big city here; we are definitely small town. As in she had her shop in her house, back before she and her husband lost everything. How in the world do I break up with a hairdresser who has lost her home, her business, her husband's business, some other property, and was forced to move into her daughter's basement? How do I break up with the hairdresser when I taught that same daughter when she was in the 9th grade?

She works in the cafeteria of one of the middle schools in the mornings and does hair in the afternoons. Working in the cafeteria, particularly in a middle school, is a thankless job. And she does it for no money. By the time they take out for her insurance, her paycheck is in the neighborhood of 50 cents. I'm NOT exaggerating this time. She said sometimes she doesn't even cash the checks. Granted she only works that job BECAUSE it has benefits, but still.

On top of her personal problems, she's a nice person. And a good hairdresser. Most of her clientele, however, are little old ladies who come in for a wash and set every week, then a perm every month or so. She does the same thing for them every time they come in, and they love her for it. Since she lost her own place, she has moved to a fairly busy salon where the other stylists are similar and the clients are the same little old ladies.

She's not big on innovation. It's time to have the natural blond put back in my hair (again), and already I'm dreading it. I would like for her to use foils to highlight my hair, but she told me once a long time ago that she hated doing foil and that she isn't very good at it. How do I ask her to use foil when I know she doesn't like it? And is that a good enough reason to go somewhere else?

I get the feeling that her heart isn't in hairdressing anymore, and I know she is completely demoralized by the recent turn of events in her life. She might even be relieved if some of us start going someplace else, but how do I know? I really, really don't want to risk hurting her feelings. I would shave my head before I would hurt her feelings.

Ugh. Reason #4687109583 I wish I were a man.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good to Be Home......

As wonderful as it is to go away on vacation, it is equally awesome to come back home. I will go through my pictures later (probably after BRAG, when most of you will have forgotten that I ever WENT on a cruise.....) and post any that are decent.

There are some things I will miss about the cruise, and some things I won't.

I WILL miss having a stateroom steward make up the bed for me. Twice every day.

I WILL NOT miss the screaming "little bastards" who ran up and down the halls at night. I bought a stateroom on that level because I thought people with little kids wouldn't spend that kind of money!

I WILL miss the buffets.

I WILL NOT miss the constant swaying and dipping of the ship. This was our fourth cruise, and I don't remember the seas being that rough before. And uh..... could it please stop now that I'm back on land? Please?

I WILL miss the sparkling, clear, blue waters of the Caribbean.

I WILL NOT miss the "balcony" on which we had to squeeze past our chairs just to sit down. I'm thinking this particular cruise line, the one with the big red and blue whale tail at the end of the ships, is guilty of serious false advertising.

I WILL miss the towel animals we found on our bed every night. Only on the last night could we agree on what the animal really was. And it was NEVER a scorpion, no matter what Hubby says.

I WILL NOT miss the loud-mouthed dude who sat next to me at the poker table last night. I seriously almost put on my teacher voice to ask him, "DO. YOU. EVER. SHUT. UP?????" Instead I just relinquished my seat (and stack of chips) to Hubby.

I WILL miss the drink of the day.

I WILL NOT miss Trevor the Cruise Director.

I WILL miss the look on Hubby's face when he tasted Curried Chilled Apple Soup. Followed closely by the look on his face when at first the waiter served him a bowl that was empty except for a thimbleful of apples in the bottom of it.

I WILL NOT miss taking a big old forkful of mayonnaise, thinking it was some sort of pudding that Nurse Jane had brought for Hubby.

I WILL miss naps. Several of them every day.

I WILL NOT miss the wind. Lots of it.

I WILL miss having Hubby bring me a cup of coffee every morning.

I WILL NOT miss $3.95 bottles of water in the stateroom.

I WILL miss the beautiful beach on Half Moon Cay.

I WILL NOT miss the crowds in Nassau, precipitated by the fact that there were FIVE STINKIN' CRUISE SHIPS IN PORT AT THE SAME FREAKIN' TIME.

I WILL miss one cab driver being thrown off the property at the Atlantis resort in Nassau because he couldn't provide the proper documentation that he was registered. Even though it was a little aggravating to have to hoist ourselves out of his taxi. The same officer who threw him off the property welcomed him back with a handshake when he showed up ten minutes later with his paperwork all squared away.

I WILL NOT miss the parade of private yachts that cruised past us while we were in port in Nassau, generating supreme bitterness and causing me to make obscene gestures at the people in those yachts, when they hadn't really done anything to me personally.

I WILL miss the relaxation. And the sunrises.

Next week when it is 90 degrees outside and I am riding a bicycle across Georgia, I will try to remember standing at the railing (of our microscopic balcony) and how the cool breezes felt.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BRAG #19........

This is the last night of our cruise, and as soon as I get home it will be time to turn my attention to BRAG, the annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. You will also get a break from being reminded every night that I'm on a cruise. And you're not.

As soon as I can locate the text of the article I wrote about my experiences (without retyping it in its entirety, because that's way too much trouble even for someone with my amazing typing skills), I will post it here. Then you can skip it if you want to.

I was packing for BRAG today, because I will only have one day between returning from the cruise and leaving for BRAG. Yes I am aware how retarded that timing is, but it is what it is.

I was thinking as I was packing how different that is from packing for most trips.

Each outfit consists of a pair of cycling shorts (sufficiently padded), a jersey, sports bra (hopefully in a coordinating color, even though no one else is supposed to see it except the EMT's), cycling gloves, and a bandanna.

I assemble each ensemble (I just had to say those words together), and I pack each one in a separate gallon-sized ziplock bag. That is left over from the days when we used the baggage truck, and if it rained your bags got thrown out to get wet. We learned to pack everything in plastic. Now we don't use the baggage truck, but packing each outfit in a ziplock bag makes it easier to keep the outfits together so I don't have to dig around in a duffel bag looking for the coordinating pieces. Katydid and I have to decide each night which outfit we are going to wear the next day. It is a law of tandem riding that the captain and stoker must match. Most tandem couples are married, but that's beside the point. We still follow the Tandem Riders Must Match Rule.

This may sound crazy, but when I go to the shower when we get in from riding, I wear my cycling clothes into the shower. I keep them on while I wash my hair, and then I take them off to bathe. They don't get clean by a long shot, but at least they get rinsed enough that they are no longer considered hazardous materials. If you ever walk around a BRAG camp in the late afternoon, you will see cycling clothes hung from fences, trees, bicycle racks, and porch railings. If they don't have time to dry because of the extreme humidity, they go back into their plastic bags, which is another good use for them.

We also have to pack "regular" clothes for the week of BRAG, since the very first thing we want to do after we shower is head to dinner. We always remark that we would NEVER go out to eat at home looking the way we do on BRAG. We have funky tan lines, our t-shirts and shorts may match (but just as likely don't), we are wearing hospital-type bracelets that make us look like we have escaped en masse from a mental institution, and it's rare that any of the women have on make-up. Some do, and we hate their guts. We pretty much take over a town, and sometimes the restaurants are prepared for us and sometimes they aren't. I've seen BRAG riders start busing tables, and it's not uncommon for riders who don't know each other to sit together in a restaurant, particularly if it will speed up the service.

I have veered away from the packing topic, but it's my blog.

The "regular" clothes don't have the same stipulations that the cycling clothes do, though. They are not our best clothes, and in fact I have known some people to say they pack their rattiest t-shirts and shorts for BRAG, and they throw them away as they go instead of packing them. I don't go to that extreme, but I'm not very picky about what I take for my "regular" clothes. My entire wardrobe for the week usually consists of several t-shirts (most of them from previous BRAG rides) and the same couple pairs of shorts. It's usually around 4:00 or 5:00 before we are showered and dressed to go out to dinner, and we are typically in bed by 8:00, so it's not like we spend a lot of time in non-cycling clothes.

Some items I have to take on BRAG but don't have to worry about on other trips (not including specific cycling items): flashlight, bicycle cover for the tandem, lock, fanny pack, clothespins, a power strip to charge the multitude of electronics we consider essential these days, ear plugs.

And some things we won't have to worry about this year: sleeping bag, pillow, tent fan, eye mask. We are taking the RV, and my dear friend Rozmo is going to drive it to the next town each day (I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope).

I. Can't. Wait.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Former Step-Daughter.....

While you are reading this post I am probably finishing up dinner on the cruise ship. Not a fair trade, but that's the way I roll.

In a previous wifetime, I had a step-daughter who was only 6 years younger than I. We were friends of a sort, mainly because she wasn't the kind of person you could afford to have anywhere but close by your side. Certainly you didn't want her behind your back.

I tried to fit in with their lifestyle, really I did. I just couldn't sustain it.

I'm not going to be too specific with details, because I don't know how technically savvy she is, and she would be more than happy to come and cut my throat for me. Even after all this time.

She got married the first time at 17. Her mother was wise enough to refuse to sign allowing her underage daughter to get married, but her father (my ex) was far from wise, and he signed. That marriage lasted right around a year.

Then she married the ex-husband of a friend of hers. Apparently the "friend" couldn't stand being married to the guy, but she thought he might be good enough for her friend. But before that marriage took place, my step-daughter got pregnant. On purpose. She named him after her husband's father and her own father, and she called him by his initials. That's a popular thing here in the South. Perhaps in other parts of the country too; I'm not sure.

Side note: Hubby's father ONLY had initials. Hubby says they were too poor to afford a whole name.

Side note #2: My uncle's brother ONLY had initials too. When he went into the Army, they said he couldn't have just initials, and they made up names for him.

I don't remember how long marriage #2 lasted. She ran away from home, took her son and hooked up with some other dude, and they moved to Florida. When she had pawned all their possessions and still ran out of money, she came home.

Marriage #3 was to another ex-husband of a friend, or at least an acquaintance. I don't remember how long that one lasted either.

Marriage #4 also resulted in divorce. The papers were drawn up, and she went to serve them on her husband herself. In her words, "I made sure I was looking FINE when I went to serve them papers." That's the night her second child was conceived.

When the baby was born, she gave him the same last name as her first child, which was the name of husband #2, even though he had nothing at all to do with this child. In her words again, "I ain't gonna have a bunch of kids with different last names like some kind of trash." She was decent enough to give her son her father's name as his MIDDLE name. Apparently it isn't trashy to have children with numerous fathers; it's the LAST NAMES being different that makes you trashy. Thank all that is holy she had her tubes tied when that child was born.

She married for the 5th time after her father and I divorced. That was before she turned 30. I don't know if they are still married, but I had a friend look up her son's info on the county school database a couple of weeks ago because I'm nosy like that. Husband #5 is on the list of people NOT allowed to pick her middle school son (the one with the stupid names) up from school.

I went out with her a few times when she was between husbands. Once when I went to pick her up, she discovered her tire was flat. She was convinced that one of her losers had slit her tire on purpose, never considering that it might have JUST BLOWN OUT or something. So she went looking for him. We found him in a bar we had both been to a number of times, and she proceeded to make a huge scene. The man who asked us to leave and escorted us to the door had been one of Sweet Girl's t-ball coaches.

How. Em. Barr. Ass. Ing.

She knew her father's flaws, but she tried her damnedest to be just like him. He had the little man's syndrome, acting like a billy bad ass, and she was/is just like him. She told me on a number of occasions that she didn't know why I stayed with him. On the night he went particularly crazy and shot up our house (we weren't home), she said to me on the phone, "You've got to leave that bastard. He's crazy!"

It's strange to me that in all these years that Hubby and I have been married, I have never run into this demon girl. I mean, it's a small town. We only have one Wally World, and isn't there where I would be most likely to see her?


If you stumble across this blog and recognize yourself, rest assured that I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU. Isn't it amazing the coincidences that occur in this world?