Thursday, June 30, 2011

He Makes it Hard to Spill My Guts......

Several months ago, I got the bug to have football season tickets again. I had them years ago, in a previous wifetime (or two), but when it came to a decision of keeping the tickets or buying groceries, I had to let the tickets go. I know, I know, I'm not a true fan.

I don't know how it works at other schools, this having season tickets thing, and I only have a rudimentary knowledge of how it works at MY school. There is a minimum "points" level at which one can qualify to buy season tickets. Points = dollars donated, and the total builds up over the years.

One must donate a minimum of $250 PER TICKET in order to purchase season tickets. In addition, one must have a total points level above the minimum score. Problem is, that minimum score is secret. Until after the donation deadline. And it changes every year. It all depends on how many people buy tickets, and how much those particular people donate. That determines the points minimum. And it only becomes known even to the powers-that-be after everyone has made his or her donation for that year.

In 2008, Hubby read to me from an article in the newspaper about what the points minimum was for that year, and I thought he either misread it or there was a typo. The MINIMUM for that year was $10,000. Ten thousand dollars. Someone wanting season tickets and donating for the first time had to start at $10,000. Hubby had a buddy who donated $5,000. He got a letter back from the university basically saying thanks for your five grand, but you ain't gettin' no tickets.

Holy crap. What a racket.

The next year the minimum dropped to $4,500 and Hubby and I discussed buying season tickets. We went over the pros and cons.

Pros: We get to see the games in person.

Cons: It's hot. There are 92,000 people. We can watch most of the games on television in air conditioning. With plenty of beer. The 30-minute drive to the stadium (or as close as you can get to the stadium, which is at least a mile away) becomes a 4-hour drive. Tailgating means it takes all day to go to a game. Getting home is another 4-hour journey. It's a lot of trouble to go to just to leave at halftime. (Oh wait...that's Hubby.)

He even reminded me of a game I went to in 2008, about which I wrote this blog post.

But still. Having season tickets means ..... having season tickets. Being in the IN crowd.

And I absolutely abhor someone else having something I cannot have. I'm considering professional help for this condition.

The next year, the points minimum dropped to $1500. That's a fraction of what it had been. I realize you can do the math; I'm not trying to insult your intelligence.

Then I got the bug again. I had a separate little savings account stashed away, and I had money left in it even after I bought my new bike. I reasoned that I could use that money to donate money in the hopes of getting tickets, and it wasn't like I was spending household money. I then remembered that I had points leftover from that previous wifetime, the days before computers, that were floating around out in cyberspace somewhere. Surely those points might make a difference.

I had tried to merge those points once before, but it was like I was speaking Swahili to an infant lizard. Being the persistent sort, I called again, and this time I got a sweet young thing named Amanda on the phone. She made about four computer clicks and said, "Yep. Here they are. You've got 600 extra points."

Holy smokes. Remember, points=dollars.

Amanda told me how to merge my points, and I just realized how ridiculously long this blog post is getting, and for that I apologize.

I sent in my donations and my ticket application, still not 100% certain I would even get tickets. One year I had donated a measly amount (one of those other years when I felt the urge), and they sent me a ticket application. Completely misunderstanding, I ordered two season tickets, and I think the refund they sent me had "Ha ha ha ha - good one" in the memo line.

So I watched my credit card account like a hawk, fully expecting every day for them to refund the amount of two season tickets. But not my donation, of course. (I did read somewhere, though, that if someone really insists, they will refund the donation also.)

When it became comfortably obvious that they were keeping my money, indicating I had indeed procured the coveted season tickets, I then fretted about how to break the news to Hubby. It wasn't the money .... it was MY money, and we never fight about money anyway. If I overspend and have to ask Hubby to bail me out, he does it. No fussing, no cussing, no criticism (at least not out loud).

One night at dinner, when he had a particularly good day on the golf day and was pretty mellow, I decided to unburden my soul with the horrible secret of what I had done. When I finally blurted out that we had season tickets for football this year, Hubby just looked at me for a moment.

Then he said, "I saw that on your bank account months ago."

All that worry for nothing. Now he wants an RV parking pass, which is in the works. That will solve several of the cons regarding getting to and from the game. It also allows him to leave the game at halftime and me to stay.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My New (Second) Favorite Baseball Team.......

I can't have an absolutely new favorite team, because I've always pulled for the (almost) hometown Atlanta Braves. Since back when you could go to the games and CHOOSE where you wanted to sit. Back when the players knew the fans' birthdays. (Not my line - hold the rotten tomatoes.)

I realized a couple of days ago that after days of angst-ridden hand-wringing and hoping and crossing my fingers, I never let my (four) faithful readers know what the outcome was for Warrior Princess' son (my "godson") in the Major League Baseball draft.

I won't boggle your mind with all the details, mostly because I don't understand them all. The draft occurred while Katydid and I were on BRAG, and I couldn't be with Warrior Princess when the most needed me. I must truly SUCK as a friend. I did watch online for about 5 or 6 picks of the first round, when we were certain he would NOT be taken, but I am an eternal optimist. During the draft, each team has five minutes to make their picks for the round, and they TAKE. EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE. OF. IT. During that five minutes, you have to listen to commentators speculate on whom each team MIGHT take, who was taken in the last round, and what each prospect had for lunch on the second day of fourth grade. I might be exaggerating on that last one.

The kid was originally expected to go in the first or second round, then his injury occurred midway through his senior season, and that brought a lot of uncertainty. Unfortunately, professional sports teams use uncertainty as bargaining tools. To their advantage, of course.

Apparently the whole ordeal was just that .... an ordeal. Phone calls flew, agents pulled their hair out, scouts for teams who thought they knew whom their teams were going to pick almost quit in frustration (literally, I'm NOT exaggerating this time), and the kid heard he would go in the fourth round.

He did NOT go in the fourth round, nor the fifth, nor the sixth. According to the Warrior Princess, when his name was finally called in the seventh round (which is still pretty darn high for a kid just out of high school), he was so numb that he didn't even hear his name at first.

He was taken by the Texas Rangers (NOT the team we thought would draft him), and that makes them officially my new (second) favorite baseball team.

I already had a soft spot for the Rangers. When Frogger Blogger and I lived just outside Dallas, we had very little money for anything fun. She was a single mom, and I was a college student surviving on social security payments. We did scrounge together a few dollars one weekend, though, and we bought upper level tickets for her, her kids, and me at a Rangers game. I think upper level tickets for adults were two dollars, probably a buck for each of the kids. It was the first professional team of any sport I had ever seen in person, and I was thrilled to be there. I have no idea what team they played against, what the score was, who won. I didn't even know the difference between the American League and the National League, what a designated hitter was, how a curveball differed from a cutter, or under what circumstances the infield fly rule is invoked. I still don't know a lot of those things.

In addition to drafting my "godson," the Rangers also drafted two UGA baseball players, one of whom was paralyzed in an on-field collision with a teammate (the other UGA player drafted). For them to draft a paralyzed college player showed more class than I can wrap my head around.

The kid's future is still uncertain at this point. He has until August 15th to make a decision as to whether he will enter the world of professional baseball or go to college for free on the scholarship he has been offered. Negotiations will continue through the summer as to what his signing bonus will be, which is what he will pretty much have to live on for the next several years while he makes his way (we hope we hope we hope) up through the minor leagues to the bigs. If the negotiations aren't favorable, he will play college ball for at least three years, and he will have another shot at the draft after his junior year.

It's a classic win-win situation. I am so proud of him.

And I'm now pulling for the Rangers. Until they meet the Braves in the World Series.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Husband and My Dog.......

Ways my husband and my dog are alike:

Both of them are big fans of naps.

They both like steak.

Both of them expect me to read their minds.

Dog and Hubby both like to go to bed while it's still daylight. And they think I should go to bed then too.

Both of them like to swim.

They both wait to be fed, instead of pitching in to help.

Both of them make stupid noises about inconsequential things, and never mind if someone else in the household is trying to hear the television.

Neither of them minds interrupting me while I'm doing something, like crocheting, reading, or playing a video game.

Both of them can be very charming.

Both of them can be very annoying.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell......

This was a fun read about a young girl in Cornwall, England (it's apparently a seaside town, down on the southwestern "corner") and the shenanigans she and her roommate (Hester) get up to, along with a new friend, an author named Orla Hart, whom Millie meets when the author is contemplating - planning? - suicide.

I really enjoyed meeting the characters in this book, and the repartee among them was superb, particularly that between Millie and Hugh Emerson. There were a few coincidental occurrences that begged the imagination to stretch just a wee bit too far, but the plot was pleasant enough not to make them eye-rolling events.

Don't read this book if you are searching for deep symbolism, soul-searching themes, or spell-binding suspense. (Is that redundant? If so I apologize.) In spite of a few grammatical errors I caught throughout the book (I am a grammar snob, after all), I found this book quite enjoyable. A definite beach book. 

I love the English vernacular. My favorite words are "loo" and "knickers." Does that mean I'm still stuck in middle school?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Random Sunday Thoughts.....

At least I have the day of the week right this time..... I think.

I've started a new crochet project. It's a baby blanket for a friend of Sweet Girl's who is due at the end of July. I calculated that if I started tomorrow, I would need to do 5.566666666667 rows every day to get it done on time. Because I'm sort of anal like that.

Because I was so tired after fixing dinner tonight (cheeseburger pie - average at best), I gave myself permission not to wash the dishes. Then I went and washed them anyway. That has nothing to do with being anal.

Two of my cousins planned to go skydiving today (tandem jumps). But they got rained out. I think we have discovered a way to end a drought.

When I got to the reunion this weekend, I had half a tank of gas. Being the mathematical genius that I am, I calculated that I could make it home on the same tank. When I was 39 miles from home, the gauge said I had 31 miles of fuel remaining. I wanted to argue my case, but I decided it was more logical to stop and fill up.

While I was in the pool today, Hubby's nephew's wife called and left a message asking if she and her kids could come over and swim. Last time she did that, she didn't wait for a response, she just came anyway. I fumed and fumed today, and then I decided to take matters into my own hands. But I took the coward's way out. I texted her back and told her "Today's not a good day to come swim. Sorry." I feel a little bad about it (only a little), but they call ALL. THE. TIME. And summer is the ONLY time we ever hear from them.

One of our cats just slithered her way out from under the loveseat. That's apparently where she goes during thunderstorms. I think I can cancel the weather radio app on my iPad and just rely on the cat. I may have spoken too soon. We just had another distant rumble of thunder, and she has retreated to the love seat again. The space she just slithered into is no more than three inches high, I swear.

There was no television in the cottage where we stayed this weekend. I told Hubby he would have pulled his hair out if he had gone. Hubby is bald.

The best part of coming home from being gone all weekend is knowing I don't have to get up tomorrow morning and go to school. I love summer.

I found my old high school chorus teacher on FBook this weekend, and he confirmed my friend request. Would it be rude to ask him where he got all the hair, since he had a combover going on back in 1974-1978, and now he has a full head of hair?

Weird cousins just don't get any less weird, no matter how many years go by.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nash Bash 2011......

I am in the Low Country of South Carolina for our family reunion, affectionately known as the Nash Bash. Nash is my mother's maiden name, and she is one of five girls and one boy (yep, he's the youngest). I wasn't supposed to be here this weekend, since I was **ahem** SUPPOSED to be on a kayaking trip, but we all know how THAT turned out.

Today has been jam-packed with activities, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Sweet Girl and I are the only representatives from my mom's branch of the family tree, and I'm glad we came. I miss my sisters, and I wish they could have been here to share in the fun.

I started this morning with a 22-mile bike ride while it was still cool. One way to motivate myself to ride is to pack up the bike and all the accessories and haul it a couple hundred miles. Once I've gone to that trouble, I'm darned if I'm going to let the bike sit in the car all weekend. The terrain is very flat here, of course, so it was a very nice ride for me.

We had family photos (please, please. please, please let them be decent....... I don't know how I became the family photographer), then our customary huge lunch. After lunch some of us took the little kids out to an abandoned trail trestle (too much history to put here) to look for sharks' teeth while the tide was out.

I didn't find any sharks' teeth, but Brandon took pity on me and gave me one that he found. I gave it to one of the little kids.

It wasn't hard to find these guys. Fiddler crabs? Is that what they call them?

When we got back, we had the annual auction. Family members bring items to auction off to each other. Sometimes they are handmade items, sometimes they are just things we don't want anymore. The money raised goes to fund next year's Nash Bash. The first thing auctioned off today was a container of crock pot candy that I contributed (since I only decided on Wednesday to come, I didn't have time to make much of anything else). It sold for $25, and I was pleased with that.

Some of us wanted to go kayaking (you gotta love the irony of THAT), but launching from this little community (where my cousin lives) is dependent upon the tide. High tide was at 5:59 PM, and we really really meant to leave then. Getting any number of cousins together at the same time is problematic, though, and by the time we embarked upon this adventure, it was 8:15. Heck, that's my bedtime!

There's my Sweet Girl, with the tip of my kayak showing in the foreground.

Because we waited so long to leave, the tide was already two hours into its march BACK into the sea, and we had to wade through some pretty yucky mucky muck to launch the boats. I don't know when I've had a more NECESSARY shower.

I wish the picture could do justice to just how beautiful this was, with the sun setting behind my cousins.

By the time we kayaked to the abandoned trestle (the same one we had been to earlier in the day), it was going on pitch black. It took a couple of trips to get everyone and the kayaks back to our "homes," but we all had a great time.

Long drive back home tomorrow (a little over four hours). I'm so glad I came.

Friday, June 24, 2011

There is No Limit to How Stupid Some People Are.........

I meant to blog about this two weeks ago, while we were on BRAG. The problem is that SO MUCH stuff happens on BRAG, and I'm so exhausted (and full) at the end of the day, that I can't remember to blog about all of it. I only remembered to tell Hubby this story yesterday.

BRAG provides us with detailed route maps of each day's ride, including the mileage at which to turn, the direction in which to turn, and a description of anything pertinent (Dairy Queen, photo op, gravel in the road, etc.) At the end of the day's route description, EVERY SINGLE DAY, the packet has the following information in some order: NO TOBACCO PRODUCTS ON CAMPUS, NO ALCOHOL ON CAMPUS, NO GUNS OR OTHER WEAPONS ON CAMPUS, NO BIKES OR CLEATS IN ANY BUILDING, and other useful warnings that shouldn't be necessary. Except for maybe the alcohol part. At the end of every single day's route description appeared this sentence: BE AWARE SECURITY LIGHTS STAY ON ALL NIGHT.

Apparently some cyclists are not used to being inconvenienced. They cannot accept the fact that some stinkin' security lights might have to stay on for the entirety of the ONE NIGHT they will be there. Never mind the fact that schools open their doors to a bunch of sweaty, inconsiderate, sometimes rude cyclists and go out of their way to accommodate our needs. That's just not good enough for SOME PEOPLE.

One night on BRAG this year, when the security lights were still on ... JUST LIKE THEY SAID THEY WOULD BE ... one cyclist took matters into his (because I'm pretty sure it was a "he" - call me sexist) own hands.

He called 9-1-1.

Because the security lights were on.

Really? Really.

It's folks like that him that give the rest of us a bad name.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Police Blotter Blogger Fodder Part 7.......

It's been a while since I posted any of the scintillating events from one of our town's newspapers, and since I had my own close-up and personal encounter with one of our city's finest today, I thought it appropriate for tonight's blog topic.

Here are some recent .... uh .... crimes? .... reported in our town.

  • Missing adult on June 9. A resident told police that his adult daughter had been missing since the previous day. The female was located at Wal-Mart in [a nearby town]. Shouldn't they always check Wal-Mart first?
  • A woman reported a missing friend whom she had not spoken with since late June 7. An officer checked with the ______ County Detention Center and was informed that the woman's friend was incarcerated there.  If she's not at the Wal-Mart, she may just be locked up.
  • A man told police he has found his back door open on several occasions and he was missing two ballpoint pens and approximately $3 in change. Raise your hand if you would notice two ballpoint pens missing from your house. And $3 in change.
  • An office [sic] reported he found two bicycles on vacant property. So I should call the po-po when the neighbors' kids leave their bikes in our yard?
  • A man told police his tan and orange bicycle was stolen between 7:30 and 8:30 PM. Check the vacant property in your area.
  • Deceased person on June 11. There they go again, trying to arrest the dead.
  • An officer responded to a harassment report and found a man sitting on the front porch who told him that his father's friend touched him inappropriately. When the officer talked with the man in question, he told the officer that the complainant was crazy. I'm not making fun of this situation, but surely this wasn't the end of the story?
  • Dispatch was advised that a man was last seen in the area near the railroad tracks taking pictures and video of the trains going by. A police officer spotted the man taking pictures of the passing trains. The officer reported that the male identified himself as a student at Georgia Tech who was taking pictures because he likes trains. [I wonder if anyone has ever told this dude that is NOT the kind of engineering they teach at Georgia Tech? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha]  Dispatched [sic] advised that the FBI and CSX Corporation both told the man not to be on CSX property. The officer reported that the man was standing about 5-10 feet from the train tracks. He was issued a citation for criminal trespass, city violation and told not to be within 25 feet of the trains. Hubby and I are convinced this is the officer we had the **cough cough** pleasure of speaking to today. 
  • A man reported that he had received a letter directed to his attention, but directed toward an employee of the SSA in ______. The letter referred to Hell, a "nuke," an "A-bomb," and "F-bomb" causing a "big bang." The reporting officer gathered the evidence from the man, which included an envelope with a return address on it, and turned the items over to investigations. I don't know what's sadder: the fact that the writer thinks an "F-bomb" belongs with all those other incendiary devices, or the fact that he put a return address on a letter containing terroristic threats.

And now the story that did NOT appear in today's police blotter because it missed the deadline. I'm sure it will be in there next week.

  • Two middle-aged motorcyclists, one a retired Pepsi salesman and the other a teacher only one year away from retirement herself, were stopped today by a city policeman after they were spotted .... gasp .... riding side by side in the same lane for a distance of a quarter of a mile. After telling the couple that it is against the law to ride motorcycles in tandem due to safety issues NO FEWER THAN FOUR TIMES, the officer magnanimously stated he was not going to give them tickets for their flagrant violation of traffic laws. The citizens of our county can sleep better tonight.
Let me go on record here by saying that I am NOT one of those people who criticize the po-po for everything. My own niece is a law enforcement officer, and Hubby's former brother-in-law is also our former sheriff. I respect everything they do, and I appreciate their efforts to keep us safe.

Sarcasm aside, I also (reluctantly) acknowledge(d) that I was wrong. As soon as the cop said what the problem was, I immediately said, "My fault. I rode up next to him." He kept on and on, repeating the safety issue over and over again, even providing a detailed scenario of me being in the inside lane (I was) and having to dodge a car, and veering into Hubby, and the only place Hubby would have to go would be the ditch. (The officer was apparently unconcerned as to my outcome with the veering-out-of-lane, oncoming car.)

We. Get. It.

I said three times, "I know, it was my fault." That's in addition to Hubby saying, "That's your fault." I didn't even mind him saying that, because it was true. I refrained from telling the officer, "It's the only time I've EVER been able to catch him."

Here's the other part of the whole incident that irked me: The cop ignored me completely and talked solely to Hubby. Even with me saying three times that it was my fault. It was CLEARLY my error, since I was the rider who rode up next to the other one. I was next to the double yellow and (had been) behind Hubby. Even worse, I rode up next to Hubby because I wasn't paying attention. Not paying attention on a motorcycle is dangerous, to say the least.

But he kept talking only to Hubby, and he talked to him like he might be slightly retarded. Hubby's theory is that the cop WANTED Hubby to smart off to him. I was the one having to bite my tongue.

I had never been stopped on my motorcycle before. I can't believe I neglected to put THAT on my 50 Things to Do List.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lazy (Sort of) Day........

I didn't do anything at all today.

I take that back. I did some things, they just weren't very productive.

I take that back. They were sort of productive.

Hubby went to play golf early, and I fully intended to take a bike ride while it was still cool. It looked a little like rain, though, and by the time I was convinced it wouldn't rain after all, it was too hot.

So I played Mario.

But I also crocheted some Christmas ornaments to put in the "store" at the family reunion this weekend.

I folded a load of laundry. (Does it count if it was still in the dryer because I forgot to fold it yesterday?)

I played some more Mario.

I watched the Braves game. I love it when they play in the afternoon.

I wrote a Get Well card to the paralyzed cyclist on BRAG who fell out of his van and broke both legs.

I went to my mother-in-law's house because she sort of fell .... in a sitting position, which is why I say "sort of" .... in her laundry room, and I helped her up.

I reinstalled the printer driver for our network printer and am now able to print from the laptop again. I nearly broke my arm off patting myself on the back.

I gave myself permission not to exercise, but that makes two days this week. That means I have to take my bike to the family reunion this weekend. That is a benefit on many, many levels.

What I did NOT do was change clothes or shower all day. That's where I'm headed now. Promise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Can't Even Draw on Paper.....

Ever since Katydid and I did the Tour d'Oconee ride back in May, where the route map closely resembled the outline of a lion, I have had the (mostly? highly?) irrational hope that one day I would come home, upload a ride into the computer (which I do almost immediately most of the time), and discover that I have drawn a masterpiece by bicycle.

Who am I kidding? I can't even draw on paper.

I thought today's route came close. When I uploaded it, I thought to myself, "Oh! That's a........" But then the thought faded, and the route just looked like a bunch of squiggly lines.

Any of you artistic types see anything in today's route map?

Yeah, I was afraid of that. Me neither.

I wanted to do a short ride before I went to fetch Rozmo (and another paddler who wanted an early escape exit from the event). Trouble is, once I start riding, I don't know when to turn around and head home. I meant to ride between 23-25 miles, reaching my June goal of 500 miles with plenty of days to spare. I wound up riding 32 miles, but I still got home in time to shower before I had to leave. I'm sure my passengers appreciated that, since we ended up riding very squished together in the front of Hubby's little pickup truck.

It is okay to ride early in the morning, but after 10:00 it's much too hot. I'm thinking any really long rides are out of the question until it cools down around here. By that time, football season will have started.

Monday, June 20, 2011

#16 - Take a Kayak Trip.......

I may not have finished it, and I may not have paddled as far as I intended, but I DID take a kayak trip, so I'm counting it as fulfilling one of my 50 Things to Do. I did the whole sleep in the gym, get up at the crack of dawn, try to figure out whether to eat breakfast or pack or dress or fill up water bottles first, work hard all day, finish up very very dirty, do it all over again routine. I never said #16 on my 50 Things to Do List would be "complete the entire Paddle Georgia trip." Maybe I hedged just a little.

I didn't really feel guilty for coming home early, because my philosophy is generally not to have any regrets. Make a decision, come to terms with it, and then go on with life. I did wonder, though, if the trip improved significantly today, if Rozmo would be calling me and saying, "Girl, you went home too soon. It's getting good now!" But I didn't fret over it. Even the realization that I would have to cook the rest of the week didn't dampen my excitement over being home instead of on the river.

Just as I was folding the laundry from the trip (did I mention how FILTHY kayaking is?), Rozmo DID call. She asked if I would come get her tomorrow.

In her defense, it isn't JUST that the paddling didn't get any better today. She has plumbing problems at home and a family member with a dire need for a root canal (unrelated to each other, I assume), so she felt obligated to go home and take care of things. It was interesting, though, how much better her coming home early made me feel about MY coming home early.

I have a few pictures to document the fact that I did indeed take a kayak trip. Or at least part of one.

Rozmo and our little corner of the gym. While my part was still neat. Rozmo's is ALWAYS neat.

The gym where we "camped" for two (or three) nights. You've gotta love the irony - this gym is at the school where I taught for nine years. This gym wasn't there when I was there, though. They had pictures on the wall of all the athletes from that school who have gone on to the next level, both college and professional. I got a kick of counting all the kids I had taught.

Our initial launch site.

On the second morning, just finding my blue kayak among the gazillion other blue kayaks was my toughest challenge. To that point.

This is how it looked at the beginning of the day's paddle. After a little while, the paddlers got strung out along the river more, but we were almost always in sight of other paddlers, both ahead and behind.

We often had to create our own "pit stops" at sand bars along the river. This sign let us know that this particular location was off limits, and everyone respected it.

A self portrait. I call this my "goober hat," and that was BEFORE I saw that I had it on crooked. (Almost) Always a rule follower, I kept my life jacket on at all times on the river.

This is what most of the trip looked like. Brown water, green trees.

That is what I call a tire swing.

This is Drew, firing his water gun at Rozmo and Deb.

Rozmo, probably hoping I wouldn't run my kayak into hers, like I did with my bike.

An overpass that I travel across every time I go to a gymnastics meet. Or pretty much anything else on campus.

Rozmo and me clowning around with some bronze statues at the State Botanical Gardens. I kept seeing these statues appear on my screensaver, and I couldn't remember where they were from. Katydid and I took pictures of them on BRAG 2009.

Deb wanted in on the clowning around too.

This dragonfly perched on the bow of my kayak for a long time. Later there was one on my deck bag, much closer to me, but he flew away as I was getting my camera out of the dry box.

Passing under a train trestle. I don't know if this one is still in use or not.

We had to get out of our kayaks as we approached this dam. Although there are two openings in the dam, allowing water to pass freely, the force of the water at those two openings was too great for us to go through either of them. A line of volunteers passed our boats along, and we crossed over the dam on foot. The take-out location was just on the other side, so we then walked our boats across the river to leave them for the night.

Hard to see, but perhaps a double-decker tree house? Lucky kids....

The take-out location for portaging around the dam, about which I wrote in yesterday's blog. You can see the old power plant behind the kayaks. I'm not sure if it's still in use or not.

And this is why we had to portage around the dam. I have no idea how high that drop-off is, but it's pretty high. Drew said, "Shoot....we could have done that." I agreed, "Yeah....50-50 chance of landing upright!"

The power of water is simply awesome.

The view from where I had to go..... make a pit stop. The cows didn't seem to mind.

Rozmo in her umbrella hat. It was the time of day when we would do anything to break the monotony.

I'm not sorry I went, and I'm not sorry I came home early. I have a lot more empathy now for folks who try BRAG and don't come back. Or go home in the middle of the week. Some things just aren't for some people. I'll be a lot more understanding the next time someone says he or she doesn't see the point of riding a bicycle across Georgia. I now feel that way about paddling. I'm not going to give it up for good, and I still made sure I tied the kayak down securely enough this morning that it didn't blow off Hubby's truck. For me, though, kayaking is something I'll do for a couple of hours and then go home. I don't need 106 miles of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Paddle Georgia Day Two.........

Remember those little bitty "rapids" I wrote about yesterday? The ones that scared me to death? Yeah, I would have KILLED for some of those today. The trip today was nothing but paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, ad nauseum. Look at the brown water and lots of trees, go around a curve, look at more brown water and some more trees. Paddle, paddle, paddle. For 15 miles. For approximately 7 hours.

We had to portage around a huge dam this morning. (Pictures forthcoming.) The cue sheet mentioned that if you failed to follow directions and head to river left, you might go over the dam, which would result in almost certain death. Lovely. I had an irrational (maybe?) fear that I wouldn't have time to make my way to river left and the current would suck me over the dam. It wasn't that close a call. There was plenty of time to get over, and there were a gazillion warnings about approaching the dam.

The portage process was a tedious one. The spot to get out of our boats was very small, so we had to enter it one at a time. Did I mention there are 300 people on this trip? Then we had to drag our boats to a trailer, where they were loaded to be hauled around the dam. We had to take anything off the boat we didn't want hauled on the trailer (phone, camera, GPS, water), and then we had to hike about half a mile through mucky wilderness and wait for our boats to arrive. This process will be repeated later in the week, when the organizers will portage us around two lakes, eliminating about 45 miles of flat water paddling. Thanks, guys.

I said yesterday that it was too early to make any sweeping statements, but after day two I think I can safely say that this is not for me. It's too much sameness, too little activity. Too much sitting on the bum, especially with the way my hips have been hurting. Although tomorrow is a shorter day, and Tuesday is ONLY 8 miles, the last two days are 20 and 22 miles. And after two days, I've had enough. Hubby is picking me up in the morning. And I'm not even going to apologize for quitting.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Paddle Georgia Day One............

Buses took us from the school this morning to our launch site. Much like BRAG, there was little fanfare or ceremony at the beginning. Just get in your boats and go. It wasn't even difficult to figure out which way to go, because we just went with the current. We were kind of bunched up at the beginning, but just like the bike ride, pretty soon the masses thinned out.

Keep in mind this is NOT white-water rafting. We went over some very mild, Class 1, rapids, and I was scared to death. I became acutely aware of my very limited paddling skills. I remained upright, usually going forward, but that is probably more due to blind luck than any level of skill. We stopped at the Botanical Gardens to have our sack lunches. (Part of the meal plan we wish we hadn't purchased.)

One thing these folks do that BRAG doesn't is check names off as we enter the river and again at the end of the day. I guess it makes sense, since it's not likely that someone is going to venture off down a different river. If he or she doesn't show up at the end of the day, it's likely bad news.

Another big diffence between this event and BRAG is the distance. When I first saw that we would be paddling 12 miles today, I wondered "What are we going to do the REST of the day?" Ha!! We didn't get back here until around 3:00. The last two days are 20 and 22 miles. Yikes! Check with me in November when I finish those.

I heard a story about a kid who had never kayaked or canoed before, and at mile 4 today, a snake fell in his kayak. We've been told to check our boats for snakes before we get in them tomorrow.

It's only been one day, so I'm not going to make any sweeping statements yet. Suffice it to say, though, that if there's a snake in my boat tomorrow morning, he can have it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Paddle (Yawn) Workshop......

Today I attended a paddle workshop offered in conjunction with Paddle Georgia, which starts tomorrow. I felt obligated to attend the workshop, since I am AT BEST a novice paddler, and I've had my kayak in the water a grand total of ...... ONE ..... time this whole year.

Thirty-three people signed up for today's workshop, and twenty-four of them were smarter than I was. They didn't show up. There were only nine of us there for the workshop (which was free), and five of those were from a single family.

I wouldn't call it a COMPLETE waste of time. I did learn two new things: a better way to get in the kayak than depending on a wing and a prayer, which is how I've operated up to now; and using my torso to get more power from each stroke. Oh good.... a NEW body part to hurt.

I think the trip will be fun, but as I told Rozmo this afternoon, I don't think I've ever lost so much sleep over an adventure that's supposed to be FUN. I have thought of something new to worry about every single night. Rozmo and I are going to keep a list of things we would have done differently if we had known better. We already know we shouldn't have bought the meal tickets, and we should have left a car at the ending location. The paddling trip actually ends next Friday, but we have to spend another night and come home Saturday morning.

I won't be able to upload pictures every night (because I did such an EXCELLENT job of that on BRAG, didn't I?), because I'm only taking my iPad and not my laptop. I hope I will get some good photos, though, and I promise to post them when I get home. If they're good. Which my BRAG pictures were not (much).

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crazy Dream #13......

I know all (four) of you probably think I'm ALREADY crazy, so before I tell you about my latest crazy dream, let me say that I realized something about my blog post after I was already in bed last night.

The title? "Tuesday Randomness......"

The day of the week? Wednesday.

I guess that's what retirement is going to be like, not knowing what day of the week it is. I should have known it was Wednesday. It was trash day, and I did NOT go to Zumba last night. I almost got out of bed to correct the blog entry, but I was afraid I would be tempted to turn the baseball game back on and I might not get my customary ten hours' sleep.

On to my crazy dream.....

I dreamed I was invited back to the little church where I used to play the piano/direct the choir/teach Sunday School/type and print the bulletin. They wanted me to sing at one of their services, and I had no preparation before arriving at church. I met the sweet lady who now plays the piano (only in reality it's a man who plays the piano there now), and luckily she had the music to a song with which I am familiar, "I'll Walk with God." We didn't get to practice it at all before it was time for me to sing. And I happen to know there is a part in that song toward the end that is CLEARLY too high for my voice.

The sheet music for the song in my dream had pages and pages and pages (it doesn't). I got to a point in the song and lost my place. I was sort of humming and hemming and hawing, all the time turning the pages over and over, shuffling them like a defense lawyer caught in an obvious lie, and the piano player smiled beatifically and kept playing, clearly sympathetic but not knowing what to do.

Eventually I found my place, and I NAILED the high part at the end. But that did not compensate for the fact that I had stumbled badly through most of the song.

I realize it was only a dream, but I know from whence it originated. It was payback for making fun of the Bama gymnast who forgot her floor routine in the middle of competition and just sort of wandered around the mat. I was wandering around too, only vocally.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday Randomness.......

Thunder has never sounded so beautiful. I hope it rains buckets and buckets.

I have yet to start packing for another week-long adventure that starts this Saturday. This one is something I've never done before, and I have no clue how/what to pack. Having the RV on BRAG has spoiled me. I'm trying to limit the number of electronic devices I take on THIS trip, but the concept is sending me into withdrawal.

Hubby and I went shopping at three different places today. I finally got to spend the gift card my sisters gave me for my birthday back in April. (Thank you, Katydid and Frogger Blogger!! I will be the best-dressed motorcycle mama in this household.) I shop very differently when Hubby is with me. Why don't I ever remember that?

I need to ride 44 more miles in June to meet my goal of 500 miles for the month. Did I mention I'll be gone for a week? With no access to my bicycle? I plan to ride a short ride tomorrow, and then maybe a short one (or two) the week after I get back.

I took Gus to the groomer yesterday, and while we waited, he acted just like a two-year-old, jumping on my legs and begging to be picked up. It was hilarious.

I haven't taken many naps yet this summer, which is a luxury to which I look forward eagerly. I took a nap today, though. In the pool. On my float.

Hubby's hamper was overly full when I finally did his laundry today. I found about seven loose one dollar bills in the dryer and his clothes. I did NOT return them. I consider the money a tip.

We tentatively planned a trip to the beach in the RV, but it has been difficult to find a state park that isn't already booked. Then I realized I'm sort of over the beach thing. I'll be just as happy to camp beside a peaceful lake for a few days. Could it be I'm finally growing up? Nah...... that couldn't be it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Doctors.....

This is a tale of two doctors.... only they happen to be the same woman.

Subtitle: I love it when I'm right.

Three months ago, I had some paraphrased version of the conversation below with my doctor. She looks about twelve years old, is cute and perky, and has never criticized me for my weight. Those are some of the reasons I love her. I think I was one of her early patients, which meant in the early days I could talk her into anything. She has wised up over the years.

Me: At what point could we think about changing my blood pressure medication, possibly even discontinuing it?

Doc: Oh no, we don't usually do that. Once you start the medication, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. What makes you think you should change it? Or discontinue it?

Me: Well, my blood pressure has been pretty low recently. Plus I've lost some weight....

Doc [Interrupting, which I'm pretty sure they're taught in med school not to do]: You've weighed ___, ____, ____, ____, and ____. We don't like to make changes in medication based on a single reading.

Me [Resisting the urge to scream "That's what your colleague did when you were out on maternity leave for the gazillionth time!"]: Oh.

We went back and forth some, and she (reluctantly) agreed to split my combo medication into two separate ones and allow me to discontinue ONE of them if my blood pressure remained low. She also said I had to come back in three months instead of the customary six, which Hubby claims is just an attempt by medical professionals to pad their incomes. I discontinued the medication the doc told me I could, the dizzy spells stopped immediately, and I began tracking my blood pressure religiously. Some might even say fanatically.

Fast forward to today. I present the doctor with a printout of my recorded blood pressure readings for the last three months. She nods, murmurs a little bit, then says she'll be right back with my lab reports and some exercises for my (still) aching hips.

When she comes back, she is almost exuberant. "Wow, you've lost 11 more pounds since you were here three months ago. Keep this up, and you may be able to stop the blood pressure medication altogether."

Huh? Didn't I say that back in March? Didn't she almost castigate me for suggesting the possibility?

And then I discover the real reason for her exuberance.

"Your cholesterol is high," she says.

Butthead. Just had to have the last (negative) word.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time to Come Out of the Closet.......

In spite of the title, this blog post has nothing to do with anyone's sexual orientation. It is appropriate, though, so I chose to use it.

Hubby and his buddies -- "Vince," "Wally," "Jake," and "JT" -- went on a golfing trip this past weekend. Because five of them stayed together, that meant someone had to sleep on the sofa. Jake, being the youngest of the crew (by a long, long shot), drew sofa duty. That has (almost) nothing to do with this story.

Hubby and JT were asleep in one of the bedrooms when Jake came stumbling in. He opened the closet door, went in, and closed the door back. Then he came out, bumped Hubby's bed with his knee (which awoke Hubby - he's a very light sleeper), went BACK in the closet, and shut the door again. At some point he removed Hubby's new golf shirt from a hanger (he had to unbutton it in the dark, because being new, it was buttoned all the way to the top), brought it out of the closet, and laid it on top of JT's clothes that were piled in a chair.

This pretty much freaked JT out, so he got up and went to get Vince and Wally. (I'm not really sure what he thought they could do about it.) JT told Hubby, "Jake is having some kind of seizure!" The three men came back into Hubby's room and looked in the closet.

"He's not in there," one of them said. Probably skeptically, if I had to guess.

Hubby said, "No, he went that way."

They found him in the kitchen, in a different closet.

Poor guy. Can you IMAGINE the ribbing he has taken about this incident? They finally succeeded in waking him up, and someone steered him back to the sofa.

He must have a pretty good sense of humor. He texted Hubby last night to say he told his wife about it, and she was STILL laughing.

I'll bet he's hoping someone else does something really stupid. And soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

#25 - Try Vegetarianism for 7 Days......

I decided almost at the last minute that I would try vegetarianism while I was on BRAG last week. It made sense in that I knew I wouldn't have the problem of cooking two separate meals, and I was pretty sure I could find plenty to eat that would still give me the fuel I needed for cycling.

I decided that it isn't hard to be a vegetarian, but I can see where vegetarians might have a hard time.

I realize that sounds contradictory.

What I mean is that I didn't have a hard time finding things that would fill me up and satisfy me. One night I had a salad and spinach/artichoke dip. We ate Mexican food two nights; one night I had a vegetarian platter (too much food); the other time I had a mushroom quesadilla (delicious!). I had fettuccine alfredo at one restaurant. The menu listed it as having grilled chicken, but it was no problem for them to leave it out. We went to a really neat restaurant in Atlanta the night before BRAG started, and I had a veggie wrap. It was fabulous! In one town we went to a Greek restaurant, where I had all kinds of new foods I had never eaten before, all vegetarian. That also qualifies as officially fulfilling #6 on my 50 Things to Do list, just in case Greek yogurt wasn't sufficient all by itself.

The statement about vegetarians having a hard time sometimes comes from the fact that twice I ordered a simple salad, and with the first bite I could tell it had bacon in it. The spinach salad on the menu listed bacon as one of the ingredients; the house salad did not. Rozmo and Katydid said it was okay because they were probably imitation bacon bits, but I still wrestled with whether or not I had violated the intent of being a vegetarian. If someone chooses to eat only vegetables based on a system of beliefs, then having someone sneak bacon -- even imitation bacon -- into a salad seems to be cheating.

It really wasn't that big a sacrifice to go without meat for a week. I could probably do it all the time, except I would miss chicken so much. I'm not a big fan of steak; when Hubby and I go out to eat, I almost NEVER order a steak. I order salmon or chicken. When we grill at home, I usually fix a steak for Hubby and a salmon for me.

If I only had to cook for myself, I think being a full-time vegetarian wouldn't be a big deal. For now, I may have to settle for being a chickentarian. Although I do love me a good homemade hamburger every now and then. I'll have to get Rozmo to recommend a good veggie burger.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

BRAG Day Seven....

Today was a flat, fast ride to the End-of-the-Road party in Savannah. The route was only 36 miles, and we did it in just over two hours. I've NEVER averaged over 17 mph before, no matter what the ride length. We got into Savannah two minutes before 9:00 AM, which was wonderful considering we had a 4 1/2 hour drive home.

I met lots of new people and saw lots of friends from past years. We laughed, we made fun of each other, we came up with new nicknames. We rode in pacelines, we rode in the back of a pickup truck (the policeman on the loudspeaker as we rode into camp was just teasing .... I think), we rode in Jimmy's golf cart.

I also checked another item off my 50 Things to Do list, but I'll save it for tomorrow. That way I don't have to think of a new topic tomorrow night.

It was an excellent week with wonderful friends and good times. Next year's route is tentatively scheduled to be in North Georgia, with an overnight stop in my very own town. That will be a very scenic ride, but strenuous due to the hills. I'd better start training tomorrow.

For now, though, I have to start reprogramming my body (and mind) to the fact that it does NOT need food every hour and a half or so.

Friday, June 10, 2011

BRAG Day Six.......

It's hard to believe that today was the last **REAL** day of BRAG. Tomorrow is a short day, only 36 miles, and as soon as we finish in Savannah and gobble up the End-of-the-Road meal, we'll be headed home. Tonight Katydid, Rozmo and I had a dinner with 7 other BRAG folks, some intended (Doug, Steve, Kelley, Troy) and some not intended (those other folks), but we had a good time. I had a celebratory margarita and some mushroom quesadillas. It feels so much better NOT to be stuffed at bedtime.

Today's ride was 61 miles, but it didn't feel like it. The terrain has flattened out to almost nothing, and the miles were easy. I don't mean to sound smug when I say riding a bike 61 miles was "easy," but it was. We got into camp right after 12:00, and we dilly-dallied at a couple of the rest stops. Then all we had to do all afternoon was sit around and sweat. I feel like I need another shower.

The ride through Fort Stewart wasn't as bad as I expected. We missed an incredible photo op when we saw a dead wild boar (wild dead boar?) on the side of the road. Someone had outfitted him with a pair of 3-D glasses. I was wearing my Pork Belly Ventures jersey, adorned with illustrations of pigs, and the photo op would have been perfect. But Rozmo had just stopped to pee on the side of the road (I TOLD her those bushes might have eyes, but she wouldn't listen), and we didn't want to stop again.

It's been a good week. Just like any vacation, I was excited to get here, and I'll be excited to go home.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BRAG Day Five.......

Another hot, hot, hot day on the bike. The route has flattened out considerably, and the road seemed to go on forever. Straight and hazy, up and down, up and down. The hills weren't big, but they were numerous. The last rest stop was 17.5 miles from camp, which is pretty far, and I didn't ration my water very well. Nine miles from the end I already knew I was going to run out of fluid, and there were no stores in sight. Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere, handing out cold bottles of water from a cooler in the bed of his pickup truck. He handed me one on my bike as I passed (precarious thing for me to do, I might add), and I said to him, "Bless you." What excellent timing. That cheered me up considerably. I think he was my guardian angel for that moment.

Rozmo and I saw a young guy go down early in the day. A sort of fast paceline went around us, and just as they passed, the fellow at the tail end of it lost control of his bike and went down. He appeared to have nothing more severe than road rash, but he was shaken up. Rozmo and I went back, and Rozmo got his bike out of the road (that's really the most important thing to most of us). Just a few miles later, Rozmo pointed out a church sign that didn't even spell the word "Lord" correctly. I turned to look at the sign, and I veered right into Rozmo. She screamed, I reached out (we aren't sure whether I was shoving her out of harm's way or just trying to save myself.....I'd like to think it was the former), and I was positive I was going down. Like my friend Tom, who was once hit by a car, I had two thoughts: "This is going to hurt" and "This is going to scratch my bike." By some miracle (ANOTHER guardian angel?), neither Rozmo nor I went down. It had to be a stroke of luck, because I don't think either of us has reflexes and/or balancing skills that are that good. All I know is that I'm very grateful.

We are in Metter, the little town in South Georgia that is considered the Unofficial Capital of BRAG. They had a "party in the park" about two miles from the end, and we stopped there for drinks and snacks. We went back there tonight for live music (the band was VERY good), but we came back to the RV for an early bedtime. Tomorrow is a 61-mile day, with 20 miles between rest stops because we are allowed to travel THROUGH Fort Stewart, but not allowed to STOP in it. It's a desolate 20-mile trip through the fort, and post-911 security is tighter than it was the first time BRAG went through there. Back then, Katydid had to pee so badly that she finally stopped on the side of the road. She was about to pull her biking shorts down when she realized the bushes had eyes. That camouflage works very well. I think the bushes were also laughing as we rode off.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BRAG Day Four.......

Today was the BRAG layover day, the second day in the same town. They started including it in the schedule in 2001, in this very town, and I love it. Because we stay overnight twice, it means that riders can opt to do any number of loop rides, 45 miles, 56 miles, or 101 miles. They can also do an out-and-back of any number of miles they choose, or they can take the day off from riding and relax. This is a great spot for the layover day, because there is a movie theater nearby, a shopping mall right across the street, and a number of restaurants in walking or cycling distance. It's one less day that riders have to take down a tent, pack their clothes, put their luggage on the trucks, ride to a new town, retrieve their luggage, put up a tent, and look for somewhere shady to rest for a while.

Rozmo and I toyed with the idea of riding the century, which was actually 101 miles. We did that ride here in 2005, and temperatures approached 100 that year too. Our "lunch" stop was at the 77-mile mark, and all the food was gone. Hell, the lunch PEOPLE were packing up when we got there. Toward the end of that ride, we stopped in any store that looked like it had air conditioning. Needless to say, our riding time was not pretty. We had to break through the dinner line when we got back to get our precious bandannas (the reward for riding a bicycle 100 miles). It didn't take us long to change our minds about riding the century this year. Not only is the heat intense, but the REGULAR route tomorrow is 73 miles. That's a-plenty.

We got back fairly early (before 11:30 AM) and then rode our bikes to Applebee's for lunch. It was only .32 miles away, so we tooled through the shopping mall a few times too. Yes, I intend to count that 1.75 mile trip in my cycling statistics for the year. Tonight we had an early dinner at a Chinese food buffet (the only time I allow myself that luxury is on a bike ride), and then we went to DQ for a blizzard (ditto). We're waiting for the annual BRAG talent show to start at 7:00 PM, but I'll have to wake Rozmo up to go to that.

Another hot one tomorrow.

I finally took some pictures of our little RV community. I'll post them tomorrow, or maybe I'll wait until I get home and have a little more time.

I also have a map for the ride to lunch and back. And I'm just silly enough to post it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

BRAG Day Three......

Oh screw the idea of writing about the various BRAG rituals. I give up.

Instead I will write about two medical incidents, one scary and sad, the other just surprising.

The less serious of the two incidents involved Bobby, a guy who is an awesome cyclist and possibly a bigger UGA fan than I am. Scratch that.... no one can be that big a fan. He is a crotchety old dude, but he's pretty tame once you get to know him. He cycles more in a month than I do in a year (most of the time). He hadn't been on his bike for 3 weeks before BRAG because he was in Italy. Oh yeah... he's retired. Anyway, he suffered from heat exhaustion (I guess) yesterday and they took him to the hospital. It was a simple matter of not drinking enough (he drank only water - he knows better!), and his electrolytes were out of whack. After receiving fluids, he was back in camp. He took today off, but he expects to be back on the bike tomorrow. If you had asked me to take all the BRAG folks I know and line them up in order of the degree of likelihood they would be taken to the hospital for a heat-related illness on BRAG, I would have put Bobby dead last.

The more serious (and sadder) incident involved James, a paralyzed Vietnam Vet who has ridden BRAG at least as long as I have. He rides a hand-driven cycle with his legs stretched out in front of him. He has begun bringing his grandsons on BRAG with him every year, and they are amazing. These young men take care of their grandfather, help him in and out of his wheelchair, and ride alongside of him, even when they could surely go off and leave him because his pace is so much slower than theirs. I have never heard James complain, and I deeply wish I had taken a picture of the American flag he had on his cycle Sunday. It was a huge flag, pretty impressive flying from that low-to-the-ground bike.

When they got in camp Sunday night, James was transferring from his wheelchair into his van when the seat spun and spilled him out. He broke BOTH femurs in the accident, and naturally they had to transport him to the hospital. His grandsons were devastated at the injury to their grandfather, and James's brother was too emotional to drive himself home. I haven't heard how he's doing, but I hope James recovers well.

It reminds me that the good times are precious, and perhaps I should stop whining about the hills, the heat, and the headwinds.

Monday, June 6, 2011

BRAG Day Two.......

I wanted to post today about the shower truck ritual, but we didn't use the shower truck today, so I didn't get any good photos. Perhaps later in the week. A "shower truck," you ask? You haven't lived until you have taken a shower in an 18-wheeler. I'll show you what I mean later.

Today's ride was very hot and very hilly. But the hills weren't HARD hills, so they weren't spirit-breakers. There were just a lot of them. The heat was the most debilitating thing about today's ride. About a mile before the last rest stop, some cyclists had jumped into Lake Sinclair, so Rozmo and I joined them. We WERE wearing white jerseys, but they aren't white anymore. The water felt wonderful, though, so it was well worth it. And I think they will come clean.

We had dinner at a wonderful Greek restaurant (so now I really CAN say I've eaten a new type of food). We stopped at a little coffee shop for ice cream, but I was too full. Now we are waiting for the MLB draft to start on the internet.

Here are the routes for yesterday and today.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

BRAG Day One ..... Rest Stop Rituals.......

This year, instead of JUST giving a day-by-day description of the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, I plan to focus on one specific area of the experience each day. So far I've thought of ONE thing to write about, so we'll see how this all plays out tomorrow.

Today's blog topic is all about the rituals pertaining to rest stops.

Before I get to that, however, I want to say how incredibly cool it was to ride a bicycle down Peachtree Road in Atlanta on a Sunday morning. I'm guessing that's pretty much the only time it would be safe (possible?) to do so. Peachtree Road, by the way, should never be confused with any of these OTHER streets in the Atlanta area:

  • Peachtree Avenue

  • Peachtree Battle Avenue

  • Peachtree Battle Circle

  • Peachtree Center Avenue

  • Peachtree Circle

  • Peachtree Drive

  • Peachtree Hills

  • Peachtree Industrial Boulevard

  • Peachtree Memorial

  • Peachtree Park

  • Peachtree Place

  • Peachtree Road

  • Peachtree Street

  • Peachtree Valley

  • Peachtree Way

  • Peachtree-Dunwoody Road

  • Old Peachtree Road

  • North Peachtree Way

  • West Peachtree Place

  • West Peachtree Street 

  • I tried the Rozmo method of snapping photos from my bike while I rode.  I wanted to include a picture of the Atlanta skyline, but apparently what I DIDN'T do was make sure my camera was in the "take a photo" mode instead of the "shoot a video" mode. Feel free to insert your own personal image of the Atlanta skyline in the blank space below:

    There was one photo op I was willing to stop for, though, and only for my Sweet Girl would I have stopped my bike, leaned my bike against a tree, and ventured up to a fence to take a photo.

    This is the home of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind. Sweet Girl and I have been to the museum before, but it wasn't open when I went by this morning. Sweet Girl is a big fan of all things related to Gone with the Wind. I think she might have been a Southern Belle in a previous lifetime. I, on the other hand, would have been one of the rebellious girls whose fathers disowned them and left their fortunes to a bunch of cats.

    Now to my rest stop rituals. Disclaimer: These are just things that I do personally. This is in no way meant to imply this is what everyone DOES or what everyone SHOULD DO. It's really just meant to take up space in a blog post. Full disclosure here.

    The first thing I do is find a tree, a fence, a post, or a building that I can use to lean my bike against. Some people just throw their bikes down on the ground, but I don't like to do that. I didn't even like to do that with my OLD bike, and I certainly don't want to treat Jezebel that way.

    People have their own rituals. Some folks call other riders (or heck, folks at home, I guess) on their cell phones at rest stops. I wanted to get a photo of the people in line for the porta-potties, but there weren't enough people there yet to form a line. BRAG riders are the model of efficiency when it comes to porta-potty lines. It doesn't matter how many porta-potties there are, there is a single line of people waiting. I don't know who first came up with that idea, but it must have been a UGA graduate. At non-cycling events I've been to, there will be a line of people at EVERY SINGLE PORTA-POTTY. How upid-stay.

    The above picture shows one of our devoted volunteers, diligently making PBJs for hungry riders.

    After an outbreak of a pretty severe intestinal illness among BRAG riders in 2000, BRAG has provided hand washing stations (with soap) at every rest stop. Now if we could just convince some of the riders to remove their filthy riding gloves before approaching the food table.

    Another tireless volunteer.

    Bike mechanics are at most of the rest stops to make minor adjustments or simple repairs on the route. Little did I know when I snapped this picture that later in the day I would be waiting at the mechanic's tent to have my front derailleur adjusted. Glad I had that $20 bill in my bike bag. I don't carry much cash on my bike, because we don't usually need money along the route.

    It was a hard ride today, very hot and hilly. Rozmo and I did the Hammerhead option (additional miles) on purpose, but we misjudged where the Hammerhead rejoined the regular route. Instead of riding an additional ten miles, we rode an extra fourteen. I was three-tenths of a mile away from 70 miles, so as a newly inducted member of the even-number club, I rode down the road and back to get 70.

    Temperatures are supposed to be in the triple digits every single day this week. I pray I can stay hydrated.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    BRAG Day Zero.... Registration.......

    Also known as the day stupid people come out in droves to ask their questions.

    I lost count of the number of people who showed up without their wristbands, when they were specifically told in their packets that they MUST bring them.

    This is what all goes on at BRAG registration on Day Zero, the day before the ride officially starts.

    Riders who have pre-registered and bother to READ THEIR DAMN PACKETS show up with their wristbands and receive goodie bags with the route maps in them.

    Those who have bought meal tickets pick those up (from Katydid). We never buy the meal tickets anymore. While it's convenient, because the meals are typically served in the cafeteria of whatever school we are staying in for that night, we have learned that it's just as easy to catch a shuttle or walk or bike into town and eat when and where we want to.

    Riders who pre-ordered t-shirts and/or jerseys pick those up at the merchandise table.

    People who have private vehicles (like us) pick up decals and separate route maps (from Bragger). They aren't allowed to be on the same route as the cyclists, although the BRAG folks are considerate enough to give the drivers access to rest stops so their cyclists can meet up with them. We don't do that either. I should be into camp before 12:00 or 1:00 every day, so it's not necessary for Katydid to meet me at a rest stop. I'd rather her go find a shady spot for the RV, if such an animal exists.

    Riders who just decided TODAY that they want to ride their bicycles across Georgia in 90+ degree weather can register on site. They have to pay more. Come on, people. Where have you BEEN?

    People who registered but did not sign the waiver form pick up their packets. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!

    Side note: One guy said he was only planning to ride one day, and he wanted his wife to be able to drive the route and pick him up. He looked at the map and exclaimed, "Y'all are gonna ride 63 miles tomorrow?" Someone explained that it wasn't 63 miles, it was only 56. The man said, "It don't matter. Anything over 10 is too much for me."

    Which part of Bicycle Ride ACROSS Georgia did he not understand?

    We are making friends with other RV drivers, although our baby RV is a little bit intimidated by the size and scope of some of the others. Talk about "roughing it"..... The only RV ours feels superior to is the one approximately the same size with the words "RENT ME!!!!!" screaming from its sides.

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    My "To Done" List......

    It's been a busy day, but not in a frenzied way. That scares me. Since I waited until today to do a lot of the preparation for BRAG, I expected to be kind of frantic today. I've been on the move pretty much since I got up this morning, but I've also had time to relax. Weird. That makes me scared that I've left something really important undone.

    I accomplished the following today:

    • Made breakfast for Hubby and me (okay, it was only toast, but it had to be TOASTED)
    • Washed a load of clothes
    • Packed cycling clothes
    • Packed off-bike clothes
    • Ordered flowers for yet another funeral
    • Shopped for groceries for BRAG
    • Went to the ATM
    • Loaded groceries into RV
    • Cleaned shower in RV
    • Cleaned refrigerator in RV
    • Vacuumed RV
    • Took some unnecessary items OUT of RV (electric grill, satellite [since we crashed the TV anyway]), zero gravity chairs [it will be too dang hot to sit outside anyway])
    • Charged a plethora of electronic devices (iPhone, iPad, Nintendo DS, camera, GPS - did I mention this is a BICYCLE ride? and we go to bed around 8:00 PM and get up at 5:00 AM?)
    • Downloaded BRAG routes into GPS
    • Reinstalled program for my internet access thingie (sometimes called a connect card, but it isn't a card at all - more like a stick) since I lost everything on my laptop. Yes, I'm STILL whining about that. But NOT my pictures, for which I am immensely grateful.
    • Made it through World 7 in Mario Brothers on the Wii
    • Took a very short (and hot) 9.5 mile bike ride
    • Swam
    • Showered (and shaved my legs, since it is BRAG and all)
    • Had dinner out with Hubby
    I apologize in advance to those of you with zero (or less) interest in cycling, because the next eight blog posts will be devoted to BRAG.  I will try to post some decent photos to make up for it.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Jumping to Convulsions.......

    Before I make a futile attempt to explain the title of this post, let me answer the question from last night's post that I'm SURE has cost each of you dear readers a decent night's sleep.

    First, though, let me try to explain why I have so many pairs of athletic shoes. When I first buy a pair (I always buy the "walking" shoes, as if they could be meant for anything else), they are too nice to take an actual WALK in. Those are the ones I wear to school with jeans or khakis, or for Saturday night dinner out with Hubby. After a while they get too grungy to wear to school, so they become my walk-in-the-park shoes. When they get too broken down to wear for 3-mile walks, they become the shoes I wear to mow the lawn. (Hubby heard me tell someone this on the phone, and he guffawed -- GUFFAWED -- at the concept of me mowing the lawn.)

    Therefore I typically have 3 pairs of sneakers/athletic shoes in circulation at the same time. The step that's missing here is giving one pair away (or throwing it away, if it's in really bad condition) when I buy a new one. That's how this happens.

    So Frogger and DJan, your guesses were almost on the money. The correct answer, 12, falls between both your guesses. You have each won the pair of shoes of your choice in the photo above. Oh wait.... I already sent them to goodwill. Sorry! You might not even wear a size 7. Or 7 1/2.

    Now for the title of the post. Hubby has many endearing expressions, and some day I hope to compile them all and devote an entire blog post to them. One of my favorites is "jumping to convulsions," meaning someone (hypothetically speaking it could be anyone, but this time it was me) has gone into panic mode before checking things out thoroughly. And only barely escaped looking foolish.

    We took the RV back to the service center this week because the air conditioner that we just paid over $300 to get fixed didn't work last weekend. Well it sort of worked.... only when I tried to adjust the thermostat, the generator bogged down and almost quit. Oh yeah, and there may or may not have been a spark. Or two.

    When we took it on Tuesday, Hubby nicely explained to the service guy that we absolutely HAD to have it back by Thursday. Sure enough, it was ready today (miracles DO happen). And they didn't charge us a penny, not even labor (see above regarding miracles). I asked Hubby, "Would it be rude to check to see if it works before we leave?"

    He said we would check it at home, and never mind the 16-mile drive in a vehicle that gets 8 miles to the gallon. I should have waited until he was out of the parking lot, because he had me drive the RV home. When we got home, I fired up the generator and turned on the air.

    Nada. Zilch. No.Thing.

    To my (little bit of) credit, I didn't go nuts like I wanted to. I also didn't pick up the phone and call the RV place and give them a piece of my mind. I also didn't say to Hubby, "I TOLD YOU we should check it before we got out of the parking lot."

    I did tell him the unfortunate news that none of the air conditioner's settings worked. I was in the process of plugging the electricicals (name that character and t.v. series) up to see if it worked off electricity, not that it would do us ANY good on BRAG next week, where we won't have hook-ups and will have to rely on the generator.

    That was when I realized the service folks hadn't plugged the electricical thingie back into itself, which is required in order for the generator to produce electricicals.


    At least Hubby was the only witness to my jumping to convulsions.

    I celebrated by leaving home at 6:00 PM on an 18-mile bike ride. NOT by beginning the process of packing for a week-long bicycle trip that begins in approximately 36 hours.

    And don't y'all go jumping to convulsions that I won't be ready either.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    More Chores......

    I don't like to make this a "what I did today" blog, but when I manage a bit of industriousness (is that a word?), I feel so proud of myself that I have to share. Besides, as I often say (probably way too often for your general comfort), it's my blog.

    First of all, let me say I love the concept of retirement. I'm considering this summer a dress rehearsal for retirement next year. I love the idea of waking up when I wake up, getting up if I feel like it, going back to sleep if I don't. Yesterday it was 5:30 when I felt like getting up. Today it was 7:00. And it doesn't matter which one I choose, because I can take as many naps as I want to!

    Sorry. I digress.

    This morning I had my coffee as usual and read the newspaper. I remembered that the goodwill folks were coming this morning, and I had not completed The Great Shoe Purge. Because it's the way I roll, it wasn't enough just to go through my shoes. I had to empty the entire contents of my closet and start from scratch. I took pictures initially, but that was slowing the process down too much. I'll post the ones I did take tomorrow night. I may even post a photo of the shoes that Hubby wondered why I DIDN'T give to goodwill.

    Anyone want to guess how many pairs of athletic shoes I found? Go ahead, leave a guess in the comments.

    I also found several rolls of crumpled wrapping paper. So glad I saved THOSE.

    In addition, my closet contained a plethora of tote bags, some gently used, some barely recognizable, and one with the tags still on it. I found a bag that would be the perfect size for BRAG next week, one that would stay flat (everything gets jumbled in my duffel bags). Then I noticed that I had written my name on the bottom .... my name from a previous wifetime. Into the goodwill stack it went, perfect or not.

    My other major accomplishment for today was cleaning out the refrigerator. Man, I HATE that chore. Every time I get it all nice and sparkly clean, I tell myself I'm never going to let it get in that shape again. If it gets dirty in the next week and a half, it will definitely be Hubby's fault, since I will be gone most of that time.

    What I didn't manage to do today was exercise. I could still go get on the elliptical, but it's downstairs in the basement. And baseball is up here.