Sunday, September 30, 2012

Work and Play

This week was a good balance of work and play.
A lot of plodding on with special projects and the regular routine, happily interspersed with healthy doses of fun. However, my photography was not the best.

We were asked to attend the college Sunday School class along with a few other couples to provide a healthy generational mix. It has been fun to mingle with the young. The pastor who leads the class invites any and everyone over for fellowship around the fire on Sunday evenings.

Mondays I begin work on the UCC Missionary Moments for our church people--a weekly summary of the reports that have come in from those we support. Can you read the sign I put up at the top of the stairs? No? Well I warned you about the poor quality of the pictures.

Writer at Work: Do Not Disturb
The following days I focused on editing last year's blog posts so I could order the printed book. I know, this is long overdue. It sure feels good to be able to check off major items off the list.

Michael was also successful with his ever present to-do list. I cannot begin to name all his many accomplishments. Somewhere between putting together and printing new handbooks for robotics and working on the water heater, he found time to make a new pottery tool.

 I always have my knitting project close by when we watch television or drive somewhere. I enjoyed seeing my latest one come together.

The wildflower bouquets, gathered here or at the local CSA, are such cheerful reminders of the beauty and variety of God's creation.

Thursday evening Mike and I walked around the Ducktail Run in the next town. Hundreds of old cars lined up or driving around showing off their stuff. And lots of vendors.

I know why I don't clean house as often as I ought, because I am too thorough when I do.
Friday I cleaned non stop for hours. But then had a great afternoon with the daughter.

Saturday we traveled to Georgia with friends for the 6 Gap Century and 3 Gap 50.
This is my favorite photo of the week: the sky reflected on the van and photogenic friend Terri.

 So here I am sitting in the cafeteria of the high school in Dahlonega waiting for the other three to get back from their mountain rides. Fortunately I could get on the internet and spend some time with all y'all.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 38:

The goal for the week was accomplished!
I blogged about our tandem vacation and completed the task!

One big reason for doing this was to learn to set mini writing goals and see what would happen.
Can I do this? Will I do this? Could I write a book this way?

Over the weekend the family-and-friends work crew accomplished the impossible at son Sam's.
They took out all the furniture from three bedrooms and living room, ripped up the carpet, laid wood flooring, painted walls, and put the rooms back together again!
When I brought the two boys back on Sunday, Zion ran to see his new bed, and tried it out!

Kristie, only weeks away from delivering #4 baby boy, refused to stop working and sit down until we moved the sofa and furniture back into the living room. 
Then she put her feet up and was willing to be celebrated for her 34th birthday coming up Monday the 17th.

Monday is usually my big writing-and-catch-up-online day which means I get to sit at my big window and watch the hummingbirds come and go. They now have to compete for the sugar water.

Tuesday evening the robotics team had their first meeting of the season so Mike couldn't go with me to the reception for "wing-hook-ups" (community couples willing to adopt a university dorm floor or wing). 

Looking at the wind turbines from the building where the reception was held.
Wednesday I dropped by to see what was happening at the Red Barn.
The pottery room was buzzing. Mike had his hands full trying to guide the learners and helpers.

The temperature has dipped noticeably this week. Fall is here.This is my Thursday pic.

First glimpse of autumn hues.
Friday mornings Mike has been riding with a new member of our community, 
one of the pastors who also teaches the college Sunday School class.

Discussing bicycle issues.

Saturday went by and I had no photo 
until I saw the lady who makes and sells the super delicious Granola Toffee, mentioned here
She agreed to a pic if I could make her famous. 
To order her delectable treats go to

Friday, September 21, 2012

Closeness vs. Comfort

Tandem Vacation: Day 4
Friday, September 14

Sure enough, it rained in the night. We stayed in our snug little tent way past daylight or wake up time, waiting for the constant gentle dripping to stop. We listened to what we had left of the audio book and finally rose to face the day after 9:15.

Soggy campsite
After surveying the damage we ate our breakfast standing up. The wind had blown the plastic aside and neither the picnic table nor the bicycle were as protected as we'd hoped.

Our resourcefulness was tested and proved sufficient to deal with the soggy mess, and to clean up and pack our gear. 
We stopped to say goodbye to our hosts.

"Michael, I can't clip into the pedal. What's wrong?"
"Oh, I see." 
After I dug the stones and mud out of my clip-on shoes, we headed home.

"We forgot to have them take a picture of us!"
"Oh, the attendant at the control station could do that for us when we check out."
As the day warmed up we slowly began to peel off the layers.
The fourth day on the seat was not easy, TB seemed to set in sooner and more frequently.
Knowing that the end was near made it more bearable.
(Keep in mind I am speaking for myself, not for Michael.)

Then I began to recognize familiar places.

Used-to-be J.R. Stables where our daughter took riding lessons years ago.
We rode 20 miles. No major stops till Arby's on 18. Less than 10 miles to go!

 2: 45 p.m. So good to be home!

Thanks to a bit of writing equipment I was able to keep a record of each day.
I can remember growing quite desperate on other trips when I had nothing to write with 
(or, "with which to write").
This time I snagged a handy little notebook that fit neatly into the back middle pocket of my jersey.
It was a Father's Day gift from the church, but I knew Michael would never use it.

The tag next to it, for size reference, was pinned to our pup tent.
We still find the occasional reminders of what came back to us restored after the house fire.

 After our four day adventure, we agreed that any pain or discomfort was worth it.
Who knows how long we will be able to do this. Meanwhile we will gratefully and humbly choose closeness over comfort and healthy exertion over sedentary lassitude.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Learning from Nature

Tandem Vacation: Day 3
Thursday, September 13

It was much easier to pack up and get ready and we had a delicious and hearty breakfast. This was all good as we faced the longest ride yet and were concerned about setting up camp before the rain arrived.

8 a.m. and ready to go
Maneuvering our vehicle out of the Super 8
 It was overcast most of the day but not cold. Looks like Mike wore the appropriate jersey.

I have to admit that the 58 miles were difficult. The audio book and the scenery distracted me some from the ever more severe symptoms of TB (tired bottom), and we stopped fairly often or stood.
The variety and beauty of the flowers and landscape stand out in my memory.
I could not get good photos of the former as we flew by. When I saw Bug's post I begged to borrow this.
(Thank you, Dr. M!)

I wish I could list all the different types we saw, but I am not that knowledgeable.

There were other very interesting sights.

Cows grazing in rolling green fields
An old mill

A covered bridge

Lunch in Roann at Lynn's Restaurant was a welcome break.

Next stop was a Cafe in Lagro ten minutes after closing time. They served us a piece of key lime pie anyway.

We met another traveler who was just leaving, one more avid bicyclist all the way from Portland, Oregon. Again we shared interesting life stories. He has crossed America five times over the years. This was his 31st day on the road, riding up to 80 miles a day and he still has a long way to go.

We arrived at our destination mid afternoon and began rain-proofing the campsite as best we could--plastic under the tent, a tarp to shield the table and what was left of the $3.00 K-Mart purchase hopefully enough to cover the bike.

 Then we went for a walk. Mike claims that after a long bike ride it is important to walk around.

We recognized this building from a few years ago when we spent a day on a pontoon boat as a family when Amaia, from Basque Country, was with us. It turned out to be cold, rainy and miserable.

After supper I fell asleep in one of the lawn chairs the camp host loaned us.
The last thing before retiring was to secure the bike. 

So what was the lesson for the day? Not sure. But I did greatly enjoy the multi-faceted beauty of nature.
If we were driving in the car I would be reading or knitting and thus miss so much.

Today I listened to cousin Rosie's book discussion on Moody Radio. It aired last week when we were gone.
The following quote from Christy, by Catherine Marshall, stood out.

I do not know why it is that an intimate contact with wild life and a
personal observation of nature helps so much in this self-discovery. But that it is so, I
have seen in other people’s lives as well as my own. Not that my hometown Asheville
was such a large city. Perhaps it is just that even a small city provides artificial
distractions which separate us from the roots of our life; even a few bricks and a little
macadam are a shield between us and the wisdom that nature has to give.
Chapter31, pages 346-347
 Even living in the woods in small town Upland provides abundant distractions. 
I realize that whizzing by on a tandem bicycle is not as up-close-and-personal as could be either.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No complaining!

Tandem Vacation: Day 2
Wednesday, September 12

The day dawned bright and beautiful, the air chilly, the fire pit still smoking.


After a breakfast of oatmeal, crackers, cheese, cappuccino and a piece or two of granola toffee, our after-every-meal-treat, the other cycling camper stopped by on his way out. 
He'd slept in a hammock under a tarp lean-to.

We exchanged stories and offered him one of our after-meal treats making sure that as a dentist he was okay with that.
He wanted the address so he could order more!

We learned that he lost a semester of college, so depressed over his girlfriend dumping him. 
He enlisted, won her back, and turned 21 in Viet Nam.
They covered 25,000 miles on the tandem over a period of 13 to 15 years.

We watched him leave, waved goodbye then, after a block or so, saw him turn around and come back.
He wanted to tell us that on their 22nd anniversary they rode 200 miles on the tandem!
Guess I have no room to complain after that!
He was headed to the nearby International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, IN. That sounded interesting.

Next the host dropped by. His two grandsons had spent the night. They were making the rounds cleaning and restocking the CS, checking the campsites.

They took a picture of us and we of them.

Back to tearing down and packing.

The day was warming. We gradually shed layers until we could comfortably change into cycling gear.

We set off at 10 am.

Goodbye #186!

Goodbye Miami SRA (State Recreational Area)!

On the road again!
Seven or so miles down the road we stopped to visit the CHOF.

No sign of life so we rode around and out. However, big shows are coming up in October.

In town we stopped at a new eatery called Day and Night.

California fish tacos and sweet potato sticks. Yummy!
We soon joined the Nickel Plate Trail and rode all the way to our destination, Rochester.

At the end of 42.2 miles it was a luxury to stay at a Super 8, take a nice shower, sleep in a bed and still look out the window and feel close to nature.

We went to the K-Mart next door and walked around the area commenting that our towns are not pedestrian-friendly. 
We ate at Alejandra's diner next door and watched TV.
We are half way through our vacation.