nwhiker: (Default)
One more of those bulk posts with all sorts of stuff in it, because I am basically the proverbial chicken with my head cut off running all over the place trying to figure something out.

MS degree: plate seeds, wait two weeks, plant seedlings in dirt, wait two weeks, extract DNA from seedlings, test is via PCR. If some show the trait you want, rejoice, mark them... And wait weeks and weeks and weeks for seeds to be ready to harvest. Harvest. Plate seeds, wait...... I'm at this point more or less on track for focusing on writing and wrapping up lab work during fall quarter and defending next winter. Since I started this particular project last July (ie two quarters late), I'm not unhappy with my progress. Just waiting for grass to grow.....

Perry: he went to a regatta last Saturday, did really well, and had a good time. It was a small regatta, with a points trophy that his school won, because they entered 7 races, with four kids, and won 6 of them. Perry raced 4 times, won 3. The race they didn't win was a pair, ie sweeping, and just two boys. That's a difficult configuration and not one they practice, the coach entered them just to see, since it was a low stakes small (free!) regatta.

I almost hesitate to say this out loud, but we threw his name in the Goblet of Fire for an entry to the Head of the Charles in Boston in October. Think New York Marathon for rowing, as to the prestige/size/etc of the event. We'll see. Fingers crossed.

And, in a miracle I'm not sure is real, because I can't believe it: SAT and ACT testing, three, four if he gets Boston regattas this fall.... and not a single conflict. I'm shocked. Shocked.

In a failed attempt to slow Perry down and give him a better workout by adding drag, Perry's coach gave him a rope and a buoy haul behind his boat. Linnea named the buoy Simon. Perry is not pleased, but too bad, Simon it is. Linnea and I threatened to add ears, whiskers, and eyes to Simon and Perry complained that he didn't want a furry as a buoy.

Linnea is doing rowing summer camp with Perry and his crewmates. She's... both doing great and having a hard time. She's so funny, she's got a total girl crush on the coach (not hard, coach is awesome). Anyhow, she's learning, and doing as well as can be expected, but is very hard on herself. Perry is being surprisingly kind, as are all the kids in the program, which is less surprising.

Did I mention that her trip to Scotland and Ireland was a total 100% spectacular success? She had a blast. I can't WAIT to see photos, she won't show us any until she shows us the official slide show she's made.... but we've not had time to plan a full evening with the whole family to do that.

AC is doing great. Did I mention she scored an internship at Fred Hutch? I'm so jealous. The class she's taking (which catches her up in the biology track from the quarter she missed because of the brain abcess).

I'm annoyed because I always buy avocados at Trader Joe's and they always ripen in a day or so, sometimes two. I have had this four pack for 4 days and they could still be used to load canons.

Have to contact the breeder again for an update on the cats that were pregnant. This process has not gone well, to say the least, I'm a bit annoyed. I said from the very start that my only thing was no tuxedos, and no girlies with a dark face. I just can't. Especially black girl cats. I miss my sweet old lady so much, and I just can't.... Anyhow, all the kitties she's offered us have been... tortie girls with dark faces. Nope. Anyhow. Gotta ping her again to see.

Dh, Linnea, and I are headed camping this weekend, out by the ocean. Got a crazy awesome campsite about 3 weeks ago, which is just unheard of, I expect it was a cancellation. Alas, Anne-Chloe has school and work Monday morning, so she can't come, and Perry didn't want to, and since it wasn't a family trip anyhow, we're letting him stay home. Linnea is upset, I'm a bit sad for her. It just figures that the one child who deeply cares about having her family around her etc is the youngest who will get the least of that, ya know?

OK. I have to shut up and get to bed.
nwhiker: (Default)
Very proud of all three of my kids, for different reasons.

From youngest to oldest:

♥ Linnea is on her way for a week in Europe, namely Scotland and Ireland. She did all her packing by herself, and didn't freak out at the last minute. I hope she has a wonderful trip.

♥ I signed Perry up for 3/4 of a session at one of the local boathouses (NOT the one he usually rows with) for land workouts. It's been incredibly hard, if there is something I find fault with his current coach, it's that the kids aren't, imo, in as peak shape as they should be. Perry has been running, lifting, and erging at an intensity he'd never done before. He's doing ok. Last week, they erged a half marathon, 21km. That's about 90 minutes on the erg.

♥ AC. She got herself a internship -granted, unpaid- at Fred Hutch, one of the top cancer research institutions in the world.
nwhiker: (Default)
Life being what it is, I'm all about catchall posts that just get me writing. I like writing.

-- Annoyed: Linnea is supposed to be back for a mandatory! band camp a week before school starts. The reason? The band serves at the pleasure of the GD fucking football team and being in band = being in marching band. I'm not a fan of marching band, I detest football and don't really want my kid to associate in any way with that brain-killing brutality that claims to be a sport. She's upset, because mandatory. I'm pissed because how the fuck do they put something mandatory the week before school starts and not tell you at registation? (*) But here's the worse part: we're supposed to be on vacation that week. Our plans (only vaguely set from a reservation standpoint, but well set from an internal planning on what we scheduled when for the rest of the summer) start with a trip to Bend on Aug 21 for the eclipse, and then move southward from there. Because of the eclipse whose timing or location I cannot change, :-), we are rather stuck going on vacation from the 21st to the 31st. (*) We only found out because the high school band booster club came to the Middle School for the last concert, and handed out information on the "music camp".

-- Again, I despise marching band. And football.

-- 30 people for a bbq on Sunday. I think I'm planning too much food. Alas, suspecting that we're going to be eating leftovers for the rest of the summer will not stop me from making too much food.

-- Tomorrow will be the 12 anniversary of my dad's death. I don't want to talk about it.

-- James Comey is a fuck up and I hope he rots in hell. He fucking did everything he could to get Trump elected, and pretends to be all high-minded about that, and then acts OMG shocked that Trump is a pos scumbucket. That said, despite him being an unethical hack, I don't think he's a liar. He wins the credibility contest. The hearings were interesting yesterday. Of course nothing will come of it because no matter what Trump did/does the Republicans don't care, they've got all the power. It's all just an academic exercise. That said, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we have no legal or constitutional recourse for a crooked election.

-- Britain. Yowsa on May and her electoral fuck up. I wish we had a parliamentary system.

-- This tweet is just too cute. Alas, I can't figure out how to properly embed tweets on dreamwidth, so I'm just posting a photo.

Kitty pawpads as teddy bears

-- Posting this now, may add to it later.
nwhiker: (Default)
... Which is French for this and that.

♥ We're redoing the railing on our deck. Because the moron builders built it using framing lumber, and on an ipe deck, with the plan being to have a glass railing, posts and top rails in ugly, knotty (and not in a pretty way) splintery framing lumber is not ok. I'm pissed, though. One things we had told the builders? That we did NOT want to be left with loads of projects. We were left with loads of projects.

♥ I spent almost 6 hours yesterday plating seeds in the laminar flow hood. I started out properly with good posture and with good technique. By the time I was doing the last few plates? Ha ha ha ha.... I was half sprawled on the bench, my elbow leaning all over the place etc. I just hope I don't get any contamination. I expect I will. I think I ever remember which plates I did last so I can check if those get icky. It was exhausting, and I probably should have spaced it out over a few days, my mistake. Again. Because I've done this before.

♥ I'm not even going to comment on Trump. I can't.

♥ I'm re-reading The Martian Chronicles. I last read it as a teenager... I hope it isn't too dated. I'm concerned in large part because Larry Niven and Roger Zelazny left me shuddering in horror at rereads, and I did love much of Bradbury. There really needs to be a good website with "OLD SF TO AVOID". Anyhow.

♥ I just read a trilogy and I can't recommend it, the books were The Queen of the Tearling, The Invasion of the Tearling, and The Fate of the Tearling. Book1 and 2 were pretty good, with some problems, but nothing unsurmountable and book 3 started out ok. Until the last two chapters, when she pretty much ruined the whole thing in a completely unredeemable manner. Here's what I wrote on goodreads:

To give an idea... I gave 5 and 4 stars to the two previous books of this trilogy. Up to the last few chapters, this one would have gotten a solid 4 stars. It kinda went out to the weeds from time to time, but it was still a pretty good book, and looked to be wrapping most of the storyline up.

And then, blam. The ending was a WTF moment of total mess, a ridiculous clown nose added to a perfectly fine bottle of wine. That sounds weird, right? Well, so were the last few chapters.

I don't know what to say. I'd love to recommend the series, but the feeling of being let down by the author is quite overwhelming.

I hate it when that happens. A lot less investment in this series than HP so it pissed me off less than Deathly Hallows and its Christian crud. Still, disappointing.

♥ School is ok. It's taking a long time. I changed research project early last July, so it hasn't been a year yet, and plants take a while to grow. That's the hard part. A long while, from seed to collecting seed to a new plant. Ah well.

♥ I also wrote a review on Flavor, by Bob Holmes. It's on my goodreads account. I'd love a few extra friends... If anyone reading here isn't already my friend on goodreads, of course.

♥ I am so tired of my kids being lazy bums and ignoring me. This is getting to be a serious problem.

♥ I am sending Linnea to rowing camp with Perry this summer. Most camps, the rare ones that take over 12 year olds, are one week, rowing camp is three times a week for about 6 weeks. Much better. I'm getting a bit tired of the sit in front of a computer or the TV thing. Because of her trip to Scotland/Ireland, she'll miss the first few days of camp, I might see if Perry's coach (who is running the camp) is willing/able to give her an hour of private instruction, or can tell us who at the club might. Not that I'm ever expecting Linnea to become a rower (though I think she'd make a great coxswain), but I want her to get out and do some stuff this summer.

♥ Annoying thing. When we buy milk at Costco, two gallons, I use a sharpie to write 1 or 2 on the top before one or both go out to the fridge outside. When milk #2 comes in, it's time to think about buying more. Well, someone brought in milk #2 before milk #1 and I bought more. Grrr.

♥ Also about fridges. Our new one is less than two years old. It's already having a hard time maintaining temp. Even set at 1C, it barely keeps food in the safe zone (at 4C according to my fridge thermometer) and at times has been up to 8-10C, meaning everything had to be moved out etc. We're currently watching and waiting, but I think an extended warranty claim for a repair is going to have to be made and I'm very annoyed. Major appliances should not fail in less than two years.

♥ I'm boring boring boring. Ugh.
nwhiker: (Default)
You should've asked by French comic artist Emma.

I count myself lucky. I've been a stay at home mom most of my kids' lives, and dh considered that doing <i>that</i> was my job. Not cooking and cleaning or doing all the shopping, and he's really one of the better ones at the division of tasks.

I still do have to ask. I'm still the one, even as the kids have gotten older, who remembers The Things.

It was strangely clear when AC was in the hospital last year: we were very clearly both there and involved etc, and both knew her medical history, but I'm the one who kept track of stuff as she was getting sicker and sicker: what meds she'd had when, names of doctors we saw, the fact that various vaccinations had been done. Sill stuff, but it's always on me.

Part of it, I'm sure, was being the stay at home mother. But not all. Even as I commute to grad school 90 minutes each way, I'm often the one who is the keeper of the schedule, the details, the menus etc. I delegate, which is fine, but dh does not take the initiative. I hate that, but since he's SO great in some many other ways, eh, I live with it.

Again, I'm very clearly trying not to complain. But I do see it, and I know it's a real issue the author is discussing. I'd like to say I hope things get better for the next generation, but I already see AC mothering her disgusting boyfriend (which just grosses me out, I've NEVER mothered any guy, and he treats her like she's his little sweetie and UGH, WTF?) and Perry wouldn't notice if a sink needed to be wiped down or a pile of laundry that needed to be folded to save his life. UGH. Parenting fail. (Actually, I'm not sure AC notices household tasks, but at least she listens when asked to do them, and does them 90% rather than 50% like Perry.) Yeah, parenting fail.

Linnea... hard to tell yet, I don't have as good a sense of her as a supposedly able to contribute to the household without being repeatedly asked person as I do her older siblings.

nwhiker: (Auturmn at Cottage Lake)
It's not the world order, just the US, though of course the world will bear the consequences of our choices, and for that, I am sorry.

I'd like to say that this will be a coherently written post, but it will not. It will be thoughts and fears, linked by one common thread: yes, it has in fact come to this. A new world order, a nation divided, or, if you prefer, we're stuck on a journey to hell in a basket of deplorables.

And deplorable they are. They are haters, they are racists and bigots, misogynist and petty small minded gun fondling putrid scum. Most of them are stupid. Most of them are white. They represent the worst of the United States, indeed they represent the worst of humanity, and there are more of them than there are of us. Or at least more strategically placed them than us.

We underestimate hate. We always do, over and over, as humans. We underestimated it in Europe in the 1930s, in the Middle East, during the genocide in Rwanda, more benignly from a human-life cost, in Brexit.

We need to give up the fiction that Wisconsin, and Michigan are "blue states". They are not, they have not been for at least a decade, electing Republicans to state-wide offices, and in the case of WI, failing to recall a law-breaking right-wing governor. They are red states, inhabited by bigoted, racist, sexist, envious, stupid people.

There is no country divided. There are a few states with large enough liberal population centers to "hold", but we are less and less. The West Coast. Parts of the NE, though clearly not Pennsylvania. We are not divided, instead, this slim band of land on the west of the Western coastal states I live on is now an anomaly, a very small component in a nation of haters, as are the states of the northeast.

We will look back ten years from now, and John Roberts will be called a liberal, and Alito a moderate. Think about that, too. Perspectives will shift, and like Nixon and the Clean Water Act, we will marvel that a Republican appointed such progressive judges.

Single party rule is our future in both the short, and the long term. There are no checks and balances left in this country. Trump's worst ideas, backed up a House of Representatives with no morals or decency, no regard for the poor, women, minorities, the environment, a Senate there to rubber-stamp any judge, no matter how radical, Trump can scrounge up from the bottom of the tea (party) barrel. Judges who will fight to unite Church and State, who will fight for control of women's reproductive choices, of judges will will further decimate the voter's act, who will rule against minorities and immigrants. Judges who will push us towards a white Christian theocracy facade hiding the kleptocracy behind.

Sanders would not have done any better. He might have connected with some of the white "disaffected" jerks, but I don't think he could ever appeal to their slimy core. And he did not connect with minorities. His coalition would have been different, but not any bigger. The problem is not Clinton or Sanders or Biden, had he chosen to run. It is that core of hatred, that cold hard pure cruelty that has replaced any human decency that half the country might have once had.

Democrats, and the "liberal elite" are hated, and perhaps since the nineties, we've been painted as "not real Americans". We should not, they think, have a say in this country, because we have beliefs that are larger than guns, god, and whatever pablum they've been fed this month. The other issue, and also the part of the reason that Sanders wouldn't have done any better, is the profound resentment those people harbor. There is a new economy and it's based on brains. And they lack them. Sanders, like Clinton, liberals in general represent that forward looking society of the future, based on technology, open to the world, and embracing science. They're too stupid to participate in that society, so they'll break it instead, and they've elected a person to do that.

And that lack of belief in science and technology as solution to the very real problems our planet faces could, in fact, be the final straw that finally tips us over into environmental disaster. We're close now. We'll be there.

Over the past decade and more, my effort and money has been going to protect women, and women's reproductive choices. That is not, however, where Trump will do the worse damage. That is the environment, and the public lands of the west. The push towards giving control of those lands to the states will be accelerated and I expect that to happen. States will not have the resources to manage those lands, and I expect we will see privatization and selling off of the more valuable ones, as well as destruction in the form of "resource management" in the others. Cliven Bundy and his ilk have won.

I am done, today, in a way I never have before. I can't cry, I have no tears. I have no real idea of what do to next. My heart breaks at the realization that the best thing I can do for my children is to tell them to get the fuck out of this country, and to help them do that. I hate the thought, but how do you reconcile bringing up children to be kind, compassionate human beings, forward thinking, accepting of differences and of "others" and then telling them to live in a country build on hate?

Hate wins. We often forget it, willfully blind perhaps, but hate always wins.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
I wrote it all up, so I figured I'd post it here.

Though I must add that today, Thursday, both cats are peeing blood again. FML, ya know? My poor sweet stressed out kitties.

OMG. OK, pop the popcorn and prepare to laugh.

Because OMG, this was such a freaking ordeal, I'll laugh about it... someday.

So. We've been waiting for permits for the remodel for over a year. Yawn. We kinda never thought it would happen. Then blam. Can you be out of your house in three weeks?

Ummm... We can. Yah. We can.

It may kill us, but we can.

Now, when we realised, in early January, that we might get permits soon, we figured they'd set a start date around March. Which would have been fine. But no, they wanted to start now-now-now-now, and quite honestly, we weren't about to say Wait! because of the fear that some other project would slip in before ours.

So first we have to find a house. Which is not self-evident, because short term rental. I had one woman say "We don't do that type of thing" in a tone dripping in condescension, as if I'd asked if they rented whorehouses or meth labs.

We finally found a place. Total rip-off on rent, BUT it's very close to our other place. The landlord -this is important- is Indian, and lives near St Louis. His brother lives around here.

We had a place to move, now we just had to move 20 years of accumulated CRAP to the new place. The idea was to pack anything we wouldn't need for 5 months into boxes, and store those in the ground level rooms, and just move in with the stuff we'd need for the next months.

Now during all this. Anne-Chloe has a her major writing research paper due and a gym meet. I'm taking a class at UW and I have the first draft of a paper due. Perry has a big take home exam. So we ended up piece-mealing a weekend of packing. I ended up writing most of the first draft of the paper by myself, it was a group project, since I figured that the NEXT weekend, I'd have even less time. That was the weekend of the 7th/8th.

Sunday evening, we notice that BamBam is peeing drips of blood. Monday morning, it's a trip to the vet for him. No infection, stressed out cat is the diagnosis. Great.

AC's research paper was turned in and the following Friday of President's Day weekend, we rented a truck to do the major move. We'd been hauling boxes over etc, but there was still A LOT of stuff.

I had school Friday morning, but -and I find this quite impressive- when I came back, AC and David had moved about half of the furniture into the truck. I helped as best I could, and later we got 2 hours of work out of Perry, but both moving the PIANO and everything out and in to the new places? Most of that was done by my spouse and my teenage daughter. :)

We moved the cats on Friday too. BamBam was still occasionally peeing everywhere, and the little brat peed all over my comforter that evening. I was NOT happy.

Saturday: move more stuff. A lot of stuff. We're all pretty tired by then. I managed to do a teeny bit of work on my group paper, but didn't feel too guilty about leaving it to one of the other guys since I'd done so much of the work for draft 1.

Sunday: move more stuff. We were getting to the bitter end, and we probably had a few hours left when Perry and I drove a load over. And found the house covered in bloody pee. It was the OTHER cat this time. She's 20, will be 21 in April, so that ended moving for that evening, and it was straight to the ER vet with her. Same as BamBam, no infection, too much stress. She got happy drugs.

We got everything out by Monday evening, totally exhausted. The kids were off school that week, so at least I had some help. We spent Tuesday in a stupor, only moving to run after cats mopping up dribbles of pee. Since the older cat is in kidney failure, her urine is pretty much water, so at least that.

We limp through the week. We still have boxes and bags of stuff all over, the kitchen cabinets are teeny tiny, and don't fit a lot of my stuff, but we'd started to get some organization in place.

And then. Friday. It's time to do laundry. Earlier that week, we'd run a short load through the washer and everything worked fine, so I put in a full load of stuff, and went to the Microsoft Store with David and Perry to pick up his replacement computer (easy painless process. He spilled tea on the previous one, we had insurance, they replaced it. It would have taken 3 days had we not been so busy and putting weeks between trips to the store. He had a loaner from school during that time). Anyhow, just as we were pulling into the mall, my phone rang.

It was Anne-Chloe. Water ankle deep all over the ground floor. Which is where ALL OF OUR STUFF IS STORED, along with the piano. CRAP. We're about 30 minutes away, we head home, David talking AC through basic diagnostics(she determined it wasn't the drain, so he was able to get her to put the machine on spin and stop the situation from getting worse.) I was driving, I had Perry call my MIL, who lives 10 minutes from us, to see if she could go over and help AC. No, she's playing taxi for SIL again. Never mind. We'd manage on our own.

Anne-Chloe, btw, dealt with the situation perfectly. Except for not putting on shoes when wading in, she did everything right, and when we got home, she'd managed to get a good amount of the water up, mitigating damage.

In a stroke of absolute luck, and thanks to the three pallets we had a lot of our stuff on, our only loss was a futon we were planning on tossing anyhow, and one rug got wet and will need to be seriously cleaned. Water wasn't quite ankle deep, but probably an inch or so in areas.

The landlord's floor, otoh? Not so great. We finally get in touch with him, and he sends his brother over, with a dehumidifier rented from Home Depot. He and David rip up the laminate flooring, there is water under pretty much everything. Friday evening is long. On Saturday David moved all our boxes from one room to the room that had been dried, ripped up the rest of the flooring, and got the second room drying.

At that point, we're exhausted and I'm irked at how much my spouse is doing. The landlord admitted they hadn't checked the washer and when David moved it later, and looked more carefully, he found loads of rust raining from it. Sigh.

Still, it could have been MUCH worse.

Sunday, we got back to the mall to finally confirm the computer for Perry.

We got back, had dinner, and Linnea -who'd eaten out with friends- came to tell us that she hadn't seen BamBam for quite a while.

Huh. Let's search for the cat.

It's quickly obvious that the little brat is AWOL, he probably escaped when the landlord came to pick up the dehumidifier. CRAP.

We spent a few hours searching. We made lost cat posters. AC went to bed in tears, he's her special baby. David and I drove around putting up flyers.

I got home and started getting a craigslist posting. David got his sleeping bag ready. We'd left BamBam's food in the garage with the door barely cracked. I posted my ad, David went down to sleep in the garage hoping that the bait would attract the cat and-- He opened the door to the garage, BamBam is in there, clicks the garage door down and the cat is back and trapped.

I deleted my craigstlist posting, and we head around the neighbourhood AGAIN to remove all the flyers we'd just put up. We got to bed at 2am, at 4am I was woken up because the cat had peed on my bed and it soaked my side of the comforter. Again, kidney disease, so very dilute, I spray it with Nature's Miracle and attempt go get another 2 hours of sleep.

So that was our move. It's been freaking exhausting, and that's not even mentioning all the crap about a fuck up in the house plans, and some unexpected changes there.

We stopped the cat's happy drugs today and she's back to using the litter box, so hopefully that's no longer an issue.

The new place is fine, it'll work for the time we have to spend here. I still have crap all over the place because last weekend was spent mitigating flood and not settling in. It'll be fine, though.

And dear heavens, next time we move, back into the other place? WE ARE HIRING PEOPLE. This college move is crap when you're no longer in college. The whole damn move cost us $208, including the truck, packing paper, and tape. We can afford to pay to get someone else to move the crap next time, damnit!
nwhiker: (heart)
A link to the flickr set of photos of our trip to the Enchantments.

New and Improved! 25 Best of the Enchantments 2014. The best, or whatever photos from the trip. A bit less overwhelming!

And this link should get you a trip report

I'm linking in this photo, and I have to find a way to add some more tags to it. Because when I went looking for photos of the Enchantments, every single person I saw was thin. There were young people and older people, but they were all thin. I guess I want people who look like me to see the photo and realise that they aren't alone. Because I was freaking out and felt absolutely ridiculous, I mean, the though that a fat person could haul their fat ass up to the Enchantments? Ridiculous.


Also, Perry and I were standing on a sloped slab of granite! He is NOT NOT NOT that much taller than me!

This trip was my birthday present to myself, and I'm so very thrilled about how things worked out. It was spectacular.
nwhiker: (heart)
A bit of a recap and some reflections on the ride....

Man, 10000 cyclists. That's a lot, and they ranged the gamut from safe and good riders to OMG, who the hell let you on a bike. It's always interesting to see the asshole cyclists because when you do, you start to feel sympathy with motorists who complain about cyclists. :P

As for the motorists. There was a apparently one incident with the one day riders (nobody was hurt), and as I wrote we passed two accidents that may have had vehicle involvement, but aside from that and two or three assholes? Most of the motorists that passed the ride were polite, careful, and drove to maximize rider safety. That was quite nice.

For anyone who wants to see photos: if you know our last names, MarathonFoto had them up. :P

Since we didn't have sag support (my MIL or dh's aunt) following us this year, we took the bus back from Portland. OMG. The guy behind me ate at least 4 bananas. I about died. I LOATHE bananas and I'm very sensitive to their smell, it was so gross. I mentioned this one a forum I'm on and someone -bless her heart!- suggested using muscle balm or some such on my upper lip. I knew this from crime novels, where everyone carries Vicks VapoRub for icky crime scenes, but it had not occurred to me. I borrowed some of AC's chapstick and aaaaaah, the minty smell pretty much drowned out the disgusting banana!

AC, for the second year in a row, won STP Bingo overall. She had the lowest number (1), second lowest number (2), the lowest support rider number (S1). I won on pallindromes (I saw 2002 and 7007), we all independently saw highest number, I saw rider 5205, so the closest to any of our numbers, and dh saw rider 2014! Nobody got their birthday years. Heh.

So there are various groups who sponsor small teams who've fundraised (oh man, their catering is so much better than official stuff!), and just small teams. I passed a support group for "Team Nietzsche", with the giant slogan "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Thank you for the earworm, Team Nietzsche and my strength class teacher!

I still cannot beleive how well the weather turned out on day 2. From expected record highs to a high of maybe 72F!

I so enjoy my teens! They're nice kids.

I love Dave's Killer Bread. We eat it loads at home. But, um, pbjs on it? NSM. Too dry. A few places had those Costco roll ups, thank goodness. The ride is pretty much Catered by Costco!

It's Wednesday, and I'm feeling pretty recovered by now, mostly. I was able to go to spin class yesterday without too much trouble, I wasn't sore much at all. Where I still feel off: I'm more thirsty, and my sleep cycle still feels off.

OK, guys, this might be TMI for you. I'll white font! I have one of those proverbial 28 day cycles. I usually start bleeding Saturday early afternoon, every freaking four weeks. Which I was expecting to do Saturday. Which did not make me happy. BUT. This was a rare occurrance of a 29 day cycle, and I didn't start until Sunday evening AFTER the ride. I was SO freaking happy about that!

Port-a-potties in July. OMG, right? No, not really. They were mostly clean... the only real problem is that it was so hot, and they had hand sanitizer in them, I'm still shocked nobody got drunk from inhaling the alcoholic fumes! :)

Perry wanted to go to racing Monday evening. It was hot out and dh and I nixed that idea. Not because we didn't think he could do it physically, but because he was still mentally tired, and no, I'm not sending a mentally tired kid to race at a velodrome on a bike with no brakes!

Monday afternoon, we cleaned our bikes. They were covered in grit! Removed wheels, cleaned pretty much everywhere except we were too lazy to remove the chain. The gear train is pretty clean aside from that, everything was at least wiped down.

Next year Perry will be in a full size bike. We will never catch up with him. Oh wait. I'm not doing this next year. Never mind!

And of course, as per tradition, both kids "turtled" once, ie fell with their feet still in their pedals. They both managed to get up by themselves. Ah, how fondly I remember the time when I'd pick up Perry, bike and all, still clipped in and right him. Yeah, NOT!

Ah well. It was fun. It was a good time with family, we'll probably do it again.

Next up: hiking trip to the Enchantments!
nwhiker: (heart)
I woke up a few times during the night. The first time because I was cold. Cold? Really? Oh whatever.

I woke up again, cold again, and I could feel the dampness. I thought about suggesting to Perry, who was sleeping outside, to go drag his sleeping bag into the gymnasium, but I was too tired and I know how hard it is to wake Perry when he's out. Back to sleep.

4am. My alarm went off, I ignored it for a bit, then got up, went to brush my teeth and pop 3 ibuprofen. I feel ok from a muscles etc standpoint, but my head still ached.

As the others stumbled to morning things, I started stuffing bags and repacking. It was still dark. Then I came up with a brilliant idea, if I may say so myself, to fix AC's seat: one of dh's cotton socks. Part can be wadded up to replace the missing gel and the whole leg part pulled over the whole saddle to keep it in place. And to follow up here, it worked! At the next big rest stop, we got some duct tape from the bike repair place to keep things from shifting around, but overall, the sock contraption was a workable solution and allowed AC to finish the ride.

That she would finish was not evident. Even though it was now chilly, and breezy, the forecast, last we had checked, was still gruesome, and AC was in a bit of a panicky, anxious state. Note that's she in good shape, had had few problems the day before, even with the heat, so it was clearly a mental problem. She was pretty depressed and weepy at breakfast, refusing to eat properly, working on convincing herself that she wasn't going to be able to finish. We tried to dispense a combination of sympathy and "sorry, there is no plan in place for you to bail, you need to finish" practicality.

Off we headed for day 2! Officially we had about 85 miles to go. The first part of the route is "rollers", then over the Columbia on the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon! After that, the long slog that is US 30.

But the weather still seems to be holding as cool. There are clouds in the sky. A nice breezy tailwind. Things aren't too bad!

The Lexington rest stop came up quickly, which was nice. The rollers weren't too bad, and I think the fastest I got was about 34mph.

Weather still cool, cloudy, nice breeze, with the occasional sunbreak. I was really starting to wonder if the high had broken, or what, because this was not the morning of a day that was supposed to beat record temps. Not that anyone was complaining, of course. I don't think anyone was really daring to speak much about it, Saturday had been so very miserable for everyone.

Lewis and Clark Bridge. Always a bit nerve wracking. We check water bottle cages to make sure everything is in tight, pockets etc. There are some nasty gratings on the down that you hit going very fast and the ground is literally littered with water bottles and other things!

Grind up the bridge... this isn't my video -I wish I were that fast on the way up!- it's from some one day rider.


I'm pretty sure my speed exceeded the posted 35mph. Heh.

Into the small town of Rainier, where I saw a breathtaking example of racism that I'd never noticed before.

A barber shop/salon, called Head Hunters, which ya know, is just stupid but not intrinsically offensive. Only... the painting on the wall, clearly visible where driving the highway was... a young Native American man with his hair unbound.

You'd think that a highway that follows the course of a river would be flat. Alas, it is not. Ups and downs, some of them pretty intense. Overall, the trend is upwards, I swear it is! I mean, I know that Rainier OR and PDX are the same elevation (ok, PDX is 1ft lower...) but the whole road still feels like it has an upward trend!

Overall things were going pretty well, except for dh's knees that were bothering him a bit. We were making quite decent time and pulled into the lunch stop at St Helens a bit before noon. The weather, I'll add, was still cool and overcast. Usually St Helens is a hot, full sun food stop, so this was nice.

30 miles to go.

What to say about the last thirty miles? We picked up, alas, a headwind, which I think really bugged dh, and that slowed us down a wee bit, but we were still making ok time.

I saw lightening to the north. Three bolts. Didn't hear the thunder, so it was quite far.

And then it started to rain.

A big fat drop heavy rain, that left me wondering if glasses on or glasses off was better. I should have my glasses on, but my eyesight is good enough for day time driving/biking if need be. I kept them on, but there were a few times where I wondered.

Rooster tails and OMG GRIT was the name of the game from then on in.

St John's Bridge, as usual my favourite part of the ride. The bridge itself is beautiful, and once you are over it, you are into Portland proper, the end of the ride is near, at least distance wise, and it always feels like a privilege to be able to cross such a bridge in a lane without cars!

Things slowed down considerably then. The traffic was not too horrid, but there are red lights, pedestrians, and cyclists, many of them not riding STP. Nothing awful, but we're not longer doing the same speed as on the highway. I always forget that when I'm calculating how long the last 30 miles will take, that the 5 or so from St Johns can take a lot longer than the 25 highway ones!

Dh described what happened next best, and I think he said it like this, "All of a sudden I heard 'ouch! ouch! ouch!' behind me, and I couldn't figure out what was going on, then three seconds later, the hail hit me!".



That said, I'll say it now: hail and rain vs record high temps? Bring on the hail.

Dh's aunt was waiting for us at the last block! We high fived as we slowly rode it, under the finish line, picked up our finisher's badges, and onto the grass.


Finisher badges!

And here is the obligatory at the finish line photo, take a bit after we got in! Note that Perry is still eating....


Day 2 stats: 85.2 miles, 12.5 mph, 6h46min on bikes!

Next post up: the recap and some extra commentary!
nwhiker: (heart)
First I must set the scene. As the week progressed towards STP, the weather reports, especially those for Oregon went from bad to worse. It was... worrisome to say the least. The thought of biking US 30 in temps in the mid 90s was actually frightening, and I had doubts as to our ability to do it at all.

Dh and I talked a bit about circumstances in which we'd call off. Since we were doing the ride unsupported, we had no good plan for failure, which is never a good thing. Though I suppose, with a credit card, there is always a solution, right?

Friday was a day of frenzied getting everything together. Dh had checked over the bikes already, so that was done, and I'd gotten camping gear together, so that was done, but there are always a zillion details to attend to. We also went into Seattle to pick Perry up at rowing camp, and to get our rider packets at REI.

At rowing camp, the instructor, who teaches PE at his school, as well as crew, told us that Perry just did not stop. Always full of energy. Which, um, we know. I mean... at his middle school continuation ceremony, the teacher who roasted Perry said exactly that. That just keeps on and on, high energy. Until, not. And then he showed a photo of Perry on the way home from a day of noxious weed pulling, sound asleep with his head on the teacher's shoulder. It was so funny. Anyhow, we took our not exhausted yet child to REI.

Picked up packets. Bought t shirts, and a key chain for Linnea who was quite vexed that, yet again, she didn't get to go.

We got to bed Friday night, tired, and for me, dreading the 4am wake up. Once the wake up is done, the only thing I really dread on the whole ride is the hill into Napavine!

I ended up waking up at 2:45, and not being able to get back to sleep. Sigh.

4am. Since I'd been awake for a while, at least I didn't feel nauseated or anything. We got out reasonably fast, with -it turns out- nothing forgotten, which is always good. Of course the Dept of Transportation had to close the 520 bridge over the lake so our trip into Seattle took a lot longer than it otherwise would, and of course the traffic to get to the starting parking lot was long and took forever.

In parked. We were leaving the car there, and it didn't take long to get the pre-ride stuff done: potty, numbers on bikes (we do that last minute in case they don't stay on for the drive!), luggage dropped off on the truck to Winlock, selfie taken...



Off we go!

It was about 6:30 am. And it was already hot. Most STP starts we've needed jackets in the early am. Not Saturday.

We passed by a bad accident even before we reached the University Bridge, on Eastlake Ave. I know there was an accident there last year as well. Anyhow, she did not look in good shape. :( I wasn't able to find any report on her condition. I felt sick to my stomach.


The beginning of the route is beautiful, though the Arboretum, then down next to Lake Washington, to Seward Park. Then you make a right. Straight up a steep, though short, hill. If you haven't already geared down, it's too late! Good thing we know this, we were already geared down, so up we went.

The REI stop, at 25 miles in, is the first stop. Before that however, was our first encounter with a dangerous rider: Mimi's dad. Mimi is -according to the sign on her recumbant trail-a-bike- 7 years old and she was doing her first STP. Which is awesome. Her dad's name, judging by what people were calling him, is "Asshole!" He clearly had no idea of how long his bike + Mimi's tag-along were, and it was only the skillful riding of others that prevented him from knocking two cyclists over that first time I encountered him. We saw Asshole and Mimi several times, and his riding didn't get any better. I also heard several other riders commenting about him, so it wasn't just us.

The REI stop is always fun. Two years ago, it was The 80s, so everyone had leg warmers and 80s music was playing. Last year has faded, but the theme was... polka. So yeah, when we got in the live band was playing a polka. Then they played Edelweiss, which isn't a polka, they admitted, but hey, it fits the theme! Thanks for the earworm, guys!

We made the stop short, and got out quickly. Temps were going up and not wasting any of the relatively cool morning time was important.

After the REI stop, there is a short bit of semi-rural area. That's when we saw another guy. The call of "Car BACK!" which means... car coming, get out of the effing way would sound and... he'd pull into traffic. He did this several times. A gal right behind him finally shouted at him, "Dude, don't be an asshole! Car versus you, car wins!" Everyone laughed, but it really isn't funny.

Then there was The Hill. It's not that bad of a hill, all things considered, but I think it's... the first big challenge of the ride, so has taken on mythical proportions. Conquering The Hill is an STP milestone. I suspect that has happened because that's where many people realise HOLY FUCK WHAT THE HELL DID I SIGN UP FOR? We all did it ok. At the top, dh had to stop because the clip on his shoe was stuck to his pedal. He managed to get it off -phew!- and re-tightened. He only had one screw in, but was able to get a much needed second one later in the day.

We got to Spanaway, 50 miles in, the traditional lunch stop. The Spanaway stop sucks rotten eggs. It's too hot, the lines for the potties are epic, and the food isn't always great. It was worse than usual this year in that the water lines were about 20 minutes long. That should have been remedied right away. It was awful. The temps were probably already in the 80s, the sun was beating down, and waiting for water was no fun. I had a splitting headache.

I was really worried about Perry at that point. He was whiny, which is not typical of him, he looked tired and red. Dh and I got a bit more hands on at managing his food and water, ie we started reminding him non stop. Eat, drink, whatever.

After more sunscreen and ibuprofen, off we went.

The area around Spanaway is an area we call the "Military stupid zone". On I5, or on these smaller roads, the whole area around JBLM (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) is an area of bad traffic, and bad drivers. On I5, typically the traffic stops for no reason, only the right lane moves, the accidents are more numerous, and it's not a fun area to go through. On STP, it's a scary area. It was around there that a truck threatened Perry last year, and where the asses downshift their diesels in front of cyclists most often.

As we're biking... an emergency vehicle passed us, sirens blaring. Shit. Then a second. We passed the accident a few minutes later. Cyclist down, though this gal was at talking, and the situation didn't look as bad. Still, gulp.

Wanted to fill up water at McKenna mini-stop. They are out of water. We have enough to go on with, but still disconcerting.

After a bit, we got on a 14.5 mile section of bike trail. It's always hot, there is very little shade, but no cars, this year most people who were not part of the ride stayed OFF the trail. Last year there were parents with small kids, and that's always scary when you're going even slightly faster than walking speed. Which, of course, we all are.

Perry got a flat on that section. Grrr. It looked like, and this was verified when I fixed the tube after we got home, that that brand of patches isn't that great. Sigh. The other brand we have was great, but I can't figure out what it was, since there is no name or anything.

Anyhow, fixed the flat. The heat is awful, it's bright, and the water in our bottles is warm enough to make tea.

The Tenino rest stop was up next. It's run as a fundraiser by the high school basketball team, and this year? I suspect their forethought saved quite a few people from medical problems. The water there is cold, and there was plenty of it :) . There were no lines. In addition, they'd set up a line of pvc piping shooting water up 6+ feet into the air. Cold water. Many people got soaked, finally cooling down. Damp and in the shade, I felt SO much better, my headache subsided a bit.

It came back within minutes of being back out in the sun and heat, but still, I felt better.

This section was where Perry had decided he didn't need us any longer and taken off. AC did that this year. Only unlike Perry, she didn't stop to wait at the gas station at the entrance of Centralia. Sigh.

100 miles done. 20 to go. Temps are apparently around 95F. Fucking HOT.

Centralia mid-way point. We found AC waiting for us (sigh...). We got creamsicles. This is the only time I'd ever eat a creamsicle, because things taste very different when it's hot, they are cold, and you've just biked 100 miles.

We spent a bit too much time in Centralia, doing various things. We didn't feel in a major hurry, it was still brutally HOT, and we needed the rest. Eventually we headed out to Winlock.

After Chehalis, we stopped for some energy gels. Those things are gross, especially warm, but do they ever work! Dh's knees were bothering him and while I was having zero issues with fatigue, my head was still in pretty awful pain. We told the kids to go on up ahead to where we were camping, and they zipped on up ahead, soon out of sight. Gulp. My babies!

My personal bugaboo, the hill into Napavine, was next. I made it, if slowly.

Last six miles to Winlock. Rollers. Which are hills following each other, the idea being that you use the speed you get on one downhill to help you up the next. We were just outside of Napavine, about to hit the first hill when....

Flat tire. Crappity crud. It's late, we now had to change a flat, and we may not make it to Winlock in time for dinner... and who knows what is open in Winlock this late?

But then...

My phone rang. I picked up the call, thinking it might be AC or Perry in trouble, but it was my brother...

Standing by the side of the road, temps still in the 90s, I'm hot and sweating, and my poor spouse is changing my tire as...

I squee with excited excitedness because I have a brand new niece!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd have missed the call without the damn flat.

There are truly few bits of news that are as incredibly wonderful as people you love having a new baby that you get to love too.

The next six miles literally flew by. Still concerned about dinner, it's still hot, and I hoped the kids weren't worried about us, since the flat repair took some time.

When we got in, we biked to the elementary school. A quick look at the field showed our red tent set up.

Instead of finding what we could have, ie two teens flopped on the grass eating the free pretzels, we found a tent all set up, sleeping pads blown up, and sleeping bags fluffed. And the kids, having done that, eating pretzels. I am so proud of them, they thought to pick up our luggage and made camp. It may seem obvious, but with teens? You never know.

120 miles, 13.4 mph average, 9h18min on the bike.

But we have a small problem. AC had a cushy gel seat on her bike. Last Tuesday -note that STP is Saturday- she points out that the lycra cover of her seat is torn. The seat is too old to find a direct replacement, and that's a pretty major equipment change very late in the game. We decided to just go, after all, it was just a tear in the lycra. However, now, we have a problem: the lycra continued tearing, and she lost the hunk of foam at the front of the saddle, straight down to the plastic frame. We need to figure something out, because the bike is not ridable under those conditions. Still, first, dinner.

Dinner presented a challenge. We went down to the Senior Center. I'd purchased dinner, breakfast, and camping vouchers for all four of us last February, but... huh. They show dh, and the kids paid for but not me. We have no cash (long story, but dh swapped out his wallet and didn't put the cash in the bike bag), so no way to buy me dinner. I'm looking at these old ladies and going I did this for three people there is NO WAY I didn't get it for all four of us. Since they'd apparently had LOADS of problems this year, she let me in. I checked when I got home and yes, I had paid for all of them. They marked me as paid. I did, but I'll still send a thank you note with a donation for letting me in, on my word that I really had paid. Which I think they did because....

Mine wasn't the only effed up registration... they ran out of food, both that evening and breakfast the next day. People were quite pissed, but it seems like there was some serious miscommunication between the Senior Center and the guy from the school district who arranges everything. The ladies didn't want to feed anyone from the elem school, saying we hadn't pre-registered, but only the people from the HS had. Which was not the case. It was a bit of a mess.

It was hot, people were testy, but they managed to get people mostly fed. Alas, unlike previous years (we've eaten there 5 times), this year they put bell peppers in the tomato sauce, so ew gross, I got as much sauce off the pasta as I could and ate the pasta as plain as possible with loads of salt.

And during dinner, bro texted a photo of my niece!

Cold shower after dinner, brr, then off to collapse in the tent. Perry opted to sleep outside. It was still hot, there was barely a breeze, but we were so tired we all feel asleep quickly, having set the alarm for 4am. The plan was to get up early and attempt to beat the worse of the heat into Portland.
nwhiker: (peo-vangogh)
As AC would say Loki is so cute....

But this is hilarious.

'Thor' homoerotic Loki fanart mistaken for poster by Chinese cinema

We all had a good laugh over that. Then I started to post it here. Then Perry asked me to email the link so he could share it with one of his friends at school. I don't think so. His school is pretty cool, but I do not want to be the parent called into talk to the Lower School Principal because her son is distributing homoerotic fanart! Heh.
nwhiker: (heart)
We just got back from Yosemite, a two-ish day drive for us, and listened to two audiobooks, one of which I highly recommend with no caveats for anyone over 12 or so. We listened to:

Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. It's very well written (and, also importantly, read!) and very engaging. The science was understandable with some pauses for the 12 year old (going into 8th grade). The book brings great clarity to the scientific method and how you make predictions, using science, and look! as we predicted! It was quite interesting. While Linnea -age 10- didn't get much of it, she listened on and off and did some good drawings of fish with limbs. The other two (almost 16 and 12) have their book motto "One bone, two bone, lots of blobs, digits!" and seem to delight in it.

BTW, the explanation on what we get dizzy when we get drunk and later as we sober up was beautiful in its simplicity. Heh.

The other book was... well. I listened to the first CD of Mary Roache's Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and found it hilarious. I stopped, and we all listened to the book while driving.

It was good. She does go into lengthy, often off topic asides, but they're interesting. A lot of facts, a lot of laughs, a lot of totally irrelevant information, but oh so grossly fascinating.

One -very important- false note.

Now I knew she'd written a whole book on sex, which is supposed to be excellent, but this was supposed to be about poop, ya know? And it was mostly, and mostly the book was great. However, a whole chapter devoted to anal play, anal toys, anal sex, homosexuality and anal play etc was... I have to admit, unexpected. I knew there would be anal/rectal talk because I'd read that she talked about rectal smuggling in prisons etc, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite so detailed on the sexuality side of things in a book that was about the alimentary canal. Linnea, age 10, was asleep during the chapter, but the 12 year old was listening, though we paused often to ask him if he was ok with this, etc. It was honestly a bit beyond what he should probably have listened to, though he most certainly enjoyed the book as a whole. The odd thing is that... at least to me, the rectal smuggling thing felt more matter of fact than the titillating tone of the anal playtoys section. And the more I think about it, it's more the way it was talked about that bugged me: it was almost mocking. Ha ha, look at those gay guys, they'll shove anything up their butts! Not enough to be a clear cut case of "this is homophobic, I'm turning it off," but enough to ping slightly wrong.

Perry is not a poop-and-farts are funny kind of kid (that would be his younger sister, and to be honest, the rest of us aren't really toilet humour people), but he did find much of the book grossly hilarious, we all did. There was LOTS of fart/poop/etc jokes, the humour was quite juvenile, but hey, the subject matter rather invites that!

It could have used more science, and less anecdotes, and certainly, PLEASE, less physical descriptions of the various scientists she talked to!, but it was a good listen anyhow. The reader, btw, is flat out excellent, aside from her mimicry of French/German etc accents (why do they do that?) and attempting men's voices. Why, again? Just read it.

The almost 16 year old really liked both books.

And dh and I marvelled that anyone survived the doctors/medicine of the 18th, 19th, and even early 20th centuries!

So a recommend with the caveat that you might want to preview the section about what people put up their asses for fun to make sure you feel it's ok for your kid in the level of detail she goes into. I honestly wish she'd have skipped that aspect, because aside from that, I think it's a fabulous book for any 10-12 year old, even if they don't quite get it all... or perhaps BECAUSE they won't quite get it all!
nwhiker: (heart)
There is going to have to be a longer update later, but we're home.

What a fabulous vacation! Yosemite is incredible. We mostly stayed in the uplands, and the Sierra high country is as gorgeous as I was told it would be.

On the iffy side, our router died last Sunday. Grrr... Remember, we run our own email server, so a dead router means dropped emails (sorry, C, I assume at least one of my subbed addresses is bouncing...) We didn't find out I checked my email while we were in Reno yesterday and noticed this. Of course we had a lot of important email outstanding.

The Rim Fire, aside from spawning an obsession with AC and major fear in Linnea didn't affect us much beyond visually stunning sunsets and cloud formations while we were in the park. It started hours after we drove through the area, I guess, last Saturday. We decided to drive back via the East route because the other way was close... and ended up driving for miles in a sepia toned cloud. It was... quite eerie. I had hoped to be able to take a short side trip to see Lake Tahoe, but considering the colour of the sky, we didn't bother. All that personal whining aside, the Rim Fire is going to be bad.

We listened to two non-fic books while driving. Will review later, one at least is awesome for the 12 + set.

AC is a very competent and helpful assistant camp master (I was demoted to lead minion a while back), and she was so very good about tend set up and tear down, getting water started for breakfast that I almost forgive her the griping about being stuck with us on a family vacation.

On our second morning camping, our first morning at our second campsite (a dry campground), we heard CRACK! CRUNCH! SMASH! THUD! and started in utter amazement at the hillside just above us as a gigantic tree broke off, tipped over, smashed against a boulder, and landed on the ground. It was... impressive. As soon as the tipping part started it was pretty clear that we were not in the fall line, though the tent was, so it wasn't even too panic inspiring. The majority of the tree landed about 70 ft or so from us. Linnea, btw, ran to hide behind Perry, who complained later of being the "human meat shield". I'm 99 % sure the reason she hid behind sitting Perry rather than standing me or AC, or sitting dh? She could hide behind him and still stare at what was happening!

Linnea, the second we were in the park, reverted to her anorexic like camping behaviour, refusing to eat more than a few bites each day, leaving me the choice of letting her eat less than 400 calories a day or pester/browbeat her into eating more. Considering the hiking we were doing, I pestered. It is really quite stressful.

In good news? I'm pretty sure my eyes are fine, despite some bad air conditions (from campfires mainly). I look like a dork with my floppy sunhat, but between that, sunglasses, and moisturizing eye drops, my eyes barely got irritated, and I"m pretty sure I don't have an infection. So yay!

Some glorious hikes. OMG. That high country is beautiful.

And here is the ABSOLUTE PISSER WORSE THING GRRRR! ARGH! THINGS ever: dh's Windoze phone? Takes better photos than my digital SLR. It's an absolutely phenomenal camera. Can I say GRRR! again? All my fiddling with exposure and aperture and I even brought my polarising lens, and his damn cell phone camera takes a better photo.

OK, I need to get to bed. My own bed, ah!
nwhiker: (heart)
More to remind me that I need to get AC's photos from her.... Dh never takes enough photos, but thinks he has. AC took over 150, hopefully we have a few good ones.

A gorgeous bummer of a hike. 11 miles or so, once side trips and walking to the trailhead from the parking we found were added in. Goal: a view of Mt Rainier over alpine meadows. Result: alpine meadows, the mountain made itself scarce. Things cleared up a bit as we were leaving, but not enough, no where near enough.

Other hikes, we might have hung out a bit longer and waited for the skies to clear a bit, which they were slowly doing but alas, as beautiful as this hike is, the number of mosquitoes and biting flies made standing or sitting still akin to torture. So no. We did not linger.

BTW, AC said, as we walked through a meadow of flowers: "It reminds me of Howl's Moving Castle!" (*) and Perry said "Dare I say it? The Shire!" (*) The movie. Which is different from the book, but excellent.

I'll do more of a write up hopefully when I have time and when AC's photos get uploaded...

Anyhow, a few photos to give an idea...

Indian paint brush and lupine

Alpine meadow, avalanche lilies, and a little hiker called Linnea!


Spray Falls. I realise there is no scale on that initial drop there, and sources online say anything from 80 to 350 ft. Since it's at the level of Spray Park, and the photo was taken before the last climb, 600+ feet in elevation, I'll estimate that it is closer to the higher end. It was truly spectacular.

Spray Falls, Mt Rainier National Park

I will forever be grateful to be able-bodied enough to hike to alpine meadows.
nwhiker: (heart)
This weekend we planned -and did, yay us!- two rides back to back: yesterday we did a 50 mile or so (the exact mileage is unknown because of device and app issues, but around 50.). It went well, and we had a good time. Linnea had had a sleepover with my MIL, so we were even able to get out reasonably early.

Then today the idea was to do another ride, though only about 20 or so miles. We thought we might have to split up, since Linnea can't come, but MIL said she'd keep her another day. Linnea was vexed at not being able to ride with us, though.

Problem is, she can't really ride on the road. She's too slow to be safe on any real road riding. So we decided to go on the bike trail: we left the car at one location, did our 20 or so miles, and swung back to about 7.5 miles from the car to a park where we met up with MIL and Linnea. And Linnea rode back with us (most of the way. She, dh, and Perry split off to drop of their bikes at a local bike shop, and AC and I took the opportunity to ziiiiiiiiip the rest of the way back to the car.)

It was... different biking with Linnea in our paceline. Obviously, she has less experience, her bike is smaller, she's much slower etc. Still, it was fun. Lots of people encouraged her as they zipped by us. Two guys followed us for a while in a busy area, and when they prepared to pass one of them said to me "Nice paceline!" and I called to him "Wait til you see who is pulling!" As he went by he told her good job, and gave me a wave and a thumbs up! It was so funny.

We must have looked quite incongruous on the trail. I'm fat, but aside from that, four of us have clearly put some money and effort into our gear, right: road bikes, real bike jerseys, clipless pedals.... and there was Linnea: so very small, on her tiny old old old mountain bike, her pink helmet, in regular clothes, though carefully chosen for biking, and looking so cute you could eat her! :-)

It is very hot, and Linnea got discouraged for a while, but we told her how well she was doing, gave her some more water, and she finished what we'd intended her to do, claiming that she was "roasted" or maybe it was "toasted", though she was a bit soggy, but clearly cooked. That conversation was so totally Linnea!
nwhiker: (heart)
We didn't sleep too badly the night before the ride. I think much of our anxiety had been used up the day before for our "can we get up and actually bike at dawn?" trial ride, and we got to bed early, slept well enough that we didn't hear dh's aunt G getting in at about 11.

Up, shower, and breakfast. My usual Greek yogurt, blueberries, and Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal.

And miracle of miracles, Perry is coherent.

They closed the 520 bridge into Seattle that weekend, so we had to drive down to I-90, adding extra time to the drive in. We'd left the house at about exactly the time we'd hoped. It was still dark, and dawn came nicely as we were driving in, peeking in over the Cascades behind us, but the morning was misty, very misty.

The traffic to get to the parking lot at the start line was pretty bad. We crawled along, my stress levels mounting. Though to be honest? One of my biggest fears for the ride was getting up on Saturday morning, the sick feeling of OMG I need more sleep, and that didn't happen, and I felt good and strong to start.

Perry was chirpy and chattering away. Perry is not a morning person. This was different. He does chatter when he's nervous though, and he definitely was. Not bad nervous, I think, anticipation nervous.

Parked, and got gear on the bikes, and G, who'd be driving our car home and then later with AC down to Portland, via camping in Winlock, dh, and Perry waited by the mush of a start area while I went to the porta-potties.

Waiting in line for potties is a fact of life of STP. Some rest stops are well organised when it comes to potties and potty lines. Others less so.

Anyhow, that done, I got back to the others just in time to catch a departure wave, they let people leave every 10 minutes. Perry and I clipped in, we cleared the bike computer, started the tracking program on my cell and...

We were off!

The beginning of the ride is through Seattle, some nice areas too, through the Arboretum, around the lake. The first unofficial rest stop is 10 miles in. You can take it, or you can take a right. Right before that right there are is a BIG sign spray painted on the road: GEAR DOWN.

It's the first hill! It's teeny and short, but OMG, straight up. That done, there is a long upslope and we continue on towards points south.

We had our first incident at a stop light. Perry was still getting used to his clip shoes, I think and didn't unclip fast enough. He went down, he was fine, and we were alone, so no danger. I picked him up, bike and all, he and dh grabbed their first snack of the morning and we went on, hitting, it seemed, every single light red.

Before we knew it we were 25 miles in, at the first official rest stop, at REI headquarters. The theme was 80s, the volunteers were wearing head bands and leg warmers, and Juice Newton, really? On the loud speakers. It was fun, full of energy, we got to the bathrooms, Perry started eating and eating and filling his jersey pockets with more food, and we refilled waters.

We were making good time. We felt like we had to hurry, but not terribly so. See, to do STP in two days, we needed to average about 12mph, including stops, and I wasn't sure we could it. We planned a long first day, 120 miles, and I didn't want to get into camping too late. Yet here we were at the REI stop, in the thick of the crowd.

I'll say this now. We averaged much better than I'd expected, much better than last time, and as a result, instead of being in the lagging group, we were in the thick part of the python! There were always lots of people around us, and it made for a very different ride.

More points south. The next planned stop was Spanaway for lunch.

Perry was doing fine. He was cheerful, riding well, and safely. I was very proud of him!

And you know what? I need to start more last minute stuff for Yellowstone. Dh and I were up until 2:30 am, and the cat woke me up at 6, so I've gotten quite a bit done. Still more to do, and the kids have lost their DS car charger. OF course, like the library (see yesterday's whine), they knew they were supposed to get their DS stuff together days ago, but chose to sit on their butts in front of Sonic (crap) Shawn the sheep (double crap), Gloomy Ruby (I think) and bad anime. They can't use the DSs in the park at all, but they'd have liked to have them to and from, but no dice. Because they never listen to anything I have to say!

nwhiker: (Default)
Yesterday, dh, Perry, and I rode a 40 mile loop down by Lacey: we left Lacey, headed to Yelm on highway 510, and then at Yelm, got a bike trail back to Lacey to close the loop.

That trail? Best bike trail I've ever taken. Despite beautiful weather, it wasn't too crowded (my previous gold standard was the Sammamish River/Burke Gillman trail), it was nicely paved, not too many bumps, and went through some beautiful scenery.

Despite the distance (Lacey is a bit over an hour away), we'll probably do that trail again. We didn't even do the full trail!

Perry did very well, kept up with no problems. He probably could have eaten more, but then, Perry can always eat more.

Today, despite the nice weather and the infinite probability of loads of people on the B-G, we headed out there for a short ride. We had Linnea on the trail-a-bike, and a head wind to start out, but we made good time for a reasonably fast 20 miles. Yay for Linnea for biking 20 miles!

There were, as expected, loads of people on the trail. Most walkers and families were reasonably cautious, but as usual roller bladers think the whole trail belongs to them as they swoosh from side to side. Still, it was a pleasant time.

Dh is off picking up AC from her weekend trip, then we'll call my MIL and SIL and family to come over, we'll have dinner and cake, and if we're done early enough, maybe we'll wander over to the park for a walk so the kids can play on the swings and play equipment.

I'm seriously thinking about buying a pair of bike shoes. I could use them for spin, at the very least, even if I never want to use them on trail, but gah, they're expensive! Perry's are, btw, on his old bike, but he's having a hard time clipping out of them yet. Once he's gotten good at it, we'll put them on the real bike!

AC is home! She had a great time and was apparently responsible with the brace! Yay! I don't have to mention a thing to the surgeon at the follow up tomorrow! Heh.
nwhiker: (Default)
Dh, Perry, and I are off for a bike ride today (down by Lacey/Yelm, plan is about 40 miles).

Anyhow, that is just incidental. This is the post I wanted to make:

Today is the Letter Carrier's food drive and when I went to the supermarket the other day, I bought Stuff for that. Tuna, canned chicken, canned ham, baked beans, a few boxes of mac and cheese, plenty of (highest protein I could find) soup. And peanut butter. Four jars.

Not the organic of-course-we-blend-in-the-red-skins kinds that we usually get. No, the sugar and whatEVER laden Other Peanut Butter that my kids adore and that I can't keep in the house because AC will eat a whole jar in a day.

OMG, Perry and Linnea were so excited, going through the bag, They kept on asking hopefully "Is this for us?" "What about this?" and going on and on about how wonderful the prepared foods I was going to donate were, SO much better than the icky stuff I feed them.

Heh. I don't take it personally and I'm reasonably sure that after a week of Hamburger Helper with ground beef, they'd be back to wanting MaPo Tofu with ground chicken (ground at home, blah blah blah) with extra Sriracha sauce for Perry.
nwhiker: (Default)
So I've whined about my kids and carbs before.

Namely, as a group, they don't like rice, pasta, potatoes, gnocci, polenta, or couscous (which I know is a pasta).

AC claims not to like rice "unless it's cooked in a rice cooker" or fat is added and it's a long process to make, ie risotto.

However, I can usually get rice or bread on the table without too much whining.

BTW, they're not too fond of meat or veggies either.

They do eat, mostly, the carbs I serve. Potatoes, unless roasted in olive oil or fried (which I never do at home and is a rare treat out), aren't well liked. Pasta is tolerated, some shapes better than others. They do all like bread. Perry detests polenta, AC refused gnocci. Linnea, for all, it depends on the day.

So, basically, we eat a lot of rice.

A lot of rice.

At least two or three times a week, closer to three. And since there are usually rice leftovers, again on leftover night.

Dh is sick of rice, and of complaints about everything else, and has decreed a no rice week next week. Hee.

The kids are already protesting. They're each putting in their "no this!" and "no that!" requests. Someone is going to be unhappy every night next week.

My challenge is going to be coming up with a week of meals without rice! I've gotten so used to it as a starch, and it's so easy, that I find myself thinking things like 'chicken vindaloo with... oh wait, not. OK, what about jambalaya, no, rice, what about...' Heh. It will probably end up being a much more boring and bland week than usual.

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