nwhiker: (Default)
Today Perry
  1. biked from our house to a nearby city to catch a bus: about 8 miles
  2. took the bus across the lake
  3. biked from Montlake to Fremont, about 3 miles
  4. rowed with his team for 2.5 hours
  5. biked back to Montake to catch the bus back
  6. bus across lake
  7. bus stop to the other rowing club, an easy downhill mile or so....
  8. .... and then rowed for two hours there
  9. .

It's all been land workouts until now, but today was the reward you all get to get into boats day!

During the rowing with the other club, he was in a single. They did a lot of work, and at the end, raced a 2k. Perry beat everyone. All the girls from their girl's team, who had a 2 minute handicap. The other 5 boys in singles. THE QUAD.

So yeah. That's pretty cool.

But here is the real part I'm proud of. The coach told him that if he wanted to row with them, he would no doubt be in their first varisty eight. That's a pretty major deal, since I think they won regionals and went to nationals.

I think Perry will stick with his small team... I get why, but I think we need to come up with a speech for the coaches at the recruiting meeting we're going to next week about why he'd stay with such a small program. The answer, btw, is that he gets to row, but he also gets to demonstrate leadership, he's responsible for many things in a way he would not otherwise be.


nwhiker: (Default)

We adapted a lemon bar recipe to be made with some lime juice. We'll see. I haven't had much luck with cooking with limes, they go from perfect to too bitter even for me in a very small amount.

Perry was doing the actual cooking. One of the recipes we cobbled together said to add a few drops of green food colouring, and I nixed that. But then he called me to tell me that without any, it looked really really gross.

So I told him to go ahead and add ONE -ONE!!!!!- drop of food colouring.

This was the result:

Green lime bar filling

OMG. One drop! I said ONE DROP.

He insisted he only added "a tiny amount".

One drop, I said.

And then.... we figured it out. He used gel food colouring not the standard liquid stuff. It never occurred to me that he'd go straight for the gels, though to be honest, it should have: I don't really ever use the liquid stuff, just the gels. I mean, if I am using food colouring at all... I am using FOOD COLOURING.

This is what the final product looks like:

VERY green lime bars

Hopefully they taste better than they look.

We shall see.

ETA 15 June 2017

Eh. They were mediocre. Much too sweet and without anything that said lime.

I forgot to take a photo of an actual bar, but here is what the edges looked like:

Lime bar
nwhiker: (Default)
Dh and I are in lovely Vancouver Washington (yeah, nsm on the lovely) for regionals. Perry is rowing his single on Friday morning, and in a double on Saturday.

When I get home I'll try to link last year's experience. Perry placed second in the lightweight singles category, a category that is not a nationals qualifier. It was great to see him do well, but after he won his heat and was headed to the final, and I looked at everyone's time and clued in that he had a chance to place? All of a sudden.. NSM on fun time and hello stress.

This time is even worse.

I suspect that Perry suspects, but the open secret is that he might just be good enough to place here at regionals, and thus make it to nationals. I'm not looking at times -do NOT want to know- but his coach has great hopes. Obviously, he'd need good water, a good day, and some luck, in addition to all the training he's done, but the pressure is on.

Because the word among the parents is that this is the biggest race of Perry's life so far, and it could determine where he goes to college and a few other incidentals like that.

And I hope he knows that we'll be proud of him no matter what he does.

But I desperately don't want him to be disappointed in himself.

Hence the knot of dread that has been growing in my stomach for the past several weeks, since the coach told us there might be a chance for Perry to place.
nwhiker: (Default)
Dh passed out after I got him home, post-wisdom tooth removal.

Anne-Chloe did too.

Today I'm 3 for 3. I took Perry in to get an ingrown toe nail dealt with... He was a bit shaky during much of the procedure, turning slightly green with the toe nail was nipped out.

He was sitting up afterwards, and not looking good. Then I noticed his lips were turning white, and whiter, and his skin was getting pale. He asked the doctor for a bag because he thought he had to throw up, the doctor left, two seconds later, Perry was out. Guy came back, got the chair inclined back and he came to VERY quickly. I only got a bit panicky, calling out "Perry. Perry. Stay awake. Answer me. Perry."

So yeah. He's fine. He was only out for a few seconds, but he was so freaking pale and his lips were completely white.

I am NOT taking any of my children or my spouse to any type of outpatient procedure by myself ever fucking again.

I feel like crying.

nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
I'm putting all this under a cut since there will be photos and there will be videos! Beware! And it will be long too, since, eh, it was a long weekend.

However, it was an amazingly wonderful weekend, for so many reasons!

NOTE: if you can't see the video linked here, it can be seen on my flickr site: Regionals 2016.

Read more... )


More photos and videos at the flickr album Regionals 2016.

What an absolutely amazing weekend!
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
First the most important news: re-MRI today showed the epidural abscess about 1mm smaller (they didn't have the full radiology report, just that bit), which is good, though probably close to margin of error, ya know? Anyhow, pending review of the scan by the attending, the neurosurgeons feel we can... wait and re-scan in two weeks. Which is fine, since antibiotics working really are the best case scenario!

She's dropped her biology class, which will set her back a quarter for getting into the "competitive major" she wants, but it's a lab class and she's better of focusing on just one lab class, the chemistry one, which is part of a series, and would REALLY set her back if she had to drop that. We don't really monitor her grades, but we won't make a fuss no matter what she gets this quarter (as long as the chem grade is enough to get her into the next chem class!)

I just hope we can get full tuition back for the bio class. I hope, since the records of hospital etc are all there.

This weekend was busy busy busy. It was the State meet, and held over in Eastern Washington, in Wenatchee. We already knew we'd drive AC there, since she was supposed to get out of her bio class at 3:30 and needed to be in Wenatchee, 3 hours away, in about 3 hours, and the highway she'd have to take is... iffy at best. But because of the antibiotics, we decided to just go spend the weekend there ourselves... Only dh had the Dem district caucuses. Problem. I found the solution: dh, and Linnea, took the train back on Sunday morning, so he could be at the caucuses, and Perry and I would come home that evening with AC after she was done.

There is not much to do in Wenatchee, and what with getting out the hospital on Wed, we didn't have bikes ready, so we really had few plans of what to do. So I checked the distance, and the tour times, and Perry and I headed out to the Grand Coulee Dam. We'd driven by once before, but after visitor center hours. This time we got to check out the visitor center, and go on the tour, which was pretty cool, to be honest. They drove us out onto the top of the dam, something I'd done plenty of times on other dams in the pre Sept 11 era, but Perry had never.

Learned some interesting stuff, and since I'm SO totally a civil engineering monument geek, I was thrilled to be there!

Cut for photos... )

Anyhow, it was a nice day trip. Perry is a cool kid to be around.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
My doom is sealed. In a fun way.

We just signed up for our yearly bike rides, that we missed last summer. Flying Wheels, a nasty hilly metric century in early June, and the Seattle to Portland, 204 miles! It's just dh, Perry, and me this year, Anne-Chloe having said "oh hell no" about doing it again.

We need to buy Perry a bike (sigh.... decent road bikes are expensive, even if we buy used) and get training.

The three things I am not looking forward to:

-- Getting up early for STP Day 1. I hate hate hate the nauseated feeling of getting up too early.

-- The hill into Napavine at the end of the day, 110 miles in, on STP Day 1.

-- All the condescending Good Jobs! tossed at the fatty biking. Those hurt my soul in a way I'll never fully be able to articulate. Someone I know, when I was complaining about it, said it was the compliment giver's way to welcoming me to the biking community.... To which someone else pointed out, which really helped me in articulating my feelings on this, that this was seriously othering, because it assumed I needed welcoming into anything, it removed the default if you're doing this ride, you're a cyclist into something that can be bestowed by someone wanting to feel good about tossing a compliment the fatty's way. They are. I must be given. So blah.

Also, OMG, I'm going to be biking with a taller than me teenaged boy. Why do I sense he's going to just head to Portland and call us from the Finish Line? (He's not 18, so he can't do the one day solo, poor kid, or he'd be sure to try.)
nwhiker: (Auturmn at Cottage Lake)
The piece was adapted, by Perry, from the music from Skyrim. I hate the fact that video games people and Miyazaki don't publish scores for the music!

nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
Perry's lamp came and it's a garish as I expected it to be.

He's a bit dismayed that the dragonflies have blue eyes, not purple as in the description.

This is the lamp he choose:


I've shared photos of his room, right? The room that emits a nuclear green glow into the hallway?

This room?

He likes green.

Also, note: we're moving in Thursday. Nothing was done at the house today, there were no workers at all. FML.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
I got the MMR today. I apologize to my children for not giving them ice cream AND soda AND cookies after their shots. Because it fucking HURT. OTOH, it's done.

Why is it done? Because I told AC I'd buy her a latte if she reminded me to do it, I kept on "forgetting".

What is annoying? I do, in fact, need a second dose, ie the full MMR course. When I asked the person the kids see, they said most places will take one booster dose for adults, but yeah, NSM. Oh well. Had I known I was going to have to get TWO shots, I'd have opted for the titer (which I know would be fine since I had one done while pregnant. Alas, I have no idea what happened to my records for 18 years ago, since there were provider issues.). That said, I don't pay for the vaccine, and I would have to pay for the titer, so whatever.

The builder "thinks" they've found replacement granite. We've seen a sample. Bzzzzt, no, this is still the lower grade. To be clear, builder. The granite we HAD was black with some grey and lots of large pieces pretty shiny mica. The one you are trying to get us to agree to is grey with some black and a few small bits of pretty shiny mica. Keep looking.... :( We're pretty much resigned to laminate. :(

I went to Costco yesterday. I bought my 12 year old -since last week!- a size 7 Rainbow Dash costume. OMG.

I really hate emotional vampires. Especially on forums (fora?) They drain all the air from discussions by bringing everything back to themselves, and pointing out how miserable they are if someone requests supports and is then dismayed that the vampire had made it so that everyone pretty much... ignores them. Ugh.

See above: I got the MMR today. And now I have a migraine!!!! It's a vaccine reaction, I know it is! (Yawn. No, its not.)

What I wrote to some friends earlier:

So we're in a rental, and the landlord has been very kind, letting us extend our lease as the remodel took longer and longer and....

Yesterday morning, he texted dh to say the house was being painted yesterday and today.

Grr, because there is plastic over the windows etc, and it's 90F outside.

But here is the sad rant part?

The inside of the house has HORRID paint colours. Think pistachio and peach in the main area, and periwinkle blue in the bathrooms. Which is fine in the master bath, but since the main bath has turquoise blue sinks, it clashes.

The outside, however, was not repainted. It was cream, with a nice green trim. Needed re-doing.

When the landlord said he was repainting in grey, I figured one of the two greys that has become ubiquitous in the Pac NW, either a shimmery silvery grey, or a deep stormy grey (we're considering both for our house when we repaint. Can't decide which.)

But no.

The house has been repainted brownish grey, with a baby diarrhea brown door, and cream trim. It's SO ugly.

Hopefully I'll only have to look at it for one more month......

Perry has a regatta on Saturday. He's supposed to race at 5:45 PM. I do have to confirm that he really needs to be there for the coaches/rowers/judges or whatever it's called meeting at... 5:45 AM.

I have figured out a way to borrow books on my Kindle from the library system without getting an evil Bibliocommons account. I don't know if this is new, or if the instructions weren't there before, but YAY!!!!!

I've been reading a whole bunch of books by Tanya Huff. I'd started her vampire books at one point, but really, I hate vampire books, and as a result, I stupidly dismissed the author. Then I picked up the first of the Valor series on CD. Light, funny, SF. And now I'm reading a few other of her series.

Considering what I've seen so far of stainless steel appliances? I'm going to wish I could have gotten simple white one, and be very grateful that the blue range should be easier to keep clean.

Hot out. Blah.
nwhiker: (heart)
WP_20140612_11_12_04_ProWe did find a nice tshirt, in a pretty dark plum, that looked nice with his black pants and the -left hanging open- button shirt.

The school had pretty yellow rose boutonnieres for the boys (and corsages for the girls). Alas they gave them to the kids before the breakfast and after eating Perry went to play basketball. His rose looked rather on the wilted withered side by the time the ceremony started.

It was great, though. The class is small -46 students- and faculty said a bit about each student, and it was mostly hilarious. Remembering the bad puns, the terrible jokes, the pranks, the funny habits, and also the accomplishments. It was so clear that the teachers both knew and liked the kids. The audience laughed a lot.

Of course every time a vocabulary word was used, the kids all made an ooh-ah! noise!

Anyhow, he's all continuated, and will be in OMG 9th grade next year. OMG. 9th grade.

We survived middle school. Here's hoping we make it through high school as well!
nwhiker: (heart)
His yellow rose boutonniere is totally wrecked and he is bright red. From the basketball game. Sigh... He could be so cute, he looks completely disheveled.
nwhiker: (heart)
Perry has his "continuation" ceremony today, at 10am.

Provided he survives until then.

Despite being asked at least 4 times (by both me and dh) if all his clothing was ready, he showed up this morning wearing the clothes... black pants, black dress shirt, open over a..... wait. the black shirt is buttoned up. He looks like a crow.

Where is the tshirt?

Well, it turns out the boy doesn't have a single plain tshirt. Which, to be honest, I did not know. When he looked this morning, he didn't find one.

I have no idea what he was doing each time he went down to check that he actually had everything clean.

Yes, my fault, I should have asked to see the actual outfit.

Note that the pretty green and blue dress shirt from Gap that my mother bought him would have looked really nice with this outfit, but he lost it, never to be seen again, the first time he wore it to school.

Then I notice the pants. Which are too big.

Oh rilly?

Oh wait. He's wearing an old pair of (boy) dress pants of his sister's. That fit length-wise, but are baggy. Baggy dress pants look awful.

His regular pants, which is what he'd said he'd be wearing? That fit nicely and look real nice on him?

Are dirty.

I spot clean those, iron them (evil iron!). Dh had already ironed the dress shirt.

Target opens at 8am. We don't have to be at the celebration breakfast until 8:30, we should have time. Please say a prayer to any god you may beleive in that Target has plain tshirts. In Perry's size. In a neutral colour that is not lime green or day-glo orange.

St.Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, right?
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
A while back I reviewed Libriomancer, a book I really enjoyed. Perry loved it too.

I just finished the second book of the series (Need! Book! 3!!! Only I don't think it's written yet!), Codex Born.

More madcap magical fun, more Isaac, whom I adore, more Smudge the flammable spider, whom I adore even more than I adore Isaac. All in a all a great read.

With, blam, right there, one of my pet Harry Potter issues (hi <lj user=" />) addressed: the use of forgetfullness spells, Obliviate in the HP world. Those spells are tossed around in HP non-stop with no apparent thought to what it actually means to take away someone's memories. Memory is an essential part of what shapes us, our emotions, of who and what we are. Our reactions to an event are almost always (always?) tied to our memories of similar events, to things in that. What happens when you take away the memory, and you're left with the emotional pathways? And then this is addressed in the book, Isaac, (did I mention I adore him? Oh yes, I did. At least once.) understands this and has objections to the inevitable fact of memory modification when some people have magic that must be hidden from the rest of us.

And Isaac. Who muses about consent and obliviates. He's a guy. But he's just that, a guy. Not a Guy. He doesn't feel like he's a male protagonist because of course all heroes must be male, that anyone that awesome must be a man etc. I don't know if I can quite pin this down, but Isaac is a human being who happens to be male. I'm not sure I can convey exactly what I'm trying to say, but that in distinction between of-course-a-guy and happens-to-be-a-guy lies the whole possibility of a feminist hero, a man who just happens to be male, but whose interactions with women are clearly interactions between equals.

Jim C. Hines wrote that guy, and I'm thrilled he did. Because I adore Isaac.

Half way through writing this review, I went over the the author's website to see if there was a perhaps publication book on the next installment of the series and found instead... this: a whole series of papers written by Hines on rape and consent, and victim blaming, and domestic violence.

Colour me impressed and thrilled but not surprised.

I've handed Codex Born over to Perry. It's a bit more adult in places than Libriomancer was, with a bit more sex which he'll hate, but it's a good book and he'll love it. Even if dh doesn't quite understand why I feel 100% ok with handing the boy a book with a polyamourous relationship between a nymph, a shrink, and a librarian! Heh.

I just hope Nidhi's cat is ok.
nwhiker: (peo-vangogh)
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines.

What a fun book!

Basic idea: Gutenberg created libriomancy when he created the printing press: enough belief in the item from a book enables those who possess a certain type of magic to reach into books and grab items out of said book.

Who has not dreamed of that?

You can't bring people, because they go insane if you do, or there are a few characters I'd SO yank straight out of the pages. Ahem.

Isaac is a libriomancer/librarian who is currently not allowed to do magic. But stuff happens, and he does. Accompanied by Smudge, a fire spider he pulled out of a book a long time before, a dryad called Lena, he rushes around the midwest trying to save a whole bunch of important people, including Lena's lover. Oh. And Gutenberg, who would be Very Dangerous if turned to the wrong (vampiric) side.

It's a fun book. Libriomancy touches on the stuff a readers dreams are made of.

Next up: some spoilers that talk about a more serious theme in the book that leads to a very funny I can't beleive I did that parenting story.

As I said above, Lena is a dryad. Brought into our world when someone pulled an acorn from a really crappy book about nymphs and dryads, didn't realise what they'd done, and tossed it. It grew, hence Lena. Whose nature is as she was written: she has no free will and must please the human she is bonded to. Her nature is to please. Her previous lover, a shrink, managed to rationalize their relationship in a way that makes sense and does not ping my "consent" issues. Lena tries to bond to Isaac because she needs someone to bond to, for safety reasons -bonded to a bad guy, she could be powerful and evil, see the lack of free will-. To his credit, Isaac hesitates... and goes on for a long while about free will, how can he, when she etc. It was a good exploration of free will and consent, and who can give it. I liked that.

I gave the book to Perry to read. I hadn't quite finished it -a chapter left- when I did so. I was ok with Isaac's musings on consent and desire because eh, it is stuff that I'm good with talking over with Perry and I figured when he was done, we could chat about it a bit. Boys, imo, can never get the 'consent! clear consent! from a clear-headed able to consent adult!' message too many times.

And then in a last chapter, we find out that Lena is having fights with her lover. Which, since she's supposed to only please her lovers, is a bit of a change for her. But anyhow, she and her lover show up at Isaac's doorstep with the message that Lena needs him to be, perhaps, more of her own self than she otherwise could be. So....

I've essentially handed my almost 13 year old son a book in which the main character ends up in a polyamourous relationship with a shrink and dryad.

Parenting fail of the year?

Anyhow. To reassure folks, Tolkien's books have been locked so that nobody can pull out the One Ring. This is good.
nwhiker: (peo-vangogh)
The plan yesterday was to do a major garden clean-up. Lots of work, and we ignored the children's wails and moans and told them they were being put to work.

Within about twenty minutes, a migraine hit. No aura, but the light sensitivity, the pain, the nausea. Crud. I went inside. I haven't had any migraine meds in years because they actually got infrequent enough to not warrant keeping them, the last one was over six months ago. Darkened the bedroom, took 800mg of Motrin and hoped that this wouldn't be too bad.

I dozed on and off for about 3 hours, so not awful. Of course the kids, not being recalled to task every few minutes by the slave master me (that's what Linnea calls me, sigh. I think she is lacking perspective.) had wandered off. It took me another hour beyond that to be steady enough to go back out to get some work done.

Migraines leave me with such a bizarre feeling. It's like the pain recedes, but leaves a shakiness, slight nausea, slight light sensitivity, and very strong sense of total vulnerability.

Anyhow, got some work done until it was too dark to see, not as much as I'd hoped, which means more work today, and then Perry, dh, and I headed into Seattle for a metal concert.

Yeah, migraine in the morning, metal concert in the evening. What could possibly go wrong? Heh.

It actually turned out all right. I did want to cry when I realised there were four opening bands, three awful, one mediocre (ok, that may have been the migraine speaking. Two awful, one mediocre, one not too bad).

A very jarring moment. I read on my phone that a friend's dad had died just as we were going through the pat-down line (they don't pat down women or children), and responded from there. I'm staring at the bouncer as he checks out the guy in front of me who is dressed in full pirate regalia, and trying to type on my phone to answer an email and just feeling totally 100% out of it. I never met her dad, but I think he was someone I'd have liked.

The band we went to see was Alestorm. Which is why quite a few people were dressed up as pirates and serving wenches. I need a black leather bustier, damn it! Ideally black and dark purple. I might have to go to satin if I can't find someone to custom make me a leather one.

Anyhow, Alestorm. Seriously check them out on youtube, they're great. The music is funny, loud, vulgar, and totally not appropriate for children, my kids love them, and despite our asking her not to, Linnea has introduced them to all the kids in the neighbourhood. Somehow I think the lead singer, who was sporting a kilt and more khol than he isually wears, would be horrified to know he has a fan club of 10 year olds. We had Perry with us, AC stayed home (she had read that there were four opening bands, and decided to give it a pass because of that. I'm glad she didn't tell me because considering how shaky I was feeling when we left, I might have not gone and Alestorm themselves were awesome.).

They were predictably high energy, loud, and funny last night. They played -OMG- one cover. In the Navy. Perry was upset because he didn't know it, and that after Chris, the lead singer said, "Oh come! Don't lie, admit it, you all know the words!" and poor Perry didn't. Aside from that, Perry knew most of the songs, and yes, I'm sure there is some bad parenting involved when your kid is standing next to you screaming out the words to a song called "Wenches and Mead". Oh well. He heard a lot of things that he shouldn't have... I mean, I let him listen to Gulp by Mary Roach which certainly had some things beyond the normal scope of a 12 year old.

We of course did keep Perry out of the mosh pit. We had gotten there early enough that we could have gotten spots right at the stage, but opted for the more protected "balcony" (it's about stage height), which is good because things got a bit rowdy, as people who came late tried to shove their way in close and people who'd been waiting did not want to leave spots.

However, one comment, to the guitarist from Trollfest and Alestorm's keyboardist: if I have the data to speculate on if you might have gotten a Brazilian wax job, guys, your pants are too low. I mean, really? There is low cut and sexy and low cut and "shouldn't there be pubic hair around there?" Hee. It amuses me.

The concert finished at well past midnight (remember all those opening bands!) and we were exhausted.

And in a "this is SO cool" thing, we got a picture of Perry with Chris, the lead singer, outside after. Perry-alestorm
nwhiker: (heart)
I got up feeling quite sick this morning: headache, nausea, a bit of a fever, and the awful combo of congestion and runny nose.

However, I really felt we needed to get the experience of riding in a group of four among lots of riders, so I decided to take 3 Motrin, ie one more than my usual, choke down some toast with marmalade, and attempt the ride.

There is a decision point about 15 miles: left, you're opting to go 65 miles, whereas right, you only need to go 45. Since I knew that, I decided I'd make a decision there which to do, figuring that I'd be able to go 45 unless I was really feeling icky, in which case, about 10 miles prior, I'd been within 10 miles of home and could just bike back there.

So two possible ejection points planned, we headed out.

Here's the ride, mapped by someone last year, same course: Flying Wheels 65 mile route.

I was feeling ok by then. Only one problem. I'd forgotten to bring Kleenex. So I had my pockets stuffed with crappy toilet paper from the port-a-potties. Ooops.

Started out feeling pretty ok. My ears were bugging me and my throat was sore, but still, on average, who cares? I could ride! And ride I did. Until Inglewood Hill, which is nasty, straight up, and still very crowded because it's the beginning of the ride. After a while, granny gear didn't feel too safe, too many people, walking, hopping off their bikes, going to slow, and zig-zagging, so I hopped off too and walked a few hundred feet. That, I'll say now, was the only walking I had to do all ride, yay me! AC, dh, and Perry made it up the whole hill.

Next is down. And then back up. And down. And... you get the picture.

First decision point, and I felt fine, so continued: that was the "ride home point". Um. I should mention now that while I had it in the back of my mind that I could do this, I hadn't actually brought my house keys, so it wouldn't have been the best decision I could have made! Hee.

Continue on towards Carnation, and the second decision point. I was feeling good, dh and the kids were doing great, so we turned left, and committed to the 65 miler.

Note: it's the same ride as last year. Just read that description, add in AC, and you've got this year's ride: Flying Wheels, 2012.

AC did fine. She had a bit of a hard time on the last hill, which is killer: you've already biked a long while, it's long, and the temps are up. She used her inhaler several time, positive that she was having an asthma attack, but I'm pretty sure it was a panic attack again, she's gotten these before at hills, I'm not sure why. It's not asthma in that if she does calm down enough to actually breathe, she's fine. I do need to discuss that with her doctor.

Food stop funny: Perry has found a new method for collecting food. He takes off his helmet and piles it full of stuff to eat and brings it back to the bikes. AC sarcastically called it a cornucopia, I said it was the helmet of plenty. That kid cracks me up. And eats, OMG.

He got a lot of kudos, as usual. The biking community really is encouraging of younger riders.

It was long and hilly, but eventually, we got back to Marymoor Park. We were a bit faster than last year, but in the same range, which surprised me. AC has now done her first metric century, yay AC!

Photo of us, we're done:

Such fun, sharing that with my kids! Can't wait until Linnea can join us on longer rides!

And then I went home and pretty much crashed. Actually not feeling too tired from the ride but this cold is kicking my sorry ass. Heh.

One thing to come from this: it's not a question of want, I need a new bike. My gearing is off, and I think my derailleur may be on its last... legs? Cogs? Anyhow, it's not a question of it, but when I will have a bike failure. I need to get my act together and start making choices and decisions about what to get and when.
nwhiker: (heart)
Day 2 started early in the morning, just before dawn -I think- when a plump drop of water hit my nose. It was raining.

Anne-Chloe, bless her 100% in Outdoors Education little heart, got out of the tent and pulled on the rainfly.

We got a bit more sleep, but since we did want to get an early start, we eventually crawled out of sleeping bags to find a rainy, cool -almost cold-, and misty morning.

Dressed, in full gear, ie our STP jackets from a few years back, we headed out to breakfast.

Why the old jackets, rather than this year's? Because they were easier to spot, there were less of 'em than of the 2012 variety. We'll wear our 2012's next year, probably. Oh, I didn't mention we're planning on freaking DOING THIS AGAIN? Fingers crossed, with AC this time.

Breakfast, and then we headed out. The rain had stopped, but it was a cool misty morning, not too bad for biking, all things considered. AC and Greta took care of breaking camp etc.

So off we went. This section of the ride is called "rollers", so ups and downs. There was one bad hill at Vader, and again, I was able to bike up it, I didn't have to get off the bike and push.

More worrisome, however, were dh's knees. They were starting to really bother him.

Lunch stop at Lexington. It was much earlier than we expected to be there. We were making seriously good time. We'd averaged over 13.3 mph on day 1, so we were pretty confident going into day 2 that we could finish at a reasonable time.

Saw some more cool jerseys at the Lexington stop. The Iron Maiden one was dh's and my favourite.

Onwards to Kelso, and The Big Bridge.

This bridge.

The way it works? They collate riders on one end, and let traffic by. Then they stop traffic and let a whole wave of riders go past.

Dh took a photo while we were waiting for our turn to cross. I'll put up a post with all the photos as soon as I'm done with all this.

As usual on an incline, dh and Perry got ahead of me. I went at my own uphill pace, but almost got in a minor wreck when a guy ahead of me to the right slooooooooooowed down to take photos of the view from the top, and the guy behind him swerved towards me to avoid hitting the idiot.

Zipped down off the bridge. We were in Oregon, Rainer Oregon to be precise!

50 or so miles to go!

And on we went. It was mainly uphill this whole way, and dh's knees were in pain. Plus there was a guy who randomly passed people, cut them off, etc. A lot of us complained about him, he almost hit Perry a few times, and I think he was the cause of an accident that took out a small group of people.

It was about then that we encountered a woman, STOOPID, who would be paralleling us the rest of the way into Portland. I think I saw her almost get killed at least 3 times. More on her later, but I'll say now that considering how utterly stupid she was, I'm surprised she managed to avoid being creamed.

Perry and I got away ahead for the St Helens food stop. Dh was not doing well at all, and while we waiting for him, we saw a spectacular face plant. The guy was ok aside from road rash, but damn, that was scary. Dh managed to avoid the aftermath, and we all went to sit in the sun, finally warm after a cool morning, and get some food.

At that rest stop, we saw a kid from the Velodrome, and a kid from the Velodrome who is also at AC's school.

Greta and AC met us there, and dh took some more Motrin, and debated if he could finish or not. His knees were pretty much done in for, and he wasn't sure he could finish the final thirty or so miles. He decided to continue so on we went, keeping closer together at this point.

Portland city limits, which comes about 15 miles before the end of the ride! Which is extremely frustrating, but we could taste the finish line, even dh.

We crossed over the St John's bridge. That was pretty damn spectacular.

We meandered our way through Portland streets then. The gal whom I mentioned above? OMG so fucking STOOPID. She'd scream STOP! at cyclists who were going through intersections because a car was waiting. Um... we have a green, ie right of way, STOOPID? And she'd stop randomly for traffic, confusing the other cyclists and the drivers. It was pretty awful, and we sped up big time to get ahead of her, which we did.

Then Perry fell again. Oh, no biggie, he was trying to do a track stand at a red light, failed, and couldn't unclip fast enough. Down he went, I had to right him, bike and all, and she caught up with us, and was with us all the way to the end.

Until the last intersection. STOOPID, who'd been slamming on her brakes and screaming STOP at intersections when cyclists had the right of way? Sped through a red light when we didn't, and caused a minor fender bender between two cars on the perpendicular street. AS I said. STOOPID. By then I was SO pissed with her, I thought about giving her number to the ride refs, but in the end, I didn't.

Because, yay, finish line! We went through. AC and Greta were there, but for some reason, they'd taken my SLR with them -I did not know this- , they did not know how to use it, and were attempting to take photos with that. Needless to say, there are no photos of us from the finish line. More on that in a bit.

But finished we were! Got our finisher badges, got out of the way, and I hugged my little brown boyo and started to cry. I was so so freaking proud of him. He did it, all by himself, all spindly-legged 11 years of him.

A moment of extreme bitterness. Right before we rode in, a dad came in with his 7 year old on a cushy custom recumbant-trail-a-bike with headrest and five point harness. She had a sign that said, "I'm Leia, and I'm 7!" or some such, and the announcers made a fuss over her finishing. And didn't notice Perry. What was worse? The course photographers were making a fuss over her too, and thus there are no photos of him at the finish line, neither ours nor theirs. I'm a bit bitter. Yeah, the kid did the whole ride, and that's quite impressive. However, she didn't bike it solo, and she was also featured in the bicycle club newsletter the following month, interview and all. I'd not care, except for the no photos of Perry thing. Bitter, bitchy me, sorry.

Also, rereading myself I realise I complained a lot about people... but there were SO many nice ones. So many people who shouted encouragement at Perry, congratulating him. Me too, but I always feel uncomfortable when I get that... Like Oh Look, Good Fatty Biking! People who let us pass politely, or more often, passed us carefully, were safe riders, and who made the ride better. They were there, but alas, somehow, it's always the jerks that you remember.

It was so exciting to be done! It felt good. Dh's knees had just held out, though he was in a lot of pain.

We got our bikes on our SUV, and drove over to the Westside to go for dinner. Perry had ever intention of eating a yard of Coneys at Sonic. He actually managed to eat 1.5 of them, I think he could have gotten to two if he'd skipped the tater tots!

So we'd done it. Seattle to Portland in a weekend, dh, Perry, and I. It was a good fun ride, we were all in easy shape to do it, give or take dh's knees, and we made good time. And more importantly, for dh and I, it was something rather special we did with Perry. He's a fun kid to be around, and we had a good time training with him. For all he was a high-strung, wailing infant, he's not a whiner, and indeed is a strong, focused, and competent athlete. I'm very proud of him, but also very impressed by him.

Because I had a lab the next morning at 7:30, and Linnea had math camp, we drove back to Seattle that evening. It had been a long day, but I think it was taking all of us a long time to come down from our adrenaline high! Even AC was bubbly and in a great mood. I hope that the excitement will be enough to encourage her to bike it with us next year.

A few stats:
Day 1: Time on bike: 8 hours 52 minutes, Average speed: 13.3 mph, Distance: 119.7 miles
Day 2: Time on bike: 6 hours 16 minutes, Average speed: 13.3 mph, Distance: 84.45 miles.

Total training for the ride: 666 miles! Heh.
nwhiker: (heart)
Wow, it's been a while. I'm hoping to write up STP and our trip to Yellowstone, plus a few spectacular hikes, over break.

So where was I? Oh yeah. At the lunch stop at Spanaway.

More food, and then I saw a triplet, a triple tandem come in. Dad with his two kids, young teen boy, younger teen/tween girl. They parked it right next to us...

Dad and the son wandered off, and the girl stayed. I was waiting and I saw people come up to her and ask her questions about the bike, the ride, etc? She literally turned her nose up and her back at them. It was... jarring. Friendliness is pretty much a standard for most bike rides, and seeing this little brat was bizarre. Later on, their triplet passed me to the RIGHT. I was not near the curb because... oh, the curb turned in and being near it at that point would have you running straight into it in a few moments. The dad realised this, of course, seconds after he passed me on the wrong freaking side, and cut me off to get out of the way. I yelled something rude at him, because he barely missed my front wheel. I saw several more assholish moves by him that afternoon, so I can see where the kid comes by her rudeness.

Anyhow, we headed out from Spanaway. We were making good time, I was quite impressed with how good, actually. After Spanaway is the long stretch of road that goes through the military base. It's flat, and boring, and yeah, it was flat and boring. AC and Greta met up with us at a pullout. We swapped some snacks and other gear around, and headed back out. They were having a good time, and were headed to Portland to have Greta's piano tuned up, then back north to Winlock where they'd meet us for dinner and camping.

We pedaled on.

We'd biked many of these roads before, so Perry wasn't unfamiliar with them. He was doing SO well.

And then... the incident. OMG. I was a bit behind dh and Perry, having slowed for a hill. I could see the group of cyclists at the light ahead of me and... someone went down.

I couldn't see, but I just knew it was Perry. I got there, confirmed that it was him, and I was out of my clips, my bike tossed onto the sidewalk SO fast it wasn't funny. Dh had already hauled him out of the road, from the tangle of two or three down bikes. He was ok. As were the two guys. What had happened was that one car lane and one bike lane narrowed down to just a bike lane, adjustments needed to be made, and someone negotiated something wrong. Nobody blamed anyone else, but Perry felt bad because one of the guys had a mechanical issue. He was SO relieved when it turned out to be nothing. Me? I was in tears. That was my little boy, tiny little boy, on the ground in a mess of moving bikes. Shudder. The guys decided that this the incident had happened in front of a Starbucks, that it was time for coffee. We dusted Perry off, he was fine except for a scrape and a small cut.

Onwards. But wow. Those are the moments when you wonder WTF you are doing, letting a little boy like Perry ride with SO many other people?!

We biked on.

Shortly after Yelm, we got on the bike trail. We'd ridden most of the trail before, so it was familiar and safer than roads at any rate. It was a bit warm and... I was starting to get worried about Perry.

He was clearly tired. Speeding up. Slowing down. Weaving a bit too much. We'd talk to him, he'd be ok for a while, and then get back babbling like he does when he's overtired. We finally made a long stop by the side of the trail, pushed some extra water and some gel and food. It was, at least for me, a last ditch effort. Had he not settled after that, I was going to call the ride for him. It would not have been safe for him to continue. This was, I might add, about 75 miles in, his longest ride ever. And we still had... gulp... 45 miles to go, though it wasn't that late and we weren't concerned about time.

He recovered nicely and we headed on out. We met some people doing STP with their 12 year old, on a bike that was MUCH too big for him. I hope they finished!

We stopped at the Tenino mini-stop and Perry ate more food. The water there was nice and cold and I refilled bottles and we all drank. Mmmm, water! I thought, btw, that Perry would take to energy drinks but no, he, like us, preferred straight water. We called my MIL and got to talk to Linnea and she was so sweet and encouraging!

And I stepped on an energy bar that someone had dropped. OMG, getting that sticky stuff out of my bike shoe took for freaking ever, and there is still some there, hard as cement and impossible to chisel out, almost 6 months later!

From Tenino, we headed out towards Centralia. That'd be 100 miles, and the ride half-way point, and the stopping point for many riders, though not ours!

Centralia was great. Since we were making SO much better time than the previous time we'd done it, we were getting to stops in the middle of the events, rather than trailing in laaaaate. At Centralia, there was the mid-point festival, with an arch, a row of sprinklers -that was SO nice- and volunteers handing out Creamsicles. I'm not usually much of a Creamsickle fan, but that one was DELICIOUS.

Again, since we had time, really, we hung out for a bit, dh and Perry shared an order of meatballs wrapped in bacon with bbq sauce, and we enjoyed a break before the last part of the ride.

Our camping was to be in Winlock, twenty miles out from Centralia, and out we headed. Since so many people stopped in Centralia to camp there, there were very few people on the road, and we were often alone. Nice, rather flat roads, few cars, and very pretty scenery. One homeowner had set up their sprinkler to hit the road, and we went through that, waving and yelling thanks. Perry wanted to turn around to go through again.

And then. The hill. Worse, imo, than The Hill, is the long, dragging, hot hill up to Napavine. Grind, grind, grind. It was hot, and it was long, and remember, we'd already biked over 110 miles by then.

We did make it. It was slow, at least for me, but we did make it, and stopped at the top to catch our breath and get some more water. It's a small town, there was the usual water or gatorade leave a donation for our football/baseball/cheerleading/track whatever team, which we did.

And a little guy, probably about three, was there with his mother, and he was handing out popsicles. And OMG, he was SO sweet, and that gesture of kindness on their part meant a lot. Perry had a lime popsicle, and eventually, we headed on our to Winlock, feeling... good about life.

The road runs near the train track, and we stopped to watch a train go by. Remember, my spouse is a train nut. It was a stinky garbage train. I made him leave before the whole thing passed by! Onwards towards our evening destination, Winlock, and dinner and tents. This area is the start of the big rollers, ups and downs, where you can get enough momentum that the up isn't quite as bad as it would otherwise be.

We missed the turnoff to the elementary school and our camping as we blew through Winlock, it was not well signed. However Perry and I -we were ahead of dh, whose knees had started to bother him- realised that something was wrong, stopped and turned around. We made it to the elementary school field, checked in, and went to chose a spot for our tent.

We had just dropped down bikes when Greta and AC got there. With the car, our camping gear, and OMG, the cooler with a diet Coke!

AC and Greta started setting up camp, and dh, Perry, and I decided to head for showers. Which is when we found out that someone forgot to... pack one of our bags. We had toothbrushes, but no towels. Yay, cold shower and no towel afterwards. THAT was not too fun, but oh well, I made do, we got our showers, and drove to dinner. It wasn't far, we could have biked or walked it, but I wanted the five minutes of charge time for my cell.

I'd bought one of those battery chargers, that uses AAs to charge the cell? Yeah, no, that did zip.

Dinner, at the senior center, was pasta, salad, garlic bread, and a cookie. Perry... devoured so much garlic bread, it wasn't even funny!

After dinner, we headed back to our tents. We had the usual argument about the rainfly: on or off. My vote is always off BUT set it up to where a quick pull gets it ON. Which has saved our butts (or at least our sleeping bags) more than once. We opted to do that, and after brushing teeth and setting alarms, went to sleep. We were TIRED.
nwhiker: (heart)
We'd decided to do a kinda dry run of getting up, that Friday before STP. We set the alarm for very early, 5am, and planned on a short early morning ride. Just to make sure we could do it, and to iron out any early morning unexpected bugs.

That night? I was up every 30 minutes. It was a miserable night, I didn't get much sleep, and from talking to dh, he didn't either.

But we did manage to get up, fed, and out. Went for a short, about 10 mile, ride along the trail, it was very pretty and very empty in the early morning.

Next we set out to getting ready. Well, dh did. Me? I studied for the test I had Monday morning early, and did homework. Camping gear, that would go in the Pilot with dh's aunt G and AC. Stuff to go on the bikes. Extra food. Water. We decided to carry a bit more water than we'd planned, the thought of running out on a hot day, which it was predicted to be, was just not good. It made the bike bags pretty heavy.

I'd picked up our ride packets at REI downtown with Perry and AC while Linnea was at her math camp. It was controlled chaos, but fun. It was, also, the first little bit of STP, if that makes sense. It feels real, once the packet is in hand, the jacket unpacked and tried on, the numbers pinned.

My least favourite pre-ride tast is that, btw: filling out the bibs and pinning numbers on the jersey! We did get it done.

8007 for dh, 8009 for me, and 8016 for Perry.

We actually managed to get to bed about when we'd hoped to, much earlier than for previous rides.

My MIL would be picking up G at the train station, and dropping her off at our place, so we could all leave bright and early to the start line. We didn't hear G come in, we actually, OMG, slept!

Anyhow. I was freaking out, to be honest. I hate hate hate the waking up early part, it's seriously the hardest part for me, and I dreaded the hills. And the heat. And the hills. And I wasn't 100% sure I could make it, and most importantly, I wasn't 100% sure Perry could and I desperately didn't have to have set him up for a pretty major emotional failure.

July 2017

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