The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Recalibration and a Lunch Date

My DH offered to ride with me today. He suggested we ride to Stone Barns and have lunch in the cafe. Stone Barns is one of my favorite cycling destinations. It is a beautiful place and believe in the concept-- locally grown food and sustainable agriculture. And the food is delicious! Thre is also a 4-star very expensive restaurant there, the kind of restaurant where you need to make reservations months in advance, the kind of restaurant we don't patronize. But I am a big fan of the little cafe. A little soup, a sandwich, and a sweet treat, and I'm good!

Before setting off on our lunch date cycling adventure, we stopped at the bike shop to
a) fix my handlebar tape which was unwinding
b) get a new little metal thingie for the wheel for DH's bike computer and
c) get help recalibrating my bike computer which has my mileage off by about 10%, since I changed the battery. It has been gypping me 10% of my mileage, which also means it has been calculating a slower average speed. Now I need all the speed I can get, so I can document my beautiful slowness accurately! Turns out you need to know the magic number which the bike dude read off of a chart, to put into your computer (that magic number is 2105 for my bike and my computer).

Mission accomplished-- handlebar tape rewound, computer recalibrated, and little metal thingie purchased. Off we went. Just before Stone Barns we stopped at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills. This little known treasure has several works of art commissioned by various Rockefellers, including 9 stain glass windows by Marc Chagall.

What a great day! I got to spend some time on my bike with DH. We visited places of great beauty and values. And I know for sure that I rode 22 miles at 11 mph. Ah, sweet slowness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined

Yesterday I finally got back to the gym, after an absence of about 2 months! It's not that I haven't been working out, just that I haven't been working out indoors. So there I was, happily going nowhere on the arc trainer plugged into my iPod, when I saw her...... I call her the Hooter Lady. She is rather petite probably a size 6P, and she is in good shape, but her most noticeable feature is.... well.... her big boobs. She is usually wearing very tight tights and an even tighter Hooters tank top. Her big boobs are on display (especially when she lies down on the mats to stretch and do sit-ups!). And her tank top includes the Hooters slogan across the back-- Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined. There are plenty of other women wearing camis and sports bras and tight tights and yet she stands out (at least to me) because f the Hooters tank top. She's old enough to know better. And if she is/was a Hooters Girl, I would think she has had enough of being viewed as a D cup. Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined. Looky Yet No Touchy. Incredibly Bitchy Yet Of No Great Consequence. Incredibly Sexy Yet Misguided. Incredibly Big Yet Fake. Hehe, now who is bitchy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The 35-Mile 30-Mile Ride

Sunday was the Tour de Putnam, which is a self-paced (self-inflicted) bike ride through lovely and almost rural Putnam County. It should be subtitled Tour de Hills. I knew it was going to be hilly so I opted for the 30 mile ride instead of the 50 miler. I met up with some of my club buddies and we set off on our journey. As we left the park, a photographer snapped a couple of shots and we ended up on the website of the local newspaper. That's me in front!

Well, we were riding along going up and up and up and occasionally down. It was mostly rolling hills with a few challenging climbs. It was not a really nice day, but we were thankful for the cloud cover which kept the temperature down. When we stopped at mile 19 for a bathroom break and refreshments (yummm, Fig Newtons!) I was thinking, "10 more miles, time to bring it home!" Then I looked at the cue sheet and the ride was actually 35 miles. I didn't actual mind the extra 5 miles. In fact, that made the ride just about perfect for me. But I can't figure out why they would advertise a 30 mile ride and then give you a 35 mile route. The last 5 miles were probably the flattest part of the ride, anyway, but I was glad to see the park and get some real food. I talked with some of my friends who did the 50 miler, and they said their route was only 45 miles!! Well, I know where the missing 5 miles ended up-- on my ride! Not a big deal, just something to blog about.

(Photo with Buddha at the entrance to the Chuang Yen Monastery, Kent NY)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another Milestone

On Saturday, my husband and I helped our son move into an apartment. He is returning to college for his sophomore year, and has opted for off-campus living with 3 buddies. Saturday consisted of driving in heavy traffic, lifting heavy items, and for me, contemplation. First I thought about whether it is wise to let him move into an apartment as a sophomore. Second, I looked around this apartment and trying to keep things in perspective, considered whether this apartment is inhabitable for 4 young men. And third, I considered this milestone in my son's life, as time marches on.

Time will tell whether his moving into an apartment is a wise decision, but based on the available evidence, DH and I both felt comfortable with it. Academically he had a stupendous freshman year. He has shown great initiative and responsibility already in dealing with the management company and buying used furniture. He has shown us that he makes good decisions, most of the time.

The apartment was basically what I expected. It is beat up and worn out by years of college students. But it is reasonably clean and functional. There is even a washer and dryer in there! What it will look like by Thanksgiving, I have no idea. Hopefully they will clean it before any parents come to visit!

And so time marches on. And when I consider the type of person my son is becoming and the choices he is making, I start beaming. I don't want to get into a nature v. nurture debate, but I do feel lucky. And as son #2 begins his senior year, I hope he will also show off his good qualities as he begins to spread his wings and move into his adult life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


There has been a noticeable shift in my ordinary life over the last month or so, because I bought the DSLR. I have become obsessed with my photography. I seek out photo ops. I spend too much time on Flickr. As a result, I have not been working out or blogging or cooking or watching TV (well, I am also obsessed with the Olympics, so I have been watching TV this past week. I will watch just about any Olympic event). But I digress. So I have been taking pictures of people on the street, musicians in Bryant Park, the view from a canoe, teenage girls camped out for the Jonas Brothers concert, Yankee Stadium, cyclists at a time trial, and statues and sculptures. I have been viewing my world monocularly, through the lens of a Canon XTi. I have been enjoying it immensely, but I need to start looking at everything with BOTH eyes OPEN. I need to get back to the gym. I have to get more productive both at home and at work. I want to catch up with my blogging buddies. Balance. I have to find balance........ ying...... yang....... priorities......... camera...... gym...... family...... laundry........ Olympics...... family........ job........ friends......... everything that defines an ordinary life.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Great Kayak Adventure -- Caught Between the Tide and a Monsoon

Just sit right back and read this tale, the tale of a fateful trip. Back in December at the Bike Club's holiday party, I was one of eight ride leaders that won a special “mystery prize.” The prize was a gift certificate for a “kayak adventure” from Hudson Valley Outfitters in Cold Spring. On Saturday morning August 2, 7 castaways, oh I mean ride leaders set out for a 3 hour tour of Constitution Marsh.

After getting “fit” for our kayaks and a few minutes of instruction, we were ready to put our ship, oh I mean kayaks in the water. I very casually mentioned the possibility of a thunderstorm, and was told by the fearless crew, oh I mean kayak guides, not to worry. They would know what to do in the event of bad weather and I should just have a good time.. I was assured that the thundering noise I was hearing was not thunder, but artillery at West Point.

Entering Constitution Marsh via kayak requires passing underneath the railroad bridge. There is not very much clearance, and this is highly dependent upon the tides. But obviously the Professor, oh I mean Matt the kayak guide, had knowledge of the tide schedule and we entered the Marsh. Even on a cloudy day, my first impression was of the overwhelming beauty of the marsh—the tall grasses, the beautiful flowers and the calls of the birds. As we paddled along, it started to drizzle, but it was actually quite pleasant and we moved along through the channels in the marsh. A few minutes later, we heard thunder. Very clearly thunder and not artillery at West Point. The 3 guides had a brief conference and decided we should make our way to the Audobon Center just in case we needed to get off the water. At this point the tide was coming in and getting back under the bridge to get back to Cold Spring was not really an option.

Guess what happened next, my friend. The weather started getting rough, VERY rough. It was becoming obvious to the crew that we were not going to get to the Audobon Center quickly enough and that we needed to get off the water. The kayakers set ground on the shore of this unchartered piece of Constitution Marsh. We disembarked; over the rocks, between the large tree limbs and through the poison ivy patch. One or two people fell out of their kayaks, but it was warmer in the water than standing in the now torrential downpour. If not for the courage and fast acting guides, the kayakers would have been lost! We spent the next 20 minutes huddled together in a very small clearing along the shore, waiting for this monsoon to pass. But it did pass, and we were able to get back in our kayaks. Most of them were now little floating bathtubs. We continued on our journey and made our way to the Audobon Center, where we were able to wring out our clothes, bail out the kayaks, eat our lunches and make a few more analogies to Gilligan’s Island. At this point it was abundantly clear that the monsoon was not going to repeat, and we were given the choice of a ride back to Cold Spring or returning via kayak. All 7 of us proudly got back in our kayaks and we set off. The Marsh was peaceful and cool and quite beautiful and the tide did most of the work, pulling us along. When we got near the railroad bridge, the guides had us practice crouching in our kayaks to make sure we didn’t get bonked in the head. We all made it under the bridge and back to Cold Spring. You can be sure that all 7 of us will be at the Holiday party in December, hoping that our names are pulled out of the bag for another Great Kayak Adventure!!