The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Family History

My husband has NY Giants season tickets. Originally, these were his father's tickets, when the Giants played at Yankee Stadium. My husband bleeds blue. He went to Pasadena to see the Giants win Super Bowl XXI (1986 season).

When the Giants played the (undefeated) Patriots in the Super Bowl 4 years ago, we actually got 2 tickets in the lottery. They cost $700 each. After considering the options, we decided to send our 2 boys to the game in Arizona. They were 16 and 19 years old at the time. They appreciated the magnitude of that gift and they will have those memories forever. DH and I never regretted that decision.

Fast forward a few years and the Giants build a new stadium. DH was ready to give up his tickets. He felt that selling "Personal Seat Licenses" was essentially blackmail and it was an awful big chunk of money for the 4 seats. But the boys really wanted to keep the tickets so he made a deal with them. He bought the seats (but downgraded to less expensive ones) and the boys agreed that they would pay him back at some point....... (I'm not holding my breath).

So DH and sons #1 and #2 all have blue blood. They have remained true Giants fans through the good times and the bad. Right now they are pumped up and slightly insane as the Giants get ready to face the Patriots again in the Super Bowl.

Yesterday we received an email from the Giants, informing us that we will not be receiving tickets to the Super Bowl. My kids are disappointed. I think they must be a little spoiled since they seemed to be expecting that 1) we would be selected to receive tickets 2) we would purchase the tickets at whatever astronomical cost and 3) we would send them again! Well, obviously their dream has been dashed. So just like most folks, they will be at big Super Bowl parties eating and drinking and hopefully watching the Giants CRUSH the Patriots.

Go Big Blue!

Super Bowl Bound......All In!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hiking Bear Mountain

If there was snow, we would be out there on snowshoes.... but why let the lack of snow keep us off the trails? Today a bunch of us hiked up Bear Mountain. We went up on the Major Welch Trail, which is very steep, and came down on the Appalachian Trail (AT). The part of the AT that crosses over Bear Mountain was rebuilt and reopened in June 2010. Over 5 years, 800 hand-hewn granite steps were installed and stone retaining walls were built. It's very beautiful and I can appreciate what a huge feat this was! Now as many as 100,000 hikers travel over those steps every year.

It wasn't one of those absolutely beautiful winter days. It was cloudy and cold and windy, especially on the top of the mountain! But it wasn't raining and it wasn't too cold to be outdoors, so why not get out there, enjoy the company of some friends and spend some time in the woods. As always, I tucked my little Canon into one of my pockets.

Perkins Tower atop Bear Mountain

Overlooking the Hudson River

Resting on the way Up

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cycling Couples

One of my friends is writing an article about "cycling couples" for the February (Valentine's Day) edition of the club's newsletter. She asked 5 or 6 cycling couples to write something about how we came to be a cycling couple, the pros and cons, maybe a little humor, etc. So this is what DH and I wrote. I know she will only use little pieces of it, but it was fun to write. Brought back many wonderful memories. And made me appreciate our lives together.

When Shelly and Lew met (on a blind date but that is a story for another day), Lew was primarily into basketball and running- 5 and 10K’s, with occasional soccer and softball. Shelly and her friends were cycling on weekends and taking mini-cycling vacations together. Lew decided it was time to purchase a bike and Shelly bought some new running shoes. Shelly had been a lifeguard at a summer camp and Lew was under the mistaken impression that she was a good swimmer. When their relationship began to get “serious,” Lew decided Shelly should become a triathlete. For some reason, Shelly decided being incredibly slow in 3 sports might be fun but insisted that Lew join the fun, so Lew forced himself to become a swimmer. And so began the Triathlon Adventures, V1. Clearly Lew was the more serious triathlete and he competed in many Olympic Tris between 1985 and 1991.
Then the babies arrived. Over the next 15+ years, they both tried to stay in shape. Let’s just say it wasn’t easy. But eventually son #1 had a driver’s license, then son #2 had a driver’s license and the Parental Taxi Service was no longer in business. Shelly and Lew were also facing some BIG Birthdays and decided a BIG Hawaiian vacation was in order. Once the trip was booked, Shelly realized she had a few months to get ready for this “multi-sport active vacation.” She remembers some of those short rides around the neighborhood……but thinking about riding in Hawaii kept her going. The Hawaiian vacation was wonderful. Shelly realized how much she missed cycling, and Lew realized how much he missed triathlons.
With their athletic batteries recharged, Shelly joined WCC and they both resolved to compete in another Triathlon. And so began the Triathlon Adventures, V2. Shelly began to ride with the club most weekends, and Lew was doing his thing, mostly solo. They both competed in the Pawling triathlon in 2008. Lew is still pursuing goals as a triathlete; Shelly has started listening to her knees and has decided to pursue being incredibly slow in only one sport…. cycling.
Shelly’s involvement with WCC grew and so did her friendships. At some point she realized that Lew was also a “member,” whether he liked it or not! She would point out rides to him and he soon found his place with the B riders. He still rides solo, but enjoys the longer rides with the club.
There are so many positives to sharing our love of cycling. It’s never a problem when either one of us wants to do something cycling related. It’s never difficult to think of a great gift. Club events appear on both of our social calendars. Probably the greatest “gift” that cycling has given us is the opportunity to travel and share these cycling adventures together. There have been many awesome cycling vacations, most recently to Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge.
The only downside is that we don’t often ride together because we ride at different levels. But even this has its advantages. Sometimes we go on separate rides and if the timing works out, we will meet somewhere for lunch. We’ve both gotten to know each other’s riding buddies so we have twice as many WCC friends. Multi-level club events are awesome. This past summer we loved the Wednesday Night Fling. When we do ride together, Lew tries to gently push Shelly to ride a little faster and Shelly aggressively tries to slow Lew down (Shelly is more successful so these rides are slow), but it’s always a sweet time. We’ve talked about a tandem and that still might happen. It would be yet another way to share our passion for cycling.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I've been thinking about food, probably very typical of many people as we start a new year and resolve to "eat healthier" and lose some weight. I came across a very short "piece" written by Mark Bittman in the New York Times, acknowledging that while weight loss has become an obsession, most Americans do need to eat better. Whatever path you choose to eat better, they share a universal truth: eat more plants. And the corollary of that is to eat no meat and no dairy..... well, how about eating less meat and dairy to make room for more plants.
The "eat more plants" part made me think of Michael Pollan and I was able to find this article also published in the New York Times in which he lays out some basic rules for "eating better." There are 9 rules (which were expanded to 64 rules in his book, Food Rules) but they can be summarized in 7 words. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

I was a vegetarian for about 5 years. I went back to eating meat for several reasons, mostly because 1) I wasn't necessarily eating better as a vegetarian and 2) I was spending too much time in the kitchen because I was also preparing carnivorous meals for the rest of my family. But thinking about this over the last few days, maybe Bittman has the right idea, semi-vegan, just shifting away from carnivore and toward vegetarian. That would certainly be a shift in the right direction, a better balance.

The thinking about it part is easy, its the doing part that's tough. More to think about when I watch the season opener of The Biggest Loser this evening.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Just Do It

I'm not big on new year resolutions. I do think about the year past and about keeping some guiding principles in play. It's more like a reaffirmation of what is important to me followed by a little pep talk with myself. I know what I need to do, now I need to just do it.

The year past certainly had many high points, most notably watching our children spread their wings and turn big corners in their lives. But the last 6 weeks of the year were rough..... Shelly v Truck sent me into a dark corner both physically and mentally. So one of my themes for 2012 will be getting out of that corner and being more active in many aspects of my life.

Yesterday I met a bunch of friends at the Rockies (the Rockefeller Preserve) for a nice walk. What a beautiful day, it certainly felt more like spring than January 1st. The we had a lovely brunch at Pat's house. The day was capped off by the Giants defeating the Cowboys. It was a good start, hopefully more good days ahead.