July 2008

My dorky cat

“Dork? What dork? Where?” -Chaos

Those Cats

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Triumph of the Wheel

If you pay attention to the very fine print in my header, you’ll notice it says “Knitting, reading, bicycling, and cat parenting.” “Hmm,” you’re all thinking. “What’s this about bicycling?!”

‘Tis true. Once upon a time, I was a cycling fiend. I wasn’t ever into having the latest gear or the latest bike – my beat up old Specialized crossbike was always good enough for me. I would get on that bike and go go go, because cycling was the activity that totally worked for my body. Running – hatey hate hate. Walking – good, but my #@$*(!&* bunion starts to rebel after enough days of walking. Biking? I feel strong and fast and sleek.

In fact, one of my favorite vacations ever was in September 2004, when I rented a cabin in the Black Hills for a week and biked over 100 miles on the gorgeous George S. Mickelson Trail across three different days.

Until this past Saturday, I hadn’t been on my bike in over two years.

Remember that pesky surgery I had last fall? For nearly two years before my surgery, riding my bike would trigger a nasty period. Can you think of a better disincentive?! Obviously, I couldn’t bike for a while after my surgery. And then it was winter. And then it was spring, but I was feeling pretty blue and just couldn’t seem to bring myself to pull out the bike and get it operational.

However, several weeks of regular walking have upped my energy level and mood, so on Saturday, I dragged out my bike, cleaned and oiled the chain, pumped up the tires, and hit the Greenway to reacquaint my tush with the feel of a bicycle seat. It was a short ride (only 3.75 miles), during which I added air to the rear tire four times. Hmm…

Yesterday, armed with a good reference manual and a set of tire levers, I replaced the rear tube – the first time I’ve ever done any significant bike maintenance on my own! 🙂 (You would not believe how unhandy I am – and how uninterested I am in becoming handy.) No reinflation was required during the subsequent 6.1 mile ride, and I feel ready to add cycling back to my exercise routine.

“What’s going on here, Mom?!” *sniff sniff sniff* -Chaos

“Big kitty, where are the stripey socks? I’m scared.” -Mayhem

See the Sights
Two Wheels Good

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Time travel: 1999

But first, Wendy’s having another contest – suggest some classic rock that she could download from the itunes store and you will be entered in a drawing for a WendyKnits sock kit. Leave your comments by midnight EDT, July 23. (Those of you familiar with my musical taste will be shocked to know that I actually made some suggestions.)

I recently scanned in a few pictures from the wayback before I had a digital camera and thought I’d slowly share some of them with you. Looks like 1999 was a year of travel… although some of these pictures could certainly be from 1998, since they don’t have dates!

From the Art Institute of Chicago – hmm, looks like my guardian fascination isn’t new, eh?

For further evidence, a Chinese dragon/Fu dog from the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts:

Also from Salem – I can’t remember who this is a statue of, other than that it isn’t a witch. Help me out here, Massachusetts peeps! Update: Thanks to the Massachusetts (and Utah) folks, I now know that this is Roger Conant, founder of Salem.

Moving right along to the other coast, a ginormous tree in Olympic National Park:

The Cherry Bank Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, where we stayed simply because it had a rotating mermaid statue on top. Who could resist?! (Sadly, it appears to have been torn down and “boutique residences” are being built there instead.)

Also in British Columbia – the lovely treehouse we stayed in on Salt Spring Island. Again, who could resist? (And dang, looks like this place is closed now, too.)

“The big kitty and I had a meeting and we decided that none of these things actually happened, since we didn’t exist yet. Good thing, too, because we would’ve had to be mad that you left us for so long.” -Mayhem

See the Sights

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It’s always interesting to see what sort of “guardians” people have in front of their homes. Of course, there were the German shepherds from a few weeks ago.

I’m not exactly sure what these are – Chinese lions, maybe?

I’ve seen plenty of more traditional lion guardians.

That doesn’t mean those lions can’t be a bit whimsical.

Some closeups of the lions above, because their expressions made me laugh:

These were rather small lions above a door:

Turtles – not quite as common…

And what the heck are these, anyway? Guardian fruit baskets?!

“I have to say – I’m offended that I haven’t been asked to pose for a guardian statue! My ferocity would be perfect.” -Mayhem

Tales of the Neighborhood

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Books and ivy and another sad kitty, oh my!

Kelle, her daughter, and the Cure Rageous Knitters will be participating in the Relay for Life later today. For every dollar that you donate before noon CDT today (July 18), you will be entered in a raffle to win a gorgeous handknit lap blanket!

Nicole’s at Disneyland this week – guess what sort of antenna ball she’ll buy there, and you could win something from Disneyland yourself! Leave your guesses by midnight PDT, July 21.

Caption a cute baby picture over at Noolie’s and you could win a mysterious prize.

Reading Update
Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Heart of the Sea (The Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy, aka the Irish Trilogy); Heaven and Earth and Face the Fire (Books 2 & 3 of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy); Captivated (The Donovan Legacy); The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane; and Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts. A-hem. Moving right along!
Carrot Cake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke. This sugary sweet cozy series set in a fictitious Minnesota town features cookie baker Hannah Swensen and the two guys she dates, dentist Norman and deputy Mike. She’s definitely no Stephanie Plum…
Curse the Dark (Retrievers, Book 2) by Laura Anne Gilman. This continues to be a solid paranormal romance/urban fantasy series – if you get tired of all the graphic groping so common in the paranormal romance genre, you should give this series a try.

Isn’t it amazing that ivy can make even an alley look cool?

Although it does sometimes get a bit out of control – can you see the balconies?!

A nifty roofline…

And the “mini apple” (from the sculpture Spoonbridge and Cherry):

“I want the windows open, too! Even though it was cooler, Mom was whining about the humidity last night… but she said maybe when she gets home from work tonight, she’ll open the windows. I wish she’d hurry.” -Mayhem

Tales of the Neighborhood

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