Friday the 13th, My Lucky Day

As a kid I was all over not stepping on a crack, because it would break my mother’s back, or walking under a ladder, or black cats and what not. As I aged I realized this was all poppycock, and that as long as you believe a day to be unlucky, it will be so.

Until we lived in the Republic of Korea (that’s south, not north, Korea, please look at a map) I was semi-invested in this Friday the 13th thing. In Asia, the unlucky number is 4. We’d take an elevator in a hotel and there would be no 4th floor. In the US hotels have a 13th floor. So by not acknowledging a 4th floor Asia showed me it was serious in its superstition.

After our Asian relocations were over, we returned to the U.S. with a sort of reverse culture shock (Americans are big, and loud, and lack subtlety, and will shout their way to what they want). But the debunking of the number 13 has been the most lasting of them all — some of my best days have been on Fridays the 13th — bike rides, parties, celebrations with friends, etc. — because we give the date no power to influence us negatively.

So today I listed a friend’s house for sale — yay!!!

She had misgivings, given the date. And by the end of our time together, she was feeling as lucky as I. Her house is on sale. She’s moving on, and that was freeing enough that she could voice her long-term goal. And I’m looking forward to helping her achieve that goal.

Meanwhile, I have a new listing, spent the day with people I love and respect (my seller is a triathlete and a PE teacher and competitive and athletic; she’s amazing) (one of the friends who joined us for wine tasting and dinner is a competitive cutting horse rider & recently won $75K at a show. She rides a bike and would kick my patooty if she applied herself) — so overall a great day.

If it wasn’t so chilly and so late, I’d have a cigar and a glass of port to reflect on the week. It’s been full of surprises and rewards.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


We spent 9 days in Brooklyn and other parts of NYC. I enjoyed it, even the angry train-rider parts, as well as the visit to Sleepy Hollow & Washington Irving’s gravesite & the Headless Horseman Bridge. Pictures are at (because none of my WordPress friends will share how to post a picture, and I need some hand-holding on this platform, it’s so overwhelming). It was gorgeous and crowded and gastronomically amazing. Our daughter’s BF really enjoyed sharing the city and boroughs and his mom with us, as much as we enjoyed his sharing and our experiences.

So last Tuesday we visited the 9/11 Memorial, craned our necks to take in the Freedom Tower, and hit an Irish-American Pub in lower Manhattan, as we walked our way through TriBeCa, SoHo, Chelsea, etc. to meet Daughter and BF outside her office off Wall St. There was a poster I loved & regretted not capturing on my crappy iPhone5 camera, but thanks to the Internet I found it again:

Yeah, not necessarily classy, but it trumps anything my Welsh, English and French heritage has going on.

As happy as I am to be sleeping in my own bed, I miss my daughter so much. The bittersweet of life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So strange


She’s made amazing orange marmalade from our oranges, so I’ll bet this is delicious as well.

Originally posted on Bread and jam and jam and bread and ginger:

I think today’s yellow tomato ginger jam may just be the strangest thing I’ve ever made. But I had to do something those with those green-to-yellow tomatoes that ended up indoors to escape the first Canadian frost. I made one small (but amazing) batch of yellow tomato sauce, but that barely made a dent in the collection. It was time for something different.

Green tomatoesYellow tomatoes

That led me to tomato jam, and while I’ve made sweet/tangy jammy concoctions with tomatoes before, including a tomato basil jam that won an instant 5-star rating, they weren’t real jams, to serve on toast for breakfast.

Let’s just say it’s interesting, although I am not sure it’s interesting enough to make again. The first thing you taste is ginger, followed by a sweet citrus tang, and then a distinct tomato aftertaste, which is curious rather than delicious. I can see this one with cheese rather than on…

View original 307 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Please get “R” done


A worthwhile read. And follow up on this, people.

Originally posted on Cycling in the South Bay:

This is a topic that I’ve written about before and that I can’t write about enough. It’s dry, it’s a bit legalistic, and it includes the dreaded word “insurance,” but please take a minute to read because it concerns the most important purchase you’ll ever make as a cyclist.

You may think that if you get hurt in a bike-car collision you’ll be able to recover money from the negligent driver as long as the driver is insured.

What you may not know is that in California the minimal insurance coverage for accident liability is $15,000. What you also may not know is that 85% of the drivers on the road have this minimal coverage.

This means the odds are overwhelming that the driver who hits you will have to compensate you for a maximum of $15,000 and THAT’S IT. Once your expenses exceed the $15k that most drivers carry, you’re…

View original 866 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bikes, Races, Gran Fondos and Risk

You guys, I don’t know.

I race, and started racing when I was 53, although I’ve ridden bikes all my life. Given my age and profession, you can surmise that I’m not risk -averse but calculate what risks I’m willing to take.

I read that a rider on Levi’s Gran Fondo died in a solo crash. I don’t know any details other than what I just stated. I do know that putting thousands of cyclists on narrow, twisting roads, many of whom have not ridden said roads, in a timed event is a recipe for disaster. I’m willing to guess that most of them don’t race. How are they then to navigate those narrow, twisty, steep climbs and descents of Sonoma county, at speed? It isn’t just that the Gran Fondo is a race of sorts — think of the Strava scores they want.

That all adds up to increased risk of injury. That more people aren’t hurt or killed amazes me.

In 2006 I rode the Solvang Century for the first time as my first century. It was great fun! We lived 12 yrs. in Lompoc, so I knew the roads well, just not by bike. In 2007 I rode it with my husband on our first tandem, in 2008 on our second tandem. In 2009 I rode it with a friend on my road bike, and just before lunch experienced a small, fast group who blasted past us without any word of warning, with about 30 others in their draft. No one said anything. I was annoyed; anyone overtaking another rider should say something. The shoulder narrowed and suddenly the road was full of carnage. I was surrounded by riders, got in my drops and hit a pile of bikes at <20 mph. I ended up with a black eye and a broken wrist (which was diagnosed post-ride at the Santa Ynez ER). I ended up having a titanium screw put in my scaphoid bone and spent 6 angry, frustrated weeks on the trainer.  And so ended my organized century rides.

Last year we rode Foxy’s Fall Century, which starts & ends in Davis, and includes many roads we regularly ride. We did the metric version on the tandem — we’re always in front, the safest place to be — and it was great fun. So that’s the amount of risk I’m willing to calculate. The vibe is good, no one is racing, and we’re all mostly on the road to enjoy the ride. We had so much fun we’re doing it again this year.

But a Gran Fondo? Even with Jens Voight? Probably not. The risk isn’t worth it. I want to race next year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m Back, Baby!

In 2006/07 we started connecting with friends for rides. We did a few tandem rides with a couple in San Mateo, and they included coffee, wine, food, Tour de France stage watching, and an invitation to race the 2007 Esparto Time Trial.

I consulted the 50+ sub-forum for advice, and several experienced racers gave me great advice. My LBS loaned me a carbon fiber Fuji road bike and that’s all I had to compete in the Women’s Categ0ry 4 — nothing aerodynamic at all. I didn’t know how to warm up (no trainer, no experience). I just knew how to bury myself, and that’s what I did. I don’t remember my time but I know I was faster than my friend who invited me, and had many aerodynamic advantages over me.

In subsequent years she handily won that race, as well as districts, nationals, and many track championships. So when I placed 2nd to her in 2011 & 2012 I was honored.

This year the race was cancelled, due to too many competing races. In late August the promoter rescheduled it to the last Sunday in September, far past my season. Since I had progressed and become stronger on group rides, after not racing for 2 years, I decided to train and race Esparto, since I’m a historically a late-season-bloomer.

The Putah Creek Smack Down for 2015 was cancelled. No chance to practice there. Chris and I went up one Tuesday and I TT’d the 10K in 16:48, very close to my best time at Esparto.

And then I rode some group rides wherein I didn’t contest the sprint but used my TT skillz to catch up and hang on, well out the draft. I did some hill sprints (ouch) and some intervals.

My bestie Sara lent me her skin suit and it was a wonky fit; I felt as though I was in a sausage casing. I joined a team, PenVelo Racing, renewed my license since USCA gave me a deal to renew now – 12/31/16. I forgot to register for the race (damn my menopause brain).

Knowing I had to be at the start extra-early I passed on the local Oktoberfest cuisine (but not the beer; racers need carbs), enjoyed the “um-pah-pah” band and the little kids busting moves the afternoon before. I had 1 glass of wine to take the edge off my nerves after I packed my bag of  race necessities and post-race wear.

Despite a good 9 hr. sleep I was reluctant to leave the bed. Chris made coffee and breakfast (steel cut oats cooked in orange juice from our oranges and raisins) and I was too nervous to finish it.

Thirty minutes’ drive to the start; I registered and pinned the number on a fellow racer (he was so lean I feared pinning his skin but it worked fine), and Chris pinned my number, set up the trainer, walked the dogs. I loved that the racers’ numbers coincided with their start times. Genius.

I usually race Women’s CAT 4. Today I opted for Master Women 35+.

The roads were bumpy and poorly maintained, my front wheel found every pothole and longitudinal crack , much to my chagrin, and my lack of riding the TT bike did me in.

I also haven’t practiced TT’ing, so  that was another factor — and my head got in the way of my legs.

I finished well enough for 3rd place, T-shirt and $6!  If I’d ridden CAT4 I would’ve been 1st. It’s one of my slowest times, yet I’ll take the podium and guarantee that next year will be different. I’m reservedly (because it will be painful) looking forward to the next time.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Disclosure and cleansing

My parents were high school sweethearts, and after my dad did a tour in Germany during the Korean War and returned to his hometown, he and my mother married. They eloped, as his parents had eloped, in Elkton, MD, on New Year’s Eve 1953.

I applaud them that — if I’d married my HSS I’d’ve been divorced shortly after. There is so much mental, social and emotional growth during the “college years” that there was no way I could’ve maintained a relationship.

The one I established in my senior year was a way to separate from my emotionally abusive, alcoholic family, and although it didn’t work out (duh) I learned more about myself and my willingness to tolerate behavior that didn’t serve me or help me further myself in the world that I wouldn’t change it. I often thought, in my early exploratory twenties, that I wish my upbringing was different, I realized that my past was my past, and I could either reject it, or accept it and process what it was.

If my parents were alive today we (husband, two children) would have minimal contact due to the manipulative nature of both my parents. When my dad found out he had cancer he cleaned up — he quit drinking and smoking and adopted a locavore lifestyle when it wasn’t a thing. He got 5 yrs. before cancer kicked his ass, dammit.

He quit drinking but his manipulative behavior did not. I remember that he was driving me to the Philadelphia airport and I called him on his crap. We’d just buried my maternal grandmother, with whom I was closer than I was with my own mother. I missed our daughter’s 2nd birthday and was especially resentful and raw. I called my dad out…he was driving and owned his B.S. I may have never have loved him so much as I did then. And I felt as though we’d finally worked through stuff my mother and I did not. She died before we could come to terms. I feel bad about that, but it doesn’t affect my daily life.

Our daughter moved back in with us after her then BF refused to help her when she lost her job in San Francisco. We dealt with a lot of stuff we hadn’t planned, as well as really great relational moments with her, for 4 years. Because we got to work through our issues we’re as close as storm windows.  I’m so grateful for those years, and what they wrought, and how we’ve ev0lvled. I have the relationship I wanted with my mother, and I have with my daughter. If I died tonight I’d be very happy.

If I didn’t die and show up for Sunday’s time trial I’d be even happier.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment