My youngest sister is visiting. We’re having a blast. We’re the closest among 4 siblings (the other 2 don’t have the means to visit, and perhaps not the will to remain in close contact) and we’ve always enjoyed our time together.

She came without her husband, which means we have more time to do the things he doesn’t care for — jigsaw puzzles, bike riding, dog-walking, wine-drinking — and so far, she’s accepted every challenge we’ve thrown her way. Today she rode 21+ miles on a road bike, her longest bike ride ever. What a trooper!

I love that girl and am so proud of what she’s accomplished and how she takes every challenge, chews it up and spits it out and says, “Is that all you’ve got?” I’m so happy that despite the fact that we’re a continent apart, when we come together it’s as if we’ve never been apart.

I long for that feeling with my other siblings, as well as my siblings-in-law, and after many years of chafing that that isn’t so, or will ever be, am content that I’ve got that connection with my sister.

So tonight I celebrate that, with her and my husband, and will now go help her finish that jigsaw.

Life’s good. Real good. Enjoy!

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May — National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month. I advocate for everyone to ride, regardless of how far, how fast, what kind of bike they ride, etc. I especially love when people can commute to work. I used to, and I wish I could, more often.

I’m enjoying the weather (despite being disappointed with weather reports of rain that don’t materialize) because it’s cooler than normal. It’s also windier, which makes riding solo that much more challenging and rewarding on the downwind legs.

I got back into serious road cycling in 2005, even more so in 2006. I started watching bike races, riding with fast, steady, experienced riders, and more importantly, rode to watch the  Amgen Tour of California ride past a noisy group of enthusiasts for the first time. It was so enthralling, the energy, the riders’ speed, the colors, the whole entourage.I was smitten.

In subsequent years my husband and I rode to the top of Cardiac Hill (Hwy. 128) for the King of the Mountain competition, to the top of Sierra Rd., in San Jose, for a fundraiser, food, and to see Levi, Lance, George Hincapie, et al, suffer up that climb. We’ve ridden or driven to a number of stages that were convenient to us when we had not time to spare.

We DVR the stages we don’t watch in person and are patrons of the race. Right now it’s the biggest International bike race in the country, and we want to see it continue. So tonight, after watching the last stage (how edge-of-the-seat exciting was that?), we decided to follow the tour in the next 3 years. We’ll take our bikes, maybe pre-ride the course, and ring our cowbells at the KOM and/or finish line, for every stage. I can’t wait. It’s so exciting!

Thursday, 5/15, was Bay Area Bike to Work Day. I’ve participated since 2007.  This year was no exception, except that I was too late for the local energizer station. I’m batting 1000 for missing them. But since my hours are fluid that’s no big deal.

I look forward to more bike commuting. There are at least 2 days/week I’m not with clients, so why not ride to the office and be more green?

And since it’s only the 17th, I see more opportunities to ride…for work and for fun.

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Did U Bike To Work Today?


Perfect post for Bay Area Bike to Work Day!

Originally posted on Cute Overload:

Some sites say it’s today, other sites say it’s tomorrow! Hmmm, looks like it varies from city to city. Whatever, Porkey decided to roll ’em today- but no helmet?

“This is Porkey, she’s an African Pygmy Chameleon. She’s in a bike gang with me (her mom.) Porkey is in such good shape and likes to eat fruit flies.” -Lindsay E.

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Last Sunday we rode our tandem on the Chico Wildflower 65 — the metric version.  It involved signing up 6 wks. ago, arguing with my inner demons about the early rise, the drive, the long flats, Honey Run climb, the drive home. So much of me wanted to bail on the ride in the 2 weeks leading up to it. We took the tandem bike out for some rides (casual, as in riding to Winters to eat lunch at Steady Eddy’s), because we hadn’t been on it in a couple of months, and we wanted to re-establish our team mind-frame.

I’m glad we took those rides — we achieved out goals and enjoyed the rides, and the 65 was great — we climbed (actually grinded) up Honey Run, a beautiful, twisty, narrow, steep climb out of Chico to Paradise. I looked around, wished we lived there, glad we don’t, passed a couple of bikes who verbalized how crushed they felt by being passed by a tandem (people, train on hills!), got passed, kept grinding until we reached Paradise. We pedaled up and down the crenelations in Paradise before we stopped for “lunch” at 9 a.m. The deli sandwiches were good, and the variety and amount of fruit, carbs, and deli sandwiches were impressive.

Shortly after lunch we had the 11% grade descent , so smooth, so empty, so much fun! We hit 42+mph, and although our agreement is that we don’t exceed 40 mph unless we’re racing, this was fun. Yes, I did resort to Lamaze breathing techniques, but I did nothing to interfere with Chris’s control. Maybe that lesson is sinking in.

The rest of the ride was table-top flat, through orchards, with a couple of stops that coincided with the family rides. It was so cool to see kids on bikes, and kids in trail bikes, and families riding together. I enjoyed seeing so many families, in so many ways, riding the family ride. I can hardly wait to haul our grandchildren (we should be so blessed) around in trailers and rail-a-bikes.

We finished our route in less time we had planned, and got our food and beer and nommed away. We enjoyed the food, the shopping, the not-being-beat-up this time. We are both so satisfied with our ride.

Mostly we enjoyed riding together, the teamwork, finishing Honey Run, and completing the ride in less time than we’d allotted. The day was a win!

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Late April Update

It’s after midnight. I should be in bed, in deep slumber. Instead, I’m wide awake, listening to the rain falling, and inhaling the scent of it. I have no app for that. I know those of you who have rain year-round think we Californians are crazy; until you experience drought we cannot converse. And yet rain is falling and it’s so sweet. I’m going to stand on the patio and breathe.

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Mid-April Update

So the last 2 weeks I scored over 100 miles. This week, featuring American Home Week, 2 listing appointments, and driving my business partner (currently without car and license to drive it) around, my cycling goals have suffered. We had 3 days of awful, epic north wind that made riding even more fraught with danger. I passed. Dammit.

Friday would’ve been a great day but I had to meet an appraiser mid-day, and shuffled paperwork after for a few hours. Then DH and I spent time at Verizon, while he tried to get his lack of GPS resolved. Fail.

Today we were late to rise & shine, eat, and get out and took the tandem over Gibson & Steiger and English Hills & the Peaceful Glen rollers; finished with Locke Rd. rollers. A quick and fun ride; we haven’t ridden the tandem since February. Next week we’re to do the Chico Wildflower Centery, the 65 version. So the week before “practice” helps. I’m not worried; we’ll prevail. I wish we were spending the night in Chico but our trainer/boarder is riding the event as well and has no space for our dogs. So a day trip it is.

Tomorrow our son & his GF come out and we’ll be planning how to re-do our front yard. I’m so looking forward to having them here — they have such a great,positive energy together and I hope to harness that to finalize our design.

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Highs and Lows, Mere Days Apart

The highs: spending time on Easter Sunday with our son’s girlfriend and her dad, visiting from Russia, tasting wine and sharing a picnic lunch at V. Sattui, our 20th anniversary of doing so, then tasting wine again at Benziger Winery. We love her, he loves our son; we’ll see how that goes. And he’s so Russian! He takes pictures of walls of wine bottles, delis full of cheese and meat, and shares them with his friends in Moscow. Moscow could do worse than to emulate California.

So Easter weekend was so much fun, with those two, and then we had great rain, including thunder, hail and toad-strangling squalls. I spent an inordinate amount of time watching the rain, hail, and dramatic cloudporn blowing through.

Wednesday we cleaned house big time for our hosting of Kameo & Steve’s visit. We had 9 of our collective besties show up for chicken envueltos, asparagus quesadillas, spinach, strawberry & goat cheese salad; chips and salsa & homemade guacamole. Jen is vegan so Chris made vegan versions of both main dishes. He made Spanish rice in the pressure cooker that was a big fail; I should have bought white rice & let him run with it. It wasn’t bad but wasn’t what he’d planned.

Despite the rice all else went off without a hitch and we had a terrifically fun evening reconnecting with distant friends and close-by friends as well. I cannot tell you how fulfilled and satisfied and overwhelmed I was when K said that when she comes back to Vacaville, she thinks of us first. I haven’t had a best friend so loyal in many years. Donna in Grand Junction comes to mind…and I so love these women and am grateful to the richness they bring to my life.

May 28th K’s son will graduate high school. We’ve known him since he was a toddler. We were the rock he needed when his dad walked out 2 wks. before Christmas. We enveloped them here and at their former home for years, as K’s ex worked through his challenges. We’re so happy he’s graduating; for a while  that was iffy. He found himself, and we’re so freaking proud of him. I look forward to watching him walk in his cap & gown, and weeping as I did when watching my own kids graduate high school and college.

The lows: I started coming down with “something” Monday. It’s kind of a headcold today. Meh. Feh. Bleah

Chris’s friend since college passed today. Chris was single and Bud had a wife and 2 kids, then 3 kids, and then we got married. Ginnie & Bud and Annie, Becky and Stevie were big parts of our lives before and after our marriage. When I struggled with being a new mother, Ginnie was there for me, and helped me handle all the new stuff a new mom has to deal with. I learned much about mothering & coping from her, and owe her many props for how much she helped us.

We moved to CA in 1986, when baby Gallagher #2 was 6 weeks old, and the Phillips family did as well; they were in Sacramento. We drove up to spend Thanksgiving (4 days, IIRC) with them. It was cold, and rainy, and we saw a kids’-specific movie, and enjoyed all the fun _–Annie (Clhoë) holding the wee Colin; Becky & Steve playing with 4 y.o. Meave; Ginnie telling us how using real butter in a recipe would “grease the bowels.”

So here’s the point of this post: The patriarch of that family, Bud, died today. We knew he was on hospice, and his lung cancer was too advanced for chemo, and Annie & Becky kept us informed, and we sent messages of love, encouragement, and memories of great times through them. It’s a sad, sad day for the Phillips family. I miss Bud and all of them. I’m grateful for Chloe’s and Rebecca’s FB follows. Your dad was amazing. RIP, Ned Phillips.

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