Monday, December 28, 2015

Sad update to Tornado post

While everything here at the casa is fine, with no damage from the storms, not everyone was so lucky.

Sadly, the number of dead and injured in the North Texas tornado outbreak Saturday night, continues to rise.  There were 23 injured that I have read, and 11 killed, most of them in their cars at I-30 and the PBG tollway.  Hundreds of houses in Ennis, Garland and Rowlett were damaged or destroyed.  Pets have been lost or killed also.

Please keep those affected, and the first responders too, in your thoughts and prayers.  If you feel so inspired, donate to the Red Cross, or Salvation Army.  Donate blood to your local blood bank--it won't be used here, but I guarantee someone in YOUR area needs blood NOW.  Donate to your local animal rescue organization--they help reunite lost pets after storms like this, with their owners.

And whatever your feelings on the company Chik-Fil-A, please understand that here in NTX, they were responding Saturday night along side the Salvation Army, helping by providing free food to the first responders and folks displaced by the storms.   I haven't heard of another company doing that yet, let alone RIGHT after the storms moved past.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December Tornados?

Yep. Another evening spent standing in the storm shelter.  Several tornados in and around the Metromess, and our county.  Damage south of Dallas around Ennis.  No reports of injuries yet, thankfully. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

And so it begins

The crew arrived at 8am to begin the excavations.  An hour later, they were chest deep in the holes under my house!  Every hole is dug by hand.  There are 18 holes to be dug.  They will be finished digging by tonight, with most of the piers set, in order to do the lift.
The crew has already begun to dig.
Thru my beveled glass door looking at them jackhammering a hole in my porch.
Chest deep in a hole under my house.
Placing the concrete piers.
Looking down at the placed piers.  Ready to place the jack.

In truth, they have already finished the front of the house!  This crew is very efficient.  The lift is done already on the front of the house, the holes backfilled, and ready for new concrete caps in the places they had to jackhammer concrete out.

Tomorrow, they will be back to lift the rear of the house and finish everything up, including remortaring any brick cracks and the concrete work.  They'll even re-lay the pavers on our patio that had to be removed.

I will say when they placed the piers, and lifted the front, our poor house made some very strange noises!  It creaked and thumped, and vibrated a little.  I'm glad the dogs were at TIRR for the duration of this repair.  The noises and all the workmen would have disturbed them greatly.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sometimes you're the chicken, sometimes you're the axe.

Yes, I'm afraid this year the holidays (Christmas and New Years) will be a blur.  Our foundation work got moved up to start tomorrow.  Yay!  It makes for a heck of an expensive birthday present...  Which means the Christmas tree has to come down the day after that next Monday, the paint crew (of 8 guys) can show up to paint the inside of the house.  I'm told this will take approximately 3 days.  After they get done, we get to demo out the rest of the laminate flooring, and our bedroom carpet, so that Jan 4th, the flooring crew arrives to do the new flooring throughout the house.

In addition to that, I have to transport the dogs to (and from) the Ranch where they will stay during the times the work crews will be here (for the dogs sanity and the workers safety).  That's a 3hr round trip each time.

Then we will need dirt and sod for the back yard, and then it is time to list!  So I need to schedule a photo session with our realtor, and get the house listed.  Oh, and lest I forget, we have our anniversary during this whole time too.

All this on top of the normal stuff we do here daily, like conquering Mount Laundry, and trying to keep things clean...And I almost forgot--the dishwasher repair guy is coming back out today to see if he can sort out why my nearly brand new $800 dishwasher doesn't like to wash my dishes!

So if you see me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, now you know why!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

All we want for Christmas...

All we want for Christmas is a new dog couch, a new dog couch, a new dog couch!

Yes, the stinky old dog couch has gone where all ratty old couches go...the dump!  The dogs are quite dismayed too.  Shiloh keeps wandering around the living room, looking for it.  Ranger is rattled enough by the process of moving, that he slept in the dog crate last night, not in his regular dog bed!  And Indy, well, he just makes the best of it and hogs 3 dog bed pillows at once.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Confused...This is December, right?

My old fashioned lilac is blooming. I think it must be seriously confused!  Last time I checked, it was December 12th.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

As I am sick with Capt. Tripps*...

and don't feel particularly well, I am going to raid the children's photo collection to share a couple classic Ridgeback poses.

THE classic Ridgeback pose.

Hey!  That's my ear!

Diva demands belly rubs!
There's a bunny out there, I just know it!

My eternally happy puppy!

* Capt. Tripps is the name given to the bioweapon influenza in Stephen King's The Stand.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

On the DMV...AArgh!

Why is it all DMV's are the same?

So last month I got a notice in the mail telling me I had to renew my drivers license in December.  No big deal I thought, thinking I could go online and submit the info.  Then I read the letter, and it stated that since I received the letter it meant I could not go online to renew.  Crap.

I went to our local DMV back in 2003 when we first moved here, and with newborn infant in tow, on a really hot Texas day, and suffered through the process of exchanging my Kansas DL for a Texas DL.  This, as I recall took hours.  Really.

So today I decided since I had errands on that side of town, I would go in the morning, get my DL done and my errands after.  I drove over there, and pulled into the lot to park.  Uh oh, I said, as I looped for the third time around the jam-packed lot.  I asked an officer who was standing outside, and he suggested I park in the grass, since parking on the nearby street was prohibited.

After finding a spot in the grass dry enough so the van didn't get stuck, I wandered over to the doors.  They looked funny, because I could see a bunch of legs pressed up against them from the inside, sort of like human sardines, or folks seeing how many college students you can cram into a telephone booth.  I hesitated, then opened the door to see the humongous line of people jamming the entryway as the line wound around inside.  Uh oh, I thought again.

I inquired politely if they were all waiting for drivers licenses, to which I received a chorus of "yes, yep, and uh huh's".  One kind soul offered up that the wait was at least an hour and a half, or more.  I just groaned, and decided I didn't have time to waste slogging through a DMV line today.

Heading back to the car, I noticed the building hours listed as 8am-5pm M-F.  I guess I will head over there before 7am tomorrow.  At the least, I should be able to get a proper parking spot, and with any luck, be in the first 10-20 people in line.  I hope I can bring enough coffee to get me through this!

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Big "C"...

This time, I am referring to C=colonoscopy...yes today is prep day for me.  Blech.  I am hungry.  Chicken broth tastes good, but isn't filling.  DH is taking the kids out to dinner tonight so I don't have to cook or be around food.

Almost three years ago now, I wrote concerning the other Big "C", cancer.  My friends, DR and BB are still kickin', as is my SIL, though she is retiring now from a lifelong medical career.  My former pastor, has his ups and downs, but is hanging in there too.

So in retrospect, here is that post, again.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The "C" word, the Big C, comes in many forms--more than I can name off the top of my head for sure.  And I guess I have reached that point in my life where I notice cancer now, more than I did when I was younger.  It seems I now know a fair number of people who are or were afflicted with cancer in some form.

My friends DR and BB, my SIL, my former pastor, a Blogger's family member just diagnosed, a guy from our church and my MIL, who just lost her second battle with cancer.

DR is the reason I willingly subject myself to a colonoscopy on a regular schedule--because his colon cancer went too far, and after attacking his liver has moved into his lungs.  They found pre-cancerous polyps in me the first go-round, and removed them.  But I will always be wary now, and get my gut checked, because eventually cancer will steal my friend from this earth, because he didn't get it checked in time.

Then there is my friend BB, who is a true rarity in this world.  He is a 5yr+ male lung cancer survivor.  He is also one heck of a cyclist and I can only wish I was half as fast as he, on twice the lung capacity!

My SIL (sister in law), fighting a battle with an unusual oral cancer.  We like to joke with her about all the Chaw (smokeless tabacco) she must be using to have contracted Snuffers Cancer.  (She doesn't chew or smoke at all.)  But I see the pain it has caused her and the way it has affected her quality of life.

The young man BK, from our church who fought Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and won, only to die from a cold he caught while his immune system was still suppressed...

Our former pastor, now retired, who we recently learned has a form of leukemia.  We haven't heard from them recently but last I heard they were waiting for him to get worse before starting treatment.  I do not understand that.

And my mother in law...we lost her to cancer last month.  It was not her first rodeo with the Big C.  She'd beaten it once, way back in the 1980's. when treatments were not so refined.  That was an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma, and the docs I think were quite surprised that she kicked cancer's ass!  The cancer that stole her from us, was a different beast--unrelated to the original one they say.

I suppose in hindsight, I knew something was wrong back in September when we visited her.  But I couldn't "see" it until after we got the call in November that she was in hospital, and it wasn't good news.  Never one to complain, she bore her pain with a quiet dignity.  She was able to be cared for at home, by family and hospice.  No tubes or extreme measures, just peace and quiet, surrounded by those who loved her.

There's not a lot I can do personally in the big scheme of things called cancer.  I guess the small things will have to suffice.  I can donate a little cash to worthy research groups, and perhaps more importantly, I can show my support for those afflicted.  Paul the Apostle perhaps said it best...

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (NIV 1984)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Decluttering is somewhat theraputic

Hi everyone, I'm Monkeywrangler, and I'm a Pack Rat.  It's been 12 years 4 months since my last decluttering.

Yes, we've lived in this home for 12 years now, and both DH and I suffer from PackRat-osis, the inability to throw away stuff, that might some day be useful again.  Moving seems to be the best/only way we can declutter.  You'd be amazed at the amount of crap we have already pitched in the dumpster!  I know I am...

The house is actually starting to look decluttered, and after Saturday, when we rent a 17' Uhaul for 12 hrs to move the excess furniture we are keeping, the place will look darned empty to me!  We have culled heavily, our book collection.  That was tough too.  We are both avid readers, and are loathe to get rid of books unless we did not like them.  We will be moving 8 book cases of various sizes to storage, and have gotten nearly ALL the books we are keeping, boxed and stored too.

Some furniture besides book cases, are going to storage too, like DH's large dresser (we will share my bigger one instead), and three larger old sentimental pieces.  The dog couch is going on the curb.  It's been a good couch, a double recliner by Lane in microfiber, but it's gotta go.  Once we are in the new place, we will look at getting a used leather couch for the hounds to inhabit.  Maybe.

Once the furniture is out/moved around etc, we will be ready for the professionals to come in for their jobs like flooring and paint.  Yeah, it isn't cheap to have it done by the pros, but the end results will be much better than we could do, considering the volume of work we want done prior to going on the market.

Then the kids and I will shift into maintenance mode, just keeping things from getting messy again, while DH is our boots on the ground in the new town.  His job is starting there next week, and the commute is too long to be safe for him every day, with his sleep issues.  So he is going to do the Brigid-thing, and have an efficiency apartment during the week, and come home on weekends and days off.  So he will be working with the realtor up there, much like I did when we moved to Winchester KS so many years ago.  Back then, I worked the swing shift, and would go see houses in the mornings with our buyers agent, and report back to DH when I got home at night.  We both know what we are looking for in a new property, so it won't be difficult to know if a given house is "right" for both us.

Wish us luck..the adventure is truly under way!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ah, the joys of being a weather watcher

Yes, at 03:30 this morning, DH woke me up, saying it was about to get sporty out there.  The predicted storms had arrived.  I got up grudgingly, and within 15 min, they had sounded the sirens for a tornado due to track over our house. Joy....

So we rousted the sleeping Monkeys, and wrangled them into the storm shelter. Then they cancelled the first warning, but almost immediately issued one for a similar track. So here we sit, more worried about the dogs than anything.  The dogs will NOT go down into the shelter, not even for bacon!  So they stay in the house, and we pray for the best.

At least, because of our ham radio hobby, we get more advance notice on storms and warnings.  And that beats being woken up by the county sirens every time!

Friday, November 13, 2015

FrankenShiloh of the Nine Lives

Last night we had an unexpected scare.  Or really, I guess there wasn't anything scary until the aftermath of the incident became clear.  DH and the kids were cutting up some yard debris and hauling it from the back yard to the trash pile out front that the city has failed to come pick up for two days... Go figure, my tax dollars at work, eh?

Unbeknownst to us, Monkey2 forgot to tie the gate shut.  Somebody, whose name rhymes with Shiloh, is a "runner" at heart, and failed to resist the temptation of said open gate, and off she ran, unseen and unnnoticed by us.

A bit later, as I was cooking dinner, frantic Monkeys ran into the kitchen telling me Shi was hurt, "real bad", and that there must've been a dog fight.  Funny, we had not heard any dogsquabbles...

I went to assess the damage and injuries, only to discover, there she was in fact hurt.  She had a nickle-sized hunk of skin torn on the side of her head (see below), and what appeared to be a much larger one on her inside back leg.  I knew she needed a vet visit, as I couldn't safely close the injury to her head, and she wouldn't let me get a good look at her back leg.
She was clearly in pain, but walking fine, though sitting was done gingerly.  While waiting there at the vet office, I discovered an ear injury, by seeing the dripping blood.  Joy, always messy, those ear injuries.  But something just didn't seem right about it being a dog fight.  DH said the other two were uninjured.
The vet got a good look at the leg with the help of my flashlight, and abruptly informed me that it wasn't a fight, but that it looked distinctly like road rash.  Looking at it myself, and having had and treated human road rash, I had to agree.   Then I saw the black 'dirt' marks on her front leg.  Ever wipe your hand along a car tire, and have it come away all filthy?  Yep.  Somehow, Shiloh tangled with a moving car, and managed to survive with only minor injuries.

The vet stapled her head injury closed, hence the Frankenstine reference, and superglued the ear tear shut.  The leg abrasion gets a gentamicin spray 3x daily.  There are some oral pain meds, and an oral antibiotic so the head wound doesn't get infected.  And, poor thing, she must wear the dreaded Cone of Shame!

Provided she can get it off of Monkey2.  Yes, dear Monkey2 donned the Cone of Shame briefly, as he was the guilty party who failed to shut the gate.  Shiloh says it looks much better on him, than it does on her!

Shiloh is going to be fine.  She is sore, bruised, and  little skittish about being handled, but there appear to be NO orthopedic or internal injuries.  She ate well last night, and is moving fine.  She is much better about being in the Cone, that dear old Cody was--she at least hasn't knocked anything over yet!

I'm not sure how many lives she burned last night, tangling with the car, but I am so relieved that she survived, and is going to be OK.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy 240th Birthday!

Wishing all current and former United States Marines a very happy 240th birthday!

Semper Fidelis!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The adventure begins...again

We went through this adventure some twelve years ago when we moved to Texas.  It begins anew today as we go talk to the bank, and a realtor.

We would appreciate any prayers y'all care to send our way. 

More on this adventure, later.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fond flashback to childhood

This woman, Sara Paretsky, is a noted author of mystery books.  The last name jumped out at me today while I was in Half Price Books.  I never really knew Sara, but I fondly remember her mother.  Her mom was the best librarian at the Lawrence Public Library, even way back when it was located in the old Carnegie library building.  Mrs Paretsky always knew what sort of book you wanted, and right where to find it!  She was one of those special people who helped instill a lifelong love of books in me.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The ultimate redneck repair

You might be a redneck if...

You use a spent .22lr case to fix your popcorn popper.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tonight's dinner...

As it has been cool , rainy and obviously cloudy all day, I decided to make DH's favorite soup for dinner.  It's a recipe from his mom, known around here as Italian Soup (pronounced Eye-talian).

It's hearty and easy to make, and around here, it's quite popular.  I'm serving it with some cheap bolillo rolls from the grocery (4/$1).

1# ground beef
1 med/lg diced onion
3 stalks celery sliced
1 or 2 cups carrots sliced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 16oz can diced tomatoes (or fresh if you have them)
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz can undrained small red beans (I hate kidney beans so I use these instead)
2 cans beef broth (or 2 cans water and 5 tsp bouillon granules)
1T dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2c shredded cabbage
1 can 15oz green beans (or frozen or fresh if you prefer)
1/2c elbow macaroni (best if you precook it)

Brown the beef in your big soup pot and drain it. Then add all the remaining items EXCEPT cabbage, green beans and macaroni.  Bring it to a boil, and simmer until veggies are tender.  You can add water and bouillon as needed to taste.  10min before you serve it, add the cabbage, green beans and macaroni.

Serve with bread (garlic bread is great with this!)

You can play around with the amount of spices to suit your taste, or substitute ground turkey for the beef, but it won't taste the same.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My favorite time of year

I think, if forced to choose a favorite season, it would be Fall.  Growing up in the Midwest, summer, though welcome, tends to be too hot and humid to be truly enjoyable, though the body does adapt.  Spring, well everyone seems to welcome the sight of new green after the long cold of Winter.  But it seems a bit more volatile, weatherwise, and sometimes it feels like Spring is a victim of its own popularity.  Winter, well, as a kid there's never enough snow, and as an adult there is far too much snow and ice!
Of course, now that my metabolism has come back from its decades long vacation to Aruba (thank God for T3 supplements!) winter has lost some of its bite.  My feet no longer resemble blocks of ice on a daily basis despite wool socks and insulated boots indoors!
But Fall, now there is a season!  As we age, Fall reminds us of our own mortality, as the leaves turn color and fall to the littered ground.  I miss that shock of color from the maples in NE Kansas.  Down here in TX, the trees just do not 'do color' like the more northern hardwoods.  This is as good as the color gets in DFW.

It does tend to rain more in the fall in Texas, but that is not a bad thing usually...Of course if it's scheduled to rain on Halloween, like it is this year, well, I know a certain 3 Monkeys that would prefer it wait another day or two before that strange water begins to fall from the sky again.

Along with Fall comes Halloween, and the fun that can entail, especially with kids in the home.  The Monkeys have happily accepted our version of Halloween night, with costumes, movies, pizza and popcorn in return for them giving away candy to other peoples kids, and not going door to door themselves.  Then not long after, comes Thanksgiving.  We have a lot to be thankful for again this year, though we have certainly had our share of health issues and other stressors!

In addition to the above, Fall also generally begins the season known in Texas as No Air Conditioning Season.  Yes, usually the temps and humidity drop enough to turn off the A/C and open the windows.  Yay!  That in itself is almost enough to make Fall my favorite.

So there you have take on the seasons, and my personal favorite.  What is your favorite season, readers?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Winter is coming...2015

In past years, (2012, 2013)I have written on the concept of "winter is coming'.  If you read GRR Martin's Game of Thrones series, or watch the HBO version you should be familiar with the phrase.  And now, sadly, it seems we move even closer to David Weber's People's Republic of Haven (Honor Harrington series).

The Middle East is still a mess.  I never in my life thought I would respect Russia for stepping into Syria and attempting to help the lesser of the evils there.I had always thought we would be the ones to do that.  But no, we are actively supporting groups including ISIS/ISIL, Al Qaeda, and Hamas, while our same gov't is doing all it can to snub, embarrass, and potentially abandon Israel.

While Europe managed to prop Greece up for a bit longer, their financial houses are still in disarray.  And now they are beset with a glut of illegal immigrants from the Middle East.  I really can't help but think that Europe has suffered an invasion, especially if you look at what is happening over there. These are just a couple recent stories on the web.
German newspaper documents anti-migrant 'hate speech' on FACEBOOK... 


MPs 'drawing up plans' to close borders in challenge to Merkel...

Slovenia deploys army as thousands of migrants seek to transit...

And just in case you thought bad stuff only happened over there, Canada just fell to the Progressive Promises onslaught.  One can only hope they wise up faster than this country has...  Hey Bernie!  How ya gonna PAY for all that free $h!+ ?  Huh?

And I thought climate change (or wait, isn't it global warming?) was supposed to devastate us with massive hurricanes!  So why has it been 118 months, yes in 4 days from now it will have been exactly TEN YEARS since a major hurricane struck the USA.  Ten freaking years!   Oh and this winter we thankfully (at least here in TX we are thankful) we are to get a decent El Nino effect which means a wet winter and spring.  This particular cycle is shaping up to be a monster of its own, and the weatherguessers have dubbed it the Godzilla El Nino.

Hang on tight, my friends, it's going to be a bumpy ride for a while!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gee, ya think they're happy to have us back?

Yes, we boarded the hounds, aka the Three Musketeers, for the 2 weeks we were on vacation recently.  That vacation, lovely as it was, ended Saturday.  Yesterday we made the trip out to the Ranch to trade our trailer in, and  to reclaim our dogs.

We suspected they'd be happy to see us...we had no idea!  Now, understand that they love (except Shiloh) being at the Ranch.   They love Roy and Cindy almost as much as they love us.  The Ranch is the place where a dog  can be just a dog, doing doggie things, like ratting the fences and barking all day long at the other dogs just because they can.

When we got to the Ranch, we spotted Indy and Ranger in the back house-pen.  It took a second or two for them to realize it was us, and then they began to go totally ape!  Indy was jumping up and down and spinning in circles, while Ranger yowled and jumped.  We managed to force our way into the pen, as the dogs wanted to come OUT to see us.  After a minute or two Shiloh finally came around the corner to see what the fuss was.  Then she got into the act, barking and whining, yippiing contantly and wiggling!  It was a joyous reunion!

This morning, Ranger moved to the couch when DH got up, then Monkey3 lay down with him, and soon Indy joined them.  Gee, do you think they missed us?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Such fragile beauty

On a cool and foggy morning when the bass are not behaving, such fragile beauty can still be found if one only looks for it.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Biggest bass I've caught this week!  That's my size 10 womens shoe...he is bigger than my shoe!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Bridge Too Far Sept 17-25 1944

This next nine days, marks the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem, also known for being part of Operation Market Garden, an ambitious but ultimately disastrous attempt by the Allies in WWII to establish a route across the Rhine by snatching a series of 7 bridges from the Germans all at once.

The battle at Arnhem has always fascinated me.  From reading Con Ryan's book, A Bridge Too Far, to the Attenborough film of the same name, to actually obtaining an autographed copy of Col. Frost's book A Drop Too Many.  The final radio transmission, (which was only heard by the German forces,) from the British forces that held the north end of the bridge at Arnhem has stayed with me.  "Out of ammunition.  God save the King."  Of some 12,000 troops who parachuted in or landed by glider around Arnhem, only some 3,900 escaped capture or death.

This morning, I came across a previously unknown-to-me video on Youtube.  It is Jeremy Clarkson's War Stories, which details the history of the VC, the Victoria Cross for Valor, and its awarding to a Major Robert Henry Cain of the South Staffordshire Regiment.  Major Cain was at Arnhem.  The video is long, nearly two hours in length.  It is well worth your time to watch.

And because I love this piece of music, from the film...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Labor Day was no weekend...

While most folks got to enjoy a long weekend, here at Casa Monkeywrangler, I was manning sickbay, as DH came down Sunday with some evil virus.  He is still pretty wiped out, but has improved a little today.  He was running temps of 101* to 103*+, and I even dragged him off to the ER, because one of his docs said if the temp went over 101* (DH runs a normal temp of 97*), to take him in.

Now this morning, I was awoken by a strange sound, that of water flowing, but outside!  Yes!  It finally rained here, not just somewhere in the Metromess.  I'd guess we got at least half an inch, maybe more.  It was very welcome too, as it hasn't really rained here for 2 months (unusual after such a wet spring).  The lakes are still full, which is good, but the ground was quite dry, leading to major cracking in the yard.  Hopefully this rain will help ease the situation.

And because I was paying attention to my junk emails, I spotted a deal on the photos taken during the Hotter N Hell ride.  I spent quite a bit of time finding all the pics of me, and when the coupon showed up on a 6hr flash sale, I opted to buy the whole digital file.  It even came with a 20$ credit for prints at Shutterfly.  So you can see what it was like, here is one of the better pics.
At Iowa Park TX.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

HHH 2015 - Holy Smokes!

Went up to HHH this year, with a January goal of a sub7 hr century.  I really didn't think I would be able to do it, as this year has been fraught with setbacks and downtime.  Plus my gut has been a bit tender this past week and I was scared it might flare up badly while I was out of town.

Stayed with the good folks at First Christian Church ($50 incl dinner and breakfast all you can eat).  Slept up against the scoreboard wall (warm side of gym),  and slept well.  It was a little warm at first, but cooled off after the lights went out.

Got up about 04:30 and had a good breakfast (coffee, oj, 2 hb eggs, oatmeal and a chocochip muffin.).  Took a little too long packing up, and was almost late getting to the start of the ride!  Had to hunt a parking spot and then reassemble the bike in the dark (harder than it sounds).  I got to the cage, and just a couple minutes later we started!  I'd almost missed it!

I settled into a fair pace behind a tandem, but then before Iowa Park learned they were only doing the 25mi route.  I managed to get hitched onto a pair of tandems and a CA2, and rode with them until close to RS2.  I skipped that stop too, and rode on up the road to the 100mi turn and stopped at RS3 in Electra.

The course was fine, and the roads in better shape than in 2013.  High thin clouds stuck around until 10am, which helped keep the heat down.  Winds were very light, and had the tendency to follow us around the course.  There was really only one short stretch where it felt like a headwind.  I don't think you could have asked for better weather than we had yesterday!  I think if Dave had ridden the century. he would have beaten his PR 20mph pace of last year.

As it was, I hit Hell's Gate with a bunch of time left before it closed.  I felt great, and didn't even think about taking the bailout route.  I admit it grated a little to still get passed by large  packs of riders (not pacelines, just masses), but I just kept reminding myself to ride MY ride at MY pace.  I guess it worked too!

The rest stops were excellent for ice and water support, with a ton of volunteers manning pitchers of ice water at the curb, in addition to under the tents.  Made for faster transitions.

Moving time 5h 56m  gps.  Chip time #3148 6h 4m
Distance 100.66mi
HR 151 max 170
cad 65
speed 17.0

A sub-6 hour century!  WOOT!
Finish line selfie.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dog. Tired.

Just a fun photo from this morning, early, as Shiloh snoozed on the dog couch.

I'm off to the Hotter N Hell bike ride this weekend, so I don't know if I will be posting anything until I get back.  I'm going to play it by ear on how far I go.  If I'm feeling strong and my speed/time is good enough I may try the full century.  After that there is the long drive home too.  By that time, I'm sure I'll be dog tired too!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Early Monday Morning Musings

After Family Game Night, which ran long, as Liverpool Rummy often does, DH and I got to sleep a bit later than normal.  It was a fun game, though I lost badly, with DH winning the final Down and Out hand, and Monkey3 the overall winner on points.

I found myself awake at 04:00, though I managed to stretch the snoozetime until almost 5:00am.  Seeing DH go off for a check-ride on his Bacchetta CA2 with the new modified J-bar set from Schlitter Bike.  Changing the bars over, necessitated some significant reworking of the brakes and drive train, though it does appear to have fixed his shifting issue, and now he can use the granny gear if necessary.  Around here where we ride, a granny gear is not really needed most of the time, but when we go up to KS to ride, boy howdy it's handy!

While seeing DH off on his check ride, we both noticed the broken sprinkler head in the subdivision common area.  It launches a geyser of water some 20' high, watering nothing but the street and sidewalk.  If it weren't for the lack of drought here currently, the city would have fined the HOA for wasting water.  Which can total several thousand dollars, that ends up getting passed on to us homeowners via special assessments.  I managed a passable low-light shot of the geyser, so I emailed it with a repair request to the management company for the HOA.  I wonder how long it will take for them to repair it?
Not a lot scheduled for this week.  I get my hair cut finally, on Friday.  Time to shear this shaggy mop of hair!  Just in time for the HHH bike ride at the end of the month, and not too far out from vacation either.  I am hoping for cooler weather for HHH, to increase my chances of completing a century this year.  It's a good ride to do a 100 mi on, as it is well supported, there's a real supportive energy there in that crowd, and it's a relatively flat course.  The heat and tendency for high winds are the main problems one usually faces on HHH.

But, after riding with DH Saturday, for 53mi in moderately warm weather, I felt great!  As in, gee, I probably could do another 50 miles, if I had planned for it. Poor DH though, he suffered a grand total of 5 front wheel flats Saturday!  He had a tire we had booted (repaired a small hole cut in the sidewall).  But the boot abraided the tube and that one flatted.  So we replaced the tire with a new one we had with us.  Then there was a succession of patched tubes, where the old patches failed, for a grand total of 5 flats!  It's just no fun, when the Flat Fairy comes to visit you.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Random 5 Friday 08/14/2015

Another installment of Random 5 Friday, where you list five random things or thoughts from the past week.

1.  I'm finally back to feeling more like myself, after a bout of diverticulitis, and the course of meds to kill it off.  Bike mileage has been ok this week, though not as high as needed.  I was taking it easy, to make sure I am recovered.  Yesterday felt almost normal...I have high hopes for Saturday!

2.  The heat has broken at last in NTX, though our rain-free streak is still ongoing.  Highs are only in the mid to upper 90's now, which is far more tolerable.  Humidity has dropped some too, which is nice.

10-Day Weather Forecast

Daily | Hourly  Customize
  • Mon 08/03
Tue 08/04
Wed 08/05
Thu 08/06
Fri 08/07
Sat 08/08
Sun 08/09
Mon 08/10
Tue 08/11
Wed 08/12
Thu 08/13
Fri 08/14
99° | 72°
Partly Cloudy
 0 in
Sat 08/15
99° | 73°
 0 in
Sun 08/16
98° | 75°
 0 in
Mon 08/17
96° | 76°
 0 in
Tue 08/18
98° | 78°
 0 in
Wed 08/19
100° | 78°
 0.11 in
Thu 08/20
96° | 77°
Partly Cloudy
 0 in
Fri 08/21
97° | 77°
Partly Cloudy
 0 in
Sat 08/22
99° | 77°
 0 in
Sun 08/23
100° | 78°
 0 in
Mon 08/24
Tue 08/25
Wed 08/26
Thu 08/27
Fri 08/28
Sat 08/29
Sun 08/30
Mon 08/31
Tue 09/01
Wed 09/02
Thu 09/03
Fri 09/04
5 pm
3.  I worry about the kneejerk reaction to things in the news, that many folks seem to have.  This country is more divided than it was less than a decade ago.  I fear for our children's future.  This is no longer the same country I grew up in...

4.  I'm gonna plug a small business here, that I have done business with.  If you find an interest in cycling, especially if you are interested in recumbent bikes and trikes, you would do well to include Vite Bikes in your research.  Owned and operated by appointment in Florida (Venice I believe), the Schlitters are wonderful, experienced folks to do business with.  Their attention to detail, and willingness to work with customers is outstanding.  They also sell some outstanding bikes and trikes!  They are both a wealth of knowledge about cycling in general, and long distance/Ultra distance cycling in particular.  If anyone wants to get a first hand look at an Encore from Vite Bikes,  they are starting a list of folks who have volunteered to let others see their personal Encore bike.  Just contact Vite for information.

5.  Winter is coming.  Hold on to that thought, in all its connotations.  Prepare.