1979

This is me, my brother, stepmom and sister.  We had just reached the California border on our bicycle trip from Seattle to San Francisco.  I was fourteen years old the summer of 1979.

We followed Highway 101 down the coast of Oregon and that was when I fell in deep, irreversible love with the ocean.

Product Review: Race Across America bike race with FedEx SenseAware tracking

Last Saturday, I dragged my daughter down to the Oceanside Pier to see the start of the Race Across America (RAAM) bike race.

I had no idea what to expect.  I felt like a real live journalist, though, in search of a story.

The truth is, I was chosen to write about the “World’s Toughest Bicycle Race” by MomCentral as a way to promote FedEx’s cool SenseAware® tracking and monitoring service.  (More about that later.)

So, I found clusters of bicyclists in spandex with their sleek bicycles, all waiting for the beginning of the race.

We milled around, looking at jerseys, trying to find the Ohio CycleWorks bike team which is sponsored by FedEx Custom Critical. The team features one of their team members, Scott Garchar, who is wearing the SenseAware device which is linked to a web-based platform that provides near real-time GPS location and environmental conditions.  (Which is why I can tell you with certainty that the bike team is in Colorado, close to the New Mexico border. . . riding in temperatures about 74 degrees.)

You can follow the progress of the team here. 

The team is racing for great cause.  They’re raising money for the Akron Children’s Hospital.  This charity is a good fit for SenseAware® because it allows healthcare providers to monitor critical shipments, the kind that can help save the lives of the very children that Ohio CycleWorks is riding to support.

As we were waiting, Grace and I sat on a grassy hill near the start of the race.  A very tall man was called to the microphone and introduced as Bill Walton.  I said to Grace, “Hey, I think that guy is a famous basketball player!”  Grace was unimpressed.  However, I realized that we were in the presence of a celebrity athlete and I joined the throngs taking pictures of him.  He was with the man who founded the race in 1982.  Back then there were only four riders.  Now there are over 300 riders crossing 3,000 miles from Oceanside, California to Anapolis, Maryland.

So I snapped this photo of Bill Walton.  Do you know who he is?  He’s 6’11” tall, just in case you wondered.

Finally, I found the Ohio CycleWorks team.  I felt a little shy, though–how would I explain this blog-article?–and so I took a picture of the back of their jerseys.  See at the bottom?  You can see the FedEx logo.

We cheered as riders left thirty seconds apart.  The guy with the microphone asked each team quick questions, then off they pedaled, followed by their support van.  I wanted to see “my” team depart, but unfortunately, the 8-person teams were launched last and we had to get to soccer.

The whole experience really made me want to buy a bicycle.  When I was fourteen, my stepmom took me and my brother and sister on a bike ride down Highway 101–from Seattle to San Francisco.  We only rode 1,000 miles and it took us five weeks.  That was one of the defining adventures of my life.

I miss riding a bicycle.

It’s crazy how fast the teams go.  I’m loving keeping up with the Race both using the SenseAware® technology and through Facebook.  To think that we got to see them at the starting line . . . how lucky was that!

Oh–and I have to say that I was so impressed and amazed by some of the Wounded Warriors who were riding . . . a couple of guys with only one leg and one with no legs at all–and other injuries, seen and unseeen.  What a picture of determination and grit.

Most teams will finish the race in about eight days.

“I received compensation from FedEx for covering the use of SenseAware® technology during the 2012 Race Across America. My ideas and opinions relayed in this blog post and any related Twitter discussions are the my own and are not provided by FedEx or its affiliates and subsidiaries.”

 

 

Sunday night

I officially work on Sunday nights until 1 a.m., but usually it’s 2 a.m. before I finish.

Tonight, it’s 1;49 a.m. and I’m too tired to write anything.

But I’ll be back tomorrow and write something worthwhile.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Where in the world is Nik Wallenda?

I just finished watching the Nik Wallenda tightrope walk across Niagara Falls.

Even though he wore a harness, it kind of gave me a small heart attack.

However, the coverage highlighted the actual falls in such a beautiful way that it made me wonder why I’ve never visited Niagara Falls.  Such an incredible place!

Here are some other places in the United States I’ve never visited but hope to see one day.  This small list is in no way complete or comprehensive . . . just the first places that popped into my mind.

1)  The Grand Canyon
2)  Maine
3)  Washington DC
4)  Hawaii
5)  Alaska

Is it weird that I can’t think of other places?  Tell me what attractions or places I need to visit.

I have been to every state except for these:

Alaska
Arizona
Hawaii
Kentucky
Maine
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Nevada
Utah
West Virginia

What am I missing?  Give me your best recommendations . . .

See you later, alligator

Most nights, I finish working and click over to this blog and try to think of something to say. Then I  yawn and rub my eyes and stretch a little.

My days are not all that exciting and my brain is dull from the strain of thinking all day long about work-related issues.

But I am trying, really trying, to write in this blog regularly.

So here goes.

This morning I woke up (after a restless night) at 6:50 a.m.  This was the day my boys flew across the country to visit their buddy.  I was able to wake them fairly easily, proving that even a sluggish teenager can wake up early for something he really wants to do.

I didn’t take into account traffic–I’m not sure why–so I was a little concerned when we ran into some slow-downs while cruising down the freeway.  But we arrived in good time.  I parked the car in a lot and we rode a shuttle to the airport.

Then I did my very best to let them figure out how to check in their luggage without my help.  I ended up directing them a little–old habits are hard to break–and once the bags were checked in, we walked inside the airport.

“Now where?” I said.

“Um, to the right,” he said.

“Okay, look at the sign.  See how it says All Gates?  Those are key words.  So, go left.”

Once they were safely tucked into the security line, my 9-year old and I left them and headed back to the parking lot via shuttle bus.

I’m happy to report that they managed to board the plane, fly safely to Atlanta, find the gate for the connecting flight, board that plane, arrive in Chicago, find their friend and his grandfather and end up at their final destination in one piece.

I’m also happy to report that my kitchen is still clean and the sink is free of its normal 34 dirty glasses.   Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  Those two boys only actually produce an extra dozen dirty glasses or so a day, despite my many attempts to introduce to them the concept of using the same glass all day long.

I’m so happy to be going to sleep now and so happy that I don’t have to get up early to drive anyone to the airport.

And that concludes tonight’s episode of My Blog is Boring.

Thank you and sweet dreams!

The cat’s in the cradle

Tomorrow I’m driving my boys to the airport.  They’re not really “boys” any more since they’re 19 now, but they’ll always be my boys, I imagine, even when they’re 63.  (I will be a young and svelte 91 years old, for those keeping score at home.)

They’ve never flown by themselves before.  I’m not really nervous for them, but they are a little apprehensive, I think, and their dad is, too.  (I don’t call him Mr. Safety without reason!)  They are just going to visit their friend in Illinois.  Only a few months after we moved here, their buddy moved to Illinois, so it will be a reunion quite likely involving loud music, Mountain Dew and late night laughter.

It’s weird to think that when I was their age–younger, actually–my dad put me on a Greyhound bus and sent me off to college.  I rode by myself three days and nights on that bus WITHOUT A CELL PHONE.  Ponder that.  I was a little scared, especially when the bus would stop at seedy bus stations and the bus driver would ask us to leave the bus so they could clean it (or whatever they were doing).

But, hey!  I survived!  Mostly, there are nice people in the world, even on Greyhound buses.

I hope my boys will discover that flying alone is fun and not scary and that most people are really very nice and helpful.  Let it be so.  Amen.

 

Sum-sum-summertime

I feel like summer is slipping away.

The kids have been out of school for two weeks or so and why aren’t we having lots of fun?   You know what will rain on your proverbial parade?  A full-time job.  I am chained to my desk from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and again from 9 p.m. until midnight.  I am not a fun mom.  I’m a working mom.

The older two kids are heading out to visit a friend on Thursday.  So tomorrow I will be working and then getting them packed and ready to travel for the first time on an airplane without me.  One of them will return in time for his girlfriend’s visit.  Her sister will also be here for a week . . . then the sister leaves and the girlfriend stays for a few more weeks.  People will be coming and going a lot this summer.

Maybe when we have house guests we’ll have some fun.  I don’t want the whole summer to zoom past before we have enough fun.

In the meantime, between soccer and lacrosse, we’re sitting at kids’ practice fields four days a week.

And my kids are starting to look bored already when they wander into my office for various reasons during my work-day.  I do believe in the power of boredom.

In fact, I’d like to experience a little boredom myself right about now.

Wait.  Do I want fun?  Or boredom?  What can I say?  I’m just a paradox.  I’d like to go to a movie and the beach and Sea World.  I want a nap and time to read.  And more.

I don’t have that compartment

I was lamenting to my husband tonight about a disappearing friend.

He said that I should put that friend into a compartment where you keep friends like that, the kind that come and go in your life.

I don’t have that compartment.

So, instead, I torture myself by trying to figure out what I might have done.  I blame myself for some imagined slight or insult or poor behavior.  The only thing is, I can’t understand what I could have done. I still decide secretly that I am a horrible person and a failure at life.  Because I am dramatic like that.

I’m tempted to contact the missing friend but that would end badly–at least it does in my overactive imagination.

I miss my friend.

I hope I didn’t do anything to hurt my friend.

Why does life seem so much like fourth grade sometimes?

Goodnight, sleep tight.

Yesterday, Grace played as a substitute in an arena soccer game.  I was happy to see familiar faces when some other parents that I knew showed up.  Her old teammates (sisters) were there along with their parents.  I had someone to sit by and make small talk with.  They probably sense my desperation, though.  How could they not?  I am still trying to make friends here, which is pretty tough since I work so much and don’t have time to meet people or get to know them.  (That’s how it feels.)

The weather was lovely.  Sunny but a little breezy.  I wonder if I will ever take this lovely weather for granted?  Every day that I wake up to sunshine and blue skies and seventy degrees feels like another small miracle.

My husband’s birthday was  yesterday, so I spent time cooking his birthday dinner and then we had a nice family dinner.  We gave him books that he’s specifically requested.

Today was church and for some reason, it’s even harder to get out of the house with teenagers than it was when I had babies and toddlers.  They move slower than I ever anticipate and no matter how early I wake them up, we always walk into the church foyer five minutes late.  Would it be dramatic if I said that’s just another reason I feel like a failure as a mother?

The rest of the day was kind of lazy, though I did some laundry and some work in the kitchen and took the dog for a walk.  If she doesn’t get a regular walk, she has too much energy.   I worked tonight, as usual, and it was busy.  I’m just now finishing up at 1:30 a.m.

And even though school is out, the week will be busy again since I still have work and the kids have lacrosse and soccer.

I wish there were more interesting news to report, but it is what it is.

Whatever Lola wants

A new puppy is chaos and cuteness, sleeplessness and hilarity, doubt and wonder.  (As in, “I wonder what we were thinking when we got a puppy?”)

Lola was six weeks old in this photo, two weeks from joining our family.

My husband chose her because she was more feisty than her sister.

She played tug-of-war with our clothes when she first came to our house.  I’d have to pry her mouth open to save our clothes.  I have puppy-tooth holes in my jeans from those days.

She did not sleep well at first.  I did not sleep through the night for a month at least.

But she was so cute!  When we took her for walks, strangers would take her picture and go crazy petting her.  It was like going out with a celebrity.  (In my mind, that’s what it would be like to hang out with Kim Kardashian or Tom Cruise.)

 

From needle-sharp teeth to a shark-mouth of slobber in a matter of months.

She likes to eat paper towels and any sort of human food left too close to the edges of the countertops.  I would tell you she eats her own poop, but you might be grossed out.  But I must mention that the other day she came into my office with kitty-litter encrusting her lips.

She’ll feign sleep in the mornings until I seem awake.  Then she greets me with two front paws on the covers and her dog mouth in my face.  This morning I played dead and so she jumped onto the bed.  It’s getting pretty hard to wrestle a 50-pound dog off the bed when she does not want to go.

She goes nuts when we return home from anywhere.

She’s afraid of the cat, with good reason.  Every once in awhile, the cat will chase her with unfurled claws.  The cat’s a little crazy.

She does not fetch.  So don’t ask.

Our puppy is a rowdy teenager now.  I don’t mean to wish away any time, but I can’t wait until she’s a lazy adult like me.

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