Balloon Quest

Ride Log 090712

It was Ike’s second day of school. After attending my step-writing group, I was hoping to have some to write or, at least, clean the house a little for the impending arrival of the in-laws. But, the beautiful weather was calling and I needed balloons for a papier-mâché project I wanted to do with Ike. We came up with a great idea for family Halloween costumes and I am having a difficult time locating a bull mask for a child that doesn’t look too much like a cutesy cow.

In a previous life (my mid-twenties), I did a lot of papier-mâché. I was living in San Francisco in a typical San Francisco 3-story row house apartment with two flats per floor.  My housemates and I lived in one flat the top floor and some friends lived in the other. We would have big parties opening up both apartments, one for dancing and one for chatting (or slurring as the case may be). We would decorate with papier-mâché fish or sperm and egg piñatas that we would make during the prior weeks tweaking on starch and newspaper and drinking beer.

So, I decided to try my hand at a papier-mâché bull head. First, I needed balloons. I was going to hit the store after picking Ike up from school (I still do this by car due to a big hill and the need to cross the main highway), but the sun was shining and I wanted to move. I pulled out my trusty silver steed and bike helmet. While doing so, I was delayed my an old man who stopped to inquire about the trailer on the side of the house. He asked if was for sale, which it is, so I gave him Josh’s number. He wanted to chat, but time was a-ticking so I kindly said good-bye and off I rode. I thought I would try the hardware store first as it is a little closer and it doesn’t have a crazy parking lot to negotiate. They used to have a ton of party supplies but now they are limited to multi-colored paper plates and cutlery. By the cashier’s response to my asking about balloons, you would think I was looking for them to fill with heroin. She informed me they only sell balloons already filled with helium, not in bags.

Then I tried our trusty supermarket. There, on a bottom hook near the greeting cards, I located a $1.99 bag of assorted balloons. I saw a sheriff walk down an aisle on my way to pay and another on my ride home and I wondered if the hardware store lady called in about a suspicious women trying to buy balloons to fill with drugs.

Just as I arrived home, the duck quacked on my phone alerting me that it was time to pick-up Ike (I set this up in case I am on a roll writing or elbows deep in cat-litter). The search took me over an hour. No time for lunch or cleaning the bathroom…darn that little old man and useless hardware store.

Postscript: The project was a bust. Ike gagged at the site of the wheat paste so he didn’t even want to try it, it was extremely messy (starch is way neater, too), and the paper towel tube horns were unwieldy taped to the balloon so it kept tipping over. And, I forgot to take a picture and it is gone due to wind or fire. In the end, we decided on plastic horns and face paint for the costume.

Minotaur

Since I forgot to take a picture of the paper-mache head,
I give you the model.

Summer Sunday

Ride Log 081212

We started the day with gluten-free buckwheat waffles, one wheat-less recipe that my whole family enjoys. If interested, the recipe can be found here. I use honey instead of agave and add a little extra. I have used walnut oil and grapeseed oil with good results and have added a touch a cardamom. I skip the sunflower seeds They are yummy with homemade preserves and a drizzle of yogurt.

Since we went to the county fair the previous night and Josh wanted to start welding our bike rack so we can take our bikes on our Oregon Coast vacation in a couple of weeks, no big family outing was planned. We decided on our default Sunday outing and rode down to the Farmers’ Market. Josh took Ike on the Trail-a-Bike while a I trailed behind at a slower pace. We didn’t plant a garden this year, so we needed to stock up on summer greens. We also scored a bunch of cheap apricots from the corner farm stand to make jam.

We stayed just long enough to hydrate and try some black currant italian ice (made from local black currants, yum! so refreshing) then started back along the highway with my basket and Josh’s backpack full. For some reason, the trip seemed longer this time. I suppose I was just hot. I finally reached the turn and the wonderful long slope down and was enjoying the wind and the speed so much I almost forgot to be scared of possibly needing to brake fast and flying over my handlebars.

Food from Here

Stacks

Ride Log 080412

Another hot day. The boys were on the boat again to check the crab pots. I thought I would take a quick ride down to the library to make some returns and pick up items on hold. I was just making my way downstairs when Ike burst into the house announcing their arrival. Apparently, our friend that had gone out with them had to make a quick return as there was chance his wife was going into labor (it was a false alarm, thankfully, as it would have been a little too early). I informed the boys of my intended ride and asked if they would like to accompany me. Their answer was affirmative but it was necessary to wait a few minutes so they could take care of a few things.

It was getting hotter my the minute and my quick trip was turning into a bit on an excursion. Finally, we all got out the door and made our way down to the library. It is nice to have two adults to herd Ike as we make our way down our road. Grandma drove past and informed us that the library was having a book sale. I was planning on just picking up my books and heading back but Josh and Ike settled in and started looking at books together. I found a few more books and the stack started to grow. While the boys were occupied, I went to check out the sale. I wasn’t planning to purchase anything but then started finding things with pricing that was hard to resist: books for Isaac, a book I have been planning to read, art and photography books, free books, etc. I could have walked out with more, but I was considering the limitations of my basket. I don’t have a rear rack yet and we did not bring a backpack. I returned to the children’s section with a bigger pile than anticipated. Josh decided he wanted to look at the sale so Ike and I began our journey home without him. It was hot, my basket was full, Isaac was hungry.

For the last two blocks, he decided he would rather walk, so we dismounted and spent some extra time in the heat. Finally home, we gulped ice water and anticipated our crab dinner.

A Break in the Rain

Ride Log 071312 

Since living in the Northwest, I have learned to be more spontaneous because of the weather. In the SoCal of my youth, there are endless days of sunny days with no guilt about staying indoors and little worry about having to change outdoor plans due to rain.

Last week was true summer: coastal fog in the morning that burned off to glorious sun way before noon, bright afternoons, and long, warm twilights. But the rain would return; too much forest, mountain, sea. The original plan for today was a trip to the beach, but last night, not five minutes after I brought a bunch of toys inside, the deluge began. As I was going to sleep, I thought the rumbles and flashes outside the curtains were from July 4th leftovers and wondered if it was still raining.

I went to a step-study group this morning and we opened the curtains to better see the lightning. Thunder’s roars have been sending bolts of adrenalin through me all day. Sudden glimpses of blue sky are followed by sheets of rain. In one break in the rain (the longest of the day as it urns out), I was able to get out for a ride. I came home from the study group to find a notice from the post office. The weather at that moment was fine and felt I should take advantage of the moment and task. Ike decided to stay home with grandma, so off I rode pleased to go at my own pace. The certified letter was good news from a bad situation, which one day I may write about when I have more time and inclination. Since I was close to the store, I stopped to pick up some cat food and once again was grateful for my basket. I pedaled home thinking, “what a great way to travel.” I put my bike in the garage, came upstairs, said “Hi” to Ike and grandma, then looked out the window and it was pouring. Not a minute too soon. So glad I jumped at the opportunity and did not procrastinate or wait for Ike to want to go, I probably would have never made it out.

At the Post Office

Gratitude

I planned on editing and flushing out these last two ride logs while weekending on San Juan Island, but the time never presented itself. I am now all caught up and will once again attempt to post on the same day of the ride. At least then, I will have a better excuse for my brevity.

Ride Log 070512 

Tonight, I was able to get out of the house solo for a bit to go to a meeting. On the way (the long way), I stopped at the library to pick up a book they had on hold for me (WordPress for Dummies; I still have quite a few tweaks to make to this site and may be moving to self-hosted soon). The evening was warm and the ride was quick; I don’t think a car would have been any faster. I made it to the meeting on time and received a warm welcome. It felt so good to be there. The topic was eleventh step stuff but shifted to Gratitude. I have been feeling extremely grateful this last week and acknowledging the abundance in my life: clean water, running water, hot water, a full fridge, a roof over my head, clothes, love, recovery, a bicycle, beauty all around me. This is a wonderful way to live.


Late

Ride Log 062912

So you can see I lost momentum. I was trying to write the logs on the same day as the ride as a low-pressure way of regular posting. But, life got busy with other projects and events and I barely had time to ride let alone write about it. So here I am, trying to catch up.

The library has become the primary biking destination, especially as our local holds amazing kid events. Last Friday was Boffer Club. We have been anticipating this event for the past month because the kids were going to make their own foam swords. I knew it was going to be crowded and had every intention of arriving early. But, the gods conspired and there were interruptions in my planned flow of the day such as needing to go jump-start my mother’s car and making lunch. At ten minutes ‘til, we were racing to find our shoes and hop on our bikes. We hurried down the road as fast as a 5-year old can pedal.

It was a warm day and the conference room was packed with boys of all ages, a smattering of girls, a fairly equal number of dads and moms who needed to stay with the under 9 set plus a few who just wanted to hang out. There was a scent of sweaty impatience and fear of not having enough. It was just the right setting for a meltdown. But, something about riding the bikes there helped me remain calm and Ike held it pretty together as well. We waited for our materials and then instructions and were able to use the duck tape of choice (black with yellow flames for the “blade” and red for the hilt). It seemed to take forever but when we were done, there was still over an hour left to spar and battle. Ike made a new friend; I chatted with the mom. Both boys were made King for a mock battle. Ike was having a blast and I felt so relaxed, no gnawing urge to get somewhere. The world just seems to slow down a little when travelling by bike.

Favorite Errand

Ride Log 062512

I had a big plan of taking a long solo ride today. My son was in day camp at the Y and a had a nice chunk of time to myself. Unfortunately, I whittled away my time doing this and that…good things, things that needed to be done but I didn’t get on the bike.

I picked up Ike from Pirate Camp and remembered that, instead of stopping by the library on the way home to sign up for the summer reading program, we could just go home, grab the bikes, and ride down. The sun wasn’t shining as bright and a few rain drops fell as we pulled up to the library, but it was nothing ominous.

Have I mentioned how much I love that we can ride bikes to the library. I always thought driving there was ridiculous, but walking added too much time or something…or it just not very fun? Now it is a favorite errand.

Ike signed up for the program, found some books, did a craft. Then we hopped on our bikes and took the long way home.

20120625-222613.jpg