30 June, 2009

(Lack of) Preparing for the Firecracker 50

So as a father of three very energetic, intelligent kids and husband to a rather kick-ass wife I don't have as much time as I'd like to prepare for racing (if you're a parent you can switch the word racing with a noun/gerund you're passionate about). My training rides come in spurts, interspersed with camping, swim/soccer practice, recreation time with them and the other sundry, prosaic routines of being a Cycling Dad. Some weeks I get in 7 hours, some: none. Like preparing for a test in University, I'm cramming for the Firecracker 50. I'll try and ride off-road as much as possible until Thursday then I'll chill for recovery purposes (read: too lazy to train). The actual race is Saturday. Let me reiterate again we do 2 laps of 25 miles with 5400 feet of climbing/lap. I don't get the six-week training cycle of tapering so I get what I can get.
Here's the course profile (Y-axis starts at 9k feet with 500' increments; X-axis starts at 0 miles with 2 mile increments):

The racers' are also part of the 4th of July ceremonies:

There's an option where you and a partner each do 25 miles. The calves are marked in such a way you can tell the age of the competitor and if they're in a partnership. Whenever one half of a duo passes me (a visual cue is that their kit is clean) on my second and final lap I secretly beam extra-powerful, super-saturated hate rays out of my eyes focused exclusively on them.
Yesterday rode with Kenny and he slew. By the way, yesterday was my third time on the mountain bike. I'da gotten more off-road miles in but my fork died and I was procrastinating searching/installing it. My first time on a mountain bike was doing the Front Range 50. Another 50 mile mountain bike race where my body said quit at mile 30 but my pride said save face so your buds won't razz you. The second time was with my boys Billy and Alec and this was my fork's fateful day of decrepitude/morbidity. Today, I went and rode this place near my house called Pine Valley. It's rather hot nowadays in Colorado so what was supposed to be a sub-2 H ride turned into a nearly three hour death march.
The ride with Kenny had my legs in some serious pain with my left leg hamstring cramping. So today I was just going to ride tempo. I had a slow leak in my rear tire and after three episodes of pumping it up I finally changed it. It was a microscopic thorn in-between the nobs. By that time Mr. Sun was raging and my body didn't take in enough calories after yesterday's ride to punch me through to the sunny finish today. To make matters worse, I did a bonehead move and got lost. No worries though, I found the trail some .5H later and it was all downhill from there. The new fork's maximum travel is 135mm and I like it there with a pure downhill with minimum turns but after it gets serpentine my bike (which was designed to run at a hundred millimeters) starts to behave like a poorly designed chopper circa the 1970s. I can change travel on-the-fly but it's kinda dangerous. I was in survival mode from here because Mr. Bonks hitched a ride on my handlebars 'til I got to my car.
The huge obstacles of endurance mountain biking are:
1) the mental and physical pain of sitting on a bike for 5+ hours and having the fortitude to deal/blank-out the pain that settles on your arse contact points with the saddle (I think I hate my saddle), the shoulders, the spinal cord, and the forearm strength fade dealing with heavy braking. and
2) becoming a proficient fighter pilot with the bike being able to negotiate tricky turns and technical bits with nary a brake, mostly pedalling, and mostly with body english.
The verdict is still out on the above two for me; but then again, I rarely get the time to prepare for this mountain biking event that I'm satisfied with. I'm slowly getting there and I've already pre-registered so I'm going to do it whether pretty or not.
Total riding time after two days of mountain biking is 5.5h. Sadly, that's close to my Firecracker 50 time. The Firecracker's also the U.S. National Marathon Mountain Biking Championship(s) so all manner of genetic mutants come out to play and try to win the Stars and Stripes jersey for National Chump(s).
Wednesday's going to be a new day. I may have to ride the road bike though to keep it mentally fresh. My bike is a hardtail Yeti F.R.O. with cable-actuated front and rear discs. XT-XTR spec'd. I hate my saddle (or it might could be my fat arse). 5year-old frame but still kickin'(kinda like its 42 year-old owner)! Anybody out there willing to loan a dual suspension bike for me this Saturday (like a Yeti 575 or sumpin'?) There are people who do this nonsense on a singlespeed. I keep telling my boys Billy and Kevin to partner up and do it as a team. They'd love it.
My bowels are gettin' all nervous just thinking about Saturday...

29 June, 2009

Steamboat Springs

So check it out. 5 families (with as many camp sites), 12 kids, and 1 dog composed this particular entourage whose purpose was to celebrate friendship under the matronage (?) of mother nature via Steamboat Springs. There's a special place in Melissa and my hearts with another town in Colorado called Crested Butte; but Steamboat is a very close second. Melissa being the planner extraordinaire that she is, planned a stop time at the city owned Hot Springs Pool. It was sublime vegetating in the 100° F (give or take a few degrees) as the cold rain came down. What I like is the evaporative cooling effect with such a difference (in temperature) between the pool and the ambient air. Hardly anybody was here. They also had a covered slide. I think they covered it to increase the sensory deprivation and hence the rush the riders would get because they have no idea how it snakes down to the pool. The only clues you get are the g-turns your body experiences as it high sides the tunnel's turns then boom you hit the water. Kids dig it but adults with inner-ear problems like me, not so much. If an amusement park ride goes round and round? Forget it, it'll be projectile vomit city for me. It sucks when the water's hot and the surrounding air is hot as well. That wasn't the case today as the chilly rain came down and pummeled us with ice cold droplets and the pool cancelled its bite in a very therapeutic way. We arrived there at 1 p.m. and our goal was to leave by 4. It was closer to 5 when we left. So off we got to find our campsite some 20 miles away, at Steamboat Lake.

The drive there is surreal. All the rains make the open range look as if it was an outdoor scene from The Sound Of Music. If you've never been to NY City, the first thing you do is to look upward, amazed at the skyscrapers and the architectural aesthetics associated with such civil engineered, monoliths. That's how our family was too. Completely in awe, geeking at the beautiful landscape (and we live here!). As luck would have it, when we drive to our actual campsite it's raining sheets. The timing was such that when we took out the tent and its accompanying aluminum, sectional shafts, the tent (and ironically the rainfly), footprint, and the poor saps trying to put it up in record time got soaked! As quickly as it entered, it left just as quick leaving us puddles and a quickly erected but wet tent. The exiting rains left a rainbow as a parting gift for our campsite.

The rest of the day was spent (for the adults): catching up, and for the guys I brought a baseball and two mitts, so Sjef, Pablo, and I took turns playing catch. Throwing a baseball and catching is pretty darn therapeutic too. Pablo used to play district baseball back in Argentina so he would get some pretty hard but accurate throws in. Night was spent drinking and eating some pretty tasty stuff and our cue to throw in the towel for the evening? Another rain storm...
Our kids were up pretty late playing with the other kids and I was hoping that they would sleep in. To check out who's still sleeping, Mason-whose face is right against mine with big, alert eyes-is waiting for me to open my eyes and he says, "Daddy, I need to use the bathroom." Well, guess I'm getting up. After we do our bodily functions, we walk our campsite area and I fire off some pictures of the beauty surrounding us. The rain brings out the wildflowers too.
Tetraneuria ivesiana aka Perky Sue

Our view of Steamboat Lake

We go for a hike to the swimming beach at Steamboat Lake and the singletrack there is stunning as well. After a quick lunch, Melissa plans out another hike at a place called Mad Creek and our reward to the top of his singletrack is a structure called the Mad Barn. All the tough kids complete the 4 mile roundtrip uphill/downhill hike. Mason had an assist in the form of piggy-back rides on the sustained ascent from yours truly and sweet Melissa. We hit the town for ice cream and as we're waiting to cross the street; a woman eating an ice cream cone says to us, "They have $1 cones inside." Yeah, so that's what we do inside Lyon Drug.

Night comes and as our traditional campfire treat the kids as well as the adults make and eat a butt-load of S'mores. I am putting on potential energy for the Firecracker 50 by consuming an inordinate amount of S'mores (melted marshmallows with Hershey's® chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers). The Firecracker's a 50 mile (80.5 km) mt. bike race in Breckenridge, Colorado on the Fourth of July. Peep dis: each lap is 25 miles (40 km) long and has 5400 vertical feet (1,646 km) of climbing-the individual does this twice (as compared to a two-person team where each person does a lap each-weenies)! The highest elevation is about 12,000 feet (3,658 m). Not only is endurance my problem, but this elevation does wonders for the oxygen delivery system. Hemoglobin's close to being oxygen saturated but it just can't deliver (release) it to the primary movers due to the lack of partial pressures at this elevation; but my fat stores'll be good to go with another S'more.
Sunday we hit the hot springs pool one more time and stay 'til 5 pm. We eat pizza from Blue Sage Pizza in town (recommended by a local), wash it down with beers at a town park called "Toots Park" and plan out another lovely camping trip. Again we're mesmerized by the scenery as we head back home. For music as beautiful as our scenery, we start off with John Coltrane's Ballads. 6 days 'til Firecracker 50 (aka PAIN!).

17 June, 2009

A Day In The Life of Daddy Daycare

Here's our state flower, the Aquilegia caerulea aka the Colorado blue Columbine.

So the day starts when I have to wake the girls so we can eat breakfast at a decent time-7:30. This gives us about an hour to eat and get ready for swim lessons. Swim lessons are in Evergreen which is about .5H away. After swim lessons we head off to the library where we sometimes catch story time but for sure get some new books and CDs for me and my wee ones. This takes us to 11, so it's lunchtime. Today I make breakfast burritos for my kids and Maura's taken an inclination for putting salsa on her eggs like her Daddy!
Now it's naptime. After we get up we go for a hike out at Meyer Ranch. It's absolutely beautiful weather, just on the verge of raining so the temps are in the 60°s. We take out doggy Addie too. We're taking hikes as much as possible to get the kids used to hiking when we go to the Canadian Rockies after the fourth of July. It's almost like I'm retracing my steps from when my family went to Banff in the seventies and to see my cousin get married in Edmonton. We took it in a huge honking 360 cubic inched mopar green power wagon with a camping trailer in tow. It was heavenly; I still remember that trip even to this day.
Okay, so here are some pictures I fire off on this sweet 1H hike where I live.

At home we make dinner. When I say we, I really mean all of us. Maricel's a wiz with the crust making, Maura's an outstanding chopper and sautér to boot. And, like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones lyric, I have pictures to prove it!

As a part of complimenting the situation of us preparing dinner, I cranked some tunes from a CD I scored from the library: Creedence Clearwater Revival's At The Movies. Awesome. When Maura's eyes were stinging from chopping the onions, she took a chopping break and we both danced to Bad Moon Rising.

12 June, 2009

Colin at Obzeet's Friday

Friday night in Dallas boy (not really, we're still in Plano)! Colin's electric band at Obzeet's was our rendezvous point for me and my kids, my dear old homies and their kids whom, after two decades, I still keep in contact with. After I did my anti-Amerigo Vespucci imitation I finally got there (I swear it was in Frisco). Reuniting with them was excellent. I kinda always view them as my old-school Plano hooligans, sans kids. So now they're these pretty cool parents that care more for their kids than themselves. It's a nice transition and I'm lucky none of my parent friends act like Little League (and football) dads.
The outdoor patio at Obzeet's was paaacked, so we had to settle indoors but we could still see and hear Colin's band. Whenever I see Brent's and Jimmy and Lisa's kids I tell them a confidence inspiring story about their parents that they normally couldn't ascertain by the sheer fact that they're their Dad/Mom. For example, Gabriel-Brent's son, I told him that his Daddy, back in the day, won bike races. He smiled and said, really?!! He really did! Jimmy and his daughter Gianna and me and my kids kept going outside, behind the coy,goldfish pond in the middle of the outdoor patio to watch Colin rock it out then we'd go back in for conversation. It was a great atmosphere, other kids where there too but maybe the volume was a bit loud (yeah I'm old)?
As the evening went on we kept doing this (going inside/outside) and I actually started to dance with Maricel doing our swing dance routine whenever we went outside. Mason was with us too watching the goldfish completely hypnotized by their size, movements, and funky coloration. He couldn't get over how the bubbler was a machine in the pond designed to give the fish oxygen instead of a sea monster about to surface. Inside, one of Colin's friends came over (I met her from Colin's last gig) and she introduced herself to my group. Her name was Elizabeth and she asked Mason if it was okay if she could dance with him (she was a very sweet, classy girl). Mason excitedly asked me if he could dance with her and of course I said yes. From inside I could see them dancing, that's when Jimmy took Gianna outside to dance too. Not to miss the fun, I took Maricel out too and we all started to do the "slow dance" routine because Colin was playing a slow but rockin' ballady tune. At first, Maricel was a wee bit embarrassed but as the song kept playing we were doing the circular, Frankenstein routine like everybody else, she finally got over it. We had to leave early for our trip back to Colorado so we had to cut the evening short and say our goodbyes. My friends are cool y'all; furthermore, I'm really diggin' this vacation with my kids.
Mason was sooo happy to have danced with Elizabeth-thanks Elizabeth, Maricel now has this infectious groove of watching live music (with slight hearing loss I'm sure)-thanks Colin et al, and I got the opportunity to dance with my quasi-embarrassed daughter. I would say a trifecta of poppahood y'all. My kids and I were just talking up a storm with what we witnessed, participated, listened, and danced to that evening on our car ride back to my folk's house. Strange adults surrounding them were behaving like decent adults--yea!--and hopefully my kids were experiencing new stimuli thereby creating new synaptic/neuronal pathways/circuits in their respective mellons. Wow. Great evening kids. Peep dis y'all: If you're an adult that doesn't have kids, you will deposit karmic currency in your karmic bank account whenever you act decent in front of kids you don't know.

Thursday's (reminiscing) Ride

The group ride Thursday was a million times mo'bettah because these latest rounds of rain kinda cooled things off; but the trade-off was the sauna-like lack of evaporative cooling. Really the term evaporative cooling does not apply to North Central Texas. El Paso and the parts that are in the Mountain Time Zone maybe but not here in Plano. This time I rode my bike to the meeting place so I can bail when the pack came near my folks' place back in Plano.
It's a wee bit unnerving cycling with three lanes of commuter traffic going or exceeding 50mph; but that's what cyclists do in suburbia Dallas. The ride itself was pretty uneventful (but hot). Took some turns up front pulling in a rotating paceline, accelerating sometimes to see who would follow but then I remembered that there's always a stoplight 'round the corner so I stopped the self-inflicted interval workout in the heat. Whenever people would accelerate up a hill (just barely qualifies as a geographical anticline) I would go to the front and and spin the pedals just a wee bit faster. Nobody responded which was fine with me. My legs were still feeling the residual tenderness from the cramps on Tuesday's ride. On the ride we cruise by my high school alma mater and I see the band geeks practicing their drills. The road to my high school used to dead end, now it's a pretty major thoroughfare that connects Plano to Allen. I can use such an un-nice term because I was a band geek too. So I ask the peloton who else here is a band geek? and about 4 people raise their hands-too funny. I played the tenor sax during marching season and bass clarinet during symphonic season. First chair may I add? Thank you.
Note to self: a base layer is completely useless and is deleterious to normal, heat-shunting effects. I read somewhere that it helps wick the heat away quicker-BULL$HIT! What it is good for is for putting fabric between the (rare times the) shoulder strap rubs against the nipples (making 'em tender) when you wear bib shorts.
Everything is nice and built up from what I remembered back in the day (which was considered the sticks). The golf course which was kind of remote now have million dollar homes on its margins. It always surprised me why owners of such exorbitant homes would want their neighbors within spitting distance of their property. Why is dat? We ride next to my friend's property which was huuge back in the day and now the city of Allen bought it up and subdivided it after Kent's parents passed away. I remember hanging out with Kent and Rory at Kent's Mom and Dad's and making riding plans and general tom foolery to inflict upon the North Central Texas scene.
Before going to my folks, I detoured to catch up with Brent (because temporarily he's living real close to my parents). Saw his two chilluns: Abigail and Gabriel. Beautiful kids. We committed to seeing Colin tonight at a grill called Obzeets in between Frisco and Plano off of Preston Rd. We'll be taking our kids too so we won't be staying too long.
Riding in the Texas heat makes my brain lazy (as opposed to when you say?) but the endorphins from the ride are keeping me loopy. I'm like a happy drunk with nothing but white noise resonating in my brain and a $hit eating grin on my face cycling back to my folks' house. Saw a lot of new, built up stuff from a mostly grasslands ecosystem from what I remembered twenty years ago. I guess the city manager(s) did an ite job zoning all the (human) artifacts where animals and photosynthetic organisms used to reside harmoniously with others in the ecosystem for generations before they got ripped away by big-a$$ machines to be replaced by concrete and carnivorous (and potentially diabetic) hominds along with their various, synergistic polluting lifestyle perpetuating machines (if you like that kind of stuff). Uh-oh, I'm sensing sarcasm...

11 June, 2009

Wednesday in Dallas

Hmmmm Wednesday. We went shopping with the folks and my Mom and Dad being the gracious grandparents that they are got my chilluns some new hiking shoes for our family trip to the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia. We also got some goat cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, and artisan bread for this evening's dinner edition to compliment the main course of Salmon steaks. We don't mess around when it comes to eating that's why I need to cycle when I visit my folks.
After dinner, after the tornado warnings, after the early warning sirens, and after the torrential down pouring of rain, I took off to see Colin Boyd play in Greenville (the street, not the actual town). After his acoustic gig we hung out a 24 joint shooting the shizzle. Catching up on people we've known for at least two decades including our international friends whom we think about more often than not. It was exceptional hanging out and just talking. We had quite the inner circle of friends growing up in our formative years here in Texas and mutual interest continues 'til this day. Colin is a musician that literally and figuratively sings for a living full-time. His collaborations with uniquely Texan musicians and songwriters were also cool to hear about during our conversation. Other than being an old, good friend, my perks in this friendship is also hearing his music. He has a new CD--titled Shine--out too which I picked up for myself and my other intentionally displaced ex-Texan, friend living in Colorado. Yeah Colin that was a nice evening. When it was all said and done it was about 2:15 ante-meridiem. On my drive home I was treated to Mother Nature's light show from the random thunderclouds gathering and dispersing creating some nifty looking air-to-air and air-to-ground spiderwebby lightning strikes, all the while jamming out to Shine. It's lights out for me...

09 June, 2009

I'm vacationing in a blast furnace!

This Texas wildflower's scientific name's Monarda citriodora . We hillbillies call it Purple Horsemint.
So a typical day here with my folks is we have breakfast together. A rather large breakfast because we sleep in late and it's closer to 10:30-11 when we finally do eat. The afternoon we (team 3/5s Mequi) hang at the park or pool with Ruby. In the evening we have another large-ish dinner and talk and watch a movie or read/journal. If I'm pooped out, me and Mason'll take a nap. I love napping. This'll end at 11:30pm. It's a great circadian vacation rhythm don't you think? In the mornings when everbody's still asleep I take Ruby on a 45 minute walk in the open space area near my folks' house.
Today is Tuesday. We finally went to the playground and it was just us there (then eventually another family showed up). Mason was playing on the playground and Maricel and I were playing catch with the Frisbee while Ruby looked on and sniffed a bunch. It was hot. At first I liked this heat novelty but with all novelty items it loses its charm just as quick. Now, it's downright oppressive; and the sad thing is this the coolest part of the North Texas summer. You should be around come August-September. Coupled with the humidity it's a miracle I lasted as long as I did (20 years on and off) when I used to live here. Walking to the park, I remembered there's a cemetery here within city limits. Long before Plano became a municipality two powerful philanthropic land barons ruled here: the Bowmans and the Haggards. Since they had a lot of land the city wanted, these two families and the city zoning peeps listened to their conditions should they fess up significant chunks o'land. One was the cemetery had to stay unmoved within city limits and another was the Haggards can have domesticated animals also inside city limits. It's pretty cool actually seeing this stuff in such a homogeneous community. I snapped a couple of pictures of the Indian Paint brush wildflowers thriving this time of year and the Bowman's cemetery plot (I tried to get fancy and B/W it).

Later that evening too I went and did the group ride in Richardson. For reasons unknown to me it's called the Popsicle ride. Damn. Again it was HOT! The speeds were pretty quick but the heat--92°F--and humidity--50%--did a number on my cardiovascular system and primary movers. Hung with the leaders until we got back to the main road (3.5 miles to go) and both legs were seeping with lactic acid, and, eventually they cramped. boo-hoo!!! Apparently lactic acid buffering suffers (my intensity was good) when it's superseded with homeostatic functions like temperature regulation. It was really difficult pedaling in that heat and humidity but it was a really fun, quality ride. The ironic thing is this is the year our kit did a funamental color change...to mostly black. Yes black with me sporting a black skid lid (that matches my bike nicely boy!) to boot. Hmmmm. So, I made some mental notes from this ride and they are:
1) It's stop light central out here so cranking up the wattage only to be shut down is like an interval workout. Next time, I'm sucking wheel until we get out to an uninterrupted stretch of road.
2) Conserve energy and bring a bottle of water to pour on myself and another one filled with electrolytes to drink.
3) Drink water like a teenage loser at an illegal rave who just took some homemade ecstasy from a swarthy individual with an overactive thyroid beforehand.
I talked with my Cajunous brother Brent today. I love that guy. What makes him lovable is his unconventional ways. He pursued his dream and became a fireman and was also quite the bike racer back in the day. Also his warped sense of humor just kills me. We played catch up on the phone today and when I inquired about his youngest brother, he replied, You know he's a functional mongoloid right (pc? no; hella funny? yup.)? Damn, I 'bout pissed me pantaloons after he said that. We're going to try and hook up sometime this week before we leave.

07 June, 2009

Texas Break, June 2009

Well it's Sunday and it's HOT kids! We came in Saturday night after a rather hot and long day of driving. The kids were exceptional sitting pretty much straight through a thirteen hour day! Yeah, the kids rock; don't know if I want to put them through that again. Peep dis: no DVD player, just kid stuff on my Sirius/XM satellite radio and conversation. Yeah y'all, great kids. Tough and patient-the both of them.
I know I'm close when I can tune into my radio and listen to KNTU. It's the North Texas University jazz radio station. I received my teaching certification there and my undergrad at The University of Texas at Austin. They've changed their name to the University of North Texas but that wouldn't go over too good if their radio call sign actually matched their latest moniker. Good jazz (straight ahead, bop, and modern jazz trio--no electric) is hard to find on the radio. Real Jazz on Sirius does a pretty darn good job most of the time but they were playing a tribute to Benny Goodman--which isn't necessarily a bad thing--but I'm not much of jazz clarinet kind of guy. It's kinda up there (for me) with a jazz flautist. They were rocking out Saturday night as team 3/5's Mequi were cruising east bound on 380 to McKinney.
So Sunday, I ripped some iTunes and took some iTunes off my computer onto my Dad's iTunes Library-specifically Raul Malo's "After Hours" and John Doe & the Sadies' "Country Club". Both awesome albums if you're a country/standards kinda dude (dude being a genderless term mind you). Went and walked/ran with my Ruby (read several blogs before this one). When we first saw her, she showered Maricel with kisses. Afterwards, being the good girl that she is, whenever she gets too hyper with her greetings, she forces herself to sit down with her tail a'waggin' mightily (on the floor)! So she sat down in front of me waiting for me to scratch and bear hug her. We both missed Ruby pretty sorely. It was really nice to pet/hold her again. I think she grew a bit more too. Ahhhh, Ruby...

Gave my truck a good washing and waxing. She was filthy and this was her first wash in months! Afterwards my Mom and I went to do some food shopping for dinner. Dinner was a Pasta-pesto dish with vegan meat starter (soy protein) mixed-in. Salad was a quick one where Maricel cut up the lettuce and we had croutons poured in. My Dad and I washed this dinner down with Maredsous Bruin/Brune (8% alcohol content).

Yummy, quick, and fairly healthy (with just a dash of alcohol). During the day, Maricel hangs out with Ruby in her kennel. It's a huge kennel made for a huge dog. Ruby is perfectly content with Maricel journaling and watching TV while petting Ruby inside her kennel. The dynamic duo is together again, at least for this week. Later that evening, team 3/5s Mequi went and saw the Disney, Pixar animated movie "Up". Great movie for all, including families with wee ones. We felt great walking back to our car in the hot, breezy Texas evening talking about "Up". Highly recommend it y'all kids.
Monday, after a super leisure morning trying to figure out my older brother's old-assed waffle maker at my Mom and Dad's, we had eggs and Belgium waffles. It was kinda rubbery because the machine wasn't delivering consistent heat and it had no audible way of telling the user it's done! Well at least the eggs were good. Took the Rube out for an early morning walk. Kinda wore a blister on the right ball of my foot because we walked for about 40 mins in my flip-flops. We went to Jack Carter Pool in the heat of the afternoon. It was hot! Even walking on the sidewalk at the pool caused great distress to my non-heat tolerant doggies. They even had a wading/kiddie pool where Mason could fart around and climb up and slide down the aquatic fort. It was fun and I even remembered to bring the sunscreen and some beverages ice-chilled in a cooler. While Mason continued napping from our ride back to Lolo and Lola's, Maricel and I played catch with ball and gloves in the front yard while Ruby watched and chilled with us. I don't think I've mentioned this but it's like Africa hot out here; but oddly enough I kinda like it compared to the fifties and rain we left behind in Colorado. This heat's going to get old awfully quick though. For dinner, I made a fettuccine, broccoli, bean sprouts, tofu, thinly sliced onion, garbanzo beans, sprinkled with generous amounts of fresh, whole leaves of basil concoction covered in a peanut/fresh ginger sauce I made from scratch. My Dad and I washed the solids down with a lovely liquid Syrah wine named Red Bicyclette.

It complimented the meal well, I thought the Syrah might be a bit strong but it was rather subdued (like team 3/5s Mequi roasting underneath the hot Texas sun). At the used CD store I picked up Dinosaur Jr's Where you been and Pavement's Terror Twilight. Thanks Mom! When my Mom and I were picking up groceries for dinner it was about the same time I would be doing my first Texas group ride since I've lived here. Made a mental comparison about tomorrow's conditions and here it is: o my goodness it's going to be ehfing HOT! I don't know if I can physiologically handle this heat under physical taxation? Damn. Wouldn't you know it? My kit this year underwent a drastic aesthetic change and our primary color's black (with matching black helmet). I better stock up on water and Clif bars (our sponsor!). Tomorrow morning I'm making breakfast burritos!
We're having chill time now. We're also on vacation time-we get to sleep whenever we get there. In fact, my chilluns crashed in the living where Mason plum got pooped out (w/ Ketchup on the corner of his mouth) and crashed on the carpeted floor whereas Maricel fell asleep on the couch after journaling and reading her book still with her bathing suit on from the pool earlier.
Isn't this what a vacation with the out-of-state Grandparents' supposed to be? Yeauh! Long live the teaching profession with at least some semblance of a break!