Birthday Lovin' Part Deux

DD's Birthday Present: The Best Ever

What: Steelers Game, DD's first one in the new Heinz Field
When: December 24th 1 pm
Who: Stillers vs. Ravens

Details: Tickets bought on Ebay, nose bleed seats behind the team. Not a bad seat in the house. Price included parking pass in the A #1 lot at the field. Schweet.

Other particulars:

  • Stillers play just a little bit better than the Browns usually do, but lose the game.
  • I cheered like a total lunatic for Ben. Even cheered for the Stillers a bit. Mostly because I hate the Ravens.
  • Were able to buy Penn Pilsner or Yuengling on tap at the bottom of the shoot to our section.
  • If I decide to buy additional Stillers tickets next season, the thrill will not get old.


full of Christmassy Goodness

err... due to technical difficulties beyond our control, hellpellet is unable to broadcast in the proper "politically correct" fashion today.

Yep, ladies and gentlemen, it's Christmas. What? A Christmas Tree? Christmas Presents? Christmas Cookies? Christmas Cards? Christmas Carols?

Nope, no "holidays" here. No holiday tree, no holiday vacation. Christmas. Santa Claus. Away in a Manger. All that Christmassy Goodness.

Why the rant? I got my first E-card today that didn't even stoop to a "Happy Holidays" or even "Seasons Greetings". It said "Have a great Winter Season!"

Even worse, it came from someone in California, where it is usually never winter. Or at least it's not a real winter. Is the "Winter Season Card" person taunting us for having winter in the Midwest? Or are they just dropping the PC Christmas handle of the year on us? Is it a holiday tree? Or is it just a Winter Tree?

Maybe we should just stick with the tried and true complete scouring and bleaching of any holiday or celebration: Festivus.

Happy Frickin' Festivus!!

I'm down with that. How 'bout you?

Small print: No animals, Santa Clauses or elves or even Babes in a Manger were harmed in the posting of this blog. Only recycled materials were used in the manufacture and mailing of this Season's Holiday Cards.


Some Birthday Lovin'

DD's birthday is Dec. 20th. I know he hates that it is so close to Christmas. He got his first Birthday/Christmas card today. He cringed.

I am really excited about what I got him for his birthday. So excited in fact that I am ready to give him his gift today.

I'll wait though. And will let you know how it goes and if he really likes his gift.


consumed by the evil blog

Struck by what my husband uttered today, I have fianlly decided to post. He said, and I quote, "Sometimes I find myself getting sucked in to some inane topic on the internet. I stop myself and wonder why I am wasting my time. Why am I not creating something of my own?"

Point well taken.

This past month is a combination of slogging thru work tasks, selling stuff and consuming a bunch of crap from the internet. Or as I've heard it called, "the inner nets". Nope, the crap of which I speak doesn't include the latest updates from my blog pals. John or Jill or Mrs. Kennedy. Yeah, you'd think I am personal friends with these people. How about Penny Pressed? Or Wendy McClure. Big Johnny at DrunkCyclist? Nope, I just lurk at their blogs. Occasionally I'll comment. I also surf people I actually know: Uncle Crappy and... Umm, well, you know, people I actually know, umm, they are....

OK, OK, I don't really know any of the people I read except Uncle Crappy.

The crap of which I speak is those crazy celebrity blogs. Yep. I can't get enough of Lindsey Lohan, Matthew McConnaughey and Kate Moss and her horrible crack head, smack head BF. I thought I was even ready for a Britney Spears come back. But in 10 short days I've already seen more, much more of Brit Brit than I ever needed or wanted. No come back for you, Brit. Sorry, girlfriend.

Another dirty little secret of mine. I have a really stupid, unfulfilling MySpace page. What is that you say? A MySpace page? What? Is hellpellet 25 and trolling for some internet strange?
Nope. I'm not. Ask Uncle Crappy. (he's perhaps my only internet friend who can truly vouch for me) I am a leetle bit older than 25 and am not trolling for any kind of weird internet "social" activities.

Why MySpace? I thought it would be fun. It is really just pretty lame. See note at Fashionable Chaos. I am totally on board with Penny's comments. Look at me referencing my "friend" at her blog. I have totally lost my mind.

I troll MySpace looking at horrible spelling errors, stupid animated gif's, and listening to music.

Wait! Listening to music? That's something worthwhile. Yep, that's exactly what I do on MySpace. That's all I ever do there. That explains it perfectly.


Me 'n My Uncle

Anticipating the snowfall this friday, or more likely the slushfall, I am pining away to live in Arizona. We just arrived home and I am ready for it to be unbearably shitty, grey and winterlike in Cleveland. Yep, ready for winter to start now and be like a thorn in my side until at least the end of March. Then I expect a huge, freak blizzard in April.

We really loved Tucson. It is a little bit more manageable than the sprawling metropolis of Phoenix. I also like the food better. I even like the route we took on the ride. Luckily I am not stupid enough to ever try to do that ride in its entirety until another Tour de Tucson.

****As a side note, I started this post at the end of November. It's now December 17th. We have had a few inches of snow and one blizzard since then. This is an acceptable amount of snow. But I am still pining away. sniff, sniff, snurff. I love Arizona.


To do list, El Tour de Tucson 2007

Continuous improvement is our goal here at Hellpellet Intl.
So here's a list for next year's ride.

  • Buy and use a Camelback We had planned to stop 4 times, but ended up stopping 10 times to get water and Gatorade
  • Train on more hilly courses
  • Gain higher levels of endurance
  • Take peyote at mile 30. Hell, we're in the desert, right? Redose at mile 80. That should pretty much cover us.
  • Finish in less than 8 hours.
  • Don't forget to take Kewyson's cell phone number. Sorry we didn't hook up in Tucson.
  • Don't get 2 flat tires on the course. That plus 10 other stops = way too much course time.
  • Take lots of photos. Most of the time it's about the journey, not about the finish.

El Tour es Finito

Hey guys, I have a great idea. Lets go on a 109 mile bike ride....in the desert...in 90 degree heat. Awesome, why not?

It was a beautiful day in Tucson. Completely clear, blue skies. Crisp in the morning and blazing hot by 11 am. Overall, the ride was really hard, probably much harder than I thought. Luckily I was somewhat delirious between mile 50 and 87, so I didn't notice it much.

I've never participated in such a huge athletic event. There were 8000 participants of which around 5000 started the 109 mile ride. The rest all completed shorter races, either 30, 50 or 80 miles. There was a mass start at 7 am and we were about half way back in the pack. The first 30 miles were pretty much smooth and easy. Except DD's flat tire. Our other cycling partner noticed DD was gone. I ended up turning around and riding a mile to find him.

Next was a series of rolling, uphill bumps in the road. The first part was pretty steep and I pretty much hosed my legs for about 20 minutes. So I rested a bit in the miniscule shade provided by a cactus. (see photo, next post) There is always a good for every bad, or in this case a down for every up. We raced down a series of rolling hills on Freeman Road for 2 or 3 miles, sometimes hitting 39 miles an hour! What a huge reward for my blown out muscles.

The real fun was yet to come. We had to cart our bikes over a half mile of wash right near the Canyon Ranch. It was just starting to get really hot. We knew we had a really steep uphill to get out of the canyon, and as luck had it, we also had about 8 miles of uphill through the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. Somehow we did it all, I think this is where the hallucinations set in at first.

Lucky SAG stop at mile 56. It was our non-riders from Team in Training. They had PB &J, pretzels and cookies. If they hadn't been there, I would have done "ride through" at Pollo Loco or Karl's Junior. I was just that hungry.

We still had another series of climbs and many miles to go. This series would end up equalling about another 10 miles of nearly all uphill combined with just enough flats to catch a breath or two. Somehow we did it. As I said, I'd gone a little loco. Which in hindsite was a very good thing.

Jump to the last stop at 87 miles. Somehow the rest of the team caught up with us. That would be 4 more of us. Our coach said, "You know, if we want to finish this, we better really hit it."

DD, Kate and I took off like the devil was chasing us. We averaged 16 mph over the next 22 miles. (up until then our average was around 12 mph) We went flying around some really kooky looking mountains then down Silverbell Road, which was 10 final miles of "homestretch". Right about then we had to turn on our "running" lights, because it was now completely dark. Yep, dark, as in really super dark in the desert kind of thing. We were able to follow along our 2 foot diameter pools of light. You know how you're not supposed to outpace your headlights? We were!

Finally we lurch around the last bend of Silverbell to Congress. We see a mass of flashing lights, street lights and magical fire engines. We know it's finally the finish. Our entire team, who handily kicked our asses, was waiting at the finish to cheer us on. So was my cousin and her 2 year old son. We rode to finish and we did. We rode to survive in the desert and we did. We rode to raise at least $7000 for Team in Training and we did.


to do list

To Do List:
_X__ Raise $7000 for Team in Training
_X__ Schedule time off over Thanksgiving Weekend
_X__ Reserve hotel rooms in Arizona
_X__ Buy AZ/DC shirt (see www.drunkcyclist.com)
___ Get cash donation from Juan
___ Pack bikes in huge truck
___ Complete a few more short rides on Mountain Bike
___ Leave for Arizona on Nov. 16th
___ Complete the 111 mile El Tour de Tucson

So far I'm about half way through the final list in preparation for our ride. My cousin, who could be flipping her lid, sent me a two page, funny poem about our ride in two weeks. I might flip my lid over the next two weeks.

Last year I was OK, mostly because I had no idea what to expect. This year I know I can do the ride, physically. I am not so sure I can do it mentally. Really. Cold feet I guess. Iknow I will be able to work out the kinks in the first 15 to 20 miles. We'll see how it goes.


on the road again

We're off to Niagara Falls this weekend. We're even taking the bikes. We've talked about taking the bikes for years now. A nice long ride down the Niagara River is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Oh, and a little more r & r too. You can really never go to resort-type areas too much. We are staying in a very nice, new hotel. It is about 2 or 3 blocks from the Casino and it has great views of the Falls. I love to see the Falls at night. Very cool. The hotel is a kind of Arts and Crafts design. Well, the lobby and public areas are very, very Arts and Crafts mixed with little bit of modern. It is comfortable and still very elegant at the same time.

I can't wait to crack open a couple of bottles of cold Canadian beer. Like I said, it's just what the doctor ordered.


lots of fundraising, not much cycling

Went to a fundraising party for a teamate last weekend. Gave her $50 plus some raffle ticket money. My gal, KSS, had a fundraising party two days ago. We raised about $250 in profits for the cause.

It's weird. This flurry of fundraising but no cycling to speak of. DD and I have both hit our 100% mark. We actually intend to raise $1000 more, just for giggles.

We had a bye weekend the last weekend of October and should have ridden anyway. We didn't.

I caught a cold on Friday, felt like utter shit Saturday and Sunday. No ridey this weekend. Just sleep and some painting. No ride tonite, the cold has migrated to my lungs. I break a sweat just thinking about going up the stairs.

I feel like I've lost something. I feel like we might not actually do the ride b/c we haven't ridden in almost 3 weeks. What is wrong with us??? Where am i?


the results are in....

left to right, "bad knee", normal knee

Notice the slight scarring on the right knee. Now I have a matched set! Results not typical, 12oo calorie daily diet and moderate exercise must be incorporated to see similar results.
  • Liberal amounts of hydrogen peroxide, 75 cents
  • One quarter tube polysporin, $1.25
  • One container Nuprin medicated pain patches, $6.69
Two trips to the chiropractor: Priceless!

It's all good now. I even swept out the cobwebs and spooks last night with a ten mile ride. And I did a big old hill. Gotta get right back in the saddle or you never will!

(this is nothing compared to Big Jonny from on drunk cyclist, I am just a dumb ass. http://www.drunkcyclist.com see post on August 7 and August 9th 2006 for the details.
Makes me sound like a real whiner....)

bit it

Here is one of the final products of our ride on Saturday. It was a 50-miler that almost killed both of us.

The ride is pretty scenic, rolling through country estates, big horse farms and even past an alpaca farm and a poodle kennel. What do you get when you breed a poodle and an alpaca? DD says it's a Poodl-Aca. I call it a Poodl-Paca.

After our last sanctioned stop to get water and more calories, we headed up a pretty wicked country road type hill. Five of us were all in a little line about 25 feet apart. I was last, Nicole was next, then Debbie. The hill was short but pretty steep. I ground it out as long as I could, unhooked my right foot and put it on the ground. Feeling pretty defeated, I looked ahead and saw Nicole and Debbie do the exact same thing. We all finished that hill by walking our bikes!

Now we've moved on to the really fun stuff. Another country road type hill, this time it has lots of tar and gravel mixed with tar. I am one gear from the Granniest of all Granny Gears. I'm moving along pretty slowly now....need to shift down one more.....I do so. Something gets jammed or stops and I flop to my right, still attached to my clipless pedals. I have unceremoniously dumped myself into the country ditch. The Ditch full of cinders, gravel and weeds. Many of those cinders wound up in my knee.

Somehow I found this funny. I started to cackle and then went on to a full belly laugh. You gotta love going "yard sale" when you really have no control over it. DD was 25 yards ahead and thought I was crying or sobbing. I quickly had to yell that I was ok, so he didn't have a heart attack.

I cleaned up and hopped back on my bike.

Next hill. Oohhh, this one was bad. I made it about a third of the way up. Well, a third of the part that I could see. It disappeared into the trees after a couple hundred feet. Little did any of us know it would be several hills, all up, all steep for what seemed like miles. It was probably only a mile...

I finally had to stop and rest. I waited for DD to catch up. We took off together. I clipped in on my right foot, couldn't clip in on my left to get myself going and fell into the ditch again. This time it was a deep ditch, so I fell on my side and then rolled over and pogo'd on my head. My free foot was up in the air tangled in my bike and I was crushed underneath. This time I didn't laugh, I just sat up in the ditch and wondered what the hell happened.

The recovery was a little longer on this one. So far it's lasted about 3 days! I rode about another mile downhill while totally freaking out. I called for SAG to cart me back to the starting point. I'd had enough! Take me home now.....


update on my liver

Not really drying out. At least not completely. Just kind of rolling drinking into 1 or maybe 2 nites per week, so far.

Friday after making statement about not drinking.....drunk again.

Next friday....same thing, only worse. Drinking for 7 hours straight and not being in Las Vegas. Not good.

Next Tuesday. Three martinis with dinner.

Hi, my name is Hpellet, I am an alcoholic. Welcome to my world.

no excuses now

Well, after riding solidly in the B Group on our last team ride, I am ready to give up the ghost. I was chatting with our coach while grinding up another hill. I told him I thought I was ready to graduate to "clipless pedals" He said, and I quote, "I used every excuse I had, then I got an all carbon bike. No excuses now, I just have to ride faster"

Oh shit. I was thinking I would be more efficient and maybe even a little faster with the addition of clipless pedals. You know, my coach somehow just managed to sound exactly like my sales director. Just ride faster. Come out and win or don't come out at all. Git er done. Or really, anything else like those quick, quippy comments. Shit. I'm accountable. Really. 80th percentile don't get it done. Even 90th percentile. Fuck it, I'm screwed. I just need to get out and fucking do it.

Nike says (or said) Just do it. Fuck me. I'll just do it.
Bike Riding(Lance) Golf(Tiger Woods) Baseball (Mets, Yankees, Detroit)

God help us all.



A few posts back I commented on being in the A Group on a long ride.
Do I cut it? Or am I a poseur?

Mostly I am B Group material. We did a 42 mile ride yesterday that made me want to quit 10 minutes into it. It was hilly, then rolly, then really hilly, then more hills on top of that. I finished though. Total B Group fashion. The saving grace is that by constant repetition of hills, I learned how to do them more efficiently. (and with a lot less pain) I'll continue to work on the technique and also think about going a little faster. (10 mph is pretty demoralizing.)

I'm actually committing to a better diet and way less alcohol so the training goes a little easier. Maybe I'll even lose a little bit of my beer belly. The final goal is to kick some ass on the fundraising ride in Tucson. What? Less drinking??? Ya'll better sit down....I've decided to hang out my liver for a while.


Working on and up the hills

This weekend's ride is called the Medina Meander. I missed this ride last year. I hear it is not fun...because the hills are sickening.

Let me say this about that. I am not good at doing hills. Something about the gearing. Something about trying to muscle through them. something also about getting psyched out by them.

So this week is all about the hills. Mind you, it is also about regaining some aerobic fitness. I hadn't ridden in 16 days. Monday was rough. Had flown in on the red eye that am. Must, must, must ride on Tuesday or get slaughtered this weekend. Did a short 5 miles including one hill. We'll call it Storey Road hill. I had to stop half way up as I tried to pop it into granny gear and my chain balked at the idea.

Readjust, start up again, cannot get left foot into pedal cage. Can't get it into granny gear. Crank a few more times, get it into granny gear. Spin the rest of the way up the hill and die at the top.

Forward to today. We had gone farther to warm up. We did a big uphill having cranked it up to speed on a pretty steep downhill. Then a few more miles of warm up. A quick pop over what was last year's nemesis hill, the Sneaky Hill. No problems there. Then a quick stop to stretch out before Storey Road hill.

Today was better. Way better. I popped it into middle chain ring to start with. I somehow couldn't get it into granny gear, again. So I did the entire hill in 2nd gear and avoided granny gear. It really hurt, but I did it. I didn't stop. woo hoo. I finally did it.

One or two more days to hill train so Sunday does not actually kill me. I must get better at this or Tucson will kill me

Living Las Vegas

We stayed at the Mirage and it was a surprise until we pulled up to the lobby. (There's one driveway for Treasure Island and Mirage and I didn't know exactly where we were!) The days were filled with sunshine by the pool, lots of Rum and Diet Cokes and lots of dips in the fabulous, cool water. The pool at the Mirage is fantastic. Lots of palm trees, lots of nooks and crannies and a huge rock outcropping with yet more palm trees and circled by a waterfall.

First nite: Dinner at California Pizza kitchen including 32 oz. Miller Lites. Then off to the room for some special cocktails and bed. But wait, it's 10 pm Vegas time, we're a little tipsy. Let's get dressed and go out!!! We end up at Tangerine at Treasure Island. (Treasure Island has actually changed it's name to TI, who knows why) There were 3 "burlesque" dancers wearing tangerine fringed bikinis. The would dance to the lounge type music. Then a three piece band trotted in and played three songs. While they played, the blond dancer cavorted behind the bar. Think 60's bikini dance and you've got it. We felt old, tired and fat compared to all the young twenty-somethings, so we left. We proceeded to the sports bar at Mirage and played video poker and kept after the cocktails.

Next day: A little crispy. Very hungry. Lunch/breakfast at the diner. A nap for DD, very crispy day for him. I lounged by the pool. Got a pedicure....blah, blah, blah.

So it went for what seemed like days. Out to the pool to grab chairs before they were all reserved. Sunning, lunch, shopping, napping, dinner, shows. All of it was pretty much heaven.

Just a few insights on Las Vegas.

  • We mentioned to a cab driver that we couldn't believe the amount construction on the strip. He commented that he thought that when he first starting driving a cab. When was that? Thirty years ago!
  • Wynn is really lovely, but unless the rooms come with a 24 hour butler, I'm not sure why you'd stay there. It's the same story with Bellagio, Venetian and Mandalay Bay.
  • There is a Jo Malone store in Wynn. I spent most of my gambling allotment there!
  • If you are a man, do not go to a strip show with your mother and father in law in tow. It will most likely scar you for life.
  • Fake Red Bull is a drinking "no-no" If you are going to do Jaeger or Cherry bombs, make sure you have the real stuff.
  • Surprise birthday vacations Totally Rule. I had a blast. (We had a blast together, too) I got a tan. I drank a lot of rum and diet cokes. I didn't lose too much gambling. All in all a very sucessful Vegas trip! Thank you DD for the fabulous trip. Yes, I did have a great time!


Viva Las Vegas

We are headed out tomorrow morning for Sin City. I am so excited to be going on vacation. DD planned this trip as a surprise. Well, I figured it out last week.

It will still be a surprise, because I don't know where we are staying. I am ready to lay by the pool, drink funny colored drinks and get a suntan. Maybe a little shopping and a visit to the spa, too. That's really about all we have planned.

We need a vacation and we are actually going on one. Long live vacation time from work. Long live fun in Las Vegas!



We didn't go on our team ride on Sunday. We won't know whether we are "A Group" material for at least another 2 weeks. So you will have to wait until then.

Sleeping again?? Well, I'm really good at it. And, I went to the chiropractor on Weds, Thurs and Friday. My upper back was all wacked out and I needed some serious adjustment. I haven't been to a chiropractor in A long, long time.

When he pulled on my skull to give me much needed "traction" it felt like several M-80's going off in the base of my skull. Then he did my spine between my shoulder blades. That was like someone hitting me with a pick axe. So, I went home Thursday nite and slept. Then I napped Saturday and went to bed early. Then I napped more on Sunday and went to sleep late Sunday nite. Very restful.

I went back this am and found that I didn't need a whole lot more adjusting. Just a little tweaking was necessary.

And, well, maybe a bit more napping later....


sleeping now, come back later

Time of Departure: 9:10 am

Temperature upon Departure: 85 degrees F

Miles completed: 44

Miles for August: 44

Saturday was our first longer ride. We completed one of our favorite loops around the west side of town. It starts thru the metro parks, winds thru a cute suburban neighborhood and then into the cornfields on the southwest side of town. Then onto 5 miles of a busy, narrow street with lots of bone jarring bumps and holes. OK, that part sucks. If you make it thru that in one piece, you are rewarded with a great view of Lake Erie.

Our view on Saturday was fantastic. Not a cloud in the sky, nice white caps on the lake and lots of big sailboats. You ride along the lake for a while through a tony, older neighborhood. It seems like it might be against the law to work on your lawn and expansive gardens yourself. I bet you're not even allowed to turn on your own irrigation system . Your gardener or landscaper must do that.

Sorry, I digress. Back to the ride.

Now it's just a few more busy, city blocks and a few busy corners until the joy of a nice downhill. Ripping down a shaded, curvy hill to the finish line is the icing on this ride. Greet everyone on the team with a few high fives and then a quick ride home to hit the shower and then the couch.
(sleeping is good, I slept all day Sunday to catch up....)

DD and I both worked very hard. Something pretty puzzling happened too. We're still trying to figure it out. Last year our average speed was 12 mph. Last Saturday it was 16 mph. And, the weirdest part...we were in the the lead group of all of the 15 riders. The fast group. What the hell is that all about? Add 4 mph average and that does it, I guess. Were they "slumming" or is that as fast as they normally go?

We'll give it a test this weekend to see how it compares. Will we get smoked? Or will it be good? I'll let you know.


One more Friday nite

The show I saw on Friday July 14th was as near my 20 year Grateful Dead Show anniversary as could possibly be. I didn't realize it until I was there. Actually, none of our group of attendees knew it was my 20th year Dead Reunion. I made it a point to dance with all my friends near the end of the 2nd set to truly celebrate my Grateful Dead soul mates. I thought I met my soul mate at my first show, but I was actually with my Dead mates at my 20th.

Great line up. Some of my absolute favorite songs. Great musicians. Great venue. Great friends.
Read about the details here. Uncle Crappy describes the what, when, how and who so much better than I. My Dead Bliss reached its peak in the second set when they started into "the Wheel". Really, I needed the duct tape, my head almost exploded.

(Joan Osborn was fabulous. I love her. I want to be her. As a matter of fact, I'd even hit it. That's how much I like her.)

Seeing a show like that makes me want to take 2 or 3 months off and follow Phil. He and whatever line up is available is the best!

Part Deux, the first show

I remember running into Uncle Crappy and giving him my shoes. They were not good dancing wear. I then disappeared into the crowd. I danced the entire show. I ran into a couple of other friends from my high school. We danced a little bit and hung out. I remember Danno walking up to the top of the rubber bowl to use the bathroom.

I remember meeting Petey's friends who were going to continue following the Dead that summer. Petey's friend, B-man and I danced for about two songs and decided we were Dead Head Soul Mates. Wow, were we messed up. We were such great soul mates that I never even saw him again. He wanted me to go to the Rainbow Fest with him for the weekend. That didn't happen. In hindsite, thank God.

I was a little too polluted at the show to be able to give you too many details. But here's what I remember. It was mystical. I saw the whole world before me. I was happy. Then, therefore, the whole world was happy. Little ghost like creatures kept coming out from the stage to say hi to me. Jerry was alive on stage but he was also a spirit flying around the stadium. All in all, a great show.

Well, the show fianlly wrapped up. We walked back to the car. I walked without my shoes because Uncle Crappy had them (I think he had them for like 5 months) I sat in the back seat and continued to hallucinate. I thought I was still at the show and the Dead were still singing "Sunshine Daydream" I couldn't sleep at all because my mind was still racing. I know that I wanted to follow the Dead that summer. I've wanted to follow them ever since.


My first show

T"he summer between freshman and sophomore year in college I saw my first Dead show. I was 18 going on 16. I had to lie so that I could go.

I lived at home with my Grandma that summer. She was a little strict. I told her I was going to see the show with my friends Danno and Petey and Danno's girlfriend. The only way I could go with two older "boys" was if it was a double date. So I lied. And then I went to the show just with Danno and Petey.

We rode to Akron in a cute little honda. We listened to the dead the whole way there. We pulled into the Rubber Bowl parking lot. There seemed to be no real sense of lines or lanes for the parking. We got there just in time. We walked a good 15 minutes to get into the show. It took so long because we were surrounded by hippies. Real hippies. Real hippies in all their unwashed, rattily attired glory. There seemed to be people selling things, overtly and covertly. Food, tshirts, trinkets, stickers, toys and of course, covertly, intoxicants. Yeah, I know, hard to believe. What an eye opener for an 18 year old white girl from the suburbs. Well, luckily we didn't have to buy anything, we had our tickets and everything else we needed.

It gets a little bit sketchy beyond this point but I will try to give you the highlights.

The bill was incredible. Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and the Goddamn Grateful Dead. Mind blowing, even now. As we walked in, I slunk over in front of the stage to see Tom Petty singing Straight into Darkness. My head nearly exploded.


My friends, Phil and his friends

Baseball weekend in May with Uncle Crappy and The Wife was great. During the weekend, I was informed that my attendance was mandatory the weekend of July 14th. What? Where? Why? Mandatory? Holy crap, that sounds like college or something.

Technically, it is. Well, maybe more like a "refresher" course. We are all meeting in Columbus for an evening with Phil Lesh and Friends. I am totally stoked. I love to hang with my buddies. I love to get a little polluted, from time to time. And, I'm needin' me some hippie music. I need to cut loose and dead dance a little bit.

It's all Juan's fault. He gave me a cassette tape with American Beauty on the A side and Shakedown Street on B. I was 15. I'd been listening to AC/DC and the like. Given the general weirdness of some of the Dead's music, this was a really good choice. FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, BOX OF RAIN and CASEY JONES were the "hits". And I use that term loosely. I don't think "hippie music" and popular have ever been used in a sentence together. (Eventually, they broke the Top 10 with TOUCH OF GRAY)

Well, that was pretty much it for me. I loved the stuff. Blue grass, blues, honky tonk, funky, freaky, whatever. And I'd yet to go to a show. That really blew the doors off. That was in 1986 at the Akron Rubber Bowl.

But, that is a whole 'nother story. I'll save that for the next installment.

Grand Prix of Cleveland

I guess I'd never really watched the masses at the Grand Prix before. Maybe I'd never been in a healthy mind set at the race before. I guess I will never really know for sure.
(the race is just like a huge outdoor bar...people walking around with cold tall boys of beer and cigarettes or cigars)

4 or 5 of us put our bicycles on stationary trainers and "rode" to raise money. Yep, we rode in the 90 plus degree heat and blazing sun, heckling the crowd, asking for money for charity. Over the 3 day race, we raised $800. Not too bad for technically "selling" air. Thanks to all those fine people who each donated a buck or two to the cause.

We were also able to provide a lot of information. People were interested in raising money, learning more about blood cancers and learning more about what the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is all about. There were a number of people with questions and comments about their own friends and family members who are battling blood cancer. We helped them out, too. I went down there thinking I'd spin a bit and provide some moral support for my Team in Training team members. Well, it was that and a whole lot more.

If anyone wants to donate to DD and I as we ride for a cure in November, visit our fundraising homepage to donate securely online.


vroom vroom

OK, we're somewhat officially on our way. Northern Ohio Team in Training will have a large tent set up at this year's Cleveland Grand Prix. I think there is going to be some sort of "race track action" suppporting Team in Training, plus we will be cycling on trainers in the tent. I'd prefer the trainers be set up in a pace line. I'm pretty used to training and looking at a butt or two in front of me.

Our coach is so excited about this weekend. He loves cars, he loves car racing and he loves Team in Training. I'm pretty sure this is the ultimate event for him....a combination of his two favorite things.

I'm pretty stoked too. I like things that go fast. I like to go fast. Too bad I can't drive a race car this weekend. I'll have to settle for my bike going 10 mph while hooked to a trainer. What the heck, maybe I can hit 55 mph in my SUV on the way to the race. Hhhhmmmm, maybe even 60 mph.

My husband, DD, well, he's probably not so stoked. I "volunteered" him to ride this weekend too! He didn't know about it until I told him. He can't be too thrilled. Wives are allowed to do that, though, right? "Volunteer" their men for the greater good.


Guilty Pleasure

OK, I have to admit it. I am addicted to celebrity gossip, stories and photos. I really don't like most celebrities, but still I am fascinated. People like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Brit-Brit make me laugh. Michael Jackson absolutely scares me. Oh, yeah, Tom Cruise now scares me too. The latest on Brangelina and Vaughniston, however, is riveting.

What is wrong with me?

I love to read snarky comments about celebrities even more. Check out this blogger rag to get the latest details on people you may have heard of, and some people, well....
If Kathy Griffin is "D list" then these people must be E and F. At least.

I check out blog-0-sphere almost every week day. I check my work email and voice mails quickly so I can get to the good stuff. Then on to my favorite: the celebrity gossip. When I've had my fill I go to my favorite writers, then I check my yahoo mail.

I am totally addicted, that's all I have to say. Is admitting you have a problem the first step to recovery?



My neighbor has a 2.5 week old infant. She wanted to go out drinking tonite. I think I am getting too old for this. (she is on a real rip, not having been drunk for 10 months)

Too much Miller Lite makes me want to swim in Lake Erie and cleanse this filth from my pores. Can anyone help me? Does anyone have any Great Lakes or New Holland?

Even a cosmo with tequila instead of vodka. Helllllllppppppppp, please.


Shameless Plug

Here's some good stuff. I found Mrs. Kennedy through our gal, Penny Pressed. They both rock.

She has some really cool merch, too. Remember, it's all about the merch.

I have ordered some of fussy.org merch for certain reporter type friends of mine. So don't jump the gun and get some yo'self. (Doorprizes will be awarded at next official or semi-official FOG outing. Prize quantity and quality may vary, no prizes or goodies are inferred or implied. Legal details can be found on the reverse side of this label.)

long time gone

It's been a while. Sorry for the delay.

It's been a combination of lots of work, projects in the yard, selling advertising and doing mountains of laundry. (ok, just kidding on that last one)

No really, I did work in the yard as mentioned in the last post. Next weekend, I planted 75% of my flowers. Why only 75 percent?? My husband, DD, always wonders too. The leftovers are always sitting by the side door. After 4th of July, I usually throw them away. Another testament to my inability to finish everything I start.

Work is totally cool. Believe it or not, I've reached some sort of a threshold on the internet. It seems I can only be online about 8 - 10 hours per day. Most of this time is currently spent working for the Man. This threshold means that I've not been getting lost in someone's blog or writing my own blog. Apologies to the two or three people who currently read my blog.


Go Tribe!

Yikes. It's summer all of a sudden. Only last friday, May 19th, it was 50 degrees and rainy. Today it was blazing hot, sunny and lovely!

With all this loveliness, you have to work in the yard. Yesterday I went to visit grandma, we planted flowers at the cemetary and then the craziness began. We dug up two shrub type plants from her yard. Remind me never to dig up hydrangea bushes again.

So, today I had to dig holes for the bushes.... so, I dug holes for the bushes. Oh, I also cut the grass, edged, weeded, trimmed hedges and a few other things. The other things I did were: put in new flower bed, remove sod from top of new flower bed, scrape up scummy sod by side door and transfer the pretty sod to the new hole by side door. Then I put all my toys away and went inside.

Wow, that was a lot of stuff. Oh, did I mention it was hot, too? OK, it's still hot. We are going to turn on the AC now!


See me after class

As I said early on in this blog, I've never been good at writing a journal. I think the only other time I did anything near this was for my English 101 class, exactly 1000 years ago. The only reason I did that was because my cranky prof required it. Actually, it was pretty cool. He wanted us to write at least once a day for 5 - 10 minutes. He preferred stream of concious stuff over anything polished or thought out.

Hell, I could do that. It seemed the more insane it was, the more he liked it. That says something about him, I guess. He never told us the purpose of the exercise, he just wanted us to do it.

Here are some snippets, as I remember them:
"My roomate is insane, everything she's brought with her to school is monogrammed. Like anyone would want to take any of that preppy shit. But boy does she love to borrow my slouchy Girbaud ankle pants. She's so freakin' rich, why doesn't she buy her own pair?"

"stacy down the hall is really cool and funny. She has a teddy bear named "wittle bear" how cool. I have my own stuffed animal. His name is Peeg. no, not pig. Peeg. he's French. He wears short pants, a waist coat and a pink velvet jacket. His previous life was spent as a Beatrix Potter character"

Back to the cranky prof.

I like to think of myself as a funny person. Our next assignment was to write a short, humorous essay. Something that we thought could appear in a newspaper column. I was totally stoked for this. Wow, I was funny, I like to write. I could do this. I wrote a short ironic story about the food in the dining hall, I think. Much like the theme Ralphie wrote in "A Christmas Story", my essay was a masterpiece.

Here's a synopsis of the prof's comments: Not remotely funny or even cute. D+
See me after class.

That's all I remember, the rest of the week is a fog. Freshman writing dreams ripped at the seams.

Thanks for tolerating my "not even remotely funny or cute blog". Ya'll are the best.


Ohmigod, this is great

Perfect for any NASCAR race, OSU tailgaiting or fun around the neighborhood


TNT 2006


All serious and stuff. This post is not about drinking, the Weather Channel or my husband's band. Nor is it about my drinking problem or lack thereof.

We rode a Century Ride last year and raised over $7000 for TnT, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Yep, we rode 100 miles. And that was in ONE day. What? Yah, I know, we're insane. We plan on doing another Century Ride this November. Yes, we plan to raise over $8000 for this endeavor.

OK, I'm down with the ride. I did it before, on a mountain bike with slick tires, and I can do it again. (buying into the bravado? I am at 80%) The 4000 simolians apiece?? Help a brother out. That's a lot of cash-eesh. Anyway...

We were also selected as "mentors" for the team:
  • One, we were willing.
  • Two, we rode last year.
  • Three, we will ride and raise funds this year.
  • Four, we are social and willing to commiserate.

OK, no foolin' around. We're on board this year. Holy crap, we need to raise money, train and complete the ride. You know what? I love this cause, it's near and dear to my heart. I'm confident I can train....can I fundraise again??

Can I fundraise again?? Yeah, I think so. As we progress, more training details, less drinking details. OK? I hope you have the program. I hope I have the progam. Comments and smart ass remarks, that's up to you.


Engineering Glasses

Over the weekend, DD and I attended a wedding of one of his college buddies. Let me give you a little background....my husband, DD, is a degreed engineer. He went to a fancy schmansy engineering type school. A lot of his college buddies, including the one who got married, are also engineers. Don't let me confuse you, I love engineers. The Engineering Way of thinking is a good one, however much it contrasts my way of thinking. (I'm a woman, that should be your first clue)

The whole weekend was fun. I love my husband's friends. I love their wives, too. Its a good situation all around. Imagine the fun we, the 5 wives, can poke at our 5 husbands. Imagine the fun we can poke at 4 engineers and 1 token educator. I think at times we, the ladies, were kind of mean. But very funny at the same time.

We all had independent conversations about our husband's 80's style "engineering" eyewear. No, not safety goggles for a chemistry lab, "engineering" eyewear. You know, "engineering" eyeglasses. The kind Bill Gates wore in the early years. Yeah, those. I guess almost all of our men wore them. Probably wore them for too long, too. You know, into the new millenium.

God love our engineers. God bless every one.


Working for the Man, again

Apparently, many people in the Greater Cleveland area started new jobs this past monday. Me too! Even though I now have a home office, and my boss resides two states and one time zone away and I can plan my own day, I still apparently have to work. At least a little bit. Oh yeah, even though I am excited about my new job and learning new things, it's still a brand new job. That means its all new, new politics, new people, new lingo and yikes, new responsibilities. I tend to work pretty hard at a job, new or not. I take pride in "a job well done" mostly for the sake of doing a good job. I also find that I need to be a "good girl" I want to be the "go to" girl. I want my boss to like me, I want my coworkers to like me, confide in me and ask advice of me.

You know, "I'm a good person and godammit, people like me"

There's one for you, nineteen for me

Wow! What a week. While perusing some of my fave blogs, I realize other people have had very similar experiences and similar reactions, too.

Yes, it's tax time. I agree with John, Uncle Sam takes away on a bi-weekly basis. At tax time, we tell him what a.) we made and b.) he took. If we're lucky, he gives some of it back. If I had to pay him once a year, I would be far less happy with the amount he takes. I'm not, by the way, happy with what he takes now. When he takes a little at a time, in comparison, we are less likely to notice how much he's in our pockets.

A few years ago, I found myself "underemployed". That is to say I had a job, but my responsibilities and therefore, my pay, was substandard. I cut way back on all of my paycheck deductions so I had ready cash. I needed every cent I earned to run my household and feed myself and family. I risked an "accounting roll of the dice". How much would U. Sam take, how much of my pittance would I owe? I guestimated pretty well. I owed the Great State of Ohio 24 bucks and Uncle Sammy owed me 32 bucks. I happily paid Ohio and paid HR Block online my fee. (My fee could be deducted in the following year!)

So, the game continues. Roll the dice, fiddle with deductions and hope you don't have to pay a lot and all at once on April 15th. Roll the dice and figure what it takes to not get a huge tax return. What, no return? Why give Uncle Sam the money? He's not giving you interest on the loan.

Today's rant sponsored by concerned citizens


I'm right, just ask weather.com


Such a weather idiot, I am. Well, my dearest wish, barring "Multi-Millionardom", I'd be on the Weather Channel. Yeah, you me and Homer Sease. Yeah, really, that's his name. At least, in the morning.

Really, I'd love to be Jim Cantore. All Italian and bald headed. Really, I'm assuming "The Italian Part". He's hot. And bald. And covering the hot, on the spot, national weather "things." Love that man!

Anyway, I guess I missed out on the "I'm going to college/meteorological/weather thing". I guess, I didn't know that it was so exciting. I wish I didn't miss on the whole thing. Or did I?
Let me know.

Can I still go to the "Ball"?

Is there a "Ball"? or was it Katrina?

Oh, BTW, best wishes to all you "Weather Watchers".
You make the world spin!


Was Punxy right?

I know Mother Nature is kidding right now. It's been sunny or partly sunny and a little rainy for the last several days. Oh, did I mention it was in the 60's on Thursday and the low 70's on Friday?

To the uninitiated, it would seem spring is finally here. It is spring in nice, more southern places like Cincinnati or Dayton. But if you live on the North Coast of the U.S. don't be fooled. It's not here just yet. Old man winter is still cranking in Canada and we're not far from there. Oh, did I mention that the average water temperature today on Lake Erie is 34 degrees. That's not helping "spring" at all.

So, I'm enjoying it while I can. Yard work, outdoor projects...I'm all about it. I'll even take out the garbage...as long as it's not snowing or sleeting.


Indescribable Cabbages

Bless his little pea pickin' heart...My husband, DD, is a computer programmer. More specifically, he writes web applications. You know what that is right? Well, if you don't you can skip this entire entry. If you do, bless your pea pickin' heart, too.

So, I have been bugging him about "writing code" for some time. Like as in, "If I could write code, I could make the big bucks, too!" He's always told me, "Sure, I can show you. But, I'm not sure you'll really like it."

I was hanging out around the house the other day, as usual. I was having my afternoon snack. Which that afternoon was a huge slice of fresh red cabbage. Sans garnish or condiment, of course. I was cruching away and dear DD corralled me into "helping" him. I went to his office, pulled up a chair and asked how I could help. DD needed to figure out the a way of setting up the logistics for a menu system for a new website. Could I help him? Sure, I guessed I could.

So far, so good. Except I kept Crunching on my cabbage. As he described his "programming pickle" he glanced over at me and said, "That is Indescribably Irritating" I said, "What? My bad cabbage breath, now way."

'Nope, it's your irritating crunching.'
Then I breathed on him and said, "What? This isn't irritating?"
"No, that's just totally rank."

On to more programming, more crunching, but no more strategically directed exhales. We worked on the problem of the sequencing of the menu. DD actually began to write the code, test it, then revise, rewrite and revamp the code. I said that I likened it to doing a Rubik's Cube. (Which, by the way, I could never complete) It's a giant puzzle where one move inevitably influenced the next move and so on, and so on, and so on. (and they told two friends, and they told two friends) Well, he said he had to agree with my theory.

I watched him code, test, revise and revamp for another 10 or 15 minutes...then I asked if my presence had somehow helped him. He said it certainly did. And then I bailed. It was all I could handle. Yikes.

I never want to learn to write code beyond very, very basic html. My hat's off to him and all the other web app developers. You do what you do, I'll do what I do and it will be a fine world. Oh, when I'm ordering more crap from Amazon.com, make sure that freakin' website and database keeps on working.

Website results:
DD and HP "working" on coding = 25 minutes Problems solved by coding = 0
DD really working on coding = 5 hours Problems solved by coding = all of them

He's a genius.



Oh, this is so freakin' nice. I have a new 'puter, lovingly assembled, maximized and tweaked by my loving, sweet husband. I am really fired up to have the newness.

I feel good using it and having it in our home as it was Uncle Rudy's. Uncle Rudy passed on right after New Years, this year. He was kind enough to bequeath the compy to us...a good thing all around. His sister, Betty, wanted to get him a computer last year for Christmas. We ordered it for her and delivered it to him at Christmas. Now it's back at our home again. He enjoyed it...and I will too.

Bless you Uncle Rudy....love the crazy recipes for Italian cookies, love your funny stories, you are a gem. We miss you!


Dr. Covey horrified!

OK, time to get it back together! I woke up this morning at around 9:30. I lazed around and read a good book until.....

DD came in at 10:50 and kindly reminded me I had promised to be at the Leukemia Society at 11:00 to do volunteer work. It's a ten minute drive, how was that going to happen?

Holy smokes....time to slide into dirty jeans and sweater, brush teeth, brush greasy hair, throw on shoes, grab coffee and run out the door. I knew I could get ready fast and be there by 11:20...somehow I made it.

So the upshot of my rushed departure is that I need to get my shit together and start checking my schedule....yikes. I actually still have a schedule, believe it or not. I guess everyone gets more efficient the busier they are...well I need to get busy, I guess!



Situation normal, all sleeped up!
So here's a little synopsis of our days and nights. Still currently unemployed, still loving sleeping in, walking around in sweat pants, sweaters and slippers. DD still working in the basement as a consultant, in jammy pants, sweater and slippers. Big dumb sweet fuzzy cat curled up within 5 foot radius of me. Still surfing away.

Search a little on the internet for jobs. (usually pretty lame ones) Network on cell phone with contacts, set up coffee or lunch appointments, then chat with some of my employed friends. Drink more coffee, maybe eat lunch, maybe just more coffee. Surf a little more.....my favorite. The walk downstairs, install myself on the couch and check out Stacy and Clinton, or my other favorite! I know, it's a stressful life. Sometimes, I even leave the house!

Sometimes I will do a few projects. Clean, laundry, organize etc. (all on my New Years Resolution list) but usually, not so much. It usually comes in spurts, sometimes I will clean all day. Then the next day I will need my rest because I am so sore.

OK, I told you about the run down on my/our days. Evenings are usually a little different. They usually involve beer or vodka, music, hanging out......or movies, beer or vodka, popcorn. But, you will notice, none of these options include leaving the house. Yep, you got it, hardly ever leaving the house. Once every 2 or 3 weeks we will venture down the street to grab a bite to eat and some more beer/vodka. This fun is also punctuated by the gigs my husband plays. I am kind of a music snob so I only go to the gigs that I like. (You see, it's all about me...the beer, the vodka and skinny moo) So, that's it in a nutshell.

Oh no, where'd the kitty go? Better go find him


Wow! It's been more than a few days and I probably have some 'splainin to do. DD and I had some wicked kind of bug. Some flu thing, I reckon. I slept about 15 hours on monday and about 18 hours yesterday. Now, I know I can sleep alot but that is ridiculous! Really, even for me!

Pending any significant change in the overall temperature, the trainer is still set up in the living room. To my blogger friend, Jill, I know I am a wimp. I'm looking for 40 degrees or above with little or no precipitation. That's what you get when you're a suburban biker! Well, let me rethink that....Our fundraising ride isn't until November so I'm not keen on riding in cold, wet weather just yet. Still a wimp, huh? Yes, my lady, I believe so.


errand girl

I think I lost my calling. I need to be someone's executive "go-fer" DD and I ran errands, shopped and did a little
git Er Done today. Now that I'm looking for a job, I should market my services.
Go to dry cleaners, movie store, grocery store, return purchased items, drop off shoes at cobbler.
Yee ha!

Anybody want some of that?


Yinzers Unite

DD and I just spent a fabulously slothful weekend at the PGH headquarters of his family. As is typical with any vacation, we spent our time eating, sitting around talking about what and when we should eat next and then eating again. Oh yeah, I also did some mean napping. So, all in all it was a great weekend of family and fun.

DD's Aunt is cleaning and purging her home in anticipation of moving to a smaller, more convenient home. We were there to help out a bit and collect the family wine press. It was apparently last used by DD's great grandfather very early in the last century. How cool is that??? And if it turns out that it is impossible to sanitize...it will make an absolutely awesome planter for our front porch. (I have to have priorities, don't I?)

Yes, to piss off nearly everyone from Cleveland, DD was also the recipient of a ton of Steelers Super Bowl gear. Two foam "Steel Heads" for he and Louis. One million tshirts too! I got a Ben Rothlisberger tshirt...I can cheer for him as he is from my alma mater. (no comments, Uncle Crappy)


a quick ride

Went for a quick 12 mile jaunt today. It was about 45 degrees out, sunny and very dry.
We layered up with all our cold weather gear and set out. It was unbelievable to be out again. We made good time and didn't get too frosty. I'm really proud of myself. When we started training last year, I was in pretty poor shape. I also was not at all confident in my ability to put in the mileage, do hills, deal with traffic and get fit in general.

I remember our first ride. It was on the bike path and I think we went a total of 4 miles. I almost passed out from the effort! Everything I did that day was very tentative and somewhat uncoordinated. Now I'm saying we did a "quick" ride of 12 miles. If we could have rested in a warm place, I could easily have done 20 more! That's huge. I guess I didn't realize how far we'd come since May of last year until our "first ride" of 2006. We are gonna kick some ass this year!

Next on the "gear want list" is glove liners, new cycling gloves (my favorites got ruint in Maryland) and some wind proof socks! My toes were pretty chilled by the end of the ride. Everything else was warm!

Hope for clear sailing tomorrow too!


Mission Statement

Ok, the title is a joke. The main reason I am blogging is to post updates on cycling, post photos and rant and rave to the whole blog - 0 - sphere. Thanks for joining me!

Really the current phantasy for 2006 is to ride the Tour de Tucson in November of this year. Unfortunately, DD and I will not be joined by Uncle Crappy and the Wife, since it is Ohio State vs. Michigan weekend. (Better luck next year, I guess.) Our best beer friends will join us yet. Maybe Lake Tahoe in 2007!

We're riding the Tour to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training . We rode in the Seagull Century Ride last year. It was an amazing feat as we were accompanied that entire day with the remains of Hurricane Tammy. It would have been no small feat anyway, but the constant driving rain and intense winds really did us in. We had a great team that raised over $70,000 that day for the Leukemia Society. It was a great way to bond with new friends and do something fun...but mostly to do something for a great cause.

Lurk no more

So, upon looking at my blog, I see I started it just a little over a year ago. 3 posts so far, not impressive by any stretch. It's not public, yet, that would be a huge step. I am a major "lurker" at other's blogs. I might as well set up my own so I can be "lurked upon"

Kudos to Penny Pressed, John Wilder, Jill Homer and the original, the masterful, the most-est, Uncle Crappy!
Thanks for letting me lurk for so long!

I've updated my profile, updated my settings and now it's time to go live with all this shizzy.

Wish me luck