Sunday, June 17, 2018

I Think It's Time For A Vacation

I've always had a love-hate relationship with vacations.  For a few months before the traveling starts I dread it.  Once the traveling starts I'm fine.  I'd hoped this pattern had been broken before we went to South America in 2016.  Before that vacation I was pumped and ready to go.  Now that it's time for our next vacation the dread has returned.

Where are we going?  I'd mentioned our plan to take the Trans-Siberian railroad across Russia but that turned out to be too hard.  We decided to stick with the train theme and we changed the location from Russia to Canada.

  • We start with a flight to Vancouver where we will spend a few days seeing the sights.
  • We get on the train and go to Jasper where we will be staying at the same cabins the Wife and I honeymooned at twenty-one years ago.  We spend a few days here enjoying nature.
  • Back on the train we head to Winnipeg.  A couple days here.
  • We fly from Winnipeg to Churchill where, over five days, we will be doing tundra and polar bear tours with a side trip to snorkel with the beluga whales.
  • Back to Winnipeg to do laundry and then back on the train to Toronto.  We spend a couple days here.
  • Next stop on our train trip East is Montreal for a couple days.
  • The end of the line for us will be in Halifax where we spend a couple days before flying back home.
In the end the whole vacation will be thirty-one days long.  I'm not exactly sure what we're doing at each stop.  My job is booking the stops and the Wife finds interesting things to do at each stop.  She always finds cool things to do.  The in-between time, when we will be on the train, will be relaxing.  Unfortunately most of the time it will be nighttime so we will have limited views between stops.

Am I ready?  No.  Will I be ready in the eight days I have left before we go?  Well, I guess I have to be.  Whatever happens I know the Wife and I will have a great time.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Goodbye Tony, You Will Be Missed

The Wife and I have been a fan of Anthony Bourdain for many years.  We heard him speak when he came to Omaha back in 2010.  Sadly, today, Tony took his own life.

Yellow flowers for our television friend.  He will be missed.
Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.  I hope he has found the peace he was seeking.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Do they get dizzy?

Went out on the deck last night and noticed a trio of tiny little spiders hanging out on webs attached to the blades of a whirligig.

Two of the three whirligig spiders.
I kind of felt sorry for them.  The webs (one web seen here when I used a flash) probably wouldn't survive a strong breeze. Unfortunately there really isn't anything I could do to help them.

So ... do spiders get dizzy?

Sunday, June 03, 2018

A Wicked Good Time

Last night the Wife and I went to the Orpheum theater to see a performance of "Wicked".  If I am correct this is my first 'real' play I've ever been to.  I have been to many a school play.  I may have seen some professional performances in Guatemala when I was in High School but I don't remember if they were professional or college or what.

Waiting for the curtain to rise on "Wicked"
Neither the Wife nor I are fans of musicals but we both needed to see at least one so we could judge.  I have to say, after watching "Wicked", that my opinion is a little mixed.  I had a good time.  I enjoyed the story and had a few laughs along the way.  I'm still not a fan of musicals though.  I'm not sure if I would go to another musical play but I wasn't turned all the way off by "Wicked".

My opinion of musical theater ... still up in the air.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

National Trails Day

Happy National Trails Day!!!

The trail to Happy Camp canyon (taken ten years ago).
Everyone needs to get out, enjoy nature, and blaze a new trail.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Book: David Sedaris' "Theft By Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)"

When I checked out my latest read from the library, I wasn't sure if I would like it or not.  I like David Sedaris' writing.  We went to see Sedaris live a few years ago (eight years ago?!?) and had an enjoyable evening.  "Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)" is exactly what it sounds like - excerpts of Sedaris' diary entries spanning twenty-six years.  Diary entries can be awesome or they can be boring.  Fortunately for me Sedaris' life, as documented in his diaries, is hilariously odd.

The book is organized one year per chapter.  Each chapter is broken up into dated entries that sometimes are connected and sometimes comes out of left field.  As you read the book you learn about this life and how his writing has progressed as his life moves along.  I was never bored with this book and often found myself shaking my head at what was happening to him.  The number of strange encounters with odd characters is amazing.

The only shortcoming for me was the entries covering the aftermath of September 2001.  I expected more during that chapter.  I suppose in times of great turmoil, writing in your diary, understandably, is not a priority. 

I enjoyed the book.  I gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads.  I took my time reading this book but enjoyed it every time I picked it up.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Another Batch

Last year we had four batches of Mourning Doves chicks (that's what Google Lens identified them as).  Those four batches resulted in five surviving doves (the sixth left the nest prematurely, or was abandoned by it's mother, and Iago got to it before I could).

A few weeks ago a new nest appeared (in the same location as last year's nest) and another baby dove appeared.

Mother with the first Mourning Dove chick of 2018.
The chick left the nest earlier this week making way, I assume, for the next batch.

This year I'm seeing more types of birds than ever before.  Cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches, downy woodpeckers, mourning doves, robins, red wing blackbirds among others.  We even had a turkey walking down the street in front of our house.  I guess the new mix of food in the bird feeder is doing its job.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Golden Gloves Night

Last Tuesday during my bike ride I'd passed several boxers jogging and shadow boxing on the Keystone trail.  Last night I went to my first boxing match.  Actually, there were several matches as it was the semi-finals for the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.  The Wife and I were joining the Brother-in-Law who invited us to go with him.

A right to the noggin.
The matches were held at the Ralston Arena and, for the semi-finals, there were three boxing ring set up.  On Friday there were twelve matches per ring.  There was a good mixture of amateur male and female boxers.  Suited up it was hard to tell the men from the women.

A panorama of the three boxing rings.
With three rings going at once it was a bit difficult to follow the activity.  The Wife had the best idea - pick a ring and concentrate on it.  I learned this lesson late in the evening.

Iowa woman losing to a Hawaiian woman.
The boxing was a lot more disorderly than I expected.  I expected a more methodical pummeling instead of the apparently chaotic flurry of blows.  This may be due to the fact they were amateurs and not professional boxers.  Amateurs or not I would not want to get on their bad side.

It was an interesting evening. Not sure boxing is my thing but I did enjoy my first boxing experience.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Little Bit Of Chaos

So, I was going to ride my bike this morning.  I went out to top off the air in the tires and found the front tire flat.  I removed the wheel and, after a brief examination found a tiny piece of gravel (I think) poking out of the tire.

Cause of minor chaos.
I took the tube out of the tire and located the teeny tiny hole that flattened the tire.  Then I grabbed the tire patches .... well, I would have grabbed the tire patches but I couldn't find them.  I knew I had some since I stocked up when I rode RAGBRAI.  Could not find them.

I searched the furnace room for the patches.  I thought they would be there since that was where I fixed the flat I got on my trainer.  Yes, I got a flat tire while my bike was on a training stand.  The tube split for some odd reason.  I changed the tube in the furnace room so that I would get any grease or dirt on the basement carpet.  Since that's where I found all my tire removal tools I assumed the patches were there too.  They were not there.

I then checked the workbench in the tornado room (that's the room next to our laundry room where we will hide in the event of a tornado).  They were not there either.

Thirty minutes of running around double and triple checking places resulted in me finding the patches in the most obvious place.  I'd even checked it earlier but missed them.  They were in a small pocket of the small under seat bike bag where my tire changing stuff was supposed to be.  *sigh*

I repaired the puncture and put the wheel back on the bike.  In the process of doing this I messed up the front break.  After running up and down the stairs (twice) to get tools, I managed to stop the brake pads from rubbing.

I was sweating from all the running around and I considered not riding but I loaded the bike up and headed to the Keystone trailhead anyway.  I was about to unload the bike when I realized I'd left my buff (to keep sweat out of my eyes), bike gloves, and, most importantly, my bike helmet back in the garage.  For a few seconds I considered riding without the helmet but I was not feeling very lucky today.  The day I don't have my helmet is the day my noggin hits the concrete.  I said 'F'-it and headed back home.

My exercise today will be me mowing the lawn later this afternoon.  The bike will be ridden tomorrow ... if I'm lucky.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My Seven Year Caminoversary

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the beginning of my first Camino.  In 2011, on a damp day, I left St Jean Pied de Port, France and crossed the pyrenees mountains on one of the most important adventures of my life.

A shelter in the mist.
I had no idea how this trek would change me.  I gained a confidence and a sense of well being that I'd never had before.

I've lost some ground in the last year or two but I will never forget all that I gained on the road to Santiago de Compostela.