Wednesday, November 29, 2006


What you can't see in this picture are the puddles in the bottoms of my shoes....

I'm sad to say it but I think we've seen our last warm day of the year. It's been so nice this week with temps in the high 50s and low 60s. I've been able to commute in shorts all week! Ignoring what the weather radar was showing this morning, I commuted to work today, too. Promptly at two this afternoon, following a loud crack of thunder, the sky opened up and hasn't stopped yet. Good thing I put a rear fender on the Surly this morning. Bad thing I didn't take two seconds to put the front one on, too. What a difference the fenders make, even in a monsoon! My feet stayed dry for less than a quarter of a mile but my butt stayed relatively dry all the way home. Tomorrow sounds like all kinds of crap with rain, sleet and snow so I think I'll opt for a spin class and forego the commute. Hopefully Margo won't yell at me if I sit out an interval or two :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

That's Mrs. Sandbagger to You

Yes, it's official. I'm married to a sandbagger. Of course, I'm only kidding. Steve competed in his first post-injury cyclocross race yesterday and dominated the B group out at Ridgepoint Church in Holland. He injured himself this past February with a nasty groin pull and re-aggravated the injury in May at one of the first Grattan training series races. This summer and fall have been a bummer since he's been missing the race scene and has only been able to stand by as a spectator. I guess all of that pent-up energy paid off yesterday! So Steve-O, I'm proud of you and glad to see you back.

Here he is, all alone at the end of the first lap....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

T-day Weekend Wrap-up

Wow - it's hard to believe we're on the backside of Thanksgiving already. I hate to say it but from here on out, the rest of the year is bound to be a blur. It was a good T-day this year, though. The weather was absolutely gorgeous - perfect for the early morning urban assault ride from Alger Schwinn. I can't think of a better way to gear up for a huge fattening dinner than with a mountain bike ride on unknown sections of urban trail with good friends. Above is a sign from a trail we had just finished riding. Below is Cathy sporting a special T-day outfit for us all to enjoy... Speaking of huge fattening dinners, I managed to pull off my first attempt at cooking a full T-day dinner. I know it definitely wasn't the full-on turkey dinner and the whole deal and I was only cooking for three people (Steve, my mom, and me) but it was still a sh** load of work and, if I do say so myself, turned out pretty durn good. A day of firsts, I roasted my first whole chicken, deglazed my first roasting pan with white wine, and made my first batch of homemade gravy. Deeelish.

Feeling a little bad about making an absolute hog of myself on T-day, I embarked on a somewhat overly ambitious journey on Friday. I got up early, packed a bag of clothes, tossed my bike on my car and drove north the town (er, village?) of Morley. From there, I got on my bike and rode 28ish miles further north on the White Pine Trail to visit with my grandparents in Reed City. As usual, I made another hog of myself eating various goodies while playing rummy in their nice warm house, which made it all the more brutal to put my sweaty bike clothes back on to ride back to my car. All in all, it was a great day and I'm happy for being able to finish the ride and even happier to have been able to spend time with my grandparents, although I could have done without the headwind on the way south or having to ride the last 5 miles in the dark!

Ooh la la! Here's the Surly in Paris (Michigan) showing off some sassy new purple wheels :)

Today brought a group ride with the MMBA folks at the Edwards Creek trail in Greenville. (And a slight hangover from a night at the bar with Jessica - although I'm sure I didn't have it so bad since I wasn't the one who had to get up early to drive to Ford Field for the Rockford game....) Anyhoo, the group ride was well attended with about 15 people. It was the warmest day yet in this nice stretch of weather and we all had a great ride. Even Molly, a relatively new rider, who managed a scary face plant off a bridge into the creek. Tough girl! This trail is one of the most technically challenging in our area and is full of bridges, berms, planks and log crossings. Here's me completing my first ever teeter-totter attempt...

Tomorrow is the last KissCross race of the season out in Holland. I will be happily spectating and giving my legs a rest. I'm almost a little sad to have to go back to work on Monday, although I'm not really sure why. Besides, what the hell am I going to do when I actually have to work full time again? Yikes!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Num Num

I promised to post the yummy dinner I made on Saturday night. It was even good warmed up for lunch on Sunday. It's sort of a conglomerate of a few different recipes but it turned out really good. The pasta, chicken, broccoli, and edemame amounts may be adjusted to the amount of food you want to make. I think carrots and water chestnuts would also be really good with this. It could easily be more of a stir-fry too. I think that's what I'm going to do the next time I make it. Anyway, try it - it's super easy!

Thai Peanut Chicken and Pasta
1 box whole wheat rotini
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 1 breast)
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
3/4 cup shelled edemame (raw soybeans)
crushed peanuts (optional)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

Put all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and edemame and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add chicken and sauce to pasta/vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Serve with crushed peanuts. Yum!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lazy Sunday

It's quiet. Steve and Fausto are napping and all I can hear is the ticking of our cuckoo clock. I know we should be doing something other than wasting the day away at home but I can't seem to get up the motivation to go anywhere. It's been a nice day so far - we woke up later than usual, walked downtown to get coffee, and have just been putzing around at home since we got back.

Maybe we're being especially lazy today since we had such an adventurous Saturday. We kicked around the idea of taking a trip on Friday night on our way to see a movie (Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrel - not bad). Not a huge trip but just a car trip to somewhere interesting where we could spend the day and then come home. When we left on Saturday morning, we were aiming for Frankfort, which is north of Manistee. However, we took the long way over to Highway 31 and only got as far at Pentwater. It turned out to be a great choice, though. After hanging around on the beach for a while, we had lunch at a downtown bar called the Brown Bear. Steve had to fight the urge to beach himself after eating a hamburger bigger than his face while we walked through the downtown area and checked out a few of the little shops. Most were closed for the season but it was still fun.

We took the scenic route south on the way home and ended up at the Silver Lake sand dunes. I had always known these dunes existed but had never actually seen them prior to yesterday. They're part of a state park and, in the summer, are usually crawling with dune buggies and other assorted gas guzzlers. Luckily the park is closed for the winter and we were able to hike around without worrying about drunken rednecks running us down. Here are a few photos...

This is Steve hiking up one of the dunes.

This is me coming down one of the dunes. It's a lot steeper than it looks!

Me and tree that's being swallowed by a giant sand dune!

We also stopped at the Little Sable Point lighthouse on our way home. It's a really beautiful lighthouse but was a little spooky with the wind and overcast sky. I like going to the beach so much better when nobody else is around. I'd love to live on Lake Michigan someday. Steve and I better hurry up and make millions of dollars so we can buy some land! The houses and cottages along the lake up there are such a strange mixture of mansions and shacks. There may be a beautiful new log cabin right next to a trailer that looks as though it may have one more rainstorm left before it just disintegrates into nothing. The little towns seem like deserted ghost towns with all of the shops and hotels shut down for the season. But I like that - I'm not good with crowds and chaos. I'd rather see the scenery and hear the wind and smell the air with no one else around. I plan to go back this winter and snowshoe on the beach and the sand dunes. If hiking on the dunes is any indication of what awaits me on Rainier, I have some serious training ahead of me!

So, I guess I'm off to do something now. I was going to post a recipe for the tasty dinner I made last night but I suppose I will wait for tomorrow. Steve's up from his nappy nap and antsy to get out of the house. Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 17, 2006


I had promised myself that I'd be better about updating the blog this week..... but it obviously didn't happen :( I had the pleasure of a monster migraine on Monday and have been dealing with its remnants all week. If it goes on much longer, I may have to shoot myself. I did break down and take a pill tonight - hopefully this will be the end of it.

Anyhoo - other than that, it's been an decent week. I didn't ride to work all week except for today, which was absolutely wonderful. Much better than my car commute yesterday when I was driving behind some jackass in an Audi who decided it was better to hit the television that was lying in the middle of the highway than to simply drive past it. I managed to miss at least some of the debris but had to hit a big chunk of it. Luckily, no flat tire yet. I realize now how much of my life I actually take into my hands every time I drive to work. Even though it was dark on my ride home tonight, I feel safer on my bike at any time of the day in any weather than I do in my car. I have to remember this for motivation when it starts getting really crappy outside...

I was feeling particularly energetic on Monday morning (pre-migraine) so I decided to go to a spin class at East Hills. Silly me. Not only did I manage to get the last of the 30 bikes in the spin room but I managed to puke and swallow my half-digested breakfast several times before the class was over. Halfway through the class, I decided to sit out one of the sprinting intervals to calm down my guts. At which point, the instructor felt it was necessary to stand in front of me and yell at me to go faster through her microphone. Bad move, bitch. I was able to keep my cool and just said something like "I got it" through clenched teeth. I should have puked on her. I did apologize after the class was over and she was very cool about it. I guess I just don't respond well to someone yelling at me in front of a mixture of East Grand Rapids soccer moms and Ironman triathletes. I kick my own ass enough.

So - yay! It's the weekend. Not sure what is in store for the next few days but the weather's supposed to be decent at least on Sunday. Here's hoping! And here's a picture!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

One Down....


One year ago today.......

Well, we made it! One year today. It's so surprising how fast the time has gone by. I hope all of the years don't fly by so fast! It's definitely been a busy year with all of the career-related changes that both Steve and I have made. I hope we don't have so many changes in the next year although looking back on it, I know we've made the right decisions so far.

I had thought that we'd do something really special to celebrate the day but after such a busy week and a busy Saturday, we just decided to do something relaxing and low-key with good friends. After an extremely delicious and greasy breakfast at the Red Geranium with Jessica and Peter (friends from Chicago and my future Rainier climbing partner) we headed out to Holland to join in on a group ride from Velo City bike shop. HUGE turnout - nearly 70 riders! It was dubbed the "Chilly Chili" ride because after the 26-mile ride was done, we all gathered for homemade chili and beer in the bike shop. The weather was fantastic for a November ride - sunny and 40 degrees with a stiff west wind that was barely noticable in such a big pack of riders. The only low points of the day were the coffee-flavored gum and the mucus discussion with the Plites on the ride home. Thanks for the de-sensitization lesson, Cathy!

So tonight we had some chicken stir-fry and warm brownies with ice cream to go along with the celebratory Pabst Blue Ribbons we drank at the bike shop. Not a huge celebration but definitely the right one. Here's to the next year!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Eating Cake Makes Me.......

I swear, I'm going to weigh 300 pounds by the end of the year. All I want to do lately is stay inside my house and cook and bake and eat. I made the tastiest pumpkin cake last night and wanted to share the recipe so I won't be alone in my fatness..... It's super easy and cheap to make and it gave me the chance to use my new Bundt pan for the first time. Next time, I'll try not to break the cake in half when shaking it out of the pan. I was so disappointed, even as I ate the big chunk that fell off in the pan. Here's the recipe - enjoy!
Pumpkin Cake
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (18.25 oz)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used canola but vegetable would work. Applesauce would be healthier...)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)
Whipped topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a standard-size Bundt pan, a 9x13" baking pan, or two 9" cake pans. Mix everything together in a large bowl and beat until blended. Transfer to baking pan(s) and bake for 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
Voila! Cake!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Everybody Halloween Now

I'm a little sad today. My favorite holiday of the whole year is officially over and gone. No more candy corn. No more pumpkin seeds. No more Steve in a pornographically-tight Robin costume. (Robin from 'Batman and Robin', not the bird....)

We had a blast this year, though. A great party on Saturday night and an even better Halloween bike ride last night with a bunch of people in crazy costumes! It was a KissCross ride that started and ended (where else?) at Founders. About 20 people were there, ALL in costume, and we had a fabulous time riding through neighborhoods, shouting at kids who were out trick-or-treating.

I'm not sure how many pictures I can post at a time, but here are a few...

I was a soccer mom for the party. Unfortunately, Steve didn't feel like dressing up.

This is how our Saturday night ended. It's actually pretty fun to post bail!

Happier times during the KissCross Halloween ride.

Hmmm.... seems I'm only allowed to post three pictures at a time. So there you go.

Other scary things happened this Halloween week, too. I registered for my first semester of classes on Tuesday. I seem to have forgotten how stupidly complicated going to college really is. Most of my classes will be on-line which will undoubtedly introduce a whole new level of procrastination for me. Unfortunately, I will be driving to the main Ferris campus in Big Rapids three times a week to complete an anatomy lecture and lab class. Hopefully the cadaver work will make the drive worth it.

The other scary thing happened just tonight as I was leaving the house to go to my calligraphy class. Since I've been riding my bike to work, my car has been sitting in our garage. I either rode with Steve or walked everywhere I went this past weekend so I haven't driven my car since last Friday morning when I went to the laundromat. Anyway, I hit the little 'unlock' button on my keychain and realized that my car wasn't locked. Usually not a big deal - I do sometimes forget to lock my car. This time, however, I opened the door to get in and there was stuff scattered EVERYWHERE inside my car. It took a few seconds for me to realize that it was all my stuff - from inside my glove box, my center console, the crap I had tucked in my visor, etc. SOMEONE WAS IN MY CAR! ACK! I didn't really know what to do - I was all alone and the last thing I wanted to do was get in the car. It's such an eerie feeling to know that some stranger has been rifling through all of your stuff in your car. That they actually opened the door and sat in the seat and touched all of your stuff. The wierdest thing - I had a travel mug of coffee in the cupholder. They took the cover off the mug, put the cover on top of the cupholder, and set the mug back down on top of the cover. Not a drop of coffee was spilled. So, thank you Mr. Asshole Thief for not spilling coffee inside my car. No thank you for stealing my Oakley sunglasses and my green Gramicci hoodie - which is a girl's hoodie so you're going to look like a total pansy if you wear it around. Jackass.

Anyway - happy November to you all. Remember to always lock your car doors!