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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Biker Chick?

It suddenly dawned on me that with the "do rag" on my head and all the bodywork....I kind of have the "white-lady-of-a-certain-age-gangsta" thing going.  LOL!

First Bike Event For A Cause

Well, now that's done!!  First Ride For a Cause done!
Thanks to Megan for my beautiful artwork. I got so many comments and compliments!
I have to thank everyone who generous donated monies to my ride and those people who sent me prayers and energies.  I felt Mom, Aunt Nan and Gammie kicking me in the butt.  On angel's wings.  (More like an angel's foot, LOL)!
I was worried about getting lost in one part that I was very unfamiliar with but instead, I went past the Finish line.  (I have a weird tendency to do this....I don't know why!)
The course was VERY well marked, even for Directionally Challenged people like me. If you have some legs for little (or big) hills, I'd recommend this ride if you want to ride for a cause (in this case, diabetes).  It's very well run, lots of volunteers etc.  There were a LOT of Red Riders (folks with diabetes) riding.
The first 2 miles was interesting.  Careening down streets with 200 of your closest friends.  Having to make a sharp left hand turn and immediately go up a small hill with about 150 of them makes for very hairy moments.
Met two really nice ladies, Damita (I believe is how she spelled it) who did her longest distance EVER and Gretchen, both younger than me.
I'm really grateful to my Spousal Unit for having taken me on most of the course over the last year.  Just riding it with him has been invaluable. I know the B&H parts pretty well and could advise people as to what to expect in places.
I almost bought gravel coming off the uphill behind Stow High School; there is a pretty sharp turn and I wasn't as well prepared for it as I might have been.
I also have to thank The SU for giving me Sheree (Scheherazade) The Bike and for the nice folks at Falls Wheel and Wrench (the whole gang) who maintain all of our bikes and put up with my endless, often stupid questions.
I have to say going up that hill in Silver Lake before you get to Graham Rd. (about mile 20) was a total B*TCH!  I thought I was going to pass out!
I'm home safe and very proud of myself actually.
Distance: 26.39 miles.  Time: 2:21:40.  Average speed 11.1 MPH.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ohio Republicans: Stay Out Of My Girl-Parts

Read this first, if you wish. It's why I'm on my High Hog and squealing: Abortion Restrictions in Ohio.

I don't care if you're OK with abortion or against.  This is an extremely dangerous precedent.

And of course you Ohio Republicans are flinging that out there to deflect from the budget, unemployment, marriage equality, etc.

 Here's the deal.

I love men. I really do.  I think men rock.  You all have fought war for millennium, you lift heavy things, you open stubborn jars, you understand plumbing, you change tires, you hold our hands, you protect us (even though we don't always need it), you have died on bloody fields etc. etc. etc..

But until one of you gives birth vaginally AND there is not ONE single baby without a loving home (esp. bi-racial or handicapped or crack kids), you keep your bloody mitts out of my vagina!  Stop screwing with my reproductive rights since so many of you just seem to be concerned with getting some, and not covering yourselves. Literally.

You've managed to outlaw sex ed.  Nice going.  Really smart, teaching abstinence.  That's worked well, hasn't it?  Project Head Start?  Yeah, we don't need that. YOU don't need it, you narrow-minded turkeys: YOUR kids can afford to eat, go to school and have clothes.

Folks, (esp. ladies) if you don't stomp on these people, the damned right wing, uber-conservatives are going to strip everything away.

What's next: a ban on mini-skirts, showing your belly, requiring the wearing of a burka???  How Iranian of you.

Ohio House Republicans (no doubt funded and fueled by the Religious Right and giving a real bad name to Christians and Conservatives everywhere) you need to seriously get your hands, you laws and your stupid politics away from my girlie parts.

I notice it is a "RON Hood" introducing this.  I'm sure Ron is not short for Rhonda.

This menopausal hag is going to give you a serious ass-kicking and send you back to your 'hood, you cretinous, political hoodlum!  Ladies and like minded men, we really need to get on the ball with this.

Men, if you think for one second this does not affect you because you don't have a vagina, you're crazy.  Your mother, your wife, your sister, your DAUGHTER sure as hell does.

When the political force starts stripping away individual rights (especially body rights), keeps people stupid and scared, controls most of the media, silences the intelligentsia and encroaches into the bedroom it is the beginning of totalitarianism.  That's how the Nazis got 1930s Germany under their control.  Do we really need a history lesson again?

For this crap, men (and women) have given their lives in combat for decades?


Road trip, anyone???

First Night of Dog Class: Beyond CGC

Taking Artie to his first Beyond CGC class (all positives, L'Chaim Canine) showed me a couple of things:

1) he may be smarter than me. This is not surprising.
2) he sure as heck is faster than me.
3) he actually is starting to want to please me.
4) I need to work with him waaaay more. There's so much potential there!

Well, duh!


And now.....
From the dogs' point of view:




WHINE!!!!!!!!! CRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Artie: (blowing raspberries....) Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah!  

I went in a different car.  Aunt Kim's car!  I wanted to stick my head out the window, but noooooooo!  Stupid humans. 

Where are we going?  Oh, wait, this looooks smells familiar   
I'm getting out of the car....I know where this class place!  Oooooh, bark-bark-bark-shrieking-high-bark! No, Mom, I don't want to shut up!  

There is another dog!  Hi Dog!!! hi, hi, hiya, dog!!!!  Oh, another dog!  Hiya dog! Why aren't you letting me say hi to the fluffy dog???  OK, we'll go sniff and I'll try and pee on things.  

OMG, Mom actually LET me lift my leg and didn't yell at me.  Until after the second time.  Then she told me to quit marking.  Stupid human....

Come on.....Let me pee on things....Oooooh, oooooh, I think I might gotta take a dump!  Yes, Mom, I heard you say "Go poopaloopa!"  

(Mom scooped up my poop.  Good Mom.  You remember a bag!)

We finally get to go into the building.  OMG, there are two of my FAVORITE HUMANS EVER!   Momma Jen and Auntie Kelsey!  Wheeeeee!!!  Bark, HI, Bark! Wiggle, jump on you!  


But they ignore me.  Fine. Be that way.  

The fluffy dog is there. I know he is.  I can smell him. But he's behind some blankets over an x-pen so I can't see him.  But I can see another dog, Roxie!  She is bigger than me.  Mom found out she is a young Greater Swiss Mt. Dog.  She's a baby, she's only 7 months old. 

Momma Jen talks human talk to our people, says what we're going to do in class, blah-blah-blah. The humans nod and listen. Training the humans is hard. 

 Mom has cheese so I'm kind of looking at her. The first thing we are supposed to do in class is look at our human's eyes and sit really close to them in their chair.  I can do that  I do that a lot at home.  Mom clicks her tongue when I do that and I know what that means: treat!!  We take a break and then this part gets confusing.  

Now I love my Mom and Dad and Elke.  (I'm not sure about that cat-thing...but his food is good!)  But sometimes I just don't know what Mom or Dad want me to do.  This is one of those times.  Mom is a slow poke.  I know she has food but what does she want me to do?  I turn my head to the right, click-treat.  Ok, I can do that!  Wait, I did it, where's my treat?  Do you want me to do that? No, wait, i moved my paw and you click-treated me.  Sh*t, what do I do now?  Turn my head, move my foot?  


I need a break!  Aunt Kelsey gives me a tug toy (OMG!) and Mom and I go into a hallway away from the other dogs, so I can tug and play and be stupid and not upset anybody!  

I LOVE TUGGY!!!!  I love the whole growling, pulling mess of it all!  I love to make noises! 

We come back into the room and Mom holds out her hand.  What now?  I'm getting tired and my brain hurts.  I think I remember this one: Touch. But I'm not sure. Aunt Kelsey does it a few times with me and I kinda get it.  But I'm starting to look around the room.  Mom feels bad, I know she does.  She says, "I think he's done."  

Momma Jen says class is over and she will send our humans "assignments."  

What is an assignment and can you eat it? 

The other dogs leave and I get to be in the room loose and sniff while Mom helps put things away.  I smell where the fuzzy dog was. Then we got to Momma Jen's car and Mom puts me in a crate.  Wow, there are a TON of smells in here! Other dogs and stuff. I got home and go in the back yard.  Mom lets Elke out....

Elke: WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?????  Oooooooooh, there is a different car in the driveway.....I see a human....Oh, Hi, Momma Jen!  I love you, love you!

Artie: God, what a suck-up!  

The End.  For now.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Today's Adventure & Five Crazy Words

I decided to try this "take your bike on the bus" thing today. It's really the only way I can get to the towpath without a car.  Akron Metro has a video on their website which I watched about 5 times.  I figured if it was really stupid, I wouldn't do it.

There are a couple of reasons I wanted to go on the towpath.  For starters, it has rained the last few days and if I went on the Bike And Hike through Silver Lake and Munroe Falls, I'd have to bike THROUGH a lake as there are a few areas that flood like hell. I'm not that fabulous of a cyclist to get everything soaking wet including my shoes.

And sometimes I get tired of riding on the Bike and Hike, even though it's a total blessing that we have it!!  We actually are rather blessed around here; there are tons of places to bike and walk and hike.  We have the Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (thank you, Bob Hunker).  Granted the CVNP can be a total nut house, especially on the weekends.  Parts of it (mostly between Szalay's and Boston) is like the Oklahoma Land Rush.  It's crazy town and you have to actually be very careful, especially the Peninsula to Boston leg. If I were truly an extremely brave little toaster, I'd bike on the road for that leg BUT I am not that brave.  I get freaked out riding in a CAR!

I get to the bus stop which is about 3/4 of a mile from my house.  It took a bit of jerry-rigging to get the bike on the bus bike rack but I managed.  I'm carrying my helmet, bike bag and water and trying to get on the bus as fast as I can.  Yikes, sometimes getting stuff out of pockets is a pain!

About a mile into the bus trip, a guy with a white cowboy hat puts his bike on the front of the bus and gets onto the bus announcing, in a loud voice for all the world to hear that our local bike shop sucks!!  Bad service, etc. He's rambling on about something having to do with a debit card and phone number.  He keeps on yakking and I'm wishing I had headphones on.

I'm thinking, "Ah, the joys of public transport! God, is the rest of the day going to be this weird??  Sh*t! And who in the hell in Northeast Ohio where's a white cowboy hat while riding a bike?  OK, maybe in TEXAS, but here???"

After several of his victims had disembarked the bus, he says to me, "You're a cyclist, I can tell."  (I guess the helmet and bike bag were a give-away, huh?)  I do my best Polite Nod.  The Queenly one.  The "yes I acknowledge you because it would be rude to not do so but really my tea is getting cold and this is my way of politely blowing you off because I wish you'd shut the  f--- up about my bike shop" nod.

He rallies on, "Can you imagine such sh*tty customer service?  Has that ever happened to you?  Come on, it's happened to you! What do you do about sh*t like that, huh?"

I then utter five words I never thought would ever come out of my mouth:

I choose not to comment.

Holy crap, what did I just do?  Did I have an out-of-body experience?  Channel my inner Queen Mum?  Suddenly become my sister or brother who are MUCH more tactful that I am? Decide the diplomatic corps is going to be my next career?

Have I really been watching way too many episodes of THE WEST WING?

Who the hell said that and what did they do with me?  Since I've turned 50, I'm rarely reluctant to get into a verbal duke-it-up especially when someone is dissing a friend, a policy I believe in or a place I really like and  have patronized for years.  Truly, I had an out of body experience because I would normally have said nothing and hope that the bus would absorb me.

I will say this for this extraordinarily rare moment of tact. It shut him up.  Damn. He went on to bother some young lady who was on her way to a 12 step thing.

When the bus arrived in downtown Akron, I managed to get my bike off the front of the bus and walk over to Lock 3, a public area in Akron where they have festivities etc.  I managed to get lost pretty quickly (no surprise) but with the help of two nice guys and after walking my bike up a huge flight of stairs, I see the bike bridge over the inner-belt. Phew!  OK, I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going!  Down a great big twisting hill!  Wheeee!!!!

I wend my way down the towpath from Mustill Store to Botzum Trail Head.  The only part that got really dicey was (alas) around the sewage plant. The trail became bumpy and slippery.  I've been trying to use all my gears on this new bike and I must have heard or read somewhere that being in a low gear (what I'd call low, which is probably wrong) gives you stability and I needed it. Badly!

When I stopped at Botzum (pictured above) I toyed with going a bit further but wisely decided to turn around.  One mile (after 2 slight rest stops) before I got back to Mustill Store, I met up with 2 nice ladies and walked back with them, chatting.  Hermione and Florence.  Ageless women of color. (What is it with black folks?  Those ladies were anywhere from 35 to 70 and you can't tell!)

Now I figured there might be a bus stop near here. I could have sworn I saw the parking lot for Mustill go by.  I start walking looking for a bus stop sign. I've turned off my RunKeeper app and taken the odometer off my bike.

And I'm still walking. Things look familar but....

 And I walk up this HUGE hill.  I get to the top.  I don't know how to get there from here.  I'm not so much lost as disoriented.

"Well, this is stupid.  I'll just go back and go over to Lock 3." Yes, after I go around several deceptive corners over lovely streams and water falls only to discover I have to ride up two hills with a 5% grade.  The same ones I went merrily down.  The bike performed well but my legs and arms and hands and a** were screaming!!  I finally get near Lock 3 and take a lovely detour (and it is lovely) ending up going past Akron General Hospital.  I KNOW I'm not in the right place but it was interesting nonetheless.

Finally I struggle up the hill at Lock 3 and finally I find a bus stop on Main Street.  I finally get my bike on the proper bus to head home and finally sit down in the air conditioning, which almost made my tummy go nuts. I get off by the aforementioned bike shop so I can ask them a question or two and rest for a few minutes.

I ride home, decided to clean my bike as it was crusted with dirt, dust, mud, sand.
Before I had flipped it, I looked at my odometer:
2+ hours
20.5 miles
8.8 average MPH
Highest speed 18 MPH

Then I flipped my bike over and erased my odometer.  Well, sh*t.

I am sore but I'm glad I did it.