Friday, October 26, 2007

and so it begins

0 squirrels

0 madison & andrea

I spents months drooling over gardening catalogs and finally I chose them: the most beautiful bulbs and perennials that money could buy. The problem is in Philadelphia the squirrels are voracious devourers of plant matter, and their favs are bulbs and pansies, apparently. No sooner do I plant my bulbs but there are tell-tale holes all over my front bed.

Not this year, you little rodents from hell.

Last week hours after I planted 150 bulbs we rigged up a really interesting patchwork of chicken wire and salvaged slate panels.

Yes the front garden looks a little white-trashy, but if it works I will be rewarded with a glorious garden come springtime. Madison and I are on the same team, and although Gryphon and Chloe also patrol the rear perimeter for bushy-tailed rodents, Madison is the one that can execute the kill command and actually pluck them off the top of the back fence as they scurry away after raiding the bird feeders. She got one last year, anyway, along with several opossums. I am a little nervous about the edges; they still need to be pinned down but this contraption is my last best hope before I resort to a bb gun and poison. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the final tuesday night party

Alas, cadence 'cross practice is over and so is the tuesday night shindig. Last night was we enjoyed fine beer, appetizers, soft tacos, wonderful desserts, and vodka (apparently). But the Pumpkin Carving Contest and drunken Balance Ball was only rivaled by the sight of chris pagoda pelting coach kuhn with the soccer ball. You kinda had to be there, but anyway here are the photos . . . remember it was dark out there.

Speaking of balance ball I think I need help finalizing the rules so that we may play a few rounds on November 3rd. Anyone who would like to help me with this I would appreciate it, professional coaches are especially encouraged.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Full Moon

devour my soul
like rapacious gulls and leave me
winced and waterworn as beached shells
criss-crossed with seaweed and chalky scars
which once housed vibrant-hued creatures
pulsing warm and jelly-soft
and when they have pecked me clean
as moon-bleached bones
I wake with a flickering fear
that something is
strangely askew until
I drown again
in foamy


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

my most recent acquisition:

The Massacre of the Triumvirate, 1566  by Antoine Caron
The Massacre of the Triumvirate, 1566
Antoine Caron
it was better to be a Catholic than a Protestant during the reign of Charles IX in sixteenth century France

Monday, October 15, 2007

God's Country Marathon

this was posted on the Guy's Racing list-serve yesterday when I finally got around to writing about it . .

So this was the last race of the season, and when I was mapping out directions the night before I realized that it was 5 hours away. Ouch. 10 hours driving in the car by myself, and I have not made any new CDs because my CD burner is on the fritz. So as a last resort I emailed the list-serve and lo and behold Bill Nagel and Timmy D were driving up and there was room in the Nagelmobile. I jumped at the chance. We had a fun time on the way up. The leaves were changing up there and the scenery was breathtaking on the ride. I asked to hear some of the ubiquitous country music but my compatriots were having none of it.

The race itself was, as Tim said, rather boring, but I did get some pics of him in his champion jersey, looking all buff. I made the requisite burritos and we ate them with gusto after the race. During the race I opted for an easy pace as this late in the season I have zero tolerance for pain . . . speaking of which the race had 7200 feet of climbing and it was all in the first half, then a screaming downhill where you did not need to touch the breaks at all. Freakin' awesome, I don't think I have ever gone that fast in a mountain bike race.

The best part for me: on the second lap of the race Loretta Torres was behind me and after gleefully finishing the climbs and scooting happily around the ridge I turned the corner, and there they were about 50 feet in front of me, two beautiful black bear cubs in all their glossy-furred majesty. I called to Loretta to dismount and she almost had a heart attack, before I could say much she was racing her bike in the opposite direction. I told her they were cubs and to hang tight because they were scared of us and unless we saw their mama there was no need to ride away. Besides, there were other racers on the course, were we just going to leave and let them deal with the problem? I advanced toward them. They uneasily looked at me and started to walk away slowly, looking back every few paces. I wanted to get closer; I got back on my bike and started riding gingerly towards them, speaking to them in that high sing-song voice that women like to use with small children and animals. They practically cocked their heads, stopping. One of them had enough and stood up on two legs. Suddenly I realized he was way taller than me: these were not baby bears and I was hoping they were hanging out sans mama. When he stood up like that and faced me square I stopped. The other one walked up to a tree and started to climb it, glaring at me uneasily. Loretta was basically having a meltdown and asked me to stay with her for the rest of the race. (yeah right) "They are scared of us", I whispered, and started riding towards them slowly. Now I was within striking distance, about 25 feet. Undaunted, I was hoping they were going to back down. They decide I was too close and lumbered off the trail into the woods. I got back on my bike and kept on going, calling to Loretta to stay with me. She ended up DNFing, and I completed my final lap for 4th place. What a rush.

Oh yeah, back to the race: I am hoping the promoter decides to add more single track next year and I would definitely head back. I really like the marathon format and will definitely race that series next year. Right now I am taking a little break and concentrating on enjoying myself and making some coin so I can buy a 29er. For no other reason than so Bill and Tim stop telling me how lame I am for still riding the Yeti 26er.

One final footnote to my season: I have really enjoyed reading all of the race reports this year and after many races and rides with the team I am really glad to have joined this great group of friends. I hope to see all of you at the party on November 3rd. Ciao. A
Several hours later there were a few responses:
Tim Dixon: Nice report....... Lame bike!
Ed Hein: It seems Bill Tim and Big Ben form Beans all agree - When it comes to MB wheels - size does matter.
Well see when the new 29ers arrive. (note: the 29'er pro deal was not offered in size small so I got screwed)
Big Joe: world cup wins on 29er 0
every world cup win rolling little wheels
Ed Hein: Andrea, I have to ask - Does Lorretta Torres shit in the woods when she sees a bear?
I can just hear you Andrea "Crigie take a look at this black bear - she's a beauty!
Janel: The only question is... do they make a PINK 29er? Andrea might have to get a custom paint job for that! Nice race report, well done!
Tim Dixon: On second thought, Andrea if your racing world cup next year, stick with the 26er.
I love being on a big team!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

cheap psychology #1

the whiteboard

what is it about men? I have had this whiteboard for just about as long as I have owned this house (6 years) because I was tired of losing the little slips of paper where I would write down the groceries I needed. "milk, bread, maple syrup, eggs" you name it. (I know, I am hungry for breakfast right now, sheesh) Then it kinda morphed into a general "shit I need to buy" list of all kinds, so it might also include things along the lines of "windchime, C batteries, bone meal, etc." If I were thinking about it when I reached into the fridge to grab the milk for the coffee in the morning it was on the board.

The crazy thing is that whenever I have a male person in this house, especially, but not necessarily in the presence of alcohol, said man-person cannot resist the squeaky little call of the dry erase marker . . .

Over the years there have been illegible scribblings, love notes, cartoons (mostly sexual, hmm) and dirty messages that I was really glad to have erased before anyone saw them. But most of all what I would see when I finally got around to noticing the board the next day was a sarcastic mimicry of my matter-of-fact juxtapositioning of the aforementioned items. My deviation from the basic, boring grocery list seems to drive my male visitors into a frenzy of creativity, and after all, there it is for everyone to see.

Can you guess which items were added by someone at the tuesday night apres 'cross shindig, dry erase marker in one hand, glass of belgian ale in the other?

Friday, October 12, 2007

the cyclocross remount

so I have been taking this cyclocross class taught by Mike & Colin through Cadence and each week and as I have noticed the improvement of every other rider in the class except moi I would vow, fervently, to get my shit together over the weekend and practice practice practice. Each weekend I have had a race, since my season went from April through October, until this one. And lucky me, I have all this extra time now since I am not allowed to ride my bike for 10 days so today I decided to take Ed's Ridley to the local park and do a little work so I could do something on tuesday besides plan the after 'cross afterparty. I could not for the life of me get the freakin' dismount, it seemed so crazy to thread my inside leg between the frame and my other leg (yikes) but with the aid of a chain link fence I was able to get this today. There it was-- the "ah hah" moment when you realize the your perceived incompetence was actually just inexperience tinged with a little fear.

So then it was time to tackle the remount. So there I am out in this field by myself on a windy fall day and I could not remember how the heck I could get myself back on that bike in one fluid motion. When I tried to connect my upper thigh with the saddle I was chagrined to find that my upper thigh was about 4 inches below my saddle. Guess I forgot I was supposed to jump! I got back inside and found this video. OH. Duh. I think I can get this tomorrow. Going for a run now.  One hurdle per day is enough for me right now and I'm already at like 5.

no more summer weather . . .

today I changed the sheets and as the wind was whipping up its own little tempest outside I realized it was the time of year to put on the down comforter and the flannel sheets. I love flannel sheets! doesn't this just make want you cozy up and catch some z?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sea change

Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

--William Shakespeare, The Tempest

. . . well, it is that time of year again when everything changes for me. I don't mean just some leaves falling and the shift to more riding inside. I mean major life upheaval. As much as I take solace in life's little rituals in the short-term, I am someone who thrives on change. A weird synergy has occurred in the past month, I am sleeping less, eating less, the mind is buzzing and creative winds are blowing. New people have entered into my life and some have left, suddenly, like a cloud of negative energy dissipating as a door is slammed shut. good riddance.

I toss and turn at night in a fitful attempt at sleep, that part sucks, but luckily there are herbs, and as a last resort, medication. I have several parties interested in my business, and it looks like I will have the new website up soon. That means more work and less time for fun and training, but priorities have to change . . . I got a new perspective the other day on my relationship with my friends, and I have been thinking about it a lot: still mulling it over, but it will open up many doors if I can get my stubborn brain around it. It is a change of outlook, utterly.

I was really bummed out in cycling class yesterday, and as I struggled trying to hit my zones I realized that I had no desire to be in a class, staring at a power meter with all of its silent judgment of me and my cycling prowess. f@ that, I have had enough. So I told Coach Mike I wanted to take a month off from class. The next day I emailed that I was going to do a recovery ride and he said he wanted me off the bike for 10 days. The first thing my administrative assistant did when when heard that was ask to immediately go on vacation.
be careful what you ask for you witch

So my body and mind will get a rest from my relentless drive to succeed and I can devote more time and energy to the new urgent happenings taking wing at 3434. As it has at many times throughout my life, something good has come about from the upheaval of the past 4 weeks. Thank god for Madison, Gryphon and Chloe, their brown eyes saw my distress and never failed to offer me a paw or muzzle when I really needed it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

online dating, part 2

yeah well I am back on the market again, and since I never seem to actually meet anyone that is not already married, I thought I would give a dating website another try. This one targets fitness minded induh-viduals and my goodness there are quite a few sports out there, aren't there? anyway, here is my latest honest to goodness email from a total stranger . . .

Hi~~ How are you? Hope you're having an awesome weekend!! Mine's been great... Hangin' out with my daughters most of the weekend. One had a tennis tournament and the other went to a Blackhawks (hockey) game last night.. Had planned on a bike ride but had to delay it until tomorrow morning. You seem very real, sincere and totaly cool! I was in Philly last year picking up a Jeep I bought on ebay.. ;) Could have had lunch! lol You also see very passionate which I like! I'm the same... My largest is probably movie making... Just ordered a RED ultra HD digital cinema camera package that's about 6 times better then the one Mel Gibson used to shoot Apocalypto! I have to wait a while for actual delivery but need the preproduction lead time anyway because I shoot my first feature film next August!! YEAH!!!! Hope to talk soon.. Joe

Hmm, I wonder if Joe was trying to impress me with the size of his camera? At least you have to give him points for telling me a little about himself though. sigh.