Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mom's handmade note cards

I love getting cards and notes from family and friends in the mail.  When I see that personalized envelope amongst the bills and junk mail, I get so excited.  I'll open it right at the mailbox. 

My friend, Dawn, is great about sending cards just to say hello.  Sure, we talk on the phone and email and Facebook, but the card is special.  Thank you notes from kids are among my favorite ones to receive.  So, I try to send cards to family and friends as often as I can.

Thank yous and other notes
When my grandma was alive, she sent cards on every holiday with details of things happening in her life. She liked to save the free cards she received from organizations like WWF and Oxfam.  I like to pick up cards at places like TJ Maxx.  They're cheap and I have them when I need them.

Even better are the cards my mom makes.  Each one is unique and better than any store bought card.  She sent me home from vacation with some new ones for me to use.  I am loving these!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Local park in the morning

The days are getting shorter.  Fido and I start our walk around 7 AM most days, after I've had coffee.  (I find I'm in much more agreeable after a cup.)  Lately, we have been getting the sun in our eyes as we enter the trail.

On this particular day, we didn't run into other folks.  But since the weather has been cooler, we have met up with old trail chums - David and tiny Walter as well as Budro and his peeps.

Since we were all alone, we could enjoy a much more leisurely stroll. 

On a regular day, I try to get him tired before we run into the other dogs.  That means a good run to the park and a loop or two through the woods at the park.

I think I've finally found the perfect system for carrying water for Fido, poo bags and keys while still being able to hold his leash and run comfortably.  I use a Nathan hand held hydration pack to which  I attach a travel water bowl to the adjustable strap.  A house key and poo bags go in the zippered pocket.  It's a great system in that I don't even have to remove the bowl, just tilt the bottle over and fill it up.

The dog-walker

Morning sky can be so beautiful.

View from the baseball diamond
Random photo from the woods.

Fire hydrant and creepy snake vine

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roasted butternut squash with thyme over pasta

This has been a very popular dish in our house over the past two weeks.  In fact we've eaten a version of it 4 out of the last 14 days.  Perhaps it is because there is so much yummy squash available from the ASN or it is so darn easy to do or both.  It makes a perfect post-ride dinner, because I can roast the squash in the morning before work and all I have to do when I get home from riding in the evening is boil some water and shave some parmesan cheese.

3 small butternut squash or one large
1 lb pasta
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2+1 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt

Pre-heat oven to 400.
Cut squash into cubes.  Toss squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and thyme on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 20 minutes or until tender.
Add to cooked pasta.  (I like to toss the pasta with an extra tbsp of olive oil.)  Top with shaved parmesan.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some things to look forward to

Thursday night Cyclocross practice at Burns Park starting this week.
I'm glad the guys at Competitive Cyclist are organizing this.  The more people we get interested in cyclocross, the more likely we'll have some great local racing in the future.

September 25-26: Planet Bike Cup
I love getting to see the pros up close...and do a little amateur racing on the side.

October 2: Dedication of two new mountain bike trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Local state park with hiking trails has some bike trail!

Fido on top of Pinnacle Mountain

October 9: Showdown at Sundown
Nighttime cyclocross race put on by Bicycles of Tulsa.  I'll get to see my teammates and do a little night racing in Tulsa.  I'm bringing the Glow Necklaces!

October 10: Arkansas Native Plant Society Field Trip to Lorrance Creek Natural Area
Chance to hike with an expert, it's close by and it's free.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Landscaping project part I

The house we live in has a cement patio.  It is surrounded by some patchy, decorative grass in some places and erosion in other places.  I really wanted to fix it up a bit without spending too much money and time.

I saw a link to a container garden made of cement blocks a while back and thought it might help.  I've had good luck so far growing things in raised a raised garden bed at this house, so I decided to edge the patio on two sides with cement blocks and eventually plant some native grasses and other plants that enjoy shade.  I really like Bristle Leaf Sedge - looks like a porcupine.

It takes 9 cement blocks to line one edge of the patio.  At $1.39 each, that was 18 containers for $12.51 +tax.  Not bad.

The first step is to weather them.  Cement blocks are pretty conspicuous on their own, but with a technique from P. Allen Smith's website, they are starting to look a little better.  I used a color called Sandwashed Driftwood.  Basically, it is the color of mud.

Part II: Lining them up and filling them with dirt.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scooter is officially a big cat

Scooter has her big cat surgery scheduled this morning.  Thank goodness, because she has been in heat for the last week.  It was almost like she knew what was coming up for her.

She was pretty stinky the night our neighbor came by with her, but I couldn't resist that face.  

Bath on day 1

Her first surgery was to remove the remaining arm and close up the wound.  She took it like a champ.  Within a day, she was a crazy kitten again.

What staples?

She can be somewhat naughty.

Stealing a garlic bulb off the kitchen counter
All Scooter

 But she's really a sweetie.

And she's Fido's best friend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

CX clinic was a success...almost

Steve, with my assistance and the support of Frank and Sarah from the Chainwheel bike shop in Little Rock, held a cyclocross clinic at Burns Park in North Little Rock this morning.

Burns Park, North Little Rock, AR
Sarah, Frank and Steve setting up
We had a great group of folks that showed.  We practiced getting on and off the bike "the right way", suitcasing our bikes over barriers and shouldering our bikes on a run-up.  We also talked about bike setup and general information about CX racing.  Most importantly, we all left knowing that the first French national championship cyclocross race was held in 1902.

Everything went off without a hitch until Steve took a couple participants across the street to scope out a possible race course.  Steve went over the bars in a rutted section of grass.  Now he's looking at a separated shoulder or possibly a broken collar bone.  Either way, he's in a lot of pain and off the bike for a while.