Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

largest Ute load yet

This morning I got up a little earlier than the lovely lady. What to do? How about ride the Ute to the grocery store. LL had made a list already, so off I went.

Here's a older pic of the Ute in action. Since this photo, we've added folding steel baskets on each side and replaced the tall gray basket with a shorter and longer red basket (thanks Edie!).

Here's the goods still in the bags. I underestimated the amount of stuff on the list, so I had to get 2 plastic bags.

Inspired by the book Hungry Planet: What the world eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, here's me with the goods. For the book, they traveled the world taking photos of families with the food they eat during a week. The most striking part of the book was that one family in a developing country didn't understand the meaning of 'favorite food'. I'd say we're quite blessed here in the USA.

That's 60 lbs of food (and laundry goods) for $74.

And here's Monday's fruit-and-veggie haul to complete our portrait. LPO box: $28.

Monday, October 20, 2008

happenings of the previous week

It rained one day last week here, in the desert, in the morning. My rain gear works well. Riding in the rain is really fun, once in a while.

Big Friday off last week. Even kids had it off, so this here fun group went to the zoo.
We watched Almost Famous (movie) this weekend. Really good quote from the main character's mom to a rock star, "It's not too late for you to become a person of substance." That's my rallying cry for the week.

Finally, Jill is riding home from the grocery store near an elementary school. Two boys are walking on the sidewalk. One says, "Hey lady." Jill turns, smiles, and says hello. He continues, "You smell like boogers."

Monday, October 13, 2008

a year removed

I met Brent's wife a week before meeting him. We had just started to attend the Presbyterian church in town, a church we chose primarily because it was close to our house and because it's webpage had pretty reasonable doctrine. Edie is a gem, she makes everyone feel like a friend right away.

I didn't know that Brent was Edie's husband when we met. My first impression was that he probably was underemployed at some dead-end job (this, it turns out, is not that far off his dream job of working at Dion's pizza restaurant). He was joking around about some topic that has slipped my memory. Actually, there's lots of reasons that I shouldn't have liked him. He drove a suburban alone to work everyday (we live 2 stone throws from their house now, and I ride my bike every day), he was a die hard Cowboys fan (49ers for me), he was a triathlete (road bike racers make fun of their clothes and lack of bike handling skills), and I'm not a fully-reformed-Presbyterian.

But we became fast friends. This was easy because, like us, Brent's family had time to do fun stuff. We went out to lunch together after church a few times. We were particularly impressed with their kids. Somehow they didn't mind so much sitting around listening to grownups talk for an hour or more.

Brent had a real gift of friendship. He loved to joke around and have a great time. He had an uncanny ability to remember details about our lives and asked us about them. He was humble. The last time I saw him, he told me that while carrying Edie down a flight of stairs, he missed a step and dropped her in front of a group of people. He was super embarrassed. He lifted weights so that he'd be strong enough to carry Edie as needed, and also, if you ask me, to look fit.

We learned about Brent's death when we got to church that Sunday. It was a particularly unusual weekend for us. We were watching the 4 young kids of another family from church, and my aunt and uncle were in town for a visit. During the service, the youngest boy didn't want to sit still, so he and I went to the lobby where he wandered around and I grieved.

I had only known Brent for 6 months. It's been easy to find friends in this big world, but great friends are a rare treasure. We no longer have Brent's strong arms to uplift us, but the Lord's arms never fail. I miss my friend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

weekend watching wee ones

A buddy from church got married in Oregon this weekend. Another family with 5 kids wanted to attend this wedding, but flying that many kids is awfully expensive. Enter Chad and Jill, substitute parents at the ready. The real parents spent a nice weekend where the grass and trees are green. Sub parents took over the house on Friday through Sunday afternoon.

Some might argue that taking care of 5 kids is a huge deal. I say the more the merrier, when the kids are fun and very well-behaved. We played soccer, freeze tag, and monkey (like Marco polo, but on the playground equipment. I had to be It first without good knowledge of the equipment -- thankfully, I managed to not bang my head or fall to my doom before tagging someone. And, no, I didn't cheat.). We rode bikes, scooters, and footboards. We played Wii and watched 'Annie' and some football. We played racquetball. We went to church and stayed for the church lunch.

Here are two nice advantages we had as subs. First, the kids behaved super well. They get along well and like to play with each other (and let me play too). Real parents have to work hard to encourage such good behavior, we just enjoyed the results. Second, the parents stocked up on food, including dinners and lunches that we just had to heat up. So pretty much it was a short vacation for us too.

Sadly, we forgot our camera for the first day, so we don't have many photos.

Astute readers might notice the hand near my hip. It's Dad's. I admit that I played a little more Wii after Mom and Dad got home. But I was invited to do so. Really!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


On Saturday morning we roll out of bed and onto our bikes while it's still dark, so that we can catch the mass ascension at Balloon Fiesta.

It's so worth the ride!

And it's so colorful that I can't stop myself from snapping a zillion pictures in every direction.

Quite a few bikes show up at balloon fiesta park, including this pink hipster fixie. Note pink chain, card in spokes, no brakes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Plantagenet Palliser for President

Plantagenet Palliser once said to his friend and colleague Phineas Finn:

"The idea that political virtue is all on one side is both mischievous and absurd. We allow ourselves to talk that way because indignation, scorn, and sometimes, I fear, vituperation, are the fuel with which the necessary heat of debate is maintained. But we all put that aside when we really think, and can give the Conservative credit for philanthropy and patriotism as readily as the Liberal."

Palliser was fictional Prime Minister of England sometime in the 1800s. He went in for thinking and discussing rather than trumping up indignation. Like me, I think he would enjoy the debate over the financial crisis and bailout legislation. Neither side owns the issue. People are actually talking about it, actually thinking about it. Plantagenet Palliser would be proud.