Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ahhhh Merry Christmas everybody

Just like old times (except for the new kid) for part of the gang from LA. Jessie of gregarious impala fame returned from the land of impalas and spent a couple days at our place. Our 2 bedroom apartment is huge compared to Kenyan homes! To live more Kenyan-like, we should hire someone to cook and clean for us. Why so? Work is scarce there (40% unemployment in 2001, Jessie said 70% now), so people with jobs share the wealth by paying someone to do their household chores.

Here's what we had for Christmas eve dinner: bacon-cheese-onion-mini-sandwiches, beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce, green beans, green leaf lettuce, and apples. Yum!
The other thing I did today was replace the front brake on my gray bike. Wow, huge improvement! This normal 20 minute task became a 4 hour struggle as I attempted to optimally place my front rack and fender. There are 3 contact points (A. below fork crown, B. fork legs, and C. fender/front of rack) and 4 constraints (1. level rack, 2. good fender line, 3. rack tange goes between fender and front brake, and 4. rack supports reach fork legs). The new brake altered contact point A, so B and C had to change. I stopped after achieving 1, 3, and 4, but 2 is so-so. Phew!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas cookies

Tis the season for Christmas cookies. We solicited help from the aptly named polkadot family. Fun, crafting, and yumminess ensued.

Three of us, with self portrait.

Ho ho ho, merry Christmas everybody!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

big weekend part 2

Friday night's party was merely the first of several fun events from last weekend

Ryan was up for a ride on Sat, and so were we! Ominously, a neighbor said, 'good thing you're riding now before the wind blows hard'. It became quite windy. Jill didn't want to ride too far, so she stopped off at the Tijeras library and read a book while Ryan and I headed for the bottom of the ski resort, thinking we'd avoid the wind. A mile up the Crest road we crossed a snow drift and stopped and ate 3 chocolate chip cookies each before deciding that Heartbreak Hill would be a safer, drier destination.

With a massive tailwind, we played 'whose bike shimmies the most' while cruising at 30+ mph. My Trek won easily. Riding a goodly distance with such a tailwind is like charging up the credit card before Christmas: the Man will get paid. The added bonus pain was climbing the H Hill. Here's Ryan nearing the top.
We slowly rode back to civilization, where I was able to order and eat the double chile cheeseburger from Burger Boy for the first time.

This weekend was also the acting debut of my boss and his wife. They along with two of their kids starred in their church's production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. My brief review:

It was a jolly good show with an unusual perspective of Jesus' birth. I laughed, I tried not to cry, and felt good all over afterward. David was able to reach outside of himself to play the sarcastic, yet inwardly kind, father figure. A fine performance! His wife truly carried the show with her portrayal of the ever-loving, humble wife/mother pushed to the forefront due to a tragic roller skate-induced accident (off-scene action). His daughter was an angel (of course), and his son was a very believable shepherd in his camouflage bathrobe.

Kindly, the now famous actors deigned to pose for a photo with me after the show.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Celebrating a birthday by ...

Since it was a certain special person's birthday and since we had so much fun at the previous dance party, you can probably guess what we did to celebrate.

The birthday girl (in her birthday shirt (that's for a neighborhood 3 year old that was interested)) and the lovely Jill warm up the floor.

There's no lack of energy when 3 families and 8 kids get together.

Maybe because he felt so much younger than his now even older sister, this feller tried to get a little taller.

Balloon baseball complete with bleacher crazies was a big hit.

A few things of note. Jill made a lovely guacamole and some choc chip cookies. Mrs. 5afamily made the most amazing ice cream cake you can imagine. And the birthday girl is one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. Happy b-day C!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December heat wave

Some disparate thoughts after a warm December weekend.

Mountain biking was my introduction to recreational bicycle riding, but I don't ride trails too often any more. On Saturday, I decided to give some trails a go on my 'cross bike. I was 'just riding along' on a smooth path when WHACK, something solid hit my right pedal. Hmmm, that called for an investigation that revealed the binding mechanism smashed against the spindle. A few blows with a rock made it somewhat usable, so I kept riding and the trail became really rugged. Then I walked a lot over big rocks. Just when I was feeling some rhythm I hit an invisible sharpness that popped my slime filled front tube. Eventually, I reached pavement and pure bliss!

Friend Doug from Los Alamos just got back from a tour in Afghanistan, so a bunch of his friends ate dinner at Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe on Sat. His best story: most meals are same old MREs, so his buddies and the Italians swapped MREs. Doug finished his meal and ate the included bad tasting dinner mint. An english speaking Italian said that was the fuel pellet. Doctor told Doug he'd be fine in two days.

Continuing the topic, I found that emptying and cleaning the barf bucket isn't so awful. Not that I want to do it often. This observation and the fact that Jill is not prominantly mentioned in this post are related.

Great quote by the sage George Eliot in Brother Jacob, "... the world is so inconveniently constituted that the vague consciousness of being a fine fellow is no guarantee of success in any line of business." Being a fine fellow in pursuit of a job, I could not agree more.

Finally, one more shot from the Ruidoso trip, this time at the Museum of the Old West. As per museum rules, no stage coach was touched in this re-enactment.