Wednesday, February 25, 2009

springing ahead and waiting

The calendar says February, but the weather says late spring! Yesterday was my first bike ride of the year in shorts, and that feat was repeated today. The big boy blue bike is all dressed up and ready for the nice part of the year, which is approximately now until late December.

I installed the above set of handlebars with their nice round curves, replaced the g-springs in the right shifter, and put in new cables and casing. The biggest style improvement is the new bar tape color. What a great time we live in! Bars can be dressed in blue, or nearly any color of their choosing, rather than standard, boring black.

In more serious news, I have an interview in Fort Wayne in a couple weeks. I'm still awaiting the results of the 2 previous interviews. I'm not loving the waiting (a month passes before decisions are made, months pass before interviews are granted, how long did I spend in school?), but hopefully some good will be added to my character.

Friday, February 20, 2009

fun with veggies

Inspired by some testimonials on the web and in possession of sufficient time, I decided to make a large, multi-ingredient salad for lunch this week. I bought green leaf lettuce, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, radishes, cucumber, green pepper, and an avocado (not ripe, used later). To this, we added toasted almonds, cheddar cheese, and an oil/vinegar dressing, making a 10 ingredient salad. Impressive, I think, but upon further review I could have added tomatoes, celery, and alphafa sprouts.
Eating such a salad (easily the largest of my life) was quite educational. First, it took at least 30 minutes to eat it all because of (1) the large volume of food and (2) the raw veggies that required much chewing. Second, I wouldn't have gotten through it without the cheese and nuts; they added texture and saltiness.

Here's the most unusual item from Los Poblanos this week. We put some of it in a pasta dish. Three cheers to those that know what it is (even I have forgotten what it is called).

Happy, fun, and healthy eating to all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Waitress Foils Robbery Attempt

When this waitress served us lunch on Thursday, we had no idea that she'd already had a busy morning fighting crime. The spirit of the wild west lives on in Albuquerque. Check out the video:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

25 (or possibly less) things that are true about Jill, for now

1. I was tagged by my first friend, Rebecca. We’ve been friends since we were four. We used to go on expeditions from her house to her grandparents’. It was about a quarter of a mile and involved crossing a meadow, so we had to be sure to bring snacks. She also owned the entire set of hardback Nancy Drew books – the ones with the yellow spine, and I think we might’ve read them all.

2. I think it’s a good thing to be constantly changing, so I don’t expect that all of the things I write here will necessarily be true of me even by this time next year. But I’ll start out with the more important stuff.

3. God kindly grew me up in a Christian family, where I learned my faith every day. I didn’t experience any of the stereotypical negative effects of being a “Pastor’s Kid,” and I think that’s because my parents just put a lot of prayer and faith and honest goodwill into raising my brother and me.

4. I met my husband Chad at a Bible Study at our friend Leyla’s place. We’ve been married for 8 ½ years.

5. I love the things we do to keep our lifestyle simple, like:

6. Living in a small space. Every time we’ve moved since we’ve been married, we’ve moved into a smaller space, and I’ve always liked it better. Quicker to clean, better organized, simpler.

7. Living near all the places we frequent. We can bike or walk to everything. Sometimes our car doesn’t move for weeks.

8. Not owning a pet. I dislike the very idea of owning a pet.

9. Not owning a lot of stuff. The less stuff I own, the less time I have to spend taking care of my stuff, organizing my stuff, looking at my stuff.

10. I do, however, own four bicycles.

11. I love places, exploring places, getting to know places and feeling an ownership for a place. I name my bikes after places. They are:

12. The bike I ride most is an orange 1984 Trek sport-touring with a Carradice bag on the back for groceries or library books and a front light powered by generator hub. It’s called the “Oswego” after the village-without-even-a-post-office in Indiana where my home church is located.

13. My fastest bike is a red Gunnar Roadie named “Guntersville” after a favorite family vacation spot, the Walkers’ cabin on the Tennessee river in Alabama.

14. My city bike is a blue Suteki mixte (sloping top-tube, a.k.a. “girls’ bike”) with a front basket and matching blue fenders. It’s called the “Urbana.” I also have a mountain bike, but it’s loaned out right now and hasn’t yet shown enough personality to earn a name or a numbered item.

15. I’ve never really mastered any particular skill – like speaking a second language or playing a musical instrument or being especially good at some sport or game. I attribute this to a whole set of character flaws ranging from fear of failure to laziness and a tendency to do things by halves. I’d like to improve.

16. I make rules for myself, like:

17. I don’t take up any new hobby or commit to any regularly-occurring event that excludes Chad. This rule occurred to me after a conversation with my Grandma White in which she said she thought husbands and wives should do their best to have hobbies in common.

18. Each day, I don’t allow myself to read anything else until I’ve read my Bible. I love this rule.

19. I like to watch football. However, sometimes I feel bad about liking football when I see people get badly injured, as it looked like Willis McGahee was in the Steelers/Ravens game.

20. I’m attracted to philosophies of Christian pacifism like the Mennonites’ and Leo Tolstoy’s.

21. Tolstoy is my second-favorite author. I think Constantine Levin, a character in Anna Karenina, is a lot like Chad.

22. George Eliot is my favorite author. I like her because she’s kind to her characters. If you’re beginning to read George Eliot, I suggest starting with Silas Marner, and then going to Adam Bede and Middlemarch. Leave The Mill on the Floss and Romola for last, or just skip them.

23. I prefer books that were written a hundred or more years ago. When I read more recent authors, I often get the feeling that they’re lying to me.

24. I don’t always follow directions. I’m stopping at 24, and I’m not tagging anybody. But I’d love to read random facts (in any quantity) about any of my friends who feel like sharing them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

fun times in Park City

What to do when one doesn't have to work and one's family is taking a vacation? Join them! We drove out to Park City to spend some time with my sister, her husband and 2 kids, and my parents.

At the beginning of the week there was much sunshine and warm temps. The younger group all went to Heber City to ride tubes down a hill. The advantage of going to an official tubing place is that a mini-rope tow pulls the rider and tube up the hill, saving considerable energy compared to trudging back up the hill. Here's the gang after cruising down the hill all hooked together. Fun ride!

Despite the massive development of the Park City area in the last 30 years, one doesn't have to walk far to see signs of the pre-yuppy settlers that did some ranching in the area. Prior to that, there was significant mining in the area and the remains can be observed throughout the Park City Mountain ski resort. We took a couple apples to feed to this neighborhood horse.

And now for too many words on skiing.

During my teenage years, skiing was by far my favorite activity and I tried to ski at least 10 days per year. This included a number of one day events in which I'd wake up at 4am, drive 4 hours to Kirkwood, ski all day, and drive the 4 hours home. I still enjoy skiing very much but with some reservations.

I haven't experienced anything similar to making a perfect turn in skiing. On steep runs, I try to predict the snow texture, hill slope, and how much fear I can handle when planning my turn. The turn consists of what angle to move my skis, where to land, and how hard to drive my skis into the snow. When this works out correctly, pure bliss. When I'm wrong, down I go. And here's the great thing about skiing: nearly always the cost of falling is neglible because snow is soft which allows me to take more risks than I otherwise would.

But I've known one guy that was killed in an avalanche, met the widow and son of another guy, and have skied in the remains of an avalanche that killed 2 people (see red dot in the photo below taken from The Canyons website. This is the north slope off of the 9990 chairlift.). So really, it's not all that safe.

My other hangup is chairlifts. A great joy of cycling is riding to the top of hills and then cruising down feeling like I earned the descent. Maybe I don't feel that I've really earned the skiing downhill. But I'm really not too interested in hiking to the top while wearing ski boots and carrying skis.

So I now ski 1 or 2 days each year, usually with the family, sort of. Nobody in my immediate family actually skis with me now. But I look forward to the day when my daredevil niece joins me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

back from Utah

Our roadweary souls are back in Abq after spending a little over a week in Park City, UT. I'm too tired to write much, but here's a pic from our 12 hour drive home located somewhere between Shiprock and Gallup. Love that snow in the desert.
Look for reports of our adventures soon.