Sunday, May 31, 2009

toodling around Urbana

Just absolutely perfect weather graced the weekend. On Sat, we sauntered around Crystal Lake Park, site of our engagement. This time lacked the drama of that visit but did offer a couple curious vistas. First, we saw a 4' long snake swimming along the short of Crystal Lake, my first sight of a not-killed-by-power-boat-water-snake. Jill's observation: isn't it creepy that snakes move the same way on both land and water?

Second, we saw the ruins of Urbana's public pool. This saddens me, though I'm not a swimmer, because it's harder for non-rich to swim in this town. As a Uni employee, we have access to the Uni pool and Jill has taken advantage. But it's not geared for kids (rightly so, I say) so few are seen. Hmm, is starting a grassroots public pool movement in our future?

Jill is 6 months along and still merrily riding her blue bike. Here she is on our way to church this morning, looking lovely as can be.
Seems like too many photos in our blog recently have been inside. So here's one from today's ride to Block, home of the biggest hills within 25 miles of Urbana. Don't fret the flatness of the photos as the hills can't be seen here. They exist. That grass in the foreground grows all by itself here in the damp midwest, but what's of greater interest is the freshly poked out of the ground corn in the field. You might be able to see a tinge of green on the left side. It's maybe 2" tall. Stay tuned for more corn growth updates!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


We had a mini family reunion last weekend at Jill's mom and dad's place. Jill's brother and family and we converged on Warsaw, IN. Older nephew is very excited to have 2 girl cousins on the way. Our girl will be the second. Jill finished crocheting a bear for younger nephew-- he likes it. You can see the head and ears in his arms, and the whole thing is extremely cute.
With a tip of the hat to Great Adventures, Jill's new crochet project is a blanket for our baby. We're getting her literary training started early with an alphabet blanket. Also, the baby's name is hereby revealed to her adoring public: Clara J___ (middle name still under discussion, but the 'J' beginning has been decided).

A while ago, a stately Canadian goose kept watch over the environs from the roof of our neighborhood electricians' office. We like to think of our neighborhood as mixed and chic with just a touch of dilapidation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

subtle changes

Before: After:
There aint serious hills in these parts, but there is wind. I'm rocking a slightly more aero position, but the main deal is that my bike looks more pro. Clearly, I'm no pro as I crashed on my first ride with the new setup.
I'm almost completely healed. Big thumbs up for Tegaderm bandages!

Here's Jill at 23 weeks. Even strangers easily take note of our coming baby. Both Jill and baby are healthy. Hurray!

Friday, May 8, 2009

not superman

Is too much oxygen bad for your brain? I ponder this because our move to Urbana brought us about 4000' closer to sea level where the air is more dense and I really goofed up.

Wed night is my team's fast training bike ride night (that's right, normally a Groucho Marx type guy, I have joined a team, WildCard Cycling). The standard procedure is to ride into the wind on the way out and then ride home really fast. About 5 miles from home, I was digging deep to stay with a group of 8ish guys when I found myself suddenly rubbing my front wheel into the side of the rear wheel in front of me. This is bad! After breaking free, I swerved quickly, lost control, and supermanned towards the pavement, which grabbed pieces of clothing and a bunch of skin. Later I realized that my watch broke off and disappeared into roadside grass. The bike was nearly unscathed excepting torn bar tape and a flat front tire. Thankfully I caused no one else to crash.

Wiping out on my 4th team ride does not build the mates' trust in my bike handling abilities. On the bright side, they'll remember me.

I feel very foolish. There are only two important rules in group riding: (1) don't brake without warning and (2) don't run into the bike in front of you. So as to prevent future violations of rule 2, I plan to scooch back a tad on future rides. That way, if my brain o.d.'s on O2 again, I'll have a little more time to adjust.

Jill patched me up nicely, as you can see in the photo. I have road rash off and on from my shoulder to my shin, all on my right side. Thankfully, no bones broke, and my visage is the same as ever. If you have a strong stomach, I can send you a pic of my back before we applied bandages. No, we didn't take any pictures of other scraped regions because this is a family blog.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

the greener grass of Urbana

A number of people have asked me, often with a pained look on their face, if I had hoped to move back to Urbana. I find this question curious because it shows that either (a) a lot of people here have an inferiority complex about this town or (b) the town is crummy. Well, I haven't traveled the world by any means, but I have lived in a handful of nice places and, frankly, this town is just fine. Back to the question, I have answered that no, we didn't plan to move back here. But here we are, and doggonit we're gonna make the most of it.

I consulted some historical photos, and it sure seems like we had some good times during our previous stay here.

Darth Vader and friends patrolled downtown Champaign today while we were eating lunch. I was convinced that Luke Skywalker was inside the storm trooper outfit, but the trooper denied it. Hm.

I rode out to Homer Lake this afternoon. Getting away from the Empire and sitting by a calm lake was a great way to unwind from my second consecutive week of the working life.

Jill's parents were here for a couple days. Before they left this morning, we went to the Urbana farmers' market. We bought some bread and jam. We picked up an Urbana bike map and talked to an Urbana city council member that told us that Urbana has a greater fraction of bike users than Madison. Yup, better than Madison. Urbana: home of the good life.