Monday, June 29, 2009

what goes on

Recent photos in the blog show a normal, active Jill out there doing stuff. Well, here's what she's been doing most of the time lately: Lots of bed rest, which sometimes takes the form of couch rest and sometimes chaise lounge rest on the porch. In the last couple of weeks, she's only left the house for doctor appointments. Youch! But she's handling it well. We're at 29 1/2 weeks, and the doctor hopes that the baby stays put until early August.
Jill's mom continues to help us tremendously. Check out the valances she made for Clara's room. She's just gonna love her window treatments.

Have you once lived in Champaign-Urbana and moved away? I'll bet you miss Papa Del's! I picked up a 15" Sicilian pan on my way home from work on Friday, and we had the above leftovers on Saturday. Pizza delivery via bicycle is a tough challenge, but the gray bike handled it with aplomb. The pizza box rested on top of my front basket, wedged between my handlebars, and secured by a cable lock.

I raced the Proctor Crit race on Sunday in downtown Peoria. As a team we tried to work together better with some success. A big Chicago team pretty much controlled the race and one of their riders won on a breakaway. I was with the peleton in the end but didn't have _any_ legs for the sprint. Mark, our best sprinter, took 4th, Alexei 7th, me 12th, Tom 13th, and Luke dragged the pack for the whole 2nd to last lap. Ouch!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cobb Park Crit

Race fans, I participated in a bike race last weekend, my first since cross racing in fall of '07. You may recall my disastrous last road race at TP to TA. The Cobb Park Criterium (ride a short loop for a set amount of time) took place in Kankakee along the Kankakee River, about 1 1/2 hours north of here, and I'm glad to report that I enjoyed it very much.

If this post is too long for you, feel free to skip the text and watch Rob's fantastic video.

I showed up during one of the master's races that included teammates Greg and Karl, cheered them on, and hung out with my fellow 5 Wild Card cat 4 buddies. We warmed up together, and eventually lined up at the start where we were warned to watch our language in front of the neighborhood children.

This was my first crit, so I was mostly trying to (1) not crash and (2) learn how to race crits. Gladly, both goals were met, though (2) needs more work. Moreover, I actually won something, a two pack of Powerade! Periodically through the race, premes are announced, meaning that the first guy to cross the finish line that lap gets the prize, and once it was me.

I was feeling pretty good towards the end of the race, so I attempted to stay near the front of our pack. Well, there I was on the last lap (maybe 6th, according to the film?) as we approached the 2nd to last corner. Alas, there I wasn't when someone swerved towards me and I slowed to avoid him and the curb. Probably that was for the best, as I was way late to notice that the sprint started without me (that's where 2nd goal is still a work in progress). About 2 or 3 seconds late, I wound up the legs and wound up in 8th place, out of 38.

I think that our team took 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 13. Pretty good, I say, but we're hoping for a little better on Sunday in Peoria.

This photo was taken from Rob's set. Nice job, Rob!
Post-lude: Why were no teammates were mentioned in my report? Again, first crit, so focusing on goal (1) was a challenge. Unless they were 1 or 2 riders in front of me, I had no idea where they were. Next race, I plan to make myself useful.

Friday, June 19, 2009

28 weeks in

Since our visit to the hospital, we've had one or two guests staying at the mansion. Jill's mom has been here the whole time, and her dad comes and goes, such is the life of a preacher. Usually with guests, we do the cooking and cleaning, so I'm trying to not get used to that not being the case. We've been well cared-for. Our landlord's son dropped off a bunch of flowers yesterday. Here's mom and dad posing in front of the new pink and purple flowers. They, the flowers, took a beating from today's hail and thunderstorms.
Before the storms, much heat and humidity abounded. What better way to combat the heat than homemade ice cream! We've settled on the custard type recipes, where the cream is cooked before freezing, because of the richer texture. Yummy!

Here's your 28 week profile shot. You can see a bruises on Jill's forearm. Many more are on her other arm and shoulder from multitudinous blood tests, IV's and what-have-you's. But the point is, wow, she is looking great!
And finally, we'd like to say Thank You to the many that have sent cards this week, especially to the k-4 sunday school kids in Kristen's class. We miss you guys very much!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Another much too eventful week in the march toward Clara's arrival. We spent Thurs - Sat at the hospital due to pre-term contractions. Mercifully, we're home now but Jill is on bed rest.

A few thoughts from the stay:

You may have heard about the time I fainted and cracked my head on the floor during a previous hospital visit. Not surprisingly, there is an official disease for a propensity to faint at hospitals. I'm healed now. My disease got pushed away by anger and frustration towards hospitals two years ago, and I also learned how fighter pilots tense core muscles during high g maneuvers.

Time passes unevenly at hospitals. We went to the hospital at 4am on Thurs. On Thurs night I alternated sleeping poorly on the floor and in a recliner. We slept off and on both day and night the rest of our stay. Looking forward to and watching NBA, NHL, and PGA helped mark the time.

Staying indoors for 3 days was a nice reprieve from spring allergies. I'd rather be outside.

Jill and Clara took steroids, so no Olympic trials this year for them.

If you're a single guy looking for a gal, I'd recommend checking out your local nursing school. Our nurses were all quite sweet and kind (do they run out of kindness after work?), but they were all married or engaged.

I hope we don't go back for another 2 months.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

So close to being good

26 weeks in, the biggest surprise of pregnancy is how long it lasts. We've been expecting a long time! Fully half of the term was spent in New Mexico -- doesn't it seem like we've been in IL for a while now? We still have more than 1/3 of the way remaining, a whole season (summer) to go. Thankfully, one milestone appears to be approaching. This week we saw and heard (congrats Cody and Erika!) about people not as far along as us.

On the other hand, the waiting allows us to think on our undertaking. Since both of us had quite pleasant childhoods, we don't need to overhaul the child rearing playbook, but we do have a wrinkle for our kid.

Both Jill and I had much success in school without really pushing ourselves. The lesson learned from this experience is this: you're smart, so you'll be fine. While this can be true, it's not a good path to follow for the rest of life. Our lesson for Clara is to work hard and find joy in the process, whatever the result. Actually, I already feel sorry for her because I don't want to learn this lesson, but maybe we can learn it together.

These thoughts came to me after thinking about Saturday's group bike ride. I fancy myself a fast rider, and this feeling is reinforced when riding either by myself or with slower riders than me. But as the Sadorus town limit sign approached during our big sprint, I was not gaining on Mark at all and Jonathan was blowing by the both of us (aside, huge props to Luke for the massively long and fast lead out). I was riding as hard as I could without gaining an inch. My gut reaction is, dang I stink. Upon reflection, I found my absolute limit and now I want to push that limit further out.

Not all of life needs to be a struggle. On Sat afternoon we took a nice canoe ride on Crystal Lake. Wildlife sightings were excellent: 1 small turtle, one large (turkey size) turtle, lots of geese with goslings in tow, lots of fish (up to 8"), and cardinals (strikingly red against the green scenery).

Finally, today I joined the TCBC softball team at Jill's prodding. She wants to meet more people from church in the stands, while I furiously swing for the downs with the guys. Good arrangement, I say.

p.s. The title is a quote from the golf tourney on tv today describing a bad shot. Brilliant phrase!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

watching you

Don't be trying any funny stuff because this guy has his eye on you.
We had an open house for our ol' friends recently. I did a poor job photographing the event, but I particularly like the above pose. Many thanks to all who stopped by, and those that didn't can come over any time, mostly.