Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Little Bit Of Riding...A Lot More Football and Baseball

Aside from this biking thing, around my house of late we've been primarily exicited about two things. Football and baseball. The football is of the kiddo flag variety (thankfully as it's another very sad year to be a Cyclone)...and the baseball is of the professional sort...Dodgers baseball. My child is pretty sure he's joined the ranks of the NFL what with his sore muscles, mouth guard and all. This stuff is great entertainment and for the first time ever, his season has been blessed with PERFECT weather:

My son found this great love affair of both football and baseball through birth into a family of sports fanatics, but also from watching a whole bunch of games of nearly every level/type. For his football season, we implemented a "good sportsmanship rule" prior to his second practice. It seemed to me a good expectation to set early as he jumped in the car complaining about something. And shortly thereafter as I observed another practice, we also implemented a "no showboating rule." Simply put...you showboat and you're out. And if you're not a good sport you're out.

Both of these rules fall nicely into our overall "Sports Deal." We have this Deal, my son and I, that has been longstanding (in the mind of my nine year old at least) through a number of his sports teams and seasons. I stole it from the parenting annals of one of my very dear friends after lamenting one night over a glass of wine how spun out of shape so many parents seemed to get, and how awful their behavior was on the sidelines and how it all seemed lost on them that then subsequently, their children acted the same way on the court/field. What are these people teaching their kids, I wondered aloud?

My friend promptly replied, "To act like idiots."

And then he explained to me The Deal.

He made The Deal with his dad and mom growing up, when he played baseball, first Little League, then eventually made his way to the major leagues. The Deal: you make a fool out of me on the field and I will make a fool out of you on the sidelines. I adopted it as my own that night.

When we discuss The Deal at home, my son explodes into a fit of the giggles imagining what I might do in any number of hypothetical situations he dreams up. We haven't used it yet. But I have sat at each of my son's games and watched kids showboat, bitch, complain and pout with great bravado; all while their parents sit in their lawn chairs and swoon over how cute they are.

It would be easy to brush this off as "this day and age" and blame it on the example cast by many of our professional athletes. Except we've found for my son a role model on this MLB Dodgers team that has just blown every one of those stereotypes to smithereens. At Cleveland game earlier this season Casey Blake gave my son the royal treatment: talked to him, threw him a ball, came to see him again after the game and EVEN REMEMBERED HIS NAME!

Hands down, he made my son's summer. And from that day on, my son has watched, and therefore I have watched Casey Blake's every move. We have scanned the papers and read line scores. We have logged on to ESPN.com. We have recited stats from his baseball card, quizzed one another.

My son was devastated with his mid season trade to the Dodgers after following Cleveland all summer. And then we read together an article where Casey Blake took the move to Los Angeles in stride; and Casey looked for and he pointed out the positives. My son was amazed.

"He likes it, mom! Did you see that? I was mad that I thought he'd be missing his friends and he said he LIKES it!"

And now as the Dodgers take center stage, and each game is televised we sit around and we watch Casey Blake even more closely.

"He doesn't showboat, does he mom?"

"He has great sportsmanship, doesn't he, mom?"

And perhaps my favorite moment of them all, last night Casey hit a solo homerun line shot that put the game back in L.A.'s court. The LA fans demanded a curtain call. The cameras were all on Casey. And it took two teammates nearly hurling the guy outside the dugout to get him to acquiesce.

And my son, "He looks almost embarrassed that they are making him do that, doesn't he mom?"
This a.m. as we drove to school, he sat in the back of the car lamenting their loss (that he was not allowed to stay up and watch). He said, "Do you think Casey's mom and dad had their OWN Deal, mom?"

I told him I am sure they did. And sometimes the good guys do win.

Lets hope so tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Maples At Their Peak

These lovely maple leaves are a bit north of here but there are TONS of these trees near my house. This time of year is my very, very favorite around here and this weekend promises lots of lovely, sunny, warm weather for crunching around in them.

Hurray for Friday! Hurray for Fall! Hurray for my new window screens that were installed yesterday while I worked! There is nothing better than sleeping with the windows wide open this time of year. It is also a darned lovely day for a bike ride.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Lovely Grey Northwest Day...Followed By Some Very Welcome Fall Sun

Yesterday was cool and damp and grey. I have plenty of clothes for those days given that in Bellingham there were about 11 months of them. I found myself happy for the opportunity to pull out for the first time this Fall a warm hat, sweater and jacket. Happy for the grey skies that seemingly matched my morose mood. Happy for the opportunity to blame the dreary drizzle on an excuse for slacking off, slowing down.

Then as if to continue this Northwest-themed day, I later met great friends for some mediocre sushi, a little live music. It got me thinking even moreso about how much I actually miss Bellingham, my friends there, these mountains and this lovely little park I hid at on occassion called Whatcom Falls, which sits smack dab in the middle of Bellingham.

And as soon as the inevitable snow flies around here, I will surely miss Bellingham and the Northwest even more. Today though, a picturesque Iowa autumn sun returned; the sugar maples are brilliant shades of crimson red, the geese glide by in clear, sea-blue skies and I will ride my bike. I will ride my bike by pumpkin patches, yellow bean fields and combines harvesting corn. My son will play a little football. My dog will go for a run. And some friends will inevitably stop by my porch later. I will sleep soundly here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Kona Comes Out Of Hiding: We're Mountain Biking...or Something Like This.

My legs were killing me from Saturday's ride and the wind was even worse than the day before. I also had a little time I didn't expect due to a last minute sleepover invite. So yesterday I drug the Kona out to play. I have only ridden this bike only a handful of times since my return from Washington, mainly because the majority of the trails near my house were flooded and in horrible shape, and then I got distracted by my road bikes. This bike is also a bit um, much for these parts. Nonetheless, it's fun to ride, and the dog was giving me more and more looks like these as the day wore on:

We started here:

And straight out of the parking lot saw all these horses coming off the trail:

Marley was not deterred or to be bothered by some silly horses. She took off like she owned the place. Eventually, we made our way over to the East side:

Unfortunately, despite some lovely foliage, the trails were still quite a mess from the floods and horses, therefore there was TONS of sand, and horse shit and single track that is no longer single track and erosion....everywhere you can imagine.

We had ourselves a fine time though and returned home both of us plum tuckered out, covered in horse shit, mud and river water and disc brakes full of sand. And yes, I DID clean my bike afterwords. For once. And then my dog. And then me.

And finally, there was some much needed rest (and a very cold beer):

Rides Are Boring Albeit Lovely

The combines are out and harvest is in full swing around these parts; which when you're on a bike means more wind, some lovely colors changing dramatically each day...in particular in the bean fields, and all sorts of road kill and critters making their way from their former homes to some other locale. I am bored out of my mind riding solo, but I have managed to drag my camera along once or twice for good measure, and perhaps as a good excuse to take a break here and there.

Thursday's ride was short. I flatted just as I was leaving, and returned home to swap bikes, but still had very few minutes to spare before we were looking at momma being late for the football practice pick up.

Friday was also short, but I didn't flat. I did however space out and run over a frog, a snake, a possum tail and a part of some other unidentifiable animal. Spaced out is perhaps a mild understatment.

Saturday's ride was long, FAST and lovely for the first half and then a royal pain in the calves/quads as I went 20 some miles home straight into a ferocious headwind. Nonetheless, I stopped to take a pic of these native grasses; I am trying to figure out how I might integrate some into my landscaping at home, which right now, largely consists of these lovely mums.

Wallaby's 20th Anniversary Party & Alumni Reunion

The Vitals: Starts all day Friday , with food specials...beer garden F.A.C. or after work party!

Band starts at 8.

Saturday a.m. tailgate/game.Please share your pictures with Donny or Rick via Alison or Stacie.

T-shirt pre-orders contact Donny or Stacie.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What's New...

I'll bet you didn't know you could race bikes and simultaneously carry babies? We wouldn't recommend trying it, unless of course, you're Keri. She's special AND she's gone pro!