Thursday, September 21, 2006

Biker Chick

OK,,,confessions time here. In my misspent youth I had a passion for motorcycles. I bought my first used 80cc yamaha when I was 14 and proceeded from there. I rode Moto-X and "Hare and Hound". My social life ran around motorcycles which of course really helped my mainstreaming in High School (not!). By my senior year I realized I could not keep such an expensive hobby, work, eat and go to college. The choice was motorcycles or eating....eating edged them out. I sold my dirt bike (Maico 250) and bought a used Yamaha 350 that I used for transportation during my college years. (I loved 2 strokes!) The last motorcycle I owned was an 82 Suzuki 850 that I sold the day the rabbit died. I let my motorcycle license lapse and have not looked back on what I considered a closed part of my life.

In the interim, my older brothers have all hit their mid life crisises and bought motorcycles. Between the three of them, they own a Honda Valkyrie, HD Sporster, HD Superglide, HD Fatboy, BMW and a minibike. They seemed to feel something was missing in my life so on the 8th of this month when my sibs were coming in for "Da Kids" Ironman, one of them showed up riding thismy first response was "nice bike, but aren't your other bikes jealous?" the rejoinder? "Nope, its your birthday present from blank1, blank2 and me. We thought you needed a motorcycle again and this is a 'girly bike' after all". The OH was in on it and started laughing. I promptly ended that with a "shut up, or guess who will be riding bitch?"

At least now I understand why the OH was trying to get the excess junk out of the garage.

It is a nice bike. It is along the lines of what I would have bought for myself. It has 15K miles on it and needs some minor work. I hope I can get my required class and my license updated before the snow flies.

Everyone needs big brothers *S*

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bad News

Gas prices in my area have fallen over $.80 per gallon in the last 3 weeks. Good news, right? I don't think so....

As long as we are dependent on fossil fuels for our energy needs we will be riding the roller coaster of gasoline/diesel price swings. The price swings occur in both long and short term cycles and the result is we spend a lot of time dealing with the dislocations from swings BOTH ways.

What is most worrisome to me? With the easing of pump prices, our elected village idiots in Washington will not feel the urgency to create a coherent and forward looking National Energy Policy that could free us from dependence on fossil fuels.

So, a low pump price is bad news.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I will admit that I am a sucker for a good human interest story. I am especially vulnerable to those tales involving an indomitable will. Must be from watching "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" as a kid. *S*

The first year that I volunteered at the Cheesehead Ironman I learned the story of Frank Farrar. I was working one of the bike aid stations when I suddenly hear everyone cheering for one of the riders near the back of the pack. I asked one of my coworkers what all the racket was about and he told me "That was Frank". I obviously looked blank so he informed me that Frank was in his 70's and was by far the oldest Ironman participant. As always, there was a LOT more to the story.

At that time, 2004, Frank Farrar was 74. He is also the former Governor of South Dakota and a successful attorney. In 1992 he was informed he had terminal cancer and had maybe 6 months to live. His reaction? He started training even harder and now in 2006 he is still doing triathalons. Despite advancing age and bad knees he continues to participate. He has failed to complete the last 3 Ironmans in the alloted time of 17 hours but he never leaves the course until he is finished. I was there at 12:02 the other nite when the now 77 year old Frank once more failed to make the cut off. The cheering from a crowd of tired volunteers was INCREDIBLE. I hope I am half that tough.

Once more we see that the amazing thing is not how well the elephant flies, but that it flies at all.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Temperature....Hi 62 F, Low 55 F
Wind....East 10-20 MPH

Despite tough weather, the time speaks for itself.

"Da Kid" Finished!!!!!!!!

I am humbled and awed

**this is not "Da Kids" picture, but it captures the flavour

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Da Kid" ....Final Countdown

Almost 3 years after first talking about it. Almost 1 year after signing up for it. "Da Kid" is on her final few days before taking on the "Ironman" challenge. On Sunday she will;

swim 2.4 miles,
cycle 112 miles and
run 26.2 miles.

Forecast is for cool with a 50% chance of showers. Is she ready for it? She does not think so, but I believe she is. She is tough and smart. Combine those with her training and she should do fine.

If you have not figured it out by now, we are incredibly proud of her for taking on this challenge.

The OH and I have volunteered to work several of the aid stations so she will have a cheering section as she goes. Additionally, a couple of her uncles are making a surprise visit from out of state to help cheer her on.

I expect her time to be somewhere between 12:20:00 and 14:00:00 with a median time of 13:00:00. It will be a long day for her. Her day will start at 5:00 AM with sign in and body numbers and end somewhere around 8:00 PM with her crossing the line.

She is a great person and worthy of your cheers. *S*

I will be back late Monday with the results.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Minnesota State Fair

The OH and I went to the State Fair last weekend to see the nephews last FFA competition. They did well overall with 2 seconds and a best in class. Like last year, it was entertaining to watch the OH relive the farm years with the in-laws. Although it is a amusing for a city kid like me, there is something sad about a "at heart" farmer kicking around the edges of it, knowing they will never plow a field, sweat a crop or tend a sick cow. Change is usually good, but something is always left behind.

The Minnesota State Fair has changed a great deal to match the times. Once the Fairs dominant theme, Agriculture is only a shadow of its former self in the Fairs doings. Gone is Machinery Hill. Modestly attended are the animal competitions. Hardly attended are the "odd" shows for commercial fowl, goats, sheep etc..

The state fairs core business seems to have become eating. I am dumbfounded at the number of severely obese people that seem to be eating their way from one end of the fair to the other. The aromas are sooooooo enticing with Pronto Pups, mini-donuts, Sweet Marthas Cookies, Batter Fried Potatoes, Onion Rings, Pork Chops on a stick, fried Snickers bars, and so many others I could not begin to list them. I am hoping that what we saw at the fair on Saturday is not reflective of our population in general. If it is, we are not heading for a health crisis, it has arrived.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sailing to Summers End

I had a break today so I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up on some blogging.

The weather here has changed and you can begin to feel the season turning. The days are shorter, the nites just a bit cooler and if you look, tinges of red and scarlet are showing in the trees. We were having dinner at the home of friends in somewhat rural Wisconsin this week*. Despite the absolutely perfect day, I kept hearing Gordon Lightfoots "Christian Island" in my head all evening, a sure sign that we are looking for Fall soon.

Enjoy *S*

I'm sailin' down the summer wind,
I got whiskers on my chin,
and I like the mood I'm in,
as I while away the time of day,
in the lee of Christian Island.

Tall and strong, she dips and reels,
I call her Silver Heels,
and she tells me how she feels.
She's a good old boat and she'll stay afloat,
through the toughest gail and keep smilin',
but for one more day she would like to stay,
in the lee of Christian Island.

I'm sailin' down the summer day,
where fish and seagulls play,
I put my troubles all away.
And when the gail comes up I'll fill me cup,
with the whiskey of the highlands.
She's a good old ship and she'll make the trip,
from the lee of Christian Island.

Tall and strong she slips along,
I sing for her a song,
and she leans into the wind.
She's a good old boat and she'll stay afloat,
through the toughest gail and keep smilin',
and when the summer ends we will rest again,
In the lee of Christian Island.

*my new profile pic is from that dinner