Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Winter fat

I woke up this morning to a snow storm. The local news stayed on the air reporting accidents and slide-offs all around the city. I have it easy as I only have to go four miles to work and it is mostly on a back road, but some people have really difficult drives.

Well I've put on my winter fat. Even though I ski a lot and every weekend it still isn't the same as cycling every day, and I hate riding a trainer or on the rollers. But I think I'm going to have to start training indoors to slim down before cycling season starts up. Last summer I got down to 175 lbs but part of it had to do with really getting sick with the flu in July. Usually I'm around 185. And that's really big for a cyclist. I'm sure I'm around 200 now. I don't know because I broke my scale. (not from standing on it!) I'm just under 6 feet tall. I like to weigh a little more for ski racing, and then less for cycling. So it's time to start doing something about this situation.

I talked to our UPS guy today who bought a new road bike and has been training to do the STP (Seattle To Portland) bike tour. I haven't done that one. It is 200 miles and most people do it in two days but some people do all 200 on one day. I draw the line at 100 miles a day as that is at the limit of my comfort level.

Oh yeah, Levi Leipheimer won the tour of California. It was the first time I've heard anyone say he was from Montana on TV race coverage, and the TV coverage was really good. Discovery has a strong team including Ivan Basso and that's why Levi won including his killer up hill time trial on the opening stage. But I think we will see Levi working for Basso when the Tour de France comes around.

In other cycling news, Ulrich has hung up his cleats as he couldn't shake his doping charges, and Landis is still fighting his situation. I think Landis is pretty much washed up anyway due to his hip, but who knows. The young riders come up and they are so strong and fit that I just don't see how he can get much more out of his body at his age. Basso is the one to watch in this year's TDF.

Monday, February 26, 2007

2 out of 4

Ok, now 2 out of the 4 compact fluorescent light bulbs that I bought at Home Depot have failed. The first one failed the moment I turned it on, and the second one failed tonight. It was in a hallway light. I turned it on and the whole thing didn't light up. Then I turned it off and turned it back on and then it went Zzzzt Zzzzt and poped and out.

I bought them on the second of this month. They are supposed to last 9 years. I have the packaging and the receipt. And I'm taking them back. They had better take them back or I'll throw a fit. They were $8.86. I'm not sure these things are even safe. The ballast part of the one that just went out was really hot and smelled like an electrical fire. I think it could have actually caused a fire in my house.

Bicycle log does not endorse compact fluorescent light bulbs. At least not N:VISION brand ones. They appear to save money because the don't light up half the time. Plus hey have mercury in them, and I think Yahoo and Austrailia, and whoever else is promoting these things haven't thought this over very well.


I did take the light bulbs back tonight after work and got my money back. The gal was like "I've never had any problem" And then I went to select some Edison bulbs and the guy working there was acting like I should try these compact bulbs. I told him my story and he was blown away. Then he started to look at me like I was crazy. Perhaps if they sold more than just one brand I would have exchanged them. But no way was I going to exchange my defective bulbs for more of the same thing.

Black bear man

I had another bear dream the other night. In the dream a bear got in my house from outside and so I hid in an upstairs bedroom. After a while I came out of hiding and went downstairs to look around and see where it went. I'm really not afraid of them as I've come in contact with them at the cabin a number of times. You don't want to get in the wrong situation with them as they are higher on the food chain. I came face to face with one down by the lake one night. I could have touched him on the snout as I was only arms length away. That's a little too close. I had another one run at me while I was on my bike. I took this photo a few miles from the cabin last summer. This sow had at least one cub in those bushes and that's when they can be nasty.

There are quite a few of them around. They tend to do whatever they want. These are black bears, but grizzly bears are known to be around as it isn't far from Glacier Park. I've seen some really big black bears up there. I've also had three great big grizzlys right in front of the car up by the park. There is a good doccumentary to watch sometime if it ever comes on called GRIZZLY MAN. It's about the guy who got eaten along with his girlfriend in Alaska. He was taking crazy risks and filming his encounters. I try to avoid bears but they keep crawling back into my dreams to haunt me at night.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tom Rothrock

I decided to take the day off and go skiing as we were between storms and it was going to be the only clear day to ski this weekend. They are having a USSA masters race this weekend, and I decided not to enter it as there is too much new snow and the forecast for the weened is not good. Today it was somewhat clear out and I wanted to be on the mountain so I went up for the day. They were running the Super G. I found out by overhearing a conversation, that Tom Rothrock who is on the US Ski Team was fore-running the race. So I went back to my car and got my little camera to see if I could get a shot of him. Between the first and the second run I weasled my way down the course and got into position. Here is the shot I got of him. I wish I had known he was going to be there as I would have taken my bigger camera. Rothrock is from central Washington and I think he is recovering from an injury. It was a treat to get to see him ski, but it isn't easy to get to, as they don't allow anyone on the course like I was. That's the problem with ski racing. They need to allow for spectators here and there on the course. This run is impossible to get to.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Make safe decisions

I usually don't talk about work for a reason, but I did enjoy knowing what Wordpeckers day was like, so I'll do this in the most general of terms. It will give a little insight into what my day was like.

We made a bunch of graphics that go on the sides of Semi Tractors and trailers. The trailers are over 50 feet long. Great big pictures of a food product You might have seen them actually. It's really cool. I'm sorry that I can't show you any photos, and I took photos when we were there. Anyway one trailer had some issues and so my boss had to go out of town to take a look and she asked me to go. It's at a place with truck drivers and mechanics and I think she just wanted me along as she as an attractive woman, and well who knows. A beautiful woman walking into a trucker workshop like that. All of the guys were checking her out. I thought they actually gathered to check her out. I'm sure it was the highlight of their day. And there I am, body guard.

It snowed all the way there and all the way back and it is in the mountains and forest. I was happy to get out of the office for a road trip but it was a bad day to be driving that road. We talked about small towns and growing up and that sort of thing. So that was my day. It was nice to get out of the office.

It snowed all day and is snowing right now. I backed out of doing a USSA ski race this weekend. Partly due to the weather. A friend of mine and I were going to take our campers up into the parking lot for the races. It's really not the place I want to be in a snow storm with my camper, and I'm not really comfortable skiing a flull lenght Giant Slalom in a storm. It's bad enough when it is clear out. It's just too dangerous. Plus they didn't have a training day for Slalom and that is what I was most interested in this time. So I pulled out before I paid. Tomorrow is the Super G which is a lot like Downhill. You get going about 60 mph. And that is also not something you want to do in a a snow storm. Who knows they might cancel the SG. But usually they will run it if at all possible.

So I'll just go up and take my powder skis. There is a foot of new snow since last weekend. In a ski race you spend a bunch of money to do it and then stand around forever waiting for your turn to go. Ok, I'm trying to justsify not racing,.. but I just had a bad feeling about it. That's not the time to ski race. At least not for me as I have nothing to gain, and only do it for fun. I used to have a sticker on the tip of my ski that said; Make Safe Decisions. They are words to live by.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. Here is what God had to say;

Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. (Latin: Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.)– God, Genesis 3:19

And in my case, in dust I shall live.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nixon, tea, and lightbulbs

Believe it or not, I have a formula for when I blog. I put my blogger hat on and blog something. Then I put my editor hat on and edit. Sometimes I edit the whole thing and then I have nothing. Yesterday I started to write about President's day and it morphed into why I thought it was a mistake for Ford to pardon Nixon.

Everyone is writing about coffee. I've enjoyed what wordpecker wrote and also diane/ thoughtspot. (both on the sidebar) I usually only drink one cup of coffee in the morning. I've only been to a Starbucks once for coffee and that was a long time ago in Seattle. I did buy myself some beans to grind at home a while back, and I did get some iced tea once last summer at one. Here at work everyone is drinking tea. Well not everyone, but several of the office people are. Someone brought in this Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry black tea. I don't know much about tea but this smells really good. Now everyone has it. It's flying off of the shelf here at Safeway. $2.50 for 20 tea bags.

I have another thing on my mind today. These little fluorescent energy saving light bulbs. The little curly bulbs. I got tired having regular light bulbs burn out all of the time so I bought a package of four of these. Well one of them burned out the moment I turned it on, so now I have to take it back. Then I found out that these bulbs contain mercury and should be recycled and not just thrown away. I'm pretty sure if I just take it back they will just throw it away. There is only one store that has taken responsibility for the bulbs that they sell in Washington and that is Ikea. Now I'm thinking that perhaps these things aren't such a great idea after all. I guess there is only one place in the state to recycle them. I need to look into this more.


I heard on the radio after work that Austrailia will get rid of regular incandescent bulbs in favor of these little compact fluorescent bulbs to go green. California might be soon to follow. There was no mention of the disposal issue however. It clearly states on the package of these bulbs that they contain mercury and need to be disposed of in accordance with local, state and federal laws. You can go to
and see how confusing it is.

What it comes down to, at least in Washington state, is that you can dispose of houshold bulbs in the trash. But the bulbs will break and the mercury will come out. I'm thinking if everyone uses these bulbs things will need to change as far as just throwing them out in the trash goes. I know that companies must pay to recycle these fluorescent bulbs now and it is expensive. Plus I don't really trust the contractors who provide this service. So this technology might not be the answer.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Flying tiger

I went skiing today in total fog. As I made my way to the race course It was a total white out and I got vertigo going over a riser. Little dropplets of mist would get on my goggles and make visibility impossible, At the race course they were just starting to open it to the public. The start is up on a hump. You could see the first gate and part of the second but then the hill drops away and beyond that was nothing but fog. So I decided to run it and just look to the next gate to go around. I ended up getting the 4th fastest time, but one of my rivals beat me.

Here is a photo of a Suburu that I took on my way home. Notice the little bombs on the rear fender. Whoever did this gets my award for best home-made vehicle graphics. There are some WWII pilots rolling over in their graves.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Went skiing

I took the day off and went skiing. Here is what it looked like. It was a blue bird day. The snow was frozen and hard after several days of rain and wet snow. I took three pairs of skis and one of them worked well. I thought it would warm up enough to soften the backside of the moutain but that really didn't happen. So that's good in a way. I had been worried that all of the snow we have is melting away in the above freezing air but that istn't the case. It is after all over 6k feet up there. I wish it was higher.

Anyway there was racing tonight, and I did take a pair of race skis, but I forgot to scrape the wax off of one of them. Duh. (you melt the wax on the skis and then iron it in and then scrape it off and then brush it.) Well I finished one ski but not the other. I tried to use my window scrapper but it wasn't sharp enough. And plus, all day of skiing on ice had taken a tole on my legs and on my left knee. All day I never felt like I could hook it up with enough strength on my left side, especially at the end of the day. So anyway those skis will still be fresh for tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

11 roses

Well today is Valentine's day. Sadly, I can only offer memories on this subject.

One memory that comes to mind was with Jane. Jane measured how I met her expectations by how much money I would spend on things like Valentine's day. I couldn't ever bring myself to accept that she was that superficial but she was. So I went to this florist and there was this really nice woman who helped me. She was really sweet and I had fun buying these flowers from her. She showed me everything and I asked a lot of questions. Together we built up what we both thought was a really pretty, and not all that expensive of a bouquet. I should have given it to her. So here I came with my "economy" bouquet (but still not cheap), and I gave it to Jane. She looked at it, and clearly was not thrilled. She said that she had expected a dozen roses. And I'm like, well everyone does that, and I wanted to be different, and I thought this one was pretty, and I helped put it together... Did not go over. If I had given her 11 roses she would have had a problem.

Let it go don.

I hope your expectations were met if you have a sweetie. And Happy Valentine's day to the women who come here from don.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Go to heck

I think I've said it before, that one of my biggest fears is that when I go into the rest home they will play 80s glam rock or something all day long thinking that is what we want to hear. Please shoot me with the gun and put the roses on my casket, but no Guns and Roses! Feed me the Poison, but don't make me listen to it! I'd rather die and go to heck.

And that brings to mind a joke.

A guy dies and goes to heck, and the devil is driving him around in a golf car showing him the place. "Over here we have a par 3 golf course, in heaven they have a full lenght course. And in our dormitory housing we only have black and white TV and dial up internet. In heaven they have luxury condos and plasma screens and high speed internet." And the guy says "This isn't that bad, It isn't as good as heaven but it isn't that bad." and then they pass a pit with hot coals and naked people screaming in the pit. And the guy says "What's that!?" And the devil says "We put that in for the Baptists so they woudln't be disappointed."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rich kids

Ok, so two things. First of all, I held back ski racing for a week as to not drop into the fastest catagory. I want my rivals nationally to get to know my name as everyone looks at the top of the rankings in each catagory. So I've kind of been sandbagging. So I would put down a run and go fast and then scrub off speed at the end before I went through the timing. Saturday I realized that I was within a second of the fastest time of the day, So I decided to go for it and ended up about 6/10s of a second out of the lead and in 4th position. So that was pretty cool. But it also meant that I dropped into the fastest catagory nationally. I went from 4 out of 147 nationally in that catagory to 83 out of 87 in the fastest catagory. And 8 out of 8 at my resort in the fast catagory. I did beat two of my new rivals in that fast catagory by over a second on the day but I'm still last. But that's cool. Plus I have no fear and everything is starting to fall into place. The new thick socks have taken up the slop in my boots and the non FIS skis are proving to be really fast.

Today I ordered some new ski pants. They go over a race suit or you just wear them for free skiing. They are Descente It is so hard for me to get ski clothes that I like without spending a million dollars. They have a full zip that goes down each leg so you can take them off before you race without taking off your boots or skis. I do have some insulated pants like that, but they are for when it is really cold and too bulky and hot for when it isn't that cold. Skiing is such and expensive sport. You have to be such a smart shopper. Ski racing, even at my level is really tough to afford and be competitive. I see kids on the mountain who race and are in thousands of dollars of gear and clothing. There are some very rich folks around.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fish for a sucker

I'm a sucker for a few kinds of TV shows. I pay a million dollars a month for cable, and still I don't get all of the channels. I have to have HBO. For a while It was because I got hooked on the Sopranos. Now I'm into Big Love.

But there are a few TV shows I always watch if they come on. It's really silly.

1. Search for Noah's Ark 2. Search for the Loch Ness Monster 3. Hunt for Bigfoot 4. any sunken ship or U-boat show. (in that order)

It's always "Hunt" for bigfoot. Why isn't it search for Bigfoot? It isn't "Fish" for the Loch Ness Monster. And who knows? Perhaps if they did "Fish" for the Loch Ness Monster they might have better luck and catch one :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If I could travel

I can't get any time off of work even though I saved all of my vacation for skiing. Perhaps next week. If I could go anywyere and could afford to go outside of the bubble I'd go to Eurpoe. I'd go to the Alpes and go skiing, and then I'd check out museums in Italy and France. That would be my first choice vacation If I could choose because I would want to get that out of the way. My second trip would be to Russia. I can't really explain my interest in Russia. When I was growing up I just couldn't understand the cold war, why the other half of the world had to be our enemy. It just didn't make sense. I've gotten to the point with the script that some signs make sense to me. So If I did go to Russia I wouldn't be at a total loss. I still couldn't say a whole lot and probably wouldn't understand much of what was said to me. If I went to France I would be at a total loss when it came to the language. Italy wouldn't be quite as bad as France. Travel for me right now is out of the question. I can't even get a day off.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dog person

One of my friends realy has some issues with his dogs. (no it's not you Curt if you are reading, your dogs are ok) After watching the Dog Whisperer on TV I realize that this guy's dogs are way out of control even though I have never owned a dog, I'm doing the right things when I meet them. I don't allow them to jump on me and I don't just reward them when I first meet them. I guess that explains why I got along so well with my ex-girlfriend Jane's doberman. That was a really cool dog. It was well trained to begin with, and Jane did a good job of taking control of it. And when I met that dog I did all of the right things by what I've seen on the TV show.

But if I go to the door of my friend's house and ring the bell, the dogs go crazy. And then when I go in they are all over me. They are constantly rewarded for all of the wrong behavior. What really gets me about it is I'm told I'm not a "dog person." Not a dog lover because I have a problem with this. But now I'm seeing that perhaps I'm more of a dog person than some of these dog owners. The reason I haven't been that crazy about owning a dog is because most of the people I've known who own dogs have let their dogs do whatever they wanted. It isn't the dog's fault. It's the owner's fault.

Jane's doberman was cool. I loved that dog, and I'm not a "dog person". It was well trained and we got along great. Perhaps Jane wasn't so bad after all. She understood dogs, but she certianly didn't understand me. I don't think she understood men. And I'm very well trained!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Form changes

I fell in the rankings to 6th in recreational ski racing, as more guys got closer to the cut off point. On Friday, I fell on the ice getting into my car and I jammed my thumb, so I decided to take it easy skiing as I didn't want to hurt my thumb worse. I've been forcing myself to use FIS legal Giant Slalom skis so I'd be used to them. So I decided to switch to my non FIS legal skis. They are ok for this venue however. They have a shorter radius and are softer so they turn easier and forgive mistakes but they aren't as powerful. I took one run but I didn't try to go fast. The gates were set really tight and the skis worked really well so it was a good choice. I did stand up at the end of my run to slow down before I went through the timing however, and I ended up getting the 5th fastest time of the day. I missed 3rd fastest by a couple of hundredths. I didn't even try. Thinking back on it I kind of wish I had just gone for it. But I wanted to play with the times and see if I could control my result to some extent. I wanted to be a second and a half off of the lead and I did almost exactly that.

Perhaps I'm trying too hard when I go for it. No doubt it helped to change my attitude and skis. Plus I think the instruction I got the last weekend is working. It's changing my form a little but for the better, and like anything, when you first make a change it feels wierd but now I'm starting to get comfortable with the changes. I spent all of the rest of the time working on those changes while free skiing. I think next weekend I'll just keep using these skis but I'm not going to hold back anymore. My boots felt loose however. So I'm going to buy some new thicker socks and I hope that does the trick.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I don't stink

As I said in my last post, I had to renew my first aid CPR card on Friday morning. Thankfully I made it to class in time at a local hospital, and as I said I was careful to choose where I sat and who I sat next to, because they make you pair up and work on eachother to some extent. I sat between a young woman who was a fitness trainer at a health club and a woman who worked at a bank. They were both good looking. I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago. Here is what happened back then...

The last time I went to first aid class I wasn't too happy about it. I was dreading it to be honest. The video they make you watch is terrible and I don't like getting that up close and personal with strangers, as you have to roll eachother over and do this and that. I'm not crazy about it. So I was careful to be very clean and I used extra dryer sheets on my clothes so I would smell good for whoever had to work on me.

At that time they held the class in a strip mall. It was crowded and only had one bathroom for everyone in the class. (Moving it to the hospital is a big improvement.) None the less I arived at the strip mall late as I had trouble finding it. I walked in and the place was packed. I could only see one empty chair so I moved my way down that isle to that chair and sat next to a really cute young woman with red hair. She was really nice, helped me find my place in the booklet, and I started to change my attitude. Things were looking up! We were packed in there like sardines though. There was one last empty chair next to me and it gave me just a little extra space as there wasn't any room for someone to actually sit there or so I thought. But this gal was cute and nice. I went from hating that I had to be there to thinking I'm going to enjoy this, especially when we get to work on eachother. It was a complete 180 in my attitude.

At that moment one last student arived and came and sat in the chair next to me on my right. She was a very big person and it was so packed that I couldn't avoid physical contact with her. The cute gal was next to a brick wall on my left so she was trapped. Then I noticed,.. the new gal had a very bad body odor that crept up on us. Not just underarm, it was a very bad outhouse smell for lack of a better way to put it! It was as if she just went to the bathroom right then and it didn't go away! It was really bad so perhaps she did go to the bathroom!

How quickly my fortune changed for the worse! The cute gal on my left moved as far away from me as she possibly could. She was glued to the wall. I was thinking that she must think it is me who smells! It all happend so fast I'm not sure she could distinguish if I smelled bad or the the new gal to my right was the culprit. From this point on in the story I'm going to call them the cute gal, and the smelly gal.

So now I'm totally freaking out! The cute gal won't even look in my direction and only moments before she was helping me with my booklet. Now she has her hand over her mouth and nose. I can't get any distance away from the smelly gal without compromising the space of the cute gal, and I'm working with just inches. So I move as far back as possible but the table behind me is like right there.

I couldn't focus on the material or the class at all. All I could think about is telling the cute gall I don't smell! I knew from taking the class before that the first section of the video was at least 20 min long, then we would have to get in small groups and work on eachother. The instructor was going on and on before he started the video. I sat there trying to think of a way to get a message to the cute gal that it isn't me who smells, but I can't come up with a way to do that. I tried by casually bringing my shirt sleeve to my nose. I did that over and over, but she wouldn't even look in my direction. I knew that we would have to work on eachother after the video and she would see that it isn't me who smells then, but that would be in 40 minutes and the smell was really really bad!

I thought about passing her a note, but I couldn't figure out how to word it. I DON'T SMELL, or I DON'T STINK, or even I SMELL GOOD (?) but then I wondered how she would take that. No verbage seemed to work, so I decided that a note was out of the question.

I thought about getting up and moving or leaving, but there was no place to move to, and if I left the cute gal would think I got up because I had to go to the bathroom! No,. I had to stay and convince the cute gal that I didn't stink.

Finally the video segment got over and the instructor told us to get in groups of 3s so we can work on the so called "log roll". We would take turns rolling eachother over on the floor to "clear the airway", something I desperately wanted to do at this point.

So naturally it was me the cute gal and the smelly gal. One person had to be the "victim" first, so I decide to be first. Believe me, I felt like a victim! The cute gal wouldn't work on me, and she still wouldn't even look at me, and I didn't blame her.
So the smelly gal got down to roll me over. She rolled me over and my face ended up right in her butt! (I'm not kidding!) Then the instructor decided to tell a long story while my face is in her butt! It was horrible, and I didn't want to get her smell on me! Then the cute gall would think it was me who smelled by mistake! The longer the instructor went on with his story the more bad smell was getting on me!

Then I got to roll over the cute gal. I got as close to her as possible. So I rolled her over and I put my arm pit right in her face as I knew my shirt smelled good as I used an extra dryer sheet, and plus, I had fresh scent Speed Stick on. At my very worst, I smell better than the smelly gal. I did everything I could to rub up into her nose so she could smell how clean I was. Plus I knew that next she would have to roll over the smelly gal. And then I'd be vindicated! No way could the cute gal roll over the smelly gal without realizing it was her who smelled and not me!

So I let her up and she smiled at me. I think she got it, as I had been a little obvious about rubbing myself against her nose. She wouldn't even look at me before. Then she had to roll over the smelly gal. I was thinking, now she has to realize who smells for sure. When she got up from that, we looked at eachother and smiled. She got the message, and I'm sure that she knew what torment I'd been going trough. She was really friendly again after that, and went out of her way to even touch me and at the end of the class she helped me with my booklet again.

It was a big relief. There is something to be said for good hygiene. Soap isn't that expensive. Sometimes I smell, but for the most part I DON'T STINK.

Friday, February 02, 2007

February cyber tree

Here is Miss February cyber tree. I was tempted to choose one of the ice crystal trees but I decided on this one instead.

I got a call from work this morning at twenty to eight reminding me that I had to go to first aid class. Scramble the Hyundai! I had to be there at eight, almost an impossible mission. I flew out the door and off I went. I made it to the hospital just in time. I learned from past expierience that you have to be very careful who you sit next to and I 'm going to write about that, as I had a really interesting experience. As I entered the room, I was still in time and it was five after eight. So I got in. The class hadn't started. I eyeballed the field and positioned myself at an empty spot between two good looking women. You have to pair off with eachother to learn skills and you don't want to do this with the wrong person believe me, as you will see when I write about the last time I went. I'd write about it now but it takes too much thought and I want to do it justice.

So that was my morning. On my way back to work I decided that I needed to buy some of these low energy use light bulbs. They use 14w instead of 60w for instance and they last way longer. I'm getting tired of regular light bulbs going out. I stop at Home Depot. One my way to the light bulb section I notice these pellet stoves and pellet stove inserts on sale. Well my pellet stove insert (that goes into a fire place) konked out this year. I loved that thing. But new inserts like this are bucks. Almost $2K! They had a really nice one there for $750, more than half off. So I bought it. It's a KOZI . Mine is a pellet Baywin insert. I took my old one in to try and get it fixed but they couldn't fix it, or so they said. Of course there has just been a pellet shortage. I figure that's a good time to buy a pellet stove. I could have just used the fire place but it just too dirty and these things put out more heat. I do have a wood stove in my basement if need be also. Anyway this is a cool looking thing and I hope I'm not disappointed. I don't think I will be.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Raspberries and beans

Out of the back door and I'm free. I make a bee line to the garden to loose myself in the raspberry patch. It seemed like such a big place when I was five. I sneak up and down the rows looking for the darkest sweetest berries.

I grew up in a very old neighborhood. A canopy of maple trees and chestnut trees shadded the sidwalks from the summer sun. Each house had a narrow yard that was all fenced in. Our fence was white with horizontal boards and that made it fun to climb on. At the back of the back yard was the garden. And on the left side of the garden was the raspberry patch. Beyond the garden the fence bordered the alley. The alley was the dark interior of the block. That was where all of the interesting things happened, especially when the garbage truck came.

After I ate my fill of raspberries I climbed the fence to sit, take in the warm morning sun, and check out the alley action. From across the alley she came. She was the picture of five year old beauty with her short cropped blonde hair. I'll never forget the first words she spoke to me as she looked up at me from the alley floor. "What are you doing little boy?" What? I thought... Did she just call me little boy? "Nothin." I said. "What's your name?" she asked. "Donald." I said.

"My name's Kathy, you wanna play?" "Ok." I said. And off we went down the alley. She lived across the alley in an upstairs apartment. She took me around the corner on the sidewalk. I could go anywhere on the block, I just couldn't cross the street. There was a row of bushes that went along the sidewalk along Hickory street. They had these things on them that looked like green beans, and inside of them were things that looked like peas. Kathy showed me these and so we started to eat them. They weren't bad, but not as good as the raspberries, but not bad.

It wasn't long before we had enough beans and peas, and I took her back to the raspberry patch for desert. After that, it wasn't long before we fell in love. We met each morning, ate raspberries and beans, held hands and hugged and kissed. Life was good, and I was content.

After a few days I took her to the back door to meet my mom. Mom took a picture as she thought we were cute. Then Kathy took me to meet her mom. I'll never forget that. The apartment they lived in had this big long stairway that went up from the alley. It was quite a climb. I'd always looked at those stairs from my position on the fence but never thought I'd be going up them. We went in the kitchen and the radio was playing. I met her mom. My gosh she was a big woman. After a few awkward moments of her looking down at me, and me looking up at her, Kathy led me by the hand out the back door, and down the stairs we went.

Then one day Kathy was gone. I still remember her blonde hair. I remember the taste of the beans the smell of the alley, and how warm the summer sun felt as I held her in my arms.

This sucks

Take a look at this sucker! It's a Royal Binford 5000. Mag body, wide track wheels. Handles like a dream. It's a work of vacuum cleaner art! My boss gave it to me. Said the belt kept coming off. Well I took a look under the hood. Haven't had a problem problem yet. I worked at a motel while in school and this is what our housekeepers used. I remember thinking; someday I'll have one of those. Well at least I got the vacuum. :)