Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today I Rode a Bike for Eight Miles

For Christmas, I bought my husband, an avid bicyclist, the documentary movie: Bicycle Dreams. This is a intriguing film about "ultra" bicyclists that bike from California to Boston in under twelve days!! They bike all day and most of the night. They get so little sleep that, amazingly, the winner of the event slept only seven hours during the entire twelve days and nights before crossing the finish line. Predictably, not everyone who starts the race finishes. The racers face the challenge of crossing the Rocky Mountains, the desert in Arizona, massive traffic (most notably eighteen wheelers on the highway), fatigue, irrational thinking, hallucinations, and injury.....sometimes even death. But, even after viewing the film, I was inspired to ride a bike. Now, my husband rides his bicycle easily for fifty miles and purposefully for eighty miles. His bicycle carries him down the road at speeds in excess of thirty miles per hour. He looks so cute in his biking outfit!!

Now.......jump to this afternoon. I borrowed my husband's road bike. This is NOT the bicycle he uses for competition. This is his beginner bicycle, the one he used before he became the accomplished bicyclist he is today! 

I decided to ride at a local park that also boasts an eight mile Run/Bike Trail. It seemed logical to me that since the trail is eight miles long ( four miles out and four back), riding for eight miles was a reasonable goal. Also, my husband biked for eight miles along the country roads near our home when he set out on his first bike ride.  I couldn't ride a shorter distance than he had on his first ride!!!

I was so nervous the entire first four miles. I questioned myself constantly: "Can I do this? Why am I doing this? This isn't so hard....I take that back, it is hard!!" and so on for four miles. Then, once I reached the half-way point I knew I couldn't stop now. I had to go the entire distance back in order to reach my car... Amazingly, the four miles back was so much easy that I stopped along the way to take a few pictures!

This was cool. The train went whistling past!

I saw this hill off in the distance! I sped down the hill when riding I had to pedal hard up the hill while riding west!! Ugh!

Yipee!! Waxahachie is clearly in sight. I'm almost done!

But, not before cycling through the cemetery!!

                                         I arrived safely back at the park.

I plan to ride again and again. I'll keep you posted as to my distances. Maybe someday I'll be riding in a bicycle event with my husband.........While the ultra marathon bicyclists are quite brave and inspiring, the dangers they face in order to reach their goal is mindboggling to me.....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Have An Affinity for Gnomes!!

Lately, I've taken quite a liking to Garden Gnomes!! You know, those cute little bearded men wearing red pointy hats!! My affinity for gnomes started when my son, Stephen, lived in Chicago. He and his buddies would occasionally go "gnome hunting". Gnome hunting is the practice of removing (stealing) a gnome from someone's garden and taking it to another location. Sometimes, the stolen gnome travels hundreds, even thousands of miles away from its original garden. Hence, we have the concept of the "traveling gnome" in the Travelocity commercials.

Since that day many years ago when Stephen appeared with the cutest red plastic gnome ever, I have admired the creatures. Recently, I have discovered gnomes for sale in antique stores. A few weeks ago I bought Stephen another gnome at an antique store in Austin.....Then, just yesterday, I found a "gnome set" at a local antique store. I could barely contain myself!! It was like meeting an old friend. These gnomes complete with glass eyes originated in Germany.....the original home of all gnomes. These gnomes have traveled a long way........Now, they have found a home in my family room!! 

I won't put my gnomes in the garden. It's too much of a risk that they will be stolen because we all know that is what frequently happens to gnomes......They travel from one garden to another. So, for now they will remain in the house. Someday I may put them in the garden for that is where they ultimately belong.....But for now, I'm not ready for them to disappear in the hands of "gnome hunters". However, I do feel a bit like I'm hampering their freedom........Gnomes were meant to roam....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's All Quiet

Imagine a family with twenty-three members all converging in the same house on Christmas morning. The same group was at that said house the previous month for Thanksgiving. Both holidays involved lots and lots of cooking, house-cleaning chores, shopping some more, late night game playing, reminising about days-gone-by. The house is full of laughter and talking. And then.....two days after Christmas, all is perfectly quiet. It won't be until next Thanksgiving that the same group of people will all be back in this old homestead....only, next year this family will have a new member....a tiny little baby!!

It's so quiet now.......Life will become even more so in a couple of weeks when our baby girl, Suzanne, goes back to college.

I'm sensing the circle of life more intensly than I used to......In two more years, I'll be sixty. I'm looking forward to the arrival of my first grandbaby....and then the one after that....the one after that....and so on. More of our children will have boyfriends and girlfriends....then husbands and wives. My hair is getting gray. Life moves on......

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday Bliss in Salado, Texas

I love living in Texas. I love small Texas towns where people are friendly, the shops are quaint and the food is spectacular!! While I am not sixty yet, today I officially became one year closer to that soon to be realized age! And....what better way to spend my birthday than in Salado, Texas with four of my beautiful daughters!! Salado is small.....not as small as Forreston, the town I wrote about in an earlier post, but small enough that the natives call Salado a "village" instead of a town. Salado is a wonderful collaboration of "old" Texas architecture with just a pinch of newer Southwest style construction thrown in to add a bit of balance. Dress that up with amazing outdoor sculpture donated by local artists and the result is an unforgettable bit of bling in the rugged Texas countryside.

My daughters and I spent the day enjoying each other's company!! Great food, antiquing, the Christmas spirit, and wonderful companionship in charming Salado, Texas made my birthday exceptionally wonderful!!

Do you have any "charming" towns or villages that bring you happiness? I would love to hear about them!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Having A "Granny" Christmas

Christmas trees, Christmas trees, Christmas trees abound!!! The official Christmas decorating committee of Taylor, Soo-Jin, Christopher, and myself have gone Christmas tree crazy!! So far, we have FOUR Christmas trees at our house!! With the news that we are having a new little member of our family thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Tweets, my daughter and my son-in-law, I think I've been channeling my mother's behavior at Christmas. Granny loved Christmas. It was clearly her favorite time of the year. She had at least three big trees in her home. Sometimes she might have four or five. There was a tree in the living room, one in the den, one in the sunroom, and maybe one or more in the bedrooms. Each tree had its own theme with a domimant color. The family siblings loved visiting their Granny at Christmas. It was truly a wonderful, eye-sparkling experience. Well, I want my grandchildren to love coming to my house at Christmas just as much as my children loved visiting their Granny's home at Christmas!!

                                 Merry Christmas To All!!