Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bicycle built for two

Daisy Bell inspired me as a child and I always wanted to ride a bicycle built for two. I have a great mom who always filled our home with music. We were exposed to The Four Lads, Nat King Cole, musicals like Oklahoma and The Music Man, and Patti Page. Click on their names, you'll love the memories that come while listening to these songs.

Harry Dacre came to the U.S. from England in the late 1890's and brought with him a bicycle for which he was charged duty. He wasn't happy about having to pay duty and a friend commented, "It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty.' Dacre was so taken with the phrase 'bicycle built for two' that he decided to use it in a song." That song is Daisy Bell.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage
I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a Bicycle built for two.

I remember singing Daisy, Daisy at the top of my lungs as a girl... imagining the carriage that Harry couldn't afford, me with a big poofy 1800's updo, in a poofy yellow dress (bustle included), with a dapper young man on a bicycle built for two riding through the countryside.

Just kinda makes you want to sigh in old fashioned joy doesn't it?

Last week I got to fulfill that dream when Cycle Guy and I rented a Tandem on Orcas Island.I was told the rules by the bike shop owner: "Now, Jenny, you can't do anything. You can't steer so don't lean. You can't brake so don't stop pedaling. You can't see so don't direct."

Now if you know me then you know that I am demur and quiet. Easy going. Slow to push share my opinions. Mike wasn't worried at all about me in the back being able to follow those directions. Whatever

I had some rules of my own. No spitting and no rockets. Easy enough... Let's go.The shop owner suggested a route and we took off.

We ride bikes together a lot. We've grown accustomed to each others styles... on separate bikes. That day we noticed some differences: I clip out on the left, he clips out on the right. So when I'm all ready to stop and land on my left foot CG and the bike lean right.

He likes to start with the pedal down. I start with the pedal up.

We worked through it.

I learned to clip out with both feet and just gradually lean with him when he leaned to stop.

He had me get all the way on before he started pedaling and I was like a kid in the baby seat.

Honestly, I thought I would just be along for the ride. I thought with two of us pedaling climbing would be a breeze and we would fly down the other side. Maybe that would be so if we were riding a Trek Madone built for two, skinny tires, sleek frame, you know kinda like his birthday present in Tandem.

But alas, we were on a big heavy mountain bike tandem. Climbing was hard work, both of us sucking wind like we were climbing Mt. Everest.

Coming down was fun though and with him right there in front of me I was completely out of the wind just enjoying the ride. Once we got back on flat roads it was getting much more fun and easier to control. Our time, however was up and so we triumphantly returned to the LBS after successfully surviving our attempt at riding 'a bicycle built for two'.

I can't wait to do it again. Maybe through the tulip fields next spring....

Ahhhhh, just call me Daisy.

Cycle Guy also wrote about our Tandem adventure today. Check it out by clicking here. Or you could click here: The Adventures of Mike and his Bike. I haven't read it yet and I'm kind of interested to hear his thoughts in writing...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Island Picnic

CG and I just took a short trip to "The Islands" last week. The San Juan Islands that is. The San Juans are a group of islands off the coast of Washington and are one of my favorite places on earth. We stayed at a little cabin in the middle of the woods. I have never heard anything so quiet. It was so quiet that when a bird landed on the bird feeder for an early morning snack it woke me with a start.

On Friday night we purchased some things for a picnic. Coke Zero, Cheese Curd, Multi-grain sour dough bread, and grapes. We drank our Coke in 'flutes' and tore off chunks of bread. We sat on the deck of our little cabin in the woods and listened for the owls that are rumored to live there. Picnic Perfection.

I love bread. I like soft white cheap store bread and crusty fresh french bread. I love fruit breads and sour dough breads and sweet rolls but some of the best bread I have ever tasted we got at a little organic market on Lopez Island called Blossoms. It is Multi-grain Sour dough bread. Almost completely organic, it's heavy and rich and very sour. We discovered it on another trip to Lopez over a year ago when we bought a loaf with some fresh herbed cheese curd. So delicious that we got it again.

Cycle Guy did some research when we got home. Do you remember when I fell in love last spring? With a little unknown town in northwest Washington called Edison? Wellllll, this bread is made at The Bread Farm in.... EDISON! I don't have to ride a ferry to the islands to get this wonderful bread! I wonder if they ever have classes?

I think that just might be my next project: Breadmaking. I'm pretty sure I could teach Breadmaking 101. But I want to learn more about the intricate science of bread. Gluten. Sour Dough Start. Crusty Crusts. Braiding. Seeds and nuts.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? What food goes with it? And what projects are you hoping to accomplish in the upcoming cold winter indoor months?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

16 and then some

The Bean
is one creatively minded chic.
At sixteen she...
wears basketball shorts -almost exclusively (pretty sure she hasn't put on a pair of pants since March. She wears dresses to church but always has a pair of shorts underneath, "it's just more comfortable that way.")
Has a swimming class first period
Loves Frisbee and Slurpies and Tie Dye and Converse

Last week The Beaner got her drivers license. She didn't want to but now that she has it...
Oh the joy that freedom brings!!

She wants to drive people everywhere, "Can I take Fashionista to the library?" "Can Coolio and I go rent a movie?" "Thing 1 and I are going to get Slurpies... K?"

And I say, "We're out of milk, will you go get some?" and "Will you take Fashionista to piano lessons?" and "YES! You can go get Slurpies, bring me one!"And we are a happy family.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wii Sports Boxing...

It was the first ever
Wii Sports Family Night Box off

Cycle Guy made BracketsContestants drew numbers

Coolio beat Jenny-Jenny
Beaner beat Cycle Guy
Fashionista beat Thing 1
in a knock down drag out brawl
Round 5...
Dripping in sweat
both contestants staggering around the ring
Fashionista throws a double punch- left, right
Thing 1 goes down
so does Fashionista.
The count begins...
They both lay on the floor of the ring.
Get up Get up
Fashionista is up
Legs staggering and arms in the air.
The Winner

But she still has Two brackets to go.
After she beat Beaner, she had to face Coolio.
Resting since the first Round

Does she have anything left?
Can she beat him after his rest and her pain?

It takes three rounds
but she does it.
She takes him down
and wears the belt with pride.Then we all eat brownies and go to bed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Early Morning Beauty

Many of you have expressed your dislike of early morning. I'm right there with you. The favorite place in our house for every member of the family is my bed. It's big. It's fluffy. It's like wrapping up in a big cozy cloud of Downy freshness. Ask any of them.

And they only get to go there for short visits, a nap in the late afternoon or a bad dream. I get to stay there all night long and it's the last place I want to leave early in the morning.
I think Jack Johnson said it best in his song Banana Pancakes:

When the whole world fits inside of your arms
Do we really need to pay attention to the alarm
Wake up slow....

But then with a little pushing. A little prodding and a great big shove...

This is the kind of reward I get when I go outside.

So worth it. Go ahead, give it a try and let me know how it feels... and looks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The benefits of Running

Fashionista and I have begun a new exercise regime. Every school day we get up before 6:30 and go "running". I set my watch timer to 15 minutes and we take off. When the alarm rings we turn around... thus "running" for 30 minutes.

We always start by jogging and make it past two stop signs, past the neighborhood welcome sign and to the next stop sign.

Then we walk. To the next corner.

Then we run again.

If we are on the apartments route, corners are scarce so we use fire hydrants. I actually like this better. The spacing is more even and you can see their bright yellow from far away.

I like mornings, and in the olden days like in college I loved leaping out of bed to face the beauties of a new day. I always scheduled my classes early, then the rest of the day was mine.

Somewhere in the aging process that ability has been lost. I'm hoping to find it laying along the roadside one of these days during my run with Fashionista. Now I have the problem of it taking effort to roll, push, pull, prod and force myself out of bed. Sometimes the bed wins, But now that I have a partner, the running shoes are pulling ahead.

The benefits?

1. Being outside in the morning.
2. One on one time with my daughter.
3. Exercise
4. Getting up and going in the morning.

I'm hoping I might learn to enjoy the running itself. Right now it's the time, the activity and Fashionista that I find the most enjoyable.

Do you like to run? What do you do to stay fit?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Change is Good

I love change.

I love new beginnings.

I love Mondays, and September and Mornings.

I love a fresh start.

And yesterday marked the first day of another new beginning for me.

For the last almost 5 years I have served in a position with the young women of our church. It has been an amazing experience which I have loved and will cherish forever.

I have served on committees with both teenage girls and boys. Gone camping with the girls, trained them and their leaders, laughed, danced, chaperoned dances, duct taped holey pants and short tops, cried, loved, been loved, been hated, tie dyed, painted, and taught. I have worn baseball hats, dresses, jeans, tiaras and even once a bikini over long johns. (Yikes!) I have taught lessons and learned lessons. Opened my heart, felt it break and felt it grow.

Each person who has come into it has added beauty and color.

To each of you whom I have served with... Thank you for it all.

It has been an adventure.

Here's to the next one.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Those bees just can't live HERE!This is the corner outside my kitchen window just around the corner from the back door. Recently we discovered bees flying in and out of the little openings between the panels of the siding. Last week we got some spray and sprayed the area like crazy. Weeellllllll, we killed all the bees that were outside but the spray couldn't get inside the holes so any of them who weren't outside that evening mourned their loss but continued living under my master bath.

This just won't do. Then we decided to block the holes (thanks for the idea Jen) so last night Cycle Guy did just that. He blocked the holes they were using with some painters caulk and today we continued our watch. You can't see the original holes in this pic. They are off to the left. Those squatters kept finding new cracks to use as entry to their illegal home. One by one we have spent the day caulking and watching. It seems that we may have succeeded but in the process we have made a very large family of bees very angry.

Truth be told, I don't mind bees. They do a lot of good for the world. They make growing things healthier and more beautiful. BUT they can't live in my house. If they would only discuss things rationally I might even help them find a new home out behind the shed or across the street in the blackberry brambles.

I feel a little like a home wrecker. How do you handle creature problems at your house?

While we're on that... We also have a mole making a whole range of mole hills at the back of the yard... by the shed... I wasn't talking to him when I said I would help find a home back there!

Click on Show my Face and see other Six Word Saturday fun.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homemade Salsa and a Winner

Check out this blog at Shelf Reliance. They're have a cool give away. I have heard wonderful things about them and want to try something out.

And the winner is.... (using

Heather Reed

Heather is what some in the blogging community call a FIRL. Yes, she is my 'friend in real life' and I love her. I haven't seen her in many years but thanks to Al Gore we have the internet and blogging and facebook so we can keep up. She has a fun blog about her awesome family of nine. Check her out here: Running Tally: Boys 7 Girls 0

And now by popular demand THE RECIPE for JENNY'S SALSA originally given to me by a Mexican friend of CG and adapted, adjusted and tweaked by yours truly. Feel free make your own adjustments as you deem worthy. For instance Jen removes all the seeds from her peppers. The bulk of the 'heat' is in the seeds and therefore removing them will give you the pepper flavor without as much heat. But be forewarned it does not remove ALL the heat so TASTE as you go. Also, the salsa will be much milder once it has cooled after cooking.
I always double the recipe (or more) so it will last all winter. Here we go:

Jenny's Salsa16 cups tomatoes ~blanched and peeled
4 cups onions ~chopped medium
2 cups peppers (I probably use 4-6 cups) ~chopped. Save your fingers and time by lopping of the stem and tossing them into the food processer for a couple quick rounds- just chop them up don't make pepper mush. I mix it up with the variety always using serano, jalapeno, and tomatillo, sometimes yellow chili's (love the flavor) red chilis, green chilis and habanero or whatever I find at the market that day.
1 cup white vinegar
1/8 cup salt
1 clump garlic ~chopped, you can mince if you want but I like the pieces. or 1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
3 small cans tomato paste.
Simmer til thick. 1-3 hours to desired consistency. As the salsa cooks down it will gradually moosh together and lose its chunkage. Sometimes I make one batch and cook it super thick then add another batch fresh and not cook much so that I have the thickness and the chunks.
Can, freeze or eat right now.

*When working with peppers, always wear gloves. The juices will burn your skin. The smaller the pepper, the hotter the heat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Remember my totally cool duct tape wallet, cell phone cover and Ipod cover? I love them. Sometimes I just grab my wallet and phone instead of the whole purse because they're so cute.Well today I grabbed my wallet and phone and headed to the KFC drive through to get Me and Cycle Guy some Twisters. He's working from the home office today and I wanted to buy him lunch.

I drove through town enjoying the sunshine and singing along to the 80's. Rolled into the drive through and not only ordered but special ordered our lunches. You see they don't make the regular Twister anymore. They grill them. I like them the old way and the lady at the window was very nice. She said she could make them the regular way for me, No Problem. Nice lady.

Cheerfully I rolled up to the window and reached for my wallet.

Phone. Ipod. No wallet.

One dollar cash in my pocket.

67 cents in the center console.

I got out of the car remembering that once long long ago, (maybe even in pre Subaru days and we've owned the Soob for like 7 years) Yes, long ago we put some cash in the car first aid/emergency kit.

So I dug around in the kit. Looking in the bandaid box, the emergency blanket box, even in the ziploc of snacks. No money.

Next I tried to get the nice ladies attention to tell her to stop making food that she would be throwing away. To no avail. This is one competent woman. She brightly opened the window with a bulging bag of grub in her hand fully expecting me to hand her thirteen dollars and fifty eight cents.

I showed her my super cute Ipod case and told her that I had grabbed it thinking it was my super cute wallet and therefore I had no money.

She smiled. Said, "No problem" and closed the window.

Two Morals to this story:

1. When you make your super cute duct tape stuff, make them different colors and sizes or always keep them in your purse.

2. Keep some money in your emergency car kit. You never know when that emergency will occur.

I hope that nice lady likes ungrilled Twisters!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mmm... Salsa

Friday the farmer delivered the tomatoes.

Saturday, I blanched them. Peeled them. Chopped them. And mixed them.

With Peppers... Jalapeno, Serrano, Tomatillo, Red Chili, Green Chili, Yellow Chili, Salt, Vinegar, Cumin, Garlic, and lots of Sweet Yellow Onion.

I mixed it on the stove and gave it a taste.

So did Cycle Guy.

Then we added more... Peppers.

Gave it a try.

And added more peppers.

Then when his forehead started to shine and his eyes started to water, and his nose started to sniff, we knew the pepper additions were complete and he wasn't going to have to share it with anyone, because no one else will be able to stand the heat.

Except maybe his buddies at work. He says that's when they like it the best. The more sniffing and sweating the better.

How do you like your salsa? Hot? Medium? Mild?

Hey, I have an idea...

Leave me a comment and I'll have a random (gotta love that word!) drawing and send a jar of my homemade, home canned salsa to the random winner. Don't worry, in case you are a medium fan, I'll be making some of that too.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

6WS: Six Word Saturday

~Three Days left of Summer Vacation~
2 Weeks of Church Camps
2 Weeks Family Vacation
3 Trips to the Beach
5 Sunburns
1 Family Reunion
2 Birthdays
Innumerable Sleepovers
3 Midnight Risk Parties
5 Home Pedicures
800 Miles on my Bike
1 Mission Call
2 Heat Records Broken
2 Days of Rain (Weird, I think I actually miss it)
6 Fans running night and day
1 Baseball game
2 Amazing Fireworks Displays (1 in our own front yard)
1 Neighborhood picnic
6 Happy People
1 Exhausted Jenny
~Three Days Left of Summer Vacation~