Friday, June 29, 2007

Is Sun Tea Safe?

A reader pointed out to me that sun tea has come under recent criticism for potentially providing ideal conditions for growing bacteria. I was unaware of this concern, but wanted to pass it along to you. Read more here.

Personally, I will continue to drink sun tea. I've done so my whole life and never had problems. However, I will pay more attention. If it's "syrupy," as mentioned, I'll toss it. And, I won't keep it around for long.

Drink at your own risk, I suppose.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On My Desk and In My Head

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle."
--Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, June 25, 2007

TRIRI Summary

The Touring Ride of Rural Indiana (TRIRI) was fantastic! It's a really nice way for us to vacation together. The DH (dear hubby) is not much of a typical tourist, but he loves pedaling. The bike tour has a nice balance of physical challenge, adventure, and sitting around doing nothing time - all elements I enjoy in a vacation. We're already planning next year's bike tour.

We rode in 95-degrees with a headwind, and 59-degrees with rain. We rode through flat corn fields and very hilly woods. Most of the roads were extremely rural. Here are a few memories...

Day One - Mooresville to Turkey Run State Park (64 miles)
We rode with Mark, a long-time friend of the DH's. It was a pleasant surprise to find him on this ride. The first 54 miles clipped along well. The last 10 were tough for me - it got really hot (95) and we had a head wind. But I made it with not too much complaining. ;-) This day turned out to be the toughest ride for me.

The tour organizers note any "attractions" along the way. Here's a Statue of Liberty model we passed in the middle of cornfields in Indiana!

The DH having a little fun at our lunch stop.

We didn't plan to dress alike! (Notice I'm on my tiptoes, trying to look taller.)

Home Sweet Home...we got a new 3-person tent for this ride and I am very grateful! Our 2-person tent does NOT hold us and our stuff.

Day Two - Turkey Run
We stayed 2 nights at each State Park. On the second day, we had the options to ride or hike. I chose to hike. Turkey Run is an incredibly beautiful park! Old growth forests and deep limestone ravines.

Day Three - Turkey Run to McCormick's Creek (74 miles)

This was the ride I was most anxious about because I hadn't ridden anywhere near 74 miles prior to this trip. This day was actually easier on me than the first ride because it wasn't hot. The ride was hilly - with plenty of wide, sweeping downhills and challenging uphills. We made good time and I enjoyed it. It was a spiritual learning for me, truly. I learned to trust the DH when he told me I could do the distance; trust myself that I could do it; and trust that if I couldn't make the distance and had to take the "sag" van, that was OK too. I had a fit of hysterical laughing just before we hit a very big and final (or so I thought) hill and then cried the final mile (of hill) into the park - tears of pure exhaustion and joy.

On the way, we passed two covered bridges.

Lunch stop - there's not much to find in some of the small towns we rode through. Here, we have a combo hardware and convenience store. Lunch consisted of Pringles, Coke and Hostess cupcakes. Yummm! (Hey - when I'm burning this many calories, any calories are quickly converted to energy.)

Day Four - McCormick's Creek
Hiking the creek bed...

An abandoned limestone quarry. The limestone from here was used to build the state capitol.

Speaking of limestone, the entertainment for our last night at McCormick's Creek was the movie Breaking Away. It was perfect, because the next day we rode through Bloomington where the story is based and the movie was filmed.

Day Five - McCormick's Creek to Brown County (45 miles)
We rode through Nashville and enjoyed a broccoli, spinach and onion pizza.

And life is still good...

It rained this night, but our tent stayed dry! Wahoo!

Day Six - Shopping in Nashville
I spent this layover day in Nashville, where I enjoyed shopping the JB Goods store. I picked up a "technical" fabric t-shirt with this logo.

I had a great time poking around in the quirky little shops of this artist community. Later that afternoon, I studied the maps for the final day home. Notice the nifty little chair I'm sitting in. It folds up very compactly, but works great for camping!!

Day Seven - Brown County to Mooresville (47 miles)
A rainy and cool ride home. We made great time. Stopped at the Touchable Sculpture Garden. Begun in 1970, these 10 acres are adorned with various and diverse sculptures, all carved by CR Schiefer. It's really incredible! It's also in the middle of nowhere.

We also stopped at an old-fashioned candy shop in Martinsville.

And the perfect finish to a wonderful trip...pie!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And I Forgot!

The best part is the tag on the back of the trunk rack...

Bike, Bell and Tattoo

We're all "geared up" and ready to ride! Here's my trusty steed...

The DH took a mountain bike frame and selected the componentry to make it a very comfortable and functional touring bike.

It's a Specialized Rock Hopper frame with upright "Albatross" handlebars from Rivendell Cycles (a bike company the DH admires). I LOVE these handlebars! They let me sit up and view the world, but I also have a forward position for climbing. The bike's got inverted-tread road tires. I'm riding a leather Ideale (French) saddle. There's a rack on the back that carries a trunk bag. I have 3 chain rings and 8 rear cassette cogs, giving me a total of 24 gears (tho some of them may be duplicate and not all are usable, as is typical ). I have plenty of easy gears to get me up the hills but also some tough-to-pedal gears to go fast on the flats. I'm using old-fashioned toe clip and strap pedals, which I love! I don't cinch them down. I like the easy entry and exit for my foot, but yet I still get some stability and support.

I ring the beehive bike bell each time I reach the top of a big hill.
The tattoo was a recent addition - this morning! A little-known fact about me is that I really like tattoos! I think they are so cool. Alas, I'm too chicken to get a real one. So, on this trip, I will be a well-tattooed woman, albeit temporarily.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Asiatic Lilies

OOOOh, these are so pretty - and they last well as cut flowers, too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grandma's Treasures

My Grandma Tressie was a yard sale shopper and collector. I am lucky to have inherited some of her treasures. Here are a few....

She liked to collect dishes. In particular, she gave both my sister and me a collection of china dishes. She also liked to collect depression glass. In the photo, the yellow pitcher on the left is Vaseline Glass. I don't know much about the two items on the right. The small green pitcher appears to be pressed glass and the darker green glass has a pretty filigree pattern.

These gifts from my grandmother are very precious to me. I've also inherited her love of yard sales and china!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

From the Seat of a Bike, Things I Appreciate...

The DH (dear hubby) and I did an intense four hours on the bike today. This ride is our last long one before we start the bike tour. I had time to write this post in my head as I pedaled and sweated up and down the hills of south-central Indiana.

From the Seat of a Bike, Things I Appreciate...
  • Birds. Today alone we saw three indigo buntings, a bluebird, several red-winged blackbirds, and big vultures. I didn't see it, but two bird watchers we came across had spotted a bald eagle.

  • Shade and a light breeze.

  • People who wave and smile as they pass.

  • People who do NOT talk on their cell phones as they drive.

  • Rolling hills that promise as many downs and ups.

  • Reaching the top of a really big hill and ringing my bike bell.

  • Moments of feeling really in tune with my bike and its connection to the road.

  • Wild flowers.

  • The smell of honeysuckle.

  • Smiling and waving at other cyclists. They get it, too!

  • Pringles and Dr. Pepper - nothing tastes better after riding really hard!

  • The canopy of green.
  • Lazy cows on the hill slopes.

  • A mama horse and her foal.

  • Turtles that stick their necks out and cross the road.

  • Deer that skip across the road.

  • Chipmunks with their mouths full.
  • Keeping my sense of humor even tho I'm tuckered out.
  • Lots of gears to get me up the biggest hills, and not always having to use them.
  • Water.
  • Sunscreen and shades.
  • The DH's great training plan.

  • Knowing I could have ridden further.

  • The DH's chiseled legs and cute butt. I seem to be always chasing them.

Indigo Bunting

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Our Wounded, Softened Hearts

I heard this phrase recently, "our wounded, softened hearts." The ideas is that in moments of pain and distress, we move into a place of more compassion, more empathy, more love, more patience - rather than the more common and opposite response.

What a powerful image for me! Think how our world would be different if our responses, on the global level, were softened after a tragedy rather than hardened with thoughts of revenge or fear.

What a gift to myself if I allow my defenses to melt and my heart to soften after a painful experience.

You can read more about this concept in the book, Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron.

Monday, June 04, 2007

la Coccinelle Chapeau

I've been waiting for weeks to post about this lovely and festive coccinelle chapeau. (If my translations are accurate, this means ladybird hat.) I wanted the perfect picture - I considered one wearing it, holding it, etc. etc. etc. However, I recently snapped this while admiring the beauty from my work desk. You see, this is how I see it every day. It sits atop a small bookshelf next to my work desk and in front of the lovely fabric hanging in my office as a divider. It fits in so well with the fabrics and the colors in my office! When I saw this, I knew I finally had my snapshot!
My cousin made this as a gift for me. She chose stargazer lilies for the top, as those are the flowers I used in my wedding bouquet (11 years ago this August).

Thank you, Kas!

See more of my cousin's artwork at her Next Designs blog. She's amazingly diverse in her creations! Jewelry, hats, paper crafts, paper weights, frames, and much more!