Saturday, June 25, 2016

Young Son goes the distance: correction!

Stop the presses!  

A couple weeks ago I posted this:  about Young Son's 5K run to carry the Special Olympics torch.

Except it wasn't 5K, it was 5 miles!  Even more impressive.   Nicely done Young Son!

Back on the bike day

For the first time in months I jumped on the old bike for a Saturday peddle.  Young Son had been riding Old Paint to and from school for months until he upgraded to a super spiffy light weight bike and left OP behind to sit in the garage and gather cobwebs.  

For some reason last weekend  I was inspired to dust it off and take it to the shop to get its various ills corrected (which they did at no charge - thanks Performance Cyclery!) and made it ready for a bike ride.  Today was the day. 

The weather was nice this morning, not too hot or windy, and I had no pressing commitments so off I went.

Some grouch(y) biking observations from the ride:

1. Pedestrians are clueless.  I saw a guy starting to step off the curb in front of me.  I rang my bell, a gift many years ago from Young Daughter, that sounds like a door bell from the 1920s: DING-DONG.  He looked at me and kept coming.  I locked up the brakes and then swerved around him.  I don't think he ever diverted from his course.

2. Cyclists wearing spandex are a menace to everyone.  I got passed by the spandex crowd on the bike path who blew through stop signs and red signals, passed me with a millimeter of room (why, to see me flinch?) and generally treated other riders as if they were objects impeding their progress.  Probably sweet souls when off the bike and out of the spandex but a menace to society when spandex clad.  Forget banning AR-15s, ban spandex biking attire!

3. Persons driving cars who encounter bikes are probably wearing spandex.  Doesn't matter if the cyclist has the green light or the right of way, they are coming through you if you don't give way.  There are two types on drivers exhibiting this behavior:  those who lock eyes with you and those who look straight ahead, clutching the wheel with grim determination.  Both are potentially deadly.

4. Dads, stop texting when you are with your kids.   I passed a shady rest grove with benches along the bike path.  A dad and his small son where sitting there on opposite benches, their bikes parked together.  Unfortunately the dad and son were together separately.  The boy was sitting, swinging his legs and looking around, the dad was fascinated by his phone, tapping away on it.   The Missus used to  say that I'm too judgmental (can anyone be acceptably judgmental?  She no longer says that so either I'm not so anymore or she gave up) but being a grouch I'm permitted to assume that he found his phone more interesting than his kid.  Kids are smart and they understand what they see.  Dads, stop texting and pay attention to your kids.  And you too Moms!

5. Cycling is the best exercise next to walking that you can get.  Forget running or jogging, biking is where it's at!   Just watch out for numbers 1 through 3 and don't be a #4.

Lastly, for the Grouch family:  today was the first day in years that I peddled, without stopping mind you, all the way up Garzota without stopping.   Yay me!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Loyal Co-Workers

The Missus works from home now but she doesn't feel isolated at all because of her loyal co-workers.  
The accompany her to the office every day and stay close by throughout the day.

We should all be so lucky to have such loyal co-workers!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Latest desert trip

Visit Bund Trek to see some pretty interesting photos of our weekend desert trip to the Mojave:

Young Son goes the distance!

Young Son volunteered to be a member of the Special Olympics torch carry crew as the torch passed through Glendale this past week.  

Young Son isn't a runner but he did the 5k distance without resorting to the breakdown van along the route.

I was able to meet up with him when the group stopped at the Police Station for photos with the Police Chief and community members.

So very proud of him! 

Young Son is second row right.  He looks cool and unruffled after completed the first couple miles!

The proud Grouch with Young Son.

Time to form up and hit the road.  Young Son says all systems are go.

Off they go with a police escort.  Young Son is on the far right.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Guilty Pleasure book recommendation

I admit it, I've gotten myself hooked on a historical fiction series!

Last fall I watched "Poldark" on PBS and was smitten by it.  The Missus well..maybe not so much but she did agree that the scenery was pretty.   The end credits mentioned that the show was adapted from the book by the same name so I searched it out, found it, and discovered three things:

1. It was a great read
2. It was truly engaging
3. There are 12 books in the series!

Each book is as good as the last and the series was written over a 50 year period, an amazing span of time.

The author is Winston Graham, a writer of known quality.  The series encompasses the mores of the time (late 18th/early 19th century) and place (Cornwall), the clash of social classes, the Napoleonic war, the economics of business and mining in England, and of course the personal dramas of Ross Poldark, former English army captain, gentleman and participant in the fighting in America and his wife Demelza 10 years his junior and miner's daughter.

It is all too much to go into here in this blog, suffice to say I am on number 8 and eager to get book 9 next.  Fortunately I have two library systems to draw from and have managed to read 8 without resorting to buying any.

This series isn't romance historical fiction although there is romance aplenty.  It is more an ongoing history of southern England very well disguised as living history as seen and experienced by the people of the time and place.

Read them and may you enjoy them as much as I!

The Grouch family visits Duke gardens

Visiting our family in Raleigh recently we took advantage of the fine weather to visit the Sarah P Duke gardens in Durham NC.

It was a fine Sunday and we arrived to discover that it was also graduation day (or graduation weekend) at Duke university and parking spots were at a premium.  Fortunately our son in law demonstrated extreme technical savvy and used his smart phone to locate parking spots within an easy stroll to the gardens.

Older Son with his usual luck found a spot right at the gardens with no problem.  

The gardens are very beautiful and the expanse of green and color was a welcome sight to these SoCal deprived eyes as the drought enters the 5th (or is it 50th?) year in California.

I was much taken with the immense foxglove plants as we have one tiny plant that has managed to survive the extreme heat and dryness in our back yard.

The Missus looking skeptical of my picture taking prowness

The tour gang, brighter than the flowers themselves!

Amazing what water an humidity will do for flowers!

Keep those children in line Mom!

The Missus pretending it was cool when it was actually in the mid-70s; or maybe she was being cool!