Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flats, Falls, and Lost Keys

Wait a minute...what is THIS?

Two days in a row? What kind of nonsense is this Alice?

It's the kind of nonsense that occurs after an epic that should have been completed in about 2 hours, but which took about 7 hours start to finish.

To begin... Elsie, Betty, Wilma, the newly dubbed Dair-lyn (more on that latter) and yours truly set out at 8  o'clock this morning for the five cities tour--San Diego - National City - Chula Vista - Imperial Beach - Coronado. We've done this ride plenty of times. It was a completely gorgeous morning for a ride! It was Wilma's first ride with us (yay! first of many to come) and Dair-lyn's naming ride (only we wouldn't know that until later).
But before we even began riding, Betty handed me the tip of her presta valve...which she apparently had broken off when she was pumping air into the tires. While the OTHER part of the tip was holding air in the tire, I knew this wouldn't last for a long ride (or at all), so we decided to change the tube... After all, I'd brought my pump!

Yes...more adventures of the herd changing flat tires. We are good at that, remember?
Admit're loving the Ugg boots, aren't you?
Betty removed the tube, without breaking a nail!
Since we weren't quite sure how long the whole tire changing episode would take, and since Dair-lyn and Wilma were on commuter bikes, and because we ASSUMED they'd ride somewhat slower than us on road bikes, they took off while we were changing the tire.

This turned out to be not such a good idea BTW.

In fact, we changed the tire pretty quickly (maybe 20 minutes...which is a world record for us), then we set off. It was a little cool, but I wore my arm warmers and a new INCREDIBLY YELLOW bike shirt (that tank top was under the bike shirt. You can see the a part of the bike shirt in the photo's the yellow thing GLOWING in the corner. I'd taken it off so that I wouldn't get bike grease all over it).

The first five miles were relatively uneventful, although the first five miles of the ride are probably the most treacherous. Harbor Blvd is a well used road in the morning. It crosses both the entrance to the Naval Base at 32nd Street as well as the NASSCO shipyard. It's not very scenic and the road it pretty rutted up. Also, once we get past NASSCO, there are train tracks running at funny angles on the street...all in all...BUT once we get past the first 5 miles, it's a nice ride around the south bay.

Even though we weren't being very speedy, I figured we'd catch up to Wilma and Dair-lyn, and as we passed into National City, I could see Wilma waving to us from the side of the road. We pulled up and learned that poor Dair-lyn had gotten her front tire stuck in one of the train tracks, fallen, and clunked her head...pretty badly.

It was actually rather scary. She was a little disoriented and kept asking us what happened over and over. Wilma had gotten some ice and some water from a recycling place nearby. (good Samaritans...I think they have some on hand. They told her that bikers fall on the railroad tracks pretty regularly). The good news was that she wasn't throwing up, and although she couldn't remember falling, she was talking to us and was making sense. 

After a few minutes of trying to figure out what to do (should we call a cab? should a couple of us ride back to get the car? Her car was back in San Diego and she certainly couldn't drive). We pretty quickly decided to call her husband, who came with their son to get her and take her to a doctor (good news...she texted me that she went to the ER and had a CAT scan and is OK... but is probably going to have a hell of a headache tomorrow).

Her biggest concern at this point was that I made sure she looked good in the photo...that's our girl!
But...while we were waiting...and trying to make jokes to keep all of us from freaking the heck out, several other groups of riders stopped to make sure everything was OK. And best of all, Dair-lyn got her heffer-name, something she'd wanted since she went to San Francisco for the Nike 1/2 with us! 

We told her to be some point a heffer name would present itself to us...and it did today when one group of (shall we say) Senior women rode by and stopped to check on us. We talked to them for a bit, and one was named Dair-lyn...or maybe it was Darryl-Lynn, or maybe it was Darrylin...or maybe it was a woman with a really serious southern twang saying "daaarlin." In any event, we decided it was the perfect heffer name for the woman previously knowns as Cindy. 

Dair-lyn's husband arrived and took her home, then to the ER (ER Hell she texted me.) And like I said, she says she's fine. Her husband's new helmet will have to be replaced...and it shook all of us up a bit. 

Wear your helmets me!

So...two bad things had happened...what else could there be? Someone mentioned that we could just head back...but it was Wilma's inaugural we decided to go on. Needless to say, we rode very carefully back down the bay and over to Coronado, but like I said, the roads on the rest of the ride are in pretty good shape, and one of the best things about this route is that most of it is dedicated bike path..the kind where you are NOT sharing with cars.

Once we got to Coronado, we were STARVING (as it was by then about 11:30), so we went to our now favorite Coronado breakfast place, the Firehouse Cafe...unfortunately, it was no longer breakfast time.
Yes, we still had mimosas...and toasted to Dair-lyn
We ended up inadvertently having a pretty leisurely lunch...which was OK. We needed to catch the ferry to get back to San Diego, and the ferry from Coronado to San Diego leaves on the 1/2 12:30 came and went...and we finally got on the 1:30 ferry.
Wilma and Elsie looked VERY happy about not being on a bike seat at that moment
A truly spectacular day
I can't explain....
I'd pretty much predicted that I'd have a parking ticket when we got back because I'd parked in an unmetered 2 hour area. Even when I parked there, I was mostly hoping that I'd get lucky and get three hours without a ticket, but five hours? I thought that was pretty unlikely. I figured the parking ticket would be the third episode of back luck for the day (since bad things happen in threes), but that wasn't the third piece of bad luck...
Nope...the third thing was Betty saying "Hey! Where are my keys?"*


This is why we have AAA
Because sometimes we lock our keys in the car
All in all, it was a pretty good ride. The weather was absolutely stunning...even for SoCal. We were lucky that we've learned how to change a flat. We were very lucky that Dair-lyn** is OK. And we were really, very, lucky that Betty had locked her keys in the car and not dropped them somewhere outside the car. 

* Elsie would say that the fourth bad thing is that when she got back to her car, she didn't clip out of one of her pedals fast enough and fell again... that's twice. I hate to tell her about the bad things happen in threes rule.... shhhhhh

** BTW...Dair-lyn is a pain in the butt to look forward to me calling her DLyn for short.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Well...that was one sure fire way to lose weight over the holidays...

After all, it had been one HECKUVA BUSY WEEK, following one HECKUVA BUSY MONTH.

To start off the holiday season, last Tuesday, we hosted the family Hanukkah dinner...which included frying a whole lotta potato latkes (18 pounds of potatoes this year. I have no idea how many that ended up being) AND included roasting this puppy...
16 pounds of brisket...and because I know you want to know how I cooked a 16 pound briket - Kinder's prime rib rub and worcestershire rubbed in (Thanks to the Kardos's). Double wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil. 9 hours. 325F oven.  Perfect!
We had about 30 people over this year. It was a great event! I was glad I'd gotten in a 3.5 mile run in the AM to counterbalance some of the potato consumption!
Putting teenagers to work - washing dishes! (Turbo, Nephew-Sam, Daughter-like-DramaGirl friend-Rachel)
On Wednesday morning, we decided to go for a bike ride (I figure I'd carb-loaded sufficiently on brisket and latkes the night why not). 22 mile out and back from Coronado to Imperial Beach and back.
Betty on her new bike at the very ugly foot of San Diego Bay.
Followed by...
Serving lunch at the Senior Center. That's my nephew Jordan and my BIL.
An then we...
Went to a party at Betty's and made the kids go caroling (not sure the neighbors were THAT happy about it!)
On Thursday, I'd PLANNED to do a leisurely run at Lake BP, but ended up running 7 miles at a 10:04 pace, thanks to Mik's pacing. 

Then, DramaGirl and I went with my SIL and her daughter to see The Nutcracker. 
It was wonderful!
By Friday, I was feeling pretty tired, but went for a 23 mile ride with the herd from Hospitality Point to Gilman Drive and back...all of it done with only a front brake because somehow the back brake cable came loose. 

Believe it or not, on Friday night we stayed home, ate more latke's and lit candles.
DramaGirl and I bought a new menorah this year...very pretty.
The next morning was Christmas Eve-Day and we got up early to do the annual cousin-photo-with-Santa-and-final-shopping-effort.
Yep...we've been making the cousins sit with Santa for 16 years!  Yes we light candles and sit with's all part of our family Chrismakkah!
Not sure Santa was ready for Turbo's request for "a pound of gummy worms"
After the Santa trip, some last minute shopping AND a stop at the mechanic for an oil change, I wasn't feeling particularly great, so when I got home I thought I'd take a short nap, then wake up, wrap a few gifts, then head off to my SILs house for Christmas Eve Dinner.

My body, however, had other plans. It was ready to say STOP! NOW! 

I didn't wake up (other than the one time I woke up to throw up) until 7 the next morning--Christmas Morning.

Which is a problem when you still have gifts to wrap. Thank goodness the kids are teenagers now, and they're not up at the butt-crack of dawn to open gifts, because there I was wrapping gifts (and still feeling relatively nauseous) at 7am. ((shakes head at self)), but I rallied and we had a wonderful Christmas morning--Walter, DramaGirl, Turbo, and me. 

I love these moments and continue to recognize how fleeting they are. My kids aren't so little any more, so Christmas morning is more leisurely. They are as interested (or at least they are much better at feigning interest) in what they gave to each other and to us, than what was waiting in the wrapped packages for them.
DramaGirl surrounded by Hollister clothes and Flavor-blast goldfish...her faves...
I could have stayed on the sofa all day. true Alice-family style, we had places to go, people to see, things to do, so we set off for my sister's house in Manhattan Beach (about 2.5 hours north) for more COUSINS, and FOOD, and BEVERAGES, and CHEER.
My beautiful niece and her equally beautiful mama (my lil sis) 
My parents, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this week. My dad got down on one knee and asked my mom if she'd marry him all over again...which was one of the best moments of the night (She said, "YES!")
Mandatory whole-family photo!
Dad says, "Every salad is better with BACON! "
Cousin Jake and DramaGirl got to sit at the "grown up table" this year! Jake's question to me..."Is THIS what the adults usually talk about?" (I think we were discussing the Penn State situation) Me: Well...we the topics vary, but we usually end up talking about something that's going on in the world...isn't that what you talk about at the kids table? Jake: ""
The next day, we all went down to the beach. It was a great day. I ran about 5 miles.
Sweaty me and OTHER my lil' sis after my run on the was a GLORIOUS day! 
DG...enjoying a Jamba Juice

 (from the right) My lil sis, her husband and his mom at sunset at the Manhattan Beach Pier. 
Walter and me at the pier.
Despite the tummy issues (which are still plaguing me somewhat), it was a truly wonderful Holiday. After Hanukkah, I mentioned to Walter how wonderful it is that we have such a great family (both sides), and such wonderful friends that we get to spend time with. We are truly, truly, truly blessed!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Betty Gets a New Ride

I swear...the local Trek store owes me a HUGE commission! Since getting my bike more than two years ago, Mik, Elsie, and now Betty have gotten new bikes...and now they all have better bikes than I do.

Not that I have bike envy or anything like that...

But I do...

So...since I'd watched both Elsie and Betty get new bikes in the last month or so, I couldn't help but get a LITTLE something new for myself, and I bought new pedals and new bike shoes.

An aside...I do have some concerns about the new road pedals. I'd been using some Shimano mountain bike clip-ins since I started riding with clip in mountain bike pedals and shoes a couple of years ago, and even though I've been on a road bike for a couple of years, I kept using the clover-leaf shaped clip ins.  Let's face it. They are easier to clip into and the shoes are WAY easier to walk in than road bike pedals/shoes.

However, when Betty bought her bike, the sales guy was having NONE of that, told her that she needed some REAL road bike shoes, and sold her some real road-bike pedals, and because I have an ego the size of Montana, I decided I had to also have some REAL ROAD-BIKE CLIP-INS AND SHOES, so now I have some Shimano Road bike pedals. They're quite different. I'm expecting a fall at some point.

On the other hand, I having ridden in them one day... I get it.

For my running friends, I know you have no effing idea what I'm talking about right now. Lets just say that I decided to move from a stability shoe to a neutral shoe. It's gonna be different.

Anyway...Betty got a new bike over the weekend, and picked it up today, and despite the absolutely beautiful weather this weekend, Mother Nature decided to get all cloudy and overcast and rainy today, but we decided to go for a ride anyway.

Let's just say, it's a Trek Madone 4.3...all carbon...I hate her and have some really serious Bike Envy now.
So, we decided to go to a familiar spot to take a ride, and Lake BP was a familiar and car-less path.
We didn't ride fast or far, but we all broke in our new rides with no falls or serious adventures to speak of (e.g. no flats)

We survived!!!!
Yes...she got a new bike, now about those socks... (Shakes head and rolls eyes)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Ugly, Pretty Run

Thank goodness that the semester is finally over! Gosh, that was a busy one. I'm looking forward to a few weeks away from teaching, even though the next couple of weeks look to be continued busy...but at least it'll be fun-busy!

To get the fun-busy off to a good start, this morning, Walter and I went down to the beach so that I could get a 9 mile long run in, but things didn't really go as planned...

Walter and I had headed down to the beach thinking it would be cool, so we dressed accordingly, but when we stepped out of the car, it was a glorious sunny winter morning...which is great for walking the boardwalk, but not so great for running. We tried to take as may layers off as possible, but I was already in long tights, and there was no way to strip those off...

Just saying.... we were NOT expecting this, this morning...
The first few miles felt really good, as it was a completely gorgeous morning on the bay, but by about the third mile, I was already whining to myself, "how much FARTHER do I have to go? How far have I gone so far?" You know the drill...checking my Garmin CONSTANTLY and that's NEVER a good thing. 

So, I blame the concrete path, which is never kind to my achilles, calves, knees, or hips, all of those felt especially achy for this morning's lousy run. Also I wag my accusing finger at the sun, which was in my face for keeping me too warm. Also, I'd like to call out the Mexican food we ate for dinner last night at about 9pm, causing my stomach to do some double flips. Also I can't help but chide my run on the mill at about 5pm last night for making my legs feel heavy. I could also give a little "tsk, tsk" to the cold I think I've been fighting off for about a month (which I am sure to get now that I'm on vacation).

Yep...I have a long list of things to blame for this morning's lousy run. 
At the Crystal Pier restroom, I told Walter (who had run waaaaay ahead of me and who kindly stopped to wait) that I was going to head into the residential area of so that I could run on the surface streets (and the asphalt) for awhile...and that did help my legs, but by then I had pretty much convinced myself that 9 miles was not going to happen. Thus, it didn't.

So, since it was going to be a lousy run, I decided to run back to the car on Bay Side of Mission Bay and take pictures of the holiday decorations.
Some neighbors put a tree on the beach (all cool is that). I probably take a picture of this every year, but it never gets old.
The owners of this house had hung decorations from the tree, AND they have a ceramic cow watching over it. How could I NOT take a photo?
Just for equal measure...a Hanukkah flag. It does look a little sad and lonely.
My favorite...every year this house has a tree and their house decorated ENTIRELY in beach toys! LOVE IT!
Further down the beach...another decorated tree near Carmel Point where the boats are docked
So, I ended up running about 7.4 miles instead of my planned 9. It was an ugly run and my legs are still pretty sore and every time I stand up, I feel it. But it was also a pretty run, there's no denying that either.

Now to get caught up on some other holiday madness. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


In addition to just everyday stuff (like teaching and being a wife and mom), this last month and a half I...
  • Ran 60 miles, including an almost 8 mile run this morning (7:82 miles - 10:37 pace), my longest run since San Francisco. 
  • Cycled 68 miles
My artistic rendition of last weekend when Betty and I were driving over the Coronado Bridge to meet up with Mik for our bike ride.
Actual evidence that we were in Coronado last weekend...and in biking gear.
  • Celebrated Walter's Birthday (early in the month!)
  • Went to three SDSU basketball games
Turbo, Walter and I on the trolley going from a basketball game to a football game
  • Went to three SDSU football games (one of the football games was on the same day as a basketball game. Yes, we went to both)
We are the masters of the 15 minute tailgate!*
  • Revised a report written (by someone else) about a grant project I'd worked on a year ago so that it was readable and thus, publishable.
  • Decided to keep teaching and not apply for a professional development position at the college where I teach. (That was the big decision I alluded to in an early November post).
  • Cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for the family
  • Presented at a research conference, which was held at The Disneyland Hotel.
Cali, Belle (the bookish version) and me...dinner at the Goofy Cafe. Cali thought it would be fun...
Walter joined me at the conference after it was over and we stayed an extra he is eating a beignet for breakfast and trying to not get the powdered sugar all over himself...
  • Saw Millie in a play...and had dinner beforehand with the Herd!
  • Fell woefully behind in grading papers
  • Graded what felt like about a 1000 papers eventually 
Here's the stack of papers I meant to grade over Thanksgiving, but didn't...which made the week AFTER much fun!
  • Made Gumbo for DramaGirl's field hockey banquet potluck dinner.
  • Started drafting a second report (different topic this time)
  • Made Rissotto for the English department pot luck (yesterday...sorry no photos), then came home and made two breakfast casseroles for Betty's Post-Run Birthday Breakfast this morning (yes, I was cooking at midnight last night!)
  • Blogged...FOUR WHOLE TIMES....counting this one wonder the laundry doesn't get done! Also amazing is how creative I can be with coming up with ideas for dinner since I've gone to the grocery store only twice this month (not counting the times when I sent DG or Walter to the store to get something for me.)

At one point, a colleague, who knew that I'd been really busy, asked me if there was light at the end of the tunnel. I told him that I was confident that a tunnel existed SOMEWHERE, and I also believed that once I found the tunnel, there'd be light at the end of it.

In any event, I am here to report that I've found the tunnel, and yes there is light at the end of it, and yes, I can see the light. Thank goodness.

So, I'm still here...and blogging will again become something that I do semi-regularly. Until then, I leave you with this.

Christmas in SoCal babeee... I so want to drive by this at night and see what is UP with that screen in the back!
Wish Happy Birthday to Betty! She gets to move up an age-group this year and is so very, very, very happy about it!

* I was posting updates about the sports-event Saturday on FB and Keith asked me to explain tailgating... so for Keith in Canada... In the US we meet in the parking lot before sporting events like football games to eat and drink before the game. This may be, in part, because food and beverages inside the stadiums are mediocre (in most places) at best and really ridiculously expensive at worst. Probably the word "tailgating" comes from some old-school notion about pulling up in a pickup truck before a game, pulling down the tailgate, and using it as a buffet line.