I don’t have much to say about the Rose Parade. It’s a made for TV event. It’s not nearly so glamorous up close. The fun part was being part of the scene.
We got on a tour bus in Lancaster way before sunup. I woke up on the bus just as we were about to exit the freeway in Pasadena and saw a glorious pink sunrise with monkey shinny up trees in black silhouette. (That’s what we used to call the palm trees in LA when I was a kid.)
The bus parked about a block from our reserved bench seats. It was fun being part of the crowd. We would have been doing good to get up to 5 mph. It was great letting someone else do the driving!
We were surrounded by red. People from Ohio. They occupied their time by doing cheers from one side of the street to the other.
Everytime any horses were in the parade, which was often, they were followed by a pooper scooper team. The ohio people cheered the loudest whenever a scooper team went by. Often the scoopers would do a little dance of some sort for the cheering crowd. It was great.
A photogenic dog.
It was quite a scene!
I tried my best to get us on tv but to no avail.
We were way up close
On the way home we stopped and took photos of this Lutheren Church in Mojave. It has cool stained glass windows.
My flight to LA last week-end went really well. I sat next to a pilot who was heading home. It was great because he knew some of the landmarks we were passing over, so I could sort of tell where we were.
The sky was clear for most of the way, so I was able to see the geological formations really well. It made me think about Phyllis crossing the country on her bike. I couldn’t even see cars down there, let alone bikes. It gave me an even better appreciation for the enormous distance she traveled.
When we were crossing New Mexico, I asked the pilot if he had ever seen anything strange and unidentified in the sky. He said no and laughed.
Then he told me he had been flying at night awhile back during the big meteor shower. He said it looks really different from that high up. He actually saw meteors that didn’t burn out until they were lower in the sky than the plane was. Apparently they looked like they were falling straight down rather than in an arc.
I loved the view over what I think was Phoenix. The pattern created by the tile roofs in subdivision patterns made a very cool mosaic.
I had several hours to layover in the LA airport.
Boots are in. Very tall boots with very high heels. Wear them with tights, skirts, dresses, pants, but they must be very, very tall, just barely below the knee.
There was a Wolfgang Puck restaurant near my gate. Yumm. I splurged and got the roasted veggie pizza. It was very good!
I brought it back to eat at the gate waiting area. The restaurant was too busy. A tiny space packed with chairs and a huge tv showing football with constant commercial interuption. Too much!
I sat down across from 3 guys. When I started to eat they started to laugh and talk amongst themselves. Even though it was spanish, I could tell it had something to do with my food. They got up and left and 15 minutes later they came back with a pizza box each. I think I should get a commission! It really was good and not more expensive than fancy pizza would have been in a more normal place.
There were some really creative methods people were using to transport their children. I saw a little girl about 3 years old go by, riding in her child carry seat which was attached to the rolling suitcase her father was pulling. Earlier I saw an older girl, maybe 7 or 8, again riding on her dad’s rolling luggage but this time she was astride the suitcase facing forward like she was riding a horse. Very creative.
The flight out of LA was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen of a city from above. We flew out over the ocean and then circled back. It was very dark out by then and the lights lining the coast sparckled and twinkled. Didn’t take long to get to my destination on the high desert. It was a wonderful reunion with my sister I haven’t seen in a really long time.
Here are some pictures of the birds outside a window in my home away from home.
This one perches on top of a little fir tree.
Several others congregate in a pomegranate tree.
My sister is always finding pictures people took where they didn’t notice the background, and something like a telephone pole will be perfectly aligned to where it looks like it’s sticking out of the top of someone’s head.
I added this photo for her benefit. I couldn’t have aligned the pomegranate shell more perfectly if I had tried. It looks like this little bird is wearing a cap.
I love sitting out in the warmth of the high desert sun.
I just harvested the first lettuce from my fall garden.
Food always tastes better when you grew it by your own hand.
Its interesting that the woman in this video, Bonnie, says that when your life is simple you have more time. I thought all those devices we work so hard to pay for were supposed to be saving us time! So how is it that she grinds the wheat for her bread by hand and yet she has more time?
I agree with her that something has gone out of whack here. She says it all started with electricity. Hmm. Will be pondering on that for awhile. Couldn’t survive in this house long without electricity. Its not built to withstand the summer sun.
She has the same kind of wheat grinder my mom used. I remember my mom grinding up pomegranate from the little orchard of trees on the place we rented. She used the juice to make jelly.
Penny and I used to pick out the seeds from the pomegranates and put them in one of those great big jars like you can get pickles in. We put about 5 sweet to 1 sour and shook it up to mix. Yum!!!!
Here is my Library DVD pick for the day. The Pied Piper of Hamelin, 1957.
It’s a funky sort of musical that is set like a stage play with Dr Seuss type rhyming, except that none of the words are made up and the musical arrangement is more like a symphony.
All the men wear tight pants, is that historically correct for the time period? I don’t know, I guess Shakespeare is always depicted in tight pants.
Here is a quote from a scene where the daughter of the mayor asks her husband to be, the hero, not to go against her father, so he won’t try to prevent their marriage.
The hero says:
“Would you … deprive me of my sight? To see the world through but one eye, half the truth and half a lie? It would be as if you say, love me every other day. Would you have my heart, in part?”
It’s a wonderful production, with many morals to the story that would apply to our day and age. But, the sun is shining, its a beautiful day, and I’m not feeling in a preachy mood, so see for your self if it has any meaning to you.
I’m off to ride my bike to the farmer’s market and then the library.
The other day I hauled home my first wide load requiring a bungee strap.
I bought a Coleman Power Chill cooler from the local Walmart. It was actually pretty light compared to the 100 lb load I carried home the other day.
One might wonder, why does she need a cooler and why are there clothes hanging on the fence.
Well… in a fit of spring house cleaning, and packing to move, I got rid of all my old appliances. Fridge, and washing machine included.
Since I’ve been back in Texas, I’ve been using a Coleman ice chest to keep things cool. Its surprising how quickly the ice melts, even though it’s inside my air-conditioned house. I was thinking I could take the cooler with me when I hit the road again.
I don’t want to get a new fridge since I’m prepping to rent the house out.
Ditto washing machine.
I had this vision of washing my clothes in the jacuzzi bath tub, stomping on the clothes like those pictures you see of women mashing grapes in Italy. Tried it last night. It works! Hardest part is getting everything rinsed. I let the clothes drain overnight so they weren’t quite so sogging wet, and hung them up this morning.
When I went out to set up the photo shoot, (yes the photo is a reinactment) it was so hot on the concrete that I had to go put shoes on just to take a quick picture. The clothes are good and dry, but I’m not going out there again until it gets a little cooler. I’m sure they will be good and sterilized by the end of the day.
Have been very busy the last few months. First doing repairs on my house and then 3 glorious months in Montana.
I’m back in Texas now and its too hot to do much outside except for when the sun is going down.
Got started thinking about doing some bike touring/camping yesterday (when the weather cools off).
Have been looking at little Casita camping trailers, but to buy a truck to pull it, plus the trailer, plus gas, insurance, repairs. yikes!!!! Doesn’t fit with my plan right now…….. get out of debt and hit the road. Maybe later.
I have a cheap trailer I bought for a discount as it had been returned. I originally bought a bike trailer because I don’t own a vehicle other than my bike, and its pretty hard to carry a gallon of paint home on the back of a bike.
Worked great for that purpose. It’s set up for carrying kids, (I didn’t realize at the time that you can actually buy flat bed bike trailers) but paint cans, groceries, backpacks, etc. fit just fine in the seat slings. I would say that the cover over my trailer improves my aerodynamics, but at the 5 miles per hour I ride, it probably doesn’t make much difference.
Here is a great website I found yesterday, with good comparison charts of different types of trailers.
I was thinking about Phyllis hauling 100 lbs of gear on her bike in panniers, and wondered if it would be easier with a trailer.
I looked up my maximum weight load and it’s 100 lbs. So I headed off to Walmart yesterday to see if I could load up with 100lbs of groceries. 3 gallon jugs of water, a bag of ice, plus my normal grocery items, I’m pretty sure I came close.
I must admit, it felt a little strange. I have a long downhill run with a couple of little drainage dips in the sidewalk. There is definately a strange sort of push/pull that happens with that much weight. Including the weight of the trailer it would be 135 lbs. With my super low mountain bike granny gears, I didn’t have any problem pulling it, although I’m sure I could have walked it up a long hill faster than I could ride up.
I know, I know, my knobby tires don’t help, but its Old Nelly and a mountain bike she will always stay.
On the way home last night, I came through the park where people were gathering to watch the fireworks. I got a couple of very positive comments from people who were carrying their loads of coolers and lawnchairs from whatever distant parking they were able to find.
One man I passed said “Nice rig, baby, nice rig!”. Made my day!!!! I was smiling all the way home! Somebody gets it, all right!
Many many thanks to my son for sending me this link.
Its an article about the need to make roads safer for riding bikes. At the end of the article they mention several very experienced riders who have been killed in the Dallas area. My friend and inspiration for this website, Phyllis Hassan, is included in the tragic list.
Sign the petition if you can, we need all the help we can get!!!
Start the syrup first so it will have time to simmer and cool before the pancakes are ready.
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit
Note: If fruit is fresh, mash down to fill 2 cups, if frozen, over fill measuring cup, it doesn’t need to be exact)
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (or less to taste)
Bring water and fruit to a boil in a good solid sauce pan. Add sugar, stir, and reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork or wire whisk to break down fruit. The longer you simmer, the thicker the syrup will become, just don’t let it burn if you want it really thick. I like it thin so the juice soaks down into the pancake.
Will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Freeze to keep longer.
Cinnamon – Yogurt – Whole Wheat – Pancakes
Mix liquid ingredient together well until smooth:
1 cup (8 oz) yogurt
1 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
Note: Measure oil first then the molasses won’t stick to the measuring spoon
Now for the dry ingredients. You can mix these in a separate bowl, then add to liquid.
I prefer to just let the dry ingredients float on top of the liquid until I have all the dry ingredients in the bowl. Then I stir up the dry on top to mix them a little before I mix it all together. It saves me washing an extra bowl.
Whichever method you prefer, the main idea is once you start mixing the dry into the liquid, stir as little as possible. The more you stir at this point, the more tough the pancakes will be when they are cooked.
2 cups whole wheat flour, stirred but not sifted
Note: stir the top few inches of flour in the package, measure out a cup, stir again, measure out the second cup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup powdered milk
Note: If you don’t have powdered milk, you can use regular milk or soy milk instead of water
Once you have gently mixed the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients, you are ready to cook the pancakes.
I make my pancakes huge. About a cup of batter per pancake. If you do that, it will only make 5 or 6 pancakes, but you will spend less time cooking them, but its trickier to get them done without burning. One pancake this size is plenty for one person, unless you are in training for a cross country bike ride, then you might want two
Its easier to make smaller ones, so if you use about 1/2 cup batter per pancake, you will get about 12.
I like to put plenty of oil in my cast iron skillet before I start to cook the pancakes, because I like them crispy on the edges. Just make sure your pan is warm enough that a drop of batter forms bubbles right away.
Once your pan is ready and you have added batter, spread it out some with your spoon so it won’t be too thick in the middle. This batter is fairly thick, so it won’t spread much on its own.
My mom used to make little designs with the batter. She would make our initials with the batter first, backwards, let it cook for a second, then add more batter. When the pancake is done, you can see the outline of the initials in the middle of the pancake.
You will be able to tell when its time to turn over the pancake by looking at the surface. The bubbles will have popped and the upper surface will look more solid, or somewhat cooked. Don’t wait too long or it will start to burn on the bottom side. If you turn it over too soon, the pancake might fall apart some, but it won’t hurt anything. Better too soon than burnt, you can always turn it multiple times until its cooked and browned to your satisfaction.
½ cup butter
½ cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cloves
1 cup grated raw carrots
1 cup seedless raisins
¼ cup peanut butter
mix butter & honey; add & mix eggs; mix dry ingredients separately & then add to batter; add & mix carrots, raisins, & peanut butter; spoon into greased casserole dish; bake at 350º for 25 min or until fork comes out clean.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped onion
5 cups water
1 cup lentil
1 sliced celery stalk
1 sliced carrot
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup parsley (optional)
sauté onions in olive oil in soup pot until onions are translucent; add water, lentils, & vegetables; bring to boil and turn down to simmer; add spices when lentils are tender (~ 45 minutes); simmer for about 15 more minutes & remove from heat; add parsley.
Red Velvet Cake
2½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1¼ cup melted butter
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded beets (cooked or raw)
mix dry ingredients; mix wet ingredients & add to dry ingredients; add beets & mix; pour into greased casserole dish; cook at 350º for 40 min or until fork comes out clean; frost with cream cheese frosting when cake is cool; refrigerates well.
Cream Cheese Frosting
6 Tablespoon cream
6 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ lb powdered sugar
mix all ingredients with beater
½ cup oil
1 cup sweetener (honey, sorghum, molasses, and/or maple syrup)
10 cups of grains (rolled oats, rolled wheat, rolled rye, puffed wheat, and/or puffed rice)
1-3 cups dried fruit (raisins, currents, dates, cranberries, and/or apples)
1-3 cups nuts/seeds (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, flax seed and/or sunflower seeds)
½ cup peanut butter
1 Tbl vanilla
¼ cup milk powder
2 Tbl nutritional yeast
1 Tbl grated orange or lemon peel
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup coconut
Heat oil, sweetener, and peanut butter (optional) in a large pot until thin. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining optional ingredients if desired. Stir in grains. Dried fruit & nuts/seeds may be added now or after cooking. Spread mixture into ungreased cookie sheets with sides or casserole dishes. Bake at 250°F for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Cool. Store in an airtight container.
To make granola bars, reduce grains to 6 cups and press mixture into two 8 inch square pans. Bake at 300°F for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cut while hot, but cool before removing from pan.
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup dry milk powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup dried fruit
½ cup nuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, water, & vanilla in bowl until smooth. Add flour, dry milk powder, salt, baking soda, & spices; mix well. Mix in oats, dried fruit, & nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.
Ok, I’m satisfied now, they are definitely hawks. I did a little looking around the web and I was pretty sure the birds I saw fit the description, but I had only seen from a distance. Now I’m really sure!
It was very exciting this morning, thinking about hilltops and hawks. I saw one on the sign as I passed by, very cool! but it didn’t fly around, so I went on past. As I was walking, quite a ways away, I heard a sort of slight whooshing noise sort of behind me on the field side, not the traffic side.
I turned and looked just in time to see a hawk land on a fence post no more than 30 feet from where I was standing. It was obscured by the branch of a small bush, but I saw it clearly, met its gaze eye to eye in fact.
Ok, I’m going to ignore the road kill I was going to write about (poor motherless racoon babies) and skip on to the Red Tailed Hawks.
But first, a reality check.
This is what eventually happens to all empty fields around here.
Note: To view all the photos in this blog entry as a slide show, click on one of the photos and use right and left arrow keys to move through images.
Ok, now for the Hawks.
I’ve been noticing that different birds hang out in the field at the top of the hill, than in the trees around my house. The other day I saw what I thought might be a hawk, perched on one of those large round hay bails. It was too far away and my photos didn’t show it, but I thought if I watched for it, I might see it again. A friend told me once, if you want to see birds of prey, look up.
So, this morning as I came up the hill toward the empty field, I looked up. Sure enough, there was a hawk perched on a street light.
I’ve been thinking for months about all the interesting things I see on the way to work, that I could blog about, now I’ve gone blank!!!
Maybe I will start with some photos of the sunrise. My favorite part of the morning commute. I took these last week, July 3rd I think?
Note: To view all the photos in this blog entry as a slide show, click on one of the photos and use right and left arrow keys to move through images.
Lest you get the wrong impression and start to think I live out in the country, let me explain. I live in a burb of Dallas. It was out in the country once upon a time, but not anymore. The field I pass by every day is a remnant left over from the days when this area was farmland. (Hog farms I’ve heard, but no one brags about that.)
(an article I wrote for the Greater Dallas Bicyclists Newsletter many years ago)
Up before the dawn. It’s raining, drizzling really. The western horizon beckons. Promise of adventure. We hit the road and leave the Dallas city lights behind.
I think the sun is up. It’s not dark but the sky is still gray. We wonder if it will even be possible to ride in this rain. If not, then plan B, Fort Worth Museums. Pass through Fort Worth, then Weatherford, then Mineral Wells, then just before Graham we turn off toward Possum Kingdom Lake. Fall color, no possums. Phyllis is ready for anything. Rain has stopped, sky looks white in spots where it was once gray, still no blue.
I start to drag my feet. Now how do we find the start? This is the map? How long is the trail? Sag? Sippery? Rocky? Creeks? Technical downhill? Just what does “technical” mean anyway? Do I need to know how to use a slide rule? Phyllis sees all kinds of possibilities. Well, if we cut off here we will avoid that mountain, and if we take the bail out we will cut off several miles and the “technical” downhill run is no problem! We’ll just walk that part. I ask if she brought her compass.
Race director looks at me and gives good advice. “Keep the red flags on your right and the blue flags left. Do only what you feel comfortable doing and have fun.”
Several years ago my good friend Phyllis Hassan decided her first adventure after retirement would be a coast to coast across America (aka:TransAM) bike ride. Phyllis was originally planning to ride with a friend from Lone Star Cyclists, but Liz’s cancer prevented her from joining Phyllis on the journey.
I started up this website as a way for her friends to follow along with her adventure.
Phyllis completed the journey, on her own and completely self-contained for most of it. At times joined by friends from home or new friends she met on the road.
I decided to continue with this website in her memory, after a tragic accident took her life. A careless motorist drifted into the 5 foot shoulder she was riding her bike on. The accident happened just south of Ft. Worth Texas, not far from her home in Arlington, a couple of years after her TransAM ride.
Those of us who knew her, miss her still.
I feel pretty sure that if Phyllis were here today, she would scold me for moping about, and tell me to get on with it and have some fun and celebrate the good life she lived.
So….. lets talk about the good times!!
Here is the account of her TransAM adventure:
(To read the same story on the original grannygears website, click here.)
The Adventure Begins – By Phyllis Hassan
Last November Liz asked if I would ride across the country with her. I said yes. And so we agreed on this huge adventure.
I had no idea that getting ready for the trip would be so much fun. I have really enjoyed pondering gear options, training (believe it or not), and reading email from the many who responded to our Adventure Cycling ad for travel companions.
I bought a Cannondale T2000–a magnificent charcoal gray steed that would give me every mechanical advantage possible to ride those 4,000 some miles.
I added a suspension seat post, and gearing even lower than Cannondale provided, thanks to the sound advice of my experienced cross-country friend, Eddie. The bike came with 35mm tires, which were very sturdy and gave a smooth ride but it was such an effort to make the wheels go round that I have changed to 32mm tires. I used Blackburn front and rear racks (low riders on the front).
Jenny and Mac were married in California, moved to Ohio, and rode their tandem to Maine.
BLUETANDEM WEBLOG ENTRY 6/14/2004
June 10 – 13, 2004
Thurs June 10
Time finally stopped for a little while. We started packing on Monday, picked up the trailer on Tues and spent Tues & Wed figuring out how to get everything in the trailer & van, giving away stuff that wasn’t going to make it, and making last minute trip preparations. Friends & family helped us by giving us food, taking away furniture & trash, and cleaning. We decided to go ahead and start driving Wed evening because we needed to get on the road. Jeremy S.’s parents graciously let us show up at their house in the middle of the night to sleep. We’ve been alternating drivers, or at least taking a break, every 2 hours. I can comfortably drive the van with the trailer. It’s very stable & has been going up hills no problem. I get a little stressed in traffic or towns. I won’t be disappointed if I never have to back it up. Fortunately Mac is an experienced trailer driver. We took 101 to 20 to 5 and spent the night in Sacramento. This morning we started on 80 and we will probably stay on it until Nebraska. We are camping at Mill Creek, a BLM campground with vault toilets, picnic tables, & grills. We are the only ones here. There are some large insects (~2 inches) that are reddish brown with long legs & they jump. The creek is gurgling & I think I hear an owl. Mac made a gourmet Thai dinner and then played his guitar for me. We are near Battle Mtn. Nevada. Their billboard has a picture of the Statue of Liberty and says, “Voted the armpit of America; We didn’t think anyone was looking.” Yawn! time for sleep.