Monday, April 30, 2007

Gonna Have a Funky Good Time

Saturday Night...The Stephen Del Grande Memorial Benefit was a huge success...300+ in attendance (neighbors, friends, family). The Helicopter Museum proved to be a perfect venue for our event...the place was brimming with energy.
The New Kings of Rhythm laying down the funk... Heather and Michael...Heather was overwhelmed with gratitude & I'm sure we did a great job of honoring her husband's memory
Sunday, my dad picked me up for a "mellow" ride at French Creek...he was suffering from a rare hangover (triple threat of a wedding, the benefit & celebrating his & my mom's 34th wedding anniversary the night before) & wanted to "ride easy." Decided against checking out the race loop, and left from the lake...didn't take long for our easy ride to become quite lively & we had a blast. The weather was perfect with conditions to match...Chomp, chomp, chomp, eating up the rocks. Fellow mountain bikers were out in droves & we saw may familiar faces...great energy & friendly vibes out on the trails. Sunday ended with dinner at my parents...the Perna legacy will live on, as my brother & sister-in-law announced they are expecting a boy. Great...someone for Wild Thing to raise hell with. Enjoyed the best homemade manicotti ever...my mom grates a little lemon zest into the crepe batter...yum! I could have eaten ten.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rested

Haircut/color (yes, I've abandoned any charade of growing it out) last night, followed by two lovely Hoegaardens at Teca with Kate...came home in the midst of a thunderstorm. Against better judgement, took a nice long bath in spite of thunder & lightning.
During a particularly violent storm in my (early) youth, I grounded the metal legs of my bed with 2 pairs of sneakers (white Adidas Stan Smiths at my feet, blue faded-by-the-sun Keds at the head)...I was so afraid the lightning was going to burst into my room & strike me while I slept.
Lightning struck 8 Cedarbrook Road while my Grandpop was on the phone with my Grandmom (she was calling from my cousins wedding shower to tell him not to pick her up, as the storm was bad & roads were flooded)...Lightning struck the house and left a weird smoky streak through the kitchen walls and upstairs hallway. The wallpaper tore away in a neat, tidy line along the staircase and the clock in the kitchen shot off the wall.
Thunderstorms help me sleep better now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Use the Force, mom..."

Now available: Chunky, kiddie-sized toddler-friendly Star Wars action figures! Yes!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fever

Last night's post-race "victory feast" was a bit disappointing (the company was excellent, but dinner itself was a little less than)...after a veggie burger & scoop of rice, I convinced the troops to head to Maggie Moo's for a real treat. I enjoyed a kid-size (which translates to a very generous scoop...the whole Super-Size Me mentality, I suppose) cone of Cinnamoo Bun.
Slept very fitfully last night...woke up every hour or so and had a hard time getting back to sleep. Thought a lot about the race & the ride itself...I find these thoughts creeping into my head a lot more now. When is the next ride? Where is the next race? Wow, I handled that climb really well...Wow, I sucked at those tight turns!
I started racing on a whim...purely because my dad suggested it, the same year I got my bike. The night before Granogue (2003), I remember talking to BP on the phone, asking what I should bring, what I should know...I wore baggy shorts, ill-fitting shoes, & a corny, corny jersey. I remember the disco-tunnel, good music, an enthusiastic crowd, and a super-fun course...I remember being on the podium with two Kristins, one who would become a great friend & awesome teammate. I remember winning a Wooden Wheels water bottle because I correctly answered the DJ's music trivia question ("Who is this artist?" the song was "Straight to Hell"..."the Clash!")...to this day, Granogue 03 was one of my best race experiences. The end result (and cool plaque!) was a bonus...I met new friends, had a great ride on new trails, and best of all...I got race fever.
Now I've got it bad.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hibernia...Gimme Some More!

Nothing like Nestle Quik for speedy recovery...yum yum.
Part One: Duathlon
-2mile run (my strategy was to just run like hell to Get to the Bike,Get to the Bike Fast!)
-12 mile ride (Sorry, Hibernia, for scoffing at you so snidely..."Oh, last time I rode here I was 5 months pregnant blah blah blah")...cause, Damn! You've got some mean little hills and some slip-slip slop! The loop was no joke (especially in today's heat).
-2 more miles to run (I imagined myself breathing into the cramps in my calves...guess it worked)
-1st place in my age group, first gold ever...I have to admit, that felt really good.
Part Two: Short Track
-Ugh!! 25 minutes all out...gravel, gravel, gravel with tight turns, 1 bitch of a little climb and gravel, gravel, gravel
-Fought hard just to stay in the middle, but finished really strong (so proud of Deborah, who lapped me right at the end)
The heat left me a bit queasy and exhausted, but I drove away with a big smile on my face. Bean's had a great showing (Nancy, Damon, and Wendy all placed in their age groups in the duathlon) for both events. We have such an energetic & fun team this year.
One more bottle of water & a nice long salt soak...ahhhhh.

Friday, April 20, 2007

From Ear to Ear

All I needed was a ride...Red & White (ahhhh) erased all the worry, all the clutter. The trails were again, supreme...the only boggy parts were the ones that are always boggy. Signs of Sunday's storm were several downed trees and tons of debris...truly, the sticks outnumbered the rocks at French Creek today. After climbing out of Miller's Point, my ride became a game of "Big Ring, Little Ring" (sounds like something out of a Dr. Seuss story) as my gears were all jammed and skippy and annoying...I couldn't diagnose the problem. Finally, I found one lonely, flawless gear in the middle ring and that is where I remained for the rest of the ride...and duh, my ride became more fun and faster and...more fun! So, maybe I should bust out the singlespeed next time...why should Shifty have all the fun?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"I Against I"

My hips ache, my legs are trashed...yesterday I ran (and ran and ran), seeking out every hill time would allow for. After hearing about Gary, I wasn't in the mood to go out for a solo ride. My friend Deborah is still recovering from the injuries she suffered back in January when a car hit her while she was riding the road...I know, accidents happen. But, I worry. A lot. I've been trying hard to fear less and enjoy more, but honestly it's a battle...a process. I have "tools and techniques" to help manage my worry, but sometimes they fail me. Sometimes breathing deeply is not enough...sometimes visualizing the worst makes it...worse. So yesterday I worried about many things (most worrisome: are any schools safe anywhere any more?)...I don't want to pass this anxiety on to my son. I want him to be unafraid and independent, yet I want him to be safe...it's a slippery slope sometimes, this parenting thing. Oh, and about this parenting thing:
-My Kid is not going to eat McDonalds...(lasted two full years, then Mommy felt lazy & hormonal one afternoon and the drive-thru beckoned...at least for now I can count on one hand how many Happy Meals he has consumed)
-My Kid is going to watch very limited TV (well, he is limited to Sesame Street, Backyardigans, Jakers, Mr.Rogers, Bob the Builder...just to mention a few)
-My Kid is not going to have candy (yet)...(do Peeps count? How about M&Ms during a haircut? Candy Corn? Pez is really all about the dispenser, right? Are Sport Beans considered candy??)
That's right...Sport Beans.
But, just one (or two) when I come back from a ride.
And, yes...one or two is all it takes to get a toddler amped.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gary

Friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful...Gary always puts me at ease before a race with some words of encouragement or even riding the course with me, talking me through the lines and sharing useful insight. Gary was a standout during my cross season and I was excited upon learning he'd be joining our team this year...
Now Gary needs our thoughts and prayers...My dad spoke with Gary's wife this afternoon and this is what she told him (following the accident on his bike Saturday morning):
Gary will likely be hospitalized for at least a month. His collarbone & pelvis are broken and he has suffered severe head trauma...Gary is looking at about 6 months of rehab. The hows and whys are unimportant right now...let's pray for Gary's recovery & in the meantime, ride safe.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wondering

Whatever happened to:

-Springtime?

-the devils food cookies in the yellow & red package?

-our cd collection on our wedding day?

-the little jar holding my baby teeth?

-grittier Ovaltine?

-my tiny peridot ring?

-Sean? crazy Liz? Jeremy?

-lake Minniwaska?

-Springtime?!

Friday, April 13, 2007

"Wolf Like Me"

Didn't utter a word about Friday the 13th until the ride was over (flawless loop)...no injuries, no mishaps, no cries for help (OK, that's a bit dramatic...but, this was my first try at navigating FC solo). Introduced our teammates/friends from Delaware-via-England to some of my favorite trails ...we'll save the Dark Side for another (sunnier?) day.
Sunday is officially cancelled...the forecast sounds apocalyptic. I am not opposed to riding/running in miserable conditions, but Hibernia doesn't stand much of a chance against both Mother Nature & a mountain bike race/duathlon. Looks like Wild Thing will have Mom & Dad (together!) around for some Sunday fun...that is a good thing, indeed.
Another good thing...I caught a glimpse of sunshine for nearly two whole minutes this afternoon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In My Neighborhood...

Spent the morning following up the somewhat awkward task of collecting donated items for the Del Grande Memorial Benefit...some folks are just incredibly generous & endearing, offering gift certificates or goods right there on the spot...other inquiries are met (understandably) with, "We just get so many requests, we have to draw the line somewhere." OK, like here? Well, it doesn't hurt to ask. Rewarded myself & my son with fresh (hot!) soft pretzels from the West Chester Soft Pretzel Factory (not only did they donate an awesome prize no questions asked, they also expressed interest in purchasing tickets for the event). I've never been a part of something like this and it seems like some people are so giving and helpful while others are just desensitized or uninterested. I know there are countless causes and organizations out there, and some business owners did in fact deny our requests with sensitivity and kindness. Sadly, some wouldn't even make eye contact. Stephen's widow, Heather, was the first neighbor to introduce herself and reach out to my family when we moved here...Her boys gave my son his first bike (old-school red tricycle, an awesome hand-me-down) and their dad, Steve, made my then-shy kid laugh on his first real Halloween trick-or-treat outing. When he passed away suddenly & unexpectedly, it hit hard because they are a family not unlike my own...young, active, fun... I guess that's why I felt the need to be a part of this: Stephen Del Grande Memorial Benefit American Helicopter Museum West Chester, PA Saturday April 28 7pm-Midnight $30 per person (includes food catered by Carraba's and beer & wine) Live Music by The New Kings Of Rhythm DJ, Silent Auction, Raffles This promises to be a fun night for a great cause...all proceeds benefit the Del Grande Children Memorial Fund

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ride Between the Raindrops

4pm is perhaps one of my least favorite times to head out on the road on any given weekday...but, 4pm is when BP graciously showed up to mind the Wild Thing and I was chomping at the bit to ride. Ventured out of my comfort zone and tried to remember Jeff's hill loop...I felt one teeny raindrop as I headed out. The further I rode from home, the fatter the raindrops...traffic was light, drivers were unusually courteous (except for that obnoxious landscaping trailer...why must you rev your engine vrooom, vroom, vroom...I know your bigger than me, ok? I know you're back there). Given my time frame, Jeff's loop was very hilly & satisfying. Plus, there is nothing like that chilly springtime pre-rain smell on the pavement & in the air.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just to Mention a Few

What made me smile today:

-The smell of the shop when I dropped off my (other) baby for a once-over before Sunday (ahhhh tires, lube...mmmmm)

-Justin's 7 week old Italian Mastiff puppy

-Heard New Order's "love vigilantes" on XPN on my way home from work (brought me right back to an excellent & sentimental little piece of ninth grade)

-Caught up with Leah (finally...I'm getting better at this communication thing)

-Found a tiny stash of Cadbury Mini eggs in the bottom of the treat basket from my mom (under those weird Easter Candy-Corn bunnies)

-Wild Thing went to bed early & actually said, "goodnight guys"

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sugar Crash

Upon waking up, I really wanted a bowl of Maggie Moo Cinnamoo Bun ice cream (how did that get in my freezer anyway?) instead of cereal... but, I'm registered for this duathlon at Hibernia Sunday... another event that I have yet to try. I just don't want to embarrass myself (again). I can still feel a little bit of the sting from Strasburg (yeah, I thought I was over it, too). The last time I rode my bike at Hibernia, I was 5 months pregnant. I just remember little bits of singletrack, lots of gravel roads and some short, steep hills...and I remember the beep-beep of the heart rate monitor, reminding me to chill out, think of that little baby growing & thriving inside me. Needless to say, the days of the heart rate monitor are over over over. After my third lap in the woods this morning, I started wondering about my running "technique" (or lack thereof)...I started wondering about my stride and what do I do with my feet on the downhills? Wendy advised me to "feel the burn on the hills"...no problem, I like running uphill, but I feel goofy when the terrain levels out or when I start to descend. Why have I been running anyway? How did this even begin? I guess back in the fall, I dabbled in a little trail running per Dr. Pain to set me up for cross...I guess I was surprised that I could go, go, go and not have to walk or slow down, so that made it kind of fun. I'd rather be on my bike, but it definitely feels good to work other parts of me, and to see things from a different point of view. Any time spent sweating outside, especially in the woods, is a bonus these days.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Peeps & Jellybeans

Easter morning began with an indoor egg hunt...breakfast was Peeps and jellybeans (I'm not anti-candy obviously...my kid has a sweet tooth that rivals mine, thankfully he also loves to brush his teeth). My dad and I met Deborah at Brandywine for a chilly ride...Deborah put together a nice loop and we enjoyed a spirited & lively pace. Hit all the good stuff and did some fun trails in reverse to keep it interesting...sometimes I take that place for granted, but there is definitely a lot of fun to be had (not to mention some badass climbs). Did not spot the Bunny anywhere...I guess he was retreating in a hole after a hard night of filling baskets & hiding eggs. Solid nap this afternoon (love it when the whole family naps on a Sunday afternoon)...guess I rode a little harder than I thought. My cousin and I cooked dinner for the whole family (menu: barley soup, pesto pasta, lasagna, rosemary foccacia, ham, veggies, and too many treats for dessert including homemade pizzelles). All the kids were amped on sugar and holiday excitement...I wish Grandmom Erma could see them (and us) in action (well, I do feel like she's watching our every move sometimes). The fact that I nailed the foccacia might make up for the ink I got in her honor (which has healed quite beautifully)...she was not into tattoos, but that foccacia was damn close to her white pizza (and I'm not talking about that phony ass, greasy, cheesy white "pizza" pizza).

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Bundle Up

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On Its Way!(we prefer jellybeans, but we'll settle for a handful of corn feed)
Between snow showers this afternoon, we enjoyed a Hayride at Highland Orchards...notice our Easter weekend finery (longjohns, scarves, winter hat, sweaters and wool socks). We had the whole wagon to ourselves...spotted the Easter Bunny hard at work for tomorrow's festivities. EB handed us each a colorful egg, then hopped back down the bunny trail.
Back at the orchard, we redeemed our eggs for yummy treats (cider donuts for me & my mom, vanilla fudge for my little Bunny).

Friday, April 6, 2007

Short & Bad at Math

This time 32 years ago, I was letting my mom know I was ready to be born...this time 32 years ago, ashtrays were available bedside in the maternity ward (which is why I am short & bad at math). 32nd birthday hardly merits much fanfare, and being "in my thirties" doesn't bother me (why should it?)...but, I do like birthdays so we will celebrate at Senora's tonight followed by cocktails at Teca (late night, with the girls).
-5th Birthday:dad blew up at Carvel morning of party because my Holly Hobbie cake wasn't ready (or was it the wrong name??), party in the backyard, Philip Thorne brought a slideshow about Saturn (I swear...and he went on to be our valedictorian with a complicated graduation speech about nanotechnology), I wore a pink gingham sundress and my easter bonnet
-16th Birthday: party on the deck, hippie friends and punk rock friends merged for the first time, I had a crush on Eli, but I think I was still getting over Eric...maybe I liked Mike, wore weird blue clingy dress & my ten-hole Docs, Margaret brought Clove cigarettes (I think we passed one around at the playground I now frequent with my son)
-21st Birthday: Newark friends came up to West Chester for a "surprise" party at my parent's (I was living in Delaware), little bro's band played, my hair was too dark & I smoked Marlboro Menthol Lights (gross), received a bottle of Goldshlager from my roommates (gross) & I think my drink of choice was Goldshlager & Dr.Pepper (again, gross), wore ugly Polyester purple shirt with snaps, a black mini, and shoes I can only describe as "should have known better"
-29th birthday: dinner at Teca, broke the news that we were havin a baby! Crazy Liz was in attendance & still my best friend (several weeks later she would sneak into my house and steal almost $300 cash), wore skinniest pants in my closet (I knew my days were numbered) and my pink tourmaline earrings (thanks Jeff)
-30th birthday: Uneventful, my birthdays are now eclipsed by the kid and that's the way I like it! probably wore something to hide my post-preg belly & show off my post-preg boobs (the only time I have ever had anything in that department)
Good luck to all the relay teams heading to Marysville tomorrow...especially to the Beans crew (wish I could be there with the team to unleash my inner racing fury after my embarrassing road spectacle) and of course, the badass Spot Brand teams (stay warm & go fast like you always do)!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Grin

The little one is still napping and mommy is amped from the Best Ride Ever (slight exaggeration, maybe). Today was one of my favorite kind of adventures...just me & my dad, favorite trails (French Creek), lime green Sport Beans, new boots (Kenda Kharisma...rave reviews), superior conditions, and a surprise snow shower. BP set a nice pace, I got my bungle out of the way early on (no biggie, just a little bruise on my palm)...then fun, fun, fun, nonstop fun! Something in me just went, "eat up the rocks, go go go..." We did a little bonus loop back to the fire tower climb (which I always struggle with and we usually avoid): steady, steady, higher, higher, gasp, gasp, steady, whoah my breathing is coming back, that's weird, feel good, steady, steady, forward, forward, take it, there's BP, not gonna make him wait at the top cause here I come, little further, steady...Holy effing shit!! Made it...feather in my cap, feels good to be comfortable on the rocks again. And Wild Thing is up..."Mommy! I wake up..." Looks like Peace-a-Pizza tonight, followed by the bookstore (daddy's still on OT...it's pretty much, "See you in July when we hit the beach for a week"). "mommy!!" Here I come, little boss...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sometimes

Team Spirit!!

Sometimes:

-I pretend I don't hear the monitor so I can sleep (a little bit) longer

-I wish my hair was long

-I eat nothing but carbs all day long

-I just don't feel like talking

-I check to see if my son is breathing in the middle of the night just like when he was brand new

-I still don't clip in (sometimes!)

-I am afraid of big logs

-I make it through the rock garden both ways

-I spend too much money on hair products, hair cuts, and bath treats

-I watch really, really bad TV (Real World, the Hills)...again, sometimes!

-I tell my son the park is closed or "they're fixing the slide" at the mall playground

-I stay home from work, my one day of work, just because

-My job grosses me out

-I want my own bedroom (it's just a snoring issue)

-I'm envious of my dad (his schedule, his fitness, his skills)

-I sleep well

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Distractions

Another Remarkable Spring Day...
Mount Saint Laundry readies for eruption...
More fun than chores...
Yummier than the veggies and fruits I should be eating...
Actually, the cookies are for my New Mom/Racing Buddy, Kristin...thanks to me, the Lamb Fam will be enjoying baked penne, a nice Spring Mix Salad, and homemade Chocolate Chip cookies tonight. When I was knee-deep in Baby Bootcamp, the best gift I received was a homemade meal from Jamie (a few weeks after the newborn dust settled and all the well-wishers had disappeared, it was nice to have someone surprise us so thoughtfully). Holding little Lamb this afternoon, I was shocked how long it's been since my son was that size. I couldn't remember what they do at that age (2 weeks?) except poop, cry, eat, & sleep (mostly poop & cry, though). I'm like, "Are you giving him real baths yet?" Umm, what kind of question is that?? Seriously, is that the best I could come up with? Why? Does he smell like he needs "a real bath"?? No, babies smell sweet no matter what (even their poop is inoffensive when they are that little, I swear).
Anyway, she graciously answered, "No, just sponge baths for now" (oh yeah, umbilical cord and all that...now I remember) and then we went on to talk about our other common thread...Mountain Biking! We'll be tearing it up together again in no time...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Happy Monday

Today: -New tires from BP (early birthday present)...will try them out at FC Thursday!! -Played at "the big Jeep" Park -Played some more in the neighborhood (my kid learned how to fly a kite today from the del Grande boys!) -Started insurmountable task of cleaning my room (need to purge a lot of nonsense, need to get to the bottom of this laundry problem) -Snuck in a solo road ride while BP played w/ his grandson (simplicity...would've been a perfect day for the trails, but I was grateful to put in some miles under the sun) -Ate leftover semi-homemade pizza for dinner (Arugula & Sundried tomatoes for me, Pepperoni for little boss) -Took Son on a date to Rita's (daddy's on OT)...we tried to decide what's tastier; Banana Cream or Coconut Misto (both damn yummy) -Played outside until dark...all the kids were out & spring break is in full swing (hockey, tree climbing, soccer, scooters, rollerblades, bikes bikes bikes) -Put son to bed at 9pm...he rarely sees this hour, but Heather dosed them with cupcakes just before dark, so we had energy to spare -Husband is finally on the road home & I've got the kettle on

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mommie Dearest

Thanks for getting me sick, Bastard! (Everybody Loves Raymond...Everybody except me, cause I love Brad Garrett!)
Woke up with Casino-itis...a nasty cold/fever that is probably the result of spending a gluttonous 24 hours in a cauldron of germs and recycled air. Yuck... With Jeff off to work at the glorious hour of 4am, I was left to fend for (and feel sorry for myself). Little Mister Sunshine woke up on the wrong side of the crib and decided paybacks are a bitch, indeed ("Mommy wants to go away for a night? No problem...Mommy wants to cut her hair and look weird to me? No problem...I'm gonna wake up extra early, I'm going to dump my cereal on the floor, I'm going to do my thing and she can't stop me...I'm two and I'm going to win every time")...or something like that, I'm sure. Felt like Bad Mommy right out of the gates...Little Einsteins babysat for two episodes while I froze under a blanket on the couch. Decided fresh air would be beneficial, so we loaded up the red wagon with snacks & supplies for a trek to the park down the street. Cold & still grouchy, we headed home after barely an hour. My breaking point: I actually wanted to eat a lollipop in front of him just to be mean! Wow, I've sunken to a whole new evil Low. Instead, I popped in the Muppet Movie after lunch, loaded up the Mickey Mouse Pez dispenser with his favorite color (yellow) & we snuggled on the couch til nap time. Friends again (he's only two...I can be his buddy most of the time). For the first time in recent memory, I had to call out sick for a ride (French Creek, nonetheless)...I think BP went solo. Usually I feel as though the woods heal me, but I didn't have it in me today and probably would have ended up hurt (or worse...whining). Maybe Cranky is coming down with something, too as he is still sleeping... Nyquil for me tonight, a Delirium for Jeff, and a hot bath and warm Jammies for Tough Guy.