Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm tired... so tired *

I'm a little loath to admit this, especially with the likes of Eolai out there, but I detest filling bicycle tires.

I like to ride my bicycle, but every spring I delay later the day when I must fill the bicycle tires.

It doesn't help that our garage is beginning to look like the home for stray two-wheelers. I keep trying to fulfill my Jessica Fletcher fantasy and get a marvelous heavy old sheep dog of a bike (ladies' style, of course) to ride around town. To the train station, or to the farmers' market (same thing in our town). This means I have three sets of hungry tires to feed once the snow melts. One has gone lame (=needs new tires), but the other two are just fine.

We do have two very functional bicycle pumps. But one of them attaches in a funny way, and I always waste ages pumping away while a gentle hissing sound reminds me that none of this effort is actually putting air into the tires. My hands get bruised, my back gets sore, and I get maybe six pounds of pressure registering. (I do have a very nice tire gauge.)

So my preferred solution is to walk the bike to the nearest filling station (Does anyone still call them that? You know, a gas station.) and use the compressed air hose. I'm offended by the ones that expect me to put quarters in a machine to get air, so I seek out places that give away air for free. There's one about half a mile from the house. I trundle my lovely heavy bicycle over there, and that's when I'm forced to admit that I am also no good with a compressed air hose. I press down and, like a baby refusing to nurse, the tire just gets flatter and flatter as I fish for the nozzle sunk deep in the rim. Then I get into a rhythm: aha! it's latched on! here comes the air! whoops, no, now it's just releasing it all again, yes! got it now! no, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, wow that's fast, it'll be really firm, last all summer long... BANG!! Ears ringing, I look around , hoping no one's been watching me. I trudge home with my crippled paleolithic bike and wonder if I could just get solid tires like I had when I was a little kid.

* lyric reference from Blazing Saddles

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I'm starting to realize that I will become one of those older folks who keeps a pair of good binoculars handy near the window. I'm sitting on the deck watching the non-early birds (the early ones already woke me up a couple hours ago) swoop or hop around our back yard. Robins chase each other from tree to tree. A flash of red signals a cardinal in the box elders, and yes, there's his mate in the grass. They must be after the (damned) mulberries all over the ground. They're igmoring a squirrel who seems to be on the same gourmand mission. Now see, if I had my binoculars, I could see him holding the berry in his two front paws and nibbling on it. I mean, I can see him, but I want to be cloooooser!

Of course, depending on where you live, binoculars can be useful for observing all kinds of things. Like what are they building in their yard down the street? Does she have a new dog? Or tracking someone's lawnmowing progress. A cardinal rule is never to aim at windows; that's just not right.

When we were kids, my brother would get stomach flu and have to be on that miserable restricted diet. The one that starts with plain tea (ugh) and jello, works its way to popsicles and ginger ale (which he cannot abide to this day) and saltines, and culminates in a baked potato and broiled lean meat after about a week. He often had to return to the jello phase, poor guy. But he would sit with my mom and make a list, which she would transcribe verbatim, of all the things he'd eat once he was better. And once or twice there appeared treats of his own imagining on that list. My favorite: chocolate binoculars.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wrapped attention

It's clear I don't know how to make a wrap (sandwich). I have all the same ingredients that they used in that shop where I got lunch when we were on vacation, including really really good hummus from a recent issue of Cooks Illustrated, but maybe my tortilla is too small. I mean, it's not supposed to disgorge its contents from the ends, is it? Would it be cheating to use a rubber band?

Come to think of it, I also have problems with pareos, sarongs, and saris. I always want a lot of safety pins and wonder how they manage without velcro. A bandana is about my speed.

So it's natural that I recently got a book on knot tying. Soon I will know a sheep's shank from a two-handed bend. I will one day have the most secure wrap sandwiches in town; they won't even need plastic wrap.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Twitter's got my tongue

I started using Twitter a few weeks back, just as a lark (ha, ha). I'm surprised how much I enjoy it. On vacation, I sent tweets via text messages from my cell phone. I love the form of very very short missives. Somewhere I read that this is called "microblogging", and it provides the satisfaction of blogging in an even more instant way. Plus it's fun to "follow" people.

So that's a big reason I haven't written much in my regular blogs (now seeming a little faded?). Also we've been on vacation and had no internet access for most of the time. Kind of a relief in a way. Before I left, I'd agreed to blog for work while on our trip. Although it was a fun idea, I soon realized that even if my posts were really short, sent from a cell phone with modest-quality photos, it meant I had to be thinking about what I'd blog about while I was on vacation. Sort of like having a mild headache that you're trying to ignore while you're at a party. So when we got out of cell phone range (had to go to an island off the coast of Maine, sort of like early on in the first Harry Potter book...), I was a little relieved to be off the hook.

So now we're back home, and so far that vacation feeling still lingers. I'm sitting on the back deck with a cuppa tea and the laptop. It's still early enough to hear quite a few birds. I see the neighbors' Damned Mulberry Tree is laying its branches on our garage roof. Already the ripe berries are showing up in the driveway, and soon there will be colorful bird droppings all over. Yay. Next come the two sizeable cherry trees. I'm not sure if the fruit is nice to eat, but it too winds up on the driveway, and for weeks there's a sound like small firecrackers every time we back the car out. I suppose I could sweep the cherry pits away, but that never seems to happen.

Inside we're undertaking some renovation. Which is another way of saying that we came home to a new window over the kitchen sink (yay!) but an upstairs bathroom devoid of all plumbing fixtures. The toilet is temporarily living in the guest bedroom. We can see down into the living room through holes in the bathroom floor. Am I alone in my secret temptation to drop things from above? (Ask me about France and the omelette.)

But even though it's Saturday, I think these things will have to wait. There's class this morning, and before that study, and before that maybe please the farmer's market, just for the blueberries I promise, and there's a household hazardous waste collection too, and returning the guitar to our friends, but then after class we shall hie oursel's o'er to the Highland Games, which we miss every year. It's promising thunderstorms throughout the day, so we'll see how that works out.

Definitely not a day to mow the lawn. (Maybe it never is.)