Cuddle Time

image

Bonding over a YouTube video on Ian’s phone, still legit snuggling. Those moments are infrequent these days, thanks to Benji’s Always Going 100% Engine. There is no take it easy in his vocabulary;┬áthere’s either go or crash.

In unrelated and definitely non-cuddly news, I had to get my driver license renewed, and this meant a trip to the DMV in lovely Lynnwood.
image

While there, I noticed two kids playing. Kid 1 was maybe 3 1/2, and I never actually saw (only heard) Kid 2. When it was time for Kid 1 to leave, he three a huge fit and yelled something probably never heard before at the DMV: “I don’t want to leave!!”

Also, file this under “Extremely Alarming”: Seeing a very old, doddering lady tottering along on her walker, barely able to find which desk to go to… getting her license renewed. I somehow can’t believe her reflexes and cognition are sharp enough for safe driving. As a cyclist especially, I felt deeply anxious at seeing this. She could, most likely, hit me with her car and then claim with complete honesty, “I never saw her,” because she only sees 25% of what actually is happening on the road.

This is why I’m all for mandatory re-testing including an in-car driver test, after people reach a certain age. Lots of seniors are perfectly fine driving, but it only takes one not-fine driver to give me a really bad day biking.

Perspective

What it is:
image

What I see: Hooray! All our CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays at last out of their random bags, neatly alphabetized and easily accessible, ready for playing.

What Benji sees: Hooray! A zillion objects to pull down, toss around, stack, knock over, and generally employ towards total mayhem.

What Ian sees: Hooray! Our quaintly outdated physical media is readily accessible for me to start replacing with lossless digital copies.

Happy 8 Year Anniversary, My Love

Day’s Verse:
I am my lover’s and my lover is mine.
He caresses the sweet-smelling flowers.

Song of Solomon 6:3

Dear Ian,

Can you believe we’ve been married for eight years? On the one hand, it seems so long — I remember when we first got married, two years seemed like an eternity. On the other hand, it feels so short — in the grand scheme of things, I trust that this will only represent a small fraction of the years we’ll be spending together. Plus, the time has flown by so fast! It seems like only yesterday that we walked down those stairs at Woodinville Alliance, hoping not to trip and fall on our faces. (After which Mr. Anderson spilled punch on my wedding dress, and the stain is still there today. And then on the drive to the Sorrento, the balloons twisted off the Prius’ antenna, which I imagine is somewhere in Lake Washington even now.)

So much has happened in the last eight years, it’s hard to believe. We’ve graduated from college, obtained real jobs, rented apartments, purchased a home, bought a car, and done all sorts of grown-up things. But it’s not the grown-up things that come to mind when I think of our marriage. It’s those other things.

The way we can allude to a quote — not even quote it, just refer to it shorthand — and be on the same page. The way you know a million tiny facts and are ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, doggone it. The unfortunate orange fish experiment in Year 1. The dismal, expensive basement apartment in Trowbridge Road, our first home. The amazing Christmas Day Dishwasher & Dead Rat Disaster of 2010. The trip where I met you in London, we went to Edinburgh, and then your credit card was canceled because the number was stolen. Riding all the bike trails in Massachusetts (I’m pretty sure a similar feat in Washington is impossible, but I’m game if you are). Your meeting me in halfway and in P-Town at the end of the MS Cape Cod Getaway two years running, back when 75 miles felt like a long way to ride. Backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail that you endured out of love for me.

Countless hours reading books together on the couch, including the time that glass globe caught a book on fire in the Marlborough apartment. Going for walks and hikes, probably thousands of miles of walking at this point, many of those miles in snow or rain. Watching Smallville and howling over how awful it was, but still watching it. Watching MST3K for the first time with you. Two fabulous, relaxing, luxurious train rides in place of airplane flights. Innumerable flights from Boston to Seattle and back, especially the one where we were delayed by snow on both ends, but happily it was the only time we’d ever sprung for first class seats, so it wasn’t bad. You teaching me to play cribbage and me winning occasionally! …And trying to play Set with you, but never winning. Ever. Playing strategy games that I have no real hope of winning, but enjoying because we’re together. Food flare-ups in the toaster oven, “a sensation altogether new to me.”

So many small moments that, added together, produce our life together. Ian, I would not be who I am today without you. I am so glad you are in my life, and I can hardly wait to spend the next years with you, laughing, loving, learning together… and, of course, making an interocitor. I love you.

Wimbledon Commons (I & K)
Do you recognize this young couple? It feels like only yesterday that we were taking this picture together in a chilly London park.

Sunny Activities

Day’s Verse:
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.
Hebrews 11:1-2

I haven’t blogged since last week for one excellent reason: The sun made a prolonged appearance! To celebrate, I spent lots of time outside and got festively sunburned on the back of my shoulders, an area that sees the sun approximately 0.8% of the year (on a good year).

Taking advantage of the sun, I also shaved our front yard, not quite to golf course standards, but to a respectable length. Believe it or not, despite the frequent summer drizzles, the grass has mostly died off again for the summer, a fact for which I am profoundly grateful. I don’t like mowing. Never have, but regardless it’s been one of my chores in homes that have a yard since I was big enough to push the mower. Now Ian and I tend to split the mowing duties pretty fairly, so I can’t really complain.

I also used the sun to dry clothes, which always feels both old-fashioned and glowingly, self-righteously environmental; of course, read books outside; and, also of course, went for bike rides. Nothing extravagant*, though, because RAMROD is this coming Thursday, the 28th. We’re all cautiously optimistic about the probability of rain on RAMROD, but rain or shine, I’ll be on my bike in Enumclaw at 5:30 am on Thursday, heading for Mt. Rainier.

My goals for RAMROD: (1) To finish; (2) To have fun riding with my friends; and (3) To average above 17 mph. But (3) is really a far, far third after the first two, and I’ll be quite happy with just achieving those. On Sunday Dad and I picked up our RAMROD packets, which contain the all-important numbers that are required for legitimate riders to prove you belong (and, more importantly, that you deserve to get the FOOD at rest stops). After six months of thinking about this and training for it, RAMROD is really happening. I just have to not do something dumb like trip on a stair and break my ankle between now and Thursday. I imagine Cadel Evans feels this way but much more so, having finally won the Tour de France.

That’s more than enough bike talk. I’ll leave you with this picture of Ian, who’s doing something that I really love because it’s so him. (He got 20 out of 48 Star Trek trivia questions right, a truly impressive feat, given the absurd detail of the questions.)
Star Trek Trivia

* I’m quite sure Ian would say it was extravagant. I rode 230 miles total during the week. On Saturday I rode 75 miles at an 18.8 mph pace with about 4500 feet of climbing with my riding buddies, but neither that afternoon nor in subsequent days did I ever feel tired or sore. I did eat three pieces of pizza at the nerd party we went to that afternoon, though.

Monitor, Video Card, Smiles

Day’s Verse:
God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
2 Timothy 1:7

For some time Ian’s been eyeing these amazing $5,000+ monitor setups that have vast screen acreage in amazing configurations. Eventually he realized that he could achieve the setup he craved at a much lower cost by assembling it himself in parts. I readily agreed because, let’s be honest, Ian’s spent next to nothing on his hobbies while willingly facilitating my spending thousands of dollars on my hobbies. Besides, he’s had the same monitor since 2001 — it’s practically an antique, and he even repaired it once himself — and his video card is 6 years old, too. As a reward for surviving ITP Phase 2 (his most recent work project, which was rocky to say the least), he finally ordered a new monitor and video card for himself, the first step in his Grand Monitor Plan.

Here Ian is with the new monitor, video card, and an extremely rare huge smile on his face. (Sorry it’s grainy; ISO 400 will do that.)
Ian and his computer parts
I doubt you can read it, but the monitor has a note on it that says “Thank you for selecting this monitor.” I think it’s missing a few words, and it should actually say “Thank you for selecting this HUMONGOUS, AMAZING monitor OF DOOM.” Just a thought. It’s 6:25 pm; I might as well write off dragging the boy away from his machine until the new hardware is installed and working. I’ve got my appreciative, admiring comments all shined, buffed, and ready for deployment.

More serious, depressing news under the fold. Continue reading “Monitor, Video Card, Smiles”

Ian-Poll

Day’s Verse:
Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act.
Titus 1:15

Which of the following outfits suits (no pun intended) Ian better?

Ian: Suit

Ian: Kilt

We were having a discussion about this, and I made one assertion — which I’ll keep to myself for now — and then Ian pointed out that we really needed somebody who wasn’t already biased to provide input. We’re trying to get at which quasi-formal outfit one Ian looks more natural or at home wearing.

Of course, I’d say this is picture taken back in 2005 really captures Ian’s best look.

Ian Turban

Rental Bike Time

Day’s Verse:
Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 9:22 (context)

I finally caved and rented a bike for the remainder of the time my Seven is out of commission. I’ve ridden the Xtracycle all week, first for fun on Monday with Mom — I took the day off after my Bike Expo weekend bonanza — and then to the Bellevue Transit Center on Tuesday, all the way 20 miles in to the International District on Wednesday, and then 9 miles that evening to Greenlake for the house/cat sitting we did Wednesday and Thursday night. The house sitting meant I only had to ride 9 miles each way Thursday and Friday morning.

I was already mentally gearing up for the arduous, headwind-y ride home (we’ve had a steady north wind since Wednesday at least, meaning I had a headwind every night, making the usual challenge of riding the Xtracycle just one notch more difficult) when I talked to Eric, owner of JRA Bike Shop.

I asked about rental bikes; they rent some sluggish bikes for tourists to tootle around downtown on, but that wouldn’t be much better than the Xtracycle. As we talked about it, Eric thought it over and said, “What do you think of that red one?” He indicated a red Cannondale Hybrid 600. Turns out it belongs to the shop; it’s a used bike they just built up with new parts, and he decided to let me rent that. So, for $150 a week, I get to ride the red chopper.

It’s a whole different riding experience, let’s put it that way. It’s got cruiser-style handlebars and incredibly low gearing. I can’t remember the last time I sat so upright on a bike — possibly on my first-ever bike? Aside from some saddle adjustment issues, the bike felt awesome. It was a ton of fun to ride, zippy and responsive and light feeling after the Xtracycle (but then, what wouldn’t be?).

The different position made the ride feel like a pleasure ride rather than a commute, a feeling enhanced by my meeting up with Ian about halfway home. We rode together the rest of the way, and that made it fun, too. We haven’t gotten to spend much time together, with my hectic schedule, so even riding a little ways together on a beautiful afternoon felt like a fun break.

Oh, and an assessor from Frontier Assessors came out and took pictures of my bike. I hope she doesn’t lowball me to Hertz. I just want to get my bike fixed, but I’m afraid to pay the $1,500 it’ll cost (plus, of course, the $150 I’m spending every week for the rental bike, a cost approved verbally by the Hertz rep via my contact at Oracle) without some assurance I’ll get reimbursed for all the costs.

Worse comes to worse I guess I have to call in John Duggan.