Friday, September 29, 2006

Back to the Business of Biking

I've been biking frequently since the New York trip and its about time to document. Here are some pictures from the latest rides.

This cow was pulling on a branch shaking the tree to get the apples to fall.

On my way back past the same farm there were many more cows looking for hand outs from the smart cow.

Yeah, what do you want to do about it?

This house had birdhouses all around it.
I've started expanding my rides and looking for more routes. I found a route on the randonneuring website and another on the blueberry's. I tried out the Blueberry route today which went through Hazel Dell and Salmon Creek or atleast that's as far as I got. A bridge was closed on Salmon Creek and I got lost finding my way back to the route after the detour. It was a beautiful day and I didn't mind. This will be a good route once I figure out how to get around the detour. Actually, I think I did today - if I can remember what I did. Its supposed to be a beautiful weekend so I think more biking is in store. I managed to do 41.5 miles today with many hills. Even the Felida hill- good stuff. I might try the other route which goes through Battleground and on up St. Helens. The route is 124 miles so I'll probably go 20-30 miles and then turn around.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What a week

Eve and I had such a nice visit together in New York. We got along so well and laughed a lot. I hadn't been to New York in about 18 years. The city is so much cleaner and quieter. The last time I was there the smell of urine was everywhere. There were used condoms, needles and rats all over. The city was so noisy I just couldn't stand it. The difference was amazing and welcome. The weather was also really good. I had such a good time being with family. We met up with cousin Helen at the Met museum. She is an intense woman who has a tremendous passion for music and the arts. After walking around a show we walked a couple of blocks to a restaurant for lunch and met up with Jodie and her friend Serit from Isreal. It was really terrific to hang out with the family. They were all talking about family relationships bringing up names I'd never even heard of. Everyone had such a good time. Eve and I left there and headed for the TKTS office to see what tickets were available and ended up seeing a show about Mary Lincoln. It was the most disappointing show we saw all week. To be fair, it was in preview but I don't think it showed much promise. Lots of holes in the story, the costumes were poor, the direction was boring and the music wasn't interesting. Everyday we would have breakfast at our favorite deli and then go exploring eventually finding our way to TKTS for the evenings entertainment. We ended up seeing a piano recital, a musical (Spelling Bee), an opera (Semele) and a really great play (The History Boys).

Eve and I at the Met Museum

Eve at the Opera

Eve and Jodie

Monday, September 25, 2006

Wedding of Weddings

Eve and I went out looking for breakfast and found a wonderful deli that became our favorite for the rest of the trip. A bagel and lox/cream cheese schmear with a latte. There was so much lox in the cream cheese and the schmear so thick Eve could only eat half. I, of course, ate the whole thing. We took the 96th st crosstown bus and then down 5th ave to the Guggenheim. There was an exhibit of an woman Iraqi architect - Zaha Hadid. The drawings were astounding. Every drawing had so many angles it was really hard to see what the drawing represented. Even when there was a model of the drawing I couldn't follow it. The angles in the drawings and the spiral ramp going up the museum had me feeling a bit of vertigo where you lose your sense of space. I had to look away from the drawings to something that made sense to keep my sense of space. It was cool. We had a terrific lunch at the museum cafe and then walked up 5th until we needed to get back to our hotel and get ready for the wedding.

Eve took a nap while I watched part of the men's semifinal (Roddick/Youzhny) on tv. We got ourselves all made up and headed out. We, again, took the crosstown bus and then headed down 5th ave. We joked that our earlier trip had been a dress rehearsal. The wedding didn't start until 8 pm and we got there on time. I hate being late so this was important. The wedding was at the Pierre Hotel. Not a big hotel but very elegant. The wedding took place in many, many rooms and the first was an entry room. It was round with a dome ceiling and 2 sweeping staircases painted in light blue with a cupid like theme. In the middle of the room was a small round table with an enormous, gorgeous flower display. There were intricate long flower garlands that went up both sides of the sweeping staircase. On the table were envelops set in brass holders with everyones name on it. The envelop had a dinner table assignment number in it. Eve kept the brass holders as a keepsake. From here it was a few steps up to the wedding room. It was absolutely beautiful. There were flowers everywhere. Garlands draped over everything that would hold them. The walkway down the aisle had these giant palmtree looking creations that were at least 15 ft tall and made entirely out of flowers. They also had small oil lamps hanging from them. Since it was a Jewish wedding the ceremony was short and sweet. Everyone looked terrific. There was a small orchestra playing classical music throughout. The glass was broken and it was time to go into the next room.

It was actually a series of 3 rooms. The orchestra broke up into trios and quartets and spaced themselves throughout the 3 rooms. Each room had a separate full bar and a ton of food - all appetizers. Veuve Cliquot was served throughout the evening - with a strawberry. There was a guy schucking oysters, a whole wall with sushi chefs making sushi to order, a wall of italian dishes, rack of lamb, lobster tails, king crab, mussels and, of course, tons of veggies. There were people walking around with more fancy looking tidbits. Again, the flower displays were absolutely amazing. They were intricate and hugenormous. I met Jackies' kids in line for sushi - so sweet. Shawn is 14 and Elana is 12. I hadn't seen Shawn since his bris. Ralph treated me like we had just seen each other. He is such a nice guy and so handsome. It felt really good to be here seeing some of the family.

About an hour of eating appetizers the doors to the wedding hall opened. It was truly an amazing sight. Again, the flowers were just stunning. The room was huge and completely covered with flowers. Every table had a display of flowers that was atleast 8 ft tall. There were enormous flower balls hanging from the ceiling too. We all starting dancing right away. A different band was playing in here. They had the usual band musicians with a whole horn section and 5 singers. The music was really fun. I probably danced for a full hour before sitting down. Dinner was served sometime around midnight. I had a beef dish and they also served sea bass. Sea bass must be making a come back. It seemed every restaurant we went to throughout our visit was serving it. The mashed potato thing served in the hashbrown cup was amazing too. Our waiter made sure everyone's Veuve glass was constantly full. The room was so beautiful that it was actually a bit overwhelming. It became very clear that this was no ordinary wedding. The bill for the flowers alone had to be a few hundred thousand dollars. I'm surprised there are any roses left in the city. People at my table pulled out roses from our display. Everyone took 1/2 a dozen each and you couldn't see that the display was missing anything.
These pictures are the best I could do - it was really dark in there. So much of the light was from the little hanging oil lamps. Are these flowers amazing or what? Doesn't Eve look elegant?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

US Open and Rehearsal Dinner

Awoke early as I was a bit worried how I would get to the US Open, how long it would take to get there and how long I would be able to spend there. I figured I needed to be back at the hotel by 4:30 to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. It was women's semifinal day and there would only be 2 matches in the main draw. I didn't really want to spend a ton of money to see one match and hoped there would be some matches on the outer courts. Perhaps juniors or seniors? Everything turned out great. It was a breeze to get there. The 7 train dropped me off right at the grounds. I got a day pass ticket - for $75. There were junior matches going on and the first match was with Donald Young. This kid has been touted as an up and comer for a few years I have really wanted to see him play. He has tried repeatedly to win matches on the pro tour with no success. As I approached the court, I stopped to reorganize my stuff and found myself standing next to Nick Bolletteri and Donald Young's couch. American Express had a big presence at the open and gave away a radio if you could present a card. I picked up the radio and from where I was sitting watching the junior match I could see the giant screen showing the Henin-Hardenne vs Jankovic semi-final. The radio worked great. Jankovic looked to be winning the match, convincingly, when she suddenly imploded emotionally. It was so dramatic and appeared that she couldn't handle winning. Jankovic went from winning the first set and being up in the second to losing the second set and the third at love. Donald Young also won his match. It wasn't easy though. Donald is a scrawny little guy. He's already 17 and will hopefully have a growth spurt to have any chance of a pro tour career. I also watched to #1 girl take out her opponent in 3. She was more impressive than Donald. She was from Russia (what a surprise) and had an impossibly long name. After watching these matches I walked around the grounds and found the practice courts. Andy Roddick and Jimmy Conners were out there. Boy was it fun to see those guys. If I came during the first week I'd probably spend a lot of time hanging out there - you really see the players in a relaxed atmosphere with their coaches and hitting partners. After that I walked around some more and headed to the gift shop. I wanted to get Nancy and Yumi t-shirts for helping me out taking care of Ro and my car. A simple tank top was $50. I just couldn't do it. I picked up some caps, visors and rubber duckies. Checking the time it seemed like time to head back to the hotel. On the way out American Express was handing out subway metro cards - score!!

Eve and I took the crosstown bus and headed down 5th ave to the rehearsal dinner. It was on the top floor of a building overlooking the 59th street bridge. We watched a big orange moon rise from our table. It was amazing to see relatives I haven't seen in about 12 years. As I entered the room I ran into someone I play tennis with - Sue Abrams. We looked at each other and I said 'What are you doing here" Sue said she was a cousin of Jodies and responded that I was a cousin of Jodies!! Really wild. I recognized her mother and we had a lot of fun catching up. Eve and I ended up sitting with Sue and her family. It turned out that our family had little representation since we were all from the west coast. The food and atmosphere were terrific and I was little sad that I don't know my family better.

Happy couple - Lauren and Dana.

Jody and Eve.

On the way out, all the out of town guests got a bag of goodies. This bag had biscotti, cookies, water and lots of chocolate. Eve and I ate from these bags everyday and I still had chocolate when I left New York.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Going to a New York Wedding

My aunt Eve called to chat and tells me she going to a wedding in New York. I ask her who's getting married and it turns out to be my 2nd cousin. She suddenly hits on the idea that I should go with her and I can't think of anything else I'd rather do. The wedding is going to be a swanky formal affair which means I'm going to have to do some shopping. We decide to spend an extra week in New York after the wedding to see as many plays as possible. My aunt is an actress, 80 years old and still working. Isn't that what everyone wants - to be 80 and still being called? I find her to be a true inspiration and am really looking forward to spending 10 days with her in New York.

First, I need an outfit for the wedding and 2 more for looking sharp at plays. I'm not really comfortable with formal so I head to Nordstrom. Usually someone there can help me. I did find some outfits but felt I could do better. The saleslady sent me to the store at Washington Square. My friend Amy volunteered to help me and we drove on out there. At first, the salespeople had me trying on halter top dresses and other sleeveless items that were atleast $300.00. My arms are not ready for baring and so we went to another department where the saleslady really got what I was looking for. We found a terrific outfit for the wedding with a pair of spanx. Spanx is a word I can't help but say outloud everytime I see it. We also found a perfect pair of little strappy shoes. Better, it was all on sale!! A couple days later I went shopping with Annie and we found the perfect outfits for the going to plays. Yeahh!!

My aunt and I took a look at the online registry at Bloomingdale's for the happy couple. We agreed on a set of coffee cups and saucers and had them giftwrapped. Got that out of the way. Next is a haircut, pedicure, browwax, message and acupucture session. You know what else? - I'll be in New York during the US Open - now we're talking!!

Eve gets to fly direct from LA - I get to fly to LA and then New York. We arrive Thurday night within an hour of each other. Alaska airlines sucks. There was no one in LA to tell me where to go for my next flight. Turns out I have to take 2 buses to get to the next flight. Lucky for me I have 2 hours. Upon arrival in New York, I call Eve to find out where she is and take the air train to meet up so we can split the cab fare to our hotel. It's about midnight when we arrive at our lovely 2 star hotel but we need to get something to eat. No problem, it's New York - lots of restaurants are open.

Monday, September 04, 2006


I didn't realize how sick I was until I got home. I had the runs for another 6 days and didn't get my strength back for an additional week. I'm still not drinking alcohol for fear of more stomach problems. Apparently, there is a virus going around with all of the symptoms I posed. At least it wasn't caused by too much biking on an out of shape body!! Last weekend I went for an easy ride up the Springwater to Jazzy Bagels with Amy. The ride totally wore me out. The next day I played 3 sets of doubles and I was done by the 3rd set. The next day I couldn't do anything I was so exhausted. The recovery has been slow and I've had to be very patient. Finally, this weekend I did a 45 mile ride with a bunch of recumbent riders with no ill effects. It felt good to be out biking. These riders are very strong and they set a pace that was far beyond me. I started to get cranky thinking that if I was going to ride by myself I could have just ridden from my home instead of driving over an hour to meet everyone. But after an hour or so I looked down at my computer and noticed I was riding 3 mph faster than I normally do. I realized these riders were pushing me and I was responding. Riding by myself I typically ride in the 10 mph range. Yesterday, over a moderately hilly terrain I rode 12.2 mph average over 45 miles. Not bad - not bad at all!! The day was perfect for riding and the scenery was lovely. Most of it was the same route I took 2 weeks ago to the coast. This time we started just before Vernonia and rode to Birkenfeld for an all you can eat brunch buffet. I've been to this restaurant before and they do an outstanding job and serve a ton of food. All and all a good day!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Getting There is Only Half The Ride

I really didn't sleep very well. There was a family with 4 little kids next door playing a game very late. I heard another camper ask them to keep quiet but it didn't really help much. I finally popped an Ambien. Over the past few days I had been feeling a little sore throat thing happening. It wasn't enough to even mention much less hold me back. Friday morning I started feeling much worse. I took it easy and drank a lot of gatorade all day. Maybe the ride took more out of me than I thought. Edna, Mandy and I went to Costo and Freddies to get food for dinner and the retreat Potluck. Everything I did took so much effort - not good. We returned from shopping and started dinner. We feasted on rib-eyes and veggies. It was excellent!! We had also picked up a case of beer and 6 bottles of wine. I started to feel so bad I couldn't drink - definitely not a good sign. I said 'good night' early and went to bed. Saturday I woke up feeling worse and my stomach was acting up too. Good thing my campsite is right behind the bathroom. I decided to go on a 25 mile breakfast bike ride. I was slower than usual and I'm usually pretty slow. Barbara was nice enough to ride with me. I know her from some of the slug rides in Portland. We made it to the Pig 'n Pancake long after everyone else and I had settled into some delicious blueberry crepes. After an embarrassing trip to the bathroom we headed back to the campground. I told Barbara about my stomach woes and she offered me a ride home Sunday if I thought I needed it. Very generous. I was beginning to think that was a good idea. I met Michael Wolfe almost at the campgroung and he was very encouraging telling me I deserved to be tired. Everyone seemed to think I was tired from the ride from Portland. I think I was suffering a flu virus of some sort. I made it back just in time for a pit stop and then the annual picture. All the recumbents meet at a semi-circle of a campground parking lot for a panaramic picture. There were 118 bikes this year- a record. Afterwards, lots of people took turns riding my trike. Everyone was having so much fun. As the day wore on the runs to the bathroom increased. We did the poker run in record time. The retreat organizers give out a map of the bike trails with x's marking spots where a box of cards in envelops are located. The trails are all over grown and lush. The box is hidden somewhere in the wildlife. It's a fun way to ride the trails. Everytime we find a box there's a lot of wooping and hollering. I ended up with a set of 4's. The bike trails around the campground are extensive and very beautiful. We all went to the retreat potluck where I ate very little and had to run to the bathroom a couple of times. I was also starting to get feverish. The lighted bike parade was next on the agenda and is the centerpiece of the recumbent retreat. It is hillarious!! Everyone adds lights to their bikes and we ride through all the loops in the campground. The campers love it and many come back every year just to see it. It is so psychedelic. This parade is just down home, clean, good fun. The bikes are decked out in flourescent lights and appear to float along. As a rider there is almost a sense of vertigo. Greg, also on a trike, had music from the 20's and 30's accompanying us - it was perfect. I wish I had pictures of some of the bikes but it takes all my concentration to make sure I stay on the road and don't run into anyone. The parade takes about an hour. I was laughing trying to find my way back to my campsite. It was so dark I couldn't find the entrance to my loop. I ran into Kathy and Kirke who graciously lent me a headlamp to use to get to my camp. PPhheeww!! I was exhausted and needed to sleep. I settled in my tent and tried to go to sleep - no go. Soon I was up running to the bathroom. My fever increased and I started freezing in my sleeping bag. My whole body was shaking and I still had to get up and go to the bathroom. Is there much worse than camping with the runs? I knew there was no way I was riding back to Portland. Sunday morning, blurry eyed, wearing every peice of clothing I brought with me, I told the people I rode with I was going to need a ride home. Everyone came up witha solution in minutes. I couldn't believe how easy it was to get me and my trike back. Mike called his wife and had her hide my keys outside and put the trike rack out on the grass. It was decided Mandy and Chris would take my trike and I would ride with Edna and Dave back to Mike's. We broke down camp for the last time and left after the poker run prizes were given out. The drive back to Mike's was uneventful. It was over 90 in Portland and I still was wearing my jacket. After dropping me and my trike off at Mike's I was grateful to get home. The runs continued for almost a week - I lost some weight. It took another week to get my strength back. At first I was worried that biking might be too much for me and I would never be able to do a long distance ride on my own. As the days progressed and my health improved I decided I was just sick and if this happened on the road I would have no choice but to sit tight until I felt better. I'm still really excited and proud of the riding I did and really want to build on it.