Category Archives: Just Life

Life Memories

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I have written heard a lot about chasing life memories.  I think that is what most people are doing.  They might not realize that is their desire or destiny, but that is what I think is going on. And each person has their own memories that is only theirs.

You don’t necessary have control of these memories or then you get them.  They can be monumental things, huge accomplishments, or can be a simple as laying on your back, watching a flock of geese fly over.  They are very personal.

I thought of this yesterday, when my friend Jacob Dickinson, was speaking at his mother’s funeral.  He told a very eloquent story about a memory of being young, on a beach at Puget Sound, in Seattle, with his mother, collecting ocean worn glass.   His story explained the experience of his mother explaining to him how the glass transformed from a sharp, dangerous object to something of beauty.  He said that experience changed his views of object, thus people, throughout his life.  It was a very truthful and touching prose.

I have tons of life memories, as each of us do.  Like I said, many of my life memories I didn’t dictate.  They just came.  At many different times, many unexpected.  I have life memories from the last 3 months, after fracturing my skull.  None that would mean much to someone else, but many that are important to me.

After the funeral yesterday, at Grace Cathedral, I went down to the basement, to a small chapel, where the is a columbarium. My dad’s ashes are there.  I’m not exactly sure why that is.  It isn’t one of my life memories.  But, he is there, at least part of him is.

I haven’t been there for a couple years.  I felt a little sad about that for some reason.  I’m really not of the belief that my dad is there.

I was thinking that if there is the slightest chance, like even 1 out of 1,000,000 chance that someone’s soul stays near where their bodies, or ashes, are, then I need to jailbreak him.  I wouldn’t want to be left there and think it is a very lonely place.  Not where you want to spend “eternity”.

I didn’t break him out, but I did reminisce a bit of my life memories with my father.  It was good and a nice way to transition from a funeral back to something closer to normal life.  I think I just had another life unexpected life memory.  That is how they come.

My dad’s plack.

Inside Grace Cathedral.

My father used to play the organ some.

Going to a Funeral Service

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I’m heading to the Grace Cathedral church in a couple hours for a funeral service for the mother of one of a good friend.  I’ve known her mother since I was in junior high and have stayed with her throughout my life, travelling to race my bike.

I have to say I’m not big going to funerals.  I guess I should say I’m not big on going to funerals in the US.  I’ve only been to one service out of the country.

A couple of the guys that were on my original cycling team have been hit by automobiles and killed while riding their bikes.  First Jim May, then just a couple years ago, Cal Melick.  I went to both of their services.  I didn’t like it.  I don’t like seeing my other friends sad.  Who would?

When I was riding for Specialized, I was hanging over in Europe, mainly racing on the road, when I got a call from Kris Burchard, who was in charge of the marketing department of Specialized.  She said that my team mate, Jason McRoy, had been killed while riding his motorcycle.

She asked if I could fly over to England and go to the funeral service with her.  I wasn’t big on it, knowing my dislike of funerals, but I felt an obligation, so I flew there.  It turned out to be a great life experience.

Jason’s dad planned a super service.  Rock music in the church.  Lot of drinking and Jason stories after, at a pub.  It was more what I think a wake would be like.  I haven’t been to a wake. But even though the people were very sad about Jason’s loss, they bonded deeper and celebrated Jason’s life.  It was a very surprising experience for me.

This is different.  I’ve known this family since I was really young.  My friend was my girlfriend in junior high, then high school and into college.  I’ve had a ton of great experiences with her brother and sister.  Really a whole family. There are lots of sad people here.  Including myself.

Anyway, I guess funerals are for a purpose.  Bonding of the living I think is as important as saying goodbye to the dead.  At least that is what I’m going with now.

Jason.

 

Mt. Oread Cycling Team. Jim is knelling, 2nd from the left. Cal if directly behind him.

 

 

Heading back South

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We are sort of packed up and are heading back south to Kansas today.  I didn’t realize I had a doctor’s appointment, plus a super good friend’s mom died and she and her family are flying in tonight.  So it is time to go.

It’s not all bad.  The weather up here in Cable is too warm.  So warm that the skiing sucks.  Like your skis stop when you hit a sunny patch of the Birkie trail.  That probably doesn’t bother guys that can ski really good, but that isn’t me and I don’t like it at all.   And it is supposed to rain all day tomorrow and Saturday. That isn’t so good for the snow.

Plus it is pretty warm in Kansas now.  At least for January.  Looks like the highs are gonna be in the upper 50’s through the weekend.  That is pretty good bikin’ weather.

Okay, Tucker needs to do his last lap in the woods.  He loves it up here.  He’s already been out romping for an hour this morning, but is always up for more.  Then 10 + hours of driving.  It is a tad too long to be comfortable.  I would like it way better if it was closer to 7.  But that ain’t so.

I’m looking forward to riding some.  I haven’t been feeling all that great the last few days and seem to feel better when I get on a riding routine.

Tucker resting up before the romp.

And doing some yoga stretching before the fun today.

And after, he usually ends up on the couch with Hawkeye and Dennis.

Bald Eagles

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When I was skiing yesterday,  I saw a bald eagle flying over me.  That struck me as weird because I thought eagles migrated with birds or whatever their food supply is.  It is obviously winter, and winter in Northern Wisconsin is really winter.

So I came back and looked up the migration patterns of bald eagles and it showed this area and it said that eagle can be here year round.  Just like in Kansas.  That is nice to know.

I love watching eagles fly.  They are very majestic.  I went to YouTube to see if there is a video of eagles flying and I found the video below.

I have no desire to be a fisherman, but I would like to experience this a few times.  I’m not big on eagles acting like seagulls, but they are scavengers and need to get food somewhere, so I forgive them for acting “out of character”, at least according to what I think they should act like.

The World is Changing

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The last 100 years or so have been pretty impressive if you’re a human.  So much has changed.  The whole world is mobile now as long as you have the money to pay for it.  And many, many more people  have the money now.

I saw this article about how researchers have come up with a way to help your teeth repair themselves. They put a small amount of Alzheimer’s drug, Tideglusib,, on a special biodegradable sponge and within six weeks your tooth has fixed the cavity.  So, in theory, pretty soon, no one will have cavities.  That would make a huge difference in less fortunate countries.  Even here in the US.

On the drive up here I was listening to Fresh Air on the way up to Cable and the show was on Crispr,  a gene editing mechanism.  The technique permits scientists to quickly and precisely alter, delete and rearrange the DNA of nearly any living organism. I’d read a bunch about it and know it is going to be revolutionary in many regards.  But I started thinking about it and realize that so many of the “problems” that humanity has currently are going to disappear because of this.  Many illnesses, diseases and problems that we have no ability to fix are going to be gone within the next decade I’d guess.  Man, this is a big step.

I also read about revolutionary battery improvement the guys at MIT came up with. They have a solid type battery that can be recharged forever.  Much stabler and safer, plus it never wears out  It is a lithium-oxygen battery with has a ton of advantage over a lithium-ion battery.   Lots of advantages.  They are going to have this technology on the market within the next year or so. Pretty big advancement in battery technology.

So, lots of our health problems are being addressed quickly.  And some of the energy problems that maybe not us, but really the rest of the world has.  Our lives are going to change dramatically the next decade from these technologies.

Pretty exciting stuff.  Great for the humans on the planet.  That is if we don’t screw it up and do something stupid to cause the world to implode.  Seems like some of the stuff going on recently is putting us on that path.  Hopefully we don’t let that happen.

 

We’re not doing such a good job in this respect. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t like it if someone was bombing us.

Dennis’ “Compound”

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Since someone posed a question yesterday about water at the Simple Living Lodge up here in Cable, I thought I should post some pictures once again.   Here are just a few I just took this morning.  It started as a one room, three season cabin with a loft to sleep.   Now it is three separate building with lots of places to sleep.

Dennis’ house.

From another angle.

Kitchen and stairs up to his bedroom, etc.

Living room.

Bike and ski room.

Simple Living Lodge. Garage on the bottom, two finsished bedrooms upstairs. No bathroom.

From another angle.

The Kansas Garage. Named after the guys that built it I guess.  Same deal, garage downstairs, plus sauna, then open floor plan upstairs.  Two bedrooms, plus kitchen and bath.

Upstairs.

Beth and Mick at the River’s Eatery last night. It was good catching up some.

Tucker running back to check up on me on the walk this morning.

 

Thinking about Skiing

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All my friends were up in Cable skiing between Christmas and New Years.  I’ve done that for a really long time.  I’ve only missed it a few times when I was hurt or because I felt I needed to train more for cyclocross Nationals in January.

I think cross country skiing is good for balancing a cyclist out.  We use the same muscles in such repetitions, that we get out of whack.  Skiing fixes that somewhat.  I’ve had some of my best early seasons after spending a few weeks skiing.

When I ski, I normally tend to ski a bunch.  Normally 2-3 hours at a time.  Cycling allows that.  Of course, the first few times I’m pretty wobbly after doing it.

I was thinking about this when I was riding yesterday.  It was kind of cold out and I felt like just tooling around.  I just rode over to Red Rocks again and looked at the city.  I started thinking about when I first learned to ski.

It was back in the early 90’s when I was first tried to skate ski.  I had traditional diagonal skis back when I was young.  Anyway, skate skiing was becoming the norm and all my friends up in Iowa were doing it.  Michael Fatka was selling skis at his shop and they were skiing a bunch.

I went up to Ames and started skiing with Michael and the other guys I rode with.  We were just skiing at a barely groomed park.  It was normally, Michael, Harold and me.  I wrote a post about Harold.  

Anyway, we started driving up to Minneapolis and Wisconsin to ski on “real” ski trails.  It was a super cold winter and it was nearly always below 0 temperatures.  I never used any wax other than Start green then.

We finally decided to go to a race.  It was a marathon race up in Superior.  It was super cold, as usual.  We drove up there and waxed our skis the night before.  Start green.

The next morning, I think the race was supposed to start around nine in the morning.  But it was -10 or something.  We called the number on the entry and they said the race was postponed until noon.   Then they would decide if it was going to happen.

We called back at 11:30 and they said the race was happening at noon.  We jumped in my Isuzu and drove there.  We were barely dressed and it was still -5.  Right we we got out of the car and had our boots on, they blew off the gun.  We didn’t have our skis on and weren’t even at the course really.

So we ran over there, put our skis on and got going.  I passed a ton of guys early and when I got into the woods, I needed to look down to make sure I didn’t step on anyone’s skis or poles.  Even my own. But by doing that, my glasses crystallized up so I couldn’t see anything.  So I took my glasses off.

That was a mistake.  When I got towards the end of the first lap, out of three 15km laps, it got back into the open.  It was windy and cold.  My eyes started freezing together.  It was bad.  I had to look down again to stop my eyelids sticking together.

I skied by the parking lot and looked over to my car.  It had exhaust coming out of it, so it was running.  I thought, screw this, I’m not skiing 30 more kilometers with my eyelids frozen together.  So I skied over to the car and Michael was sitting there with the heater going.

I was pretty frozen.  I got into the car and gave Michael shit for not even starting.  After a couple more minutes, I was watching and Harold skied by.  Harold was a farmer and had frozen his face a few times.  Enough, that whenever his skin got cold, his face looked like he had extreme frostbite.

I sat in the car talking to Michael, feeling guilty I had stopped.  I sat there for another hour, thinking I should get out and ski the last lap with Harold.  So I got dressed and got waited for Harold to ski by.  I got out of the car, put on my skis and got going.

It took me a little while to catch Harold.  He skied pretty good.  He was surprised to hear my voice when I skied up behind him.  I just skied behind him, talking.

Harold kind of started bonking with about 1/2 a lap to go.  He was skiing slower and slower and told me he needed something to eat.  I told him I had a Powerbar in my jersey pocket.  He just stopped.

I took off my pole to reach into my pocket to get the Powerbar.  Then I attempted to unwrap it. He told me to just give it to him and that I should just keep skiing.  I said that would open it.  He went on to say that he was worried that I wasn’t going to become a good skier when I just skied with him when he was blown.

I was amazed, and still am, that was his concern.  He was more worried about my advancement in the sport of skiing than himself needing some assistance.   I finally opened the Powerbar and it was frozen like a rock.  I was still well below zero.

Harold’s hands were pretty done and he couldn’t really break a piece off, so I used my teeth to break up the Powerbar and give it to Harold to eat.  He ate most of it and then we skied to the finish together.

Harold was a genuine guy.  A farmer.  He died.  If you click on the link above, I wrote a little about it.  I miss the guy and think about him every time I ski up in Cable.

The gang on New Year’s Eve out in the forest.

And at the River’s Eatery for pizza.