Thursday, July 31, 2008

Those Damn Ends

Are you having more trouble making them meet?? Boy, I sure am.

Everyone is struggling right now, the way everything has gotten more expensive. I spent several hours this morning with my budget. What can I cut out? What can I cut back on?

The cell phone for the brother-going, so are is the insurance and a few other options.
Home phone-switching to a bundle with the cable company...if I can ever get through to them.
Credit Card (that I'm working like the dickens to pay off!)-promotional period ended...don't ya love when that happens! Need to switch it, again.
Car Insurance-increased $180 a year! shopping around...

I'll continue to ride my bike to work, work to keep the utilities down, eat local and shop for sales and bargains, I was thinking about buying a kayak...nope.

Jeeze...I make pretty good money, don't have kids or a big fancy house. How do folks do it!

I did get some nice free entertainment this afternoon. I rode my bike out and around the lake, about 16 miles and the lake miles are hilly! It was free, good for me and good for the environment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday
Austin Micheal Kirkland!
My cousin Janet...the oldest of the "Girls of Beaver" is now a Grandma.
Her daughter Amy and son in law Keith welcomed their first child this afternoon.
Austin weighed in at 5lbs 15oz and was born at 6pm. Everyone is doing great.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Chip Of The Old Block

"My god, I hate cooking and house work".

That's my mom! I'm a lot like her...

It's Like Then End Of March Madness

Now what do I do?

The boys are done riding around in France...It's too hot to do much outside...and right now it's raining.

Tomorrow I start the last week with the YMCA kiddos but today, today I'm just a little bored.

The plan today was a morning bike ride before it got hot and then home to spend some time cleaning in the basement...but as I mentioned, it's raining. So I guess it's the basement. Yipee.

So back to the end of the Tour. The Spaniard Carlos Sastre won by 58 seconds. American Christian Van De Velde was 5th. It will be fun to watch and see how he does next year.

My favorite George Hincapie was...35th. Last year he rode here in the Tour Of Missouri. His team is scheduled to would be great if he joins them. what do I watch on TV...

How long until basketball season?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Many years ago, when I was a new cyclist just learning about the sport, a friend got me hooked on the Tour De France.

We'd all watch and talk about the riders, the climbs, the hot days on the flats, the team cars, the crazed fans.

I've watched every year since.

The last week of the tour has always fallen the same week as US National Rowing Championships. I would pack my rowers up and head to this week long regatta.

We'd race during the day in the heat and in the evenings watch the tour as we recouped in the cool air conditioning.

It was a tradition.

Kids who knew nothing of cycling could name the leaders, discuss Alpe D'Huez and marvel at the speed. I see kids who rowed for me in those years...they ask if I still watch.


For several weeks in July I watch the boys ride around in France.

This July has been all about rowing. Not Nationals but the orange life jacket gang.

And the evenings...I watch the tour in the air conditioning.

I really, kinda love July.

In a sick sort of way.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh Yeah...

The pool was a 'green' pool party. Recycling all the beer bottles (yes, there was beer...what'd ya think), we used cloth napkins, real plates, cups and silverware.

It's taken me two days to get the dishes washed (no dishwasher) and put away.

I'm glad we were green but boy, it's a lot of dang work!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

And It Was A Wyandotte Co. Pool Party

So you put a table and some chairs in the driveway. Don't forget to open the garage door. And a nice umbrella makes it festive.
A small wading pool for the little guy. And let him play with the hose's summer.
Put the blowup pool in the front yard. Let the nephew play and fill. There will be a lot of grass later so if you want in do it early.
Then invite some other children. These came all the way from Singapore for the pool party!
Don't forget to empty and refill so the sister can come over the next day and enjoy.

The Lives We Planned

The Pioneer Woman has a post up today with answers to a question she posed. "Does your life resemble the life you used to imagine for yourself, and whether you mourn your former vision for your life or embrace the unexpected."

Well doesn't that just open up all kinds of thoughts...

When I was 23 I was newly married, working diligently to become a world class athlete, not working very hard at preparing for my future. I was soooo young. I didn't think much at all about the future. I just lived in the present.

I was estranged from my dad. A source of hurt and hard to articulate.

I think back and wish I could do a few things differently. If I married my ex-husband I would have been a different wife. More in tune to what he wanted and needed in his life. Now, that is not to say that he wouldn't have become the creep he became but...if I had been a different wife, he may have been a different husband.

I wish I had been more in tune with what I wanted/needed to do career wise. I might have gotten an earlier start.

But I was so focused on my training. And that was an experience I would not trade for anything. And it prepared me to be the coach I have become.

When I was 33 I was divorced, still hopeful that I would find a partner and begin a family. I always imagined that I would have loads of kids. At 33 that was still an option. But I learned enough in my ill fated marriage that I knew what mistakes NOT to make.

I was in a new job. A challenging, male dominated profession. One that allowed me to use my physical strength as well as my mind. Who knew that it would be such a great fit.

I was beginning to stretch as a coach. Something I think I was really meant to do. I loved the kids and I loved coaching.

My darling doggies were young and I spent many hours walking with them through the woods around the dog park. Some of my favorite memories.

My dad and I had begun repairing our relationship. In no small part due to the encouragement of my stepmom. A lady I thank god for bringing to our family. There is no measure of the healing she has facilitated.

I was struggling to connect with my mom. She loved me but I'm not sure she knew what to make of me.

I often felt very lonely.

Now I'm 43. No kids. No hubbby. Old dogs...still darling but old. Same job. Same coaching...just more of it.

I own a home. I have a kick ass family. (one family member is sitting across the room from me now, slathered in sunscreen, eating cold pizza, watching Sponge Bob and waiting for the pool to fill) The most amazing, diverse group of friends. Great things are going on at the rowing club. I'm very proud of the things we've accomplished.

My dad and I are close again. We gather often as a family in Texas where he lives. He has really tried hard to become the dad we needed. I needed.

My Mom and I are very in tune. She gets me. Finally. She and my stepdad are so much fun to be around. I feel very blessed.

My sister was kind enough to have two unbelievable boys. She lets me have them whenever I want and they seem to enjoy spending time with me. It's almost like having my own kids...only better...they go home when I'm tired of them.

And I am never lonely.

My life does not resemble the vision I had...but I do not mourn.

I really wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Girls of Beaver

In the very early '60's Erma and Curly Fruits purchased some land where the White and War Eagle Rivers empty into what would become Beaver Lake in northeastern Arkansas and built a small home.

Erma was a widow with three children. She met and married Curly Fruits when the kids we not quite grown. They were a fun couple, with a love of the outdoors, their family, dogs and a cold beer.

Their oldest daughter, Virginia, is my mother's mother.

I was born in '64 and spent so much of my childhood with them at the modest little home in the Arkansas woods. Rising early in the morning to fish with my grandpa Curly, snuggling into a warm bed in the back room reading Readers Digest, playing Yahtzee at the kitchen table, sitting on the front porch listening to the adults talk, sing and laugh.

My Grandma Virginia has four children. My cousins were such a huge part of my life growing up. Our family is close...sometimes painfully so...we fight, we laugh, we support, we protect, we love.

My mother's older sister has two girls. Two and four years older than me. I was the bratty little cousin who followed them around, wanting to do everything they did. They didn't kill me...I thank them for this.

My mother's youngest brother also has two daughters, very close in age to my sister. Thick as thieves, those three. We didn't kill them...they haven't ever thanked us for that...hmmmm.

The two boys, my brother and a much younger boy cousin...they were just "the boys". Not ignored...just, not girls.

The girls, well....we're pretty tight. Still.

When Erma and Curly were gone my folks bought the little place at the end of Pine Creek Hollow Road. It is the only place left of my childhood. It is where I return to remember...who I am and where I came from.

I spent the weekend in Pine Creek Hollow with my cousins, two very close friends (HP's-Honorary Petty's) and my oldest cousin's daughter...we are training the next generation of Petty girls.

It's our annual 'Girls Weekend". We began nine years ago. The participants have changed some...narrowing down to Pettys and two HP's. The best two days of the year.

Janet is wise, confident and cool headed, soon to be a!
Carrie...Carrie is a nut, a very accomplished, together, successful nut, crazy about her boys...or maybe the boys are making her crazy?
Kim is intense, loud and passionate, funny and fiercely loyal, my closest confidant, also crazy about or being driven crazy by her boys.
Bec is the most honest, real person I know, no middle ground.
Donna is the loudest person, funny...oh my god is she funny, she has two persona's...professional and lunatic and she likes to have her things lined up just so.
Tracy laughs more than anyone I know, bright and goofy.
Amanda, she is a Petty through and through...spunky, talks easy, loves animals, honest and only the young can be.
Me...I think I'm invited because I'm good at crowd control...that and I'm the only one who knows how to turn the water on and I have a key.

We laugh, we eat, we float, we talk about everything. Cold beer, sunburns, egg salad, enchialdas, the gooey feel of lake mud between my toes, the smell of a plastic float, blowing a fuse, the sound of the bathroom pocket doors, the smell of bug spray, coffee with sweetened condensed milk, oreos, the walmart stop, ETFB (estimated time of first beer).

These are the girls of Beaver.

Erma would be proud.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

row Row Row Your Boat

Imagine your favorite nine year old and 8 of his/her buddies.

All wearing those orange life jackets.

In a 65 foot long boat.


I wish I could post pictures of these dang cute...and they are learning to row and not having a lot of difficulty.

Kenny and I, on the other hand, are bruised, sunburned and exhausted.

Week one down. Three to go.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Hang's gonna be busy.

I'll post when I can but I have 34 coaching sessions in the next four addition to my full time job.

Girls weekend, friends here from Singapore, a foodies gathering at my house, a high school rowing camp, our first YMCA camp and for some crazy reason I decided it was a good time to begin painting the windows on my house...

Oh my.

I do love July, though.

I fell asleep last night to the familiar voices of Bob Roll and Phil Liggett and the sounds of the Tour De France...

See ya in August!

(and ya never know when I might pop in and post real quick)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Me And My Bike..

...sometimes it's a love hate relationship.

This morning there was faint thunder (the dogs heard it but I did not), the threat of rain showers and I just plain got up late.

As I drank my first cuppa the conversation I was having with myself..."isn't it supposed to rain tomorrow morning", "I'm really just too tired", "I already ridden over 260 miles so far this year"...

Then I got my butt in gear, packed my bag and got on the dad gum bike.

I was tired...I've logged over 60 miles in the last 6 days. It was raining...but not very hard and I don't melt. And I have ridden a lot this year but that's really kinda cool.

So I rode.

My friend JK and I were talking about riding the bus to work yesterday. He lives in midtown and rides to south JoCo. Takes him an hour and he can drive it in less than 20. I'm not sure how I would get from my house to my work on a bus...Maybe this winter I'll try once and see.

There is a lot of lip service about cutting down the miles we drive. Sounds like a great idea.

In a city like KC it is extraordinarily difficult for most folks to commute via public transportation. Once you get into the center of our metro there are buses and it's a possibility...but most of us live far from downtown.

How do we get around where we live and work??

Bikes are great but what if you live far from your job or have a job where you need to look presentable and have no shower facilities available?

What if your job requires you to travel during the day?

What the time you bike home from the fire are just too dang tired to ride to your coaching job? What if the closest (decent) grocery store is far, far away? What do we do when it rains, when it's cold...

What will we do when gas goes up another $1.00? $2.00 $5.00.

What will you do?

I will get on my bike...even when I'm tired. Kinda like today.

My Green Life

So...all those months ago...can't remember exactly how many months...I started this little online journal.

I began blogging because my cousin Rebecca had a blog and it was fun to read and I was bored. (her blog is still fun to read by the way...poke around and find a 'Walmart' post).

This was a fun, new way to keep up with all my family and a few friends. My Uncle MUD has a blog (he gets political but he means well and his stories are good), my little sis Kimmy has a blog (she doesn't post much 'cause she's so dang busy), my BFF Donna has a 'Ronneblog' (it always seems that when we blog about a shared experience she says exactly what I'm trying to say...she's a wonderful writer).

Then my life took a green turn. And I blogged about being green. It was fun to talk to the Petty girls about greeness at our weekly lunch. My mom and aunt Sue were regular readers.

And I was(am) pretty green.

I learned all about recycling in my community. Replaced my light bulbs, wandered around in the dark, turned my thermostat down, started riding my bike to work, took a bag with me to the store and mostly began paying attention. There are still things I could do. There are still things I will do.

Then a good friend got very ill, and rowing started and I was writing more about my life than about my green life.
I still read the green blogs listed on my side bar (and several others...look for a sidebar update soon!).

I felt bad about not posting creative green thoughts about my green life...but then I realized...
I'm posting about my life.

And my life is pretty green.

So just know...that as I post about traveling with the boys, regattas, funerals, friends, my goofy animals...I am still living a green(ish) life....

My life.