Posts Tagged ‘Herself’

Days decrease, and autumn grows

October 10, 2018

Yesterday’s clouds were a harbinger of mildly unpleasant weather,
the sort one expects in October.

It’s that time of year again.

This morning, instead of going straight to The New York Times to see what deviltry Cheeto Benito has been up to while we slept, I cued up Weather Underground to find out what Thor has in store for us here in our little corner of the Duke City.

Also, I was wearing socks. And pants. O, the humanity.

I already miss my summer routine. Reveille at oh-dark-thirty as Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) leaps into my rack. After a brief exchange of the usual courtesies it’s up and into the Columbia shorts, guinea tee and Tevas for the trip to the kitchen, where I burn an English muffin for Herself, pour a cup of joe for myself, and top off Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s kibble.

Next, open the sliding glass doors and a kitchen window. Fresh air reminds me we have two cats who haven’t mastered the flush toilet. But the litter box will have to wait. First, the news. One foul chore at a time, please.

With the international, national, regional and local butt-nuggets exhumed, examined and expunged, and a second cup of coffee to wash down a snack of some sort, it’s time to generate a bit of bloggery and/or paying copy before embarking upon some healthy outdoor activity.

Here we have another indicator of the relentless passage of time, as reliable as falling leaves. Come autumn, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and Adventure Cyclist reduce their frequency of publication, and my income stream — hardly a raging torrent, even in the heart of the cycling season — becomes more of a dribble, the last warm sip from summer’s water bottle.

I delivered the video teaser of my Jones Plus SWB review to Adventure Cyclist on Sunday, and yesterday the November “Shop Talk” cartoon went off to BRAIN. Now I’m fresh out of other people’s bikes to ponder, and there’s just one more ’toon to draw for 2018.

And that healthy outdoor activity? Come autumn, it’s as likely to be a run as a ride. This year I started jogging again in July; this lets me sort of sneak up on my knees, give them time to grow accustomed to the idea that we enjoy this sort of thing, before winter winnows our options.

It’s a useful fiction, one that keeps me in shorts a while longer.

Night moves

September 27, 2018

I call this one “Bored Man at Sunport with iPhone Camera.”

You don’t even have to be on the plane for air travel to suck.

Herself was wheels down at the Sunport around 10 in the peeyem last night, and her luggage took a while to show up, as it will, which meant we were motoring home around the time I usually devote to inspecting the inside of my eyelids while beered-up Burqueños cap each other over right-of-way issues.

I saw one helmetless eejit on a crotch rocket thread various needles at about 20 mph over the posted limit, using all the eastbound lanes on I-40, without signaling, right in front of two cops working a traffic stop. I’m surprised the backup officer didn’t shoot him. Hell, I wanted to shoot him myself.

Anyway, we weren’t lights-out until midnight, morning comes early with a pair of cats in the vicinity, and a darkly comic opera is anticipated at the Senate Judiciary Committee, so if I were you I’d be prepared for all manner of outré behavior in this space today.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!

• Late addendum: Jaysis, it’s worse than I had feared. To call this hearing a shitshow is to libel shitshows. Primate houses have a keener sense of the distinction between order and ordure. They’re quieter, too.

We should sit like a cat

July 9, 2018

“I heard there are alligators in Florida,” says Darby. “I’ll be taking my meals right here, thank you.” Photo: Herself

“If anything is more irresistible than Jesus, it’s Mickey.”

Carl Hiaasen, “Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World.”

Herself the Elder has gone to Mickey.

It happened the way Ernest Hemingway described going bankrupt in “The Sun Also Rises” — “gradually and then suddenly.” One minute she’s in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the next, boom! Mouse Country. It was that quick. Except for when it wasn’t.

Herself the Elder retired a couple years back and decided shortly thereafter that it might be nice to be closer to one of her three daughters. I could dig it, as I live fairly close to one of them myself.

She checked out a few places in the Duke City, and did likewise in the Greater Orlando Mousetropolitan Area, and unless you acquire a concealed-carry permit, a theft-proof auto and an ocean with attached beach, Florida is going to win that matchup two falls out of three.

And then things just sort of stalled out, because moving is a huge pain in the ass and doing nothing is always an option. As far as I’m concerned, anyway. Gives a fella time to think.

“Why did you sit around all day?”

“I am the Buddha known as the Quitter.”

Jack Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums”

This laissez-faire approach doesn’t work for everyone, of course. It seems particularly ill-suited to most women of the female persuasion, who appear to have an innate compulsion to take hold while the menfolks sit around scratching themselves, farting, and hooting contentedly. And thus, eventually, the creaky familial machinery started rumbling to life.

Beth, the Florida daughter, stood, rolled up her sleeves and said something to the effect of, “Are we doing this or what?” HtE replied in the affirmative, a strategery was devised, and they were off to the wars.

Herself booked a flight to Florida to help set up the new digs. Beth ordered up the movers and jetted to Oak Ridge to supervise the packing up, then flew back with HtE in tow. And Heather, the Tennessee daughter, collaborated with family friend Janet to chauffeur Darby the cat to Mousesylvania by auto.

It’s not that simple, of course. Nothing is. But for the moment, everyone’s settling in. Even Darby, who was not consulted about any of this.

We should

sit like a cat

and wait for the door

to open.

“Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry,” by Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison

Holy macaroni!

May 12, 2018

Good God, what a motley crew. No wonder I drank. I bet this photo wound up on bulletin boards in newspaper HR offices nationwide, bearing a red stamp reading “DO NOT HIRE.”

Herself and I celebrated 28 years of unholy matrimony this morning with the traditional “Happy Anniversary” dance in the kitchen.

And what a long, strange tripping of the light fantastic it’s been, too. When we got shackled up at Jekyll & Hyde State Park outside Fanta Se in 1990 Herself was managing the DeVargas Center location of B. Dalton Bookseller (anyone remember bookstores?) and I was an editor at The New Mexican (anyone remember newspapers?).

“Is there a bus ticket and some fake I.D. in here somewhere? Goddamnit!”

Just shy of three decades further on down the road, she is a skilled, respected information-services professional burrowed like a tick into the leathery hide of the Military-Industrial Complex, while I … I … ai yi yi. The less said about that, the better. For every up, there must be a down. That’s Scripture. Ballistics. The Scripture of Ballistics? One a them there.

Anyway, that we have nearly made it to the Big Three-Oh is not my fault. She had Lasik. She can work an Excel spreadsheet. She knows where the guns and the airport are.

But Herself is in the habit of collecting stray animals and is reluctant to concede defeat, even in the face of tattered furniture, soiled carpets, and a dwindling income stream that one might blame on an aged prostate if a work ethic had one.

Fortunately one of us remains viable. We started small, in that teensy rental roach motel on Romero Street, and now we have this fauxdobe hacienda with a great big yard. Sometimes she lets me off the leash to chase rabbits.

That’s what she’ll tell the cops and neighbors when they wonder why they haven’t seen me wobbling around on the bike lately, anyway.

“I took my eyes off him for one second and he was over the wall and gone! Beg pardon? What’s with the shovel and the mound? Oh, just turning over an old flower bed. Why do you ask? ’Scuse me, I have a flight to catch.”

Like rain falling on the city

February 17, 2018

The sky is crying.

It was gloomy around here the past couple days, and not just for the obvious reason. The weather finally turned and we got something like a half-inch of rain; a long, steady soaking.

Something seems dreadfully wrong
with this picture.

Even the normally stoic Turk grew unsettled, first spending an unusual amount of time under the bed, and then following me around like bad news.

This morning he was finally back to his routine: yowling outside the bedroom door when he’s decided that I’ve logged enough shuteye; jumping into bed for a brief cuddle; and finally nodding off as the sun crept over the Sandias.

Herself is easing back into business as usual, hitting her workout classes and fencing with the taxman, whose clammy hand is even less welcome in our pockets than usual.

Mia performs her one-cat show “Sit Like a Cat,” based on a poem from the Ted Kooser-Jim Harrison collection “Braided Creek”:

We should
sit like a cat
and wait for the door
to open.

And the unflappable Miss Mia Sopaipilla, who came to us from the same shelter that gave us Mister Boo, continues to provide some much-needed comic relief. The other day it was zazen on my drawing stool; this morning it was mortal combat with a long-forgotten toy mouse.

Me? You’d think I should be chronicling some velo-business for fun and profit, what with CABDA just concluded and Frostbike, NAHBS and 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo ongoing.

But I’m not, so maybe I’ll go for a ride instead.

• Editor’s note: Gassho and deep bows to one and all for your condolences following the passing of Mister Boo. Sifting through the piles of photos and videos depicting the sprightly young Boo of days gone by, and seeing the pleasure his presence provided beyond our own household, helped us remember the good times, bright moments that often fade under the harsher light of day-to-day caregiving.

Oh, SNAP

February 14, 2018

Mister Boo needs a bib. And a brain transplant. And a butt plug.

It’s Valentine’s Day. The Turk’ sounded Reveille, Herself gave me a kiss, Mia offered a series of head bumps, and The Boo laid a turd in the kitchen as I was fixing him a delicious snack.

Got a bit of it on your chin, there, didn’t you, old fella? The party, it never stops.

Speaking of defecation, I see the Swamp Thing wants to take a crap on SNAP. Given the fiscal discipline displayed by this lot I expect those “Harvest Boxes” are likely to contain nothing more nourishing than IOUs.

Maybe they can be printed on rice paper. We can pretend it’s cake.

 

Up in the air

February 2, 2018

The Steelman Eurocross on Trail 505 north of Elena Gallegos.

February took a while to get rolling.

Herself was scheduled to jet up to Colorado for a weekend with some gal pals. Being of a frugal nature she had wrangled the cheapest flight possible, which meant we had to be at the Duke City launch pad at 5 a.m., an hour I find abhorrent.

Naturally, when she got up at dark-thirty she learned that her American Airlines flight to Grand Junction via Phoenix had been canceled, and that she had been bumped to a 9:30 departure. Back to bed, if not to sleep.

When next she arose, at 5:40, she found that as she dozed AA had instead booked her on a 6 a.m. Delta flight through Salt Lake City. And had she been at the airport at that moment instead of wandering El Rancho Pendejo in her robe, why, that would have been just swell.

A call to customer service saw her flight shifted yet again, this time to an AA-Mesa tag team that sent her through Dallas-Fort Worth. Yes, to get to Colorado from New Mexico — call it 300 miles as the crow flies from Duke City to Function Junction — you have to visit Arizona, Utah or Texas first.

And thus, through the miracle that is modern air travel, a mere seven hours later, before anyone could say “You could have driven there faster,” which I did, there she was.

My day likewise featured its detours. Hal Walter and I had been planning a podcast that would take a jaundiced view of sport ahead of the Super Bowel, but like Herself we encountered a series of breakdowns, false starts and changes of direction.

When I do audio (rarely) I use the 2009 iMac, which has tons of storage, memory out the wazoo, and the best mic in the house, a Shure SM58 routed through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface.

But when I cranked it up I found that Call Recorder wanted an update, and so did Skype, and once I’d made them happy Hal told me that he’d quit using Skype because his crowd was all about the Google Hangouts, Slack and whatnot.

Ay, Chihuahua.

I recalled reading that Jason Snell at Six Colors had spoken well of Zencastr, a service that occasional and undemanding podcasters like us can use to record their local audio at good quality without jumping through all the hoops that an old-school double-ender requires.

So Hal and I both signed up with Zencastr and started rooting around under the hood, banging on this with our stone clubs, and sawing on that with our flint knives, all while hooting dolefully, and before long Hal drifted off into a side project and I said fuck it and went for a ride.

Which turned out to be just the thing for a leaky brain-pan. I found a new-to-me trail that was just barely navigable on a Steelman Eurocross. My reflexes had dulled to a blunt edge that could not hurt me and I rode bits that would have confounded me had I been of sound mind.

If I’d kept going, who knows? I might have wound up in Colorado. And quicker than Herself did, too.

Dognition

January 27, 2018

Laying down some hot tracks in the cerebral cortex. Or not.

No Bike Day at the Capitol for Your Humble Narrator. Instead, it’ll be Bike Day in Duke City.

Herself is slowly getting past that cold, though she still has a cough.  She’s made it to work the past couple of days, but is skipping her usual Saturday workout class, the way I’m skipping that trip to Fanta Se.

Goddamnit, he’s set up another checkpoint in the hallway.

Hoping to dodge contagion I’ve been kipping on the far side of our sprawling compound, which annoys Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), who is deeply suspicious of any departure from standard security protocols.

My practice has likewise been upended, and I’ve felt slightly off all week, even more so than usual. Not sick, but not biking, not blogging. Creatively constipated. Irritable. There’s sand in my oyster, but no pearl.

I’ve been trying to get some ignition in my cognition by fiddling with GarageBand, but can’t get any kind of rhythm going (rimshot).

OK, so that wasn’t bad. The oyster bit was OK, too. Maybe I’m on the road to recovery. If not, at least I can get out on the road. …

Going to pot

January 24, 2018

Irish penicillin. You knew the Irish were one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, right? True fact. The Tribe of Danny Boy.

Yes, that is a pot of chicken soup in its larval stage.

Herself has crashed and burned on the living-room couch to the stylin’ sounds of KUVO-FM (“Community, Culture, Music”). The Boo is sacked out in his kennel after a long night of behavior I’d rather not revisit while preparing food. And Turkish and Mia are dozing in their respective sunny spots in the master bedroom.

Only I remain awake to tell the tale. And I’d be on the nod too, but someone has to cook and clean and keep the cats out of the damn’ soup.

The grand Wazoo

January 14, 2018

The Bloo Wazoo in rigid 700c trail-bike mode.

Everybody in Albuquerque was on the trails today.

And why not? It was nearly 60 degrees. Seriously. In January.

I was slouching around El Rancho Pendejo, doing bits of this and that — retaping the handlebar on my Soma Saga Disc, giving the cats a good airing, lunching on some leftover farfalle with sausage, mushrooms and peas — when I noticed the day was slipping away from me.

Or, more accurately, was reminded of it.

Remember seven-speed freewheels? They still work.

“I thought you were going to ride your bike,” intoned Herself, who was in full-on chores mode and eager to see me on my way, as filth and clutter trail me like Homeland Security.

And so I did.

I’d planned a longish ride on the Saga, but instead took the Voodoo Wazoo for a short spin on the southern foothill trails, between ERP and I-40.

Stripped of its townie regalia and sporting a pair of 700×42 Continental CrossRides the Wazoo is almost the perfect rig for these trails, even given the tallish 38×28 low end; it’s easy to forget that’s all the granny I’ve got, which can be an issue at stall point on a dusty, twisting, narrow, occasionally rocky trail packed with pedestrians bearing dogs off leash and babies in backpacks and whatnot.

But all were in an expansive mood, it being nearly 60 degrees in January, and everyone was yielding trail to everyone else, Alphonse-and-Gaston style, and we all forgot for a short, sweet while that our Republic is in the tiny hands of the criminally insane.