Posts Tagged ‘Herself’

Happy birthday to Herself the Elder

November 5, 2019

Herself the Elder and Herself the Younger.

Herself the Elder celebrated a birthday today with two of three daughters and one son-in-law (not me).

I’d never tell a lady’s age, but rumor has it she first appeared on the scene in the same year as White Sands National Monument, Esquire magazine, and the Marx Brothers Movie “Duck Soup.”

“I didn’t come here to be insulted!”

“That’s what you think.”

Anyway, a delicious seafood luncheon was had, “Happy Birthday” was sung by a son-in-law not in attendance (me, via FaceTime), and now the birthday girl and her middle daughter are kickin’ it back at the crib.

Which will not be her crib much longer. With the Not-So-Great Pumpkin poised to become the apostheosis of Florida Man, Herself the Elder will be abandoning the Sunshine State and setting up shop in the Land of Enchantment. She’s not overly fussy as regards neighbors, but one must have some standards.

Herself the Elder should be in residence here in ’Burque by Thanksgiving. Seafood will not be on the menu. Once she realizes we’re all sand and no ocean she’ll probably join a club and beat me over the head with it.

Crashed in the feed zone

November 2, 2019

Exhausted by a long morning spent waiting for breakfast, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) commandeers a sunny spot for purposes of R&R.

The cats are getting the old one-two this weekend.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla recovers from a nasty bout of Delayed Meal Syndrome atop the bedroom dresser.

First, Herself has flown off to Florida to visit her mom and eldest sis, which means that reveille and mess call have been bumped from 4 a.m. to a more reasonable hour dictated by the whims of the interim quartermaster, a renowned wastrel, sluggard, and layabout.

Second, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. tomorrow, which means an additional hour of kip time for staff and more grumbling in the chow line for the cats.

“Unconstitutional! Due process! Coup!” they yowl, baring their fangs, spreading their claws, and hissing like the Devil’s teakettle on full boil.

No, wait, that’s the House Republicans. Another bunch of neutered housecats entirely.

 

Freedom is slavery

June 10, 2019

The Masi Speciale Randonneur, with a Tubus Cargo Classic rack, up against the Wall of Science.

Herself buggered off for a long weekend starting last Thursday, this time to the American Heartland for a pal’s wedding, so I was at liberty for a few days.

Well, not exactly.

I had to do battle with the dishwasher (!), make my own coffee (!!) and feed and water the cats (!!!).

Also, I noticed that the litter boxes still refuse to empty themselves. When might I expect delivery of my Turd-B-Gon 9000®? Never? Does never work for me?

No, it does not.

But still, yeah, freedom, amirite?

I got to sleep in until 6 a.m. most days, did little cooking and less shaving, and the riding of the bikes continued unabated. The Masi Speciale Randonneur remains under review for Adventure Cyclist, and in honor of Bruce Gordon and framebuilders everywhere I rode my Nobilette and a Steelman as palate cleansers.

Herself got back yesterday afternoon, after a short delay caused by evil weather. Storms beat the snot out of Dallas, where she was changing planes, and ever since she touched down the wind has been flogging us here in the Duke City. Up north, my man Hal Walter reports ice on the vehicles, the canceling of the Hardrock 100 due to historic snowfall and avalanches, and the rerouting of the Leadville marathon.

All in all, it looks like a fine day to stay indoors and push pixels around.

The white-chinned mansplainers of spring

April 22, 2019

Angry old white men are so 15 minutes ago.

Must be spring. Herself has already spotted her first white-chinned mansplainer of 2019.

It was a busy weekend. One of Herself’s pals came to town on family business and on Friday they did an exercise class plus a trail run together. Then on Saturday she wanted to ride the bike for the first time this year, and so the two of us rolled around and about for a while.

Yesterday she joined a colleague and another woman for another, longer ride. And that’s when the white-chinned mansplainer flapped past, screeching its distinctive and decidedly off-key tune.

Like the black-chinned hummingbird, the white-chinned mansplainer is a sure sign of prime cycling weather. But while the hummers enjoy sipping nectar from flowers and feeders, the ’splainer prefers sticking his snotty little beak in your business.

Case in point: As Herself and a colleague were taking five on a Duke City bike path, waiting for the third member of their party to catch up, they spotted a white-chinned mansplainer rolling toward them.

This particular exemplar of the species was a geezer on a recumbent with a Chihuahua tucked into his vest, and Herself anticipated a prime opportunity to coo briefly over a cute little pocket pooch.

Alas, she lost interest after the geezer barked at them: “If you’re gonna stop you should get off the trail!”

Now, I’m told this bird had plenty of room to make a clean pass without threat to life, limb, or Chihuahua. Yet he felt compelled to sing his sour little song anyway, possibly because these were two women who seemed unlikely to slap his beak around to the other side of his head so he could squawk into his own ear and see how he liked it.

As a lifelong student of the bon mot and the righteous riposte I inquired whether they had replied that he should proceed elsewhere with all possible haste to consume excrement, enjoy carnal knowledge of himself, and perish. Herself said no, they hadn’t, but her buddy had flicked a soupçon of snark his way, “thanking” him for his unsolicited and oh-so-helpful advice.

Now, I don’t know much about other sports, but I’m certain ours has too many of these entitled old buzzards flapping around, shitting on everything and everyone in their path. I would not put it past them to drill chickens on the use of crosswalks. They certainly feel free to enlighten their fellow cyclists on a wide range of topics.

I encountered more than a few of these self-appointed bike cops during my Fred period. Happily, years of newspaper work had hardened my hide and I stuck it out instead of abandoning the sport for golf, bowling, or blackjack. By which I mean the use of an actual blackjack. One sap deserves another.

Not everyone is so tenacious. Some folks have a low threshold for gratuitous douchebaggery. Especially on Easter Sunday. I’ll wager Jesus wasn’t nearly so rude to the multitudes when he rode his dinosaur to Sunday school.

And yet we wonder why cycling fails to attract and retain new participants.

At least two of these women are in the market for new bicycles, and have cycling events penciled on their calendars. That’s good news for anyone who makes bikes, sells bikes, or writes about bikes. Just like this horizontal fart in a whirlwind is bad news for anyone condemned to those rackets.

Now, I know nobody in my crowd engages in this sort of appalling behavior. But if you know somebody who does, tell them in no uncertain terms to knock it the fuck off. Yapping at random strangers is the Chihuahua’s job.

Cool cats

April 4, 2019

Mister Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Oof. The allergies are fierce. I slept OK last night, thanks to a hit of Benadryl, but the previous night I woke up at midnight with my nose running like a Democrat after the White House.

Snorting and snuffling like a hog hunting truffles, I had to relocate to the spare bedroom so that Herself could bag the Z’s she needs to help Darth Goodhair run the Energy Department.

And I felt like hammered shit most of yesterday, so none of the ol’ bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator. In fact, I suspect that a two-hour trail ride through the junipers may have triggered the late-night snotlocker meltdown.

But we were talking about cool cats, and so here’s the tale of a Scottish cycle tourist who made a new friend on his two-wheeled trip around the world.

I suggested a global bicycle tour to Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and they told me I could fuck right off with that shit and bring them something to delicious to eat at once, if not sooner.

Also, here’s Marc Maron’s interview with T Bone Burnett, a very cool cat indeed who’s taking a hiatus from production to release his first album in 11 years, “The Invisible Light.”

Burnett’s chat with Maron covers a lot of waterfront, from the Beat Generation to Jackson Pollock, Jimmie Rodgers to “True Detective.” Did you know that Robert Johnson’s real name was Dusty Spencer? Or that the blues came from Texas? That mariachi music comes from the French?

Me neither. Maybe it’s the Benadryl talking. Just what I need, another voice in my head.

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.