Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Thoughts Plus Fall-n-Leaf

Last week, I found myself in a bit of an ethical dilemma. I went to the cafeteria at work to buy a random object in order to break my ten dollar bill so I could get a diet coke from the vending machine. By rule, I refuse to buy anything actually prepared there as I have left there more than once saying, "what part of 'NO tomatoes' did you need me to repeat?" Anyway, they had one of those signs that said, "Need 1's." Here comes the dilemma, do I go ahead and get the $.64 granola bar because I needed to get change? Or, do I walk out without buying anything and not deprive them of their much needed 1's. Well, despite the immense amount of Catholic guilt running through my brain, I decided to go ahead and buy the granola bar. When I paid with my ten, the lady looked at me, looked at the sign, and then short-changed me! I didn't say anything, but learned my lesson.

On Friday, after years of talking about it, my mom and I finally went to Steak on a Stone as a way to try to re-live our Greek adventure of 2008. For three weeks in Greece, my mom and I had a ritual of splitting a Greek salad for lunch. She would eat all of the olives and tomatoes, I would eat the onions and peppers, and we would split the feta. Well, Steak on the Stone came close, but they added beets? What???? Although I didn't have a Proustian moment, transporting me back to whichever oceanview restaurant we were patronizing, it was nice to be able to reminisce about the trip and the time we had spent together. While at the restaurant, I looked over at a waiter attending the table next to us and what I saw was a guy I had dated back in 2004. Now, I lovingly refer to this guy as "rock bottom." I mean seriously, my former male roommate TS saw him one time while we were out having a couple of drinks and said to me, "You won't date me but you'll date that?" To which I responded, "you have to understand, when I lived in the DR (Dominican Republic), I went out with some of the hottest guys I have ever seen. Really, I had nowhere to go but down." His response, "Yeah, but you have nowhere to go but up either."

As anyone who knows my sisters knows, she is a hot air balloon pilot. Back in March, I had asked my sister to donate a hot air balloon ride for my friend who is trying to raise funds for RAAM. Saturday evening was the night she was taking up the lady who had won the ride in that silent auction. I have to admit that I don't crew (help putting the balloon up, following it, then helping back it back up) all that often, but when she asked, I felt compelled to do so. It was a beautiful night, and my sister did her typical wonderful job as a pilot. I wish my sister could get a full time job as a pilot or with hot air ballooning as it is truly her passion in life. Anyway, it was a beautiful night and a great ride for the passenger. I took some photos (because that's what I do). Really, nothing truly funny happened, at least not on the ground. My sister's eye's might have gotten a little wide when this older lady pulled out a sandwich bag and asked if she could sprinkle some of her husband's ashes as they flew.

Then came Sunday. Every year that I have been cycling (I think), I have done this ride: Fall-n-Leaf, a hilly ride out of Bellville, just south of Mansfield, Ohio. DM, DR, and DP are three of my favorite guys to ride with because they just know how to have fun! My only concern about riding with these guys is that, one day, I will fall off my bike from laughing too hard. Before we even got on the bikes, DR made a comment, "yeah, DM is taking a while, still needs to put on his lipstick." Now, DM is often referred to as Nancy as he absolutely refuses to be cold. I mean, the temperature was in the 50's when we started, and he was wearing tights, arm warmers, toe covers, and a jacket. Other "men" were wearing shorts and a jersey. Anyway, DM had promised me a slow ride as DP is particularly slow and hasn't been riding much this year. I told them I had no problem slowing down and did a pretty good job of riding for the joy of being out on an absolutely beautiful day and not feeling the need to try to race people passing me. When I did get ahead, I would stop and take photos, trying to capture the absolute beauty Mid-Ohio was offering. I did catch myself racing a few guys as I passed a guy on a steeper climb, and then he raced ahead of me. Well, I then dropped down into aero and passed him. He stayed on my wheel...until we hit another climb and then I stood up and left him behind. But, just to show him I wasn't trying to be mean, I stopped and took some more photos.

It should be said that if you ride to lose weight, don't do this ride! They had it all: dozens of homemade cookies, pulled chicken sandwiches, bagels, gatorade, chips, I mean, it was almost too much. They also had volunteers at every even slightly dangerous intersection. Between the company, the food, and the scenery, I just couldn't ask for a better day on a bike. Sometimes, we triathletes and even endurance cyclists get caught up in speed, and this ride was for the joy of cycling, and it really was!

So, today was back to reality Monday. Because I am the "recessive" child, I get calls monthly if not weekly if it's been too long between blood donations as my O+ blood is in high demand. Back in July, they called, and I told them that I couldn't donate until after Ironman Wisconsin. They said okay and marked the end of September as my next available donation time. On Friday, I got a phone call from the Red Cross asking me to donate and quickly scheduling me an appointment. When I first started to donate, I would often go as the same time as my dad and a few times with my sister. As sad as this is to admit, yes, we did race, and I typically won. I believe my fastest time is four minutes. Those who know me know I am clumsy, and I believe that my body just knows how to bleed. Anyway, today, it took me about 5 minutes to fill my bag, and as I left, the tech suggested I use the drive-thru the next time I donate.

Then, this evening, I was at the gym, and I decided to do some ab work on the pull up bar. By the pull up bar is an adjustable step. There was a guy working in with me who is a guy who I kind of know from playing basketball. Without touching the step, the pin holding the one side up just fell out. The guy starts to laugh, "having one of those days, huh?" I just said, "With me, it's always one of those days." While distracted by the guy's comment, I looked down and noticed that, while replacing the pin back into the leg of the step, I managed to tangle my earbuds' (that were still in my ear) cord between the pin and the step. The guy starts laughing a little harder as I untangle myself from step. Oh well...why look suave when you can look like an absolute idiot!

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