Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bicycle Counting

1 spare tire

2 bike wheels

3 flats

4 friends

The Salt Lake Century Gang

As I finished my long solo last half of the bike ride last Saturday I had my fingers crossed that my tires would be ok. The ride was supposed to be fully supported, which I thought meant that if you got a flat there would be someone to fix it, but I saw no one along the bike route and the spare tire I was carrying would not have done me much good without a tire lever and a way to inflate it...

Apparently I pushed my luck a little to far because on our evening ride today I had 3 flats, not just one but 3! and two of them were simultaneous. Thank goodness for my friends, their patience and spare CO2 cartridges!
Silver lining: Now I know how to change my own flat tires and exactly which tools I should be carrying.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Legs, Wheels & Wings

I did it! My longest bike ride so far and at a (for me) decent pace. I met my friends at 6:30 this morning and we drove up the Utah State Fair Park for the Cycle Salt Lake Century. I was a little nervous about the 7:30 mass start. Bikes and crowds of bikers make me a little anxious, add to that my exactly one week old "real" bike shoes and my not-so-lightning quick reflexes and natural grace and it's understandable. But, it wasn't bad at all. The ride out was fun, all the traffic was stopped and it was nice and cool. It was a new experience for me to ride in a pack, I decided it's actually fun to be surrounded by other bikers and had a good time. I hit my turn around at the rest stop at mile 18, my friends who were doing the 72 mile loop headed on and I turned back. The ride back was not so fun, this time all the people I passed were heading the other direction--that doesn't count--and I was alone the entire 18 miles. I guess if I want to stay with the pack I better up the mileage next time! But I finished my 36 miles in about 2:15. Not to shabby for a brand new biker and all good preparation for Little Red Riding Hood in another couple weeks!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I often go walking...

It's decision time again...this spring the work begins on the yard. We're a couple weeks behind the bloom times in the valley but we really do need to get going. We've hired a landscape designer and this afternoon we met with her at a local nursery to look at plant selections. I really had no idea quite what to expect but after seeing her preliminary drawings for the yard I am excited! We came across some definite No!s,(no ornamental pines or juniper) but we have some really unique spots that I'm excited to work with. Hopefully somewhere between my idea of profusions of color (see above picture) and Brian's ideal of sparse rocks and bark we'll find a compromise. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cream Puff Paradise

I confess, it's not mine...but it soon could be. I spent yesterday afternoon at Chocolatier Blue for a pastry class. When my friend called with the invitation to join her I figured I was long overdue for a girls afternoon. Thanks to my awesome Mom, who took my girls, I got to go and do one of my favorite things. Baking makes me happy and this kind of baking makes me really happy.

We made flourless chocolate cake, pate a choux and pastry cream.

Flourless Chocolate Cake is one of my all time decadent dessert faves. Our chef showed us how to make a blackberry gelee to top it off and I think I might have a new favorite topping...the recipe was so simple and the thoughts of how many ways I could use it sent me into spirals of delight...homemade vanilla ice cream, apple crisp, grilled peaches, lemon cheesecake...I could go on...

The pate a choux was new for me, I've seen many recipes but never tried it. As soon as I have vanilla beans to make the pastry cream (and for homemade ice cream) I know how I will spend a couple delightful hours in my kitchen. Does anyone want to go in on those? They come in a pack of 75 on www.pastrychef.com and I just can't see myself using all of them in the next couple of months. The pastry cream was fantastic, and as I watched I kept thinking I can do this!

As I left after class I couldn't help it...I picked out a box of chocolates to take home. It was my reward for not licking my fingers the entire 3 hour duration of class...and I have to say they have been worth every calorie I will have to run or bike this week to equal out!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Little Things

Sometimes in life we get lost in the stuff. The next big project, the company from out of town, the never-ending laundry and the mundane jobs that need to be accomplished. But I've decided that in the midst of chaos you can still choose to be happy. There is pleasure to be found in each day. You just have to decide what brings you joy. My list is simple and long it's made up of little things that are sometimes significant to only me, but they bring satisfaction to each day. Tonight was full of good things, book club (always a treat) but even better good friends, and silliest of all a night time field trip to a brand new...of all things grocery store...where we arrived to late to get the gelato we were all hoping for, but still in time for the gelato maker behind the counter to let us sample each of his flavors. So with the taste of pink grapefruit gelato still on my tongue I'll sleep contentedly until tomorrow with it's own list of simple pleasures.