Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I am so proud to report that I have completed all of my projects for this summer and more. I started this summer with several things in mind to complete and as August quickly comes to a close I realized that I've done it. I started with three tasks: make Hannah a butterfly quilt for Christmas, make the baby a blanket similar to Hannah's favorite blanket, and get Hannah's scrapbook updated. These three projects quickly expanded to completing a Texas Quilt for Hyrum, one I've been promising since we got married, updating our family photo album, getting all of the baby clothes washed and finding a place for them, making a book bag for our rocking chair, keep the apartment clean, get some meals in the freezer for when our help leaves us, make some more room in general for a new family member, and get a head start on the Christmas shopping. And I've done it.

I've also purchased the necessary items for Halloween costumes. Hannah is going to be a princess once I alter a dress I made for her last year for her birthday. It still doesn't fit so I decided to shrink it so she can wear it. And a pumpkin costume for the baby. With all of these projects finished I'm glad to take a little time off doing too much and just reading a book or two before I jump into more.

Since writing the above I have finished a biography on Agatha Christie, one of my favorite detective story writers and started work on the Halloween costumes. And . . . Hyrum is home!! So I get to work on what I can while we hope the baby comes sooner rather than later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Public Transport

I like to drive. I enjoy the freedom that comes with hitting the open road and exploring new places and seeing new sites. I pour over maps, planning routes, and dreaming of places to see on my next road trip. (Incidentally, this dovetails nicely with my highpointing quest.)

With high gas prices, and especially lacking a car this summer, I've discovered something new: public transportation. Growing up, "public transportation" meant the school bus, a slow, smelly contraption driven by a grumpy driver, and filled with rowdy kids, none of which were friendly to me. Needless to say, this harrowing experience poisoned my impression of public transportation for many years. In fact, my first practical use of a bicycle was commuting to school as an alternative to the bus.

Even after moving to Austin and using the university-provided shuttle system to get to school, I was still pretty wary of using "normal" public transportation. Few routes are useful to me, and the times that I have managed to ride the city bus, the experience pretty much paralleled my school bus nightmares of years ago. I've learned that public transportation in Austin (and other cities in Texas) consists of an underfunded, poorly-planned system that attracts the more uncouth elements of society. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, but it does tend to scare away those of us who would otherwise use the system more often.

But, spending the summer in the Bay Area (and during my trip to Portland for OSCON), I've learned to love a well-planned public transportation system. Using buses, trains, light rail or my bike, I've been able to get just about everywhere I've wanted to, from airports to sports stadia to church or just sightseeing. It's been great, and has really opened my eyes to how useful a well-implemented public transportation system can be. It's opened my eyes to what public transportation could be (and I hear things across the pond are even better!)

Maybe I should start planning highpointing trips around public transportation.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Train Up a Child . . . "

Proverbs 22: 6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

This scripture has taken on new meaning in the last couple of days. There is obvious spiritual context but I have come to appreciate a physical application. I've realized just how much I try to do this with Hannah on a regular and daily basis with something as simple as saying, "Please," or "Peeees" as it comes out of Hannah's mouth. It also includes letting her help me make dinner and washing dishes, even if it means pineapple juice or water everywhere.

Sometimes I question my ability to deal with such messes patiently but I have learned their value. So, tonight we repeated the process. As I watch and think about this new ritual, I have thought about the many "things" Hannah may become. I am happy to say that at least, provided things continue as they are now, she will grow up to be a responsible young woman, and one who will make a good wife and mother as she learns these little skills from me now. I'm grateful for my own mother's help in teaching me these same things. Besides, what better way for us to hang out and become better friends than by mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

So I will continue our forays into the world of domestic competence and someday maybe some one besides myself will clean the bathroom.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Hannah!

img_0395Well Hannah is now officially two years old. We had a pretty good day yesterday even though it was just Hannah and I to celebrate. Yesterday morning we had a little party. I thought it would be fun to make doughnuts and what fun are doughnuts if you can't share them? So we had about 16 people crammed into our little apartment for an hour yesterday. I think everyone had fun. The kids played while we adults enjoyed one another's company. It's the only way to have a party for a two year old.

Later, before going out to dinner, we opened presents from Grandma and Grandpa Hollingshead and the card that had come in the mail. Hannah just loved opening all of these things. Today she though she got to open everything that was in the mailbox. We had dinner at Applebee's and then we came home to watch a movie together. The choice was "Chicken Run." Hannah had a great time, especially since she got to stay up two hours past her bedtime, well probably closer to three and a half by the time she finally went to sleep. The day was apparently so great that she was full of energy and was still making noises when I finally fell asleep.

We had a party a couple weeks ago too while Hyrum was home. She got to open presents from us and Grandma and Grandpa Wright. We also enjoyed a Teddy Bear Birthday Party Cake and some strawberry ice cream. Hannah wasn't too impressed with the ice cream and the cake but she loved the frosting and liked looking at the teddy bears. Dad had to blow out the candles which was probably a good thing because if Hannah had really tried we might have had a soggy cake.

We are so glad to have our Hannah Bug in our life. She sure helps to make it interesting and keep things light. I've realized that you have to have a sense of humor when you have a toddler. She certainly makes us laugh. We look forward to enjoying many more years with her.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Little Girl

Hannah paintingThis morning, while eating breakfast, Hannah pointed and said, "clock." At first I was curious to see what she was pointing at. Would you believe that she was pointing at the clock? Well, now my curiosity was shock. I must have looked it because she pointed again and said, "clock," in answer to my look.

So why, you ask, does this warrant a blog entry? I have been pondering over the last few days, especially with her birthday coming closer, the things that have happened in the last two years. It is amazing to me how much she has learned. She went from a little baby who can do absolutely nothing for herself to a little kid who can talk, using that liberally, of course, get around relatively on her own, and probably feed herself although I don't think a diet of goldfish and graham crackers is approved by the FDA. I'm constantly amazed at the little things she does.

In April, we started changing her diaper in the bathroom so she could get accustomed to that and hopefully put together the fact that the bathroom is used for such things. Well a couple days ago, she walked in there when I told her it was time to change her diaper and she promptly opened the cupboard, retrieved a clean diaper and the lotion, and laid down on the floor awaiting my help. How is it that she has decided to help me with this but when I ask her to pick up her toys, something she has been doing for about a year, I still have to send her to timeout before I can convince her that is a good thing to do? These little ones are so smart. At the tender age of two she is already an expert at stalling bedtime. HELP!! Those are all of the "terrific twos" type things she does. I promise she's not a rascal all the time. Today she also wanted to give me hugs and kisses all day. She says "cheeks" and then puckers up to kiss me on the cheek. It's really very cute.

This evening, as is tradition for Monday nights, we had Family Home Evening. When I told her it was Family Time she giggled and jumped up on the couch. Tonight we talked about Family History and then I had her help me a little with her scrapbook as a form of Family History. She had so much fun. We painted the background for a couple pages in her book, with her hand prints. It's so fun to have a little one who can interact so much. I love being mom and I love our Hannah. As she continues to grow I look forward to having even more fun.

Monday, August 4, 2008

No practical difference

While watching Tropical Storm Edouard track toward Austin, I caught this gem in the NOAA forecast discussion:

Translation: "Just 'cause we don't call it a hurricane, doesn't mean you shouldn't be worrin' about it!"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Marin Century

What was I thinking?!? kept coming to mind. I was staring up yet another climb on my ride of the Marin Century, a 100-mile bike ride through Marin County in the Bay Area of California. One of the premier centuries in the area, the ride goes through pleasant valleys, redwood forests, and even spends a few miles on Highway 1 on the California coast. I had registered for it a couple of months earlier to give me a goal for my summer cycling activities, but I was now having second thoughts as to my sanity in doing so.

The day started out pleasantly enough. After an early morning drive up the peninsula and across the Golden Gate Bridge, I was off to a chilly start on would would prove to be a remarkable day. I rarely ride with others, so group starts are somewhat of a treat, and I also enjoyed the support provided by the Highway Patrol as we made our way out of town. The group thinned quite a bit, but through the course of the entire ride, I never lost site of the rider in front of me.

The course profile was about as flat as a line our 2-year-old daughter would draw, and I paid for it dearly. I've done a few other centuries, but they were much flatter, and my lack of preparation for this one showed. The first couple climbs were challenging, but doable. By the time I hit the "Marshall Wall" a third of the way through the ride, I was starting to feel a bit sore. I was only a third of the way into the ride, but already thinking of the SAG wagon. I survived, thanks to my triple crankset and granny gear, with whom I became quite good friends over the rest of the course. Even the "flat" parts of the route were full of rollers, little hills which seem innocent until repeated ad nauseam.

The wind was another factor. No matter which direction I was going, there always seemed to be a headwind. Riding toward the coast and up Highway 1 I kind of expected it, but even after the turnaround point at Valley Ford we still had headwinds. Because I wasn't drafting anybody, I had the benefit of fighting the wind the entire time. At the end of the day, I was glad to finally roll into the finish and enjoy the prepared food. Cycling is a great teacher, especially about physiology: I hurt places I never knew I had before!

In spite of all the difficulties (and post-ride soreness!), I really did enjoy myself. The views from some of the roads were amazing, the rest stops fantastically stocked, and the descents swift and energizing. My bike worked wonderfully, and I only fell over once (a sudden stop, and I forgot to clip out of the pedals). On more than one occasion, I felt like I was in the Tour de France, zipping though forests and past farms and cows, though at a slightly slower pace.

So, what's next? Transportation and other issues will probably force me to abandon an attempt to ride the Santa Cruz brevet in a couple of weeks, but I'd like to shoot for another century a little closer to home in October. With the new baby coming, school starting up, and life getting hectic again, it may be a long shot.