Monday, March 26, 2012

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

As frequent readers of my infrequent posts will know, I enjoy riding a bike.  I grew to do so as a child, because it gave me a sense of freedom as I roamed my town and the surrounding countryside.  As a Mormon missionary, my companions and I rode my bike around the streets of Los Angeles as our primary, and sometime only, mode of transportation.  When I went to BYU after my mission, I didn't have a car, so I road my bike to class and beyond, even completing my first 100-mile ride.  Today, even though I have a car, and a good bus route, I still ride my bike the 9-mile round-trip commute every day, in addition to frequent recreational riding.  It's good exercise, therapeutic, and just plain fun (most days).

I can't ride alone, of course: to effectively ride a bike requires a bicycle.  I can recall with fondness each of the bikes I've had, from my first one-speed with red tires, to my current road bike, I've learned much on each one.

One of my favorites was my mission bike: a mass produced mountain bike with the "Liahona" brand (a reference from the Book of Mormon).  It was a large mountain-bike frame with Shimano Deore components and a rigid tail and fork.  When riding it as primary transportation, I put almost 100 miles-per-week on that bike, and learned lots of basic maintenance tasks as well.  I eventually replaced a number of parts and after my mission, completed my first 2 or 3 century (100-mile) rides on it, much to the bewilderment of other riders.  All told, I had almost 7000 miles on that bike by the time I upgraded to my current Trek.  While not a great sum for many people, those miles represent the blood, sweat, and tears (as in "torn dress pants") from my mission and undergraduate university life.

Like most good things, though, it's time for me to say goodbye to my Liahona.  It has been sitting neglected in the sun and rain for the past 4 years, and it's time for it to fall victim to the annual spring declutter.  The problem is that with so many good memories on that bike ("the one with grass growing through it," as Hannah says), that I've had serious problems throwing it away.  I've even started to do it several times, but just haven't been able to.  It just seemed like such a waste, because some of the parts are still good.

A few days ago, though, I discovered Austin Yellow Bike, a local nonprofit which runs a community bike shop.  People can come and learn how to repair their bikes, or they can spend time working to earn a newly refurbished bike.  It felt like a perfect fit for my Liahona, so this evening I took it down and donated the bike.  They seemed pretty excited to get it, and let me share the story and memories behind it. One of the volunteers mentioned that it was pretty neat to get a bike with a history, and I feel like it will be a good home for my old bike.

In the end, I'm glad I let go, but it was made much easier knowing that that somebody, somewhere, will be riding my bike (or parts of it) for many years more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Day with Chickens and Goats

There is a family in our ward that keeps goats and chickens. She has offered several times in the past to let us come and see their operation, gather eggs, and milk the goats. We finally took her up on it as part of our Spring Break fun this year.

The kids and I donned our condemned shoes and play clothes and headed to "the farm." They love in a regular neighborhood so the kids were kind of surprised when we pulled up to the house with no signs of farm animals. We went out the back door and voila! There were the barnyard.

Hannah, of course was the first to notice the smell. We walked around and sure enough we got to collect eggs from the coop, most of them planted for the kids but a few fresh ones were there too. The kids fed the goats and chickens out of their hands, even Charlotte. Then we each took turns milking a goat. Not an easy task. Hannah was the most successful milker, even if it did go down her shirt sleeve.

Charlotte was pretty comfortable in my arms until we started the milking then she was ready to go. She liked chasing the chickens. Jonathan enjoyed petting the goats. Hannah just loved the whole experience. I'm glad we went, though I was really glad to get home and showered. Like my mom, I'm just not an animal person. Thanks, Paula for an adventure.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Family Update

Well there isn't much to update. We're just waiting. We're waiting for Hyrum to finish his dissertation, waiting for the baby to come, waiting for Hannah to finish Kindergarten, waiting for grandparents to visit and waiting to leave Austin.

In some ways we wish time would slow just a little, like to give Hyrum a little more time to write. He is doing a great job though and is confident about finishing on time. In other ways, like getting this baby here, we are all pretty excited and ready for his arrival.

Life is going well. We're working hard on becoming more patient and more kind to one another. We're just trying to enjoy life as much as possible. We're getting really excited about our summer road trip plans. We're a little sad we won't get to see a lot of the people we wanted to but we're really excited about the neat stuff we'll get to see.

The kids are growing and changing everyday. Hannah is doing great at school. I am really proud of her. Jonathan is learning to be a big kid. He hinges on being a big kid sometimes and a little kid other times. He is really so great though. Charlotte is a sweet girl but the attitude is starting to assert itself. She has a wild streak in her and I think it may be a little hard to control.

It is a zoo, most days but we love being the zoo keepers. We just hold on tight and try to keep things as under control as we can. It's a wild ride though.

Homemade House Cleaning Part 2

I have another one for you. Most of these recipes I got from a friend of mine. This is the stuff she uses on her floors and windows.

2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
a splash of rubbing alcohol
1 tbsp of dish soap.

Just mix and use. Way easy and yes a little stinky. Hannah hates it but I figure she'll get use to it. Anyway, something to try.