Opiegp's Blog

Pig in the Suburbs


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Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Saturday morning bike ride with DH on our tandem:

Our subdivision, still under construction.

Our subdivision, still under construction.

I had my DSLR camera with me, and decided to shoot from the shoulder.  Literally.  It was an interesting experiment in seeing what the camera captures.  Image stabilization goes only so far, but I rather like the blurriness, a reminder of DH and I in motion.

Old Fort Collins High School

Old Fort Collins High School

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This is one of my favorite houses on the route.  This blur reminds me of those dream (or nightmare) sequences in movies.

Togetherness, it's beautiful :-)

“Togetherness, it’s beautiful.”  Thank you, Laura.  

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This time of year, lots of abandoned sofas and chairs curbside.

Gravel works

Gravel works

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Cache la Poudre

Cache la Poudre

We have had rain for six weeks, and the river is at its highest since the floods in September 2013.

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Laporte

Old Feed Store, Laporte

Laporte

Laporte

Vern's Restaurant, Laporte

Vern’s Restaurant, Laporte

Now with a fancy new deck, but still too cold this early in the morning to breakfast outside.

Cache La Poudre Middle School, Laporte

Cache La Poudre Middle School, Laporte

Poudre River Trail

On the Poudre River Trail

Farmhouse

Farmhouse

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Behind the farm buildings is a cell phone tower, pretending to be a really big tree.

Why yes, we can make the house as big as you want!

Why yes, we can make your historic brick house as big as you want!

I have balcony envy.

I have balcony envy.

Converted grocery store.

As well as converted grocery store envy.  

Brought to you by our favorite farmers of Native Hill Farm.

Brought to you by our favorite farmers at Native Hill Farm.

Owned by a total coffee geek.

Owned by a total coffee geek.

Off-campus student housing.

Off-campus student housing.

Spring Creek Trail, and lots of water here too.

Spring Creek Trail, and lots of water here too.

An artist lives here, and her landscaping puts the rest of us to shame.

An artist lives here, and her landscaping puts the rest of us to shame.

I pretend I do not see the mound of dirt.

I pretend I do not see the mound of dirt.


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Not My Business

New Year’s resolutions, a month early.

I had a moment yesterday morning in the laundry room: The Teenager had stacked the wet workout clothes from the night before on top of the washer.  The clothes were still wet, of course, but one had to admire the neatness of the stacking job.  She had apparently “forgotten” to hang them up.  I love the all-purpose teenage excuse of “I Forgot.”  I lost my temper, and just as quickly regretted losing my temper — not because she didn’t deserve the tongue lashing, but because I had wasted my breath.

And then there is DH, who had a plan called Thirty in Thirty (that would be thirty pounds weight loss in thirty weeks).  Among other changes, he is trying to reduce the amount of carbohydrates (from grains) in his meals, but changes are difficult because DH is also something of an expert at self-sabotage.  This morning, we came back from breakfast, and he had an early (as in, less than 90 minutes between meals) lunch of two servings of cereal.  Me, in the background, rhetorical question: “Is that cereal?  Is that a second bowl of cereal?”

Yes, I wasted my breath on that one too.

If I truly believe that the only thing I have control over is what I do, then I need to stop having futile expectations.  Or expectations in general, because expectations are always in the future.  I cannot expect “reasonable” behavior from The Teenager, because she is indeed a teenager, and everyone knows “reasonable” and “teenager” do not mix.  But the act of expecting does not change just because my daughter is a teenager, and my husband is not.  Ultimately, his diet or her silliness are not my business.

This is the year I learn to make myself quiet.

ThanksgivingPig2013.2


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Royal Flush

This year’s USA Pro Challenge cycling race came through my city, and in a fit of hometown pride, DH and I signed up to be volunteers.  We thought we would be course marshals, but we ended up in the VIP Tent doing early morning setups.  Volunteers are easy: give us free t-shirts, free food (left over from breakfast for the amateur racers), and a couple of drinks vouchers, and we are happy campers.  IMG_2533
But probably the highlight of my day was the VIP luxury restroom trailer.  No VIPs were around — the governor had shown up earlier, made a brief speech, and sent the amateur racers on their way, but he was long gone.  Feeling VERY IMPORTANT, I used the women’s restroom.  Yes I did.  It was air-conditioned, it had running hot and cold water, and the toilets flushed.  It was, as they say, as pictured and described.  Who knew portable toilets could be so high-end?  Certainly not Opie and her new baby sister, Tula:

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CSA Share Week 14:  Asian eggplant, squash, yellow (pole) beans, Tuscan kale, carrots, strawberries

Recipes:  warm yellow bean salad with shallots and olive oil/tarragon vinegar dressing; ratatouille; sauteed Tuscan kale with white beans; roasted carrots and potatoes


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Statin in the Drinking Water

A cardiologist told me once that he thought statins should be added to the drinking water.  I think he may have been joking, but most cardiologists will tell you the benefits of statins far outweigh the risks.  I have crappy genes when it comes to lipids: my mother has been on Lipitor for 15 years, and her lipid profile is just acceptable.  Unfortunately, I seem to have inherited her crappy genes.   Too bad I didn’t get Dad’s genes: sedentary, eats whatever he wants, and perfect numbers.  His father ate five eggs a day, and attributed his longevity to that and the occasional pipe.

I had been on Niaspan for close to a decade, and while on it had wonderful numbers, including a HDL of 100.  But, given the recent debate about what exactly niacin does to lipids, I decided to take myself off the drug and see what happens.  The good news is that all that exercise has kept my HDL pretty high at 75, but the rest of the profile has gone to hell.  I have become the perfect candidate for statin therapy.  I can do everything right, but I can’t overcome the menopausal rise in cholesterol, and I can’t overcome genetics.

I have been on simvastatin for almost two weeks now, and it’s not going as “benignly” as I had hoped: I am having palpitations again, and while it is true that I have had them in the past (I blame them on menopause), I also don’t think it’s just coincidence that the arrhythmia has returned since the new medication.  So . . . .  My doctor and I play this waiting game while adjusting the dosage, and hope that we hit exactly the right combination of drug-lifestyle choices.  That Niaspan is looking pretty good right now . . . .

Kendal mint cake

Back in February, I was substitute innkeeper for a father-son hiking/climbing duo from England.  The father was retired and lived in Newcastle, and the son worked in The City when he wasn’t off adventuring, doing things like biking across America without support, or climbing Long’s Peak in the winter.  Anyway, the father swore by Kendal Mint Cakes, and had brought a small supply with him for their winter hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park (along with ice picks, avalanche shovels, and assorted other winter survival gear).  He shared his last bar of the mint cake with me, assuring me that it would come in handy some day when I was out and about.  Some day was last week, on a short hike up to Bible Point — and he was right, it was actually surprisingly good and gave us all a needed boost of energy.  After all, the cake made the summit with Hillary and Tenzing Norgay!

CSA Share Week 12:  summer squash, Asian eggplant, onion, baby carrots, green beans, Swiss chard, watermelon, strawberries

Week 12 Recipes:  spicy ratatouille with eggplant, squash, and onion; crustless quiche with Swiss chard, onion, scapes, and feta cheese; watermelon-based fruit salad; green beans with spicy olive tapenade; roasted carrots


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Aha! Moment

A couple of weeks ago, the Mutual of Omaha “Aha Moment” truck came through town.  It was parked in front of my favorite bakery, but at 7:30 in the morning, nothing was happening.  My Aha! moment came a few years ago, and unlike other moments that I thought were Aha! moments, this one really was.  I decided I was not going to argue with my mother again.  Ever.  And suddenly, life on that front became so much easier.  What did it mean?  My mother is 81; if she doesn’t know by now what my stance is on x, y, or z, she is never going to know.  And quite simply, it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know — my fundamental relationship with her will not change.  Helen Hull (unjustly neglected writer) put it wonderfully in her 1932 novel Heat Lightning:

She meets him where he stands, not where she is, herself.  She doesn’t care about justifying herself to him . . . .  When Geoffrey yells at me, I holler back.  Always.  But why should I do all the work?  I want Geoffrey to know where am.  Maybe you can’t both know, at once, can’t both see what’s pinching the other into such unreasonableness.  

I am working on doing the same thing with DH.  It is a lot harder, no doubt about it; it’s because I am, of course, always right.  And I want him to know it!

CSA Week 9:  squash blossoms, pickling cucumber, summer squash, hakurei turnips, carrots, grilling onions, green beans, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, eggplants20130720_095905

Week 9 Recipes:  baked squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta; cucumber salad; curried quinoa with squash, scapes, and toasted pine nuts; glazed hakurei turnips with turnip greens; roasted carrots, onions, green beans, and scallions

CSA Week 10:  squash blossoms, harkurei turnips (last of the season!), strawberries, rainbow chard, carrots, summer squash, Walla Walla sweet onion, eggs

Week 10 Recipes: baked squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta (because they were so good last week!); sausage, apple, and sage quiche; roasted carrots; cous cous with squash/eggplant/scapes/pine nuts/raisins; glazed hakurei turnips with turnip greens; chard and new potato curry, recipe from River Cottage Veg: 200 inspired vegetable recipes, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (note to self: next time, feel free to leave some jalapeño seeds in the mix!)


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A Month of Halves

Half marathon on 4/20, half marathon on 5/5, half century (on our mid-life crisis da Vinci “Grand Junction” tandem) on 5/19:gjr1mIf we keep this up we may begin to think we are a fit couple 🙂

We drove down to Santa Fe this past week to take part in the Santa Fe Century, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to do the full 100 miles because we just have not had good riding weather through April and May for adequate training.  Santa Fe was doing its usual windy May thing, so we got going around 6 AM to avoid to worst of the wind later in the day.  Sure enough, every hour we were on the road the wind got worse . . . .  and worse . . . .

The first 10 miles or so were downhill, unfortunately it was also along Cerrillos Road, lined with fast food joints and motels.  The scenery improved after that, and became positively beautiful after we turned off Highway 14 onto the nicely paved Highway 42 (paved courtesy of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act).  DH assured me that what I called uphill was in fact just gentle rollers.  Yes indeed.  The first food stop on the 50 mile loop was at Galisteo village, where a nice gentleman told us that we needed to turn back to Highway 41 in order to head back to Santa Fe.  A good thing to know, because had we gone the way we thought we were supposed to go, we would have ended up in Stanley and the 75 mile route — and I would have been one very unhappy stoker.  Galisteo to El Dorado was not fun: the road was narrow at first, and of course, it was uphill.  And uphill.  And after Lamy Hill, it was still uphill (DH had done the century route 7 years ago, but apparently forgotten about this gentle incline).  After which, we rode the last miles on I-25.  Nothing like being tired, riding into the wind dodging shoulder junk, with trucks roaring by at 70 miles an hour 😦

OTOH, we were done by 1030 AM, and boy was that breakfast at Zia Diner just the perfect post-ride meal!  20130524_143807Back home, the Poudre River is flowing!!

Conversation of the Day:

Me:  I like your soon-to-be AP English teacher!

The Teenager (looking very suspicious): Why?

Me: Now think about it.  Why would I like any of your teachers?

The Teenager:  Because they’re mean?