Saturday, December 26, 2009

Popped the Question

He proposed
that we mountain bike this winter
and I said YES
toss me yer tire iron, we haven't got all day!


Christmas Eve

Sometimes the best part

is hearing the snow

examining what's behind

and imagining what lies ahead
- OB

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Make Mine

a double

- The needin' Old energy for Bag shoveling out

Saturday, December 12, 2009


- T maybe it's O time for B a break

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gazoombas, Landscaping and Running Shoes

If You Want a Cycling Post, Go Away

My costal cartilage mountain biking injury is slowly healing. It still hurts when I run. My massive gazoombas bouncing around cause some massive hurt...or it's those phantom gazoombas, because I'm sure the hurt would be like that if they were massive.

We had landscaping done. I'm still amazed at the time it took me for someone else to do the work. Phone calls. Emails. Meetings. WD and had I debated this for a long time: You know, WE could do this. It always came back to: And, for exactly HOW MANY weekends do you want to be tied to yardwork? It's one thing to take-on maintenance...quite another to be willingly married to a house project at the expense of fall riding.

Work is beginning to bleed out of the confines of the work day. I'm trying to decide if this is a good thing...tonight I found myself searching for library bloggers and twitter-ers. I need connections. This year, I'm a team of one. At least when I worked K-4, there were three others across the district, but currently I'm at a huge intermediate school that's very different, programming-wise, from the elementaries yet it isn't quite the same as the high school. And, you know, it's not all about books. It's about turning-out kids who are information-literate, and about helping teachers step outta the comfort zone and become coaches of learning. We librarians are on the edge, I tell you.

Running: three times in the past week. I need ski legs. It's a fast workout. 30 minutes out the front door and back home again. Do I like it? Ask me in January when I'm facing down the Birkie trail for a point-to-point.

- The distracted Old Bag

Saturday, October 17, 2009


It's a great bone density T-Score, but it wasn't the first thing on my mind. Neither was I contemplating the beautiful northern Wisconsin leaf colors, the kick-ass singletrack built by CAMBA, or the great fall afternoon. Moreso, I was thinking that it would be nice to just lay there for awhile.

The bicycle laying across half my body wasn't a huge concern, nor was the one foot that was still clipped-in.

I found the situation interesting and decided it best to ruminate for a bit.

A few friends gathered around...I didn't really see them standing, but it was fine. I was fine, just needed to take stock of a few things.....a measured inward examination, if you will.

I felt some soreness near my backbone and near my sternum...odd, given I'd hit ground on my mid-back off to the side.......

Leaves covered much of what was on the singletrack. I had been on a slight downhill at the day's end when the front wheel knocked something . My weight must have been a bit too far forward. I hadn't quite recovered when I bumped something else, the front wheel jammed right and the bicycle stopped dead, pitched left, dropping me onto the ground.

It was nice to simply lay there and breathe for awhile....sternum was sore...I didn't land on my sternum. And my left chest wall hurt...or something in that general vicinity...or underneath it. But I didn't land on my chest.

This was a conundrum.

I pondered it for a moment.

I was deep in quiet concentration, ticking through the flow chart in my head, waiting for the experience and results to fall into the correct silo so I could determine a course of action. There were none of the sharp pains that typically accompany split skin, pulled muscles or worse, so I knew nothing was broken, cracked, popped or bleeding...everything was filtering into the get up silo but I needed to do a couple more checks.....

Wind, I said.

It was only part of what had happened, but it was the thing that would give people comfort: laying still makes sense to onlookers if there's a neck injury or if the wind is knocked out of a person.

It was about then that WD arrived and grabbed the bike off of me.

I was disappointed to have it gone, really. It was comfortable where it was lying on top of me...felt almost like a covering, blanket-like. Odd how things like that bother onlookers. They need to make it OK...dignified, I guess.

He squatted at my side, then held out his hands for me to grab. As soon as I said no I could see it wasn't what he wanted to hear. His face wrinkled with concern. I shared some tentative words, and eventually was ready to sit up, mostly because I figured it would make people feel better. I would have enjoyed resting a bit more.

I don't really have many impressions from that point on, but I assume I stood up, moved my torso from side to side and did a few contortions with my shoulders and arms...because that's what one does. Maybe I hopped up and down a time or two. I do remember that the rocky, root-strewn trail was a challenge for my concentration and my ribcage over the couple-mile return. If I put my weight on the seat I'd feel the bumps where it hurt.

Any time there's a spill on the mountain bike I'm thankful for having been an athlete as a kid. I've inadvertently developed some off-the-charts bone density scores over my lifetime, but the stage was definitely set before I hit 30. I've not ever fractured a bone, and I figure this last spill could have resulted in one. Instead, the cartilage that connects ribs to sternum appears to have experienced some give and a week later it STILL hurts.

Turns out the "vices" we have in our younger years do affect us, still.

-ob and I did put in another couple days of good riding...we were in Wisconsin, after all!

Monday, October 05, 2009


it's been a tough few days;
a friend has made some poor choices
that affect the spouse and children
and the whole thing is weighing on me;
and Stella, she tried getting me out on Sunday
but we've had so much rain the trails were too muddy
so the ride had to wait;
and Stella was really the one who
would have taken my mind off things
because ya can't be thinking about your stupid friends
when she hauls you over a gnarly downhill
with a banked corner
that sends you straight into the hairpin
and through the meadow
toward the log pile

-ob :-(

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Chapel of Murphy Hanrehan

My favorite place on a Sunday....

-OB I don't know what they were, but we did 90 of 'em!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


We stumbled across the REI Scratch and Dent sale a year ago. It's their regular purge of all their returned products, complete with reason for return written on each item. Many items are incorrect sizes, have a broken piece or were "worn twice, but couldn't break-in"; but there are always items that have a surprising story behind the return.

Last year's favorite? A cycling jersey covered with snags -- snags everywhere...reason for return: washed with velcro.

This year's Best Of was on a well-worn pair of hiking boots -- reason for return: wore for six years, GoreTex quit working.

I scored a great pair of hiking/backpacking boots that retail for $180, leather, waterproof, Vibram soles, mine for $30 $30! -- reason for return: wore three times, too small. They were returned without the insoles, which was the reason for the so-low price tag. I can live with that.

- The Bag loves a deal

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ya Just Can't...

...have a healthy relationship with someone who's unhealthy...

...just can't happen....

One can't make healthy connections with someone who isn't capable.

We assume everyone we meet is normal and therefore is capable of a normal human connection, but we need to keep in mind that there are those who aren't necessarily rational or mentally healthy and therefore are impossible to connect with in a positive and healthy manner.

Someone who is bonkers, even slightly, is impossible to engage in a normal, rational way.

You won't be able to connect to someone if she hasn't got her rocks together.

So the witch down the hall? don't even try!

-OB repeat after me....

Thursday, September 24, 2009


-The Old four whole years?!? Bag

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Words, Beheading and a Commode

Inspired by Juancho's comments to my last post about rude drivers and my attitude of late: at least they know they've been told off by a poet.

A poem.
An English sonnet, in fact, with the following rhyme scheme, quatrains and ending couplet:
a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g

10 syllables per line, more or less, written in iambic pentameter.
The third quatrain generally introduces an unexpected sharp thematic or imagistic "turn" called a volta.
Whatever. I wouldn't say this has an obvious volta.... You decide. Should be enough to meet the structural criteria.
In Shakespeare's sonnets, the couplet usually summarizes the theme of the poem or introduces a fresh new look at the theme.
--some Wikipedia page written by my arrogant old Lit. professor, I'm sure
The last two lines definitely summarize, but it's not exactly a fresh new look...especially if you're a cyclist. In traffic. At the end of the work day. I'm sure you've had the same thoughts.

Sonnet to Drivers circa September 2009
Told Off by a Poet

Entitled motorist, you raise my ire
wrapped in jackassed, fatheaded ignorance
I scheme to hoist your head high upon spire
held victorious above shaming glance.
Self-bestowed, arrogant grandness surrounds
treasured possessions of fuel and wheel
noxious expletives rupture and rebound
reverberate within your box of steel.
Your offspring bears the insufferable curse
of deplorable, abhorrent guidance
supplied while learning their world to traverse
they tumble and careen toward subsidence.
A curse upon your existence bestowed
to spend it suspended in muck of commode.

- The Old English Bag who's really in a GOOD mood this week!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This Week

It didn't work for me this week
the commute
the ride usually solves the problems
removes the irritations
by the time I arrive home
but this week it didn't
my mind was roiling
drivers were rude
my attitude matched theirs
when usually it's just not worth it to me
to fight for space
"please, after you" is my mantra
because nothing spoils my ride
my big ringed pilates session
my two-wheeled prayer
except this week
I dared them
all of them
them in all of their entitlement
thinking they're better than me
more deserving of the roads
when really it wasn't me
but was the "me"
that was occupying my brain
this week

- OB in her crabby place

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bicycle Parade

At my workplace, students put in their six school hours between 8:00 and 2:00. The professional day is typically an hour either side of the student time slot, with some flexibility. If'n ya arrive at 7:00, stay until 3:00. 6:30-2:30. 7:30-3:30. Most of us arrive at 7:00 and are easily hanging around until 4:00 or 5:00...and when we do walk out the door we do so with a pile of work to do during the evening.

There are bosses in our district who walk around with clipboards, marking who's there and who's gone and what time it is. But not mine. He makes time to chat with us before the school year begins, when we're there just because we want to be. He sees us at our desks in July. He notices the uptick in August as we're beginning to fill the building at odd hours. He sees us at work until 8 PM during workshop week. And he doesn't nitpick about 7-3:00. He knows we'll put in more hours than he could ever pay us for. And, he knows we'll ONLY put in 7-3:00 if he brings out the clipboard.

He believes that life has first priority, work has second, and so encourages us to go home...and by doing so gives us choice. We typically choose to put in extra hours because we know we don't have to.

I've put in a ton of time since this whole job switch came around, so on Thursday I exercised my ability to choose. It was a beautiful, sunny, 80-degree afternoon. I rode down the streets away from work at 2:15. Because I could.

The parade? Just me, my bicycle and the streamers flapping on my backpack.

AND my blinkie lights.

- The waaaay happy Old Bag

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Ever Will I

a back-to-work haiku

has it been a week
since I've put together a
coherent post for

the laundry and mail
regenerate themselves in
an amazingly

how will I ever
accomplish in an evening
things that used to take

- OB Zzzz but I'm not done and it's already time for b

(a reprint from WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2006 because I'm just so ti)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Back to Work

life is a whirlwind these days
and at first it was novel but
do I have to continue
getting up early

- Bag I've been doing this for 25 years and it's STILL one helluvan adjustment

Friday, August 21, 2009

Leaving, it's Like

You know when you have a great place to work and the work itself has its ups and downs but there's a crowd of reeeally good people who are reeeeally good at what they do and you get paid to do a job that basically you designed that gives you a lot of freedom and you mostly have a ball with it and you think you're set because who would ever leave a place like that?

You know?

And you know how then someone puts a bug in your ear about a different job in a different place because he knows how you like to shake up your work every few years but you really don't consider it because why-the-heck would you take a different job at a different place since you love where you are but then it turns out you know yourself well enough to think about it?

And you know how then you go back to ask more questions?

And you know how you decide to just let it all go but two months later the job still hasn't filled and you call out of curiosity and the guy is so glad you called because the applicant pool just doesn't have zing and he lays out all these cool things that trip your triggers and says it would be so great if you'd think about it and then suddenly while you're drinking your morning coffee two days later you realize the whole thing is right up your alley after all?

And then you know how when you announce to all these reeeeally great people in your reeeeally great place that you're leaving them and they all write you wonderful emails and they stop by to say how they gasped at the news but that they know you well enough to understand and you get all weepy because they're so encouraging and yet they hate to see you go and then you wonder what the hell you just did?

And you know how it makes you wonder if you really thought this thing through?

But then when you have a little space you know it's the right decision?

It's like that.

-OB the good-bye thing is waaay overrated

OK, so to be honest there was also this one thing that weighed into the decision

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When Preparation Meets Opportunity

it's like the night before a race
checking the bags to make sure everything is there
and looking through the closet to be sure about what stays
it's preparation
knowing strengths
being aware of weaknesses but knowing how to shield them
it's familiarity with tactics
it's the coach who recognizes
the soigneurs who know
but it's a brand new course
it's jumping the field
and teammates who sacrifice
and fans who believe

- tOB making a move

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

But Not the Wheels

but not on the bicycle
riding miles
but not down the road
eyeing the opening
but not from within the pack
struggling to finish
but not the race

- Osometimes it's hardB

Monday, August 10, 2009


in a kayak

traversing the Chain of Lakes

passing through the tunnel

between Lake Calhoun and Isles

he looked down at me

I sure like what you're doin, says he

Great day for being on the lake, says I

I'm lookin' for a wife if you're interested, says he

Already taken! says I

- TheOldBag old guy just standing there watching the paddlers pass by....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

30 Years Later

some things change

some things stay the same

I miss the skies

the girlfriends--spread all over the country, but still the best

a few days at the parents' place

- The Bag...can't believe it's been that long

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Jubilation of the Descent

the jubilation of the descent
isn't measured on the speedometer
but is measured
by the scenery
and the fresh air
and the company
and the rush
the completeness of the tuck
and the watering eyes
and the drool spreading from the corners of one's mouth toward one's ears


-OB it wasn't pretty but it was beautiful!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's a Salad!

marble-sized tomatoes

pea-sized pepper overshadowed by tomato plants


chives overshadowed by tomato plant

tennis-ball sized broccoli

Actually, we've got a ways to go before it's a full-fledged salad, but it's exciting to see things growing! We made a 4' x 6' raised-bed garden: no tilling, no digging, no weeding...ok, I've pulled six weeds (which leaves plenty of time for riding!). It's our first year growing far, so good! We plan to expand next year, now that we kinda, sorta know more about what we're doing.

- The Bag hopin' to make a difference from her own back yard

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Scene: Wheel and OB just finishing up their first lap at Wirth and heading off for their second. A group of guys hanging at the trail head...obviously resting between laps. Wheel starts out with OB in pursuit, the following exchange occurs:

Little Dweeby Boy-Man: The couple that bikes together stays together!

TOB: Got that right!

Little Dweeby Boy-Man: As long as he goes slow enough!

- The crotchety Old skewer that guy and roast him over open flames Bag

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Close to Home

We got out for a nice, long ride outta town on Friday: sixty-some-odd miles into and out of the Minnesota River Valley, across farm fields, wasn't too toasty, plenty-o-green stop...good company. What a day.

On Saturday, we rode a ding-around pace from home to the Mpls Farmers' Market for some locally-made brats and caramel rolls...people-watching, music, food. Can't beat it!

Saturday evening we rode about a mile from home to see some poppers.

We feel pretty fortunate living where we do. The metro area is fairly bicycle-friendly, and we're in a good spot to ride urban or countryside.

I love Minnesota in the summer.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Gray Summer Mornings

early minutes

fresh, cool air through the house

the day not yet considered

coffee cup filled again

drawing out time

-OB's favorite time of year

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Body at Rest

I forget to push myself

tempo ride, it's called

it all seems

such an effort

- The Bag

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Suit: Part 2

Since I wasn't on the docket at work Friday, I was up with the sun facing a day of highs in the 90s. 6 AM was the perfect time to ride. I grabbed my blue and black print sleeveless jersey from the pile, threw on my gnarly socks, and headed out the door to join Wheel on part of his commute.

As soon as I was out the door, I felt chilled. I'm heading in for a short-sleeved jersey -- back in a minute. I knew Wheel was ready to get rolling so I didn't have ding-around time. The shoes, helmet and gloves needed to stay on while I whipped the jersey off.

I threw open my drawer. Just grab any jersey. Which one? the red one, the neon yellow one, the white one...GRAB ANY JERSEY! I grabbed. The cute green and white one that fits like a glove. Very girly.

I threw it on and repacked my pockets. I turned and took a step...looked down at my socks. Gnarly blue and black sharks.

all you need to do is yank off the shoes and peel off the shark socks...half a minute, tops, the matching greens are right there in the drawer

Wheel was getting my bicycle down so it would be ready when I peeled out the door. I didn't have time to mess around...

your kit doesn't match

I ignored the voices and headed down the stairs...

but the suit!

...locked the door...

you're not wearing the suit

...headed out to the garage....

blue and black sharks aren't part of the green suit

It was a beautiful 30-mile ride through the streets and woods, over the river and next to the creek. There were coffee smells and bakery scents...

...except everyone was pointing and laughing at my kit.

- TOB is there a twelve-step program??

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Suit: Part 1

Another woman and I once showed up for a ride wearing the same jersey, but rather than laughing about being at a party in the same dress, I was given a hard time for looking so together while she claimed she looked disheveled. I was wearing socks that matched the jersey, my helmet and shoes were the same color.

It started way back in my racing days when my jersey matched the shorts, which matched the socks and gloves. Through the kit we wore, we advertised and represented our shop, our sponsors and our team. For all of them, we had to look good. Since it was the only cycling gear in my drawer, I could reach in knowing that whatever came up in my hand went with anything else that might surface.

I've slowly shaken off many of my racing habits, but the old mantra sticks: you've gotta look good. It's like dressing the part in the corporate world: if you want to move up, wear the suit.

So for me the suit, or matching "kit," is still a must. It's a bit more complicated now, though. My helmet and shades and shoes are a neutral silver, but I can't just grab things from the drawer and come up with a sure match.

I've got red and neon and leopard-print jerseys, and I have cow socks and paisley socks and some with flames; and the brown puppy socks just don't go with the orange sleeveless.

I'm working hard to keep the hyperventilating to a minimum.

- OB count to ten....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rant to Castelli

...because I'm sure they read my blog...






three of 'em!

- The CRANKY Old Bag what do they expect me to carry in mini pockets? or two pockets? or ONE pocket? We're cyclists, here, not lipstick-carrying credit card girls!


Things that Make You Go...


- OB I guess it's accurate

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Wednesday @ 5:47 pm

looking north from the Greenway bridge over highway 100

looking east from the Greenway bridge over highway 100

More of us!
looking west from the Greenway bridge over highway 100

- OB wahoo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to Church

last Sunday at the Chapel of Murphy Hanrehan...

- Bag ...have you communed?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mid-Afternoon Commute

a baiku

new tar on roadway
smooth as baby's bottom, hot
as steaming diaper

~ it's hot ~

- THe Old Bag ...s l o w l y wilting....

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The Teacher's Conundrum

I love
warm weather
no plans
cleaning house
rearranging furniture
s i t t i n g
not riding
weekend plans
coming home
phone calls
fluffy things
red sunglasses
hearts actually, I hate hearts

I hate
gray skies
dirty snow
feeling trapped
dust and pet hair
not riding
not riding
office coffee
bare trees
%#@$!! schedules
packing for the weekend
leaving home
phone calls
wilted veggies
boxelder bugs
#@! fluffy things
no sunglasses
hearts I detest hearts

- The currently waaay satisfied Bag

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Brew

I picked these up purely because of their names. I can't say I picture Betty as a blond, and I'm not sure how she feels about being called "Sweaty"...after all, we women don't sweat, we glow.

- The and in this humidity, I'm definitely glowing Bag

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Family health history is not necessarily on my side.

In spite of inheriting my mother's lanky proportions, I've inherited high cholesterol tendencies from both sides of my gene pool.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

It hit me in my mid-30s. I'd been steadily surfing along for years with cholesterol levels somewhere in the 170s (I don't recall breakdowns being important then), until one summer my total weighed-in at 195. It wasn't too alarming considering the test had been done the day after I'd spent 8 hours at the Great Minnesota Get Together* noshing everything from deep-fried cheese curds to pork chops on a stick. It would be back to normal the following summer.

Except it wasn't. 206 that time.

Then 219.

It climbed steadily. Somewhere in the midst of the 230s, my doctor at the time asked could you exercise more? My life at the time included somewhere around 200 racing and training miles per week.

Could I exercise more?!? I looked at her squarely what! you a crazy woman?!? we'd just had the discussion about my "needing to maintain a healthy body weight" in the midst of my telling her I was eating everything under the sun because my life at the time included somewhere around 200 racing and training miles per week. I couldn't keep weight on. My grocery bills had doubled. My life was cycling, driving to cycling events, and logging my cycling.

Could you exercise more?

I tried hard not to give her my exasperated ER-DUH look.

NO. I can't. It's still my most satisfying answer to any question I've ever been asked.

Three years ago with life well back to normal, my cholesterol total topped out at 247. My current doctor wasn't worried, however. Taking into account my lifestyle and that my HDL was somewhere off the charts in the 80s, she explained ratios: ratio of HDL to LDL, ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. My ratios were low, a good thing, but it's still something I watch.

I was amused by test results the following summer, done three days after returning from a week-long bicycle tour along the coast of Michigan. 70-80 miles a day for six days returned a total cholesterol level of 217. It was an interesting aha: all I had to do was ride 450 miles a week.


That's a relief.

Somehow I missed last year's test...probably had breakfast before heading to the doctor and forgot to schedule a follow-up lab test. This morning, however, I got the results of my latest: 176. All my numbers are within acceptable ranges.

Clean livin'.

Well, or they got my results confused with someone else's.

- The skeptical Old Bag after all, it was a busy morning at the doctor's office....

*Minnesotans love their state's an odd thing

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is it a Commute?

when you go in
to get some work done
but you're not getting paid
because you don't work in the summers
but you're taking care of stuff
and you rode
but it's not like it's a ride
because if it were a ride, "going-in" would mean into a coffee shop for some joe and a scone
because you went in
to the place you work
but you didn't have to
yet you kinda did
so is that a commute?

- OB I thought I had the summer off....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Participating in the Giro, the Gyros....

- The Baggie we won!

Friday, June 12, 2009


straddling the edge
the unexplored
narrow singletrack
winding over rock beds
across logs
a bank of trees
the climb begins
someplace beneath
the overgrowth

I know the route
that brought me here
intricate trails
are demanding
even more

- OB go that way!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I was Kinda Hopin'

that I wouldn't have to go back in the fall...

- OB *sigh*