Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Pt 2

Enough posts about cars, right? For Memorial Day weekend my parents picked me up (due to a certain... machine with four wheels) and we went north to my Aunt and Uncle's house near Tomahawk, WI. I decided to haul my SS mountain bike along, and I wanted to get some use out of it. I did pretty well, and as a wonderful bonus, I was moving too quickly for most ticks to hitch a ride. The dogs did not fare so well:

Wood Ticks and Deer Ticks

Heck yeah that's gross. All of those are from one dog.

The first day, I headed out into this for a quick ride on the trails across the creek.

View from the Sun Room

Very pretty back there.

Trails on the back 40


Pleased with myself for striking out.

Creek Time

Saturday's ride consisted of biking over to Shannon and Darwin's land, which was a quick 45 minute ride away.

Just riding along with my swooshy bangs.

We had a good time on their land this weekend, playing football and badminton, kayaking and canoeing, and cooking over the fire- potatoes, venison hotdogs, Boca burgers, freshly picked asparagus and corn on the cob.


On the way back, there was a lovely sky.


The third and final day up there, I decided to see what all this talk about Irma Hill was about. It's the third highest point in Wisconsin, and has got a long, slow hill leading up to it. It wasn't one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it wasn't easy on knobbies and one gear.

Irma Hill

Other activities:

Dinner of pheasant stir fry.

Dinner of 'Pheasant, Chinese Style'

Mexican Train until midnight. I took a page from my dad and quit before I could lose.

Mexican Train

Gardening. (I weeded for a while, then skipped out for a ride :) )


Designing and constructing an outhouse.

Dad and Paul

The consuming of venison bacon and eggs.

Venison Bacon and Eggs

Good stuff.

Don't Fight It

I was crouched down by Snips with a petite notebook in my hand, and he snagged it and began biting it all over. I was going to get some evidence of what a naughty animal he was, but wound up with this instead.


And speaking of naughty pets that we love anyway, I picked the car up at the shop today. I got two knowledgeable outside opinions and took someone to listen to the shop's explanation, and the consensus was that I was just unlucky and that the shop was not to blame. Fair's fair. I don't like to be a mistrusting person, but I'm not the kind of person who can blindly believe in the best, either, so I'm pretty happy with the outcome; I didn't trust the shop, I dutifully checked out all the angles, and it turns out (in all likelihood) that the shop is one of the good guys. I still had a bill, but it was minus some of the parts, the labor and the tow. OK. And I've got to admit, I felt a little giddy when I took off down the road in my newly fixed car. I can't help but like driving it, even if it does misbehave sometimes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Pt 1

or, Why You Should Never Love a Car

Cars will never love you back. They will ignore your love and hurt you, seemingly on purpose. Maliciously. I learned that with the Ranger. Shortly after over a thousand dollars worth of repairs, it broke down on the way up to Ore to Shore a few years ago.

Enter the 2006 Subaru Impreza with reasonable mileage, and words like reliable and dependable. This was supposed to be my adult car, one that worked and looked current and was able to provide heat from the vents in the winter.


Memorial Day Fun

Memorial Day Fun

Memorial Day Fun

Approximately 15min after leaving work to start my Memorial Day weekend, I noticed some things scattering across the road behind me. And then I noticed that the brakes weren't working like they were supposed to... I stopped just in time behind some traffic and pulled over. The cool part of this story? I had had it in to get the brakes done (new rotors and brake pads) a few weeks ago. I called the shop and primly demanded a tow: "I had my brakes done at your shop and they just stopped working and I would like a tow, please."

When I got to the shop, I was told the caliper 'blew up' and that this was not their fault, and that I would have to buy a new caliper, but that they would put the new caliper in for no cost of labor. Fishy. I'll have to duke it out with them tomorrow when I pick up the nefarious hunk of crap that is my car.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Many of you already know that one of my second jobs is as a model for art classes. I usually only pose for shorter periods of time, anywhere from a minute to a little over an hour. While it doesn't pay terribly well, I really enjoy it. It's relaxing to sit quietly for a while, and I like seeing how people perceive and translate things to paper. Sometimes you can kind of tell how they see things by the elements (light, shape, weight) they notice and record. It's special.

Moving on. This pose was four class periods long, which means my Wednesday evenings for four weeks were all booked up. While I got regular breaks, each class was 2.5hrs long. It's easiest to hold a pose if you sit straight up- if you're leaning on an elbow or slouched, it WILL get uncomfortable. Thus, 10hrs of sitting up straight/4wks. This class was made up of mostly first time painters, with a few seasoned pros sprinkled in. Without further ado, a 'round-the-room tour of my face, as perceived by the artists:









Beach Time

This past Sunday, I slept in because I honestly didn't think it would be worth getting up- I thought it was supposed to rain all weekend. I stumbled out-of-doors around 10:30 to gorgeous weather and blinding sun. What?! I made plans for a ride in the afternoon and then hightailed it to the beach. These days, living in Walkers Point, I suppose the downtown beach is quicker to get to, but habit took me to the beach in Bayview. I stopped at Groppi's on the way there for a snack, and then hit the sand for some reading.

Lake Michigan, Milwaukee

I much prefer Bayview to downtown- it's a little rougher as groomed beaches go, but most of the people are out riding their bikes, running, or letting their dogs play in the water. It's a good crowd.

Speaking of bikes, look at this smug jerk.

Lake Michigan, Milwaukee

Ladies, if you ever get tired of being catcalled while out for a ride, just switch your bike out for a Civia Loring. Be sure to get a front rack, and don't forget the bamboo fenders. While on or even within 10' of your bike, the only rack people will be ogling is the aluminum and bamboo one with a special holster for your U lock (oh yes). Just be careful what you wish for. After a while, you might find yourself getting jealous of all the compliments and attention your bike receives.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fox Shorts, Eat My Shorts.

This past weekend I rode the River Trails with Joey and Evan up to Capitol and back; word on the streets is, the rest of it is probably in pretty bad shape. The sections we rode were pretty nice, though.

Joey and Evan, River Trails, Milwaukee

While I'm smiling on the outside, I'm frowning frumpily on the inside at my one and only pair of 'casual riding shorts'. I don't know what model they are, but they are Fox's womens' trail shorts. Here they are, hiding behind my bike.

River Trails, Milwaukee

They look pretty cool, but as far as garment design goes, these suck a big one.

I went for one ride in them, and this is what my (ordinary, not velcro covered) saddle did to the fabric in the upper-inner thigh region:

Thumbs Down, Fox Shorts

Tons of pilling... it appears that the fabric is made out of some sort of grey cotton candy. It was not enough for the designers to put a single layer of this awful fake ripstop fabric on the outside of the padded shorts, they went ahead and added a tag larger than a credit card and only slightly smaller than a license plate on the inside of the shorts. That's four and five layers of fabric total, with somewhat tough corners on the tag, making the small of your back sweat even more and scratching the tender tops of your biscuits every time you move.

Thumbs Down, Fox Shorts

'Rider Designed' my sweaty, itchy arse. Show me the rider that said "I'm sweaty, I'm uncomfortable, and these will soon look like junk... Cut! Print! Ship!"

As a final insult, the snap on the waistband isn't reinforced, so after one ride of being bent over the handlebars while ripping it up, the snap will be falsely broadcasting to everyone that it's got its work cut out for it. Give me a break, shorts. I have to crank the velcro tabs on the sides just to make it feel like I'm not going to jump out of you the next time I hop on the bike.

Thumbs Down, Fox Shorts

I hate you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bye, Everyone!

I done got raptured.

Seeya, Heathens.

Don't worry, I arranged for some non-Christian caretakers for the cat. He's just hanging out and waiting for them to get there.

Reverse Peeping Tom(cat)

I like to think he'll miss me, but I'm not so sure.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bike to Work Week

...or as I like to call it, Drive Your Bike to Work Week. I took an excellent photo to illustrate this, as well as show off two of the most expensive things I own; a 5 year old car and an aging Christmas colored carbon road bike. Jealous much? Mhm, I thought so.

Drive Your Bike to Work Week

I loaded my bike in my car and planned on riding home if the rain held off. Not only did the rain hold off, the weather was Perfect. One of my coworkers, John, showed me a new way back downtown- it's shorter and goes through a few parks and trail systems, instead of 20 miles long and all roads (the Lakefront route). I think I'll be using it quite a bit this summer, especially if I want a low stress jaunt rather than a workout.

Biking Home

Getting one Spring in Asheville and then another in Milwaukee, I think that's the way to do it. Recently I've had that song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in my head:

In springtime
The only pretty ring time
Birds sing
Hey ding, a-ding a-ding
Sweet lovers love*

*Sweet lover not pictured

Biking Home

And now I'd better head to bed, because I have to get up early to ride in. (Having no choice but to bike in is the only way to get myself up before 7am.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monster Mash

'Monster Mash' will always remind me of going to the local skating rink when I was a kid. Anyway, I'm working on a few longer bike-related blog posts and meanwhile, a bunch of random stuff somewhat of note is happening.

My violet is going cra-zay. (Ok, that's arguably not even somewhat of note.)


I decided to put up a screen of sorts on my windows, but I still wanted the cat to be able to stalk birds. It's a little sparse as-is, so I might stick another pattern on the outside side of the window. We'll see.



I sold some smuttons this week, so I decided to design some pins to throw in with the order. I've been thinking about business cards lately, and this seemed like the perfect medium for a company (a The Vinyl Countdown subsidiary) that makes buttons. If you have to ask... just think about what the word 'smutton' implies and think long and hard *AHEM* about whether or not you'd want to hear the description.


I recently visited a thrift store and came across a clump of sassy empowered woman books. Looks like someone's got a new man in her life. Won't be needing you anymore, What to do Until Love Finds You.

Break Up

Have you ever wished you could combine the magical properties of a unicorn horn with a pair of shoes? These heels have got you covered.

Unicorn Heels

Unimpressed Mattress remains unimpressed.

Unimpressed Mattress

I helped this little guy, Alden, with a word find. I taught him what Dad taught me- if there's an uncommon letter in the word you're looking for (like 'Y') look for that letter. It's quick. It was working well, but then Alden got a hold of a cupcake and started running up and down a set of stairs to work off his sugar high. So long, word find.

Alden and Robb

The view from my alley toward the end of the day.

2nd Street, Milwaukee

And just as the days end, so does this post.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Snips Diptych


Ohhh, this cat.

Tree Diptych

The past couple of years (oh, how they go by) I've watched the tree next to the building at work unfurl its leaves one side at a time. The side closest to the metal and brick building take off first, because it's warmer.

Sides One and Two.