Slow Down and Meander

There are times that you just need to slow down. Just meander down the road.  I’ll stop short of saying “smell the roses” (okay, I guess I just did it anyway).  This can mean when you are at work. It could mean when you are in a relationship. It can mean just walking. Seriously. The Zombies have slowed walking way down. I have often meandered walking with a limp just like Hollywood portrays the walking dead.  I often wonder if they copied me with that walk after seeing me after a few 12 hour shifts in the kitchen!

This also applies to biking. Sometimes, slow is good. There are times when it is best to beat hell on a bike and just go as fast as you can. There are also times when you just need to say “Whoa, back off cowboy, take a look around!”

This past weekend was an example of that. I went on a ride with the usual suspects, (Tedd and Sandy) and we just meandered.  It had just rained about 2 inches in the surrounding area.

The amount of water that we encountered was amazing.  We did not encounter any road blockage, but the evidence of the amount of rain was everywhere.

I was also packing my good camera, so we would stop and take pictures where it seemed the scenery seemed to be good.  I took about 50 pictures.  Two were good, or at least in my eye.  I’m posting both here so you can tell me they both sucked.  I’m okay with that.

None the less, it was a good February jaunt across flooded plains of Delaware County.  And being slow is not bad.  Being aware of the surrounding beauty is a gift and sharing that with friends is priceless.

The Olympics or How I Spent My Weekend.

I am not going to lie. I got very little sleep over this past weekend because I have been sucked in by the Olympics.  There was also this little cold I picked up that made breathing, well, difficult, but we will ignore that fact for the sake of this story and blame my insomnia on the Olympics.

I missed the first two nights.  I didn’t see the spectacle that was the opening ceremonies on Friday.  From the highlights that I saw, I think I would have liked the drones. I picked up on the coverage late Saturday afternoon, but only saw a little bit of the action as I had to leave for a get together with friends.

When I arrived back home, I turned on the Olympics and, boom, I was hooked.  I wasn’t watching the skating on NBC, but I tuned into NBCSN on my computer so I could watch in bed and fall asleep to the boring sport of curling.  Yep, the good old boring sport of curling.  The one that combines ice, bowling, shuffle board and pool.  Well, forget the boring part.  I was hooked and enthralled.  Not was it only all of the above, but it was mixed curling meaning that there was a male and female partnered on a team.  Brilliant.

42 pounds of thunder

So now we have the chess match that is ice, bowling, shuffle board and pool coupled with…couples.  Not as in married couples, although there were brothers and sisters, but just two paired together.  Now, mix in the high pressure that is inherent in competing in the Olympics and you have better drama than any reality show.

In curling, they have brooms in order to sweep the ice to effect the stone on its path and length.  So you have one person on the team telling the other player to sweep “harder” or not at all.  All the while, the players are miked up for the crowd to hear and the add in the tension from the competition.  As you can imagine, not all was well with the competing partners.  Since they were speaking languages I could not understand, I had to interpret the conversations the best I could.  This is what I came up with.

Female:  I thought we agreed you would curl that stone left to take out that other stone!!

Male:  I gave it my best shot, I thought the ice was faster.

Female:  I told you to throw harder, but did you listen…no!!!

Male:  We are on ice, how could I have thrown it harder???

Female:  Thought you had more in you.

Male:  I thought I told you to sweep the damn ice harder!

At this point we take a commercial break (of which there are many), and leave it to the audience’s imagination of just where that next 42 pound stone will be placed.

Yes, this is no lie.  I really was thinking this while watching the couples perform.

My next thing I watched was the luge.  I watched the men’s single live and it was very exciting.  But what crazy people!!  Who thought this stuff up?  It had to be a bunch of guys sitting around drinking one day during the winter, since all the farming chores were probably done, yes, probably.  Anyway, one brilliant guy says to the rest, “Hey, lets build an ice hill, grab a board, put a couple of runners on it and slide down this ice hill at 80 mph!!”  The rest of the guys look at each other, grab another beer and yell “Dilly Dilly” while running for the hill.  The rest is history.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was looking forward to the ice skating because, well, I only watch it every four years so I tend to forget why I don’t watch it.

I will tell you it was not because of the looks of Johnny Weir or the outfits some of the skaters had on, though, I must admit, I was scratching my head a bit.  Mr. Weir looked like he was straight out of the movie “The Hunger Games” with his hair-do.  I did do a “YIKES!” when I first saw him.  But I later saw a commercial with him mocking himself and I did like his commentary on the skating.  Not that I understood a single thing he said or did I understand how this damn sport is scored.

I back my claim by this.  How in the hell does the one guy who falls twice during his performance, win?  Even the commentators were at a loss to explain.  They fawned over the excellence of the American skater, yet he scored low and he didn’t fall.  Next up was the Canadian skater, he fell twice and won the event.  So at that point, I was done and went to bed. I fired up the computer and only had commercials to watch with a few snowboarders thrown in order to fill in the time between commercials.

So as I went back to work this morning, bleary eyed and weary, I realized there was something missing from this edition of the winter Olympics.  The one thing that made 2014 in Sochi so real.

It is Bob Costas and his pink eyes.

But His EYES!

I felt so bad for him during the last Olympics, but damn, how easy it was to make fun of him.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Mr. Costas and his work.  But that was just good stuff.  I tuned in just to see how he was recovering.

Bottom line.  I know we are just getting started and I may need to take a break and get some sleep some nights, but you can count on me watching and injecting my own warped sense of humor into  this great show.



Just Another Specialty…

I have been a chef for over 34 years now.  That is a long time in a very demanding profession. Over the years, I have been asked many questions such as, “I can really cook do you think I am a chef? ”  (No).   “I have been told that I throw great dinner parties, do you think I should open a restaurant?” (No).  “Would you like me to share my mother’s recipe to you for use in your restaurant?”  (NOOO!!).  “Do you cook at home?” (Of course I do, I have to eat also!).

It’s all good though.  I know it is all about being part of the profession.  I am sure other professions endure the same type of questions.  I really feel for what doctors have to endure.  But my least favorite question that I was asked repeatedly was, “What is your specialty?”

A fellow chef shared the following with me a few years ago and I was a little pissed that I didn’t write it, but it really nails what being a chef truly is.  I was reminded of this letter today when I had one staff member on vacation and another chose to call in sick.  So I really had to chef it today!

“I’m a chef” I say.
“Oh! What’s your specialty?” they always ask.
My “Specialty”…? I’m a chef, I said.
My specialty is maintaining peace among a staff of professionals, immigrants, part-timers, waiting on my real job-ers, burnouts, disgruntles and people genuinely motivated by service.
My specialty is knowing how to do everyone’s job so they respect me but also at the blink of an eye I could be pulling their function as they are pulling that crumpled suit out of the closet, for the job search has begun yet again.
My specialty is delivering high quality food in a timely manner within the constraints of archaic equipment, new fads, ancient techniques all while abiding by the unfair, unrealistic, ever-changing demands of the health department.
My specialty is receiving the same products every other chef across the world receives but somehow convincing you to come eat mine. Taking ingredients that are already expensive, putting them together & somehow trying to squeeze every possible nickel out of it.
My specialty is being impervious to burns. Using duct tape as a band-aid. Standing, running, pacing within the same 10 foot square for 16 hours at a time. Specializing in walking without a limp although my ankles feel broken, my knees pop with every step & my back is one gigantic (albeit muscular…very muscular) cramp.
My specialty is sleeping very little. Waking when a lot of people are going to bed. Never seeing the sunlight during the holidays. Working countless days in a row. Being the first in & the last to leave.
My specialty is actually having fun in such a high demanding, stressful job. Taking pride in a job well done. Seeing doubt in people’s eyes sometimes & somehow pulling it off.
I’m a Chef, I said.
That IS my specialty.
-Author Unknown-

I could not have said it better…

A Wrap Up Of Cycling 2017

Wait…What??  It’s the end of January already?  I’m sorry, but from my perspective this month flew by.  I guess I better let you know how my 2017 went, cycling wise of course.

It was actually a very big year for me.  2017 saw me ride in eight different states.  Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.  Oh yea, and Ohio of course.  There were some big rides and countless training rides that took me over 3300 miles on a bike for the year.  That is a few pedal strokes.

One of the many lakes of Minnesota

I got to enjoy the great sights of mother nature.  Armadillos and alligators in Florida.  The many lakes and fields of Minnesota.  The great Mississippi River from Minnesota through Iowa.  The rolling hills and mountains of Pennsylvania.  Beautiful Lake Michigan.  And the great landscapes of Ohio. The rolling horse pens of Kentucky.

I got to meet many new friends that I now call family.  I was able to ride for a great cause four different times as I was able to participate in four different Hope Rides for the American Cancer Society.  I was able to enjoy the kindness of complete strangers whom I will probably  never see again, but I will never forget.

I also had the great fortune to meet and ride for Miss Emily Gandee.  I dedicated the riding season to Emily and was blessed to have “Flat” Emily with me through most of my journeys.  Emily is a wonderful young lady and I am happy to report she is on her way to recovery.  We had some great adventures over all of those miles and I was happy to have her as an inspiration.  She also made many new friends and admirers along the way.

It was not all joy.  There were days of wind and days of rain and there were days of wind and rain.  There were really cold days and really hot days.  There were days that I wish I was not riding, but I still had to keep going.  I had my share of flat tires and breakdowns.  I was dropped by my riding companions more times than I am willing to admit.

There were a few scary road moments.  Riding in heavy traffic is never much fun.  Getting blown over the road by passing cattle trucks also does not rank up there as a favorite activity.  Getting caught in a wrong gear just as that little incline turns into a major climb will leave you breathless and have your legs screaming.  Hitting potholes as you are traveling at 30 mph downhill also gets your attention.  But just like the good memories, these are just part of the game that I so enjoy.

As I look back over the past year I can say that I am proud of my achievements for the year.  I have been riding a bike as a hobby for over 15 years now and I would like to say that I have improved my abilities each and every year with 2017 not being an exception.  I can’t imagine what my 2003 self would think of the 2017 version of me.  Except, maybe, “Hey?  We made it that far??  Very cool!”

So A Funny Thing Happened…

And the funny thing is that one day last week, the blog stopped working.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know how.  I’m not sure I even care.

What I do care about is the fact that I spent the last three days trying to recover all of the stuff from the site.  Alas, it was to no avail.  So any favorite post or story that you liked is now in that post heaven that all good post go to.  Okay, they really are just deleted.  This is what happens when you don’t back up your work!

I am okay with this though.  I haven’t been writing much so now that I must start from scratch, I hopefully will start writing more.  The other side note is, I can repeat old ideas for posts because you or I will not be able to prove if I had made a post like that before.

YAY!!  New content!

I did save my stories to hard drive.  My story, “The Showing” is listed under pages on the side bar.  I hope you like it again or for the first time.

Please feel free to leave comments on all posts.  Please keep them civil.

Here we go again!!