With less than 48 hours until racing begins, Tour de France organizers announced that all 189 riders from all 21 teams in this year's Tour were green-lighted after 2-hour medical and doping tests.
My favorite Tour de France reading is Le Tour Delicieux by Crazy Jane. While she writes mostly for a more feminine crowd (she chooses a posterboy every day of the race and uses the nickname "hotpants" on numerous occasions) her writing style is so funny and so clearly knowledgeable of the exciting world of professional cycling that I often make Andy read her posts. You should, too. Read her posts, that is - not make Andy read them (I already do that, as stated.)
On Tuesday night, Andy and I watched The New Heroes on PBS. It's about "social entrepreneurs" who "identify and solve social problems on a large scale." I only saw one episode. Andy watched two and there are 2 more on next Tuesday (at least on our station.)
At Worship in the Spirit of Justice last Sunday, one of the speakers from the International Justice Mission spoke about the power of personal stories. The day was aimed at the press so the speaker's point was that hearing about the millions of people enslaved around the world today doesn't affect much emotion, passion or call to action in our hearts but hearing the story of a particular slave and what their life is like and/or how they were saved from slavery is powerful. This is what was so great about the PBS show.
The episode I watched told the stories of Kailash Satyarthi, who rescues slaves in India and helps them gain a new life; Mimi Silbert, who provides work and life training to substance abusers, former felons and other "marginal" citizens; Moses Zulu, who helps orphans in Africa by providing them homes, schooling and training; and Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy & David Green who provide free and low-cost cataract surgery to the people in India.
The stories were so inspiring. I wanted to call up each person and ask if I would work for them for free. It made me feel like one person matters and one person can make a difference.
I wondered about the title of the series, "The New Heroes" - is it really a new idea that people like that are heroes or maybe we just find it more socially acceptable now to not live solely for the almighty dollar?
You can go to http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/about/schedule.html to find out when your local PBS station is airing the series. I encourage you to watch whichever episodes you can.
Today I carried Kevin out of the shoe store with a new pair of shoes for myself under the other arm while he was screaming, "I NEED new shoes! I NEED new shoes!"
Scene: Meeting at work
Me: I don't know what I'm doing with the plone site but I got a new document up there and I even made it visible so you all could see it before the meeting. So what's the difference between visible and published?
Manager: Publishing it makes it visible to all users. Visible makes it visible to site admins. That's why [other employee] couldn't access it.
Me (to [other employee]): Oops, sorry! That was my fault, I don't know what I'm doing.
Manager: Although he had never logged in so I had to set up his account. And when I set up all of the developers, I made everyone site admins.
Me (to [other employee]): So that wasn't my fault - I clearly know what I'm doing!
Scene: Meeting at work
Me: So should I write separate documentation for adding a comment to multiple issues?
Manager: Isn't that what I just said?
Me: Sorry, I was writing down the first thing you said and I stopped listening to the rest.
Manager: *cracking up laughing* I thought only men had selective hearing!
Other men in room: Huh?
Jan Ullrich has been Lance Armstrong's biggest rival in the past Tours de France. Ullrich came in second place in his first Tour de France and then he won the following year. After that, Lance returned from his fight with cancer and made history. Jan has been working to win ever since but this year, he is gunning harder than ever. From VeloNews:
"I'd love to beat him," Ullrich, 31, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "He's dominated the race for the last six years and broken the records of the century. That's my motivation -- this is the last chance."
I believe that Lance will win. I believe that Ullrich will give a spectacular fight. I believe that others will ride their hardest and come close to the top but I don't think they'll get there this year. I think this will be a really exciting race and I hope that Lance's last race catapults American interest in cycling through the roof rather than forcing a drop-off when he retires.
It all starts this Saturday, July 2nd, in Fromentine, France. Will you be watching?
...you ask with no judgment or a bad attitude whether your husband telling you that your truck needs a new belt is his way of saying, "If you go buy it, I'll put it on like I did when we were dating and you didn't even ask me to" or whether he means "You need to take your truck in for service."
After church today, Kevin and I went to Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, to participate in this week's Worship in the Spirit of Justice aimed at increasing awareness, hope and help for the people of the Darfur region of Sudan. This effort is mainly spearheaded by our church (or at least some leaders and members of our church), Cedar Ridge Community Church, and Sojourners.
It was Kevin's first time in Washington and his first time on the Metro. He had a great time. The train was lots of fun, especially when the doorbell sounded as a warning that the doors were closing and Kevin would copy it quite loudly, "Ding dong!"
I couldn't really see the service as a service so much as an adventure with Kevin and trying to keep him safe and occupied but I did come away with something. While sitting with the group and listening to the speakers and reading the signs, I put myself in the shoes of the people walking by and checking us out. Had I not been part of the goings-on, I would've thought, "What a bunch of crazies - they're out here just to make it look like they're so committed to their idealistic cause. They should go do something productive instead."
Being a part of it and feeling like we were making at least a bit of a difference (not necessarily my participation but the participation of those who are actually doing more for the cause) made me realize that other peoples' causes and idealistic dreams should seem as important to me as my own. Yes, that should be obvious and yes, I can easily say, "Of course it should be that way!" But in my heart (and in my judgmental mind) that's not what happens.
It almost always takes me seeing somebody else's situation through their eyes (or my situation through somebody else's eyes) to feel that other peoples' thoughts and feelings are valid. This goes for small, everyday things as well. That's a pretty sad way to live, isn't it?
My blogroll is back. In some ways it's nicer than it was (includes both fed and non-fed sites in one) and in others it isn't (looks weird with the rest of the template and I have to add links to my reader and my site.) But there you have it - a blogroll.
I'm hoping that I turned my site feed on and off appropriately while making changes to keep from sending every post as "new" but if I messed up, I apologize to anyone who reads this with an aggregator.
I have a long list of things that I'd like to do today and changing my blog around isn't one of them. Alas, I put up the post about this morning's ride and my (very old) template didn't respond properly. I thought I'd just pick a new, similar one and be done with it rather than trying to figure out what went wrong. I forgot how many customizations I put in so I've spent way too long trying to get this new one to work the way the old one did (when it worked properly.) I think it's all set except for my blogroll which I probably use more than other people do so I don't think it's much of a loss at this point! I'll get back to that another time.
Getting passed by a jogger isn't a big deal if you're walking or even if you're jogging. But this morning, I was passed by a jogger while riding my bike.
Fortunately, I could use the excuse that I was taking a rest on a long slow-down to a stop sign. As we crossed the intersection, I called out, "Well, I sure hope I can speed up enough to pass you back!" He laughed and as I did pass him, I said, "You're the first runner to ever pass me... thanks!"
Once in a mountain bike duathlon (2.5 mile cross-country run, 10 mile mountain bike, 2.5 mile cross-country run) I was on the last run and the race director's pick up truck came up behind me. He was sitting on the tailgate and hopping out every so often to pick up the course cones. He joked around with me for a few minutes and then said, "You remember the route from the first run, right?" "Yup" I answered. "Well, then, I'm going to finish picking these up. See you at the finish." The awards had been handed out and by the time I was done, half the racers had already gone home. I was ok with that and able to laugh at myself because you know what? I FINISHED.
So to all those joggers who have yet to pass me and all of those cyclists who have yet to get annoyed on the singletrack when I can't find a place to move over and let you pass and to all those race directors who have yet to pull up cones in front of me or push me up a hill on my bike (yes, the same director did that to me once, too, and it was pretty funny) - have fun with it and remember that although I'm not one of you, I actually kinda am.
"Our software is backed by award winning product documentation. The Society for Technical Communication (STC) recognized [Such and Such Company] for our 'ease of use, clarify, and overall professionalism of its documentation.'"
Don't you hate it when your spell-checker only picks up on non-words instead of checking against the words you intended to spell even if the mistakes spell other real words?
I have some big news. Let's all take a deep breath. In... Out...
Are you sitting down? I am. Here it is - this year, same as last year, the Tyler Hamilton Foundation is offering the Tour de France LIVE, LOUD and LARGE (ie: on a movie theater screen with hundreds of other screaming race fans.)
Better yet, this year there is a showing in COLUMBIA, MD. Last year, I got us lost driving to the Ballston Commons (VA) location and we got there late (all the bagels were eaten and almost every seat was taken.) I can't get lost going to Columbia, right?
My family is having our annual July-birthdays celebration the same day as the big-screen showing so I'll have to see if I can work that out. Also, there's a kid to consider now. Who wants to spend the night at our house on July 15th and stay with Kevin the next morning? :-)
It's been awhile since I mentioned the Tour de France and for that, I apologize. As one of the pastors at our church said on Sunday, "Hope is about what is going to happen, not what we're realizing or have realized." I'm sure he was talking about the hope that causes such excitement leading up to Le Tour, no?
Seriously, no offense to God or Jimi, as Jimi's message was really good and I know he was talking about God and not about Le Tour. But it's not as if God doesn't like Le Tour too, am I right?
So here's the deal - we're 11 days away from Stage 1 on Saturday, July 2, 2005. This year's race starts in Le Barre de Monts-Fromentine. Lance Armstrong is generally the favorite (according to the highly-scientific poll I conducted by reading one news article about this year's race forecast) and Jan Ullrich still seems to be the most likely to overthrow him. Ullrich does seem to be in better shape now than he was the past few years at this time so maybe he can do it this time. If not, I do feel for the guy - always the bridesmaid, never the bride - except when Lance is out of the race fighting cancer and the effects of chemotherapy. Anyway, other riders have been mentioned as possible contenders but most riders have stated in some interviews I've read that they are hoping for a place on the podium but not expecting first place to be held by anyone other than the Texan. Of course, I'm not saying that it's all locked up - I'm sure nobody is saying that while knowing that bad weather, crashes, bonks, illness, etc. are all part of Le Tour and can take a top or bottom contender out in an instant.
I'm not a huge Lance fan in general but I am seriously awed by his determination and commitment to using the talents he's been given to be the best at what he does best. As a person, I wouldn't be friends with him - he's much too intense. I had a knot in my stomach reading the first of his autobiographies because his personality reached out of the pages and grabbed my throat. But hey, he's an incredible athlete - and while he is a cancer survivor, I'm not sure "survivor" says it strongly enough.
I'd love to see Lance win again so I will be rooting for him. But I'll also be rooting for a good race with few crashes and wouldn't it be fun to see another underdog clenching his teeth and using every gram of glycogen in his muscles to make a name for himself like Tommy Voeckler did last year? That was too much fun.
I play in a Coed-BB volleyball league on Sundays at The Volleyball House in Elkridge, MD. This is our first season there - we were previously in a C-level league through the City of Laurel. It turns out that in the VB House leagues, when teams don't have enough players, they recruit players from wherever they can get them. In our match, we were asked if any of us wanted to stay to play the next game with another team. My boss and I checked in with our spouses and were given the green light (thanks, Andy!!) and, as luck would have it, the team we were playing with had a double-header. Yikes! Three matches in a row! Halfway through the first match with the other team, I asked during a timeout, "What... league... is... this?!" while gasping to catch my breath at 1) all of the running around I was doing as well as 2) the amazing feats of blocking and spiking I'd witnessed so far. We were playing on a team in the BBB league. I know, it's only one level up on paper, but it was quite a bit better than we play. It was soooo much FUN! I played much better than I usually do. Part of that was not feeling personally responsible for the team losing because of my mistakes (yes, it would be my fault for making mistakes, but it was their fault for recruiting me from a BB team) and the other part was due to the higher level of play by the other members of the team. We each played to our strengths and didn't have to play to our weaknesses and it worked! It was a great confidence builder for me and did I say yet how much FUN it was?
I'm still sore and taking ibuprofen but it was worth it.
Today is the Summer Solstice, the day with the longest period of sunlight in the northern hemisphere. Here's a fun quiz related to the solstice. When looking for more information at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website, I found interesting facts about the red tide (more correctly known as Harmful Algal Bloom, or HAB) currently in New England. I had no idea it was happening now and so that was interesting to find out as well as further information on such events. [There is a reason why my favorite word is serendipitous.] Check out the home page of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's section on HABs, particularly the image at the top with the label "Test your taxonomic skills." What fun!
Update: I forgot to mention my coolest bit about the solstice. Four years ago, Andy and I were on our honeymoon in Alaska for the summer solstice. We basked in 19 hours of daylight (would have been more if we'd been farther north but we were in Anchorage, Prince William Sound and Denali National Park.) It was really cool.
It's too much to say more than "Happy Father's Day" to all of you fathers out there, so that's all you're getting. But know that it's from my heart :-)
Below is the transcript of an interview I had with Kevin last week which Andy will receive a copy of tomorrow for Father's Day.
Is Papa tall or short? "Short"
What color are Papa's eyes? "Black"
What color is Papa's hair? "Black"
What does Papa like to eat? "Orange Juice, Milk"
What does Papa love to eat? "Watermelon"
What is Papa's favorite color? "I don't remember, ok?"
What does Papa do at work? "Driving"
What do you like to do with Papa? "Playing, run around, kick Papa
What does Papa do to make you laugh? "Yeah (big grin)"
What does Papa do that is funny? "Yeah (big grin)"
How old is Papa? "3"
Does Papa love Kevin? "Yes, Papa loves Kevin"
Does Kevin love Papa? "Yes"
Location: the office
Date/Time: thursday, june 16, 1:30 pm
Scene: Coworker walking in front of me in the hall carrying a folded up throw rug
Me: Hey, redecorating your office? *wink, wink*
Coworker (looking down at rug in hand): Don't you know?
Me (eyes and smile widening at the prospect of digging the latest intraoffice gossip): No, what?
Coworker: I'm Muslim.
Me (pausing, as I surely do know that he's Muslim, but not seeing any relevance to the current conversation): ...
Coworker (noticing the long pause and blank stare coming from my end of the conversation): We pray on rugs.
Me: I knew that.
I've been meaning to post photos of my truck since I starting reminiscing about it earlier in the year but I just got around to it. So there they finally are.
Last week, the odometer rolled over 160,000 miles and the little pepper is still going strong *sniff*, much to Andy's dismay.
I keep thinking of penning "An Ode To My Chevy S-10 Pickup" but I don't have the creativity for that. If anyone else wants to give it a try, let me know and I'll give you some material to work with. It'll be like those wedding songs that you can pay to have written when you give the songwriter some fun stories from your history. Although I'm not going to marry my truck - that's illegal in every state, isn't it? I mean, how would they do the blood test?
As of today, Andy and I have been married 4 years. A few months after we got married, my brother's very perky Martha Stewartesque neighbor asked us, "So, isn't marriage great? For a year and a half after we got married, it was like we were in heaven. That feels good, doesn't it?" In my mind I answered, "I wouldn't really know how that feels, but thanks for asking."
Marriage and parenting - you can prepare all you want (and you should) but you never, ever know what you're getting into until you've gotten into it.
I wouldn't trade being married to Andy for anything, though! We've known each other for 9 years and although the first years were lots of exciting fun (first camping trip, lots of mountain biking, getting my truck repaired without asking, etc.) since we've been married, we've shared lots more. As we always say, "Go Team!"
I've now had, at least twice, a dream that I cut my hair off but - oops! - forgot to put it into a ponytail so I couldn't donate it to Locks of Love. What on earth is the point of this dream? Why am I concerned about something that won't happen? I will go to the same highly-competent salon that I went to last time to donate my hair and there is no reason to be concerned that it'll be scattered all over the floor, wasted.
Any ideas of the cause of my unconscious psychosis?
Over the weekend, our church had its annual campout on the church property. Andy went by himself on Friday night to enjoy some time alone and then Kevin and I joined him on Saturday afternoon. Kevin did great - he walked most of the time instead of whining to be carried constantly and he slept all night. He had a meltdown shortly before we left on Sunday but I think that was ultimately caused by hunger.
A couple of weeks ago, my parents came to visit and I showed my mom my new Timex sports watch. She showed me hers. They're exactly the same but a different color. We had both tried on a different color which was the same which neither of us bought. "I got mine at Target, where did you get yours?" "Target."
Last week I was thinking out of the blue about one of my favorite kinds of cookies that I haven't eaten in ages. On Saturday, my parents came over for lunch and what did my mom bring for dessert? Those delectable oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate cookies that I'd thought of earlier in the week.
Scary or really, really cool?
We have a teddy bear that we affectionately call "Jingle Bear" because he plays the song "Jingle Bells" when his hand is squeezed. He was a thoughtful gift from my wonderful Secret Santa two Christmases ago and he has become one of Kevin's favorite stuffed animals.
Last night we had a really strong thunderstorm that lasted for quite awhile (and knocked out power all over the place.) While only one really loud clap of thunder woke Kevin, Jingle Bear was roused from his sleep on numerous occasions. I went in to check on Kevin and Jingle Bear was singing away! The thunder was vibrating the house and
apparently Jingle Bear's now-hair-trigger singing button was activated over and over. The poor bear had to be removed to sleep in the guest room for the night.
I know this is late but Rafael Nadal won the French Open! I was able to watch most of the last 2 sets (of 4) and it was a great match. It looked at times as though Puerta was going to take it away but Nadal's incredible run-downs to the ball kept him alive and kicking. He not only ran down a lot of balls that most people wouldn't have attempted, he ran them down and hit them back with authority - rarely did he provide a defensive lob to his opponent. Incredible.
I do feel bad for Roger Federer, losing his chance to add the French Open to his list of Grand Slam Championships, but boy wasn't it exciting to see Rafael Nadal win the semi? Nadal goes to the finals against unseeded Mariana Puerta who played two 5-set matches to get to his first-ever Grand Slam finals. Wow... 2 guys who've never been in a Grand Slam final? How fun will that be no matter who wins?! I expect I'll be rooting for Nadal, of course. I do hope they both play their best tennis ever - for their sakes as well as for those of us watching :-)
Equal Opportunity Sporting News - it's not just about Le Tour even though it may appear that way in July.
This week's excitement comes in the form of tennis played on the red clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris, France. Friday will be an adrenaline-fest as Roger Federer meets Rafael Nadal in one of the men's semi-final matches. Do I even know who's playing in the other semi? Nope. It's all about Federer and Nadal. I watched them play a heck of a match in Miami a few weeks ago (on TV) and I expect that Friday's match will be lots of fun. Federer is a seasoned veteran while Nadal and is ready to take over. Federer has won all three other Grand Slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open) but he's not won the French Open. Nadal is a clay-courter through and through so this is his court, so to speak. Will Nadal come out on top this time and upset Federer's apple cart?
Oooh, the suspense is killing me. Let's hope that they show some coverage on TV - and not just on cable, please!!