Monday, July 30, 2007

Signs 7/30/07

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Quote for 7/29/07

"No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal."
Bill Cosby

There, now I didn't make a liar of myself with what I said in my last Quote.

Ya know, anything Bill Cosby says about kids or parenting, is usually dead on. I need to find a copy of Himself on DVD. His segment about kids and brain damage nails it, exactly. And now I know why my dad laughed so hard at it.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quote for 7/28/07

"We must return optimism to our parenting. To focus on the joys, not the hassles; the love, not the disappointments; the common sense, not the complexities."
Fred G. Gosman

I figured that after yesterday's post I needed to be reminded of this. But then again, I do try to always be mindful of this.

I think tomorrow I'll have a Bill Cosby quote to play with...

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Friday, July 27, 2007

More about the kids

I still love 'em...
Allow me to fill in some of the blanks that one of my regular readers pointed out to me.
I edited yesterday's post to include a little blurb about Bob getting home from his vacation the other day. If you read that post prior to my editing, then I apologize. He's been home for a few days now.
Anyways...
Aliesha stopped in for a visit on Wednesday. It was nice to get to see her for a little while. Typically she's in-n-out so quickly that I barely have time to say "Hi", but this time she wanted to talk to me, kinda.
We (meaning me more than her, but she didn't run from me) wanted to discuss her plans for her future, if by "plans for her future" you mean; "I don't want to keep doing what I'm doing (working at Sheetz), but I'm not motivated or ambitious enough to make up my mind to do anything that will help me to do better."
I'm trying to be very supportive of her desire to be independent, but when someone isn't really sure what they want, how do you support them in their efforts? If she had an actual plan for her life I could very easily give her encouragement and support. But things being what they are, my efforts to motivate and guide her come across like complaints and nagging. At this point, all she really knows is:
A) She doesn't want to be stuck working at a gas station/convenience store for the rest of her life.
B) She doesnt want to have to move back in with me and Bob, because she wants to be on her own.
C) She doesn't want to have to live with anybody else - including roommates/friends.
...and...
D) She doesn't want to go back to school for anything.
Needless to say, I'm at a loss when it comes to what I'm supposed to do or say to her about this.
I'll be honest here. On the one hand, I can't complain about her working full-time. It's better than what her mother is doing these days.
But, on the other hand, I get the feeling that no matter what she finally decides to do, she will never be satisfied with it. And that means she will always be quiting one job for the next better one that she likes even more - for the moment. Which is exactly what her mother always did.
Can you tell I'm a little frustrated by this?
All I can do is pray for her.
But on the brighter side of it all. While she was here, I watched her and Bob interact for a little while in ways that they haven't done in years. Recently their attitudes towards one another have been rather "strained" - to say the least.
For the most part, Bob has felt let-down by Aliesha because he's always felt that as an older sister she should be someone that he could look up to and respect. But with the way she's tried to distance herself from the family, she hasn't been a very good example to him.
Aliesha, however, has been an "angry gumball" for some time now. I've done the best I can to be here for her, while still trying to give her enough space to deal with things in her own way. But too often she would take things out on Bob because he was a target of opportunity. He'd say something silly, stupid, out-of-line, or sometimes insulting, and Aliesha would take great offense to it and use that moment to lash out at him for being a little jerk. And I have to admit that sometimes she was right to do so.
But Wednesday's visit was different. They joked around with each other, they laughed and actually seemed to get along this time. And it made me feel really good inside because I can only hope that it means that they're at the age where they'll become friends now.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Quote for 7/26/07

"I guess it's a good thing you didn't make the ice."
M+

It was part of a conversation I had with Bob earlier. Read below.

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The recipe for ice... almost

Bob came home yesterday. Things got back to normal for us real fast. And one of the ways it got back to normal so fast was the somewhat typical conversation that we had. A conversation that completely reflects the fact that he's my son.
So...
I got home from work today and Bob was downstairs with his friend, Shane, playing video games. No big deal. I headed into the kitchen to start dinner and find both of the ice trays empty and laying on the counter.

M+:"Hey, Bob! D'you know the recipe for ice?"
Bob:"Yeah, it's water, oregano, garlic and parmesian cheese."
M+:"No, that's the way to doctor up jarred spaghetti sauce."
Bob:"I got nuthin' then."

...

Hence the above Quote

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Quote for 7/24/07

"If you want plenty of experience in dealing with difficult people, then have kids."
Bo Bennett

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I love my kids

And why shouldn't I? They are mine, after all...
OK, Bob calls the other night from NYC. Yes, New York City. He tells me that he's on a boat. I ask him why, what boat, where's he going on the boat. He tells me it's a ferry and they have to take the boat to get to where they're going.
OK...
Apparently Bob is having a great vacation with his girlfriend's family. He's having a lot of fun, they're taking very good care of him and he'll be coming home with more clothing than he left with. So, I'm quite thankful that they've been buying him stuff along the way, but he never explained all of the "why"s. I guess that story will wait until he gets back at the end of the week.
Then there's my darling, daughter Aliesha. She's grown tired of her work schedule at Sheetz, and may have found a more suitable job closer to me. She told me she wants to move back to Monroeville, but didn't say she was going to be moving back home.
So I asked...
She's not sure, yet. Which is code for "I don't know if I can afford to live on my own, even if one of my friends and I find a place together." Well, I'm pretty sure I know my daughter well enough by now, and I think I have her friends figured out too. I suppose that she'll be moving back home with me if she wants any kind of social life, since her bills will be cheaper here than if she has to pay rent and utilities. But that's just my educated guess.
It'll be nice to have her home again. I've missed her so much over the last few years that she's been staying with her aunt. I just hope she's not planning on bringing any animals with her.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Signs 7/23/07



Not quite scripture, but it's a scriptural message.
Yes, I believe that God loves us just as we are, but that doesn't mean He wants us to remain the way we are for the rest of our lives. If you're not changing, you're not growing...

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Getting started

I got to JT's around 9:45 yesterday to prepare for our ride. Perhaps most of you remember that I ended last weekend with a flat tire, so we had to fix that before we could get rolling out. And JT is the Man when it comes to fixing a flat bike tire. Besides, I don't have all the right tools for the job, but he does.
The three of us, JT, Lori and myself, left shortly after 10:00 and headed out from JT's for The Waterfront. I decided that I would make this part of the ride, instead of driving to The Waterfront and waiting, because I had done so well with my riding last weekend. I would regret this decision later. We were going to meet JT's son, Rob, at the Starbucks in The Waterfront at 10:30 before riding into Pittsburgh and on to Washington's Landing.
Somewhere along the ride, while we were still in Braddock, I discovered that my brakes weren't functioning properly. So we stopped briefly to make a quick adjustment. I would have to take it easy on the downhills so I wouldn't end up flying out into traffic at any intersections. Wonderful...
Anyways, we crossed over this little bridge from the trail that lead to this part of The Waterfront.

We got to the fountain here next to Starbucks and waited for Rob.

And we waited...

And we waited some more...

JT had tried calling Rob a couple of times while we waited, to see where he was. But nobody ever answered. So, at 11:05 we left.

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Our destination

I didn't take any pictures from the ride into town because I had so many from our ride last year (just go to August 2006 archives and scroll down to http://mx777.blogspot.com/2006/08/getting-started.html to see those pics.) when we went into the Strip District. So this time I was more focused on the newest sights from the part of our ride where I'd never been before.
We rode through town from the South Side and had to cross over the Allegheny River to get to the North Side. Once we did we hit the trail that leads up along the river and the North Shore.
Came upon this sight along the way. The students at the nearby high school painted the murals on the walls here. I'll have pics of the individual murals in another post.

And our destination. A fantastic little oasis for bikers and boaters alike.

The Redfin Blues is located at the marina on Washington's Landing. It's a place where people can come and rest while they're riding their bikes along the trail. And a lot of boaters stop here either before, or after, they go out onto the river for the day.

A lot of boats out there.


So after we ate, and drank plenty of fluids to re-hydrate our bodies, we headed back.

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The ride back

Had to stop at this little bridge to get a few pics. Lori was so kind to wait for JT and I to do our "artistic expressiveness" thing here.

This is an awesome shot of the Pittsburgh skyline.

We went a little further down the trail and I stopped to get this shot too.

Then we stopped at the place where the murals I mentioned in the previous post were painted. I took this shot, as well as pics of all the mural, but those will be in a seperate post.

And after our ride back over the Allegheny River, and through town, I got this shot of Station Square. I don't know if you can make out the fountains going or not.

I would've liked to have gotten more shots of the ride in and out of town, especially on the North Side/North Shore, but JT and Lori were usually far enough ahead of me that I couldn't just say, "Hey, wait, I wanna take a few pictures here." - unless I wanted to yell it to them. And since I was already far enough behind them, I didn't want to slow them down anymore than I already had. Otherwise I'd have a few good shots of the 9th Street and Roberto Clemente Bridges. As well as a shot or two of PNC Park and the statues around it.

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The last leg of our journey

The South Side trail ends at a set of train tracks. Low and behold there's a train coming our way. You can tell when a train is coming because the tracks begin to hum, quite loudly at that, from the vibrations of the oncoming engine.

Yes, we were this close to the tracks. You see, where JT and Lori are standing is the starting point of a little walk that we have to take before we can ride again. It's only about a 10th of a mile long walk along all of that gravel you see in the pic.

After the walk we got back onto the road that takes us through the parking lot at Sandcastle and back to The Waterfront. From The Waterfront we got back onto the trail that keeps us off of the busy main drive ways of The Waterfront and leads us to the highways we'll take back to JT's.
There were a couple of really brutal hills that we had take at the tail end of the ride. By this time we were in no condition to even attempt riding up them. So we walked our bikes up and rested for awhile in the shade before finally finishing up.
We made it back to JT's shortly after 4:30. An awesome, if not exhausting ride. 32.3+ miles I believe my odometer said. That's my longest ride to date. Even longer than our previous record from last summer.

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Murals

I'm not gonna say anything about them. Just wanted everybody to be able to see them.




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One last shot

Thanks, JT, for this cameo appearance in my photo collection.

Obviously taken while I was using the restroom at the Redfin Blues.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quote for 7/21/07

"It's the least I can do. My lord, if I have to do anything, then it's gonna be the least I can do."
JT

It came up while we were riding today. Watch for that post later tonight, or tomorrow.

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Not quite dead again, but close

It was a wonderful ride today, but I'm too wiped out to post about it now. I'm gonna need a shower and probably a nap before I'm ready to download the pics or write anything significant.
All I'm gonna say for now is this; 32.3 miles and some hideous sunburn on my shoulders. But my Brand looks awesome with all the red around it. I'll have to get a shot of that. Look for a few good posts, with pics, later on tonight or tomorrow - in case I choose not to wake up from my nap until morning...

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quote for 7/19/07

"Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is indeed a virtue."
William Bennett

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

All is well

Mom had her surgery today and everything's fine. Her nodes are clean and she's home resting comfortably.

In other news, on the family front, Bob called from somewhere near Harrisburg. He's been on a camping trip with his girlfriend's family since Friday. He's doing well, too. Tore a pair of his shorts and had to replace them. Such is life.

I am truly thankful to God for all He's done for me, and the rest of my family.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Another vacation

We left my house some time between 1:30 and 2:00 on Thursday, and arrived in Ft. Recovery around 7:30-ish. We settled in at aunt Kathleen's. Then I took a little walk to stretch my legs and managed to get a few pics of the old familiar landmarks.
And...




... captured this really great sunset. I love the colors. And I'm quite amazed at how bright Venus is (in the upper left corner of the shot). Bright enough that you can still see it with the streetlight shining just below it.

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My interstate trek (pt. 1)

Woke up Friday morning and decided to take a little ride. Actually, I had brought my bike along for this trip with the deliberate intention of doing a little riding. After all, once you get past Columbus, Ohio is pretty much flat.
I started out in my aunt Kathleen's driveway, here in Ft. Recovery, Ohio and figured I'd ride into town to see where I wanted to go from there.

I got to the main intersection of town and saw the sign calling out to me. "So, I guess I'm going to Indiana today.", said I, to no one in particular. And off I went on what was about to become my first interstate trek.

It didn't take long to get to the state line. I'll be honest with you all and admit that it was a little more than 1.7 miles to get to this spot.

And this is where I was going; straight ahead on the American highway.

But I wanted to make sure to get a pic of my bike being here at the state line before I rode off into the countryside.

I'm really glad that I decided to bring my bike on this trip. Not only has riding been a great benefit to my health, but it's given me a chance to get out and really enjoy the world around me in ways that I never did before. Usually I'm in too much of a hurry to really look around me, or too focused on driving or getting to where I'm going. But when I'm riding, I get to take my time and really observe the wonders of God's creation. - and even some of man's handiwork, too.
So, off I go. And don't think I'm riding blind here, with no sense of where I'm going, I happen to know that this road leads to Portland, Indiana. And even though it was a level ride that was fairly straight most of the way, it did have it's downside. Enter; "Cujo"...
As I was approaching a farmhouse on my right, a monsterous dog suddenly appeared in the driveway. At first I thought he might ignore me, if not miss me altogether. No such luck.
Our eyes met, and it was like that moment in those old western movies where the two gunslinger's meet face to face. The hero's eyes meet the villian's, and the twangy guitar plays a slow deliberate strum. At least, that's what it seemed like in my own head.
I let "Cujo" make the first move, because I just wanted to get past the farmhouse and on my way. He began with a trot. I started to speed up. He bolted at me just as I got to the middle of the driveway. I kicked myself into gear, turned into the other lane of the highway, and started pedaling for all I was worth. "Cujo" came out to the center of the right lane and broke off his pursuit once I was past the edge of the property. I was relieved. But I will make sure to visit my Happy Place soon to see what my arms dealer recommends for repelling dogs. I don't want to hace to worry about something like this again, especially not since this was such an awesome ride otherwise.
Anyways...

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Interstate trek (pt. 2)

I wasn't sure how far away Portland was when I started out, but I knew that I wanted to ride there. I got to the 10 mile mark and could see this bridge in the distance.

The blue sign on the side of the highway, the one that says "Portland Welcomes You", is the exact 11 mile mark from my aunt Kathleens driveway. So I figured I'd ride into town and find a nice place to stop and rest and have a snack.

You had to know I'd get a pic of the water tower.

I opted against heading out onto the main drag. I didn't want to have to deal with the traffic.

This is the nice shady place I ended up resting at.

And this was the beginning of my ride back - once I crossed over the bridge.

As for the return trip and any possible rematch between "Cujo" and I, he wasn't out when I came back around. But I still managed to reach 21.4 mph as I passed that farmhouse. I wasn't taking any chances.

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Interstate trek (pt. 3)

Wouldn't ya love to have one of these in your yard?

It was still early enough that the heat wasn't overbearing, but I would've loved to have dived into that pond by the time I got to this point.
I'm about to cross the border again and this ride is almost done.

And, once I see the familiar water tower, I know I'm almost home.

The end of one awesome ride that I can't wait to do again the next time I get out here. 24 miles round-trip, average speed of 10.3 mph and a max speed of 21.4. One of the best I've ever done and I enjoyed it completely.

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Friday night

Friday night was my aunt Ginny's 70th birthday party.
I'm not posting any pics because I didn't get any. We left aunt Kathleen's before I could grab the camera. But that's OK, there's no reason for me to bore everyone with pics of my family.
It was good to see everyone, my aunts, uncles and some of my cousins. And they were all happy, as usual, to see Mom. And they were glad that I brought her. But they all went through a bit of shock when they saw my haircut and my body-art. My aunt Ginny just couldn't resist touching the brand. Everyone asked the inevitable question, "Did it hurt?", and I gave them the same answer I give everyone, "Only for a second.". Then they would ask how it was done and they would all cringe as I told them. It was a lot of fun for me.
We all got reaccquainted with one another. And talked about arranging more visits later on. We all wish we could visit more often, but it's difficult to do with everybody's work schedules and health issues. Mom only has one more sister that hasn't reached 70 yet, and that's my aunt Kathleen. Otherwise, all of Mom's brothers and sisters are over 70. And a few of them are over 80. So, travel takes a lot out of them.
It was a nice celebration.

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Saturday morning ride (pt. 1)

Woke up Saturday and headed out for another ride. This time I opted for staying on Rt. 49. I just started riding north out of Ft. Recovery.

Eventually I came to this intersection and decided I'd take a little ride on one of the back roads. I saw the hills and figured I could use the challenge. And I'm glad I did make this choice. I forced myself to really push myself with this ride. And it was a good thing, even if it was one of the most brutal rides I've ever done.

But some of the scenery made up for it.

This was the 10 mile mark for me. I looked back at where I had come from.

And I looked forward to where I had to go to. And since I was out in the middle of nowhere, I figured that I'd better keep going until I found an appropriate place to rest.

I was hoping to make it another 24 mile ride today. But It wasn't quite 24 miles when I was done. And I had another run in with a much smaller "Cujo" today, too.
So this was a rough ride, so far, and it wasn't getting any easier...

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Saturday morning ride (pt. 2)

This is the 12 mile mark for this ride. I'm still in the middle of nowhere. This is what's ahead of me.

This is what's behind me.

And I'm standing in the middle of a train track with a train sitting a quarter of a mile away from me.
Don't worry. It's not running...
Whoa !!! No sonner had I taken these pics than the engine kicked in and a plume of black smoke rose into the air. I think I'd better get moving now. But first, where am I going to go?

There's a water tower over there.

And one over there, too. If there's one thing I absolutely know about Ohio, it is that water towers are a sign of life. So now I know where I'm going.

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