Nancy Cycles!

Nancy Cycles!
"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ... Yogi Berra

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday the 13th -- What a Day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

For what is thought of as the day of bad luck, this Friday the 13th was fantastic. I am posting this on the 14th, but it all happened on the 13th. As today is a "special day", let me start there...

It's Pi Day and will happen only once every 100 years! At one of our rest stops on today's ride we talked about 3.1415 (today's date) being Pi Day, and D thought there was more to it than that. I had to make a phone call to Sarah who comes by being a Math geek honestly through her Dad (whose birthday is, appropriately, today -- Pi Day). She related that at 9:26:53 this morning the numbers would expand -- even though it goes on for infinity, we at least get 9 of the numbers.
This makes today quiite special (once in most of our lifetimes).
The start of the Friday the 13th was, after my PT exercises, to meet with my friend B at the Mukilteo Community Center for our Waterbirds class. We had attended Songbirds and Owls & Raptors and this would wind up the series.
Note the drip from the bill -- pay attention later


Our instructor, Candy, gives additional information

This one was my favorite of the series. Maybe because I know more waterbirds than others, or maybe as B says, we know more basic knowledge about birds having taken the previous two classes. At any rate, I learned a TON!

Waterbirds are either DABBLERS (think ducks upside down with feet in the air foraging below the surface) or DIVERS (Cormorants, Surf Scoter). The Divers' legs are further back on the body than those on the Dabblers. This enables them to swim under water for feeding, and they take off flying from the water as they can get up the speed needed. However, they are not able to walk very well, nor can they take of flying from land. If they get beached (a storm or something) they will likely die there.

All birds have a filter system just where the bill meets the face. In land birds, this system is inoperable (evolution I suppose), but in water birds it is very necessary for their drinking water. They drink the salt water around them, it goes into their blood, then the salt gets filtered out at the site of the filter, and the salt expels from the notstril and drips out from the tip of the bill (see photo).

The most common duck, and the one we are most familiar with is the Mallard. The male, as usual, is the most colorful and has the green head. The birds molt (lose their feathers) during breeding season, and the male mallard loses all its colorful feathers so that you cannot tell the male from the female. Then they re-feather in a few weeks back to their colorful selves.

"Sea Gull" is a misnomer. They are simply "Gulls". I was glad to learn this as I truly like knowing the real scoop on things -- such as, many people incorrectly call those long necked geese "Canadian" Geese. They are "Canada" Geese. I digress. Gulls are everywhere -- not just at the sea. They are inland at the midwest as well as on the coasts. There are 16 species of Gulls here in our area. The most common Gull -- the one we see everywhere -- is the Glaucous-winged Gull. Glaucous means "grey". In our class we also learned about the Mews Gull and the Heermann's Gull.

I learned more little tidbits, but this will do for the post!

After our class, my friend B and I drove to meet up with another friend, D of the Pi fame above, for a bike ride. It was a grand day for a ride -- warm but not too warm, not much wind that we often have on this trail, and wonderful company ;'-). Our halfway point brought us to Peet's Tea & Coffee where we took our break. My highlight here was to get a free tea! I bought a tin of tea and when I ordered my cup to drink, it was free because of my tin purchase. An unexpected treat. We sat at the outdoor table -- where the Pi conversation got started -- and enjoyed our drinks and snacks. D had brought us each an orange, so now I had free tea and a free snack! Who says the 13th is an unlucky day!

I have included a photo of this "sculpture" in a previous post, but I now have connected some dots about it. We pass this piece of art when we ride this trail and I had not known what it was made of until my railroad buff friend, John D informed me they are "rail tie plates" (I think that is the name). Tie plates keep the rails in place, but I could not quite visualize what that means. Now -- I know.

The sculpture


A closer look at the plates


The plates at work
Another veiw

I have learned so much today, my brain is over full!!

THEN I got home for a surprise. Susan had asked me to stay away unitl at least 4:00.


Private chef dinner
Four courses with bubbly served by candlelight
Halibut main course

Susan had been trying to set this up since the summer -- kind of an anniversay celebration (23 years I think), but the chef had problems being available. So today was the day. Susan had purchased the "event" at the Casting for Recovery fund raiser auction. A nice surprise that I totallly appreciate. Four courses (crab cakes, salad, entree and dessert!!) is a lot more than we normally have for dinner. But we did it proud and left clean plates.

Thank you honey.


Who is it that started that rumor about Friday the 13th being unlucky??!!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

February 2015 -- Bad Beginning -- Good Ending

February 2015

Here I am late already with doing a monthy blog post!

The month started with me recuperating from that horrendous viral infection that attacked me at the end of January. I was into at least the second week before I started to feel better, but some of the effects still linger with me as of today (March 11th). I have a cough several times a day, and I sneeze a few times each day, which I have not done in the past. I am left to assume that the virus has caused some imbalances that continue through my body.

Speaking of imbalances -- I am working with my trusted PT/rehab person, Daniel, to get my body re-balanced and strengthened to help with all the sciatica and back issues I have been having. I worked with him in the past (to train for the cross country tour that I ended up not being able to do) and feel some encouragement from the exercises and stretches he has given me. (This part isn't bad, but is working on a bad issue that I have had for over a year).

The other bad thing about February is -- our beloved Seahawks did not win the Super Bowl. But they remain our heroes and the streets were lined with 12s for their return home.

Bad stuff done -- let's move on to the better part of the month.

I enjoyed some fine times with friends -- breakfast with my friend JPD; the movie with Pat ("Imitation Game" which was great); and the theatre with Bill (August Wilson's "Piano". August Wilson's plays are very interesting and I have now seen at least four of the ten he has done that depict life of the African Americans in each decade through 2000. You must look at them.)

And there were several bike rides during February as well. One was Gery's "Donut Ride" that he does a couple of times a month. I was glad to have the time available to do one this month, and here is a poem I wrote that sums it up:

Poem for MIke
(February 15, 2015)
  • Mike said "write a poem about us"

  • OK Mike, it came out thus...
  • The sun is out the sky is blue
  • We meet our leader who is here on cue
  • Around some corners and up a hill
  • More miles would pass for sure until
  • We find our spot in Mill Creek Town

  • Join tables together to gather round
  • Bikes are locked or leaned about
  • Gery's falls over by a lock of doubt
  • We giggle and chat as we eat al fresco
  • Happy to live out here on the westco
  • No snow to bother this gorgeous outing
  • No shivering, bundling or need for pouting

  • Too soon it is time to remount up
  • Drink the last drops from our empty cup
  • Meandering through the town square streets
  • Our thoughts meander to future meets
  • Thank you Gery for being our guide
  • On this your famous Donut Ride
(I have never claimed to be a poet ;'-)))))

Among several other rides, one took me with friends on our Centennial Trail on a nice day and good time together.

At a junction of the trail is the sign reminding us of the Railroad that was here
On the way back we stopped at the library and each of the three of us found a book for borrow

Then there was a Rainbow Ride that took us along Alki on a gorgeous sunny day with views of Seatlle.

Some Seattle skyline from Alki (West Seattle)
Two ferries pass by each other from Seattle to, I'm thinking Bremerton
SCUBA diving is a very popular activity along the shore of Alki

I ended my month with a trip to San Diego to visit Sheri and Alexis and had a grand time. They both work so I had a good amount of time alone which I used wisely to take walks, linger in the outdoor hot tub and swim in the adjacent pool. The trip was a "sunrise to sunset" kind of thing. I had views of an absolute gorgeous sunrise over the mountains while riding on the bus through Lynnwood. Bright bright red with some orange streaking through. So sorry I could not get a photo but it was peeking in and out of the neighborhood houses so we got only fairly short glimpses of it. Had I not been on a bus I would have stopped for emergency photo op. Simply beautiful.

At the end of the day at Sheri's we enjoyed a beautiful purple and pink sunset from her patio. What a way to start and end a day!

To give the right impression about southern Cal, I had to snap a few southern Cal-type photos:

Cactus on one of my walks
Lemons along the way


On Sheri's days off we did a some tourist kind of stuff (since I am a tourist) and took a Segway tour of downtown. Great fun as Sheri had not done one before, and I had done it only once with Susan in Tucson, AZ.

We got to ride through the Padres Baseball Stadium
And along the Embarcadero
Stopped for a well deserved stretch
Our leader Josh. We were his only group for this trip. Made it nice for us!
The next day we took a little drive to Ocean Beach for views and for lunch.

Known as OB (Oh Bee) to the locals
At the end of the pier is the cafe
Had a nice walk and enjoyed seeing the fisherpeople, strollers and lurkers
A wonderful funky cafe with great food
We watched the surfers from out window side table
After lunch we made our way back to the beach. With the temperate weather of San Diego, many homeless or aimless people find a place to hang out (or live). They move from place to place depending on how diligent the police are about moving them along. Right now, OB is the place, but I chose to not take photos of the groups. I did get a couple more pictures though:

After I took this one, the artist appeared to want some money
Musicians practicing for something? Or perhaps just jammin'
I took some from-the-airplane shots going and coming home -- they speak for them selves:

On the way to San Diego
Arriving Seattle. On the flight home I had wonders of wonders -- NO seat mates!!
Freighters from the sky
Ferry sure looks small

Seattle archipelago

I was pleased to have used strictly public transit to get from home to the airport and from the airport to home.

The public transit choice takes time which one needs to do it this way, but it sure is nice to not use a car for even one block! #113 bus, a block from my house, dropped me at Lynnwood Transit Center in time to immediately hop on the #512 that took me to Jackson Street, right in front of the stairs down to the bus tunnel to hop on the Link in three minutes from when I got there. To get from my house to the Link stop at SeaTac takes about 2.25 hours. Seems long when I write it, but for some reason it didn't feel at all bad during it. Then about a 5-8 minute walk to the terminal to check in bags. Sweet! The constraints are 1) your plane reservations have to be at the right time to fit in the bus options, and 2) you need to travel with only one bag as more would make it unwieldy to get on the transit and to maneuver on your own.

I picked up a breakfast sandwich and tea for the wait. Airport WiFi is MUCH better than it has been in the past. Our dollars at work!

Thus ends the bad to the good of February 2015.