August 5th, 2014
Its been 3 yrs since we had a genuine summer escape…*sigh*. Vacation time and fundage did not align, i am almost used to it, i will not whine: Costa Rica in January, and the Keys this Fall! Hunker down for summer, Arizona! charge your lights, stop wearing socks and underpants, enjoy the logjam on I-17. All my July rides started at 3:30am or 9pm, and rarely climbed more than an overpass.
It didn’t seem like we did much, but putting together all these pics, I still missed our weekend to Pittsburgh, day trip to Horton Creek, sub24overnight bikepack along the Verde River, and a follow-up swim trip with the kids, 110 degree canal tour around the city, Ice Den, and swim meets.
up Bell Pass in the dark->Fountain Hills stuff so fast southward i’ve never before not hated the FH McDs until I rode them clockwise, up over the stellar new Sunrise bypass, north through Scottsdale. 4hrs of awesome and home before the family woke up.
Another outstanding John idea: Cabin Loop and AZT up above the Rim, Blue Ridge Reservoir and Clint’s Well.
girls and i took a day trip to West Clear Creek, NW of Payson. Not too many pics, too busy spotting them for 3 straight hours. Adult:Monster ratio might have been a bit lean on this one. The hike in is about 500 vf down a canyon, lot of rock scrambling and downed trees. G was awesome, Alana did a great job taking instructions.
both girls, but Alana especially, ripped the climb out. Rockwall everyday at Lifetime summer camp was evident, only Alana’s conditioning slowed her down. such a difference from the precarious descent and wading.
Overnight in Prescott – Granite Creek Park PT!
standover height on the Malice is about the same as on her 20 inch, and it rolls much better. G fumbles using 8yo vocabulary to express what an $1100 purpose-built bike feels like.
Suddenly Turtle started fading. then her hind legs stopped, and a week later she was gone. I don’t miss her much, but I respect our 14 yrs together. Beckie wanted another kitten, before the body was even cold. I don’t get that, 6 months later and I still can’t look at pictures of Kila. But I don’t really love cats, rather enjoy snuggling with them and grabbing their bloated tummies and making 2 of them chase a laser pointer at once. They come and go into our home, where they shake Valhalla until they vanish, and feast on Pounce. Goodbye Turtle.
Top of Mt. Elden in Flag. Short hike along Organ Donor adjacent to a storm, yellow and orange high-altitude flowers we never get to see
G and I rolled Elden Lookout Road, 7 miles\2k straight down, all the way to the Schultz Y, ruts and ruffage that is much harder on a 20inch. The entire time she could have hurt herself, and only once did i get skeered. Ride out the wobble, G! And she did. We chatted, and enjoyed the cliffs and the slopes and forest, squared up on the ruts, took breaks when our hands got tired, reveling top-to-bottom of a real mountain. We hiked up Wasabi til above the boulder roll, so I could show her what she can aspire to, and we paralleled while I followed Lower Oldham next to the road. Today we went up the AZT at 418 2.5 miles almost nonstop til a storm turned us back. It took more than 2x longer last year, and it shrugged off her. She might just be my #3 riding buddy of all time, definitely no lower than 6th. And she has the opportunity to close.
What would you do if you knew you just met your #1 riding buddy of all time? We couldn’t stop fist bumping.
July 3rd, 2014
June 5th, 2014
Low tide this visit was 6am and 6pm. The town and beach were teeming with touronistas, so I headed out on the fatty catty to the Morua Estuary, to see sights that between the tides and seasons are usually underwater.
The sandbar was currently forming a relatively deep tide pool, with a steep slope on its edge. Made for a nice off-camber challenge. Next morning I rallied the family to hike ~20 minutes from the end of the road out to it for a swim. You could jump off the slope in the background and land in 4 feet of water – not a feature you normally get ’round c’here.
The sandbar at the mouth of the estuary has a cool reef at the end of it, that my kids call Bird Island. We last went here 2 years ago in winter. We hiked about 30 min there at sunset the next day.
I don’t understand why 200 pelicans don’t just turn and eat one little girl? The dune in the background is about 100 feet tall, and has a few ribbons of gravel that run through it, such that you can ride much of the way from the beach to the top, and then whoop back down.
It was not all so simple.
We’ve had these cats, who we’ve been feeding for awhile.
and we could not say no to another cat, or 2
Mittens and Cookies spent 4 days nosing their way in, fleeing, coming back, and regretting it, and making us feel awkward and ugly and unwantable. They decided they did not want to be house cats. Yet flush with estrogen and a weekend of no-adoption fees throughout most of Maricopa County, we succumbed.
May 21st, 2014
May 15th, 2014
A year of club soccer, and sometimes i wonder if G has gotten any better or learned any lessons at all. She is still so emotional and uneven, hitting glass ceilings and not improving, or much being inspired to.
is it her? the coach? the position? me? her mom? the team? the club? the sport? tinyAthlete-parenting does not get a lot of empathetic coverage on cnnsi.com… Outside of work, its the most stressful thing in my life. Applying to charter schools, for the chance to be balanced, fit, socialized, and popular. It may be more important than pure academics. Don’t fucking tell me its not important. No one wins by only being smart.
The fundamental training premise of soccer coaches is to throw little girls into small-sided death matches until they become immune to the bloodshed, bored with the carnage, the ego-centric play, the flexible rules and boundaries and goalies or lackthereof. Its UFC, without the alcohol or the betting, and it sucks for the fan – no one wins and you look super-dumb if you get psyched. Every once in a while i whistle to G and give her a thumbsup just cuz I’m getting pissed off by the endless sparring.
The Parents’ Seminar explained that soccer boils down to simplicity, even at the pro level. A friend who practices judo explained there is nothing more competitive than punching another guy in the face. A lot more real than calling your own fouls in Ultimate. G has probably swallowed more elbows in 2 years than I did in 20. But she’s given 2000% more. I totally get how confusing it is to run hard when nobody passes if they don’t know your name, how stupid it is to bang bodies if the sideline might or might not be 5 feet away; I have hit the hard ground in AZ thousands of times. I get how easy it is to play when everything is set up for success, how rarely that happens, how hard it is to play in a dust storm. What made me good was to tune out everything but the disc in the dust storm. I know what G needs.
At the Parents’ Seminar it was humbling to realize what i’d been doing wrong, but inspiring to see how easy it was to fix. My job is to get G to practice in a good mood, to show her support on the sideline, to get her home happy. Let the coaches do the rest. Tune out everything but the disc. I’m psyched the coach who told me this will be one of hers this season.
Now instead of talking about what she did wrong, i talk about the fun she had, and whittle, and expose all the everything else in the dust storm she needs to tune out. Why do you play? Did you make friends today? What did you learn? Are you stoked? Why do you play? How much fun did you have? Why do you play? Tune out the dust storm, tinyHuman.
I feel her trusting me more everyday. About soccer, school, the computer, behavior, us. Our conversations are so easy. Genevieve is my favorite person in the whole wide world.
Rule #1: Kill someone!
It started out much more nuanced. It started out: dont get nervous, have fun playing, sing a song.
G: Dafuck you mean, Dad?
ME: just play, have fun, just play ball, i donut know why kids donut pass and sidelines flexible and keeping scores are no bodys, in traffic, you know how i hate on the traffic.
G: Dafuck you mean, Dad?
ME: When you are lost, have fun! find the ball and GET it.
ME: you are stronger than most girls, blow a play up.
ME: KILL!! i have FunDip!
G’s is remarkable in space and flow, where fancy dribbling means less. Stronger and stouter than most kids, faster first step than most kids, ready for contact more than most kids. She reminds me of Ricky Williams, Steven Jackson, Anquan Boldin, but with a limpdicked shot. At tourneys she dominates the ‘attempts‘ stat, with a few trickled-in goals to show.
We are screwing around together before practice, having fun, and she is almost taking my head off. I never knew to hit your laces, i thought it was the side of the foot. And it is, for passing and control, but not for shooting. Somewhere in the 2 months since I’ve been nagging G to not strike with her toe she learned to use her laces, and I fell behind.
The very first time she nearly took my head off and I nagged her to not use her toe she swore she was doing it right, started crying, and i wondered what I had done so wrong? I acknowledged my failure in the face of empirical data, we asked not only Coach Angie but also Coach Robyn, and I sincerely apologized to G for my mistake. When is the first time you knew you knew more than your parents? Mine was somewhere in my teens. G is so much better for doing it 9 yeas earlier. The difference between me and mine is I was good with it. I even explained it to Beckie, cuz I know G finds validation in public divulgence.
We warmed up together before the next practice, and i nearly took her head off.
Rule #2: Sing a song to yourself
This one, she alleged, was easy. But a coupla weeks later i asked her what she sang, but she said she never did and didn’t actually know her psych song.
What? WHAT! This is worse than a vegan dragged to a team-building lunch at a Brazilian grill!
You cant have a psych song if you don’t know your psych song!!
I played her some of mine. Phunk Junkeez sounded old to her. She backtracked, she just doesn’t like rap. She liked the Offspring, really she did. I took a hint and blasted Katy Perry. Its very catchy, after playing it over and over I sang it to myself dropping GreenieMillie. She asked to wear her red practice uni even when she didn’t have to, cause she’d rather fit in. I totally get that, I hear her roar.
We were singing on the way to tryouts. They were really a formality, she would make one of the Blackhawks teams, and that was all that mattered.
I want you all tattooed I want you bad
Complicated X- rated I want you bad
I mean it I need it I want you bad
This isn’t inappropriate, I asked at least 7 little girls if they understood ‘double entendre’ and not a one of em raised their hands. Its a littleGirl Paen.
May 9th, 2014
aka ‘The Lemmon Drop’.
Finally!!! after a snowed-out attempt 2 years ago, after 4 yrs covetting!
technically, the Lemmon Drop includes a few more miles higher up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, but nearly 5000 vf elevation delta was good enough according to James. Since he’s morphed into a dirt roadie and climbed Catalina Highway many times, this is validation aplenty for me.
YES LEMMON DROP!!!!!!
7000 vf descending, 2.5 climbing, 4.5 hrs moving over 7 hrs, no blood for either of us, one bonk, and one clusterfuck attempt to fix a sliced tire. Hors and gnar to keep us balanced.
so verklempt to be wearing kneepads, fresh off his AZT 300 attempt
I am so hard I shall ride 20 of the hardest downhill miles in AZ, with only cookies for sustenance!
for about the first time ever we’ve ridden together, I had the SLR. I owe a lot of profile pics!
VSLF: Shouldn’t he be wearing pads more often?
Me: that depends
Me: on how conservatively you ride
VSLF: he’s a wuss
Me: he’s training for distance, on a 29er, he’s core
VSLF: he’s a wuss
Me: its complicated
VSLF: he’s a wuss
Pro tip: if you slice a tire, just put in a tube.
Don’t pump it up and hope the sealant works, several times. Don’t put in more sealant, don’t jam in a plug, don’t beg with an old patched spare, don’t do a rain dance of doubt and remorse. You will reek of ammonia and latex and old sex that’s been in your camelback for 2 years. Sealant moneyshotting out my sliced tire, santorum so noxious James smelled me 2 switchbacks above. Roasting for an hour at 1pm on a west-facing ridgeline, while i flailed fixing my flat in the midst of a beatdown ride. James was sanguine, staring down 2 more hours of gnar and heat. He lobbed me a new 29er tire and set off downclimbing Molino Basin, a mop-boy in a filipino sex-room, sponging up my shame.
you can catch VD just looking
I took an extra minute before finally slinking off, to get my mind in a happy place. Molino has been in my head since I flew off an intimidating slot 6 yrs ago, and i would not let tired and hot and frustrated and rancid distract me after working all day to get here. I rolled it, fuck yeah i rolled it all, and hit the waterfall with a tiny dab. Porntastic.
There was still an hour more of burly nobs and jagged slag.
How to convey just how awesome and scabrous is this ride? All these rugged isolated views mean 50% of the climbing is straight-up HAB, the trail is narrow and gnarly and maintainance is just a few helper rocks, the opportunities to crash go on for hours, and if the snow doesn’t get you at the top the sun at the bottom will.
May 5th, 2014
This was a really cool display at the Desert Botanical Garden. There are many better pics out there…SLR with no tripod or big lens came up short. But these are still fun to me, I like especially the differences in some with and without flash.
this plant was real. I rrrrrrrrrrrrreally want to get back to the DBG in daylight now.
May 5th, 2014
May 2nd, 2014
An ironic statement, given Scottsdale Unified School District’s budget cuts will lead to half-day Hump Day all next year and drive many of us to Charter schools. But so true a statement! Reading takes sooooooo much time. One of my all-time most favorite pleasures in life is to read a book and get drunk on the beach, but i am a far better tinyFather if i don’t bother.
We did a lot of riding, swimming, eating, building fences out of zombie-killing plants, and suburban hooliganism. I read about 40 pages of a trashy novel, and that was too much time out of our busy schedule of aggressive relaxing.
donut know if it was the Spring high tide pushing the fish into the shore, or mating season, but the pelicans went off all weekend long
closeups were impossible, every time i moved in they drifted out. I tried and failed for 3 hours…
the pelican attack breaks down like this: drive into the wind, lean back so the wind inverts and pushes you down, all the while never taking your eyes off the target
This is Cookie. He and his sister Mittens have been playing us since last summer. I love you touch me. I hate you go away. I love you and i hate and love your touch. go away and touch me. i am a cat.
After they devoured 2lbs of shrimp tails, we left them with a quart of milk a bag of catfood and a promise we will bring them home if they last til Memorial Day.