Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Introducing HandCraftedLife

When I started this blog last year, my friends asked me what I would do when my 45th year ended, since I named this blog specifically for my 45th year challenge. My reply, as those who know me well would expect, was, "I'll think about that when it happens."

I thought I might find blogging burdensome, and I didn't want to commit beyond a year. Sometimes the length between posts is longer than others, but all in all it's well worth the time in what I get from back from it...a sense of creativity, expression, and community.

Now I'm ready to kick it up a notch. I'm moving to a new blog, HandCraftedLife, with a new focus.

Read about it here.

45 years and 45 miles

See RocBike for a full ride report of my 45-miler.

And my flickr set of the ride is here.

Here are my favorite pictures from the day, a swan on the nest

protected by its mate

and a family of Canada geese

Remember that quote about a young man's fancy turning to thoughts of love in spring? Same for birds...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Unfinished business

So, my 45th year is over. I had a sense of being at a turning point when I started this blog, and while I can say I’ve rounded the corner on this particular turn, I’m not quite back onto the straight road.

The growing independence of DD and DS has been one major cause for this turning point. I’m still learning what it means to parent at this stage of the game. I consider it a major victory that we all still make it a point to spend time together…not just me, them too. It's a funny thing with parenting…just when you think you’ve got it down, they go and change again!

The blog has been a great place to not only document my 45th year challenge, but also to process various things happening in my life. Some things I’ve discovered about myself:

1—I really like to write. When I don’t have time to blog, I feel out of sorts and kinda mentally constipated…like there’s just too much stuff in my brain and some of it needs to get out!

2—I also like to take pictures of the things around me. The act of documenting helps me see things with new eyes.

3—I like being part of an online community. This blog and RocBike have introduced me to people and experiences I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

4—Now that I know I can do this blog thing, I’m ready to move into something new that I think may have an appeal to a broader audience. More on that in the next post…

But first, for the unfinished business…

Here are my last 3 finished objects (finished before my birthday, I swear!), modeled by DD in between homework and watching "So You Think You Can Dance."

A yoga mat bag for T (from the same pattern as this one

Scrap striped scarf. (I am all about using up the stash right now. Don't worry, it will pass.)

Colorful scarf from various yarn scraps, with no particular pattern. I just switched yarn and pattern as the mood struck.

There's also a random hat somewhere which I made to use up some yarn, but I can' find it. That's okay, it would be number 46, anyway!

Up next…the ride report from my 45-miler! Then, on to the next stage of the blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I did it!

I completed my 45-mile bike ride today (and none too soon, as tomorrow is my birthday!). I covered terrain from Rochester to Lake Ontario, back to Rochester, to Perinton, and BACK home to Rochester. It felt great...complete ride report to follow.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

FOY (First-of-Year)

For those who watch birds avidly, FOY stands for First-of-Year. My first Great Blue Heron of the year, seen on a bike ride on the Erie Canal, near Lock 33.

Every Spring, we go out to a special spot in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. If you go at the right time, you'll hear a chorus of frogs singing their mating song. It's kind of eerie (made a bit more so this year by a rather intoxicated man circling the trail and talking loudly and angrily, but he was harmless). Hearing the frogs was worth it. Here's a picture taken just before the song began (which intensifies right as darkness falls).

Yesterday, T. and I went to Highland Park to look for FOY warblers. We saw the following: black and white, black-throated green, yellow-rumped, and lots more. Plus a blue-headed vireo, the first I have seen (that's called a "lifebird" if you're an aspiring bird nerd like me).

I couldn't resist the magnolia blossoms which had fallen to the ground.

Up next, my FOY flower bouquet from my garden--forsythia, the last daffodil and some other things whose names I don't know.

And it was the FOY South Wedge Farmers Market. You really should go to the website and watch the short video of the festivities, including DD, dear friends Hillary and Vicki, and favorite kids Max, Quinn, and Katie, among others, dancing around the maypole.

I picked up some Asian greens at the Market from Freshwise, and I already had some feta and chevre from Lively Run, so I modified a recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone to make a double-crusted fresh spring greens tart. It will be tomorrow's dinner.

And by the way, my 45th birthday nears. I have completed the hand-made objects, although they may not get uploaded right away as my time is limited due to end-of-the-semester grad. school and work stuff. (I realize it probably doesn't seem like that, since I sound like nature girl in this post. This stuff has happened over the last 2-3 weeks, interspersed with bursts of research, writing, and conversations where I use words like "pedagogy" "theoretical" and "retention" as though I were talking about my children.)

The bike ride is coming soon...stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I was walking to class a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by this view in front of the library.

This despite the fact that spring is a bad allergy season for me, although Chinese herbs and dietary changes have made it more of a minor annoyance than the season of headache it once was.

Speaking of which--those innocuous looking yellow flowers are buttercups, which according to weather.com, are a common allergy trigger in my area right now.

Huh...DD and I just pulled a bazillion of them, the "creeping buttercup" variety from the yard. (They're just as insidious as they sound.) And I thought that good feeling was just from the satisfaction of getting rid of them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recently seen on my bike

(Cross-posted at RocBike).

After a powerful Earth Day sermon that echoed many of the themes in Michael Pollan's recent call to each individual to do something about climate change, and included a mention of the Rochester Chicken Club (of which I am a proud member--more on that topic to come), I came out to find this on my parked bike.

And this week, on my ride to yoga class, where I met my daughter, my new Ortlieb panniers managed the task of carrying our two yoga mats admirably.

I splurged on the panniers after I decided that an XtraCycle is not right for me, at this point. An XtraCycle is great if you want to be able to give someone else a ride, but my 17 and 19-year olds aren't likely to want to be seen on the back of their mom's bike. And everyone else I might be traveling with would likely ride their own! So, I got the panniers instead; they hold plenty of groceries and are very easy to use. I recommend them if you're in the market.

Bikes, chickens, and yoga...what more could you want?