Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Kids are on My Mind

 I'm exhausted from a long week.  I really didn't want to parent tonight.  When I say that out loud I invariably start thinking about the kids.  Maybe it's guilt.  Whatever it is, it happens every time. 

On Saturday night, Eli's basketball team had a great game.  He looks kind of like a little twerp holding the ball here but I think it's just his stance.

 They won the game, 25-8.  And I didn't get to the game, I had to work late.
 Then I think of the little princess.  This is a really old pic, from 2003.
2003 again.  I don't get to see her enough anymore.  She has school and a job.  I think she made more than me last week.  Hey girl, can you spare a little change for your dad?
 Then there is Tyson.  This is from 2005.  He and Hanna have always been two pees in a pod.
This is the little guys birthday in 2005, he was 4 years old.  Hanna looks like she wants to eat some of that cake.  Tyson is taller than me now, a sophomore in high school.  He's all about sports, girls, and his phone.
I don't remember the year, I think this is 2009.   This is at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  They look so good together, don't you think?

I'll feel better already.  Maybe that's because the kids are in bed early?  Wait, I hear them arguing. I'll just parent tomorrow.....

Sunday, January 01, 2017

That's What I Learned From My Dad

If you read this blog from time to time, you'll know that 2016 was the first year since 1979 that I did not race a bike.  It was a much-needed break, a break that gave me some perspective on why I have hung on to racing for so long.  I also had to find out if I could live without it.  The answer is yes, I can live without it, but no, I don't want to.
What is the significance of the stairs?  Running stairs is a hard workout, one that I started while I was in high school.  But it's also a connection to a former self.  This set of stairs is constant, and running it today is the same as running it in 1989.  There are few hard, fast comparisons one can make with one's past, but this is a good one.
I wrote down a time of ten minutes flat for 20x up and down the stairs in 1989.  The other day, I nearly equaled that.  That makes me happy because I know the 22 year old Tim Kakouris was a tenacious son-of-a-bitch and he would not have enjoyed having this almost-50 year old on his ass.  At 10 seconds back, he would have felt me breathing down his neck.  Small victory for me.
What is the significance of 200 rpm? BMX bikes have improved over the years, but spinning the pedals has not.  In 1986, a couple friends gathered together and we plugged in an RPM computer to see how fast we could spin on the rollers.  I remember getting 204 rpm, just ahead of my buddy who hit 200.  I hit the rollers the other day and saw 189 rpm.  Not bad.  I took the bike outside and hit well into the 180's several times, and nailed 194 rpm one time, flat pedals and all.  I would love to see the look on a 19 year old Tim Kakouris' face if he saw me spinning next to him down the track.  Small victory, again, for me.

Are these bragging numbers?  No, they are not.  There are 7 billion people on this planet and I imagine a great number of them can do a great number of athletic feats better than I.  But to me they are victories over the aging process.  They are victories over time and victories over life, both of which, as they creep along, take with them lots of delicious little bits of who you are with them.

I don't like the person that was the younger me, but I admire his drive and I admire his audaciousness.  He was too stubborn (and stupid) and his ego was too big to do the sport the right way, but somehow he still accomplished a lot of things.   Becoming a better man while holding on to some of that jerk's athletic prowess is a goal for me now.  It's not the racing that I cannot let go of, but the feeling of accomplishment and how I measure up.
I have others to inspire.  I don't care if any of my children ever take up cycling as a real hobby.  But what I want, what I need, is for them to be inspired.  Whatever form that inspiration takes, so be it.  I would love for them to sit down with their children and say "....that's what I learned from my dad."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day 2016

 A little unconventional Thanksgiving this year.  Whatever your feelings on the "traditional" Thanksgiving, we think it's time to place our thanks in things that we know need recognizing.  Today, we started with the traditional Thanksgiving day football game that the Zimmer family has been a part of for 30 years or so.  It's been renamed the the Big Red Bowl, in honor of one of the founders, Keith Zimmer.  Keith is having a rough go of things, and it's important for us to give thanks for his lifetime of caring and service to others.
 The girls watching the rather large gathering for this year's game.  I stayed in the car.  I was cold, naturally.   To say nothing about my lack of football skills.
 I did spy the prize on the sidelines...a bowl of Big Red M&Ms.  I took a few.
 After a great lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's, I headed out to Chubb Trail for a little anti-retail therapy. 
This time, I brought my running shoes.  I wasn't sure if the trail would be dry enough to ride my mountain bike.  It was quite dry.  I'll ride there tomorrow, I think.  The run was quite cathartic. about 3 miles or so.  I saw one other person on the trail.  Chubb is quite near and dear to me.  It just feels right to be there.  I think I will have my ashes spread there when I die.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Car Watching - Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

 I must admit that my enthusiasm for exotic cars has waned over the years.  Perhaps the idea of fantasy pricing, fantasy performance, and fantasy repair costs has damped my excitement.  But....
 ....a Ferrari is a Ferrari, after all.  Just as a Lamborghini will always catch my attention, it's hard to ignore a Ferrari that parks in the handicap zone RIGHT in front of the store.
 No such thing as an ordinary Ferrari.  This is an F12 Berlinetta.  Made in 2015, this V12 car from the fantasy car land of Italy makes 731 horsepower from 6.3 liters.  Supposedly, it will reach 211 miles per hour and it gets 18 mpg....not that anyone will buy an F12 because it's easy on the gas card.
 It cost $320,000, if they let you buy one.
 Worth it?
 To those that can afford one, probably.
 They can be good investments, if one resists the temptation to wrap their F12 around a pole.
Revel in it's excess.  Just don't call it ordinary.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Car Watching - 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

 I cannot pretend that my knowledge of cool old cars goes any farther back than the mid 60's.  However, I would be a bonehead for not including the most iconic of American cars, the 1957 Chevrolet BelAir. 
 I caught this cool dude while at Meramec Caverns with the kids today.  It was a very nice surprise.
 The owner of this beauty drives it.  It's not a trailer queen, it's not a show piece.  But it turns heads, for sure.
 The BEST part of this car, right here.  Just so perfect.
 Hard to argue about the yellow/white/chrome combination.  Super clean.
 The hooded headlights just do it for me.  Gives the front such a personality.
The interior was nice.  A combination of new and old.  Again, you can tell that it's driven and that is awesome.  The plates are from Michigan.  Maybe taking a last tour before putting it away for the winter?  I caught it driving away, and it sounded great.  Who knows what's under the hood?  Doesn't matter, it's a V8 and that's perfect.

Zipline at Meramec Caverns 2016

 The kids have gone to Meramec Caverns Zipline before.  The youth group at church takes a trip down there in the fall, and this time I went with them. 
 The weather was amazing.  I'm standing at the Zipline building, looking down into the parking lot.  At the top of the photo is the river, and you can see the tops of the zipline towers in those trees.
 This is the tall tower on the starting side.  It's tall.  Anyone that knows me knows I opted out of hanging myself out on a wire 40 feet above the ground.
 This is the shorter ending tower.  Still tall.  Look at that blue sky!
The kids got their schooling on what to do and not to do.  Here they're getting the harnesses attached and they're ready to go.
Of course, Tyson went first.  He's fearless.  His face doesn't show it, as he's got kind of a grimace, but no one I know is more game to try something scary.  I could learn a lot from this dude.
Hanna went next, bless her heart.  Even she is braver than I am.  She admits that she was scared, though.
 Matt, Hanna's fine young man, let it all hang out.  He practically leaped out of the starting tower!
Another shot of the Meramec river, and in the trees you can see the other towers.  The kids zipped between those towers on that side, too.
This is the final tower on the other side.  It's the tallest.  It's the longest, too.  The zippers have to really hit it hard to make it all the way to the end tower on this side.  A lot of them stalled shy of the end tower.
Tyson almost made it.  The trees were right in front of the tower, so he only had to pull himself in a short distance.
 Hanna was just shy of the trees.  She hoofed it back in.
This looks scarier than it is.  That guy standing there helps pull the zippers onto the tower.  I had a good shot of Matt, I thought, but it was blurry.  He made it pretty far in before he stopped.
After eating ice cream in the concession area, I had to check out the cave entrance.  I love this place.  I could visit 20 more times and still not get enough of the cave.
 Had to stop here, paying guests only.  Love the kitchey Route 66 nature of Meramec Caverns.
Here was the whole group.  A fine young group.  So good, so well behaved.  Glad I went with them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Egad, 200,000 views!

Two hundred thousand.  Wow, that's a lot!

I got a bit excited when I noticed that my blog (a fairly outdated social construct) had reached 200,000 views.  I mean, that seems like a big number.

Until...until you do the math.

I started it in 2006, just a couple months before Eli was born.  That's 11-ish years.

So:
200,000 views over 11 years.
18,181 views per year.
1515 views per month.
50 views per day.

Now it doesn't seem like so much.  And it really doesn't seem like much when you consider that a cat with it's head stuck in a grocery bag gets a million hits on Youtube in a day and a half.

And trust me, this blog is not as exciting as a cat with it's head stuck in a grocery bag.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

And the winner of the best costume contest for 2016 is.....the Poop Emoji.