Olympic, um, “Athletes”

You walk away from the house and the cantankerous appliances for, like, 30 hours, and what happens?

Portable electronics take up the rebellion, of course.

August 4 was our first time to participate in the “Blazin’ Saddle” bike rally in Granbury, Texas. Brent signed up for the 75-mile route, while I signed up for “Start with the 20-milers and see how it goes.”

We drove part of the route the evening before, taking special note of the infamous “Skulls Crossing” area. It’s pretty much a dry creek bed except when it rains, which it wasn’t going to. The road dips steeply down and even more steeply up, a 16-percent grade. Fortunately, the climb is short, but really. I wasn’t sure either hip or knee joints would survive.

After a decent night’s sleep at the motel, we ate while loading our bikes and stuff in the car. Then we lined up at the junior high school with lots and lots of other people…

Even though I’ve had a Garmin bike computer for several months, I keep forgetting to activate it when rides actually start. Sure enough, I wobbled through the first quarter mile, tryna push the right buttons to START RIDE.

My proudest moment was when I climbed up Skulls Crossing without having to get off and walk.

The ride went smoothly from there. Somehow none of the other climbs seemed very challenging compared to that SIXTEEN PERCENT Skulls Crossing. >shudders<

Even as I approached "The Peaks," a ridge rising abruptly from the rolling hills, I couldn't complain. Then the road turned toward the north and fell away in a long, straight, beautiful downhill. I reached to push the "Lap" button on my computer, so I could easily find the location when I uploaded the map later.

Unfortunately, I accidentally hit "Pause" instead. I quickly realized this and frantically pushed buttons to get the computer recording again before I picked up too much speed.

Okay… 31.4 MPH and a -9% grade. Woohooooo!

It must have been fifteen minutes later when I checked my distance and elapsed time. Then checked again after a few more minutes, only to find the same readings.



I started it recording again, but that lovely downhill run is now unprovable, as is my total distance.

Meanwhile, on the Super Long Route, Brent was having troubles of his own.

Like me, it started shortly after the ride began, when he hit a bump and one of his water bottles bounced right out of its cage on the frame. One of the good bottles… so he had to retrieve it, losing the pack he’d started out with.

Later, in an especially scenic stretch, he decided to take a picture. Without stopping, of course. So he pulled his new phone out and opened the camera, intending to use the volume button to snap the photo one-handed.

Imagine his surprise when the phone started vibrating and emitting a loud DEFCON 1–type sound. Something popped up on the screen and Brent’s finger brushed it as he was trying to make the noise stop.

Yeah, he’d just found the previously unknown Panic Button and followed up by dialing 9-1-1.

Conceding defeat, he stopped so he could use both hands to throttle silence his phone. At last he managed to tap the Disconnect button.


Four seconds later, Hood County Emergency Services called him back.

The dispatcher was understanding but amused at Brent’s predicament. I’m sure that wasn’t the first time something like that had happened.

Between the two of us, we’re unbeatable. I mean, we should be in the Olympics, right? I’m not sure what sport we’d fit under…

…maybe “Synchronized Fumbling?”

Thanks for reading!

Posted in A Page From My Journal, Thoughts on Two Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Grandparenting: Not for the Faint of Heart

Greetings! We’ve just had a wonderful, whirlwind visit from our son and his family. I’m catching up on sleep and may be lucid enough to write a blog entry…

The littles were great fun. The older two entertained us in the pool, with crafts, and by generally rocketing around singing and talking and asking questions. And I had plenty of time to snuggle with Baby Brother.

Grandpa took the older boy upstairs and pulled out the mother-lode of Legos, which kept them both busy for hours. Grandson found a flexible Lego hose, probably part of a spaceship kit, and discovered he could blow into it to produce an extremely high-pitched whistling sound.

Unfortunately, there were more hoses, which he shared with his little sister. Between them, I felt like I was in a nightmare where the teakettle is whistling and I can’t… get… to… the… stove… to… turn… it… off.

Overall, my days went something like

High energy high energy high energy Whee! high energy tweeeeeeet tweeeeeeeeeeeeet high energy Watch this, Grandma! high energy high energy high energy Waaaah, he pushed me! high energy tweeeeeeeeeet high energy high ener–“Okay, kids, Grandma can’t feel her face…”

I wouldn’t trade those few days, though. Seeing their intelligence, creativity, tenderness, determination, humor, and overall cuteness… it doesn’t get any better.

It’ll be our turn to visit them next time. I can’t wait.

You know… once I’ve rested up.

Thanks for reading,

Posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories)

Hittin’ the Brakes

How are you at time management? Maybe you can multi-task, but apparently, I can’t. Case in point: blogging twice a week is keeping me from writing my humor series. Also I’m organizing my interview transcripts, preparing to plunge into writing the biography I mentioned earlier. See?

Arranging stories from transcripts in chronological order.
Some assembly required.

Someone recently made me realize that every hour I invest in preparing blog posts is an hour that I’m NOT working on my major projects. I have hometown folks waiting for that East Texas series, people! And more folks waiting for the biography I’m just starting on.

So I’m hitting the brakes on this blog… reluctantly, because it’s so much fun to share my goofy-but-true stories. Gonna see how it goes–hopefully, I can still take time to write a post each month or so. Like if something extra ridiculous happens, or maybe I have a few photos to share. But I won’t stress over it.

I’m off now to set up some project deadlines for myself. I need goals and a hefty dose of focus. Goodbye, multitasking! I’m typing my way toward those two sweet words:

“The End”

Thanks for reading,

Posted in Fictional Forays, I Remember When... (my OWN stories) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Pandora FAIL

How do you fail at Pandora?

To be clear, I’m talking about the online-radio app, not the charm bracelets.

Technically, it’s just an app, not an appliance… but I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Sunday evening, we had our Liberian friends and several friends from church at our house for a potluck dinner. I set Pandora on an uplifting worship music station and put it through the speakers. Everyone arrived, we set up the food, and people visited while munching chips and salsa. Then it was time to start eating in earnest.

We bowed our heads for prayer, and Brent thanked the Lord for the friends and food. He had barely started speaking when I heard a feminine voice say, “Uh-ohhh…” Thinking something had spilled, I glanced around to see whether anyone needed a towel or mop.

No, all heads were bowed.

That’s when I heard the voice again. This time I realized it was coming from the speaker above my head.

It was a commercial…

… a commercial for diarrhea medicine.

Could there be a more ominous start to a meal?

We got through the prayer with only a few snickers. Now we’re all thankful, not only for friends and food, but for laughter. And the fact no one needed any medication after dinner.

Thanks for reading,

Posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Learn to Relax!

Last week, I went to my first-ever yoga class. Some friends I’ve consulted recommend yoga to correct my posture and ease my chronic knotted-up shoulder, so I thought I’d give it a try.

It went better than you might think, for a somewhat awkward newbie. There were only a few mishaps:

1. The class info said to bring a large towel. I brought a gigantic, cabana-striped beach towel. Everyone else had normal bath-size towels.
2. My toes cramped.
3. My water bottle got knocked over.
4. I lost my balance.
5. The warm room made me sweat.
6. I tripped over my oversize towel.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Yeah, but then the class started.

7:30 PM– The instructor had us lie down on our backs for a few moments to collect our focus. I went into a coughing jag.

7:33 PM– We stood and began with some deep, steady breathing. Looking up at the ceiling while inhaling and then looking down for the exhale made me dizzy.

7:45 PM– My balance is normally pretty decent. I mean, I often stand on one foot while doing chores or talking on the phone, simply to challenge myself. But without shoes, I could not hold even the simplest one-footed pose for more than two seconds. I finally moved to where I could touch a wall. Sheesh.

7:50-8:35 PM– I didn’t know what all the instructions meant.

8:15-8:30 PM– As we progressed, I got so focused on trying to follow the multi-step movement instructions that I, um, forgot to breathe.

8:20 PM– Who forgets to breathe??

However, our instructor encouraged us all along. He kept advising us not to fight our bodies or stress out about things we can’t do (or can’t yet do). That reminded me to be thankful for all I can do.

So, even though the beginner class was still a bit over my head, I’m gonna go back and try again. Any progress is a win, right?

At the close of class, we got to stretch and then relax for a few minutes. As a closing, the instructor said “Namaste” and the others replied in kind. This is apparently a yoga thing.

Bonus: While grocery shopping the very next day, I saw a woman wearing a T-shirt that says it all:


Thanks for reading,

Posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Dear Texas…” – A Guest Post

Why should I whine about the sudden summer heat around here, when my friend Misty Ansted has already said it so well? With her kind permission, I present her open letter (which first appeared on her Facebook timeline over Memorial Day weekend 2018) to our favorite state.

Evidence captured Sunday, May 27

Um, yeah….hey there Texas.

So, this is problematic. See, it’s just now Memorial Day weekend. You can’t be doing this to us yet. This hell is gonna need to wait until at least mid July but preferably August. If you do this now, this means we are already stuck indoors, hoping for no rolling black outs, so we don’t sweat there too, and praying our cars and houses don’t melt in the scorching heat. Our pools automatically become large hot tubs and literally NO outdoor activity is enjoyable until like 10pm at night.

There’s not enough electricity in this state to accommodate this kind of torture all summer. Not to mention, if this lasts three straight months, Texas you will literally disintegrate. From space you’re just gonna see what appears to be a large Texas shaped grass fire.

Northerners are gonna come down in August and just find scorched houses and bodies and landmarks that used to be there. Not acceptable, Texas. You know better, darlin. So, we gonna need you to simmer down a bit so we can enjoy at least a month or so of summer before you turn into the 7th ring of hell.

You know I love you. I have for 38 years, but we had to have this talk. Please, we aren’t asking for much. Mid 90’s are acceptable. But 100 and over. Just no. Not yet babe, not yet.

All my love to the greatest state ever (except in August),

Misty is working toward a Master’s degree in Christian Education at Dallas Theological Seminary, where she also holds down a challenging, almost-full-time job. She and her husband, Matt, have three children ages 4 to 14. And in her spare time, she likes to… um, she… oh.

Never mind.

Y’all stay cool!
Thanks for reading,

Posted in Everybody Has a Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mama B: A Time to Heal, by Michelle Stimpson

Image credit: amazon.com

From Amazon:

Mama B’s been helping strangers through their issues, but her own daughter may have the biggest problem of them all—a problem with Mama B! When Cassandra invites her mother to a “therapy” session, the accusations launched are enough to send Mama B into a tizzy.  … Mama B’s got her hands full trying to keep her family together. But Mama B fans know she has her own way of standing up to a spiritual attack, and it sure don’t involve fussin’ and arguin’ with folk. She knows exactly where to turn for help.

Why do I like it? Well, for starters, the main character. I wish Mama B lived in our neighborhood. She’s fun, and active, and godly, and eighty years old.

She’s also real. She goofs up some, but that’s usually a matter of trying to rush in half-cocked to help someone. Or in this case, to defend herself. Mama B is wise enough to inspire me, but imperfect enough that I can still relate to her.

Stimpson’s other characters are always spot on, too. Even the most annoying ones have some reason to act the way they do.

I’ve enjoyed every book in this series, so chalk up A Time to Heal as another Great Weekend Read!

You can visit author Michelle Stimpson’s website by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Posted in Great Weekend Reads! | Tagged , , , , , , , ,