Saturday, December 25, 2010

Glad we got out for a ride earlier today cuz it's pouring outside right now. We even wore our Christmas colors!

The text on my iPad screen pretty much says it all!

The Apple wireless keyboard and wireless magic mouse are quickly becoming two of my favorite accessories. Typing on the iPad has never really bothered me but when it comes to lengthier forms and letters, ahhhhh, this wireless keyboard is a gem! Oh, did I mention I'm typing using the wireless keyboard to write this blog post?

Gearing up for night rides!

Just one more week and Donna will be making the transition to working 8-5 (well, more like 8-6 or 7) which means bye-bye morning bike rides and hello, night rides! During my years of experience, I've found that lights come in real handy when you're trying to blaze down single track at 10-20mph. Hence, a set of Seca lights for Donna that should just about light up one entire side of the mountain.

Glasses that make things look 10 times further away than what they are?

Donna will likely scold me for this post but I thought she was so cute when she opened the binoculars my parents sent, then brought them to her eyes... backwards. When I told her they were backwards she looked at me like I was pulling her leg (like I would ever do that). A few seconds later, she realized I was serious. Less than two hours later, on a bike ride, she was wishing she had them with her after she spotted a falcon hovering over a field. They'll definitely become a permanent accessory for mtn biking.

My dorky, geeky gift that I love.

It's a very common occasion that I find myself taking photos of Donna and myself together. Problem is, photos taken at arm's length can get a little redundant after a while. Enter this gadget from X-Shot. It's more-or-less a telescoping pole that has a camera mount on one end, so you can hold the camera a considerable distance from yourself when taking self-portraits. I'm sure the blog will soon be adorned with photos that utilized this simple, mail-order gadget.

Mom, dad & Tiff came over for Christmas. Well, sort of.

Facetime on the iPhone is a far cry from the company of family, but at times like this it's better than a simple phone call. We're hoping that next year we'll have the holiday together as a family.

What better way to start the day than with a Christmas tradition - cinnamon rolls.

Last year we went the Pillsbury route but this year... monster cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Company. Four of them weighed in at 1.75lbs!

Women always go for fine, hand-made Italian shoes. Today was no exception.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Donna, wondering if she's on the naughty or nice list this year - probably depends on who you talk to.

Taking in a performance of the Nutcracker with the Mrs., at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza - my first (& probably last) ballet.


Donna makes a few batches of 'thin mint' cookies every year which puts the Girl Scout cookies to shame. The secret, I believe, it the use of Wilbur chocolate wafers (melted of course) and real, natural peppermint oil instead of extract, which she claims has water in it and would therefore hurt the chocolate. I also believe the hint of butter in the Ritz crackers that she uses adds a little something too.


It actually isn't all that cold outside but the rain makes it feel like it is. Fortunately there's a Starbuck's in the same building as Pickle's, so we didn't have much of a walk between the two.


After sleeping in this morning, then going for a run, we were ready for lunch but it was so miserable outside, we didn't want to go far. Pickles, an overpriced but good 'jewish deli' down the street, sounded great because of their chicken-noodle soup - it's not as good as my grandma's, but it's a close second. We each had a bowl of soup and split a turkey sandwich - judging by the photo, you can probably see why we split it. Wow! They pile the meat so high I usually have to take some of it off just to fit the thing in my mouth.


Originally uploaded by BroAndDonna
We've grown so accustomed to blue, sunny skies, that when the rainy, overcast weather comes in, it really takes a toll on us. Donna and I are both in a bit of a funk today. We love being together but I think Donna would rather be spending the day baking cookies with my mom & sister while my dad and I sit in the living room, watching a football game. Sounds like a pretty good day to me, too.

Running hurts. I don't like it.

Given my love for running, I couldn't figure out why I put myself through the agony this morning, especially in the middle of a 'storm' - the rain is coming down sideways and the winds are kicking around pretty good. Then I remembered how I feel after a day of sitting around, doing nothing. Lazy days can be great but they're always better when I've had a little exercise, first thing in the morning.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What do you usually want to do after a 45-minute run on a rainy day? Get changed and go for a bike ride, right?

It's one of those dreary, wet days today. When we woke up, I had no motivation to ride but I know Donna will go stir-crazy if she doesn't do some exercise, so I encouraged her to get out for a run (I can't run right now because of some feet problems). An hour later she was walking in the front door, asking if I wanted to go for a ride. The rain had pretty much stopped so I figured why not - any ride with Donna is a fun ride.
Turns out it was a blast and I'm so glad she got me in the saddle because I'm gonna be doing a lot of sitting around today, since she's at work and I've got the day off.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How do I spell relief? S-i-n-g-l-e-t-r-a-c-k


This has been a doozie of a week between jury duty during the day and a couple hours of work every night. Deliberations today were exhausting and the managing editor agreed that me taking the 'afternoon' off wasn't a problem. I didn't exactly get out early enough for any daylight riding, but it did afford me the time to fix a flat, tighten down 8 chainring bolts, clean and lube a chain and get out for a nice evening ride on the hills above Newbury Park.


Thursday marked the end of 21 days of jury service and the last of 21 trips down this walkway outside the justice center. By the end of it all, I walked away feeling like I've done some good, served the community and hopefully perhaps even made the county in which I live a better place. Deliberations went longer than I though they would, but I'm glad everything was discussed as thoroughly as what it was. The end result: guilty on five charges and hung on one.


Driving around the roadways of Southern California, it's easy to pull up next to a Lotus, Ferrari, Bentley, or on some occasions even a Bugatti, and find yourself envious of the marvel of engineering rolling down the roadway along side your mediocre car. In more ways than just this, it's easy to look at what some people have and feel like you don't have much.
The other day I was returning to the justice center for jury duty when I passed this scene - a bus stop. Sure, there was a Mercedes sitting to my right at the traffic light, but two my left were these three people, waiting for a bus. All of the sudden, the interior of my Mitsubishi Montero seemed much more plush and I was reminded of how much time I should spend being thankful and appreciative for what I do have, instead of envying what I don't.
Not only have I had this reliable vehicle for years, but I've had food on the table, a roof over my head, a wife who is leaps and bounds above what I deserve, good health, a loving family and... well, you get the point (as did I as I drove by this bus stop.)


After replacing the entire drivetrain on two mountain bikes, we found that Donna's road bike was due for the same. Enter Santa's little helpers, who decided anyone as dedicated to cycling as Donna, shouldn't have to wait until Christmas to get rollin' on the tarmac again. One Ultegra cassette later, along with a SRAM chain and Shimano chainrings, her Salsa LaRaza is once again ready to roll. Nothin' like shiny new bike parts!

(Re)learned my lesson regarding chain maintenance: Four chains in the trash, four new ones on the bikes

Having to replace entire drivetrains on the mountain bikes after forgetting to check the chains for stretching, I decided to check the chains on all our other bikes. One was bad, one was really bad, one was obscene and one was really offensive. Time for four new chains.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Originally uploaded by BroAndDonna
Even in Southern California, I suppose a little rain must fall. There were no sunny, blue skies this morning and it looks like after a decent day tomorrow, we're in for maybe a five or six day stretch of the wet stuff. I can't complain given I'm walking around without the need for a jacket, so still the weather is a far cry from what my friends and family up north are experiencing. Looks like we'll have ample opportunity for some good 'cross riding (once I get new chains on my Karate Monkey and Donna's Conquest.)

One more perk to concluding jury duty... concluding the slooowwww drive to Ventura every day. Hopefully Thursday will be the last day, though I suppose there's a chance we'll go til Friday.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Originally uploaded by BroAndDonna
Donna and I got out for an evening stroll around the neighborhood this evening - something I hope we can do much more often once she makes the switch to day shift. Winter isn't exactly in the air. Though we both took light jackets, I was wearing shorts. The Christmas lights however certainly added to the scenery. Nothing beats an evening with my sweetie.


Sunday night we sat in a line of traffic waiting to get into a drive-thru live nativity. Then we sat and waited some more. After that, we waited in line even more. Eventually we made it in. The scene itself wasn't terribly memorable - it's hard to feel like you're actually there with a Volvo right in front of you, driving down a Bethlehem city street of long ago. What did make it worth it, was devoting an evening to an event to reminded everyone, myself & Donna included, of the true meaning of Christmas. If any 'birthday' is worth such a celebration, it's this one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mid-December, 8pm, sitting outside enjoying an ice-cream cone.

A 2/3 lb burger at The Counter, my reward for today's ride. Great food. Not worth $12.50, nor were the $5.50 fries. But yummmm!

Having been recently groomed, Backbone provided an even more-enjoyable-than-usual descent

One of my favorite sections of Space Mtn, one of our many 'neighborhood' trails

Wrapping up the first part of today's ride & beginning the second, heading into Sycamore Canyon

Soakin' up the view of Mt Baldy. Well, not at this exact second - I don't have eyes in the back of my head.

It's been ages since we spent 4.5 hours in the saddle. It hurt, but we had a wonderful day outdoors, in the 80-degree weather.

Pretty Fall color today in Sycamore Canyon

Donna kept an amazing, middle-chainring pace the whole way up Guadalasco today - no easy feat.