• Category Archives day by day
  • This is the category closest to just being a plain diary. Places I go, things I do, people I see, what’s happening in my life.

  • The View From Musikfest

    Pretty good night last night: we went with some of Anne’s orchestra friends and saw a trio (violin, piano, clarinet) doing Mozart and a few more modern classical pieces at the Moravian Church, then grabbed a beer at the Sun Inn, which was amazingly quiet compared to the street just outside. Left there, went home for some quick food, then caught Scythian — or the first half of their show anyway, thunder and lightning clearing the metal-pole tent. Doug & Lori joined us, as well as John & Donna who stopped by their place to grab some Scotch they got in Scotland. Much fun ensued, studying the relative merits of different Scotches… (This morning started a bit more slowly than we’d planned.)

    We caught another chamber music trio earlier this week, as well as a Faroese folk singer one evening; both of these were at the Moravian Chapel behind the church — these both were firsts for me, being inside these buildings. We also saw the Skatalites at Volksplatz, but other than that, and last night’s rained-out adventure, we’ve been avoiding Musikfest after dark. With age comes wisdom?

    Speaking of wisdom, I realized that my use of categories here (“the sporting life,” “cultural ramblings,” etc) has caused me to fragment my writing, trying to keep myself to one subject per post. I usually don’t have enough to say about any one thing to sustain a full post though, not on any regular basis at least, so my posting has dropped off and I’ve ended up not writing about anything. Therefore, I think I’ll make a conscious effort, to go back to my previous diary-like mishmash of whatever pops into my head, or into my life. Thus…

    Reading: The other book I read in Canada was A Gentleman In Moscow, by Amor Towles. This is the story of a Russian aristocrat who is sentenced by the Bolsheviks to house arrest for life in a luxury Moscow hotel. The novel has som many surprising twists that anything else I reveal would be a spoiler, so I’ll just say that this was a great book, and well worth reading.

    What else has been going on? I was back volunteering at the Canal Museum on Wednesday, but while there I heard that they had so many bike rentals last weekend that they needed to get some of the spares out of storage, and their tires were low on air, etc. So, I went in yesterday and went through all the bikes, making sure that they would be ready for use if needed this weekend. I also did some volunteering at CAT on Tuesday, building up a bike with Anne. In terms of actually riding bikes, Anne and I did a road ride, with lunch in Riegelsville, and Doug and I rode Jacobsburg on Thursday. Yesterday was rainy, and tonight threatens more, so if I ride tomorrow it’ll probably be a road ride.


  • Oh, Canada!

    Just got back last night from a trip to Canada’s Maritime Provinces — specifically, Prince Edward Island and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Awesome time: we had a great time with friends, the weather was sunny, breezy and delightfully cool, and I learned to eat and enjoy mussels as well as lobster. Great local brews, and great bicycling too, in both places. We were gone just under two weeks, spending about 4 days on PEI with Judy, Toby, Erika and Josiah, as well as Steve and Kathy, before heading down to Halifax on our own for another 4 or 5 days — it’s all starting to blur, can’t remember the days… Two days travel time each way, and now here we are!

    Our friends Donna and John are also coming home tonight after two weeks in Scotland; if they (and we) have the energy we’ll meet them to catch up over a few quiet beers, the last before the summer mayhem descends. Because… Next Up Is Musikfest!

    RIP Toni: My friend Doug’s mom passed away last week, after a long struggle with cancer. (We didn’t even know until we were back in the States.) I’ve known her for a long time — the mother of a good friend, she was my first regular reader/commenter at my first blog — but I haven’t really talked to her in a few years. She was a fiesty, outspoken woman; it’s painful to think of her as gone even if I know she’s now free from her suffering, and hopefully at peace.


  • Huckleberry Hounds

    Posted on by Don

    We just got back from a trip to Brady’s Lake to pick blueberries, the high-bush kind that may or may not actually be huckleberries rather than blueberries — these are big berries, and huckleberries are supposedly smaller (and grow on evergreens), so I’d still go with blueberries. Two hours of picking, and I think we got more than three quarts — and it looks like there’s a lot more to be had as the season progresses. No bear sightings, though…

    Yessssssss! Successsssss! The keyboard crapped out on my laptop a few weeks ago, with the “S” key sticking more and more — very frustrating. I finally brought it in to a repair shop yesterday, where I had the keyboard replaced, as well as the insides cleaned (like, the fan/air vents) and the heat sink refurbished. I thought it would be days, but he called in about an hour saying it was done, and I picked up my cool-running, feels-like-new laptop that afternoon. Sweet!

    No Bearings On The Case We rode to Anne’s orchestras summer picnic yesterday, along with Shari, an orchestra-mate who lives in our neighborhood. It was a reasonable distance, maybe 14 miles one way, but we were going slow and I wanted to be wearing normal clothes/shows when we arrived. So, I took the Iguana, for its first big ride since I re-worked the headset last Tuesday at the CAT office. That was a bit of a disaster: I took off the stem, lock nut and spacers, then as I was taking the upper race off all the ball bearings fell out of the bottom bearing and scattered bouncing across the floor. Turns out the seal was gone, and the bearing cage was mostly gone, so once I loosened the fork there was nothing holding them in. I managed to retrieve most of them and replace the missing ones, put them into what was left of the cage with a whole lot of grease to act as “glue,” and put it all back together. This is a temporary fix until I can get a new bearing/cage assembly, but despite everything, the bike’s steering feels better now than it has in years.


  • The Fever Broke

    Posted on by Don

    Pretty cool today, and rainy too. I’m just hanging out, arguing with people who are wrong on the Internet (Facebook specifically), claiming that pedestrians do not have the right of way at every crosswalk, whether marked or not. FYI: unless there are traffic lights to otherwise control the intersection, pedestrians do have the right of way at every crosswalk (which includes the implied continuations of sidewalks, etc. across and through an intersection), not just the ones that are marked. Now you know — and now so do they, but they won’t believe me…

    Meantime, I got in a few good rides this week, including one “hot lap” on the towpath: pushed the pace on the way out, then did intervals on the way back. I was beat up, but still managed to join Anne, John, Dianna and another rider for a more leisurely, evening towpath ride, followed by burgers & beer al fresco at Brew Works. (Anne and I did a nice rode into Easton the other night, and had a nice beer at Two Rivers.)

    I may take a walk over to Southside for some sort of lunch, where I will also be buying tickets for Southside Film Festival for tonight and tomorrow.


  • Gardener Blues

    Posted on by Don

    Just got in from doing a spot of weeding in the front yard. The garden got away from us this spring, but as our free time slowly ramps back up we’ve been tackling it in bits and pieces. There has been a definite “two steps forward one step back” vibe to our efforts though.

    I’d grown a bunch of seedlings inside, and planted them out front a few weeks ago. Then just last weekend we bought a bunch of flowers (perennials: phlox and coneflowers, plus a few low, ground-cover things) at the nursery, and I planted them where the seedlings had been, because those had all been eaten by birds. We also picked up a box of ladybugs at the nursery, to deal with an aphid problem on our brown-eyed susans. We put the ladybugs out on Sunday night, and spent the week watching them in among the plants — they seemed happy, though I never saw them actually eating any of the aphids — but as of today they all seem to have disappeared. Aphids are doing fine.

    Anyway, the front garden is getting cleaned up (I just harvested our second bumper crop of weeds), and we have moved on to the beds out back, which all need a lot of love. I’m not saying I miss winter, but…

     

     


  • Where Does The Time Go?

    I’m not sure where it’s gone, but here I am all alone… Anne is at a knitting convention; she should be home tomorrow, but I’ve been on my own the past few days.

    So, what have I been up to, this past week and this past month? Lets see:

    Riding: I got out at Jacobsburg yesterday, and I got in a towpath ride the day before — a fairly hot lap too, for me and for this time of year, which I guess is why the ‘Burg was so tiring. Today I helped out with Bike Smart Easton (kid’s biking education program) at Calypso Elementary, but otherwise took it as a rest day, and tomorrow I may ride either Sals or Nox. I’m supposed to help with a Sals trash cleanup tomorrow, so that may influence my decision, one way or another.

    Travel: We just got back from visiting Emmi and Kyle in Durham, where we participated in the March for Science in Raleigh, among many other things, except riding: we did a run the first day we were there, and it was sunny for the march, but otherwise it was a rainy, rainy visit. Plenty of good but heavy food, some bookstores and coffee shops, and some really cool night spots — our typical Durham visit.

    We also did a short trip to Rehoboth Beach about a month ago, just a few days to do some riding and visit Dogfish Head Brewing.

    Reading: I’ve been obsessing over the “Expanse” series, by James S.A. Corey. More on this later but it’s some seriously good space opera, and I’ve read five of the six published books (out of a total of nine planned).

    I’ve also been doing a bit of volunteering at the Canal Museum, and also quite a bit of playing with the mapping software, but those’ll have to be other stories.


  • Brew Day

    Morning weigh-in: 192.0#, 14.0% BF

    (Those are the figures from yesterday morning.)

    We got up this morning at the crack of 10:00 AMĀ  — thanks, Daylight Saving Time! — went for an easy mile run, and then after breakfast we got down to brewing. We’re doing it inside today because it’s just too windy out for the propane burner, so that means we’re stuck brewing for six hours on the stove burners instead of two on our “jet engine” of an outdoor system, but it is a nice day to just hang out.

    NEWS FLASH: Anne and I played a duet together today, for the first time ever! I broke out the cello and we played some of the things from the first Suzuki book. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” that sort of thing — all I could really handle, really… I’ve been resisting this for a while, but a friend came over and played with her the other day, and I realized I was no worse than she was, if not much better, so we gave it a try. Totally fun, but now I have to start practicing again.

    Yesterday was another mellow day at home, with a visit from Ray and Lorraine in the middle of it. We did get out for a walk in the afternoon, over to the Southside where we put in an order for our brewing supplies at Keystone, stopped in for a beer at Bonn Place, and then picked up our supplies on the walk home. Tonight we’ll probably do the usual with John and Donna.


  • Big Breezy Day

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 193.0#, 15.0% BF

    Not sure what happened there with the weight, except that there were several days without real exercise — hey but I did make my steps! — and last night was a night out with John. We did the Brew Works, our usual, where it was quiet, almost empty even when we arrived, but it eventually picked up. Anne and I had eaten a fairly healthy meal at home (lamb with cauliflower, delish) but I had a rye IPA and two glasses of mead, and I think that might be at least partly to blame for those numbers.

    In terms of rides, I just got back from one, down the towpath to Easton and back. It’s a beautiful day and, except for a strong breeze, cycling conditions were ideal. It’s hard to believe we’re expecting two to four inches of snow tomorrow.

     


  • I Am Not Your Negro

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 191.0#, 13.5% BF

    We saw I Am Not Your Negro last night, the the documentary about James Baldwin. Unbelievably good — it cut between Baldwin himself in speeches, interviews etc, other documentary footage from various eras (60’s era riots, lynchings, Ferguson) and movie footage, especially of movies from when he was a kid, with a voice-over of his writings (mostly musings from an unfinished project, a tribute to Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King — “three friends who had been murdered” as he put it at one point), read by Samuel L. Jackson. More a “time to face some things you already know but have trouble admitting” story than an eye-opener, the structure, and Baldwin’s own powerful words, made for a very intense movie.

    Highly recommended — go see it.

    Afterward we went to a nearby pub that shall remain nameless, where the food was good and the beer was pretty decent, but it seemed one of those places — there are a number of them in the Valley, on the outskirts of urban areas — where there were noticeably no black people. (Admittedly, there were few people at all in there, and those few were annoying, so maybe I had a sour view of things.) There was also a whiskey ad on the wall, a mocking take on “Black Lives Matter.” Nothing serious, maybe a bit “edgy,” passive-aggressive even, but hey free speech and where’s your sense of humor?

    It could almost have been a scene from the movie, like a substitute for the outtakes from “The Pajama Game,” while the voice-over talks about white apathy and the emptiness of American lives. I guess that’s what great art does to you, it sensitizes you to the things it showed you.

    Anyway, not much else got done yesterday, though I did manage to lose another half pound. No ride today, since I’m going over to volunteer at the Museum, but possibly a road ride tomorrow.


  • Bright New Monday!

    Morning weigh-in: 191.5#, 13.5% BF

    Did a towpath ride yesterday, ended up fighting headwinds again on the way back but it was a beautiful day. I can’t say I ate all that smart or light yesterday, but they were healthy meals at home, so that’s something.

    Today is a rest day: did a few online and IRL chores, and hopefully I will be heading in to help with more Bethlehem Steel drawings this afternoon at the Canal Museum. Breakfast was fruit with cottage cheese, lunch will be something in the same vein.