Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

When I'm riding the most wonderful things come to mind. I compose amazing and possibly insightful prose, but then I get home. My "Riding Mind" becomes Cinderella  and the marvelous spell cast by two wheels unravels. By the time I can sit myself down at the computer I'm lucky to have one slipper. It is much like trying to remember a dream. I can almost, but not quite. It is very frustrating.

Today I saw a couple of those "Happy Birthday, Jesus," signs planted in folk's yards. I cannot tell you how much I dislike those signs. Hello! We don't know when Jesus was born. Christians didn't really need to celebrate his birthday until it became important to confirm his humanity after much time emphasizing his divinity. "Yes," Christmas says, "Rejoice, Jesus was born. He is truly human." And what better time to affirm this great joy then when the light is once more overcoming the darkness.

As I was pondering this, my "Riding Mind" was remembering the Jerusalem Talmud saying the Messiah would be born on Tisha B'Av, the Ninth Day of the Jewish month of Av, which usually falls sometime between late July and early August. On Tisha B'Av both the First Temple and the Second Temple were destroyed. On Tisha B'Av, in 1290, the Jews were expelled from England. On Tisha B'Av in 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. Tisha B'Av has become the day when all the tragedies experienced by the Jewish People coalesce into a profound sadness. Here the Messiah doesn't come bringing light into the darkness, but rather hope into the sadness.

During the past week a friend died. It was the end of a long and truly heroic struggle against the darkness of a number of ailments. Another friend's mother suffered a stroke. Another friend is in the midst of a long standing custody battle which once again turned for the worse. Another friend's sister chose to end her life. Darkness and sadness.

My "Riding Mind" embraced all this, knew all this, and could explain how both Christmas and Tisha B'Av point us to the really big truth: The two times we are most profoundly open to the Holy are at times of great joy and at times of deep sadness. Of the two, sadness seems the more well worn path. Personally, I'm not sure joy has every opened me up to experience Life at its most profoundest. I know sadness has. The Holy has entered my life on the wings of healing. I'm still waiting to encounter the Whirling Wonder through joy.

My "Riding Mind" was overflowing with wonderful things to say to support my friends in their struggles and griefs. Then the ride ended and clarity slipped away. It always seems to.

Friday, December 20, 2013

For the Birds

Isabelle, my Kymco People 250S, hadn't been out of the garage since before Thanksgiving Day. That is too long. I took a vacation day from work and the weather was incredible. I wrote some about the ride over at Did He Ride Today?

There was a definite bird theme happening on my ride.

First I spied this beauty.

Then later,

there was this really neat wind vane.

And last, but not least...

Have a Holly Jolly Flamingo-mas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It Snowed

It snowed.

To my Michigan sensibilities where I'm located it didn't snow much , only 3in/7.5cm or so. Some areas recorded 5in/13cm or more. It was a wet snow. All during the snowfall the temperature hovered just above freezing. As I walked I could hear the sound of the snow packing underfoot. Snowball weather!

Many events were canceled today. There seemed no reason. Even the side roads were no more slippery than if it had rained, but probably better safe than sorry.

No one home in this nest.

As we walked over to the cafe the biggest danger we encountered was the nasty spray, a combination of de-icing chemicals, road grim, and slush. We survived.

It is said colder temperatures are on the way, but only for a couple of days then we will have a warm up. This was a perfect snowfall for an area still recovering from drought, a blanket of wet soaking into the thirsty grateful soil.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Touch Or Two Of Color

Went out for a nice little urban ride on Saturday. I was out for about an hour and a half. The temperature was right at freezing or a little below. The sun was out and made it feel a little warmer.

There is still a touch or two of color, but it is pretty much done for the season. Tomorrow there is even talk of wintry mix. It may be my first not ride day of the year. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mostly Lucky

When Heather and I came home from my gig on Saturday night it was raining.

The following morning it seemed to be clearing. The forecast was for possible storms and a wind advisory was in effect. The big thing was how warm it was. It was in the 70'sF and humid by 0800CST and that just isn't normal for this time of year. 

By lunchtime the wind had picked up dramatically and it was clouding over. The leaves were dancing in the streets and when I took the above photo it still felt more sunny than cloudy.

Ten minutes later just as I parked it looked much different.

And it felt different, too. The Yaris was shaking. Four minutes later it looked like this:

Even for someone used to the capriciousness of Midwestern weather this was dramatic. Just as it cleared my phone beeped with a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. They got that right, but a little late for me.

I finished my errands which was  more of an adventure than usual. Many stoplights weren't working including one near where I live. It seemed easier to make a right hand turn rather and come home the "back way" rather than do the unplanned four way stop thing one more time. I'd had my fill of this game of post storm roulette.

As I turned on my street  this is what I saw ahead of me:

If I'd tried to come home my normal way the street would have been blocked. After I unloaded my groceries I went out to examine the damage.

Surprisingly of the two cars damaged this one came out on the better end. It's windshield was smashed and the driver's side mirror was broken off.

This car had its rear window taken out totally and the roof was bent in. Sad.

These wonderful old trees are beautiful, but . . .

Still, as the news came in of the damage done in other places we were very lucky here. Even the folks who were unlucky enough to be parked where they were will drive their cars again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Day Late

I knew I needed to replace my computer. It was eight years old was developing some problems. I just didn't know I was going to need to replace it so soon.

I spent the weekend setting up  the new computer set up and getting some experience with the new operating system. I did manage to download some photos over the weekend, but promptly forgot how I did it.

I'm developing a little comfort with the new beast, but it comes a day late for my publishing in a timely manner the photos I took during my annual ride over to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I am a day late . . .

. . . but, not short on gratitude.

Monday, November 4, 2013


In the distance are some of the Busch Family's Clydesdales

I love being near so many rivers.

This is the Meramec River

I was surprised to see these out when we visited the zoo during "Boo At The Zoo"

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's That Time Of Year Again

It is DART St. Louis time again. I met Frank when I was taking photos at one of our areas. Yes, I said one of our areas. This year we threw two darts. Frank is from the area Heather was shooting, but I tagged along. As I was taking his picture a woman came out of the house. She was so excited I was taking a picture of Frank. That's how I came to know his name. I never did find out how Frank felt about having his photo taken. Apparently he doesn't speak much.

I didn't find out this cricket's name either. When Heather saw this she said, "Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't." I said my caption would be, "A Nut Too Far." She didn't get the joke. Apparently, "A Bridge Too Far" was from before her time. Ouch.

And there was the poor homeless Frosty.

In a completely different neighborhood I spied these guys.

You knew there had to be flamingos, didn't you?

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Of course, I had to see if it really didn't have an outlet.

It didn't. The road is obviously misnamed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Can't Help It . . .

I'm a flatlander.

I love lots of sky and space to breath, but shade can be nice, too.

I've noticed as I ride around the flatlands there seems to be lots of rock gardens. I wonder why?

I know in Michigan where I grew up we had piles and piles of rocks. Every Spring more rocks seemed to appear. My first job on the farm was picking up rocks. My Grandpa had a sheet of steel he'd pull behind the Farmall A. He called it a stone boat. I'd roll the bigger stones onto the "boat" and we'd float it to the stone pile.

The head of this dog moved in the wind.

Who knew gnomes had enemies?

I really have to notice my starting odometer reading. I've no idea how far I went, but I'm happy to say it took most of the day to get there.

Monday, July 8, 2013

No Longer

Columbia, Illinois is just over the Jefferson Barracks Bridge from South St.Louis County. It is where I-255 crosses the Mississippi River.

I managed to get out for a short ride on Sunday afternoon and decided I'd head over the J.B. Bridge to Columbia. This means I'm no longer an Interstate virgin. Whatever could this mean? I haven't a clue, but I do know I don't feel any different.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Little Tractors

On our walk Saturday morning we spied a father and son moment.

This was an electric tractor. The little boy even had his John Deere hat on.

I had a small tractor when I was growing up, but I had to pedal it. I would have thought it was so cool to have this tractor when I was a kid, but it was probably healthier for me to have to pedal my little tractor up and down our gravel driveway.

I pretty sure my Dad made the wagon. I'm, also, pretty sure my sister wasn't having as much fun as I was.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Butterfly House.

We wondered if this fellow was near the end of its life cycle. According to one of the workers they only live two or three weeks.
I don't know who this young woman is, but she was certainly happy to have a visitor.

Heather took this photo. No wonder I couldn't find it.
And here's a link to learn all about the Butterfly House. It was our first visit. We don't plan on it being our last.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Wave and a Little Buzz

I make it a point to wave to every motorcycle or scooter rider I pass. Most wave back.

I pass this guy every morning on my way to work. He always waves.

This guy is new.

It is on a street I frequent. It appears they have spotlights on it. I need go back and check it out at night. I like the materials used. Nice.