Feb 27, 2009

north american handmade bike show


we took a day off today. a day off from roller practice, (actually, any form of riding whatsoever), website updating and upgrading, emails, copywriting, laundry, email list-serve posts, sinks full of dishes, piles of paper on dining room table, the stimulus package and the dogs’ muddy paw prints all over the furniture - we took a break from all that to attend the north american handmade bike show.

there were all kinds of snazzy things at the show. but mostly, i just cared about was whether or not it was pretty, it spoke to me, or if i could add it to the sticker collection on my beer fridge.

so, after listening to crazy storms all night and hitting snooze for an hour starting at 5am, packing lunches, getting kids off to school and watching my husband charge up the car battery after we left the light on all night, and a whole plethora of other events; to follow are a few of the things that spoke to me once we arrived in indianapolis:IMG_8693

i loved the matching mother daughter independent fabrication pink bikes.



and the self-leveling coffee holder? totally kewl.



this fall, i had a crafty idea in mind and a pile of inner tubes to try to bring it to fruition: a messenger bag made out of inner tubes. i gave it a go, but it never quite came out the way it was in my head. some boys from tokyo had the right idea though, and beat me to it.






and then of course, there was a little, do you hear the angels singing moment when i saw the flask holders on the cool fixies, singlepseeds and tandems. 



and the beer bottle holders too. i need one. of each. the flask holder and the beer bottle holder. and a cute cruiser to attach them to.

there was much to covet. the snazzy orange bike with the rockin’ orange tires from the snazzy italians,











and the sweet ‘cross bike from the cool new englanders’ in lynn, massachusetts

there were bike baskets, saddle bags, cool shiny things to attach to your headtube that said courage. i could use a little courage during cross season. i should have bought one. but i had already bought a sweet sweatshirt from october bikes, and we’re in a recession and all. there were handlebars wrapped in leather and handsewn with cool little finishing detail touches, there were some of the cutest saddle bags i’ve ever seen, but she doesn’t have a website and there was a polka dot bike that would look so cool with my kit.


Feb 22, 2009

by george, i think i’ve got it now

i’ve become a litle bit obsessed with those rollers that the roller fairy dropped off the other day.

because if i had to get on that trainer one more time, cause it was raining, or too windy, or snowing or i didn’t have a big consecutive chunk of time to ride because i was always dropping someone off, or picking someone up and running to the market in between to get that one thing i forgot on the previous trip; someone was gonna have to shoot me.

i’m just sayin.

i tried them out on wednesday. the first attempt is here. the little crash into the doorjamb shook me up a bit and so i took a breather to eat dinner. then i got back on, only this time i couldn’t even let go of the wall. which made me mad. so i took another breather. and then i got back on again and did it. and i stayed on for 20 minutes. that whole, 3rd times a charm video is here.

i tried again yesterday. i was feeling ridiculously optimistic and set them up in the middle of the living room so i could watch the tour of california. i clipped in. put my hand on a chair to steady myself and then promptly chickened out to go back to my safe little cocoon of a vestibule where if i fell, it was into a door on either side of me, about 4 inches away.

once in my happy little vestibule on the rollers, i settled into the work of breathing and relaxing. here’s the thing about me and the bike: i have a tendency to be tense. my elbows lock. my neck seizes up in a little spasm that i always attributed to long rides and poor bike fit. in a lightbulb roller moment that first day, i learned that the neck stuff has nothing to do with long ride, cause it was killing me 5 minutes into a roller session. and i just had a snazzy bike fit. i need to relax!

and those locked elbows are what will make the bike go all wiggy and do crazy ivans. if you do that on the rollers, you’ll fall into the door.

i’ve always wanted to learn how to meditate, but was never very good at it. couldn’t keep my mind focused, or open, or breathe through my third eye or whatever it is they tell you to do. and once my mind wandered cause i was thinking about what i needed to get at the market, or all the laundry i needed to fold, it was all over.

on the rollers, if i lose focus, the possibility of falling into the door has been exponentially increased. i’m hoping that in time, i won’t have to work so hard to relax. cause its’ exhausting.

so i get on. clip in. look up. relax. and breathe. and then i just ride and ride and ride. sometimes i’ll focus on the spot in the front hallway that desperately needs to be mopped, or i’ll look at the bunch of flowers on the welcome home mat in front of the front door. sometimes i’ll glance to the side to catch a glimpse of the tour. every now and then, i’ll glance at the cyclo computer to see how much time i’ve been rolling or what my speed is. i got really brave yesterday and shifted, and then pedaled faster and harder. relax, breathe, bend your elbows a bit.

and look at that spot that needs to be mopped.

Feb 19, 2009

dear lulu

dear lulu,

i know you really really really want the teacher game for your nintendo. i know you love me. with shugar on top. just in case i didn’t know how badly you wanted the game or how much of a “dream come true” it would be for you to own it - it was the “persuade book” that you brought home the other day; complete with the clever section and what i can only guess to be some sort of ‘frequently asked questions’ about how you might go about getting the money to buy the game yourself that really drove the point home.

and that illustration of me with the speech bubble coming out of my mouth about how i have decided to give you the game because you’ve been writing so many letters was wonderfully detailed. i loved the bows on our shoes and the money in your hand and the game with price sticker in my hand. i appreciate the height-of-marathon-training stick figure rendition you gave me and would give my right arm for eyelashes that long, not to mention that stick figure. thank you.

this isn’t going to be some letter about how i walked to school in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways sort of story – although you know that snazzy dollhouse in your room? yeah. your auntie cynthia and i used to make dollhouses out of cardboard boxes. anyhow. this isn’t one of those letters. but i am gonna tell you about how you don’t need a nintendo game to teach you how to be a teacher.

it’s true, i did go to college to learn how to be a teacher. a fine college indeed. and i have a fancy degree to prove it. right now that very degree is all rolled up in its’ red tube serving as support inside a killer pair of calvin klein suede boots i bought at tj maxx last year that i haven’t even worn yet; but when i do break them out and wear them and your dad says “nice boots, i guess there’s no recession in the webster house”, and i say i bought them a year ago and he won’t believe me – let the records show – i have had those boots for a while. long before the recession hit. anyhow. that’s where that fancy degree is. in those boots.

so until i enter a raffle to win you three kids a college education, there are some things you can do in the meantime to learn how to be a teacher. no nintendo game needed. gasp.

first off – you know all those webkinz that are ‘dead’, that you insist you can no longer play with, cause you’ve lost their passwords? here’s the thing. they are not really dead. they are all right there, waiting to be played with – all stuffed, fluffy and tangible. you do not need to adopt any more webkinz and build any more online virtual worlds for them, nor do you have to remember any passwords. just line them all up on your bed and play school. you’d be amazed at how obedient they are. in fact, your mommy used to do this very thing: line up all your stuffed animals on the bed, put them into reading groups and ask them to read a paragraph from ‘little house on the prairie’. then, make up a worksheet with questions about the chapter and fill in all the answers yourself. you could even take them all on a field trip to the park in the backyard and send them all down the slide. mommy didn’t even have a park in her backyard. just a creepy empty lot halfway down the block.

anyhow. after a while, all the blank stares of the stuffed animals will start to grate on your nerves and you’ll want to take it up a notch. you’ll want to have ‘students’ that actually talk. and fill out their own damn worksheets. this is a tough one seeing as you’re the youngest in the family. see, your mom was the oldest in her family and could subject her little sister to all kinds of “let’s play school” torture.

if you were the older child, (and didn’t live halfway across the country from any semblance of family) you and your cousin could have a dedicated ‘classroom’ on the third floor of their house, or in the basement of your own house, and every single weekend could be dedicated to torturing your younger siblings with “school”. you could dress up in nightgowns and put a belt on, cause you know – it makes you look like a teacher. and you could put pepsi in a mug and totally pretend it’s coffee. you could make up 200 word spelling tests and have a self defense class and punch your cousin square in the nose during a “demonstration”. you could blatantly hand out demerits for such indiscretions as being “overly dramatic” when your younger cousin starts an uproar about the 200 word spelling test and the fact that you’ve kept her holed up in the attic (um, “classroom”) for 4 hours.

all of this will be excellent preparation for your future role as the ‘fantastic’ as you say, ms. webster. no nintendo training needed.

i won’t even begin to tell you about scavenging your second grade classroom garbage cans for those awesome pens that were blue on one side and red on the other, cause i’m sure with all the budget cuts, teachers don’t throw away their pens so willy nilly.

anyhow. claudia, lulu … my little schmoofie – what i am trying to say is this: keep writing your letters. all of them. i wish i wrote as prolifically as you do when i was seven. you can be whatever you want to be. but whatever it is in life that you choose, i have no doubts you will be a happy girl. i bet if you can find some sort of job that requires using copious amounts of scotch tape, you’d be over the moon happy.

love, mom.

ps: your imagination is so much better than any nintendo game.

Feb 18, 2009


i’ve been watching fellow blogger friends’ attempts and successes at the roller thing and have been completely inspired to try it out for myself.

only problem was – i didn’t have rollers.

so i was content to just live vicariously through them for a bit and stick with my boring old trainer and prayers for nice weather.

and then i came home last night night after dinner out and a bottle of wine with a friend to find that the roller fairy stopped by & dropped off a set in our living room. literally. rollers in my living room. out of the blue.

i was so excited that i tried them out; half a bottle of wine, jeans and all. we didn’t video tape that part.

we did, however, videotape my attempt today. this is part one.

Feb 17, 2009

oops, she did it again

i swore to myself the other day i would stop doing this. this posting of my daughters’ letters. i’ll understand if y’all go running for the hills at this point, but i just can’t resist. i’ll keep it short and paraphrase and while i’d like to say this is the last time - never say never.

oops dear Mom,

I realy want that game I want to be a dog sitter or a teacher when I grow up. but I don’t want dog slubbur all over my face. So I thought about school. I like it very much. And then I started to think about Ms. Thompson. I love her. And then I thought “I want to be a teacher when I grow up!” So now I want the game Imajine Teacher!

You get ready for the leson of the day and decorate your own classroom and arange feald trips! I really want this game. All those other persuasive letters are actchulay about the teacher game.

….and so on and so forth with the please, and I’ll pay my own money and I want to be a Ms. Webster, yadda yadda yadda. my personal favorite was the dog slubbur bit. and then of course the whole, “all those other letters was just leading up to this one thing that i really want” bit.


i told her she doesn’t need a game to teach her how to be a teacher. i told her i was a teacher and we didn’t even have nintendo when i was little. she asked how i learned how to be a teacher and i told her i went to college. she said college is expensive, the game “is only, like, $20”.

Feb 14, 2009

letters from lulu

last week, my nine year old asked me if i would buy her a new game for her nintendo ds. i’m sure i raised my eyebrows at her in that we are in a recession, and until it starts raining money, i’m not heading out to just willy nilly buy games for you people way. but before i could say all that stuff, she explained that it was a math tutoring game. and girlfriend does indeed need some help in the basic, rote, math skills area. i go online to verify that it is indeed a tutor-y, fun, learn-y sort of game and since i am not sitting down with her and the flashcards, i was happy to buy the game for her.

this blatant, buying of a new ds game for one daughter did not sit well with the other daughter. even though i tried to smooth it over by saying it was just to help her with her math skills.

you know where this is going, right?

right as rain, that girl wrote me a letter. i had recently told a friend that in the absence of being able to write about what i’d really love to write about, i just wait for my daughter to come home from school with something funny and inspirational. she never disappoints. days after buying the game for annabel, this comes home in the backpack:

Dear Mom,

I don’t think it is fair that Annabel got a video game and I did not. I’ve been wanting Dogz pack for two years. I want it because, I want to be a pet sitter when I grow up and I don’t have the skill for it. I know I have Nintendogs but that’s not enogh. I’d really like it if you got me it. Like you could youse half of your money and i’ll youse half of mine. We can totaly work this out. I will love takeing care of dogs when I grow up. Because you will help me get the skill by buying the game. I will love it, then I will take care of dogs the way they need.

From, Claudia

i swear, i have got a book floating around in my head somewhere, but at this point, i may just have claudia qhost write the whole thing. she’s got way more material. maybe i should just call the book letters from lulu.

far more entertaining than the family saga i had up my sleeve, or the rv road trip adventures of the webster clan.

Feb 10, 2009

sometimes, i want to be 7 again.

i watch my seven year old leave the house everyday in her favorite shoes. the shoes she can’t live without - black patent leather mary janes. and i can remember, like it was yesterday, when i was her age and i had a pair of shoes i couldn’t live without; patent leather mary-janes. only mine were reredpatentleathersCLOSEUPd.

right now, it seems that my seven year old is providing me with more blog material that i can currently come up with on my own.

but my own material would consist of the frustrations of not being able to please everybody, of treading rough waters and of feeling that i am in over my head.

it might consist of the fact that my head has been in a fog and only just now is the fog lifting and i feel creative.

or i’d write about the day to day of winter training and of how i just want the season to start already, or of how much i love the all too rare official “day off” on my training schedule in which it is suggested that i do things like: nap, listen to music, get a massage, stay off my feet as much as possible or float in water. cause the thought of floating in water makes me laugh.

or it would be about how nice it was to finally get off the damn trainer and get outside with good friends and teammates and get some good, long rides done in 60 degree weather.

or i’d write about how i wish i didn’t care what people thought about me or said about me, but i do.

my seven year old has got it all figured out. this just came home from school to go with the definition of a personal view of oneself:

I’m butiful.
I’m smart.
I’m cute.
I’m awsome.
I love my family.
I think Spongebob is the best.
Sparkly shoes make me look cool.

cause that’s just so much easier.

Feb 3, 2009

my daughter is a stalker

my youngest daughter is stalking a video game designer.

the kids have been home for almost a full week due to the recent ice storm that hit kentucky. we were lucky in that unlike last september when ike hit and we were out of power for eight days, we never lost power this time around. everytime someone asked do you have power? and i responded yes; i knocked on wood.

the thing about my kids that is so great – well, there are lots of things that are great, but one of my favorite things is their amazing imaginations. the little games they make up in their heads enable them to write cool stories, play fun games - all without the need of a cruise director (aka mom) and completely entertain themselves; which then of course means that a certain sanity is maintained during a random mid-winter week off from school when its’ too icy and cold and there is too great a danger of being crushed by a falling ice-laden tree to go play outside.

they’ve had races around the house on scooters, roller skates and skateboards. and when he wasn’t busy writing code (you know, for fun)our 12 year old served as referee and coach. my husband and i would watch in awe as our youngest would literally fly and drift through corners, completely fearless – narrowly missing the liquor cabinet and/or the xbox on numerous occasions. things would have definitely gone way downhill had either been hit.

she’s a total shoe-in for roller derby or cyclocross.

among the weeks’ activities too numerous to list, my favorite was lulu’s stalking of the video game designer.

it started, i suppose as stalking usually does – innocently enough. lulu has a favorite little online game called fancy pants. she felt fancy pants needed a friend – fancy skirt. so she did what she does best and wrote mr. video game designer a three page letter. actually, she ransacked my notecards and wrote a three notecard letter, which she then shoved into an envelope and asked how we get it to him. i told her she needed to find out his mailing address. in her search for his mailing address, she, in her 7 year old infinite wisdom does one better and finds his blog and his email. she scraps the “old school” snail mail letter idea and starts to write him an email instead.

what cracked me up is the fact that she did the whole search on her own. when i peeked at the browsing history, the search string for his name is far and wide - it was totally evident she knew exactly what she was doing. she’s 7. and this impressed me and disturbed me at the same time.

so she writes her email about her great idea for fancy skirt and her dog, fancy shorts and how they all become friends with fancy pants and work to defeat the evil giraffe, and we wrote a little note at the bottom of the email to thank mr. video game designer for taking the time to read the email from a very big little fan.

he wrote back the next day.

he said it was a great idea and that fancy skirt would indeed be making an appearance soon. and then, he asked if she did any drawing and said she should put her story down in pictures.

if only he knew the can of worms that would open up.

she spent the better half of a day drawing a video game. page after page after page of fancy skirt, fancy pants, their dog fancy shorts and their adventures. the pictures came complete with the written story line. –which she then proceeded to beg me to scan immediately so we could get them off to mr. video game designer. cause “he’s waiting”.

she could barely contain herself and decided (unbeknownst to me) to email him again to let him know her book was on the way:

Hi this is me Claudia! I’m hoping your reading this because your never writeing back to me. I know your busy and all but don’t you have time to check your e-mail some people are sending notes to you. anyways I’ve been waiting for fancy skirt to come out an all but I know I haven’t gave you the book but you should still check your e-mail because I’m sending the book to you right now!

he wrote her right back to say he was out of town but that he did indeed read her email on his phone. he told her not to worry, the character and story line were all planned out. i gotta say, he has a very polite knack for: “i’m way ahead of you kid, hold your horses and fancy skirt will debut soon”.

now that the ice has melted and school is back in session, i am willing to bet this stalking affair is over; or better yet, through the magic of her 7 year old online research, she’ll just create, design and code her own game. in the meantime, i bet she’ll return to writing persuasive letters to us. she’s been really pushing hard for a snuggie.

i’m just waiting for her to start googling and then writing to the snuggie manufacturers - she’s noticed that there don’t seem to be any snuggies small enough for a seven year old. i told her to wear her bathrobe backwards, but she was not amused.