California Cycling

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Through redwood forests

We spent five days cycling through Napa and Sonoma counties, taking in the vast panoramas of California, from hot desert climbs to cool coastal descents.

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Open roads, no traffic

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Small bridges

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Bikes get premier parking.

Bikes get premier parking.

And park where no car can

And park where no car can

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Posted in bike riding, environment, exercise, Family, sports, travel, Trees, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Conquering Fear: The Golden Gate Bridge

We’re in San Francisco for a few days visiting our daughter before a 5 day bike trip touring Napa and Sonoma wine country.

My husband assembled our Ritchey bikes—called breakaways—that come apart and load into such huge boxes that people often ask if we’re in a band. He put them together (I went to a yoga class a the local Y), and we wanted to test them out before the journey begins tomorrow. Everyone suggested  we ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and then take the ferry back from Sausalito, a picturesque residential community across the bay.

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I knew the bridge would make me nervous. Though a strong rider, I’m not good with large crowds, high winds, and narrow bike lanes, especially when the traffic is two-way. I’m not a city rider, preferring bucolic country roads over buses and trucks. San Fran is a bike friendly city; bike lanes and paths prevail and bike rental companies abound.

We rode along the Embarcadero waterfront through the park before the bridge. I hesitated before joining the steady stream of cyclists. When among riders of varying abilities, on all sorts of bikes, one can’t anticipate speed or sudden stops. It was windy and traffic quite heavy for a Saturday, though the bike lane is safely fenced from both the ocean and cars.

And then I went. I rode steady and slowly, keeping eyes ahead; ignoring both the scenery and the water below. There are three curves, where the lane circles the bridge supports that made everyone slow down, some were taking photos. At one point my husband stopped to take his camera out, I told him if I got off I’d never get back on. A woman fell in front of me, knocked over by the wind. She missed my wheel by an inch and grazed her knee. She admitted it was her first time using bike clips for her feet— not the best way to start out I thought.

The end was in sight and I made it across, happy to dismount for the photo. The ride to Sausalito took about 10 minutes and we returned to San Francisco by ferry.

Today we’re hiking in Marin County and Monday start the bike tour.

 

Bike tools & pump available for all to use on the waterfront.

Bike tools & pump available for all to use on the waterfront.

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Posted in bike riding, Cycling, environment, exercise, health, travel, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Grandmother Dairy: “Snunch”

My eldest grandson wanted his own grandma day since his sister had one while he was in camp. I planned we’d hike at a county park and visit the nature center there.

In the car, we listened to his favorite cds by storyteller and singer, Bill Harley. When my kids were small, we often vacationed in Maine, driving from New Jersey. We discovered Bill Harley and became addicted to his wonderful stories and songs that appeal to every age. It is truly a delight to see how our son’s children, especially the eldest grandson, loves the same stories his father did. I’ve given many cds as presents—they are perfect for long car trips and truly engage the entire family. Between Bill Harley and the story telling from his father and grandfather, SY is learning to tell his own stories. He told his father, “I never get bored because I have so many stories and songs in my head.”

It was a hot day to be hiking so we chose a short trail, then visited the nature center, where we learned about nocturnal animals in a “night theater,” and then the playground. Returning home, I realized we hadn’t had a snack and it was nearly lunchtime. My grandson dismissed the idea to skip snack and just have lunch and suggested we have “snunch,”  to ensure we had both.

Later in the day, while waiting for his parents to arrive, we read books that I’d saved and were favorites of my kids.

Here are some titles they love at the moment:

Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen.

The Paper Princess by Elisa Kleven.

The Bookshop Dog by Cynthia Rylant.

Solomon The Rusty Nail and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

School starts next week. I’ll see them less and they’ll be tired after their school day. I can’t wait to hear their stories and read them more books.

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Posted in Books, Education, environment, Family, Grandchildren, Museums, galleries, Nature, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Iced Tea for ALS

They’re predicting 90 degrees today; a day to stay cool and hydrated. I’ll make a pitcher of sun tea outside and fill glasses with ice and fresh mint.

I won’t however, be dumping a bucket of ice cubes and water over my head. Unless you’re completely unconnected with social media, like my 80+ year old parents, you’ve heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge that has raised over $88 million for ALS.

No one has asked me to do so, which involves  thanking  the person who nominated you, passing the challenge on to three others, pouring the ice over your head, and finding someone to film it and post on YouTube for the world to see. Participants have 24 hours to perform the deed or donate; and many do both.

The “going viral” concept fascinates me. I  imagine countless other non-profit organizations worldwide are kicking themselves, asking why they didn’t think of this and wondering what they could create that could have the same impact and success as this ALS campaign.

Those opting to submerge themselves in ice seem to be having fun, and the challenge is bringing attention to a disease that many don’t know about. Facebook is full of videos of others—those who have the disease- that has no cure—and there’s no fun involved.  Other diseases need funding for research, as addressed in these blog posts by my friends Dawn Landau, and Chris Rosen.  And there are safety and health warnings after a few mishaps.

I support friends who bike, run, and walk for various causes. I give money (and a glass of water) to the college kids who canvass door to door, raising money for environmental groups. I buy Girl Scout Cookies. I support many local organizations and the arts.

Today, I’ll donate to ALS.

 

 

 

 

Posted in commentary, health, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Remembering the Children

Anticipating a few days at our lake house with one son and his family, I’ll spend a good part of today scurrying around collecting items we need, shopping and cooking. I’m envisioning our activities together and smile.

I’m thinking also about other grandmothers.

I’m thinking too about grandfathers, and mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sister and cousins.

About those  girls kidnapped in Nigeria since April.

About the Syrian and Iraqi families displaced by civil unrest for whom home is a refugee camp. About Israelis and Palestinians divided by war, sending children to fight their neighbors.

About Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson, Missouri, and those of other gunshot victims.

I’m thinking about other peoples’ children around the nation and the world.

And I have no words.

 

 

Posted in commentary, Family, Grandchildren, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Grandmother Diary: Answering the Whys

I met my son about halfway between our houses to collect my grand-daughter, nearly 3. Her older brother is in camp for a couple of weeks and my daughter-in-law hadn’t found a camp program suitable for her. She’s been happy at home, helping her mother and playing with her baby brother. I offered to do a day of “grandma camp.”

As soon as she was buckled into her carseat, the “whys” began.

Why do I only have one carseat?

Why did I need to get gas in the car?

Why were the men working on the road? In the trees?

We were going to the local zoo and I decided I needed a stroller—the one piece of baby equipment I hadn’t accumulated. We stopped into Target and found an inexpensive umbrella stroller.

Why do you have to pay?

At the zoo, taking the stroller out of the car, I realized in my haste to get there,   I hadn’t noticed that the wheels were attached to the frame with those tough plastic ties.

Why can’t you put the wheels on?

Having no tool in the car to cut them, we proceeded to walk around the zoo, shortening  the visit.

The whys continued all afternoon. I loved answering them.

My favorite: Why is it taking so long for my birthday to come?  (She has a another month.)

I’ve already planned the outing for this week. I can’t wait to answer more whys.

 

Pushing the stroller

Pushing the stroller

 

At the zoo

At the zoo

Posted in Family, Grandchildren, Writing | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

The Shabbos List: A Review

I have rather blogless lately; post-play, summer activities, who knows. Thankfully, my blog friend Miriam Hendeles,  has been very busy writing and took the time to watch the video from my play and write about it. Here’s her wonderful post.

Thank you, Miriam.

 

 

 

Posted in Friendship, reviews, Theater, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments