Vacation days to enjoy fall colors

Some good things: apparently a check to replace my bike is on the way from the insurance company. Let’s hope it’s for the full amount.

Tink the little bun was adopted! It’s strange to be down to one foster and my two bunnies.

Bunny binkies in honor of the House Rabbit Society’s 20th anniversary!

David and I drove 200 miles on Monday to hike about six. The Hoosier National Forest in October is beautiful, and no one shot us! We wore bright colors and decided not to bring the pup for his safety. We did see a couple antlered bucks crossing the road.
hike09d
You may be able to see a little orange-jacketed David leaning out just below the top. I didn’t have any problems climbing the tower, though I’ve been on more rickety ones in the past that triggered a temporary fear of heights. (I also recycled the beer cans I found at the bottom.)

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We found the sticker funny (and ewww… you know what’s been going on in that tower)

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Sycamore Trail at Charles C. Deam Wilderness

Puppy pranks

Because David does everything with flair, as I often say, I give you: the rain barrel.
rainbarrel
I don’t think the neighbors knew what they were agreeing to when he asked if he could install the barrel between our homes. Their large bush obscures it well enough from the street, and the goal was to share the water with them (they garden much more than we do and have many beautiful flowers). They’ve taken to calling it the Water Tower and singing of Petticoat Junction girls. We did finally have rain today and it works! There is room for a second barrel beneath the first one and the stand would survive a tornado.

After a lesson wearing the harness in the house, and a lesson going on a walk with the harness, today Walter tried the harness attached to the WalkyDog on the bike.
waltbike waltbike2
I walked the bike several blocks with him in a fine drizzle, and we’ll have to practice more because he wants to pull. At least he’s no longer afraid of the bike! We had the most success while going quickly and as far from the curb as practical, because then he’s focusing on trotting and not sniffing the gutter. I guess that’s good once we get going but I haven’t tried riding with him yet!

Just caught Casper snoozing, my fluffy nut who can’t be brought inside from the yard these days without a cookie bribe because she’s too busy eating tomatoes.
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Now the dogs are wrestling and nibbling each other on that bed. Their best performances this weekend were Casper barking at an email inbox chime she thought was the doorbell (Walter is bright enough to know better) and Walter being scared of David, who came home from a wedding last night in a tux. He had to strip to underwear before Walter stopped hiding behind me and ran to meet him!

Bike search continues, badly

Let’s just say I’m a bit frustrated with the insurance experience (or lack thereof) to date. I am trying to be compensated for my bike, which was smushed by a car over three weeks ago. The frame is bent and cannot be repaired, and other components have been damaged as well. My last actual contact with the adjuster was over two weeks ago, and she hasn’t returned/acknowledged the four voice mails, two faxes, nor one email I’ve sent since then to check on the progress and to supply the necessary estimate/receipts. Last week I asked to speak to ANY adjuster at the insurance company and she was able to see that my adjuster had spoken with the driver, but other than that there was no activity since I talked to her (and no indication of receipt of the paperwork or messages I’ve left).

I just want to know the progress; the season for enjoying my bike will end soon and I would like to know how this process is going to work. Will I get a check? I want to just buy another damn bike, but I don’t know if payment must be made to a bike shop (and therefore I have to arrange for a refund of my money once that arrives, if the shop will do it) or if it even has to be purchased from the shop that did the estimate (I sure hope not; I don’t care for that shop but they did service my last brand of bike so I had to see them for the replacement cost info), and because of the uncertainty of this payment I can’t go to a distant shop nor order online or buy from Craigslist. Meanwhile I don’t know if the insurance company will salvage my bike, and if so, I need to remove several accessories that are not part of the original build/damage report to be transferred to a new bike.

Meanwhile I’ve searched locally, and come up almost empty. Cross bikes don’t sell well here, so the couple that are left are not my size and are last year’s model (can’t be ordered in other sizes), and new models aren’t expected to come in since they are hard to sell and old models must be cleared first. Even if the shop chooses to order more it could be several weeks. I rode two bikes (old model, wrong size) and have to decide what I can from that. Half the cross bikes don’t even come with rack mount options so that reduces choices from many major manufacturers (the ones most likely to be stocked in a local store). I’ve considered a custom build but that takes awhile, too, and gives me fewer options in frame appearance as well as that not-ridden-yet uncertainty.

I think I’ve decided on one of these:
spectricrosscomp2010
2010 Specialized Tricross Comp

RaleighRX102010
2010 Raleigh RX 1.0

The first one is quite a bit more expensive, apparently because the manufacturer bankrolls racing teams and has other marketing expenses. The second one is much more of a value, but has less ‘street cred,’ yet great components for the most part. I like the paint job on the second one better but there’s a rumor it’s sold out and I sure haven’t ridden it nor even anything else from that manufacturer. I did ride a modified version of the first bike at one shop (only because one of the employees had his own!) and liked it a lot, plus it’s the step up from the other model I really liked last year when I chose the Bianchi instead. If both bikes were side by side and rode the same, I’d get the Raleigh. But without riding one… wow, that’s a gamble.

Meanwhile I ordered a WalkyDog to take Walter with me on a bike ride. I pulled out the old mountain bike (lots of bunny fur in the chain since I stored it in the bunny room!) and now that I’ve gotten him used to his new harness, it’s time to try attaching him to the bike. He has picked up on ‘left’ (not ‘right’ yet so much) just while walking and with my stable old bike and a slow speed, I think we can give it a try. I think he’d love to go for a run and I just can’t walk long enough to tire him, so hopefully we won’t crash and regret the dog+bike attempt! Nicole and I (with Ainsley and Walter) checked out the new open portion of the Pennsy Trail last week and since it’s so straight, level, and sparsely used, it may be a good spot to try a dog with a bike.

Major Moves, major typo

Coming in as my second favorite typo so far, I give you: The I-70 ramp to RURAL Street. Ironically named since this street is in a gritty urban area, now I have a reason to pull off the road to take a picture and risk carjacking.

rualst
(Favorite typo: Village Panty)

Meanwhile David’s prototype coffee table bit the dust when he sat on it. All the items on the floor used to be on the table. Watching him land was hilarious. I should note that it was a prototype for size and shape, not construction quality.

coffeetable

A few of the smart asses from IASMH class of 1993 at their 16th reunion (because we were too lame to plan a 15th)
iasmh93-16th

And I’ve been bonding Harrison and Vegas (seen here in before-and-after haircut pics)
harryvegas harryvegas2

Who wants to do the Tour de Cookie?? I need to get my bike replaced! COOKIES!

Bike + Jeep = 2 firetrucks, 1 ambulance, 5 cop cars

Riding home today, lovely weather, laughed when guys at the sketchy basketball court in the sketchy park hollered, “Hey biker lady, wanna hoop?”

But a couple miles later, blam. Dude in a Cherokee turned left and hit me.

Fortunately I’m apparently fine; he hit the rear of the bike (back wheel area) so missed my leg and the rest of me. Alas part of the bike frame is bent (plus a brifter is wack, chain’s off, rear rack is bent, and my awesome PlanetBike superflash light bit the dust in the middle of Sherman Drive). Bike and I hit the street but I walked away, and that’s what counts.

Some other guy saw it and called 911. Gotta admit, the firetrucks are fast to arrive! Ambulance came right after. I’m not sure why five different cop cars came but maybe it was a slow day.

firetruck

copcar

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I hope the guy’s insurance covers the bike. It was a little funny how when he looked at it he was like, Man, that’s an expensive bike, huh? And then two cops later said the same thing. It’s not THAT expensive, but a lot more than a department store type. Meanwhile I hope I can get anything for it since I was coming off a bike path and we were both stopped for cross traffic. I believe I had the right of way (obviously) since I was going straight, but the cop didn’t know the statutes.

brifter

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Note the color lines added (click on pic) to show what should be straight. The red is where the chain is off and the sad face is where my light used to live. He didn’t hit the derailleur side so that’s an expensive part not necessarily broken (though I fell on that side, so who knows), but unless the seat stay can be unbent, the frame is hosed. I wonder if the rugged cross frame paired with the structure of the rack saved the wheel and/or me. It sure bent a lot and all I did was fall over.

Amazingly I have maybe two minor scratches from scraping against my bike and a teeny blood spot on my knuckle. I’m glad I was wearing gloves. I must’ve jumped/flown off gracefully not to be road rashed. We’ll see what other aches develop in the next couple of days.

If only I’d been running my video camera today! (Not for excitement, but evidence)

swimbikerun, etc.

Some recent items:

Congrats to my little brother (though he’s noted as a Clydesdale, and darn it if I’m not basically Athena weight!), Matt, on completing his first triathlon last weekend. It was in downtown Indy and so far there are no reports of anyone dying after swimming the canal.

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Matt’s first triathlon 08.16.09 from Amy D on Vimeo.

Friends recently invited us to Symphony on the Prairie, where we heard Queen music in an outdoor picnic setting. Drunkenness ensued. Also the guy who sounded like Freddie Mercury threw in “I’m gonna sit by you, another one rides the bus!”

Had a bunny date at my house. Rabbits who happened to be named Bill and Hillary met, and Bill humped Hillary repeatedly. She looked annoyed and went home with Waldo instead.

I grew huge ass zucchini!
hugezucc

And my pepper is finally turning red!
redpepper

Also note we now have cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and a wine rack! David’s work slowed to a backwards crawl but at least he had time to work on his own place.
zucckitchen

I looked away or took a phone call or something while working, and Walter apparently brought me Thing 1 for a game of fetch.
thing1

Rode my bike to the state fair this weekend. I’ve never gone and wanted to get it out of my system. The prospect of fried food overrode the sadness at some of the animals (I managed to walk into the swine building while they were being auctioned). Of course the first building I wandered into had the rabbit judging going on. Poor buns.
fairrabbits
There were a number of bizarre sights at the fair, including middle-aged white women belly dancing in a group (I got stuck watching this because it began pouring rain and this tree kept me dry):
bellies
An awesome mullet with balding and feathering at the same time:
mullet
Suckers with their feet in nasty brown muddy water getting ‘toxins’ removed (what a freakin’ racket):
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Miss America seasoning (I almost bought it but it wasn’t worth eight bucks for a joke):
missAmSeason
And a lady playing show tunes on an organ in the middle of Pepsi Coliseum while competing horse teams trotted around her:
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It was all worth it for the funnel cake, mint ice cream, and onion rings.

Even though a draft horse farted on me.

Maps of Indy bike paths

Okay, the ‘staycation’ term is lame, but it is nice to have one place to look up all the bike path maps in town. I’m largely posting this so I’ll know where to find the info later! NIFS is National Institute for Fitness and Sport and BGI is a local bike/exercise gear shop (they sent me the email with this info).

Apparently the Pennsy Trail has some progress between Arlington and Shadeland/Shortridge now, too! That part’s not on these maps. I’ll see what else I can find out about this new greenway near home.

NEW!! Tour Du Parc Bicycle Staycation Web resource
Bicycle Staycations: Affordable Fun at Your Feet!

The “bicycle staycation” concept & the Tour Du Parc webpages are a collaborative effort between NIFS and BGI. BGI and NIFS worked together to develop suggested routes, links to resources, and discounts for downtown venues. It’s an effort to encourage individuals and families to consider the great opportunities for bicycling staycations in Indianapolis.

The mapped routes use low traffic roads and Indy Greenways to connect many parks and venues in Indianapolis, including: White River State Park, Fort Harrison State Park, Broad Ripple, Skiles Test Park, Ellenberger Park and Garfield Park.

So what are you waiting for, Hoosiers? Pack a picnic, grab your frisbee and jump on your bikes! Discover what’s in your own backyard. Spend less. Explore Indy by bike! Your imagination is the only limit!

At the “Bicycle Staycation” displays at BGI you can view some of the webpages and pick up some additional maps/resources for other areas around the state to explore.

Get the awesome, no-charge Staycation E-Book
View the linked routes, maps and discounts online by downloading a 29-page, 6.6MB PDF e-Book. It’s a great resource made by the professionals at NIFS. 6.6MB is a fairly big file, so the download might take some time.

Bike Paths pdf

Multimedia (you were sick of reading, right?)

I have been giving to more charities lately and every freakin’ time they add me to the mailing list. This drives me nuts. I understand I look like a good prospect because I’ve donated once, but my environmental side detests physical mail, especially solicitations, and I only donate online anyway. Why can’t there be a radio button for me to decline future mailings when I give the first time? I’d be much more likely to give again without the aggravation. They waste my donation on paper, postage, staff… that’s not why I gave them money.

Seriously, people, contact me by EMAIL if I gave you money through your website. Then I can spam or unsubscribe (or even better, set my preferences to remind me again in six months when I’ll be ready to give to you again) and you don’t waste your time and money. Let’s put the Post Office out of business. Nonsense. Why do you need my address to give you $$?


Went to Indiana Black Expo corporate luncheon this week. My company bought a lot of tickets. After a silly string of forwarded emails that never did find out if I’d have something to eat at this function, and several comments that I could always eat the salad (argh), in an ironic twist, EVERYONE ate salad! That was the meal. Sure, everyone else had a chef salad but sure enough, there was a foliage-only version for the picky weirdos like me. Wow, I had a lot of fiber that day.

Jamie Foxx and a few other folks received awards after short comments by the governor, mayor, and former mayor (who oddly enough received an award at the other corporate fundraiser I attended and he now works for my company). I was looking forward to inspirational speeches and was a bit disappointed that it focused on entertainment and awards, but I projected my previous experience here, I guess. Or perhaps that’s a cultural bias. Anyway I really preferred the Lambda Legal dinner because the speakers were good.


Okay, now my debut music video. I’ve been playing with a little Flip video camera mounted on my bike. The lame Windows MovieMaker software won’t allow me to specify how much to speed up the clip (at least I can’t find a way to do it other than double or half speed), so I couldn’t match the length to the song I chose. But I do have a video now which is just part of a cloudy Friday’s ride home, sped up so it’s less boring. Of course you won’t get to hear the guys yelling at me out their car window (the only part I understood was the F-bomb), but you will get to hear Silversun Pickups’ Lazy Eye. Until the song ends and there’s a little silent cycling left over. Ideas for better (hopefully free) software? Also, what is the best (fast, universal, whatever) file format for sharing on blogs and such? I started a Vimeo account, which is the embedded video below, but it’s showing as slightly poorer quality than the original file I uploaded, which can be clicked on with the text right above the Vimeo stuff. The direct link file format seems slow and large.

Yes, I know I have lots of room for improvement in editing. Just a first attempt.

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Indy Bike Commute from Amy D on Vimeo.

Cool food stuff coming soon

I’m glad this film is coming to Indy! I can’t figure out if it’s really playing on Friday or if that’s just the national release date; the local theater says it’s coming July 31.

Coming to Indianapolis
July 17
Keystone Arts Cinema

Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA.

Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

There are some free screenings too, but not in Indy.

This one is happening at our favorite restaurant and involves bikes and the urban eastside! I hope we can get a reservation.

August 4: Urban Farm Tour & Farm to Table Dinner

Where: R Bistro (888 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis)
When: August 4:
5:30pm Urban Farm Tour followed by dinner seating at 7:00pm
OR
7:00pm Urban Farm Tour followed by dinner seating at 8:30pm
Cost: $25 for Slow Food members or $30 for non-members
(price includes taxes and gratuity – drinks are not included)
Dress: Casual with comfortable shoes, as guests will be walking or biking and exploring urban farms before dinner.
Reservations are required: Call R Bistro at 317.423.0312
*If you prefer the vegetarian option, please alert R Bistro when you make your reservation.

Join Slow Food Indy for a tour of urban farms and kitchen gardens and enjoy a local hog roast at R Bistro.
While guests have the option to skip the tour and simply make dinner reservations, we hope you’ll follow local farmer-tour guides on foot or bring your bike! We’ll tour the Big City Farms Urban CSA lots, the Cottage Home Community Garden, and several backyard kitchen gardens in the Cottage Home Neighborhood. The tours will depart promptly from R Bistro, and guests are requested to meet there at 5:30pm (in advance of a 7:00pm dinner seating at R Bistro) or at 7:00pm (in advance of a 8:30pm dinner seating at R Bistro).

Only a few seats are still available! Call R Bistro at 317.423.0312.
Reservations will be closed on July 31st (or when all places are filled).

Found both of these at Slow Food Indy. I’m not a member but they often have interesting stuff going on.

The list

I struggle constantly with The List running through my head: all the crap I should do. I keep written lists sometimes and then got excited when Google came up with a notes-tracking application, except my stupid work computer has an old browser which I cannot upgrade and therefore I can’t use that application except at home (nor see much flash, nor load a lot of pages, nor get the computer going in less than six minutes–but that’s more a RAM problem I think).

So I signed up for Evernote, but so far haven’t really done much with it. I would rather have a quick link from my Gmail. Is there some other application that would be better? Actually I think once I (probably) get that iPhone I’ll solve my always-available-paperless-to-do-list problem quickly, perhaps then with Evernote.

Anyway my ambitious self thinks I should do all this crap. And in the late afternoon when I want to leave work but have more work to do, I keep thinking how much stuff I’ll do when I get home. By the time I get home I’m just tired and cranky and downright lazy. I need to figure out what legal drug could get me zippy and productive in the evening but still allow me to sleep! Or something. I will say melatonin before bed has been helpful to regulate my sleep more. I get sleepy faster and it’s a whole lot easier to get out of bed in the morning–maybe that’s the miracle that will ultimately get more things off my List!

A sampling so I can feel accountable:

bond Arliss and Waldo somebody (Waldo was adopted!)
finish reorganizing and cleaning bunny room
clean pig cage
scrape brick David did it!
change Jetta headlight AGAIN
clean car
get grids, get and plant hostas from Dawn
paint front porch trim
repot mint plants
mulching
medicate Vegas (re-vet Vegas’ sneeze? and Harrison’s limp? pigs need vetting too)
more dog walking, cycling, and running
haircut
meal planning
more cooking/less eating out
pick up rain barrel at KIB
call cable company to yell about the latest price hike
iPhone purchase
TV shopping
path forward: Tivo vs DVR/other source
refill Casper’s meds
update Casper’s microchip
rehab front porch mess
canoeing
iTunes from old computer
finish video edit
desk cleanoff
laundry room reorg
de-fridge the basement
continue decluttering at home
ditch financial adviser/meet w/new one
mail passport renewal
respond to old email
send Father’s Day gift to Dad
organize recipes (still looking for advice on that) I just went with a binder with tabs for now. My elegant electronic version will have to wait
go through clothes for Goodwill
dust/vacuum hooray for paying a friend to clean!

I noticed a couple of these were still there from the list I made last year

There’s an equally long list at work, one which stresses me even more.

Earthlink update! Remember how my email stopped working in December and they were able to hang up on me but not fix the problem? This week I got an overdue bill and they threatened collections! LOL. No worries, all resolved now. And I’m happy to report they never actually got a dime from me. I hope I wasted their server space and CSR time. Navigating their phone tree was enough to make me furious all over again.