Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What, no posts for 2 months and now 2 in one day?

Yep, that's right! I've been remiss in keeping this little online diary up to date. Being tagged by Jim about the Christmas songs awoke me from my lazy stupor. I'm not saying I'll post tomorrow, but I'll at least try to get this thing back up to speed.

Let's see, the last post was at the beginning of October. At that point, I had just finished my second 100 mile bike ride. Well, my cycling has tailed a bit off since then. Cold weather and a busy schedule have been the likely excuses. One other little issue occurred when I crushed one of the front cogs (gears) when I hit a brick in the middle of the road. I was able to pop the front wheel over it, but landed right on the large chain ring. I got to spend $50 for the new part. The guys at the LBS (local bike shop) were kind enough to not charge me labor.

For Christmas, I've asked for pretty much all cycling gear. Mainly, I asked for cold weather riding clothes. This will take away my whiny excuse that, "It's too cold." Well, Mom had me order what I wanted within her budget and it's already arrived. Erin also consented to spending a bit of money before Christmas so that I can get some rides in now. Mom got me the following: a skull-cap (kind of an ultra-thin ski cap to wear under the helmet in cool weather), a balaclava (like an ultra-thin ski mask for cold weather), some really warm cycling gloves and a cycling jacket. Before we got to talking about Christmas gifts, Erin had already bought me a long-sleeved compression shirt to wear under my jersey and some tights to wear under my shorts. While we were out looking for Christmas gift ideas, we ran across a really inexpensive set of padded cycling shorts and Erin said, "Let's get 'em." After Mom's stuff arrived, the only thing lacking was some insulated, windproof shoe-covers. You see, most cycling shoes let air flow through them like a net. This is a good thing in the Texas summer. It's a distinctly bad thing in the winter. Frozen feet ain't fun. Well, my long-suffering wife didn't give me any guff about getting those either. She's just glad I've found a hobby which will get me healthier and hopefully extend my lifespan a bit. That said, I probably oughta chill on the spending.

I've ridden my bike the last 2 mornings and love it. The cold weather gear makes all the difference. Wearing simple winter clothes can keep you warm (duh, that's why they're called winter clothes), but the cycling stuff isn't nearly as bulky and binding. I did find one disheartening thing though. Just a few weeks of slacking off on my riding produced a marked effect on my speed and stamina. Oh well, I'll have plenty of time to get it all back before the spring racing season begins.

Now, my father-in-law wanted to know what I really needed to complete my riding experience. What I needed was a new saddle (seat, for the cycling uninitiated). The saddle that came on the bike is great for short (15-20 mile) rides, but becomes a torture device on really long rides. The typical bike seat puts quite a bit of pressure on the perineum (sp?) in the groin area. In short, ya get numb where folks don't really wanna be numb. My father-in-law offered to buy me whatever I thought I needed (within reason). I shopped around online and found an awesome deal on a seat that I had read a lot of good reviews about. It was designed and tested by doctors and is used by a lot of racers. It'll be here in a few days. HMMMM, the new bike was a Christmas/anniversary/birthday/Father's Day/whatever day gift from Erin. The cold weather gear and saddle are Christmas gifts from my father-in law and mom. Christmas morning will not see me opening many gifts. Oh well, I'm grateful to be able to use them all now.

I'm actually thinking about getting a racing license and compete not just in group rides but in sanctioned races. We'll see. If it's worth doing, it's worth being obsessive-compulsive about.

Now that I've rambled on about cycling, on to the really important stuff. Erin and the kids are doing great. Erin's sewing/embroidery business is going absolutely crazy. She is so busy that she currently isn't taking any more orders until after New Years. She's enjoying the ego boost of getting all the work, but is a bit overwhelmed by the scheduling issues. She truly is amazing. She does all of her work work and still has time to be an amazing wife, mother and friend. I never cease to be amazed.

Caitlin and Collin just finished up with soccer a few weeks ago. They are absolutely having a ball in school. They are at such a fun age right now. They have such amazing senses of humor and have incredible spiritual insight for kids their age. I love spending time with 'em. I pray every day that they have an enjoyable childhood and grow up to love God as much as they do right now.

My work is also pretty busy right now. That's part of the reason I haven't been blogging and haven't been cycling as much. I've gotten a few new clients and seem to be getting more calls all the time. GOD IS GOOD!!! I am so blessed and hope every one has an amazing holiday season.

Tagged For Christmas Songs

Ok, Jim Theisen ( ) tagged me. Now, I'm supposed to post my favorite Christmas songs. Like Jim, I remember listening to a lot of vinyl albums at Christmas time. For you youngsters, a vinyl album (record or LP) is kinda like a really big, black CD. They used a real metal needle to read the music instead of a laser. Weren't them old-timers clever?

I remember my mom had an Elvis Christmas album -"I'll a'have a'a'blue Chrissmus wi'i'ithout youuu." That album was played until the grooves were worn out.

I love the song, "Mary, Did You Know," particularly the version done by Kathy Mattea. The song tugs on my heartstrings and Kathy's raspy voice really does the song justice.

"O Come O Come Emanuel" is great, as are "The Little Drummer Boy," "We Three Kings," "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Silent Night."

I'll confess that in recent years I've been a bit of a Scrooge about Christmas songs. So many radio stations want to start playing them so early. Like anything, repetition can wear out the welcome of even a good thing. I love hearing and singing Christmas songs for the few days before and after Christmas.