Big Hearted

Big Hearted

I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, went for a bicycle ride today. Riding by myself, I was able to go 20% faster than otherwise. As I turned towards home, I spied this giant inflatable heart. I don’t know how I could have missed it, when I passed by before. This photo doesn’t really do it justice, because it was Yuge! It was big enough to walk through. Your path models the path of blood flow, in on the right-side and out on the left. All of the heart’s major components were labeled, atriums, ventricles, valves, arteries and veins. The inflatable heart was part of a larger display the dwelt with heart health issues. CPR dummies were setup for practicing on and it looked like there was much else, but since they were still setting everything up, I decided not to pester anyone and soon departed and continued my heart healthy practice of cycling. Bernie Sanders made the news recently, when he suffered a heart attack. He seems to be recovering, but his event is a reminder that all of the leading candidates for president are septuagenarians, even Elizabeth Warren. Bernie’s heart attack is a reminder that at least he has a heart.

Endless Summer

Endless Summer Sunset

The joke around Saint Louis these days is, “How you liking this July weather?” With highs in the nineties it sure feels like it’s still July and not September, but there are some differences. With fewer hours of daylight now than July, it cools off overnight and I can usually shutoff the AC for a few hours. That’s not the usual case in July and while it has been mainly days with highs in the nineties, there are plenty of other days, when it is not that warm. Plus, I think that the humidity is a little lower than it typically is in July, but overall it is warmer this month than it normally is, leading to the sensation of an endless summer.

Anne and I went for a bike ride this morning, getting out and back before the heat really kicked in. Drumroll… Sixty years ago, Hawaii became the 50th state and today, Anne made it her 50th state too, when she spied a parked car with plates from Hawaii. She plays the license plate game. She’s got an app for that. Before our ride was over, she was more than halfway through the states in her new game. And yes, on the way back home, we circled the block, looking for that Hawaiian car again, but alas it was gone. Thinking that its owner is a bible thumping church goer, Anne made note to look for it again, next Sunday.

My consolation prize came from a passing cyclist, who complemented me with a, “Nice bike!” Forest Park was too crowded, so we headed to Tower Grove. I promised to make lunch, so we didn’t stop to eat on South Grand. I made my Californian chicken salad, chicken salad with fruit and nuts. On the way home, we came upon the remains of an early morning charity walk. It had a huge finish line sign that Anne could not resist. She sprinted ahead and while crossing over the line, raised one fist in victory. I just chuckled. Next, we stopped at Kaldi’s for a smoothie and iced coffee. When we got up to leave, a family that had participated in that charity walk took our table. They recognized Anne by her jersey and had seen her fist pump her way to victory. I just chuckled, again.

Metal Print

Metal Print

The metal print that I ordered, arrived today. It looks pretty good, although there are subtle difference in it from the original, which I’ll link to here. It is slightly darker than the original, but the colors are also much richer. I had to crop it to fit the printer’s available formats. Unfortunately, I inadvertently cropped off my signature. Oh well, it still came out quite well considering that this was a first attempt. I’m sure that I’ll do better next time.

The water company came by this morning. I drove Anne to school a little earlier than necessary, in order to be available during their service window. Fortunately, they didn’t arrive too early or too late. I only had to wait around for half-an-hour for the service tech to show and the job only lasted fifteen minutes. Installed was a satellite uplink, so that the water company doesn’t have to send out any more meter readers. This concludes an exercise that they initiated last May. When they sent out their first notice, I responded to let them know that we would be out of town all summer. Then they said that’s fine, we’ll schedule something when I returned. Anyway that’s what they said then. When we finally returned a letter had arrived that threatened an imminent water shutoff. Several frantic phone calls, eventually resolved everything, but not before their incompetence was exposed. In this age of big brother and big data, I suspect that they will be able to monitor the length of my showers from now on.

I bicycled in the park this morning. I got out as soon as the meter maid had finished her job. I wanted to beat the heat. I almost wrecked again, when for the second time in as many weeks, another cyclist cut me off, by turning in front of me at the last moment. Fortunately, I was able to avoid a crash. At least this cyclist was more apologetic than the last one. That one was almost a hit and run.

It feels more like July than September this week, with highs in the nineties and heat indices approaching a hundred all week. I’ll be biking as early as I can. The weekend looks cooler.

Eye-to-Eye with a Hungry Hippo

Eye-to-Eye with a Hippo

Anne went to school and I went to the zoo. There is such a shortage of substitute teachers that her half-day in the morning soon evolved into a full day, as I had expected. The zoo wasn’t very crowded and in the morning it wasn’t hot yet either. These two circumstances always make the animals both, more interesting and interested in people. One of the elephants had a ball, a big elephant sized ball that it was pushing around with its trunk, nothing but nose. Pictured is the eye of a hippo. The entire pod was sleeping underwater, while pressed against the viewing glass. I was only a couple of inches away from this hippopotamus when I took this picture. Every couple of minutes, it would open the eye and rise up to take a breath. Two young moms were joking together and one exclaimed that the hippo had Uncle Bobby’s hair. Poor Uncle Bobby. The zoo has tilapia in the water to clean up the hippo’s poop. Last time they had full grown tilapia, who not only obscured your view of the hippos, but also didn’t do all that good a job on the poop. This time they had tiny tilapia, but they had done a great job. Just something to think about the next time you order tilapia in a restaurant.

Going back to last weekend’s MS ride, I’m thinking about a conversation that I had on Friday night with the woman who was manning the bike corral, which normally doubles as the tennis courts and has very tall fences. They’re almost like a wall. Her job was to check in the rider’s bikes and make sure each bike has the rider’s bib number on it and that no one walks off with one that’s not theirs. She had a story about some guy, who apparently had a very expensive bike. He had asked her about security, but apparently wasn’t very satisfied with the answer, because he came back and locked his bike in the corral. Then he came back and put a seat cover on it. Finally, he came back one more time and took his bicycle with him. We both thought this story was hilarious and I’ve known people like this myself. Heck, I might have even been one. Saturday, we checked-out and then back in our bikes and other volunteers were working the corral. On Sunday, in the rain, but with both of our bib tags in-hand, I went to the corral to get our bikes. The gate was open and there was no one around. I looked around and couldn’t find any volunteers. Then I noticed the same red shopping bag that the woman on Friday had had. I walked out of the corral with both of our bikes. Maybe that other cyclist wasn’t as crazy as he first seemed.

Bike MS Recap

Bike MS – 1st Day

Well we’re done. This year’s Bike MS ride ended more with a whimper than not. Saturday was great! Perfect weather and even with our limited training this year, we still did well. The after ride party on Saturday night was fun too. We cleaned up on door prizes. But then there was Sunday, which was a bit of a washout. We got up at five and struck the tent in record time, which was a good thing, with flashes of lighting on the horizon and the deluge that began at six. Forty days of practice this summer paid off. We got soaked waiting around for the bike locker to open, but at least the camping gear was dry. We ate breakfast and waited around until seven, when it was pretty clear that they would not be letting anyone go anytime soon. So, we loaded the bikes on the car and headed for home, which we made, with just enough time to off load the Prius and not a moment to spare. It proceeded to rain for most of the morning.

Saturday was fun though. We did the team mass start and for one moment I was in the lead. Then slowly, but surely, they all passed us, along with almost all the other riders. Our route took us down to the river road that parallels the Illinois. We followed it north until Grafton and then veered inland and uphill. It was a killer hill. We both ended up walking it. On the second toughest hill, I walked, but Anne rode it to the top. I learned later that her mantra was, “Don’t puke. Don’t puke.” Which she didn’t. You go girl! We decided that discretion was the better part of valor and quit at lunch, which was conveniently back where we had started. I got my first professional massage, which I am still trying to figure out whether I liked or not. Dinner, then the team party and in bed by nine on a Saturday night. Sounds lame, right? Our team tent was the only one still going, when we left. Being so much closer to Saint Louis than Columbia, the old venue, it appears that most people left in the afternoon and never came back.  

Team Kaldi’s

Team Kaldi’s

We were so much younger then. Anne and I have joined this year’s Team Kaldi’s and are planning on participating in the Bike MS ride again. Pictured is the core of what I consider to be Team Kaldi’s. They’re my bike buddies. Unfortunately, none of them will be riding on this year’s team. Old age deterred some of them. The increased cost of the ride others. It is now triple the cost of what it was then. I guess that we’ll have to make new friends this year. We’ll have another chance to see our old friends again next week, at Captain Don’s memorial service.