Unlike yesterday, today was a beach day or at least it shoulda been. Normally, I confine my perambulations to the stretch of sand between two points, Birch and Cedar. Today, we went point-to-point. First, we went to lunch at Jack’s Pub and Grub on the River. We split the Polish plate, the Dziadek (Grandfather) Special, which included a cabbage roll, pierogies and kielbasa, topped with sauerkraut, which was further topped with fried onions and bacon. It was not exactly light cuisine. The food reminded me of my grandfather’s Polish picnics that he would host and at which, I would devour the delicious Polish food. On our way back to the cabin, we stopped at the front Birch Point navigational light. It is there that we saw the milkweed. Notice that the leaves are almost, but not quite chewed away. Monarch caterpillars did this. They only eat milkweed. I bet that the caterpillar selves have left just enough photosynthesizing leaf to keep the plant alive to flower, so that the Monarch butterfly selves can then pollinate them. Such is the circle of life. On Birch Point we saw the mergansers. Mom and the babies were neatly ensconced upon a high enough rock to weather the waves. Finally, we did walk down the beach to Cedar Point, where the Bald Eagles roost. We bushwhacked far enough to flush the eagles from the beach, but never did find their nest. We have a Plan B for that though. 

Maintenance Cycle

Dragonfly on Water Lily

“In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and this sense of presence is overwhelming.” – Robert M Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

We took two cars into the Toyota dealership for service. The Prius got an oil change, some regular maintenance and a look at its catalytic converter. It had a dent in it, but was otherwise OK. Dave’s Corolla passed its state inspections, had its recall notices taken care of and had some other long overdue maintenance performed. The cabin air filter looked like the forest floor, with enough leaves in it to be mulch worthy. With its inspection certificates in hand, I made a beeline for the DMV and it is now street legal again. With the four-wheel vehicles all taken care of, it was time to turn my attention to the two-wheel variety. We’re talking bicycles now. The Zen of bicycle maintenance included new tubes and tires, chain and cassette and brake pads. Also, a new computer for Anne. Further tweaking may be required.

UPDATE: I only got my bike done today, but it purrs like a dream. No cassettes though. The one that I thought I had in my parts stash was too out of date and REI was totally out of stock. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so, I should finished up with Anne’s bike in time for beaucoup test rides this weekend. Anne made a joke about upgrading from cassettes to CDs, but I guess that’s mute.

The Zen of Working

Water Lily

“Work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work. Hello, boys. You have a good night’s rest? I missed you.” – Governor Lepetomane, Blazing Saddles

I bought a new laptop. The old one was getting pretty long in the tooth and while still serviceable, it was becoming more and more difficult to use. After I unboxed the new one and powered it up, the PC launched itself into endless Windows update mode. Eventually, I got to begin personalizing the machine. I loaded some software and photos. Adding everything that I could think of. It almost felt like being back at work, where in the closing months of my career, I lived a gypsy life. Going from one new machine to the next and setting each one up to my tastes, before I could begin working with it. 

As background to my activity, the staccato sound of a jack hammer filtered in from outside. MSD has arrived. They are drilling test holes in the street, trying to locate the existing infrastructure, before they begin trenching for the new sewer line. Gotta uncross the streams. Laclede Gas eventually joined the party and they were like that guest that just won’t go home. It looked like they were backhoeing out one of the neighbors’ laterals. MSD packed it in and Laclede was still at it. The streetlights came on and they continued working. The 10 o’clock news finished and the late shows were beginning and we were getting ready for bed, before they finally packed it in and wheeled away. I’m glad that I had a desk job and I’m even more glad that I don’t have to work it any longer.



When we returned to Saint Louis, we hooked up with Alice and Chris, who are in town for the retirement party of Alice’s former boss. Friday, Chris met us at Bar Louie and then later we moved to the Bottleworks. On Saturday, the four of us went to the gardens, which we bookended with dining experiences at first Rooster, Pho Grand, Olympia and the Chase. I’m stuffed!

Headed Home

Desert Mallow

We started our day with a stroll across the road from the motel, to the Taos Diner for breakfast. Afterwards,it was time to hit the road again. Firstly, there was was another mountain range to cross. On the way, a male elk jumped across the road right in front of us. We drove by Philmont scout ranch, which reminded me of my own scouting adventures of yesteryear. We came back down again in Cimarron, where the mountains meet the high plains. I must complain about Siri’s love of Bob’s roads, as we wound our way through eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Along the way, we listened to xkcd author’s “what if?” It’s good to be back in the Central time zone. We crash landed in Hayes, KS for the night. Anne bought some desert colors yarn in Taos. When she was looking at patterns with the proprietor, the owner mentioned that she had made a particular pattern for Julia Roberts. Anne thought, “Doesn’t she knit?” To which the other woman replied, “Yeah, but not very well.”