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 The one that I thought I had in my parts stash was too out of date and REI was totally out of stock.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!

MoBot Photo Safari

Anne had the day off and it was going to be a warm one, so this morning we headed over to the gardens to get a little nature, a little beauty and lots of pictures, before it got too warm. Garden of Glass: The Art of Craig Mitchell Smith is this summer’s big show there. These larger-than-life works of glass and metal art are primarily inside the Climatron, but the pictured Muses was outside the main entrance. It comprises nine six-foot-tall figures made with iridescent glass. It was too nice a day to spend inside the Climatron, so we’ll have to catch the rest of this show later. As we approached the Climatron, a flock of grackles was chasing a hawk, which eventually landed and roosted on the building’s support structure. A pair of neighborhood watch grackles hung around and kept a watchful eye or two on him.

The Japanese Garden is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this summer and a photo contest has been launched to help celebrate that. I think that Anne’s photo of the Japanese Maple helicopter seeds is a good candidate and will be entered. While it’s not eligible for this contest, I still love the texture of the Chinese Elm’s bark. The Three Sisters are three standing stones in the Japanese Garden. Being the shortest, Anne figures that she is the rock on the right. She’ll let her other two sisters figure out which ones they are.