Thursday, August 28, 2008

Honestly ...

... how do people think this stuff up? And where do they get the time to create it?!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mom and Pop are Golden

We threw a surprise 50th anniversary party for Mom and Dad on Saturday -- and it worked! They really had no idea until they got there, and that's quite a feat in a teeny-tiny town like Bridgeport! One hundred six people came to congratulate them, and I can't tell you how special it was to see how moved they were.

I'm putting up a few pics here, but will put up more from the actual party later, as Gary (Fishin' Mission Commish) is sending me a disc with over 300 pics on it that he and fellow Missionaries took -- they're much better photogs than me! So, I'm mainly putting some shots up that they may not have taken.

The party was at the Bridgeport Barns and Terrace, an outside events venue built around a beautiful refurbished barn at the end of town. I'll put more info about that in the final entry, but this is what greeted everyone as they entered the main area. Who is that dashing young couple?
My oldest niece, Abbey, gave her grandma and grandpa fresh leis as they arrived since the theme was Hawaiian. Mom and Dad helped keep the flowers perky by crying.
Dad in his lei. Oh, and we got them there in Hawaiian clothes by telling them weeks ago that we wanted to take a family portrait in matching clothes -- Hawaiian -- to give them for their anniversary. They got a little more than they bargained for.
This pic does not do them justice, but these are the cakes that Arleen Mills (a friend I grew up with) made for the party. Note the heart-shaped tattoo on Dad's pot belly -- it says 'Lyn,' of course.
Sis-in-law Missy and her mom, Jean, made these fabulous centerpieces for the tables. They made 11x14 copies of family photos, mounted them on posterboard, cut them out, and then glued them around cardboard rings. They were a huge hit. And they're surrounded by sea glass, as well.
What's a Hawaiian party without surfers?!
I know this will surprise most of you, but after we had to leave the party location, some of us continued the party at Rhino's. Big brother Jim and Mark (married to good friend, Juli, who lives in Fresno) traded hats ... and shouldn't have.
After Juli had a few kamikazes, she was really, really friendly.
And the morning after, Mom and Dad were generous enough to invite the whole family, Juli and Mark, and the four Fishin' Mission dudes in attendance up to their house for breakfast. Took two griddles of bacon to feed everyone! Willard and Joanne (practically family, as they've known Mom and Pop for 49 years ever since Dad and Will went on the C.H.P. together; and they're the Fruita, CO folks who host me when I'm driving back and forth across country AND I lived with them when I went to Ventura College!) and youngest daughter, Sara, also came by, but after they'd eaten breakfast with brother Donald and his girlfriend, Ellen, down at the Hays Street. I don't think they trusted our bacon ...
Dad's still glowing from the night before. I'm not sure he knew just how loved he is!
Juli and Missy strike a pose in the living room while waiting to eat.
Toni, Jim, and Gary, some of the Fishin' Mission boys, eating and chatting it up on the deck with Missy.
And of course, the nieces had to practice their head-standing skills to pass time. It was Lacey's first time!
After breakfast, the Fishin' Mission boys joined us in cleaning up down at the Barns and Terrace -- Gary grabbed the centerpieces in one swoop.
And we put Toni on pot duty -- the kind of pot you cook beans in, that is.
And the last thing to come down was the sign outside the entry. Really ... it couldn't have been a better party!

Olympic Withdrawals

Now that the torches in Beijing have been doused, here's a little YouTube goodie -- courtesy of Pat in Texas -- for those of you who are missing the Olympics. And the gymnastics in particular.

Monday, August 25, 2008

For Gary

No time to do a real entry, but wanted to give Gary something to look at as he peruses his fave blogs over morning java ... Better than gumballs, aye, Commish?!

Honest ... I'll do some real entries later this week.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Summer's coming to a close for me -- I'm headed back to Fresno this morning -- and it's been a great summer in Bridgeport, and though I've done a few entries along the way, I thought I'd share a bit more.

I worked at Ken's Sporting Goods all summer -- my big brother's store. There's a "hunting and fishing" side and a gift shop side, and I worked in the gift shop. These were a fun part of that ... can you tell what they are? This is Debbie, one of my parent's neighbors. Fishermen -- and women, obviously -- bring their fish into the store to be weighed and they sometimes leave them to display in a freezer outside, too. Jim takes pics of them and hangs some of them up in the store and also gives the customer a copy.
Jim also contracts with some guide services, one of which is Stay Bent. Rey Robles, Jr., the owner, also works at the store, and sometimes parks his boat out front. His website is if you want to check him out. He and his wife, Kat, brought Jolly Kone shakes to us one day at work, so of course, I'm a fan ...
Every morning when I opened, I'd see Rene across the street opening her place. She's an old friend, and it was fun hollering at her across the street as I set up a sidewalk sale each day.
We sell a lot of t-shirts, and my sis-in-law, Missy, did this window display before I got home.
The funny shirts tend to sell best, and a little raunch never hurt.

And my fave is the fish! Rainbows and browns, 17-inch or 10-inch. What more could a tiny fisherkid need?
Well, maybe a mallard or a chipmunk, too.
Of course, a lot of my time off was spent watching Lacey fly.
And visiting with friends was a key part of the summer, too. This is Amanda and Garth, friends from Southern Cal who come up to fish, at a barbecue at Buck and Ingrid's house (Locals -- Buck's a cowboy and Ingrid works for the Forest Service) -- they're displaying the rub Buck used. Yummy!
Jim and Lacey at the bbq.
Lacey, Missy, and Denise -- Garth's wife and Amanda's mom -- at the bbq, too.
And, as discussed earlier in an entry, these are the crags in the corner of the Valley, and most days, this is what they looked like from town.
But part of the summer, they looked like this ... smoke from fires all over the state. This smoke blew over in late summer from the Mariposa fires on the west side of Yosemite.
And this is the gumball machine outside the gift shop ... in case you didn't figure out the first pic was gumballs. I moved it outside each morning as I opened, and it was great watching kids and adults get gumballs each day. And listen to kids ask for gumballs to no avail ... come on, it's only a quarter!
I'm excited to get back over to Fresno to all my friends there and get settled again, as well as begin my new assignments at Fresno State. But I am also really going to miss Bridgeport. Can you blame me?

Cascade Memories

The Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon ended on July 13, but I've been promising a little recap, so here it finally is. Since you can read all my daily articles on (see links in righthand column under "My Work for"), I thought I'd just post some of my pics. The best pics here were taken by my "host mom," Paige, as she's quite the photog -- I'll give her credit, but you'll know them when you see them!

I rode all week with Chuck in the media car -- he is the CCC media relations director, drove last year, too, and is a super guy. This was just one of the amazing views during the week, and is kind of the trademark view that people think of when they think of CCC, I think. The blurry cyclists are a break in the men's race on the first day.And this is Mark Schwab (pony tail and Excel kit)! If you've been an avid reader of my blog, you'll remember him from my MS Global entries, as he's one of the ride leaders and a friend from Boulder. It was fun visiting with him at the race, and he gave Levi, Chris, Tom, and Santiago a run for their money all week.
Aaron's Kristin Sanders won her first NRC race when she won the second stage. She was rightfully ecstatic, and even better ... podium winners received microbrew each day!
I stayed with the same great folks who hosted me last year -- Paige, Erich, Kendall, and Grant -- and they also hosted the ValueAct Capital women (the rockin' team I stayed with at Redlands -- they may think I'm stalking them!). Teams basically take over the kitchens of their host houses and this is just one view of all the healthy food that was sitting around all week.
And this is a typical host house morning scene ... VAC's Sharon Allpress and Emily Zell at the kitchen counter on their laptops, while Kendall and Paige have some breakfast in the background.
Paige snapped this shot of me chatting with the VAC gals at their warm-up area prior to the time trial.
Paige also got this shot of Sharon out on the TT course -- beautiful, aye?
The Downtown Crit is a fave of the locals, and the streets are three- and four-deep with excited fans each year. Kristin Armstrong -- who's in Beijing readying to go for gold! -- rode the front of the peloton much of the night since she was in yellow, and here she's followed closely by Felicia Gomez of Aaron's, as well as the women of Webcor and VAC. Another of Paige's shots.
And Paige also captured this shot of Astana's Chris Horner out front in the men's crit, protecting the body and lead of teammate Levi Leipheimer. It can't be said enough ... they should have been at the Tour!
The men's crit podium from a unique angle ... yah, like you wouldn't have snapped it had you had the chance!
Levi moved into yellow after the time trial, and first donned the jersey after the crit that night.
The last morning, Erich made his famous waffles for the VAC women. He first made them for Martina Patella when she stayed at their house two years ago -- she was on another team at the time -- and so now he is happily obligated.
And Martina was happily digging in while Sharon looked on.
Paige got this shot of the final morning, too.
This is Garmin-Chipotle's Tom Danielson and 18-year-old filmmaker, Evan Schmitt, prior to the final stage. Evan rode in the media car with us a few days, as he was filming for a new documentary he's doing. He's from the little Washington town where "Northern Exposure" was filmed, and his company is called "Dirty Moose Productions." You can find his website here, and you'll see that he's already produced some great cycling films. His big bro is on Bissell.
Levi hails from Montana, though he lives in Santa Rosa, Cali, now, and he obviously had some fans along the route.
Remember the overzealous Speedo-clad fan I put in an earlier posting? The racers definitely noticed him during the last stage, and this is a shot that Paige got of Kristin and Amber Rais riding past him -- hard to see here, but Kristin's cracking up.
The final men's podium -- Jeff Louder (2nd, BMC), Levi Leipheimer (yellow), and South Africa's Darren Lill (third, BMC). Didn't get the women's final podium, as I was too busy interviewing them for the day's article.
And Paige got this final shot of me zooming by in the media car on the final day. She was unhappy with it, as the exposure's not great (she just had cataract surgery and hasn't adjusted her camera yet), but I thought it was fun.
Sorry for taking so long to post these, but I'm kinda busy at stage races ... great fun, though.