Thursday, September 23, 2021


It's the middle of September and I'm still just going through the motions, in a fog of pandemic malaise, inching my way back to normal. Sometimes I feel like I'm almost there, but I still have another hill to climb. Several of my friends have already returned to pre-Covid activities; Amy and Jennifer are competing in Ironman Chattanooga this weekend, and Alison, Lila and Lisa are heading down to Tennessee with them. Me? I'm not quite ready for travel or large gatherings. I'm still keeping life simple. I'll be heading up to Vermont this weekend, and will probably ride solo at Ascutney Trails, and maybe hike the mountain with Mike

Wenham trail at Bradley Palmer State Park

I've been out riding the Kona on easy trails, (my knee still has me skittish on twisty, rooty trails). I've also been riding the rail trail through Marblehead, tooling around town, not venturing too far. I know it will take time to get my strength and fitness back. I just need to be patient.

I have a new weapon in my training arsenal -- with his BS in Kinesiology/Movement Science, and soon to be certified as a strength and conditioning coach, (and gratefully employed at Spectrum Fitness in Beverly), Will has become my in-house personal trainer. We talk about training plans and nutritional goals, and that's been fun. I'm even slowly getting back to running. 

I've yet to commit to any cycling (or running) events. Can Coffeeneurring 2021 count? LOL. Maybe not, but that's my jam these days. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Best of Summer (So Far)


I finally have sunflowers in my cutting garden

Trail riding

Strawberry picking

Small batch strawberry jam and scones

Cocktail Saturdays

Hike to Cantilever Rock, Mt Mansfield

Wildflowers and monarchs
Stowe, Vermont

Perfectly pillowy cinnamon rolls,
King Arthur Baking Class

Rainy July, Easy riding

Beach finds

Sunday, May 30, 2021

It's not (always) about the bike

MAY! Museum visits, revisiting the recipes learned from my King Arthur Baking classes, several trips to Ascutney (5) to work on cottage projects, and time spent in the garden... May comes to a close with very little time on the bike. It was a quick month. I hope the summer doesn't fly as fast.

After wrapping up 30 Days of Biking, I spent my first day off the bike in a very quiet Peabody Essex Museum. Visitor capacity was limited when I went, (I had to reserve a scheduled ticket online), but I enjoyed roaming the somewhat empty galleries at leisure. There are several terrific exhibitions going on now, including Salem Stories, highlighting 26 unique vignettes (from A-Z) of the city of Salem and Anita Quayyum Agha's All the Flowers Are for Me.

All The Flowers Are for Me 

The King Arthur Baking School offered online courses during the pandemic, and I learned several new recipes and techniques to improve my baking. Topping the list were soft pretzels, buttermilk biscuits, cream scones, empanadas, cream puffs and eclairs, lemon meringue cupcakes, raspberry and chocolate rugelach, and apple pie, (the latter of which I knew how to bake, but learned how to make my crust soooo much better.) The courses were really fun and I hope to take a class in person at the Vermont campus in the future. I highly recommend them!

Baking homemade eclairs

Traditional cream scones

Have drill, will build! I bought a new cordless driver and built a new garden bed this month. The rabbits are cute, (we have several who've set up permanent residence in the yard), but they destroy my garden. I have begun to replace some of my perennials with rabbit resistant varieties -- strawflower, salvia, and lupine -- and one of the raised garden beds with higher walls. (The price of lumber is insane right now.) 

Building a new garden bed

Hopefully too tall for rabbits

The pandemic put several maintenance projects on hold at the cottage last year, which we all, (Mike, the boys, cousins, and sister) addressed this month. I ended up taking five day tips to Vermont, (too cold to spend the night), including one unforced error when I drove up with Will to paint, only to find out I left the paint at home. D'oh!

Maintenance projects in Vermont

Will and I took a day trip to do some painting...
I left the paint at home

It's been a busy month! Hooray for Spring!

Sweet discovery in the garden.

Monday, May 3, 2021

30 Days of Biking, Year 8, Done.

Day 29
Pouring rain

Deep puddles

The final two days of 30 Days of Biking were tough. Day 29 saw pouring rain with absolutely no break. I only rode down the rail trail and back, about 1 mile. Yuck. 

Day 30 had brutal winds. I thought I'd avoid some of it by riding away from the coastline into Salem, but it really didn't matter. I got thrashed. I rode just 8 miles for YEAR 8, but it felt like 80 by the time I finished.

And thus ends 30 Days of Biking, Year 8. I need to retire.

Day 30
Winter Island

Stopping by Waikiki Beach, thinking of Sam

Congrats, Will! UMich Grad!

Where does the time go? Will received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan last weekend. The ceremony was virtual -- which wasn't a surprise -- as both boys saw all of their classes go online last semester. Still, despite the graduation being virtual, he ordered the cap and gown, (skipped on the bling), and posed for some photos to commemorate. Four years gone in a flash.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

30 Days of Biking: Road Trip!

Day 26
Luna Pier, Lake Erie, Michigan

It's that time of year again -- when I make an annual trek out to Ann Arbor, Michigan to pick up Will from college. When both boys started school in September, they packed lightly, anticipating a shutdown and heading home early. I brought two bikes out to Ann Arbor with me to keep my 30 Days of Biking streak going. (I brought bikes out during Will's freshman year as well, so we came full circle with a bike ride on campus.)

Lake Erie

On Monday, I took a detour to Luna Pier on Lake Erie to get in a ride. Fellow Vanderkitten, Sarah T, had recommended I visit Luna Pier years ago, so it seemed like a good place to stop.

It was windy but warm, and the waves were wild at the pier. I rode around the tiny town and grabbed a bite to eat (to go) at Luna Beach Cafe. Michigan is hot with Covid right now, so I kept interactions at a minimum.

Day 27
Ann Arbor with Will

North Quad, Will's las home on campus

Lunch at the Fleetwood Diner

On Tuesday, Will and I got together to take graduation photos on campus and tool around on the bikes. We rode to one of his favorite parks in Ann Arbor and stopped for lunch at the Fleetwood Diner. He still had one exam to take, so I left him at 3 and explored Ann Arbor on my own. Such a pretty city.

Hitting the road, both bikes in the car, there
wasn't much to haul home. Most of it was Chip's.

Wednesday we hit the road around 9:45 am, after a 45 minute GPS mix-up that kept routing us through Canada. I contemplated not riding when we got home -- and adding a makeup day in May -- but when I got home at 10:30 pm, Will encouraged me to head out on my bike. It was a good decision. I spent a half hour clearing my head and shaking off the road after the long 12+ drive. The street lights casting shadows on the road through the trees caught my eye. Very cool.

Three day road trip to Michigan and back, complete.

Day 28
Night ride before the day is done.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

30 Days of Biking: Alternating Days of Sun and Rain

Day 22
Rainy days are good for the flowers
The magnolias are blooming as well.

Day 23

Day 24
Wenham Canal with Alison and Lila.
(Swapped bikes with Lila for a while)

Wenham Canal

Day 25
Rainy day to the pond and back

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

30 Days of Biking: Art Tripping


Day 21
Art tripping. Tooling around Central Square Lynn

Coffee at The Lazy Llama