Category Archives: Recreation

Quickly

Activity levels have picked up along with the temperatures.  I am giving daily attention to the community garden.  It is only a quarter planted, but that quarter is doing well (all but the beet seeds have sprouted).   cg

The brown pillow is a tarp filled with dried grass.  My neighbor shares her bounty each spring so that I can spread it around the garden to suppress weeds.  I was able to get that thing in my station wagon without leaving so much as a single reed.  Much better than last year (when I stuffed the grass into the back of Lacey’s Fit, sans tarp.  You know I vacuumed it all up as soon as I got home, but I still felt bad.  Disrespectful.

The stick stomper took a few days off and then stomped the same corner a third time yesterday afternoon/night (I found them this morning).  I replaced the sticks and added six more at the spot.  A silly way for the two of us to be spending our time, don’t you think?s

I started the rest of the plants for the garden in the basement, on propagation mats and under lights.  They are now outside getting used to real world conditions before I plant them in the ground near the end of May.

Yesterday I had fun reconditioning a vintage cast aluminum yard lamp.  I found it on a pile on my neighbor’s curb.l

The paint was chipped, mostly gone, and the plug had been run over by a lawn mower.  I disassembled it, cleaned it, glued a broken part of the globe (the separated piece was still in there), gave it three coats of rattle can (wanted to remove all the paint, to leave it raw, but what remained was well stuck), replaced the plug and added a rubber grommet to seal the juncture between the cord and the lamp.  The bulb that was in it is still working.  A yellow one that is meant to prevent bugs from gathering.  I looked around the net to see if I could assign a date to the thing.  Now I am getting ads for repros on most every web page I visit.  ll

The mail carrier delivered She & Him’s Volume 3 yesterday.  I forgot that the first so many LPs to be shipped would be on blue vinyl.  3

Hope it sounds as good as it looks (I think colored vinyl might not sound as good as virgin black, but I am too lazy to look for confirmation).  Tilly and the Wall contribute vocals on three of the tracks and Mike Watt plays bass on another track!

I just noticed you can order the album as a cassette.  I haven’t seen that in a long while.  Could cassettes replace vinyl for some fashion chasers?  Maybe.  I still have my Walkman.  Two actually.  M. Ward may like the hiss.  Much as I respect his work, I don ‘t think I’ll be hopping on that wagon.  How I hated moving between songs with the forward and back buttons!

Skyrim is back in my life.  I broke down and ordered my own copy.  Mixed feelings.  I played yesterday for the first time in ten or so days.  Still fun, but I hope I play less.

Yesterday afternoon Lacey, Frida and I picnicked in Washington Park with my cousins.  The place was lovely and packed.  Albany packed (not NYC packed).  I got a parking space within ten seconds of forming the idea that I wanted one.  We were twenty yards away from our nearest blanket mates.  Under big shade trees  and a stone throw away from the fountain and the tulips.  Pretty special time.  Glad my cousins texted the suggestion.  Glad for cousins.

Oh!  Get the new app for Albanians.  AlbanyWorks4U.  Use it to report problems to the city, track progress, see other issues reported and vote for problems reported by others.  Could have used it this morning when I reported a leaking water fountain at Rosemont Park.  Called, which should work fine, but with the app I won’t have to enjoy a conversation with a city worker who seemed bothered by my interruption.  Three cheers for faceless, and voiceless, appService.

That’s enough.  Time to listen to Volume 3.  Take care.

Moving on Up

Crushed by work, but still want to say hey.

The League of American Bicyclists state rankings are out.  What are they ranking?  Friendliness of the 50 states toward bicyclists (or something like that).  My takeaway?  So glad I left Nebraska (43rd  most friendly–only 7 meaner states) to come to New York (42nd most friendly–a full 8 meaner states, including that old stink hole Nebraska–kidding–huge fan of the Good Life).  So basically I could throw a dart and be hard pressed to hit a state that is meaner to cyclists than my present state of residence (and my former state of residence).   Funny thing is, I really like biking in both Nebraska and New York.  What am I missing?  Better not to ask.

Better to go roll around the block and stretch my legs.  So I did.  I pedaled to the pond (the lowest point in our ‘hood, then pedaled at a good clip to the highest point in our neighborhood (which is the highest point in Albany).  It felt so good to be moving that I kept going.  I took a lap on the ring road around a state office complex.  I thought the speed limit in all of Albany was 30 mph, and it generally is, but this road allows 40 mph.  The road also has “No Bicycle Racing” signs posted.  Has a ticket has ever been issued?  There are always roadies present, and now me on my single speed coaster brake transportation rig complete with upright bars, wicker basket and fenders.  I fall in behind two triathletes in full kit and aerobar tucks.  I thought I would catch them.  I didn’t try too hard (if you race someone who doesn’t know you are racing them, you have to go easy so you can pass them and say hey without labored breath).  I didn’t catch them, but their escape was gradual.  One lap and home.  Four point two miles.  Love a good short ride.

Bye!

Ten Minutes

Just sharing a few short moments from the day.  Like most of my posts, nothing big happens.  That’s a central theme of this blog.  I share glimpses of my mostly quiet life filled with short bicycle rides and everyday food.  I want this site to be an alternative to others sharing extreme bicycle adventures and complex food.  I’d be honored if you’d think of this as a bicycling and vegan cooking blog that Fred Rogers would have linked to.  [Hmm.  This should really be on my about page, so I'm going to copy it there.]  Let’s go.

Above are the remains of the overwintered  cabbage (after I brought home the middle of the stalks with the leaves).  A day after being cut, the flowers are still pretty.  If my mother was local, I would have brought them home and given them to her.  I have a hard time getting comfortable with giving flowers from flower shops.  Most probably have a big carbon footprint.  I’d much rather give flowers I found on the side of the road or some such thing.

Why each cabbage head sprouted five or so stalks is a mystery to me, but it is fun to look at up close.

The video above shows me pedaling home from the community garden.  I love how these videos make me look fast.  Truth is, I was probably going about twelve miles per hour.  If.

Got home and watered the backyard garden.  Putting the hose away, I saw this cutie pie.

It let me make a picture because it was interested in not exposing itself to Frida.  Before I knew the rabbit was there, I let Frida out.  She had walked not five feet from where I found it.  I made the picture quickly and went inside.  Didn’t want to stress it out more than I had.  It stayed there long enough for Lacey to come see it, but was gone a few minutes later.  

Had a nice Other Mother’s Day brunch with the neighbors.  I contributed a tofu salad.  

I borrowed the ingredient list from the Bridge Tofu site, and added a few things.  I like that their ingredient list has nothing funky.  Know that I love me some grape seed oil fakin’ mayo, but tahini instead feels better.  Details? Mooshed up Bridge tofu plus chopped green garlic, celery, carrots and sweet red pepper, plus black pepper, cayenne pepper and dill, mixed with a dressing consisting of tahini, vinegar (Lagusta’s peach!), mustard, tamari, miso and apple cider.  Maybe taste the dressing before you add it to the tofu/veggie mixture ’cause as they say you can’t unring a bell.

Later!

Two 2s

I love my wife!  The day started with a nice walk with Frida.  Lacey said she wanted to go to the gym in the morning.  I said it was so pretty that maybe she’d be willing to bicycle in the country with me.  No driving to the gym.  No electricity used by the work out machines.  Free vitamin D from the sun.  Togetherness.  It is kind of cold and very windy, but she said yes!  I love pedaling with my sweetie!

Lacey wanted to ride her Bridgestone XO-2.  It is her favorite go fast bicycle.  Her Panasonic road bike is probably quicker, but it isn’t as stable or comfortable and the XO-2 has easier gears.  Perfect.  I picked out my new Bridgestone RB-2.

Lacey also wanted a bagel brunch.  I had thought the same thing when I woke up, so I stuffed a cotton bag in my coat pocket and planned a country route that dumped us out by a grocery (where we could get Tofutti cream cheese) and then we’d continue home and stop by the bagel store.  

The ride in the country was hard work.  A very strong head wind the whole way.  We enjoyed it anyway.  

After the grocery, we faced a pretty long ride along a very busy street, but as luck would have it we had the strongest tailwind the whole way.  It was amazing.  We had to be going twenty-five, maybe more, with almost no effort.  I haven’t had that kind of fun in ages!

The line for bagels was out the door and moving slowly.  When I got inside the door, I grabbed a bag of day old bagels and headed to the cash registers.  That’s the ethic there.  If you don’t need the help of the sandwich makers, you get to cut to the registers.  Score!

Home safe now.  Lacey is cleaning up while I type.  Then bagel brunch!  Woo hoo!

I hope your Sunday is extra special, too.

Civility and Not

Albany tweed ride is, for us anyway, in the history books.  Warm memories are all I have.  Big thanks to Ethan for setting it up.  Big thanks to the Olde English Pub and Pantry for the round of drinks on the house.  Made mine a Wee Heavy from Bellhaven.  Yummers!  

The Olde English Pub is hella cute and the folks that care for visitors are super nice.  Go if you haven’t.  You won’t need encouragement for the return visit.  A few vegan items on the menu would be welcomed, though.  Keeping with the English theme, I suggest beans on toast, fake sausage and mashers, and maybe a veg curry and flat bread plate.  Easy way to make another 5% of the population feel welcome.  What do you say, friends?

Such great folks on the ride!  Six years have passed since I have had this feeling, and oddly enough it went down a few feet away from the Olde English.  We finished our first Albany Critical Mass ride, nearly seven years ago, at the Albany Pump Station, just across the alley.  There we met most of the folks that were to be our friends for the next six years (and hopefully many more), and were invited to a party where we met the rest of our local friends.  We met more wonderful folks today and with any luck and effort our group of friends will grow.  Ride pics here.  Joys all around.

On the way home a Saab beeped at us as it was passing.  It was a no beep situation, as we hadn’t delayed the car in any way, shape or form, but still the beep.  Lacey nearly jumped out of her skin.  Don’t cross my girl, fool.  I fantasized about reaching into my basket for my U-Lock and tossing the same at their rear window.  The daydream continued with  their window breaking, them stopping, and then I retrieve my lock and beat the driver silly for the needless honk.  It was a bad dream, mind, you.  I want to have nothing to do with bothering anyone, let alone hurting anyone, but the unwelcome fantasies arose with the unjust honk.  Glad to report I did nothing, but people need to behave.  Folks other than me may not be in control of their passions.  Just be nice, for heavens sake!  We are all neighbors!

On the whoopsie daisy front, I just bought a new to me bike.  A 1993 Bridgestone RB-2.  I bought it because I need one of its Ritchey Vantage Comp rims for my yellow RB-1 (the rear rim on my yellow RB-1 has a flat spot).  If the front rim on the RB-2 is perfect, I will move it over to the RB-1 rear and then replace the front on the RB-2 with a spare RB-1 front wheel I have on hand.  The spare wheel was purchased to solve the RB-1 flat spot problem, but the sticker is different (so it just won’t do).  I want the yellow RB-1 to be perfect.  Sickness flourishing.  Sigh.

Now it is time to batten down the hatches in preparation for the nor’ easter on its way here.  Should arrive in the next hour or so.  If I am reduced to talking about the weather, that’s enough from me.  How are you?  I sincerely hope you are tip top and happy as a fool.

Tamale Jag

Friends invited us to a picnic at Joralemon, so I made a batch of tamales.  I’ve made tamales three times before, each time with guidance from Veganomicon and instructions on the side of the bag of Instant Corn Masa Mix.  The first effort went well enough, as I remember it, but the next two times, yesterday included, the tamales required nearly double the time in the steamer (an hour and a half as opposed to the advertised forty-five minutes).  I’d open one at 45 minutes and it the dough would still be wet.  I’d tie it back up and try another 15 minutes and at an hour and a half they’d seem close to right.  

Both Veganomicon and the bag suggest a one to one ratio of stock to masa mix, so that is what I always did.  The dough was pretty wet (just short of pancake batter), but what did I know?  This morning, with the problem fresh in my mind,  I made another batch.  I added one and  a half cups of stock to two cups of masa mix.  The dough was drier, but still easy to work with.  Between pancake batter and cookie dough.  I ended up with twelve tamales with lovely texture after 45 minutes in the steamer.  This reminds me of the importance of adding liquids to unfamiliar batters in stages.  You can always add more if the batter seems too dry.  

My folding technique has evolved, too.  I now press a quarter cup of dough into a small tortilla-sized, pancake-thick, round in my hand.  With the grain of the corn husk running vertically, I lay the dough along the left edge, leaving a couple of inches of husk on the top, right and bottom.  I lay a stripe of filling vertically in the middle of the dough.  I roll the husk from left to right until a tube of dough is formed (the empty right part of the husk is still unrolled), fold the top and bottom edges of the husk in and then continue the roll to trap the edges.  Very tidy.

Tying the tamales was always a struggle.  I’d make ties from strips of husk.  String would be easier, but about one hundred times less cute.  Now I tie two strips together to make a double length husk strip tie and tying is now reliable and fun.  Too long, really, but the extra length is pretty and makes it easier to untie when eating time arrives.

Filling?  I sautéed chopped onion for twenty minutes on low heat to come close to caramelization (I wanted to caramelize them, but in my thirty or so years of cooking have never once managed the patience required for a good caramelization–and only just learned that can take as many as forty minutes).  Then added jalapeno, garlic and mushrooms.  Spinach, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper last.  Next time I am going to leave time for full caramelization.

The picnic was great.  Our friends are so very wonderful.  Every time we get together I count my blessings that they share their lives with us.  We played bocce, skipped rocks at the river, looked for cave openings and ate wonderful food.  Most of these folks are vegan or nearly so and most of the dishes are made vegan.  If dairy is involved, it is kept on the side.  A little thing, but it goes a long way to making us feel welcome and cared-for.  Not a golf disk was thrown, but I didn’t mind a whit.  I was having too much fun to care.

Hope you are all well.

Sweet

Yesterday Lacey gave me a surprise.  MUSA knickers from Rivendell!  Isn’t she the best?  I like the colors in mine better than those on the site now.

The fit is baggy.  I have a couple of pairs of tight fashion knickers which I also enjoy, but it is nice to have a choice.  Do I want to look cool or be comfortable?  Like everyone’s preferences, mine are ever-changing.  I see no reason to save these for pedaling.  Disc golf, climbing at the gym and drinking beer seem to be other good uses for these britches (the elastic belt will register no protest when I order a second pint).    

Very well thought out details, too.  Grant makes sure you know by including a card.  Remember you can click on images to make them bigger.

Gave the house a vigorous cleaning this morning.  Apparently my lawyering hands were not up the task.

Manna baked tofu is in the oven now.  Oops.  Now it is (that’s a twenty minute delay on a lunch I am already wanting to be eating–sadness).  Should be worth the wait, though, as I added onion powder, thyme and black pepper to the sauce which has in the past included oil, water, garlic powder, mushroom soy sauce and hot sauce.  I also tossed in a little corn meal with the nutritional yeast as I turned and dusted the baking tofu.  Update:  It rocked!

Missing the tent in the living room.  Might need to pitch it again.  Here is a nice reminiscence shot (for my benefit as much as anyones).  Tea, pear, Magnus Mills and a phone (who knows when a client will call).  Add Lacey and Frida and I’d have no reason to leave.

Stumbled upon Velo Cult’s site yesterday.  Looks like this shop would do a fine job of draining my wallet.  Not sure if this site is directly related to Velo Cult, but that’s the sense I got as I was surfing and assuming and such.  Not that you’ve helped me in the past, but please consider buying that Rivendell All-Rounder before I lose control (again).

Frida got four-paw salt-paw on our walk morning.  She lifted one and made it shake, but as soon as I cleaned it she lifted the next and another and then the last.  So sad.  Her pads must absorb the chemicals (how would she feel it otherwise).  I wonder if there is a long-term health impact?  She hates her boots, but they might have to come out again.  Makes me want to live in the country so we could walk without crossing salted roads.  I’d do anything for this little girl.

The dryer is hollering at me so I should go.  Happy Friday to you all.  Hope to see you this weekend!