Clean Air Challenge

Team Neoplasm Annihilators – Bo, Marilyn, Me, Happy Wife, Kari, John. 60 mile charity ride for the American Lung Association

Only one team flat

The Alaska Range looms in the background.


Taken recently, somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland.

Of course that’s just the tip, imagine what looms beneath. I wonder where it’s headed?

Internet Winner

Most tragicomic comment of the week (so far) at one of my favorite blogs

It reminds me of the story of the very elderly couple — the husband 103 years old and the wife, 101 — who shocked the entire rest home by divorcing a week before they would’ve celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary.

Someone asked the gentleman why they were splitting up after such a long life together, and he explained, “We wanted to wait until the children were dead.”


Mind Change.

Ford Edge.

Nissan Murano.

Honda CR-V Touring edition! Bought it off the showroom floor. Loaded.

Evidently, being Black made a big difference. That, and HW’s 2003 was also a CR-V (she doesn’t care for change).

Upsold us on the paint protection shield, and window visors

She loves it!

Although the vehicle has yet to learn her voice. Supposedly, nearly every feature in the car can be activated/deactivated by voice. Example: “Set temperature to 72o“. The salesman had HW repeat it over and over again during our pre-driveaway training, but alas, never could get it to work. The damn thing kept wanting to call some 800- number instead. If you have the keyfob close by, and do it just right, feigning a kick beneath the bumper opens the hatch. If you don’t do it right, and/or you’re on ice, you may fall on your ass. In small print in the owner’s manual it states Honda is not responsible for these misadventures.

I like that the drink holders are large and readily accessible.

Inaugural drive to the Nest this weekend. Salesman cautioned us about the break in period – keep it under 100 mph on the highway. You should’ve seen the look on HW’s face.

Strange Brew

Something brewing on our kitchen counter. Take a guess. Hint: Vinegar is involved.

At spin class three mornings a week now. Still waiting for winter to bleed out.

What’s spin class like? Here’s a few excerpts from Monday’s 45-minute class

I’d hoped to capture the perky Miss Jen doing the motivating, as she usually does on Mondays, alas it was Mister David instead. You may think we’re seated in the saddle for 45 minutes pedaling as fast we can. We are not. We stand and sit and sway and tap and pulse, and generally try to keep up with the beat of the music and mimic whatever the motivator does. The bike is really just a prop for a full body workout. Every bike has a knob you turn to increase or reduce resistance. You might have heard David say, “Now add some more gear.” (Along with a breathless WTF at minute 5). That means turn the knob to the right. It’s the honor system; you can ignore his command and take it easy on yourself if you want, but you wouldn’t be getting your money’s worth. Pain, you’ll recall, is nothing more than pleasure leaving the body. In that sense it’s like a trip to the dentist, except you’re not on your back.

The last two minutes of every class is reserved for stretching exercises off the bike. A lot people in the class also do Yoga, so they’ve no problem complying with motivator’s command to twist up like a pretzel and “Just Breathe.” I don’t do Yoga so I skip that instruction. It’s not so much I can’t put my ankle behind my head, it’s just I’m not so sure I could bring it back around. Not without crying out for help.

50 degrees and bluesky all this past week, and even warmer next week, so there’s hope. The snow disappears surprisingly fast. I walk around the backyard wearing a poop mitt, picking up easy to spot month-old poops coming out of the thaw. Easy to spot because most of ’em are covered in fuzz. Others are still half stuck in patches of ice in the shady areas of the yard. They break in half when you pull on ’em.

Hard to believe my bike tour is only two months away. Lots to do yet to get ready.

New Car Smell

I rode tandem with Joan Jett this morning – “I hate myself for loving you!” At least it felt that way. Our Monday morning motivator, Jen, does like to mix in some “old school” rock ‘n roll in her classes. The entire front wall of the studio is covered with a mirror. It fogs up when the room is full and the fans are on low, like this morning. A crowded room that starts out comfortably cool is like a sauna after 45 minutes of as many people perspiring profusely. Doesn’t smell too good either. Imagine you’re on a full elevator and someone who had Kim-chi for lunch lets go with a wide yawn.

And so, you may wonder, why spin class instead of riding my real bike outside? After all, it’s Springtime! Tell me about it. We got slammed with another foot of snow last week, on top of the mess still on the ground that won’t melt because this March has been cold. Supposedly, the third coldest March since 1977. Happy Wife takes Winter’s lingering contempt for Spring in stride. She still sometimes says, Isn’t the snow pretty?

She needs a new car. Her candidates so far are: Ford Edge and Nissan Murano

2017 Edge

2017 Murano


I’m partial to the Murano, plusher ride, but otherwise they’re pretty close in performance, price, and features. She also wants a manual transmission (go figure), but she’s going to have to give that up because it’s not available in either vehicle. And she wants a roof rack thingamajig to move kayaks about. She’s suspicious of many modern “features” in vehicles, especially the electronic gadgetry. She’s not amused by key-less start, prefers the confirmatory click of push buttons over touch screens, and generally distrusts cruise control. If Plymouth still made the Valiant she’d buy one in a heartbeat.

If you’re looking to buy a used ’03 Honda with 116K miles, shoot me an email.

Hello, Little Birdie

Many of you, I’m certain, have your own window-sill menagerie

In our case, a wishbone from a chicken was re-purposed as antlers. HW thought to affix it to our fuzzy ungulate wolf, thus transforming him, or her – female reindeer may also sport antlers – into an Alaskan reindeer. No sooner had we done so and it seems s/he took a fancy to vulnerable birdie, whose expression suggests, may I say, curiosity? As opposed to No-Means-No.

For those of you who were recipients of our annual newsletter, breathlessly wondering if I got the position or not, well, how does the saying go, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Really, it’s okay. I was never sure it was the right position for me anyway, so I was spared the challenge of having to decide. On the other hand, the ego was hardly amused being denied its first right of refusal.

And so we move forward. Spring is nigh, Summer after that (60% chance say the forecasters!), Fall in tow, and then copy/paste Winter. Another year above ground. Plenty to be thankful for.

Isn’t The Snow Pretty

A pesky avalanche toed out onto the road to our Nest

For those of you who’ve not been to The Nest, this is along the last two miles you have to travel to get to it, looking south. I was on my way back last night after drinks and dinner at Thorns. Yes, I took The Dog with me, as I had promised Happy Wife I would – “What if the road closes from an avalanche, how will we get back to get Chester!” She’s right, there is no other road. Water taxi would be the only alternative. A beautiful drive by day, but it can quickly turn treacherous. Right over that snow berm on the left is Resurrection Bay – deep, cold, brooding, and merciless. On the right, a steep mountain face, from which an avalanche had crept back onto the road. All the while I ate my patty melt and tipped back a few glasses of wine, jawing the whole time with Sean, one of my favorite bartenders in Alaska. That’s how quickly conditions can change. It wasn’t like this earlier when I drove into town. To make it worse, the road was glare ice. I stopped the car and thought about it first. Snapped a picture and texted it to Happy Wife (still in Fairbanks). So she would know, just in case. Glare ice, a single car width to pass through, hmm. What if it decides to sluff a ton more snow the second I pass by? Then I think to myself, that’s the wine talking, Rod, avalanches can’t “decide,” don’t be silly. It’s the kind of situation where you want to close your eyes and go for it. But of course I was driving. Even The Dog shot me a concerned look, “Looks sketchy, Dad.”

I put it in drive and onward we went.

Whale’s Tale

Spin class Wednesday, with Task Master Beth again. All the bikes have saddles, of course, although actually sitting in the saddle while you pedal is evidently a sign of weakness, for Beth anyway. When she rises out of her saddle we’re supposed to as well. And stay like that, pedaling hard, five minutes, ten minutes, whatever she instructs motivates us to do. It’s like that for 45 minutes, with one or two very brief breaks to gulp water and smear the sweat from your face with the towel provided. At about minute 35 we’re told to grab our weights and do with them whatever Beth does with hers – over the head, bicep curls, behind the back, up and down, whatever. After that we put the weights back in the little tray clipped to the bike, and the final two songs are cued up. We’re back to standing in our pedals, pedaling hard and head bobbing to the whomp-whomp of techno pop. By now the room is like a sauna, we’re all sweating like flu victims; the collective odor is like fetid pond water in Louisiana in August. Now you understand why I keep going back!

Monday it’s Jen at the helm, who’s a tad more laid back, though just a tad. Beth returns for Wednesday’s class. Ugh.

Happy Wife’s birthday this month. I asked her for gift ideas. “I want a makeup mirror and a meat grinder.” Went to Amazon and discovered these two items have never been purchased together. You know what I mean, beneath the item you’re looking at there’s always a list of suggested items – “People who purchased this also purchased X, Y, or Z…” While I reviewed a makeup mirror none of the X Y Zs was a meat grinder.

She’s in Fairbanks this weekend for a one day conference. Monday the Iditarod start is in Fairbanks. It’s usually in Willow, AK, just north of Anchorage, but the snow this year is cruddy in certain spots along the normal route, so the course was changed and the race start moved to Fairbanks. Forecasted high in Fairbanks Monday: -1. Low: -31. Thanks, but I’ll take millennial motivators in a sweat box anyday over that cruelty.

I’m going down to our Nest with The Dog to check up on things. Good news is, it’s forecast to be sunny and clear for days, but on the chilly side for Seward, mid-20s, what many of you might call winter. Although, believe it or not, two weekends ago when we were down there we saw a whale in Resurrection Bay, not more than two hundred feet from shore. A whale in February?! We don’t normally see the first ones arrive until May.

There’s something happenin’ here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a whale breaching over there
Showin’ me, I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, look at the whale
Everybody hear what he has to wail