First Roo – Part 3

Note from the hippy:  This turned into a very long post that will be broken up into 3 parts.  This is part 2.  Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

TL;DR:  Was a completely intimidated and worried about logistics.  Turns out, Bonnaroo was amazing.  


You’ve read how we got to Bonnaroo and what we did there.  Here are some of my overall thoughts on the weekend adventure.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Wall graffiti Bonnaroo 2013 - Wall graffiti

I’m also creating a page on this site called Bonnaroo VIP where I’m documenting things like what we brought, what we should have brought, what VIP offers, things that worked for us, things that didn’t, etc..  If you’d like to know what we’d do differently next year, that’ll be the place to find out.

I discovered that most of the research I’d done is from a General Admission perspective, and that is just not the same for planning for Bonnaroo VIP, and I’m hoping to do my part in helping new Bonnaroovian who’s sprung for VIP.

Bonnaroo 2013 - A/C included

Some of my favorite moments and memories (in no particular order):

  • Saturday morning’s What Stage sound check – My Name is Mud (Primus) blasted loudly through the farm at 7:30 in the morning.
  • Following Jason and Nichole’s Ford Flex down the long road into VIP on Thursday morning.   My heart was pumping with anticipation and excitement (rather than anxiety and stress).
  • Sunday morning’s What Stage Tom Petty sound check was like our own little concert.
  • Hanging out at camp, I noticed Molly’s awesome Dr. Who t-shirt.  We started a little Dr. Who conversation which caused everyone else who was around to stop their conversations to talk about David Tennent versus Matt Smith.
  • Cajun Cheese Fries and Wonder Waffle on Friday night after escaping the Paul McCartney chaos.
  • Meeting 12 perfect strangers in a funeral home parking lot and it not feeling weird at all.
  • The guy wearing nothing but a Speedo; and with absence of pockets, used the top of his Speedo to “store” things.  So, his cell phone, guide book and map were all sticking out the top of his Speedo.
  • Walking back to our tent from the bathrooms after Jack Johnson had finished playing.  There were fireworks in the sky and anyone who was hanging out in their tents were standing out in the aisle-way  looking up at the sky watching.  It felt like all of Bonnaroo was stopped, watching those fireworks.  And we were all sharing that moment.
  • When Tom Petty introduced each Heartbreaker, slowly and with such respect.
  • Every evening, as the sun started going down, the air became sweet and cool and made me want to go out and see more things.
  • That last bit of time after the Tom Petty concert was over, sitting with my new wonderful friends, enjoying the last of the weekend.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Another panoramic from campsite (These are our tents in middle/left foreground)

Regrets

Regret seems like a strong word, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

  • I’m really sad over missing the Trombone Shorty encore on the Sonic stage.  By the time I found it on the schedule (thinking it was at 2:15am), the encore was already well-passed over, so I’d have missed it anyway, but I spent most of the day looking forward to that show.
  • Django Django and Alt-J.  I wish we would have moved in closer – I feel like there was something in my brain that was keeping me from getting to immersed in the crowds; as if I was afraid to push my way into a good spot.  I think there were 2 things holding me back:
      • Afraid of getting separated from Nick and not being able to find him again.
      • In big crowds at concerts I often find myself sandwiched between large dudes and staring at their shoulder blades while being knocked around.
  • Paul McCartney.  We should have made a better attempt to get to the VIP section to watch that show, and not left early to see The XX who was just terrible.
  • Not researching more bands beforehand.  There were so many bands that didn’t even register on our radar because we’d never heard of them.  I’m sure we missed out on a bunch of great stuff.
  • Reading Bonnaroo threads after we got home, we found out that there were VIP viewing areas at This Tent and The Other Tent.
  • At the last minute before leaving home, I grabbed my small Canon point-and-shoot camera.  But not the battery charger.  I took a few pictures before the battery died.  I took a few more with my iPhone, but its slow and not great.  Wish I would have taken more pictures.   Specifically, more pictures of people – the Reddaroo VIP group, Nick, me, Nick&Me and just random people.  Its the people that make Bonnaroo what it is, and I don’t feel like I documented that well enough.
  • Not walking under the Bonnaroo Arch.  Not once.  I really wish I’d gone under at night.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Bobble heads Bonnaroo 2013 - People waiting for next show @ What Stage

Summary and thoughts:

We make ourselves busy people.  We work hard, we play hard.  Our summers are packed with trips, bike races and events.  Because we try to do so much, I have a hard time wanting to take vacations that require a lot of pre-work and pre-planning.  Even though I knew Bonnaroo would be worth the effort it took to get there, there were parts of me that were absolutely dreading this trip.  There were far too many things to think about – and I didn’t even feel like I knew what those things were.  There were parts of me, though, that were very excited about this trip.  I was going to see Tom fucking Petty – LIVE.

When Nick found the Camp Reddaroo VIP Facebook group and I read Jason’s plan – it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  This group would help us navigate into the camp ground, find is a great spot, show us where the bathrooms and showers were, and just generally point us in the right direction as needed.  We spent the weekend with some really great, like-minded folks who were all very different in real life, but so much the same this weekend.   I’m sure I would have had a really great time had we not met up with Reddaroo VIP, but I just don’t think it would have compared to the experience we did have.

We were 14 complete strangers who fell quickly into great friendship that made for an amazing weekend.  Next to purchasing VIP in the first place, hooking up with this group of people was absolutely the best thing we did for Bonnaroo.

Nick asked me, late Thursday if I’d go again next year and I said “I think, maybe.”, on Friday it was “I think, probably” by mid day Saturday, there was no more asking because the “Next year I want to … ” conversations had started.

 

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First Roo – Part 2

Note from the hippy:  This turned into a very long post that will be broken up into 3 parts.  This is part 2.  Part 1 is here.

TL;DR:  Was a completely intimidated and worried about logistics.  Turns out, Bonnaroo was amazing.  


When I last left the blog, we’d found our way to VIP camping and set up our Reddaroo VIP Groop site.  Now I’m going to tell you what we did all weekend …  This will be the longest of the 3 posts.  Please stay tuned for part 3 where I wrap it all up in a feel-good kind of way.

So, what did we do there?

Thursday:

After setting up camp, getting our bearings and having a quick lunch at our campsite, we wandered around out in General Admission for awhile to see what that was all about.  It didn’t take long to notice how much more packed in everyone was, and how much hotter it seemed out there.  We made our way out to the group camping area and then decided to head into Centeroo.  It had been very dusty and dirty in GA, and I’d read a lot of posts about irritated eyes and lungs because of the dust.  So, I was surprised how green and grassy it was in Centeroo.

Centeroo itself is fairly small and easy to navigate.  There are 4 main stages in Centeroo (Which Stage, This Tent, That Tent and The Other Tent), and the Main Venue area is considered adjacent to Centeroo and is where the What Stage is – where the headliners play.  Our campsite was right in front of the Main Venue.

Broo13_PrintableMap_SITE Broo13_PrintableMap_SITE

For reference, in the map above – our campsite was in the purple area in the lower right corner, the “row” closest to Centeroo in the second-rightmost purple section.  We’d walked to the green area in GA underneath the Bonnaroo logo where the group camping is.

The two favorite bands that Nick and I discovered after the lineup was announced were both playing on Thursday night – Django Django and Alt-J.  We headed in to Centroo for the 9:00 Django Django show at That Tent.  Being our first Bonnaroo show, we didn’t have any idea what to expect and we kind of stuck to the back of the crowd – which was disappointing since the sound was not great there and I couldn’t see the band at all.  But, there was amazing people watching and I could tell which songs they were playing so it was all good.

Alt-J went on at 11:30 at This Tent.  We got there early enough to take a quick nap on the grass before they started playing, but we were still fairly far back from the stage.  We were in a much better position to hear, though, and their performance was great.  We called it a night after Alt-J, hanging out for a bit in our campsite and then going to bed.

Bonnaroo 2013 - That stage, while waiting for Django Django.

Friday:

We were up kind of early, not knowing what to expect from “the first real Bonnaroo day” and I wanted to catch a ride to Walmart with Jason since our air mattress held no air the night before and so we needed a new one.   Getting out of VIP for a quick trip to Walmart is really that – a quick trip.  It was easier than I’d expected, and the store was very well stocked with things Bonnaroovians would need.  For example – I had no trouble finding an air mattress as there seemed to be various camping displays all over the store.   There was also a huge display of canned beer in the main grocery area with almost any kind of canned beer you could want (I also saw some canned Woodchuck cider!).

While waiting in the entryway at Walmart for Jason to finish shopping, I was amused with the crazy amount of Bonnaroo traffic coming in and going out.  The majority of the carts going out were mostly full of canned beer and ice.  I also watched guy from the ice company restocking the freezer; when his pallet was empty, he went back and brought out another.  I imagine that’s how his whole day was spent.

I’ve heard that the residents of the area don’t really mind Bonnaroo and seem to embrace it, but I feel for anyone who just needed to grab milk or toilet paper that weekend.

After my shopping excursion, we went into the Main Venue to see Trombone Shorty at 12:30 which was fantastic.  Its not often the trombone is the star of the show, and man does this guy ever have some talent!   It was hot in the sun, with no shade, but not too terrible (Friday was the best weather day by far) and the view was great on the VIP hill.  Trombone Shorty put on a really great show.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Panoramic from What Stage VIP seating.

After Shorty, we stopped in to the VIP tent by the Which stage for some free Ben & Jerrys (served daily in the VIP tent, but ya gotta be there early to get some) caught a bit of Calexico playing at This Tent, had some festival lunch, took another trip through GA to check out Shakedown Street and then settled back in at our campsite for a few hours.  Nick took a nap in the tent, I dozed on and off in my camp chair.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Picture taken looking down Shakedown Street.

Bonnaroo 2013 - View of Shakedown StreetShakedown street is a public road that runs through the campground area.  The vendors who set up on this street are not officially affiliated with Bonnaroo and seem to pay local residents for space on their front lawns.   There was everything here from hippy clothes, to marijuana paraphernalia to $2 grilled cheese sandwiches, to organic meals. 

Before the lineup was announced, I said to a friend “I don’t care who’s playing, but if the Disco Biscuits show up, it’ll make my year”.  Well, there were no Disco Biscuits in the lineup, but we did discover a band called Conspirator which is bass and keyboard players  from Disco Biscuits (the two who make the band what it is) with a different guitar and drummer.  Conspirator was our “band we must see”.

Conspirator played at 7:30 at The Other Tent – and because Paul McCartney was playing at 9 on the What Stage, Conspirator was not very crowded, but full of die-hard fans.  This show was incredible.  We were up fairly close to the stage, but after an hour (they played for an hour and a half!), I wanted to sit for awhile to rest the ankle.  I found a spot on the side of the stage in the grass where I could still see the band and watch the crowd.  Nick got up real close after I stepped out and he had a blast.

Bonaroo 2013 - Conspirator

Our plan was to meet our Groop at the What Stage for Paul McCartney, but the crowds were too huge to get there.  At one point, we were stuck in the thick of the crowd and I wasn’t even sure if we’d make it out.  We decided to just go back to our campsite where we could hear him as well as we could have from the venue.  In hindsight, we could have slipped in through the What Stage entrance and watched from VIP hill, but it didn’t occur to us until, well, Sunday, which was no help.  We still enjoyed what we heard.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Sun setting Friday night @ That Stage.
Bonnaroo 2013 - People hanging out.

When the helicopters started flying over (presumably taking video or pictures or both), we couldn’t really hear much anymore, so we decided to go back in to the Which Stage to check out The XX.   They were super boring.   It was like they decided to sing their slowest songs, and then slow them down for further dramatic effect.  We left partway through the third song for fear of falling asleep.   ZZ Top was playing at This Tent so we listened to a bit of that and then walked around a bit, landing in the mini-donut tent.  We were hoping to catch a Trombone Shorty encore at 2:15 on a small stage next to the mini-donut tent, but while we were eating donuts, I realized there should have been someone playing on the stage that was dark and empty.  This is when I looked closer at my schedule to see that his encore was at 2:15 PM .. and here it was at 1:45 AM.  Reading Fail.

The donuts were delicious though.  And the coffee was fresh roasted and fabulous too.

Middle if the night fresh mini donuts. #bonnaroo #eatthedounuts

Saturday:

By Saturday, we were starting to understand how it all worked.  Our plan was for an easy day followed by a long, fun night.  We mostly hung out at our campsite listening to the What Stage acts (Gov’t Mule, NAS).  I’m pretty sure I chair-napped through NAS.

Josh & Jess

Bonnaroo 2013 - Dirty feet

Just before the sun started setting, I went for a shower (awesome idea) and we headed in to the What Stage to catch a bit of Bjork, then over to Which Stage for Lumineers, then back to What for Jack Johnson – although we left after a few songs to listen back at camp.   (Full disclosure, neither of us had ever even heard of Jack Johnson before, and while he did put on a great show, we still don’t really know who he is.)

When Jack was done, I was inspired by the fireworks and the cool, fresh air, so I pulled Nick back out to The Other Tent for Weird Al Yankovic.  We were surprised at how many people were there for Weird Al, and we were so far back we couldn’t hear anything, so we walked over to catch the Super Jam (we were actually going for Billy Idol, but went to the wrong stage and stayed because it was awesome).  We danced to Super Jam until it ended sometime after 2am, then went to see what was going on behind us on the  “boom box stage”.  There was some electronic/techno sounding music blasting and I really wanted to know what it was.  This is where we found Katey Red.  I’d never seen or heard of Bounce Music before (or more specifically, Sissy Bounce Music), but it was pretty amazing to see and hear.  We didn’t stay too long because I couldn’t really see much unless my head was in the speaker and it was loud and I was hungry and tired, so we grabbed a snack on our way out (Cheeseburger for me and Pizza for Nick) and crashed for the night.

Bonnaroo 2013 - One of the hangout tents in Centeroo

Bonnaroo 2013 - This Tent

Sunday:

Sunday was another mellow day – we figured out on Saturday that after-dark is where the best fun happens, and the later you can go, the more fun you’ll have.  And since we could hear all of the main acts so well from our campsite, we mostly just stayed there.

We headed in around 5 to check out Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the Which Stage.

Bonnaroo 2013 - Wall graffiti

Unfortunately, partway through the second song, the VIP section was evacuated due to an impending hail storm (that never happened).  Not sure why they kicked us out, but didn’t stop the concert to evacuate the GA folks, but whatevs.  We hung around and listened from the VIP tent for awhile, but decided to just wander around instead and see what else was going on.  I was bummed, because they seemed to be putting on a good show, but its how it goes sometimes, I guess.  And Sunday was really all about Tom Petty anyway.

Bonnaroo 2013 - VIP area by Which Stage.

There was some racket coming from This Tent, so we went to check out Swans.  It was some seriously awful experimental rock noise (although I’ve read a couple articles since then that suggest it was awesome – I guess you have to like that kind of thing.  I just don’t get it).  We switched gears completely when the Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation Super Jam came on at That Tent, but we could only listen to that for a few songs before it was time to go secure our seats for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Bonnaroo 2013 - VIP area waiting for Tom Petty

Jason and Nichole had gathered enough chairs for our most of our Groop.  It did rain pretty good for a bit at the beginning, but cleared up nicely after that.  Tom Petty put on a great show.  I was so excited for that show and was a little worried, because so many people told me Tom Petty was bad in concert.  I loved him.  It was a great cap to an amazing weekend.

After the show, we all hung out at the campsite for as long as we could stand it before we had to go to sleep.  None of us wanted it to end, but we were all cooked and had a long day of driving ahead of us.  It was probably near 1am by the time we went to bed.

Monday:

We were woken up at 5am by thunderstorms.  After laying there for a bit, Nick got up to head to the bathroom and was making coffee when I got up a little bit later.  The rain came down hard for a couple of hours, but by 7 it had mostly stopped raining and we started packing up.  Packing was remarkably uneventful and we were on the road by 8am.  Nick drove for the first few hours and I took over for the rest of the trip.  It was a long, but very easy drive and we were happy to make it home by 8.  But sad to find out a big storm came through and took out the power in our neighborhood.

After pulling the wet stuff out of the Jeep, we went for dinner and a beer.  By the time we got back home, the power was on so we settled in to watch a bit of TV.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t even make it 10 minutes into that episode of Star Trek Voyager before I was asleep on the couch.

Part 3 coming soon …… 

 

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My first Bonnaroo (2013) – Part 1

Note from the hippy:  This turned into a very long post that will be broken up into 3 parts.  This is part 1.

TL;DR:  Bonnaroo was amazing.  


Bonnaroo-2013

For years, Nick has been wanting to go to Bonnaroo.  I always thought it “might be fun”, but was secretly glad that it always conflicted with the Lumberjack 100 and scheduling just wouldn’t work out.  That seems so ridiculous now.

Things that make me edgy:

  • Things that involve a lot of lotistics and planning
  • Crowds
  • Hot Sun Heat with no escape

You see, I don’t really like “new things”.  I especially don’t like “new things that are huge”.

Bonnaroo is nothing short of huge.

Bonnaroo 2013

How did I end up there?

I put Nick was on Lumberjack restriction this year, we’d been there enough times, he’d done what he set out to do, it was time for a LJ break.  This meant, there was no conflict, and therefore, no excuse.  So, we pulled the trigger on pre-announcement VIP tickets and I spent the next 6 months silently freaking out.

I did some research, but the more research I did, the less prepared I felt.   I did, however, discovered the following:

  • It was going to be so hot I would pass out and die of dehydration.  Or, it would be hot, but there was some shade and places to cool off.
  • It will be far too hot to sleep and I needed to bring space blankets for reflecting the sun and huge battery powered fans.  Or, sleeping is fine as long as you don’t want to sleep too late.
  • You needed to bring a ton of water because otherwise you will pass out and die of dehydration.  Or, you didn’t need that much because there were tons of places to fill up.
  • You would be eating grilled cheese made on someone’s car engine all weekend because the food inside the festival was so expensive and not that great. Or, the food inside was somewhat reasonable and tasty.
  • The farm is so dusty you won’t be able to breath.  Maybe.

I had to stop reading after awhile because I really didn’t know what any of it meant, having no perspective.  In the end, I just used some common sense and packed as if we were going to be camping.  And it was totally fine.

About a week before leaving, we connected with a group of VIP people who’d been following along in reddit.com/r/bonnaroo and were interested in camping together.  The guy who was pulling it all together is a Bonnaroo vet who seemed to really have it together.  The plan was to meet in Manchester early on Thursday morning, go in to VIP as a group and Jason would lead us to a great spot.  He delivered.

Getting to Camp Reddaroo VIP

After a few hours sleep in Murphfreesboro, we arrived in Manchester around 6am on Thursday and found the group at a funeral home across the street from the VIP entrance.

Reddaroo VIP Meet UP

Jason led and 6 cars followed into Bonnaroo VIP.  We all went through the “tollbooth” where they did a quick search of our car for stuff we weren’t supposed to have and then followed Jason to our campsites.

Following Jason into VIP

Bonnaroo 2013- Our VIP camping area

Bonnaroo 2013 - Another view of our camping area.  14 people, 7 tents, 6 popups.

The purple tent and Jolly Roger flag were our beacon to find our way home through the sea of tents.

We spent a few hours just getting set up and situated.  Of the 7 couples, 4 had been to Bonnaroo before and the other 3 of us couples were newbies, but you couldn’t really tell by looking since we all seemed to be fairly well prepared.  Our camping and EZ-Up tents went up quickly and easily, and before we knew it, we had our own little community built.

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365 Project: Days 32 – 37 (aka: last week of my life)

Another 5 photo week. I’ve been having trouble with motivation lately. The cold, gray weather and lack of exercise seems to be the most likely culprit. I’m trying to change the exercise part, since there’s nothing I can do about the weather part.

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As I mentioned in my last post, the hard drive on my Mac mini was failing, so we got an SSD to replace it. Swapping out hardware in a Mac mini is a bit complicated, but Nick is getting good at it now.

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For some reason, Nick decided to wrap Walter up in this blanket. He stayed like that for awhile, perfectly content. Chilli loves that blanket, which is probably why he’s so close to Walter.

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Great light on the way out to Hastings for Barry Roubaix. Sad about Michigan Brewing Company. I liked their beer.

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Signs of life!

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French bread pizza under watchful eyes.

**this post was completely composed and published from my iPad using the WordPress app. It took a bit to figure out the logistics of adding the flicker photos, and I really don’t like this keyboard, but I think with more practice it could get easier.

Why the iPad? Because I haven’t posted yet this week and had some time while passengering to Ray’s indoor mountain bike park :)

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365 Project: Days 25 – 31

Well.

I was actually ready to sit down and post (my 5 – not 7 – pictures, argh) on Monday.  I had plenty of time, nothing else on my schedule for the night but my computer was pretty much unusable.  I’d discovered that my hard drive was failing last week.  My computer was still fairly usable for the most part, so we ordered a new drive  at the end of the week .  I managed to get quite a bit of computer work done over the weekend, but by Monday, it was pretty much done.  One click on the wrong app and it would just go off into the weeds for an hour.

My new drive got here yesterday and it was 10:30 before I could even access my Aperture library.

The good news is, its new and improved and since I also upgraded the memory recently, Aperture runs smooth as butta now.  Yay!

On to my week in photos.  Nothing for Monday or Wednesday.

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My desk at work.  Our office is very .. gray ..

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From Scratch Margarita – Fresh Lemon, Lime, Orange juice, Agave Nectar and Patron Silver.

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 Even The ‘clem looks pretty when the sun sets.

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Brewin’ Beer on a Saturday afternoon.

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It was really sunny on Sunday, but I have no idea if it was warm or cold because I didn’t leave the house.  I did manage to get a lot of things done such as CRAMBA year end financials and a homebrew documentation project I’m working on.

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365 Project: Days 18 – 24

I seem to be good for 5 pics a week so far.  I’d like to say that this current week will be better, but I already missed a pic yesterday.  Argh.  Moving on.

 

 

IMG_1254For my birthday, my sister gave me a “Dashboard Monk” that promises “Enlightenment on a Spring”.  I decided that, even though I drive the length of I-696 3+ times per week, my Dashboard Monk would be better suited atop my monitor at work.  As I was taping him to the monitor, I realized he’s sitting on top of a fortune cookie fortune saying “Patience is the key to joy.”  I guess this could be a statement about my job and getting through the day. (note:  iPhone camera photo).

 

 

_MG_6522Tuesday came and went without a picture, but my folks were in Ypsilanti for a few days and on Wednesday we met them in Hamtramck for dinner at our favorite Polish restaurant.  Its so hard to get them to pose for a picture when they’re not making funny faces, so I was pretty happy that I got this great shot of them.

(note:  Looking back on the workshop I took, I finally understand what the white balance adjustment can do.  Since I didn’t think to adjust it before I took this picture, I was able to adjust it in software afterward to remove some of the orange tones from the bad lighting in the restaurant.)

 

 

_MG_6541Signs of life.

I missed Thursday’s photo, but the sun came out on Friday and so did I.

 

 

_MG_6577Saturday – Kate and Roxy.

 

 

_MG_6591We finally got out for a ride on Sunday.  Unfortunately, we had to stick to the pavement because things around here are just plain ugly and gross.  It was a good ride with lots of sunshine, but still a bummer to be stuck on pavement.  I didn’t realize until Sunday just how sad I am that I missed winter this year due to injury/recovery.  Hopefully next year will be good snow and injury free!

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365 Project: Days 11 – 17

 

Looks like I made it 6 days this week – totally failed on Monday.  Not even sure how that happened.   Oh well .. getting better.

 

_MG_6432 I really thought I took this on Monday, but the date/timestamp says it was taken on Tuesday.  So I guess I took it on Tuesday.  Either way – I cooked dinner 2 days in a row.  Chicken Chili Verde  and the sauce was from the spaghetti that went with the chicken parmesan from the Amish market.

 

 

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On Wednesday we transferred 2 beers into “secondary” for aging.  And by we, I mean Nick.  I just took pictures.  This is our 4 tap keezer.  Also, this is my favorite picture of the week.  I took a similar one with the pantry door closed, but it was too bright.

 

 

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We had a meeting with our State Farm agent on Thursday and went to The Great Baraboo for dinner after.  Their pizza was amazing and their Porter was delicious.  I cheated here with an iPhone pic.  As my photographer uncle always says – the best camera is the one you have with you.  Also, its a terrible picture.  But it is a picture nonetheless.

_MG_6495 Starting the second mitten is the hardest part.  Once started, however, they fly off the needles.  Madeline Tosh Chunky.  Mmm.

 

 

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Walter.  Part Shar Pei.  Part Lab.  Complete goof.

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Before I had an iPAD, I bought comic books in Trade Paper Back (TPB) form.  Now, I buy most of my comics digitally.

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365 Project: Days 4-10

Old man Chilli

4) Chilli is 11 1/2 years old and has slowed down considerably in the past few months.  Chilli burned bright for 11 years.  He’s working on retirement now.

Cute Little Reader

5)  We had a meeting at my friend Kate’s house the other night.  Her littlest guy sat quietly and read “Grasshopper On The Road” for most of the meeting.  Precious.

Mmm.  Snack.

6) Ending my birthday evening with popcorn!  I decided to buy regular buttered popcorn (instead of low fat) from the Boy Scouts this year.  It was a fabulous decision.

Hello Ladies

7) Ladies Night at Macomb Bike & Fitness.

*FAIL*

8) Friday it snowed.  And then we went to the bar for a going away party.  And then we came home and the power went out, kind of, and then it was late and dark.  Ahem.

*FAIL*

9) Not nearly as good of an excuse today.  In fact, no excuse at all.  Lame.

Jill-n-Gabe

10)  Bad picture is better than no picture.  I struggle in low light.  That aside, we met Jill and Gabe in the D for a (belated) birthday dinner. Mercury Burger Bar.  Good stuff.  Good times.

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365 Project: Days 1-3

A couple of years ago, I bought a DSLR camera body on eBay and have been sporadically taking pictures without any real idea how to use my camera, and no real understanding of principles of photography or how to take photographs.  Not surprisingly, I ended up disappointed with the majority of my pictures, and eventually lost motivation to use the “big” camera.

For Christmas this year, though, Santa found a deal on Living Social for a Basic DSLR 6-hour Photography workshop and signed me up.  The workshop was a few weeks ago and it far exceeded my expectations.  Among the basics like, understanding what aperture is, when and why I’d want to change it, and how to do so on my own DSLR camera – I also now have a reason to take pictures – practice.

I realized that the only way I’m going to improve is to take pictures for the purpose of leaning photography.  I’ve always taken pictures for the purpose of documentation and memories – and I always will – but to improve those pictures, I need to do some homework.

In that vein, I now have a goal of using my “big” camera daily.  I have a goal of posting 1 picture per day in this space.  Most likely, I will post a week’s worth of pictures in one blog post – but each picture will be taken on the day it represents.  I use Aperture by Apple to manage my photos and will do some basic touchup (exposure, cropping, straightening) before posting some (most) photos.  I’ll try to note changes if I remember them when I post.  Otherwise, just know they may be slightly edited.

All that is to say – here are the first of the 365 pictures I intend to post here this year.  I started on Friday, 2/15, so there are only 3 pictures for last week.  There should be 7 next week.

 

365 Pictures:  Days 1 – 3

Rays_WW_2013_Bander

1) Friday – Feb 15, 2013 – Day 1 at Ray’s MTB Women’s Weekend.  Women only on Friday until 4pm.

Rays_WW_2013_SkatePark

 2) Saturday – Feb 16, 2013 – Day 2 at Ray’s MTB.  Amazing  BMX rider in the SkatePark.  (photo editing note:  This picture has been cropped)

Chicken_Noodle_Soup

3) Sunday – Feb 17, 2013 – Last night’s dinner in progress – homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.

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Still learning

For as many years as I’ve been biking, I’ve struggled to keep up. Nick and I started mountain biking together in 2003, and while I picked up quickly on the technical side of the sport, I was slow.  Nick was fast and just got faster. In fact, everyone I knew got faster, while I stayed at the back of the pack. Eventually I just started thinking of myself as the anchor and set out to ride in the back.

I made moderate improvements along the way – but still I was walking hills, at the back of the pack, constantly frustrated.  Over time, my rides got shorter and what little endurance I had, slowly disappeared.

Group rides became less fun for everyone.

In 2010, I lost some weight over the winter and decided to start running. It was spring and Nick was starting to train for Lumberjack, and I wanted an exercise alternative to dirt-road-slogfests.  Running offered the change of scenery I needed, and the cross training made me a tiny bit stronger on the bike.   The next winter-into-spring, I trained for a half marathon. That is when running gave me a change in perspective.

I had a ‘light bulb moment’ when driving home from a long run one day. I’d never riden a bike for much more than an hour without stopping. Sure, I’d done longer rides, but with lots of rest stops.  That day, though, I’d run for 2+ hours without ever slowing to a walk – let alone stopping. That was a turning point for me (this is where my husband rolls his eyes in the ‘I tried to tell you this for years’ sort of way) – because I realized that I was the only thing holding myself back from being a better biker.  Sure, I still needed to improve my physical strength, but I had to really improve my mental strength if I actually wanted results.  Running taught me that I can endure far more physically than I’d thought possible.

So I started pushing myself harder on the bike. I have been learning to not just endure, but embrace the pain and suffering that comes with pushing hard. The payoff is huge.  I am often still at the back of the pack, but becoming less of an anchor.

I’m still not good at it – pushing myself. But there are a few rides I’ve done over the past  year or so, that I consider “defining” rides. Personal accomplishments on these rides fueled me mentally to keep pushing harder.

(I hope to write about these in more detail soon)

Ore to Shore 2011, with Kristi

Barry Roubaix 2012

Vasa Singletrack – July 2012, with Nick

CRPT – Riverbends – Stony – October 2012, with Nick and Steve

The last ride on this list, CRPT – Riverbends – Stony, was completely unplanned and unexpected.  I pushed myself harder than I ever have and still can’t believe what I did that day.  Its what inspired me to start writing again.

Stay tuned ..

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