Bald Tires and Roaring Wind

This afternoon I went mountain bike riding with John and JV. I am pleasantly surprised that it came together. John called my house around 12:30 looking for my roommate, who was snowboarding. John wrenched his ankle dirt-bike racing, but was hoping to get some exercise in.

I was working but when he called me back at 2:30 I was at a stopping point. I got to their place around 3:00 and we loaded up the bikes, hit the gas station for fuel, food and tire air, and then drove over 92 to Half Moon Bay.

“Thanks for letting me tag along, guys!” I told them. “Tag along, nothing!” John replied, “you’re part of the crew.”

That made me feel almost as good as when Alex told me I was tough as shit. Guys are so neat. A nice word from a man who’s a peer means more to me than a similar comment from a woman in my peer group. Maybe because I think men are so cute. Maybe.

The day was gray and windy. I’ve never been off-road biking, and had racing slick tires on my bike from my triathlon forays. My bald tires were not appropriate for the soupy mud. We’d hoped to see the 30 foot waves at Maverick’s, but they were nowhere near that. I stayed as far away from the cliff edge as possible.

I only fell twice. The first time I dismounted backwards into a shrub. The second time I was trying to get up from the first fall. But the guys both fell before I did, so that was OK. I didn’t feel like a loser girl.

Halfway through the ride the guys hooked up on a soupy mud path. I knew there was no way I could make it through, so I turned off onto a clearing by the reservoir where five windsurfers were skipping across the surface of the water.

The wind was incredible. Winter is blowing in hard, and God seemed so everywhere, so powerful.

The guys rode on for a while, then turned around and returned to me. We rode back to JV’s vehicle, where they left me alone to change out of my muddy pants in the cab of the truck.

After we all changed clothes, JV drove us around Moss Beach and Montera (I want to stay at the lighthouse hostel there — it’s beautiful and right on the ocean). Then we drove back over the hill to the car wash by their house, hosed down our bikes, and went back to their condo, where John and I baked lemon-blueberry-poppyseed muffins and JV cooked pasta with red sauce and chicken. Their friend Jeff showed up while the guys were cooking and I was online talking with a friend.

We cleared off the table and popped a bottle of ’83 chardonnay. John even busted out the placemats and candles. It was lovely. I need to put my knobby tires on my bike. Then look out coastline, here I come!

Thanks for Coming, Y’all Drive Safe Now

I have survived yet another birthday.

I do a big party every other year on the odd-numbered birthdays. As this year pegged my age at an odd number (but not a big nor momentous odd number — except for the 3-year old who showed up, I think I was the youngest person in attendance), I threw a big party.

At first, the party was in jeopardy. I awoke the Monday before feeling as though my roommate had snuck into my room and beaten me with lead pipes as I slept. I was seeing my doctor two hours later. I had a flu and a tonsil infection. Ugh. I got some antibiotics and went to bed for three days. I was back among the living by Thursday and feeling mostly human by Friday.

Saturday I started to run out of steam by 4:00, but pre-party adrenaline kept me awake until… well, I’ll tell you in order of events.

There were nearly 40 of us in my house. All of my neighbors showed up, as did a ton of friends I know through my roommate. Also in attendance were people from every job I’ve held since college.

I roasted a 23.5 pound turkey and made stuffing. When Blaine tasted the turkey, he got down on one knee and made to give me his ring. So the turkey was good. I carved it and put it out with rolls and turkey sandwich fixins and we all had pre-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. It was really cool.

The IBIS contingency gave me the framed picture from when I was in the San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner — they even took it off the Wall of Fame for me. 🙂 They also gave me a mirrored disco ball Christmas tree ornament and some red chenille gloves. Nik and Thida gave me a Bazooka lunchbox, chock full o’gum. Sean, my friend since third grade, played an anonymous e-mail game with me during the week and as such, gave me the tire pressure gage and chrome, high-performance valve stem caps I’d requested from him.

I also got 10 bottles of wine and two of champagne. Oh, and Abby gave me a certificate for a pedicure, and Dave and Sabrina gave me a fabulous halogen desk lamp. But best of all, I got to cook for all my dear friends and show them a really good time.

I have a small artist’s sketchbook that I’ve used as my birthday book since my 20th birthday. I have all the guests at my b’day parties write or draw in it. We nearly finished it off on the night of my party. Next year we’ll finish it for sure!

The last four of us were me, Chris, Sean and Kimberly. I got a few birthday kisses from Sean before he left. Kimberly left around 1:00 since she had to be up for work (which is also church) at 6:00 that morning. So that left me and Chris hanging out in my darkened, finally quiet living room, listening to the CDs I’d been given.

Chris never throws e-mail away. So when it came time to shop for me he dug into his e-archives and found a message I sent him a couple of years ago, asking him for a dub of a Fifth Dimension CD. He bought me the definitive collection two-CD set, plus a Global Communication trancey/ambient CD. Both are fantastic.

Also from Chris was a collection of “Red Meat” cartoons. Those are the cartoons where the art stays the same but the speech bubbles change. Before those cartoons really bugged me, but now I am a convert to the Church of Milkman Dan. It was a total Chris gift. It was great to spend some quiet time with Chris. We used to spend long hours together commuting to and from the Tri Valley Internet User Group. It is mostly my fault that he got hired at Aimnet (though I tease him by saying my involvement should ensure his perpetual indebtedness).

He calls himself a cynic. That seems to put people off.

“Chris, it’s not that you’re cynical,” I explained. “It’s just that you’re right.”

He proved my hypothesis for me. When I first announced my birthday game, Chris said: > hmmm, maybe if EVERYONE is too lazy to play the birthday game, I > should send you ONE link and I’ll win! > Devious, ain’t I. So he sent me two links. If I am ever in Sverige and want to buy “Celebrity Skin”, I’m set. Consequently, this column is officially dedicated to Christopher Robin Zimmerman. Thanks, Chris, for being such a good sport!

So we listened to CDs, my head on his shoulder, until we both dozed off at 5:00 a.m. I awoke at 6:30 and changed into proper pajamas (I’d fallen asleep in my party clothes).

Chris woke up. “You need to go to your bed!”

I agreed.

“I need to go to my bed!” he continued. I agreed. He left.

And, despite my wholehearted promises, I didn’t make it to church that morning. At least I didn’t sleep alone. 🙂

Unfinished Business

I have a couple of loose ends I need to tie up:

First: With regard to my ex-boyfriend: I am sorry I accused you of programming a bot to poll my site for new material. Thank you so much for explaining what was really going on. I never would have guessed about that OmniWeb feature for bookmarked Web pages. When Dragon first brought that hit report to my attention, I couldn’t believe that you’d do something as creepy as creating processes to electronically spy on me. It made me seriously doubt my judgment of you and about men in general. Thank you for summoning up the courage to send me an e-mail. Bark!

Second: Thanks, Chris, for plugging me in your Raw column. I got some great e-mail from your charming and literate fans! If you aren’t Chris Zimmerman, you should read his Raw and Nitro columns about professional wrestling. I never watch wrestling, but have found myself stopping on Monday Night Nitro for a moment or two. Before reading his work, I’d never consider such an action! If you are a fan of the sport, Chris’s commentary will reinforce your feelings. If you aren’t a fan of the sport, Chris’s commentary will reinforce your feelings.

Third: There is no third. OK. That’s better!