Monday, January 31, 2011


On any flat surface:

Combine several inches of fresh snow with old, compacted snow and frozen water
Run countless vehicles over the mix, taking care to churn it up thoroughly
For a garnish, add stupid, angry drivers

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clear As A Bell

As long as I can remember, I have had poor vision. When I first got glasses at the age of 5, my mother told me that she cried when, upon leaving the doctor's office, I remarked that I could see the birds and the trees clearly for the first time.

In the mid-70's, I started wearing contact lenses which for me, was life changing. I finally had great peripheral vision and gone were the issues with glasses sliding down my nose in the heat, or fogging up coming in from the cold. The daily cleaning and maintaining process became as routine as brushing my teeth.

Over the past few years, I could tell my vision was starting to deteriorate. Images were blurry, there were halos around lights after dark, and colors were just not as vibrant. It was much like looking through a frosty window -- all year. A visit to the doctor confirmed that I had cataracts, and surgery was really the only solution. Based on research I did and talking with people who had gone through the process, the outcomes were almost always successful with no side effects.

Last Thursday, I had the first eye done. The actual surgery took about 20 minutes and I was semi-awake during the whole procedure. My doctor and I were discussing winter biking, and I could see a bright light with things moving in and out of my field of vision. My vision was hazy for about 48 hours and, based upon an eye exam yesterday, I now have 20/20 distance vision.

Tomorrow, I get the other eye done. I am planning on being at the HC Pub Crawl Sunday but if I ride, I may need some help.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mon ordure est gelée

I always enjoyed visits to my paternal grandmother. She was French, never weighed more than 100 pounds, and carried herself with great dignity and poise. But energy and passion was packed densely within that small frame, and whenever something angered her, she would revert to her native tongue, especially with my father. "Merde" was heard quite frequently, usually accompanied by wild hand gestures that required the flexibility of a yoga master. I am fairly certain she knew we understood at least the "bad" words but she was our grandmother, and one's dignity had be preserved!!.

My ride today took me north into a steady wind, and with the air temperature hovering at about 5 above, the wind chill was brisk. Any male cyclist who rides through the winter knows that keeping certain parts one's anatomy warm is, uh, critical. I was starting to feel a great deal of discomfort and being a long way from home, knew I needed to correct the problem. To take my mind off the growing pain, I was running through as many French words as I could remember.

The first person I see on the trail is a very small, older woman walking her two dogs. She was covered from head to toe, and only her eyes peered out from the scarf wrapped around her head. I did notice a few plastic bags tied to her leash so I stopped and said hello. After a brief conversation about her dogs and the weather, I asked if she could kindly spare one of her plastic bags.

After looking around, apparently assuming I had a dog hidden somewhere , she lowered the scarf from over her mouth.

"But you don't have a dog. Why do you need a bag?"

Now, if I was say Jay Leno, a quick and witty response would have flowed from my mouth. The best I could do was smile.

"Oh, Oh! That must be quite painful. Here, please, take one", she replied, the light bulb over her head burning brightly.

I thanked her, she smiled and we parted ways.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the title of the post means, the picture should help you figure it out.