Monthly Archives: March 2013

An Open Letter to DOMA Supporters

 

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Facebook has turned red this week as people who I know all over the good old U. S. of A. stand up and ask the Supreme Court to do the right, no, the equal thing and give the same rights to everyone in the country. The right to be legally, civilly married.  To have and to hold, to fight and make up, to be shitty to each other, to be nice, to divorce, in some cases. But as always, opponents are up in arms, writing grammatically incorrect signs and holding them up all over the place opposing something that really has nothing to do with them.  In that spirit of “it’s not about you,” I have “penned” a letter.  An open letter to the opponents of marriage equality.  Here goes:

Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss and certainly not Ms.,

First off, congratulations on your choice to be straight!  I too am straight and I know what a hard choice that was that one day when you finally told the world that you choose to be with a member of the opposite sex.  Oh wait. You didn’t choose?  Right. Excellent.  Now that we have that hurdle out of the way we can move on to some of your real concerns.

It will erode the sanctity of my marriage.  Really?  Let me tell you a little story.  I am married.  I was married just over ten years ago in the county court in a small town in Maryland.  By a female judge. (That probably burns you a little, huh?) So when we said the “I do’s” we were presented with a fine certificate from the State of Maryland that said we were all legal-like. And with that we received all the benefits of a church-marriage through the government, because this was a legally recognized civil marriage.  And it was called a marriage. And we never set foot in a church.

About seven years later we packed up and moved our worldly possessions to the great state of Utah.  And when we got here our marriage certificate, from a court in the state of Maryland, was still good. Still haven’t gone into a church.

A few months ago, Maryland legalized same-sex marriage.  I waited on the edge of my seat for that official certificate to go up in flames. But you know what? It didn’t.  I’m still legally married to my husband, we still get along fine, and we even had a kid.

The divorce rate in this country is huge – upwards of 50%.  And since same-sex marriages aren’t allowed, those are your “marriage is between a man and a woman” marriages. And they aren’t doing well.  If same-sex couples are allowed to get married, they will certainly divorce. Maybe at the same rate, maybe not.  However, they won’t do anything to the sanctity of marriage that hasn’t already been done and done again by the existing “traditional” marriages. One needs to look no further than Hollywood or Vegas to see the mockery of the institution first-hand.  Again, those are opposite-gender unions.

It says so in the bible.  Hmm.  Well let’s start by remembering the Mayflower.  It was full of people who were really tired of being chased around by the various churches.  They came here to be able to worship as they pleased.  And in the true style of the bullied, they became the bullies.  About everything; land, skin color, people owning, even religion (remember, that’s why they left).  But then the colonies became a country and a document was written by a group of old white men. And they agreed that there would be no state-sponsored religion.

Now I know this is largely ignored on a daily basis in most of the South, Midwest and certain Western states like the one in which I reside.  Daily.  But just the same, it is a law, and “marriage is only between a man and a woman” is not written in that document.

Besides.  The bible says all kinds of things.  Crazy shit.  Like you can own slaves. No tattoos. You should not eat shrimp, lobster, shellfish etc.  But I’ll bet your ass LOVES Red Lobster… To read some other good points about what it says in the bible, click here. You need to stop selecting only the parts you like.

But I digress.  Same sex marriage has been legal in many countries and even in many states in the U.S. , and there hasn’t been an apocalypse, frogs, floods, (well I guess there were some floods), but for the most part we’re all still here.  I guess what I’m saying is, it really doesn’t matter what your religious text says, because by law, the country is not obligated to follow it.

It’s icky.  Ok, let’s just get rid of this one once and for all.  Picturing you and your opposite-gender partner doing the deed is icky too.  And I’ll bet you spend less than one percent of your time engaged in the, ahem, activity.  So what are you doing the rest of the time?  Probably chores, work, shopping, eating, sleeping, arguing, chasing your dogs, your kids, maybe just writing nasty bigoted comments at the end of internet articles supporting marriage equality.  Well guess what?  Same sex couples do all of those things.  (Except the bigoted comments about themselves). Really – do you want to believe they are more prolific in the bedroom than you?  Probably not.  They, like you, spend 99% of their time doing mundane life tasks and then do icky things, just like your icky things.  So once and for all, let’s not boil down a same-sex relationship to a sex act. That would be like saying that your marriage is all about that too, and I’ll bet one of you would say otherwise.

It will lead to other things like polygamy, polyamory, marrying your relatives, marrying pets etc.  I’m a live and let live kind of person.  If you want a bunch of wives, provided they are of age and consenting, have at it.  Just don’t scam the government by claiming three of you are “single moms”. Most men think you’re nuts for wanting to deal with more than one anyway.  But the thing is, in fairness (and that’s what we’re talking about here), two-person marriages are what are granted certain privileges in our country, but some two-person marriages are left out.  This legislation seeks to equalize that, not allow for larger marriages.

Relatives?  Well honestly there aren’t many people who want to do that.  There are scientific reasons why a person should not have children with their immediate relatives, and let’s face it; gay, straight, bi, transgendered, I have never met a person who wants to marry their relative. Or at least one who will admit it to me.

Pets.  Well, when Rover can speak his verbal consent I say go for it. Until then he falls into the same category as a child – not a consenting adult (human or otherwise).

Debating pro tip: avoid slippery slope arguments. They make you look desperate.

I just don’t believe in it.  Ok, ok, maybe one of the most honest and valid points out there.  Or honest at least.  Let’s investigate your rights.  You have the right to dislike gay marriage.  You also have a right not to have one, attend one, or even let one into your church. Because you see, your church is protected by law because it is a private institution. As a bonus, your church doesn’t even have to pay taxes like a same-sex couple does.

Maybe this isn’t about church (although I suspect there are scant few atheists out there who support DOMA).  It’s just “what you believe”.  There was a time in this country where we “believed” in owning people.  It was a law.  And eventually that law was overturned because the majority of people thought it was kind of mean and a bad idea.  Most of those people lived in the Northeast, where coincidentally (or not) marriage-equality already exists in most states.

For a long time it was illegal for women to vote.  That law was overturned.  With the exception of that psycho Ann Coulter I think most women, even the most conservative, enjoy their rights.

People of color were not given a vote, and when they were, they were still not allowed to use the same water fountain or bathroom as a white person.  I know there are still people who “believe” this should be true, but usually they are smart enough not to say it in public.  I guess they have a right to believe that, and if they live in the South, Midwest, Utah or Idaho it probably doesn’t come up much, since these places are either shockingly pale or still neatly and unofficially segregated.  But not by law.

So, friend, believe in what you want. It is your lawfully protected right. The bare fact of this matter is that by allowing same-sex couples to marry, your life does not change one bit.  But by allowing the law to follow what you believe there is a large group of tax-paying citizens in this country who are not allowed the same rights as you.  And that’s just unjust.

Sincerely,

One of many straight, married people who believes in their friends’ equality under the law.

Stuff I Like (And Paid For*)

 

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Introducing a new segment called Stuff I Like (And Paid For*) *not always retail. I include that I paid for it because athletes tend to say nicer things about those items they receive for free.

You’re reviewing WHAT? This edition of Stuff I Like (And Paid For*)*not always retail features a cookbook.  What that has to do with bikes and boards you’ll soon find out…

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The Feedzone Cookbook. Available at Amazon.

The Feedzone Cookbook by Biju Thomas and Alan Lim solves a few current problems I have identified in my life.  You see, due to the bikes and boards portion of this site I often find the need to eat. Lots.  In fact one might argue I only do any of those activities as a license to eat.  But I don’t like to eat crap (all the time). The baby situation presents the second dilemma: it needs to be simple and again, not crap.

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A Feedzone pasta dish featuring walnuts, bleu cheese and a mustardy dressing. Made with pre-cooked pasta – FAST!

So we’ve all been to Pineterest. It’s a wealth of great ideas for delicious dishes that are advertised as “so fast and easy” etc.  The thing is, many of the shortcuts popular on these sites are really not much shorter than making things from scratch. They often involve a lot of pre-prepared items that play host to hidden sodium and fat.  Other times they cut corners that take away from the taste.  In the end I’m willing to do a little more to eat something that is healthy and also tastes good.

Another HUGE pet peeve of mine is recipes that have not been tested. That’s why normally I stick to Alton Brown, America’s Test Kitchen and Cooking Light; they seem to test out their claims as well as write decent instructions. They are based in science and tested, but those recipes aren’t always aimed at the segment of the population who burn a second person’s daily calories working out.

Enter the Feedzone.  The focus of the book, written by veteran cycling chef Biju Thomas and renowned cycling physiologist Alan Lim PhD, is to provide recipes that are simple enough for a bachelor bike racer to make, mostly from scratch, taste good and are above all healthy.  A word of caution, though: most of these recipes are intended for people who are active endurance athletes, so there is a little more fat allowed. If you love to play outside, read on.

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That awesome granola that costs $5 a bag. Made from scratch for pennies.

The book is divided neatly into sections for each part of a typical training day; breakfast, ride food, après, dinner and the all-important dessert.  The breakfasts are aimed at those going out for long or difficult training and the après meals are what the rest of the world might call lunch.  The “portables” section caters to those of us who just can’t bring themselves to eat one more pre-packaged energy bar.  This section is so awesome they are about to fill orders for their second book on only this subject.

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Two kinds of “Portables” rice bars; one with fig and honey, the other with chocolate and peanuts. Neither one will freeze in your pocket or work out your jaw.

What I love about the book most is that the recipes are clean; the ingredients are few and tasty, and the meals leave you feeling full but not stuffed.  Brilliant touches like a vegetarian and gluten-free options for most recipes allow anyone to eat from this book.  They also do an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind the nutrition (because they thought these recipes through) and offering tips on how some of the items can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. Because who wants to come home from a five-hour thigh-burner and cook a meal from scratch?

Also featured in the book are some instructions on how to make basic items like pizza dough and pie crust.  An “on hand” pantry list included makes it easy and economical to have staples on hand so that your shopping list is short even for a week’s worth of meals.

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Banana Rice Muffins. Great for before, during and after long hours. Also a great midnight snack while up feeding hungry babies.

I cook almost every night from one of three books and various internet sources, but by far this book is the most used.  And this is one of the “Stuff I Like” that I paid RETAIL for.  You can too here.

Although the book was written as a result of experience with cycling, it lends itself to just about any activity that involves burning fat.  In addition to using the book for meals, I powered my longer ski races on the portables and never once had that bloated, sugared out energy bar feeling.

Stay tuned for their next installment; a book only about “portables” pocket snacks for during activities. And check out Skratch Labs for a nice clean-tasting hydration solution that won’t break your bank or belly.

 

I’m not waving because I know you…

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I’m waving because we share common ground. Or so I thought.

I’ve ridden my bike all over this place. I mean the marble we call Earth.  More specifically, I have raced and trained in about 38 states and 7 countries, lived in 6 different areas of the U.S., and logged more miles and big professional races than I can count.  Yet I don’t rate a wave from a majority of other cyclists in my new home.

Jeannie Longo wasn't too good to have a chat with me. (Photo, Doug Mills)

Jeannie Longo wasn’t too good to have a chat with me. (Core States USPro Championships, Photo by Doug Mills)

When two motorcyclists pass each other on the road they give each other a low wave – a semi-secret hand signal that says, “We don’t know each other, but we both like riding moto’s and we deal with the same challenges .”

Since I began riding road bikes in the 80’s the same situation had applied to other cyclists.  A cyclist wave is your left hand (for those of us who ride on the right side of the road) up off the bars and a look, maybe a smile.  That’s it.  It’s simple.  It’s polite and it is what we do. Or did.

I have lived a few places; some good, some not so good.  When I was based in Western Massachusetts the riding was amazing. The quality of riders was high; some training rides were five of us, all professional riders, all doing really tough workouts.  All taking a second to wave at others on two wheels.

When I lived in Columbia, MD it was all I could do to make myself go for a spin. The climate for cyclists was one of the worst I have ever seen in terms of safety and road-sharing; the cops road-raged us there. But still, other cyclists took that second to acknowledge us.  Misery loves company.

One of the places I first noticed “the wave” was absent was one of the greatest places for a cyclist in the U.S. Good old sunny California.  They don’t wave there.  Excluding a few good apples of course. I guess they don’t want you to move there.

Now I live in Salt Lake City.  It is the most bike-friendly place I have ever lived. Cars give up their right-of-way for cyclists (I wish they would not – it’s unpredictable).  But as friendly as it is, the majority of road cyclists here are, well, complete douchebags.  Yup, I will go blue to describe them.

At least the views in Salt Lake are nice!

At least the views in Salt Lake are nice!

Perhaps they are everywhere.  Eight-thousand dollar bikes, carbon clinchers, power-meters, STRAVA-driven…you can read more about them here (unless you already know what I’m talking about).  I am continually appalled when I am out rolling along and do “the wave”, that not only do I not get a wave back, often the other rider will look down and away.  Appalled.

Either these riders think they are too good to wave at the likes of me, or they are too wrapped up in their workout or STRAVA PR to take a second.  Maybe they haven’t been schooled on the etiquette of cycling (again, read this).

To those who think they are “too good”, here’s my advice.  Take your 45+ Master’s racing butt to a big race and enter the OPEN Pro 1-2. Oh, OUTSIDE OF UTAH.  If you stay in the race for longer than five minutes, make a friend. Go for a ride with that friend in his neighborhood and observe, because the closer to P.R.O. he is, the more likely you will see him wave.

Or maybe, as I love to give folks the benefit of the doubt, maybe they think, “who is that? Am I supposed to know her?  I’m so embarrassed I forgot who she is. Maybe I’ll just look this way and pretend not to see her.” Like you do at a party when you know you’ve met someone too many times to ask them again for their name.

Somehow I doubt that explanation.

Why I might have been slow last summer.

Why I might have been slow last summer.

But just in case, let me introduce myself.  I’m a former P.R.O. rider who now races Nordic skis.  I have done races you can’t ever imagine.  I have ridden more miles in my little ring (again click here) than you have in your lifetime.  Maybe I’m riding this slowly because I’m doing a recovery ride, or a Zone 2 long ride, or maybe I’m out enjoying the nice day.  Or perhaps I’m eight months pregnant (like last summer).  Or maybe I’m doing intervals and going hard.  No matter what, though, I can muster the strength and time to raise my left hand off the bars to you to acknowledge that we share common ground.

Now you know me. Wave back.

Beer Window

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I like beer. No, I love beer. Enough to make it with whole grains. Sounds trendy/healthy doesn’t it? Don’t worry, it’s just a better way to homebrew resulting in a more commercial taste.  But brewing methodology isn’t the point of this post; my love of beer is.

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Santoro Brewing Ninja Clown Indian Brown
“He’ll turn that frown upside down or he’ll slice you a new one!”

One can understand how, after almost ten months of “sips”, “tastes” and “samplers” I was ready to plow through pints of my own and others’ barley and hops goodness without a care in the world. Yes it is more than nine months, and yes I was counting.  So imagine my realization that Baby M is going to want to breastfeed hourly.  A beer renders my milk tainted for roughly an hour. Doesn’t take a former math teacher to realize this made beer (wine, margarita, bourbon etc,) impossible EVEN AFTER I WAS DONE BEING PREGNANT.  Why this didn’t cross my mind before, I don’t know.

At first she was willing to take a bottle. Kind of, but not in the appropriate beer-drinking times, like happy hour through the late dinner hour.  Having a beer then would result in momentary bliss (me) followed by a hungry screaming baby who kind of has a bottle but impatiently waits around (without sleeping) for me to be able to get her the white gold right from the tap. And I don’t blame her – one of the most frustrating things about Utah’s utterly stupid liquor laws is that no establishment can carry draft beer above 4% ABV.  But that’s a rant for another time.

Eventually M got on a schedule, and eventually that schedule was feeding less often than every hour.  WooHoo! Along with that came her utter refusal to accept anything but draft.  Boo! Again, I don’t blame her, but MAMA WANTED BEER.

See, I’m not an alcoholic (I know, denial etc.); I gave it up for almost a year without crying (often). But to enjoy that one pint was all I was asking.  See, there is a time of day when it would be “too soon”, like lunch. Or is it? Anyhow, looking for a more acceptable time that I could safely enjoy the beer (as in, not chug it) but still know I wasn’t passing on my “passion” to Baby M, I finally figured out that after the 3:30 pm feeding there is a nap, followed by a 5:30 feeding.  Therefore (again, easy math) I have roughly a half-hour to enjoy the beer followed by an hour to clear it.  Hence, each day’s 3:30 feed is a triathlon of feed, pour, drink.  If I don’t nail the transitions I lose valuable time.  This is my Beer Window and I have to use it wisely.

Not another mommy blog

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I joined Pinterest under duress.  I like the funny pictures of cats and the slow-cooker recipes that allow me to go outside and play. Sometimes with Baby M, sometimes by myself and hopefully with Jonathan. I breastfeed because it’s cheap, convenient and good for her, not to make other people feel bad.  I brew milk every day and beer on weekends.

M’s first powder day

I eat wheat and I don’t do yoga.  I love meat on a Ron Swanson level.  I have strong opinions about the people who ride bicycles both for fun and for a living, and I own more bikes and skis than I want to count. But I could count if I wanted too because I also count myself in the 1% of people who CAN do math.

I started a blog because my Facebook posts are too long.