He Said/She Said

He said,

“The wrong party is leading this country. I don’t like the direction we’re going. There are too many unsolved problems and they aren’t spending the money properly. I think things are getting worse. I wonder if we will ever get this turned around.”

She said,

“I love you.”

He said,

“I don’t like the climate here. It’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I don’t think it is the best place to live. Besides, we don’t have many close friends and our neighbors are crazy. Maybe we should go somewhere else.”

She said,

“I love you.”

He said,

“My boss is a tyrant. He makes my job miserable. He wants more and more from me and where is the reward? I don’t see any potential for advancement and I’m sick of the internal political games. I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”

She said,

“I love you.”

He said,

“I love the kids…really I do. But it seems that we are so busy all the time and spending so much money. When will we ever have the freedom to do other things? Maybe things will be better then.”

She said,

“I love you.”

He said,

“I’m not sure about the new preacher. He talks too long and rambles too much. I wish he would get to the point. I have a hard time following him, my mind wanders, and am not getting much out of the sermons.”

She said,

“I love you.”

He said,

“My back just isn’t working well anymore. It seems like I’m in pain constantly. I can’t do as much as I once did. I wish I could do fun things again.”

She said,

“I love you.”

He said,

“Why is life such a struggle? It seems we can’t save money and can’t afford to have nice things. It is all we can do to keep the old cars working, pay the bills, and keep the weather out of the house. We can’t seem to make any progress and improve our lifestyle. Why can’t we do the things that other people do?”

She said,

“If my love is not enough for you…

…then what else can I do?”

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Outside/Inside

When the vacation objective is to NOT go anywhere, a winter vacation works well. When the forecast for today called for temperatures near freezing, clouds, and rain. Firewood was gathered off the pile out back and stacked under the covered back porch…in sufficient quantities to keep the fire going all day.

Outside it was somewhat gloomy and cold.

But that made sitting in the big, comfy chair by the fireplace all that much more attractive. Not needing to be anywhere at anytime felt amazingly right. To often we work, buy a house, maintain it, fix it up, and make it pleasant, but for what purpose? The instant we have vacation time, we go somewhere else. Why can’t we enjoy the place we have chosen and sacrificed for? Those maintenance tasks, routine chores, and enhancement projects would all take on a new significance if we had the ability to stay around and enjoy them. Go figure.

So while it was cold and wet outside. It was warm, dry, and cheery inside. Even the furry rascals were relaxed, quiet, and harmonious. With only a few exceptions, it was peaceful.

He still thinks he is a weinie dog, but it didn’t even take ol’ Gus long to figure out how to point his hind end to the warmest spot in the room.

Down Time


Most of my readers are probably already aware that I am changing jobs. I have never been more reluctant to make a job change. The most excellent people at Dodson & Associates, Inc. have made my 8+ years there a true joy. However, since I now reside in rural Denton County, it is a long way to the “office” and to my dear colleagues in Houston. So, I finally acknowledged the limitations of geography and accepted a position with Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. in Denton. So far dealings with my new colleagues have been very pleasant and I am looking forward to whatever is ahead.

Because much of my regular “vacation” time involves travel, I have longed for some down time at home. That is why I decided to take a few days between jobs. I’ve been off this week. To be more precise, I’ve been unemployed this week. It might be suggested that I’ve chosen a poor time (being the dead of winter) to be off work. Especially since it has probably been the coldest week of the season yet. However, nothing says stay inside by the fireplace with a book like cloudy, windy, cold days. On the other hand, when I start to feel a little cabin fever, nothing says get out and ride like nice warm wool clothing.


So, it seemed good to me to get out there and explore a thousand shades of brown. In reality, the landscape was quite beautiful in its own stark, dead of winter, sort of way. There really are thousands of interesting shades of brown. With the leaves gone, there are new things to see even on routes I found and rode during the summer. My “old” routes become new with the changing of the seasons. I like that and wonder what spring will be like. Something to patiently anticipate…


Living in north Texas has taught me to ride in temperatures much lower than I once did. Changing my ride objective from “speed” to “fun” and finding better clothing has shown me a completely new way to enjoy a winter day. There might be a whole bunch of brown out there, but it’s better than a strip mall, isn’t it?


To imagine what it is like to be me, look out there and say to yourself, “I think I’ll ride to the horizon…and turn right.”

Knowing When to Fold ’em

 

Not long ago, I said that an announcement was forthcoming. The announcement was related to an ongoing effort to overcome cycling obstacles. It was noted that rain and darkness obstacles have been minimized and that investments made in these areas have proven themselves many times over. Until recently, travel remained a HUGE obstacle. Hopefully, this latest investment will prove to be as successful as the others.

The “Tikit, Model T” from Bike Friday arrived while I was in Phoenix. Although it did not arrive in time for that trip, other opportunities will come. After returning home, it was unpacked, unfolded, and pedaled around the living room within minutes. The bike is designed to allow it to be folded and carried or rolled indoors, on other modes of transportation, in an office, in a trunk, etc. Since Bike Friday was had special pricing during January, it was a great value. So I also purchased the optional suitcase and packing materials so that I can partially disassemble, pack it, and check it as baggage during air travel. The clever design allows for a quick and simple pack/unpack process.

 

There was no plan to ride this today. The plan was to ride much farther yesterday…on bigger wheels. Since it remained in the 30’s yesterday and the forecast was for temps in the mid-40’s today, I rescheduled the long ride for today. Contrary to the forecast, it remained in the 20’s all morning. When it is that cold, I generally don’t need to ride far. A short shake-down cruise on the “clown bike” (as affectionately named by Janet) seemed perfect. With its small wheels, it is not ideal for long distance cruising. However, it rides surprisingly well and should be just right for those shorter adventures while traveling. A clown bike obstacle climber, as it were.

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I’d Rather Stay

The travel has been reduced lately, but it is time again to go. After making travel arrangements, packing, and completing assorted other work-related preparations, it was time to make one last lap around the neighborhood. As the sun dove toward the horizon, it turned everything to gold. Like I will miss my wife and my friends, when I am gone, I will also miss this place.


It is often a place of beauty, quiet, and refreshment. Like this mid-January afternoon on which I decided to stretch my legs a bit. When I don’t have much time, I don’t need to go far. It’s a nice way to end the day and cap off travel preparations. So I am almost ready to go.

But I’d rather stay.

Overcoming the Enemy

Speaking of obstacles, a little perspective is helpful. It is understood that “climbing over obstacles to ride a bike” is insignificant in comparison to other obstacles we have in life. Today I was reminded that “overcoming the enemy” is vastly more important. You might ask, “What enemy?” I refer to this one…

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Sometimes we foolishly forget there is an adversary out there seeking our destruction. We get distracted by the easiness and frivolity of life when it is good. We get consumed with the struggle to cope with life when it is full of trouble. Some of us, sadly, try to run away from this enemy because we fear him and feel that we can not defeat him. In our retreat, he devours us.

His weapons, “…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…” (1 John 2:16) are powerful. He is a skillful and mighty foe. Too many times, temptation looks like a bully that’s nine feet tall. We should be wary, but we should not lose heart. We should not lose confidence in the almighty God eager to defend us. When confronted, we should stand and face the adversary and challenge him. We should shout, with a clenched fist, a battle cry like that of David…

You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands. (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

…because we remember that the battle is indeed the Lord’s.

Let’s not allow the enemy defy us any longer. We will not seek to be tempted, but when he comes at us, let’s identify him as our adversary. Let’s stand up like warriors, “in the name of the Lord of hosts”, and face the temptations thrown at us by the enemy. We will not surrender. We will not retreat. We will allow the Almighty to demonstrate His power. With Him, we shall overcome the enemy “that all the earth may know there is a God…”

So be it.

Climbing Over Obstacles

Since there are lots of other things in life to fill a day, some rides happen in the dark. When the days are short, it happens more often. Before lights, darkness was a significant ride obstacle. Not anymore.

In the quest to change the goal from “more speed” to “removing obstacles to ride”, much progress has been made. In fact, another HUGE obstacle is about to be put behind me. Stay tuned for a major announcement.