29 May 2009

in case you were wondering...

...I'm enjoying myself.

The past couple of weeks without Nikki have been tough - and given me a huge amount of respect for single parents - but I've managed to enjoy myself.

I'm really glad that we made the decision to have me stay with the boys full-time. It's tough financially, and there are moments when I want to cry (oh wait, I've done that...) and scream (and that...), but I know that in the long-run this is the best thing for everyone. I get to see my boys grow up.... and they get to hang out with me, the coolest guy ever...

Despite the fact that we're car[e]free, the boys and I went into Portland today (we rode the MAX - suck it George Will) to take in the Rose Festival Carnival.

It was free admission, and the rides were just two bucks each. The problem was, Camper was too small for most of the rides, which meant Liam would ride alone and I'd have to stay with a kicking and screaming two-and-a-half-year-old. When he did get to ride, he was into it. He showed his big brother how to do the crazy bungee-jumper, easily going twice as high as Liam had, all while screaming, "I Iron Man!"

We sucked down some carnival food and headed home. Upon arriving at home, we hopped on our bikes and rode around the neighborhood, meandering our way to the pool for a late afternoon/early evening swim.

I wouldn't trade today for a "real job" ever.

There will be time for that later...

27 May 2009

Mac Pro for sale

Mac Pro for sale
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
I'm selling my computer (and monitor... and speakers).

It's an Apple Mac Pro with 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon, 3GB RAM (expandable to 16 GB) and two 500 GB hard-drives.

It has two DVD-RW "SuperDrives," a bunch of USB and Firewire ports, WiFi and Bluetooth (the mouse and keyboard are Bluetooth).

The display is a 24-inch Apple Cinema HD and is beautiful. It also has a bunch of USB and Firewire ports.

The speakers are JBL Creatures and match the aluminum finish of the computer and display.

I love this computer (I polish the monitor and aluminum at least once a month with iKlear...), but if our gypsy thing is going to work, I need to downsize. My plan is to sell this set up and buy a 17-inch MacBook Pro.

I'd really like to sell it to someone who will love it and care for it the way I have.

Interested? Send me an email. I'm going to list it on eBay in a day-or-so, but I thought I'd see if anyone in my "social-networking" circle was interested first.

26 May 2009

crimson [and] clover [over and over]

a crowd
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
I've been a bit obsessed with clover recently.

Trifolium incarnatum to be precise.

It began a couple of months ago when I noticed that it was growing in many of the fields that had wheat in them last summer. About a month ago I noticed that this clover seemed to grow taller than the clover I'm used to.

And it has gigantic leaves, such that, when viewed as a whole present a lush, verdant field undulating under the ripples of wind that move across them. I'd be riding my bike on roads with acres and acres of the stuff all around and would find myself starting at it.

A couple of weeks ago, they flowers started to bloom. Slowly, at first, but then, within a few days, the giant, green fields turned to a reddish-purple. While out riding, I stopped and took some pictures in midday sun, with my phone, but I knew I'd have to come back in better light.

Last Friday, at sunset, I went out to capture that golden hour glow in the fields. Standing in the midst of them made me feel like Horton looking for the Whos (I always wondered why he didn't simply leave the clover they were on in the midst of all the other clover - seemed like a safe place to me...).

I believe the clover is planted for the hay, but according to this web site "the main reason is to provide biologically–fixed nitrogen" to the soil.

get used to it

get used to it
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
I need to get used to this view of Liam on his bike.

He is such a great little rider. He's got incredible balance, is nimble-as-can-be, and has strong little legs. It blows me away when he asks how to do something - say, start the bike on your own - watches me demonstrate, listens to me explain, then hops on his bike and does it flawlessly on the first attempt! And if he doesn't get it on the first try, he simply tries again until he gets it right.

The poor kid is riding around on 12-inch wheels, so he has to pedal like hell just to keep the wheels rolling, and the slightest turn of the handlebars can send the bike careening out of control (thus the usefulness for his nimbleness...).

Once he gets a hold of a bike with normal-sized wheels, he'll be hard to contain.

25 May 2009


Nikki is taking the car up to Fort Lewis for the week, so the boys and I are carfree. Carfree in Hillsboro, OR is a very different thing from carfree in Portland, OR, but I think we'll manage just fine.

That is all.

24 May 2009

Same name, new direction...

An announcement

I'm taking this little bloggy-blog in a new direction. Instead of being a bike-centric blog by a guy living in Oregon, it'll be a blog by a bike-centric guy living like a gypsy. I mean, the bike-thing can only go so far (unless of course you happen to be BikePortland or Cyclelicious...).

Nikki just started 15 months of six-week rotations, and so rather than sit around without her, we've decided to tag along. Her first rotation is up at Fort Lewis and began last week. It kinda sucks, but during this first rotation, we'll only see her on weekends. Her rotation ends when our current lease runs out, so we're following her onto the next stop: Boise, ID.

In the next few weeks, I'll pack most of our furniture - and most of our belongings - into storage so that the essentials in our life fit into (and onto) the Subaru. The boys and I will spend the month of July in Idaho with Nikki, then head to New Hampshire for the month of August. We'll meet up with Nikki in San Diego for the month of September, and then head back up to Oregon for October through December. Her first fall rotation is in Newberg, which is about 30-45 minutes south of PDX, and her second one will be in Portland, so we're not sure what we'll do about housing.

The gypsy life.

Stay tuned...

Back to the biking thing

Mr. Independent
After a few months backslide into the use of training wheels, Liam removed them piece-by-piece this week. We started on Monday by removing his left training wheel. He zipped around and mainly used the training wheel as a kickstand and for starting and stopping. The right training wheel kept hanging him up on right-hand turns, so on Friday he said to me, "Daddy, this thing is getting in my way. Let's take it off."

He loved it and cruised up and down the street. Stopping was never an issue - he'd apply the brakes, put a foot down and stand there like he's been doing it for years - but starting was a different issue. Everytime he'd come to a stop on Friday, he'd look at me and say, "a little help, please," and I'd hold the back of his seat while he'd get going.

On Saturday, he looked at me and said, "I think I can start on my own. Show me again how to do it." I showed him, and off he went. First try. He's now a fully independent biker.

What's with the white vans?
I'm not really sure what's with me and white vans. It was a white van that drove me off the road last September, and today, I had a run in with yet another white van. My friend Bryce and I were out on a ride today when a white van came hauling ass around a corner about an eighth of a mile back, I heard them coming, and started to move into single file (we were riding next to each other - I realize it's not encouraged, but we were out on a rural road...) but these guys laid on the horn and sat on it as they approached us, passed us (and threw water on us - we hope!) and drove off.