Top 25 Nor-Cal Moms 2012 - how about a vote for me??

Don't you love technology.  I do.
Most of the time anyway.

Some lovely person nominated this little bloggy for the Top 25 Nor-Cal Moms 2012 contest on Circle of Mom's, but I just found out because I didn't get the e-mail.  Bummer!

And voting ends tomorrow!!  Aaaak!!!!!

I would love your vote!!

Just click that handy button and scroll down to find The Cyclist's Wife, click vote to vote for me.

Thank you and have a great day.  
And many thanks to whoever nominated me!


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Take a Hike

While visiting Leavenworth I had the pleasure of kicking yet another item off of my bucket list...

Let's take a hike!

Welcome to the Icicle Ridge Trail.  This trail is 2.5 miles with an 1,800 foot gain.  
This was a dog friendly trail too (at least, we had a dog and saw a couple of other dogs along the way).

Let's get climbing.  

First we'll see the rooftops....

...and then we'll see the tree tops.

And then we'll see a tree without a top.

This is one of those trails that gets prettier as you go.

You'll end up holding up your family members while you take too many pictures.
Is there a such thing as too many pictures?

This is Alvin.  He was our guide.
My sister claims Simon and Theodore were down the trail but I never spotted them.

When you get to around the 3/4 mark of the hike the views really get to be spectacular.

Once you arrive at the top, have a seat in the handy wooden chairs and take a picture with your fam...
(Don't miss the chance to make a silly face seester)

Then peruse the views from the top of the mountain at every angle...


Last but not least.  
Don't forget to let your dog take an impromptu bath in the stream on the way down. 

Good girl Gabby.

Happy Hiking!

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A Word on Lance

Considering this blog is called The Cyclist's Wife (although I might have to change the name to The Runner's Wife, but that is another story for another day), I felt compelled to put my two cents in regarding the current state of Lance Armstrong.

Let me preface this by saying, although I enjoy the sport of cycling, it is mostly because my husband (and parents) are cyclists.  Would I watch Le Tour if I wasn't married to The Cyclist?  Probably a little bit.  But here is the deal:  I don't claim to know all of the in's and out's of cycling, the rules, the strategies, the rumors, the truths.  I am a lady who observes from the sidelines and sometimes bothers to absorb nuggets of information.  I am by no means an expert or even a serious fan.  I'm not a Lance Armstrong fan either.  No offense Lance, I'm just basically, indifferent, when it comes to you.

That said, what I have to say about the Lance situation doesn't mean squat.  But, I'm going to share it with you anyway, because I have a platform to do it and a title to match.  So there.

In case you didn't know, Lance was being pursued by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) regarding his alleged doping throughout the course of his career.  Yesterday, he announced that he "would no longer challenge the USADA and declined to exercise his last option by entering arbitration" (via ABC).  What this means is Lance Armstrong's entire career was essentially erased.  No more 7 Tour wins and his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympic games may go away too.  

So what do I think of all this?  I think it's stupid.  Did Lance dope?  The only person who truly knows the answer to that question is Lance himself.  Do I think he doped?  I could answer that question but the bottom line is, it doesn't matter if I think he did or didn't.  I don't know and I will never have any real way to know.  Any answer I gave to that question would be pure speculation.

Here is what I do know.  After reading this article in Outside magazine two years ago my perspective on all of the doping incidences in the news of late, changed.  Additionally, I think Lance's official statement yesterday had some valid points, specifically, "The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors.  I made myself available around the clock and around the world.  In-competition.  Out of competition.  Blood.  Urine.  Whatever they asked for I provided.  What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?"

Here is something else I know.  The Cyclist wrote a paper on the anti-doping agencies last year, which lead me to some reading about the process.  Let me just say the best way I can explain it is that the whole anti-doping agency situation is a giant cluster-F.  Seriously.  I can't begin to explain how it works, doesn't work or what they are trying to do.  The term "too many cooks in the kitchen" absolutely comes to mind.

So, from my little soapbox called The Cyclist's Wife, this is what I think.  Lance has a damn good point.  If the USADA can't even rely on their own testing, then what's the point?  If their only method of busting athletes for doping is not to prove that they actually are doping, but instead prove that they are lying to a grand jury, isn't their purpose a little misguided?  It is rumored cyclists do dope and "beat the test" because their doping is so far ahead of the testing.  Maybe the USADA should instead use the funds they are spending on all of these legal ventures and apply it to improving their science.  I would certainly be supportive of a USADA ousting of an athlete if they could actually prove, with scientific (not circumstantial) evidence that said athlete was doping.

Here is something else.  Maybe we should ask ourselves why so many athletes do dope.  I don't think we can deny that the general public wants things bigger, stronger and faster in all sports for a heightened entertainment value.  Does this put additional pressure on professional athletes to meet the public's desire?  Probably.

Maybe Lance got what he deserved.  Maybe he got screwed.  He has to live with himself and whatever decisions he made along with their outcome.  In the meantime, I hope the USADA changes their process to see the forest for the trees; to stop focusing on what might have been done and instead focus on what actually can be done, with real proof.

The end.

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Instagram {Leavenworth}

In addition to visiting folk in Seattle, I had the pleasure of spending most of my Washington time with my little seeester in the quaint little town of Leavenworth, where she is our adventure, via instagram.

(1) Good morning Gabby, (2) Things found in the trunk of a 21 year old, 
(3) Seeesters, (4) Citizen Patrol on the loose
(1) Road to Leavenworth, (2) Welcome you have arrived,
(3) Class 4 section (more on this later), (4) Gabby the safe swimmer 
(1) River rocks, (2) A sign for Otis Brown, (3) Beer, (4) Brat
(1) SG=silly girls/silly glasses, (2) On the street, Leavenworth,
(3) Hanging flower goodness, (4) Yum.
(1) Beware, follow the signs, (2) Feet on Blackbird Island,
(3) TCW & Dad, (4) Leavenworth sunset

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Philly Cream Peach Tart with a Shortbread Crust: The tale of a contest entry

Well I entered this little contest yesterday....

This was my entry...

Philly Cream Peach Tart with a Shortbread Crust
{You can get the full recipe by clicking that ↑ link}

I have never entered a contest like this before and I thought it was fun.  The blog allows me to be creative without any parameters.  The contest, on the other hand, had some specific rules that forced me to be creative in order to follow them.  This was challenging, but I think the end result is a better product for it.

I took two shots at making this.  The first one was good, but didn't look nearly as pretty.  I also made it in a pie pan the first time, which didn't work out nearly as well as the tart pan.  I must say, the addition of the tart pan at our house is quickly making me become the Queen of Tarts - I already have a new tart recipe that I'll share soon.

Due to time constraints (read: I have a real job too), I typically don't make and re-make recipes I post here.  If they're good and they look good, I share them.  This is something I would probably change if I ever get to make blogging and recipe creation my full time job, but for now, what I'm doing works.  Giving myself that time with this recipe though, I was really able to perfect it, which was nice.

Additionally, I spent a lot more time with the photos than I normally would (again, real job = limited time).  I took about 40 photos of this dang tart and spent hours editing the photo I finally chose.

The lesson learned here is, the photo editing and time spent is really worth it.  It does leave me with a bit of dilemma though, because spending more time on photos means less posts per week, but also makes me a better photographer.

And, of course I hope/wish/pray I win this contest (how freaking awesome would that be??), the experience of participating (and eating that tart) was worth it.

And that ends the tale of my contest entry.  Have a nice day!

P.S.  I also shared this on Tasty Kitchen.

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It's OK Thursday.....

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK...

...that my vacations are pretty much over for the rest of the year.

...that I wished it was Friday on Monday.

...that my running schedule got bumped (again). be sad that the Olympics are over. dream that someday you'll be a real writer/blogger. sometimes have a different opinion than someone else.

...that I never feel like I have enough time. stay up too late reading blogs every night.

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The Tale of The Lonely Tomato

Ah a backyard garden.  We had a huge one at my dad's house when I was a kid.  I loved it and I love the idea of going right into my backyard for fresh delicious food.

The Cyclist and I have been wanting to do a garden for a long time, but cycling usually gets in the way of us doing anything around our house in the summer.  But since The Cyclist is taking a bit of a cycling break (had you noticed?), we've managed to pull a few things together this year.  Woot-woot!

So, let's start at the end of this tale.

Meet our little heirloom tomato.  Ignore the split down her side.
Isn't she lovely?

We started our garden with seeds in cups...

...we had big dreams of growing lots of things...

...some of these sprouted, but then we lost them.  We probably could have been better at caring for them, but the hot/cold/hot/cold weather in late spring wasn't helping matters either.

Our tomatoes started as little baby plants, heirlooms that I got at the farmer's market.  We put them in pots, and then in the ground.

We tend to them with care.

But alas, so far we have only grown that one lovely, lonely tomato.
What the heck?!  I say.  I just don't get it.

And to add to the mystery, our tomato plants are now giant...

...with lots of flowers, but nothing since that one little tomato.
It makes me wonder if we should stick to being Mystery Gardener's.

Oh well.  She sure did taste good on our salad.
Which reminds me....Summer Bucket List item #5, check!

Now cross your fingers that we'll get some more tomatoes!
Have a happy day!

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Instagram {Seattle}

And I bring you my trip to Seattle via Instagram......

1. Heellooo Seeaattle
2. Molly Moon's!
3. Salted Caramel goodness
4. Bike Polo!
5. Sad face.  It's almost gone.
6. More bike polo!
7. Silly glasses/silly ladies
8. Retrofit
9. Silly glasses/silly ladies x3
10. I want everything.
11. Chocolate seat for a chocolate bike.
12. Dinner with two of my favorite ladies, Ba Bar.

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Anniversary Kayaking on Upper Lake Clementine

Let's forget about kayaking for a minute while I introduce you to The Cyclist, Nature Photographer.

I could probably practice my whole life and not have such a steady hand.
Who can take such clear pictures of a smiley little orange dragonfly from 20 feet away?
With a not super fancy camera?
A digital zoom and no tripod?
Apparently The Cyclist can.

So, for our first anniversary we took a little kayaking adventure to Upper Lake Clementine.

We stopped and picnicked and while The Cyclist took nature photos, I took pictures of duck butts.

I think this qualifies as nature photography, don't you?

The water was crystal clear.

We paddled...

....and floated....

...and chatted.
It was a pretty perfect day.

And, most importantly, I kicked an item off that Summer Bucket List!

Last but not least, for those of you interested in the actual paddling, here's the scoop:
No alcohol, no dogs allowed at this lake.  There were rangers (on boat) present and ticketing.  The road down to upper lake is steep, dirt and bumpy.  We have a 4-wheel drive, so we were fine.  Although there were two-wheel drive cars at the bottom, it might be a bit sketchy going down.  You can paddle up-stream for quite a bit, but you will be getting out of your boat and carrying it over rocky areas to make it to the next section of water.  The water on the upper lake is crystal clear and it is very quiet.  Once you reach the boat-in camping areas, you will be either on or nearer to the lower section of the lake.  The water here is not as clear and there is power-boat and water-ski/wakeboard traffic.  The water was not terribly cold and nice to swim in.  Overall this was a good place for flat water paddling if you are just looking to cruise around.

Thanks for a great anniversary Cyclist! ♥♥♥

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Views from Sears Tower

Did you know Sears Tower is actually now called Willis Tower?
I didn't think so.  
That's why I titled this post "Views from Sears Tower", cause if it said "Views from Willis Tower" you'd probably say, "What you talkin' bout Willis?!"
Er.  Nevermind.  You wouldn't say that, but my uncle probably would.

Do you know who this cute couple is?


Neither do I.  However, I think they are super awesome for walking right into that clear box and standing over the city like it was nothin'.  
Cool as cucumbers.  Cheers to you cute couple!

So, let's learn some stuff about What you talkin' bout Wills Sears Tower...

It's high.  Like really dang high.  So high in fact, you can supposedly see 4 states.
I mostly noticed how flat the Midwest is.
The actual height is 1,729 feet.

And I still can't believe that's a lake.
Although the tower itself is over 1,700 feet, the Sky Deck, where these photos are from is at a measly 1,353 feet.
No bigs.
I was peering way out into that  giant lake and saw this thing....
 .....which appears to be your typical circus tent in the middle of the water.

The Skydeck is on the 103rd floor.

Being up this high things happen.
People look like ants.

Buildings look like Monopoly pieces.

 My feet start to sweat profusely.

And as best said by The Pioneer Woman, my hiney starts to tingle.

 I am a tall person.  And I personally think it's weird that I'm afraid of heights.

I would have never stepped foot in the elevator to the Skydeck if The Cyclist hadn't dropped the news on me as soon as we got off the train.

Cyclist: "We're going to Sears Tower."
Wife: "Nooooo, I don't wanna go up there!"
Cyclist: "Well, you can wait at the bottom then.  I'm going."
Who wants to be lame and wait at the bottom?

 Not me.

I'm glad I didn't.  It was pretty cool up there. 

Even with sweaty feet and hiney tingles.

 Here are some more fun facts:

Sears Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

The building encompasses more than 4.5 million square feet.

And this building which you can view from the Skydeck looks like a giant Lego.

Sears Tower is the 8th tallest building in the world.

And from the tower you get an awesome view of that green roof.

Now, let's talk about The Ledge.

The Ledge is this crazy town glass box viewing platform that you can actually walk out onto.
I'm seriously getting the hiney tingle just writing about it.  You can tell even The Cyclist was nervous.

He relaxed after a minute though.
But me, getting those sweaty feet and tingling hiney just over the edge was a true feat of courage.

If you go to Chicago, visit the tower. It's worth it, even when you're afraid of heights.

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