Friday, August 19, 2016

Hello Again

It has been a while since I wrote. I didn't realize how much time has past. Since quite a bit has happened in our lives, I will try to catch you up on through the coming posts.

To start with...

John and I moved with our kitties from Vegas to Reno four years ago. We needed a change and I had a great job opportunity we couldn't refuse.

A year later, we moved to Sparks (another city near Reno) where we purchased a home. I picked a heck of a time to ramp up my bicycle commuting, which was almost 20 miles roundtrip between the office and home.

We adopted a third cat. She was an older cat but we loved her just as much as our girls. Her name was Sasha and although her time with us was short, we were blessed to have her in our lives and she will forever be in our hearts.

Our life here is different from when we lived Vegas. While we still ride bikes, we go to Lake Tahoe instead of Lake Mead. There are distinct seasons in Reno and it gives us a chance to experience all of the events and activities around the year. Of course we miss Vegas, our family and friends...and at times, the heat and pools and endless hours on the lake.

The good news is I have a different job than the one we moved to Reno for. Traveling from Reno to Vegas is a regular thing so at least we can still have the best of both worlds.

John continued to race bicycles until earlier this year, he decided to move on. I have been more in involved in cycling advocacy through various organizations and we started Cuter Commuter to encouraging more people to bike everywhere! Our days and weekends include wine walks, community events (which Reno is big on), wineries and bicycling adventures with trips to Key West, FL in between (what can we say, we love tropical places and the beach).

Earlier this year we sold our home in Sparks and bought a home in Reno. The location is central for both of us to where we dine, shop and work. Unlike the house in Sparks, which was a new construction, this is an older home. Built in 1989, it needs A LOT of updates. The renovation has consumed our lives but we are starting to see the light.

That's "what's up" in a nutshell!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Poker Night and Housewarming Party

Every month a friend of ours hosts a Poker Night at her place. It's an evening of friendly poker, where for $5 in playing chips, you can pretty much stay in the game the entire night. I once participated and was so horrible at it, I lost all my chips by 9:30 p.m. or so LOL!! I think I prefer to snack on munchies and imbibing while watching the game more than participating.

At the last Poker Night this past Friday, our friend had set up the tables on the backyard patio and we played under the glow of grotto lights and grape vines. It was a fun evening!

Saturday morning I rode to the nail salon to get a pedicure and manicure. Afterwards I rode to the Sparks Legends Outlet to shop for shoes. Would you believe I barely found three pairs I could live with in a store FULL of shoes?! It is always that way, isn't it? When you are looking for something in particular, you can never seem to find it.

After that I went clothes shopping. It isn't something I particularly enjoy doing because I never know what to buy, but it was hard to pass up one of my favorite stores since it is also in the same complex so I couldn't pass it up.

I think riding my bike to do it all and logging over an hour made it much more fun for me. :-)

After I got home, I set to the task of making a housewarming gift for another friend who was having a party yesterday evening. i got the idea from a magazine I had read. So I painted one side of a cinder block bright yellow. Then John helped me cut out stencils for the house number and spray painted it in the cinder block. And we filled each if the cavities with flowering plants. Little did I know they happened to be my friend's favorite flowers!

There were grilled hot dogs and burgers and fresh fruit salads and beer and wine!! Some of the people played ladder golf or something like that. And we sang Happy Birthday to my friend and ate cupcakes. We stayed through the evening and enjoyed the fire pit before breaking away.

On Sunday, we didn't do much. We worked around the house and then went to lunch at a new place neither of us haven't tried for Father's Day called C.J. Palace, a Chinese and sushi restaurants. they had a lunch special which came with an egg roll, fried (or steamed rice) and soup or salad. I opted for the egg drop soup while John went with the salad. Our meals were delicious and there was plenty of food to take home!

The cinder block house number planter we made.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Raised Garden Bed

Hello there. I thought I would write again since this is my personal blog after all. Life has been non-stop this year and it seems to have accelerated after the end of April when I took a new job. I no longer work for the University but am still on the same campus. And so I travel about one week (and sometimes two) weeks a month for training. Mostly in-state and recently to Chicago. We've also launched our online bicycling boutique, Cuter Commuter LLC. where we carry stylish and functional products for the everyday bicyclist and the orders have been keeping us busy. More about work and business another time.

This post is about our Sunday afternoon and finished garden bed!! John rode his bike this morning with this teammates and I caught up around the house. When he returned we went to lunch at BJ's Restaurant Brewhouse in Sparks, NV. There is a nice outdoor patio and that's where we like to sit. However, there is no bicycle parking so when we ride our bikes there, we just chain them to the railing near our seats.

John ordered the BJ's Brewhouse Burger with Applewood Smoked Bacon and Cheese and I had the Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowl, a new item on their menu. It was roasted Atlantic salmon with sautéed red onions, mushrooms, fresh asparagus and fire-roasted red bell peppers served over quinoa and drizzled with soy ginger sauce. It was delicious although I would prefer a little less salt or soy ginger sauce next time. Sorry I forgot to take pics!

After lunch we went home and John put in new irrigation lines for the raised garden bed he built me last fall.

He's always doing something around the house whenever he has an inkling of free time so I was super excited when he could finally get around to this project.

Eventually he filled it with dirt while I went to the lawn and hardware store to pick up some plants! Hey, I may not have green thumbs but it's not a problem some green bills can't fix, right?

And voila! Thyme, oregano, mint, miniature bell peppers, parsley and four varieties of tomatoes to start. Oh...and marigold. I'm not sure where I'll plant those yet. I also heard something about companion plants so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comments!

Until the plants are established, I have a hose sprinkler set up to water them daily. I'll keep you posted!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Winter Bike to Work Day 2015

Ask my husband and he'll tell you winter is not my favorite season. So it's no surprise when I woke up today and rolled down the street, I had NO IDEA today is Winter Bike to Work Day! Did you?! With so much going on lately I did not realize there was a national day for biking to work since I bike to work year round anyways.

Today was filled with birthdays of several special people in my life, Valentine's Day is tomorrow, the Pedal for Palentine's Day meetup I organized for tomorrow at a local coffee house, and the second Reno Bike Project Slow Roll for Major Taylor is on Monday and oh -- today is Friday the 13th which didn't occur to me until a co-worker reminded me. A black cat did not cross my path today. I would have greeted it because I love cats (and animals for that matter) but didn't see any except for our precious kitties at home.

So as I am writing you, safe and sound from the couch in our living room, I have to say it was another GREAT day!! In fact, I think it was a lucky day...although lately every day seems to be a lucky day! Because on my way home, I decided to stop at an Irish pub where my sweetheart met me for Happy Hour. Before he arrived, I chat with some very nice folks around me who were also dining outside on the patio in Victorian Square. People who drove there, walked there and rode their motorcycles there (with the cutest dog (miniature Dachshund?) named Oscar! on board).

And the weather was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. Unusually warm for mid-February in Reno-Sparks, Nevada. I wore a Cuter Commuter Logo V-Neck T-shirt under a white button up shirt to the office today and on the way home I had to take off my blazer because the temperature was so warm!!

bright v-neck t-shirts for cute bicycle commuters
Make those ugly commutes cute with a Cuter Commuter log t-shirt!

We got the t-shirts in last night. I didn't expect them to go so fast!! I just love the bright turquoise and neon orange colors. They sure help to brighten up those ugly winter commutes! Show that you are a Cuter Commuter and let everyone know you support riding as a way of life with these super soft t-shirts. They feature, not one, but a four-color Cuter Commuter logo screen printed on a combed cotton fabric. To order, just email your size (Small, Medium or Large) and mailing address to info at cutercommuter dot com and an invoice will be emailed to you. There is no shipping cost for local pickups and tax is included in the price of each t-shirt for $24.95. Although the t-shirts are true to size, they are considered "Junior sizes" and are meant to follow the silhouette so if you like your t-shirts to be looser fitting, order a size up.

Looping back to Winter Bike to Work Day, I think I've always been a year-round rider. Before moving to Reno-Sparks, I lived in a place where commuting by bicycle was a huge hurdle because there wasn't a route option that was low-risk enough for me. Not like I have now. So I still rode year round then. The difference was that I rode for recreation away from the city.

I love winter riding. I love the crisp cool air brushing my face while the sun's rays shine down on me. I love being able to wear my boots, tights, (sometimes) scarves, mittens and skirts or dresses because they are so...wintery! It's nice to wear layers and peel off to control my comfort. Soon enough summer will be here and the layers will be minimal to none. So I enjoy the cooler temperatures while I can. Pedaling keeps me warm. And being outside breathing fresh air, passing through neighborhoods keeps the winter blues away for me. If it weren't for my bike, I would absolutely suffer through winter. Like I did when I drove to work only to be stuck indoors looking through windows wishing I was outside when the sun would peek through the clouds. On my bike, winter is another riding season to give me variety and a change of scenery. If you don't ride through winter, I hope you have a chance to get outside this weekend!! You may just like it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Have a Dream of Reno Slow Roll

I have a dream. That the roads of our community would be filled by bicyclists. That we would have access to use the roads without fear of getting pushed off or run over by other people driving motor vehicles. A day when bicyclists of all ages, abilities, gender and bike preference will ride side by side. That day came over Martin Luther King weekend.

It was only the first Reno Snow Roll organized by the Reno Bike Project and over 60 participants showed up ready to ride!

All sorts of bikes were represented as we rolled out of our meeting place through downtown Reno. Recumbent, cargo, cruisers, mountain, touring, road,
Bike bells rang around me as we rode together. The pace was slow so that no one would be left behind. It also allowed us to chat with others around us and people we have never met.
Even though I had plenty in common with my fellow riders, my shyness got the best of me and kept me from approaching others and so all I could do was SMILE and pedal quietly behind.
My personal goal for the next ride is to come out of my shell and introduce myself to someone in the ride that I have never met!
The ride featured a local business so half way through our route, we stopped at the Hub Coffee shop for complimentary hot cocoa and mingled.

Do you have or know of a local business who would like to be featured? Please contact me for details on how to become a Reno Bike Project Business Member and your business could be featured during the next Slow Roll.

Then it was time to leave and everyone I passed was ALL SMILES!!

Well how can we NOT have fun?! Riding bikes is so AWESOME!
After we parted ways, a few of us in the group went to check out The Depot on 4th Street, an antique train depot converted into a brewery, distillery and restaurant. There is a great article about The Depot on the Drinkable Reno blog.
I had a dream about a large community bicycle ride that was for all riders of all ages and abilities and bicycles. And for one day that dream came true!

View the rest of the photos on the Reno Slow Roll album.  Feel free to download and/or share!!