Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Books Read in May

John Le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Ethan Canin: For Kings and Planets
Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time
An Na: A Step from Heaven
Thomas Mann: A Death in Venice
P.D. James: Death of an Expert Witness
Jane Smiley: Duplicate Keys
Muriel Spark: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Training Update & the DL

Simon and I rode east toward Utrecht today. We chose this route because the wild winds would have made any other direction intolerable. As it was, the route was challenging enough. In all, we rode 52.31 miles. Our top speed was 27 m.p.h., and we rode against some 16-knot headwinds. No, we didn't reach 27 m.p.h. against the headwind.

And yes, we left Jim at home. He's on the DL today (that's the Disabled List for those of you who are, shamefully, baseball illiterate) after wiping out yesterday while cycling with Simon.

I took these pictures on the today's route near Nieuwersluis.


Jim's Here

Our pal Jim arrived Tuesday.

No wait -- here he is.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Much Better (Training Update)

Well, the weather has taken a turn for the windy and rainy, so yesterday Simon and I didn't cycle. Instead, we spent the day in Leiden doing some super-secret shopping for my dad. That's all I'm saying about that. We also bought a new suspension seatpost for my end of the tandem; that's why today is "much better." It turns out that my seatpost had probably been going for the last several rides. Last week's ride was especially unpleasant. Enough said.

Today, we had a late start but managed to get out on the bike around 1 p.m. We rode to Wassenaar and then headed toward the coast, going north through Katwijk and Noordwijk and stopping in Zandvoort aan Zee for kibbeling (fried fish chunks) and frites or patats (French fries). Fried fish, however, is the not best choice for a mid-trip snack. From Zandvoort, we went east to Haarlem and caught the train there. In all, we did 39 miles -- nothing heroic, I'm afraid. We did, though, have a great tail wind while we were going north. Our maximum speed was 31 m.p.h.

And yes, we're having a curry tonight.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Training Update, Featuring Sheep & Cows

Today we rode north toward Haarlem and Amsterdam, with much of the ride in the fields around Schiphol Airport. At Alkmaar, we got the train back. In all, we rode 54 miles. Though the forecast called for rain, the weather was sunny and just a bit cooler than the past few days.

Usually, the bikepaths are clogged with fietsters (cyclists), but this one was full of sheep.

We stopped for a map check outside Halfweg (halfway between Amsterdam and Haarlem, I presume). This cow was hanging out with a couple of his bovine friends in a lovely, wooded pasture (can pastures be wooded?).

I don't know the names of these flowers or whether they qualify as weeds or wildflowers. But they're everywhere.

Near Amsterdam, we crossed the North Sea Canal by ferry. The ride, which lasted about five minutes, was free for cyclists. We think.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Yet Another Keukenhof Photo

I know I've already posted several Keukenhof photos, but I had to share this one too.


Time Trial

Yesterday was Simon's birthday, and he came home from work early -- at 6:30 p.m. As it's light until about 9 p.m., we had time for a ride, so we headed out toward Lisse and the Keukenhof. Most of the flower fields are done now. Some have even been plowed under. Still the weather was beautiful, and we had a great ride. Here are the stats:

Distance: 19.52 miles
Time: 1 hour, 4 minutes
Average Speed: 18 m.p.h. (Woo hoo! Our best time so far this spring.)


Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Keukenhof Photos

Here are some more snaps from last week's trip to the Keukenhof.


Knittin' Fool

A couple of weeks ago, I finished these gift socks in Knit Picks Dancing (41% Cotton, 39% Wool, 13% Nylon, 7% Elastic). I used size 2 DPNs and cast on 60 stitches. I did the cuff in K3, P1, and used the pattern I always use: "Classic Socks for the Family" by Yankee Knitter Designs.

I've begun the second sock in this pair. I'm using Knit Picks Parade (75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon). Again I'm using 60 stitches on size 2 DPNs and "Classic Socks for the Family." I did a 1" cuff in K1, P1, and then switched to K3, P1 for the leg. I'm really happy with the striping, and the second sock should turn out to be nearly identical to the first. (A little explanation for those non-knitters out there: this yarn is self-striping; the wool is from the same skein.)


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Obligatory Cat Photo

Here's Kate the Cat, adopted in November 2004 from the Wake County SPCA.

This photo, I think, captures Kate at her Kate-iest. And yes, she is snoozing in a Kitty Pi, one of my first felting projects.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Training Update

Simon and I rode southeast today toward Utrecht. Though we intended to catch the train at Utrecht, we decided against riding into the center of the city. Instead, we looped around to Bodegraven to get the train there. In all, we rode 62 miles.

As usual, we celebrated with curry. This time, we went with Massaman Curry. If you try this recipe, consider using the WHOLE can of coconut milk. And a little extra cayenne won't hurt either.

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Thursday, Simon and I visited the Keukenhof. The weather was perfect, and the gardens were amazing. There's no point in my trying to describe them. The pictures are much more eloquent than anything I can say.