Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First day of school

Someone always asks, "Ms. Krasnow, I heard you don't let kids go to the bathroom during class."

And I always respond, quite matter of factly, "You heard right."

And someone always wants to push that thought, and ask all those "what if" situations which might cause me to bend the rules.

And I always respond quietly and thoughtfully: "I have been teaching for many, many years and no one has ever peed in their pants in my class." And after an uncomfortable pause, I add, "So don't be the first."

And that pretty much ends the conversation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Well, it sounded like a good idea

You know, you've got a little extra time, so go do a long ride. "Hey, it's Tuesday!...I'll ride to P-town, do Tuesday Worlds and either BART or ride home"

Well, my plans started to unravel shortly after leaving the house. First, the most direct route over the hills is under construction so I had to take a little detour. Then the traffic signal gods decided to have some fun at my expense. I think I hit every red light between the WC and P-town. A couple of times I looked back to see if a cop with one of those traffic light controller things was testing me. I stopped...mostly.

The traffic detour and the traffic signals meant I was going to be cutting it close...too close. I pushed it a little, trying to balance making the roll out and still having something left to contribute to Worlds. I kept looking at my watch thinking 'Your not going to make it' then 'You might must make it'. I'm sure you guessed by now ... I missed the start of the ride by 90 seconds. I could chase but there was no way I was going to catch those boys on a Tuesday lunch ride.

I decided to ride out and try and grab the tail of the tiger as they blew back into town. Unfortunately, over the hills it was HOT. I was loosing water faster than a sponge caught in a steel mill. The final kicker was the goat head (did you know they're in season now?). The riding, chasing and the flat in that heat did me in. As the Spidey boys raced by on their way to the first sprint point of the day I tried to jump on but the legs said NO WAY.

Well, I got the long ride part in but was I a sight when I got home. Between the dried salt and the dust I looked like I'd just returned from some trans-Utah Odyssey. Now, it's time for sleep.

Oh...but I did wake early to find clear skies in Bezerkely and managed to catch the tail end of the eclipse. The amazing power of shadows!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Need serious advice

My lips are getting all freckly. They're always sun burnt and these freckles don't seem healthy. Attractive? No.

Anyone have the solution for sun burnt lips for the avid cyclist? And don't tell me to ride with chapstick and reapply as necessary. I know that part. But nothing seems to stick, so to speak.

I found many options, but I just can't decide. Hence, I'm soliciting some advice. I'm considering showing up to the Giro in one of these if I can just figure out which one is most 'me'. Ha!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

There will be consequences

Saturday's race hasn't been sitting well these last few days. I made some BAD tactical decisions early in the race and then had a complete physical melt down. No excuses, it was a bad day.

As I started my ride today I decided to try and get it out of my system...time for a little penance to the bike racing deities, or Italian Tune Up if you prefer. An hour and forty minutes later I'd burned 1600 kcals and set a new personal best 1 hour average power (which included a short 3 minute descent).

I feel cleansed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

not so Great America

I'll admit it...amusement parks are not my favorite. Crowds, high prices, spinning rides, crappy food - you get the picture. But Little M wanted to go once this summer and summer is almost over (you noticed right?). After 24 years in the Bay Area this was my first trip to Great America. It'd be all right by me if another 24 years go by before I go again ;).

I think we enjoyed shooting the Geysers at the Roaring Rapids riders the most.

In spite of my aversion to amusement parks Little M and I had a great day together. We always do.

Stay tuned for other end of summer adventures!

Monday, August 20, 2007

This Morning...

Sometimes getting up at 6:00 and riding is nice. This was one of those rare mornings.

It was grey here in Berkeley but half way up the hill the sun came out. The fog was hanging really low over the city and I could look down and see the blanket sitting on Berkeley, the Bay and SF. I reached Skyline just as the sun was coming up and there was a blanket of fog sitting on the east side of the hills as well. When I stopped to take a picture three deer, a doe and her two fawns, dashed across the road.

I cruised along the trying to flush the remnants of Saturday's wicked cramps out of my legs. There were a few other bikers out and a few commuters were starting their daily journeys but mostly it was quiet and peaceful. On days like today it's my favorite time to ride.

At the end of my ride I dropped back into Berkeley where the fog had retreated from our neighborhood and it was clearly the start of a beautiful day. A couple of turns before home I encountered a small flock of wild turkeys scratching for their breakfast among the coastal oak trees in one of Berkland's 'nicer' neighborhoods. I had seen them before, in the same spot. It's nice to see their thriving in their urban oasis.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Veggie Surprise

Upon returning from Dunnigan Hills, where we confirmed that our matchbooks are not empty, but very damp, we found a mystery box on our front porch. We soon learned that said box contained a plethora of fruits and veggies. But there was no note or phone message indicating who had delivered this bounty. I assumed they were a generous gift from a friend or neighbor. Ali thought it was a CSA delivery gone astray.

Today we learned the truth and it turns out it was one of you!!!!

Can you guess which of you bloggers is a closet farmer growing pears, tomatoes and corn?

If their thumb is a green as their legs are strong we're going to have some good eats tomorrow!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why we do it.

Though I have never met Michael, his post today resonated with me. For nine years I have put up with the crap (and that's a polite way to say it) that urban teachers must endure. At the end of the day, I both love what I do and find that I am actually really good at it. Mostly, though, I simply love it.

My own Mike can attest that I don't love every minute of it. The tears, expletives, wine drinking, and soapbox ranting certainly wear on our dinner conversations from time to time. But as the summer wanes and I gather my thoughts (and stupid jokes) to return to 7th grade, I must admit that I'm excited to go back.

Today, while parking at Trader Joe's in Alameda, I saw a familiar face. Running up to kiss me and shower me in a firm embrace was the mother of a former student of mine. Although I currently teach 7th grade math in Berkeley, my last job was as a Spanish bilingual teacher in east Oakland. This mother, who speaks no English, caught me up on her son's life in the 6 years since I was his 5th grade teacher. Medardo and his mother arrived, illegally, from El Salvador in the middle of the school year. He spoke absolutely no English, but was an eager student who became easily frustrated at his inability to express himself in this foreign language and culture. It was clear to me that he was well educated in El Salvador as he quickly became one of the strongest math students in my class.

Fast-forward 7 years...Medardo is entering his senior year of high school and applying to UC Santa Cruz. His mom couldn't have been prouder and insisted that I give her my home phone number so that Medardo could call and tell me all about school and the trouble he had in algebra 2 last year.

It's amazing how much they grow up! Although I don't have a picture of Medardo, these are some students from his class, all of whom are now going to be high school seniors.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last Days of Summer...

We just got back from our last trip of the summer, a short visit with Beck and the bro in the flat lands of Eastern Colorado. We had a great time seeing their cool new house, cooking in their awesome new kitchen, hiking and riding almost every day. We also learned a few things along the way...

  1. Clicking off the miles on the flat roads north of Denver was a blast.

  2. The 98 degree heat...not so much.

  3. The price of bison in the ranch lands was incredible.

  4. The price of produce at the Boulder farmer's market...not so much.

  5. The roads in Eastern Colorado are long and straight.

  6. Sometimes the roads in Easter Colorado just end.

  7. Flowering alfalfa fields smell great.

  8. 98 Degree dairy farms...not so great.

  9. Pomegranate martinis are GOOOOD!

  10. At the right coffee shop Colorado can feel a bit like Italy.

Little M was a rock star. The highlight was when she hammered up the Boulder Creek Trail and couldn't figure out why we stopped when the pavement ended.

But all that's done .... the summer is drawing to a close...a few bike races left and then's back to 'Mr. Fun'.