The cheese stands alone

I’m sure all of you who have television saw the original of this.  I think he looks terrible in that video.  Actually, I think he’s looked bad for a while now, bad like he’s-going-to-drop-dead-at-any-minute-bad.  I hope he doesn’t, at this point he’s kind of the heart of the Democratic Party, the only guy who remembers how to get anything done.  I can’t even begin to understand what happened to the Republican Party.  They have clearly forgotten about the separation of church and state, which while not in the Constitution, was clearly the intent of the founding fathers.  (Do your homework).  I reject the cultural and social conservativism they are spewing forth at this point.  And for what it’s worth, we aren’t going to cut our way out of this mess, we have to grow our way out.  I swear to God I hear one more teabagger spew a bunch of numbers at me about how the government doesn’t create jobs the private sector does I am going to scream at them to dismantle the military industrial complex and call me when they’re done.  There.  I just got rid of a bunch of government jobs you ignorant assholes.  Where do the masses turn for work in tough times?  They join the military you idiots.  But I digress.

I’m actually here today to talk about cheese.

After I read the article about Clinton’s new vegan diet and how he’d lost 20 pounds and was in better shape than he’d been in years, I thought about maybe it was time for me to think about heading back that way.  I was a vegetarian for years.  I quit because I wasn’t getting enough protein.  I feel better now than I did then.  Could I get the protein up high enough to make it work?  It would certainly be better for me.  I’m getting to be in a little better shape.  The cycling is doing that.  I’m getting ready to compete in powerlifting again.  I laid off last year but I’m ready to go again.  Processing….processing….

I went to the google.  Vegan bodybuilding diet.  Pretty similar to what I would have to do.  There’s those crazy Brits.  That looks complicated.  Robert Cheeke is a vegan bodybuilder, what does that guy eat?  That’s doable.  And no where does it say I have to stop drinking wine or beer.  That’s a plus.  But one of the fundamentals of vegan is no cheese.  They have substitute soy based cheese that tastes like ass.  I hate substitute anything.  Veggie burgers chap my hide.  Although I was watching an older True Blood last night and Lafayette comes out and delivers Jesus his meal as he announces “I had to see who ordered the veggie burger with bacon.”  Which is kind of how I feel about veggie burgers.  Always have.  And substitute cheese.

I could work around those two issues, but then I thought about my big grill out back.  And how amazingly excellent the pork chops with the orange chipotle glaze were last night.   Sure I can could vegetables on the grill.  I grilled corn on the cob last night too.  Asparagus earlier in the week.  But I would miss the occasional pork chop.  I have mastered chicken breast.  I would miss that.  I would definitely miss tri-tip.  I got a perfect tri-tip from of all places Safeway last week.  Safeway should have perfect tri-tips since they are the first ones to ever put one on the grill and cross cut it.  I would miss my grill.

Could I go without eggs?  I do an omelette or scrambled eggs a couple of times a week.  I use one egg and three or four whites.  I would miss that.  I’d have to make cookies without eggs, those usually taste like the bottom of my boot.  We’re not winning here.

Then there’s cheese.  That was the back breaker.  I love artisan cheese.  I love the Cowgirl Creamery.  I love the little farms in Sonoma that make little bits of amazing cheese.  I love goat milk cheese.  As a matter of fact, from Wednesday to Friday of last week, I’d been living cheese and crackers or bread for dinner.  I could not survive without cheese.  Wine requires cheese.  Beer requires cheese.  My life requires cheese.   The idea of a vegan red velvet cupcake with substitute cream cheese icing was painful.

That was it.  Off the table.  Well, not completely.  I found this website in my travels last night.  There are some amazing little recipes on there and I will certainly try some of them out.  I think it would be ok to add some vegan meals into my repertoire and I’m going to do that.  I do love beans in almost all forms.  I eat more in the winter than the summer and that seems like a good plan.  But I can go all in for all the reason stated above.  And right now I don’t have to, my latest cholesterol test with the blood bank came back at 153.  I’m good.

I met a gal at a wine event last week, which I will talk about in a day or so, but this is time sensitive.  She told me about Cold Soup Week.  What?  Yeah, it’s a social media thing, but conceptually it is very interesting.  She knows Chef White so it makes it more interesting.  And I’m going to try a couple of these this week.

And now Tiffany, the news.

I see the raven’s made her nest in your eyes

Is it time for the New Year’s post?  Oh hell yeah.  I like to review the previous years goals normally.  I don’t really want to do that because I missed every single one of them.  Actually not quite.  I missed 12 out of 13.

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Get marketing plan running and keep it running
  4. Close a deal a minimum of every 3 weeks consistently
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete
    1. At least one metric event
    2. At least two Century event
  9. Raise $2500 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through Team Fatty (new button to be there soon)
    1. pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  10. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by June 1 so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  11. Finish a writing project
  12. Get broker’s license
  13. Buy a new vehicle for business

I have a marketing plan.  And I do ride faster.  And I’m halfway through my broker’s license.  I had fits and starts of closing three deals per month.  Unfortunately the fits almost buried me.  I still own my house.  Who knew that would be a goal at the beginning of the year.

I saved several dogs this year.  That wasn’t on the agenda, but it needed to happen.  They pretty much owe their lives to me.  Sherman had PTS on his chart.  He’s living the vida loca in Oregon.  Little Sister had 45 minutes to live.  She’s giving a very nice woman agida in Oakland. I think she’s going to end up staying there..I hope.  Of course Ike belongs on this list.  I rode a bunch of souls to safety.  Angus and Juno, Buzz, Aylo, Xena, Bill the Dog, Casey, Splash and currently Hannibal, who is overnighting at the Farm until he gets his ride to the Motor City.

This dog is a big fat slice of awesome pie.  Another fine save by the ladies at Oakland Animal Services.

My cycling took a back seat this year to trying to save the house, which so far I have done, with help.  My golf game took a back backseat.  I’m supposed to place Blackhawk on January 10th and that’s going to be ugly on a stick if I can’t at least pound a bucket or two of balls before then.

We lost my Dad this year.  That’s one of those things that just sucks.  I know he’s not suffering any more, and I know he was just done with Parkinson’s, but it still sucks.  I find myself in his old stomping grounds thinking “I’ve got to tell the Old Man about that” and then I remember that I can’t.  And that really sucks.  There is an upside, for what it’s worth, I’ve been able to take my mother places and have some fun with her.  I’m sure the Old Man smiles down on those adventures.

So without further ado, the goals for 2011.

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds (I figured out that if I don’t I will be essentially riding an extra 350 pounds to LA for the Lifecycle.  Not cute)
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Keep marketing plan on target
  4. Close three deals a month, every month
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete AIDS Lifecycle
  9. Rock the Lifecycle
  10. Pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  11. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by May so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  12. Finish a writing project
  13. Finish broker’s license
  14. Buy a new vehicle for business
  15. Get the dog initative rolling

Dog initative you say?  Well yes.  I’ve got a plan.  It seems to me if one woman can change the way we look at spay neuter, another can change the way we look at pet ownership.  It’s a big project, but I think with help from the right people I can really change the way this country thinks, starting locally and working outward.  Remember this?

Everyone remembers that because of how powerful it was.  How about this one?

Yeah, that’s where I’m heading with this project.  My goal is to change the way this country thinks about pet ownership.  Not the way the wingnuts at PETA want to change the way we think, it’s ok to own companion animals.  It’s our responsiblity to do the right thing.  Our behavior has been changed by many before me.  Here’s where I change the country.  With a little help from my friends.  In the interim…

And don’t forget, if I can drag my fat ass to LA on a bicycle, you can sponsor me and enjoy the ride vicariously.

Velvet ropes and guitars

I’ve been powerlifting since 1998.  In the last 13 years I’ve seriously kicked some butt in the AAU, USPL and a couple of other organizations.  I hold 24 records in the AAU.  I’ve been a top 20 and sometimes top 5 lifter in various organizations over the last 13 years.  I am arguably one of the more prolific woman powerlifters out there.  And my body has been taking the toll for it.  Basically my pecs are so developed that it’s pulling my shoulder girdle forward and making my shoulders hurt all of the time.  Conversely, powerlifting is why my back works at all.  I was having terrible troubles and I started deadlifting.  Because that’s what you do when your back hurts.  Okay, maybe not.  That’s what I do.  Other people probably listen to their Doctor.  Anyway, for the first time in 13 years I’ve decided to take a six month break from powerlifting.  I have lifted the same way with minor adjustments for the last 13 years and that was probably not such a great idea.  I’m going to lift in October, but until mid summer, I’m not going to powerlift at all.  Because I have such a better idea.

Crossfit.  Yep, I managed to find something more radical than powerlifting.  I started this three weeks ago in earnest.  Mentally I was just spent with the powerlifting.  Crossfit is an entirely different animal.  Basically, every evening I go to this website and see what the next day’s work out is.  They scale the workouts there.  I can’t do an unassisted pull up and some of the other stuff is way more than I can do right now.  But every evening it’s like opening up a new present.  Let’s see what tomorrow holds.  Yeah, sometimes I’m pretty sore from the workouts.  Generally, I can’t run with the Big Dawgs yet.  But that’s the goal.  And something different has been pretty interesting.

Run around yellin’ “I gotta Mustang, it’ll do eighty”

Whoa, road trip.  I left Friday morning for Laughlin, Nevada for the AAU World’s.  The trick heading to a meet is to get out of the car every two hours and stretch but make good time.  I took it just a smidge farther and made my lunch so I didn’t have to stop except to fuel and stretch.  I made Laughlin from Concord in eight hours and change.  As I was approaching the road to the town there was a cop there stopping everyone.  He was Tribal Police.  I had passed another Y to the left where a cop had that blocked off.  This guy was turning us all around and sending us into Laughlin via Arizona.  Just what you want to do after eight hours and change of driving.  Highway hiccups are the theme of this trip.

Saturday morning I set a total of four records in the AAU.  Squat 85kg (187.2lbs).  Bench 90kg (198.2lbs) and Deadlift 125kg (275.5lbs)  The deadlift was a personal best.  Not sure about the squat because I squat so infrequently in competition.  The cycling is helping my squats a lot so I’ve been doing more squatting than I’ve done in many years.  After the meet I headed to Rancho Mirage to go to Camp David.  I haven’t been there in over two years, just due to circumstance and the economy.  Mostly the economy.  It seems like light years ago, but I did lose my job twice since 2007.  And I did just start a business in a terrible recession.  These friends or one of the few consistencies in my life, but it had been so long that I couldn’t remember the house they lived in.  Once I got there I remembered everything except the pool.  The desert is a fascinating place.  If I were to have a second home it would be there.

12-9finches

Those are wild finches getting after the fresh bird seed in the feeder.  The hummingbirds out there are amazing.  Unfortunately time means the dogs I knew had moved on and new dogs lived there now.  Meet Tony.

12-9Tony

He’s a cool little dude.  Greyhound and Chihuahua.  There’s another little guy but he’s camera shy.  Also brindle, like a miniature Tony.  They don’t yap or shake or do anything of that annoying shit that Chihuahuas do.  They’re cool.

On Monday I headed down to San Marcos to see some other friends.  The news said the storm was supposed to hit between 4-8pm.  I thought I’d get to San Marcos by three and miss it all.  Idiot.  Driving from Rancho Mirage to San Marcos is a westerly trip.  A Pacific storm is heading easterly.  Time adjustments should be made.  It started raining around Corona.  I didn’t take them mountain route because I was afraid of the weather.  By the time I got to the 15 it was pouring.  And blowing.  And scary as hell.  There was a pick up off to the side in a ditch and the tow truck hauling him out.  I slowed (from the 55 I was going on a 70mph strip of highway) as did the car to my left.  There was water rushing across the freeway that we couldn’t see.  The guy next to me was just in front of me so when he hit it he buried me in a wave of water.  Then I hit it and hydroplaned.  Luckily I got off the gas when I started hydroplaning.  So for a moment I was driving blind and out of control.  Scary shit.  I’ll talk about the wine tomorrow, but suffice it to say, the wine was amazing.

Yesterday I got up at the crack of dawn so I would have plenty of time for silliness.  I had to pick up the dogs by 5pm.  If I was out the door at 6am and held the course I should be home by 2pm.  Plenty of time to get the dogs.  I got out on time and stopped at the Starbucks on the corner.  I was talking to the girls behind the counter about my ride down to San Marcos and then mentioned I was heading home.  Where’s home?  I always say Walnut Creek because people know where that is, even though Concord is bigger.  One of the girls said her best friend lived there and was supposed to come see here the day before except the Grapevine was closed last night.  I’m sure it was, but I’m thinking it’ll be open by the time I get there.  Not so much.  By the time they opened the Grapevine I was in Ventura.  On the 101.  So the home route was 78E, 15N, 210W, 134W, 101N, 154N, 101N, 680N home.  One the of by-products of a rain like that in the southland is that you can see the San Gabriels.  This happens about once a year.  I took this from the 15 around Norco.

sangabriels

Yes, that’s snow, but look!  It’s the San Gabriels!

Of every glove that laid him down

11-11-loki

11-11-rita

I could almost make this a wordless Wednesday post. But I suspect it requires a little explanation. The Brother is trying a case up in Ukiah. Loki has been at puppy prison camp. He can’t get back in time to pick Loki up, so I get him up from the kennel and The Brother comes here and gets him. Loki and Bubba don’t get along so I have to do the dog shuffle while they’re here. I want to beat the crap out of both of them for behaving like that, but they’re male Dobermans and that’s what they do. So I do the shuffle. Yesterday Bubba crashed the door and got to Loki. I was sure we were heading to the vet, but I grabbed Loki’s collar and got him crated before anything happened. From then on, one was crated, one was not. Buttheads.

Loki and Rita were in my office when I took the top two pictures. I don’t keep my groceries in my office, that’s a recycling bag.

11-11-lump

11-11-black-eye2

The Brother showed up and got Loki last night. He was going to his car to put up Loki so he could spend a moment with Bubba who was in his crate. I walked into the living room and noticed a piece of shmutz on the carpet. I reached down to pick it up at the exact moment that Rita decided to leap up on the couch. I have never had my bell rung so badly by a dog before. She crumpled me. The Brother came back inside and I was sitting on the end of the couch, by then tears were running from the pain. He looks at me and I tell him Rita rang my bell. He usually ignores most of my bullshit, but this time he’s paying attention. He says “I can see that thing growing from here, you’d better put some ice on it.” The first picture is last night after ice. The second is this morning. It’s trying to swell closed this morning. It’s sure been a lot of years since I’ve had a black eye. They still suck.

How long have I been drifting alone through the night?

***No rubber chickens were harmed. All depictions were monitored by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Rubber Chickens. Lizards didn’t fare as well***

As most of you know, I headed out on Friday to the Land of the Padres. They were out of town stinking up the field in Arlington, so I was not enticed to go watch that train wreck. The BMW is in the shop getting the hood repainted after a very unfortunate incident involving some piece of crap flying off of one of those flat beds full of construction debris. So I took a rental car provided for by my insurance company down there. That was a mistake. They gave me a Chrysler Aspen. Apparently the English translation is “Monumental Piece of Shit”. They were out of normal vehicles so I got this heap o’. How bad was it? It couldn’t handle on the freeway AT THE SPEED LIMIT. I shit you not. I drove 5 miles per hour under the speed limit on the 5. Oh, you say, so it must have gotten decent mileage since it was so uh, light? Oh hell no! It got 18mpg. 18. 18!! WTF said the kangaroo. I just drove 1000 miles at 5 miles per hour under the speed limit and got 18 miles to the gallon. Chrysler, you deserve to go under. You suck for producing that piece of crap.

Next up was the real estate calls while driving. Not a problem and help pass the time. Except I was having a particularly intense one when I buzzed by the 210. That’s the left turn that helps me avoid the Los Angeles basin. Four hours later, I left Laguna Hills. It took 4 hours to get to LA and another 4 hours to get through LA. Strangely, even though I was traveling at 4mph the whole time I missed OTG and his “Welcome to SoCal PBE” sign. He must have been on the 405. I finally rolled into Vista at 6:15 that night after two more traffic jams, one on the 78 because everyone wanted to see the pick up truck that rolled.

I weighed in particularly light. Three pounds lighter than best case scenario, which concerned me. I’d been drinking water all day, but you don’t want to come in too light from normal or you might blow up in the meet. Sonofabun turned me on to a new iPhone app called Urban Spoon. It’s really really cool. So I plugged in “Escondido” and “$$” and hit “shake”. It gave me Vincent’s on Grand and Tango on Grand. I chose Tango on Grand. Good choice. I started with a MacRostie Chard and perused the menu. I started with the goat cheese soufflé appetizer. It was three little tiny soufflés. Each had something else in it but the only one I remember was the bacon. The first one was presented with a strawberry chutney, the second (bacon) with fresh strawberries and the third was presented with yellow beets. They were amazing. I had finished the MacRostie Chard, which was very nice. It had citrus and melon on the nose, nice palate with soft apples and a little butterscotch on the finish, but not much. It was so subtle I couldn’t tell if it was oaked or not. Nice touch. Since I still had a soufflé and a half to go, I moved on to the Yaluma Rosé of Sangiovese. Really. I’m not kidding. It had strawberries on the nose and was actually even better with the soufflés. Cherries trying to be tart, but not, trying to be ripe, but not. The wine tried to be sweet, but wasn’t then finished nice and dry. Now that the bartender knew my taste, I let him pick the glass for dinner. Dinner was a Sirloin thin sliced over a potato tasting with a béarnaise sauce. He paired that with a Colume Malbec. This wine had blackberries and violets on the palate. Really an amazing wine that paired perfectly with dinner. Even better, next to me chattering all night long was a tortured artist. He was great conversation, but he was one of those guys that sometimes has to be asked to go home. The bartender asked me if I was ok. Of course I was. The guy was going to make a great story some day.

The next day I headed down to lift. I didn’t set the world on fire, but I was lifting in a new class. I don’t remember the squat. I got two in, missed the third. The second was around 155lbs. Not setting the world on fire, but a proper squat is where the axis of your hip is lower than the cap of your knee, so most of the bullshit you see people doing in the gym is just that. I remember one time an older gentleman coming up to me in a gym I was visiting. He said (in a very think Louisiana accent) “How long have you been powerlifting?” (he didn’t pronounce the “r” or the “g”) I asked him how he knew. He replied “Well, you squat properly”. Next up was the bench. I’ve been rehabbing a shoulder. It’s not in great shape, but it’s better than it was. I opened with a 189lb bench. A proper bench is when you bring the bar to your chest, touch your chest and pause, the press when the referee says “press”. Try it. It’s a lot harder than the bullshit you see people doing in the gym. No momentum of bouncing it off your chest, you have to press it from a dead stop. I missed the second bench terribly and did not push my shoulder by taking a third attempt. I had a good lift, I scratched out of the third. Last up was the deadlift. I haven’t been doing them heavy at all. I took it up for about four weeks, but then it was time to taper, so I didn’t accomplish much. I opened with 100kg (220lbs). I fussed around with it all afternoon because I was afraid I couldn’t do it. Well, I crushed it. I went up to 231 and crushed that on my 2nd attempt. Third attempt 242. I struggled but I did it. Good lifting day. The lifter in front of me all afternoon was a gal by the name of Lucy Hawkins. She’s one of the ones I really enjoy. She’s part of a National Guard team that comes out here from Virginia to compete. They are well organized and lift very well. And then there’s Lucy. She’s my favorite. When it comes time for her to deadlift, she slips on her sunglasses and goes out there and nails her lift. Then she smiles and poses for the camera, all the while holding the weight. I wish I could have found a photo of her doing it, because it’s hilarious. Check out her site, she’s got a 5000 watt smile so it must be riotous from the front, it’s funny from the back. And she’s right around my age. Actually most of the National Guard lifters are older. I’m just pleased to know they’re in such great shape. And I enjoy lifting with them, they’re just good people.

That evening I had the pleasure of sharing a glass (or 42) with two awesome ladies and their spouses. I first heard about these gals a year or so ago. I was getting ready to fire up my professional blog and I was googling around looking to see what other Realtors were doing. I found an article entitled something like the 10 best real estate blogs or some nonsense. The Luxury Home Digest was one of the blogs mentioned. So when Eve Sieminski started following me on twitter, I was like “check me out”. Well, then Roberta Murphy started following me too. And I started having great conversations with these ladies about wine and real estate and an occasionally a dog. When I decided to come to the meet in Vista, which is near Eve’s territory, I asked her if she’d like to share a glass. Stupid me. How about this trio?

3agents

Roberta, Eve and me. And a couple of bottles of wine, soon to become dead soldiers. Thinking of buying a home? I wouldn’t do it without one of these three.

roberta

That’s Roberta, contemplating where to start. Eve knew. Eve started me off with a glass of Zolo Torrontes. You can get this one at Costco for nearly nothing, but it’s a really nice summer wine and went really well with her secret pepper dish that’s off the hook. I brought a couple of bottles to share and Eve went straight to the Chateau Montelena 1999 Saint Vincent Red . And why wouldn’t she? She’s a sharp gal. It was spectacular. We all had some of that. It had been in my cellar for a while and I thought it best to get to it while it was still in good shape. Original release date was 2002 so I’d been hanging on to that for a while.

evechickenme

Her husband went right to the Loring Wine Company Pinot. He’s a Pinot guy. I wish I could have the look on his face when he tasted that wine frozen in time. It was a look of surprise and joy. He was a happy man. As well he should have been. When I got to the LWC I was thrilled at it’s depth and character. I’ve always liked their wines and I was actually sick when I picked this one out of the wine club. I didn’t taste it, I just took it with me. I will still take lucky over good, every time. They poured me a glass of the Orfila Zin. Apparently it was the work of local (like Escondido kind of local) winemaker who passed away. This was from his last vintage. Too bad. He was clearly an extraordinary talent. They had two Cameron Hughes selections there. A Lot 16 and a Lot 110. I had the Lot 16 the Cab, but I didn’t get the Lot 110 which was the Pinot. That might have been one of the last bottles of that Lot 16, it was smooth and velvety, a great Stag’s Leap cab. I just ran out of drinking capacity and had to pass on the Lot 110. I also missed the La Storia Zinfandel. Don’t tell Eve, but originally that was supposed to go to dinner with me Friday night and I was so hungry I left it at the hotel room. Lucky me, I didn’t know she was a Zin girl. Always good to keep the hostess happy. She laid out a great spread of salmon (which I forgot to try) chicken wings, a beautiful baked brie thing, I mean really, can you go wrong with brie? And her pepper dish, which is freaking awesome. We talked about wine and real estate and golf and about a million other things. Roberta’s husband is a lot of fun and knows a ton about business. (And I’ll keep an eye out for a driver and a 5w)

I always spend so much of these powerlifting trips by myself. An amazing evening of great people, great wine and good food made up for a lot of crappy dinners at a lot of bar and grills over the years.

meandchicken

All your weight it falls on me

Yesterday’s ride was the last ride with a lot of climbing before the LiveStrong, which has a bit of climbing. Not bad climbing, just climbing. Well, actually there is some bad climbing. Click on the elevation.

Yeah, that one part is a little ugly. I may go down to San Jose a week from Thursday and just ride that part on my hill day so that I mentally know I can do it. After all, I know I can get up Mt. Diablo without stopping. So some bullshit little hill in San Jose shouldn’t be that bad. Or is that Mount Hamilton? I don’t know my way around down there. Anyway, I left late yesterday. I was going to take off early, but truth be told, I really enjoy sitting around bullshitting with The Professor, so I waited until they left for their flight. We really didn’t see that much of each other as kids. I spent the most amount of time with him after he was working in New York for CBS news. And he bothers to keep in contact and that’s huge. And he validated my argument that everything that’s wrong with this country right now is Reagan’s fault. Coming from a guy who is as smart as he is, that’s a nice little seal of approval on my idiot ramblings. Anywho, it was a really late start and it got really hot out there and my feet cramped again. Bad. I had some Shotblox with me this time, hoping they would help, a little, but not so much. By mile 42 I’d had enough of my feet. The ride was 54 miles, 2700 feet of climbing, four hours and some change, I’ll have to go look. But I did drag my but over Mt. Diablo and that ought to count for something.

Saturday I went to a climbing and descending clinic put on by the LunaChix. They brought in some professional women cyclists to discuss the nuances of not crashing while going really fast on the downhill. And how to get up those big bitch of a hills. Keep in mind that Christopher Krautz one of the founding fathers of bike fitting, fit my bike for me about six weeks ago. One of the coaches said my seat was too low, the other said it was too high. Since Christopher measures your flexibility and works that into the fitting, I suspect he’s very close to just right. He even says sometimes a second tweeking is necessary, but really I’ve been riding a lot better after seeing him. Anyway, we were out on Tunnel Road where it hits Skyline in Oakland or Berkeley depending on who you ask, doing hill repeats on Saturday. In any clinic if I can walk away with one good piece of information that I can use, it’s a good use of time, this one I walked away with several. It certainly made me think more on the downhill from Mt. Diablo yesterday. It took a lot longer for the other guys at the Junction to catch me. There was a woman up there with a brand spanking new Specialized. The only labels on it were S-Works. It was a prototype that Specialized had given to her to critique. She was very small and the bike looked kind of child’s sized, but it was super sleek. All the guys were lifting it up by the seat to check the weight and I was looking at the seat thinking “That looks like the kind of seat I need”. It was painted all charcoal. The forks were wider than the head and it was the women’s version and the cross bar was sleek and flat on top. Very cool toy.

The other thing on my agenda yesterday was to give some blood. Shouldn’t be that hard. Or was it? I’ve had troubles all my life with my iron level. Yesterday was a near miss. I kept my precious pint of O-. I missed the mark by .6. The gal says to me “Do you eat spinach?” By the bucketful, honey. “Maybe you shouldn’t exercise on the day you give?” I work out damn near every day of my life and I’ve given over five gallons, that ain’t it. And I cook in cast iron and I’m no longer a vegetarian. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so good. It could be something entirely different in three days. I’ll try again later.

I’m getting ready to lift in competition again too. Because riding a century and the LiveStrong wasn’t enough stress to put my 50 year old body through. I’ve moved up in age class so there’s a whole new set of records to attack. The deadlift is 220, I should destroy that. I can’t find the bench number, there may not be one. I’m going to squat too, I haven’t done that in competition in years. I never win the powerlifting portion of the meet because my squats are so weak. Osteoarthritis in my knees is the culprit. I can’t get enough consistent training in to get a decent squat in. So a do a cursory squat and bring it on the bench and deadlift. Anyway, that’s what’s up next on the agenda, then the LiveStrong. Then a long nap.

Never wanna stick around to the very last dance

We may have a winner for Today’s Best Person in The World, with a nod to Keith Olbermann. Greg Griffith of the Denver Post, armed with God’s flashlight has shone the light on those cockroaches on Waverly. An excellent article, well researched and strangely accurate. Those of us who have been in the business know how often the press actually gets our business right and Greg did his homework and came up with a damned fine article. We raise a glass to the Denver Post. In case you’re bored of clicking through my links, here’s a taste of what Greg uncovered.

Members of the Hauptman family and their trusts also received close to $2 million in dividends and stock redemptions during the 12 months preceding the bankruptcy filing. At that time, Jerrold and Patricia Hauptman owned an apartment in downtown Denver and a house in Keystone.

Yeah, click through that link, he did a good job. One question, since Greg did such a good job…is there a petition for dissolution? That’s what I hear but I haven’t seen it.

Wow! That’s a lot for a Sunday morning early you say. Nope, I’ve got more. Down in Richmond Virginia the failure of a Fortune 500 company has devastated their economy. NASCAR Teddy who strangely manages to retain his job has to be one of the most unpopular guys in town. Him and the Circuit City clown. It’s kind of strange for one town to have two major failures like that. You got to wonder what they’re doing down at the country club. Actually, I’ve never found NASCAR Teddy’s handicap on the golf index so I guess he plays tennis. We know from yesterday’s post that The Burgermeister just sits at the bar and knocks back vino. Anywho the Times Dispatch has a nice article on the effect the Landamerica implosion has had on the local economy. And if you wonder how they got there in the first place, the Times Dispatch has a nice article on the regulation lack of oversight in the 1031 business.

“The FTC said there was not enough fraud, and it did not warrant oversight,” said Mary B. Foster, past president of the federation and owner of a 1031 company in Washington state. “It needs to be kind of rampant fraud for them to do the oversight of the industry.”

I think you can lay this turd on the doorstep of Mr. Regulation Restricts Business himself. That genius who couldn’t find oil in Texas, couldn’t put a baseball team together with all that Texas oil money and drove the entire country into a depression recession. Because we are.

On a happier note, my headache is gone, the guy who cancelled on me yesterday morning called last night and asked to go this morning and it’s strangely nice outside. My shoulder has been killing me and I’m going to have to stop benching for a couple of weeks while I try to get it back in shape. It’s not quite frozen but if I keep screwing around I’m pretty sure I can freeze it up. I went and saw my chiro who told me to buy the Buchberger-12 and get back to her next week. I, of course, can’t wait for it to show up and have managed to find the bulk of the program online, after two days of searching I finally dreamt up the correct keywords. Now I can start while waiting for the DVD to arrive. She didn’t really tell me what she was hoping to accomplish but I talked to one of the trainers at the gym the next day and he hadn’t heard of the Buchberger-12 but he explained why my shoulder was impinging. It’s sad that the gym has been sold and the corporation that took it over is probably not going to continue to allow independents like Coach. His knowledge is vast. He’s probably around 60 years old, in awesome shape and someone I look up to in the gym. Most trainers are just clowns that took the test. They don’t really understand the kinesiology that goes behind the movements. Coach gets it. He’s got a couple of protégés at the gym and they get it too. They’re all going to end up leaving and it’s not right.  Anyway, armed with Coach’s information, and a pirated copy of the program, I’m off to correct my shoulder problem.  I’ll have to put today’s bike ride off until later this afternoon which translates into less time on City streets for safety purposes.  I’m doing 30 miles today, I did 30 last week too.  After the 3rd 30 mile ride I’ll start adding miles on the long ride.  I tried to build the button yesterday for my LAF challenge but the PBE mac has been sick and it won’t open stuffit so I can’t install the program.  I really need to find the software disk and reinstall the operating system.  But, for those who haven’t seen it yet, please join me in the fight against cancer.  CLICK HERE!  My personal goal is $5000 and I’m sure with your help I’ll make it.  Thank you for your support!

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Some say I’m crazy cuz I’m pushin’ up daisies

One of the things I do that helps me get fresh title news is that I have a slew of alerts set. That way, if something shows up on Marketwatch or a blog I know about it pretty much instantaneously. It’s all about the key words and how they’re set. I weed through a lot of garbage to get the jewels. One thing keeps showing up several times a day is Karen Floyd, Trainer, First American Title. She’s not part of the executive team so I was pretty much ignoring it. Today I had a minute (ok I was curious) and I clicked on it. Nice job Karen. It might be time to fall on your sword. I’m sure First American is proud of that distinction. I’m not going to out anyone but I know there are gay executives way up the food chain over at FATCO. I’m pretty sure one of them got married recently. How’s the heat in the First American kitchen, Karen? Might be time for an official comment from the company on that one. What’s the name of that diversity project over there? You know, the one they merged into the title division a couple of months ago. If not for that famous Parker Kennedy/John Harritt photograph we keep running here at PBE, we’d think you were just paying lip service to diversity. OK, your rep was a straight white guy. (nice enough guy) Maybe you are just paying lip service to diversity.

If it’s Saturday, it must be bath day

I got the Hellhoundz down to the dog bath yesterday. I need to get them down there more often. Rita has an amazing coat. When she’s clean she just sparkles. Sparkle. Sparkle. I’m surprised the amount of dust I got off those guys didn’t back up the drains at the dog wash. Bubba has been having some issues with his tummy. He’s been having what they call “wet burps”. It’s sort of like throwing up a little in his mouth. (Sorry to you early morning PBE readers) Sometimes he gets it on the carpet. I took him to the vet about a week ago and they Xrayed him to be sure he hadn’t eaten something that was blocking him. He was very constipated and his tummy was inflamed. The vet wanted to give him some medicine or an enema and I told him I wanted to see if I could solve the problem naturally. I have. I decided that the EVO was too hot for him and switched him to a lighter food which helped a little. I bought some yogurt and some kefir to throw into his food. I also started adding a little olive oil to lubricate him a little. I am still working through different foods trying to get one that is gentle enough for the big guy’s tummy but has enough juice for how hard he runs all day with Hot Rod Rita. We’re on a small bag of Solid Gold Hund n Flock right now.

BFL moment

My personal Body for Life challenge has been mired in bad choices and stress eating. In my defense I got two into escrow last week. Of all people to force to the sellers title company, I’m probably the worst choice, but it happened twice. Basically, my buyers didn’t have a choice and that doesn’t make the Wine Dog happy. I would have liked to drive them to the folks that have been helping me out, and it pains me not to be able to do that. It also pains me to have a deal being done in Pennsylvania. They had better do a stellar job. If they jack it up like they did to Sonofabun, know that Billy’s going to hear about it. Anyway, back to BFL. I finished a four week round of my bench routine. My shoulders are sore and tired so I decided to pull out an old routine from around five years ago, just for a change in pace. It’s a 14 week program with a lot of wiggle room and I think that’s what I need right now. I went out on the bike on Saturday morning. My health insurance went into effect on Friday, so I now feel more comfortable riding. Good thing. I was about 25 minutes from the house when I missed a light. I clipped out with my left leg like I always do and put my foot down as I braked. My foot hit one of the composite irrigation covers. Those SOB’s are slick and I lost my footing. Naturally if you’re going down on the left, you lean to the right. That’s what we all do. My right foot wasn’t unclipped and I went over like Artie Johnson. Because I learned Hardcore style, I kicked up the bike so it didn’t get damaged. I must have missed a little because it’s shifting funky now. No real damage to me. I wish I’d gotten all of the bike up. Anyway, back to BFL. If we think it’s hard to find time to work out and that life gets in the way of becoming who we need/want to. Check out this gal. I’m stopping by the Blood Bank this afternoon.

They wind up on skid row with holes in their pockets

File this under I’d rather be lucky than good

One of my buddies down at the gym, actually the guy who works the front counter, won a morning with David Ledbetter, for two through the US Golf Association somehow. I don’t really care how. What I care about is that the guy who was going with him, bailed out and I get to go. That is seven shades of awesome. Maybe he can take the slice out of my swing.

School is now in session

I’ll be working out Rita in preparation for the Working Aptitude Evaluation next Sunday. I’ve been firing off a starter pistol so she’s not afraid of loud noises. (Who the hell can be around here and afraid of loud noises?) We’ll do familiar stranger and unfamiliar stranger and the pistol and the umbrella today. Lots of bits of turkey franks will be involved. If she looks good we’re going to go. Bubba on the other hand was afraid of the tile at Petco yesterday. I got home and realized that I forgot to buy dog food. Don’t ask me why Petco charges $5 per bag more for dog food. It would make me crazy if they weren’t the only ones open to 8pm on a Sunday night for us dumb asses. While Bubba and I went to get dog food, we left Rita in her new crate. Her blankets weren’t out of the wash so I figured for 30 minutes she could deal with a bare crate. Upon our return we discovered that she had peed in her crate and was spinning around like she does when I get home. Dog piss was spraying out of the crate as she spun in circles. Sometimes I hate that dog. Yeah, I know they aren’t supposed to soil their crates. Rita always has and I can’t figure out why.

You may think it’s funny but it’s snot

I’m still snotty, but I worked out anyway today. I got sick on the 11th of September. I don’t see a problem with working out 11 days later although it shook everything up and I was sort of disgusting. I’ve backed the weight off a full ten percent. The way my body was handling the heavier weight and the fact that I’m down 8 pounds in the last two months led me to that decision. The workout wasn’t ridiculously hard but it wasn’t easy either, so I think I hit my mark. I’ll do four weeks with these numbers and then bump it up five percent.

That’s what I was thinking

I heard McCain talking about regulating and reeling in Wall Street and all that last week. I sat there thinking “but those guys are your most strident supporters” They aren’t going to like hearing words like regulation coming from a Republican candidate. Not to mention that it’s not in the platform. And then ABC had him for brunch.

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