Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I keep telling myself I'm growing more wise. I keep saying that I'm figuring things out. I say to myself that I now see things differently...that my values have changed...that God has given me greater insight.

The problem is that seeing and understanding are not the same as being. The practical reality is that it is difficult to climb up through American culture to those lofty spiritual heights. The hectic pace, the material distractions, and the habits of convenience and what we think is newer, more sophisticated, and better are a challenge to turn down, reject, and walk on by. It is hard to find or define a better way. Where is the modern day example?

When I think about one concept, I forget another. It's all so complicated. So today, in an attempt to simplify, a table was created. In one column, I listed things that should be reduced in my life. In another column, I listed things that should be increased. The "less" column and the "more" column, if you will. This provides an "at-a-glance" reminder of several things to try to keep in mind during the day. Without defining something so extreme as to upset a proper balance, I simply recognize which direction I need to move in the areas listed. The list looks like this.

On one hand, it's simple. But having a simple list doesn't mean it will be easy. I know I'll need all the help I can get to improve. This is a request for all family and friends to help. Because now that I think about it, I really need to add one more row to my list. In the less column, let's add "say" and in the more column..."do".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Camera Play

It was those golden few moments before twilight. It was when the summer heat began to subside. It was time...to take a little time...and cruise the neighborhood.

Attempts to photo the huge silent owl in flight, the too-far-away longhorn, and the self-absorbed skunk were unsuccessful. Sorry about that. The goal was to do a little camera play. Could I come back with one decent photo?

The skunk and longhorn were both fun to watch, but I really wish I could have captured the owl. The photo below shows where I saw him. The forest was spooky and shady except for a few high spots that were highlighted by the sun sitting on the horizon. The silent owl made it spookier still.

So, no, there is no wildlife to show...

...just a little camera play from guy with a few free minutes, a camera, and a bicycle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dining Out

Janet was gone when I finally returned home this evening. On Tuesdays, she gathers with other dog-cult types and they do dog-cult type activities. I don't understand, but support her dog activities like she doesn't understand, but supports my ride-a-bike-twenty miles-to-town-to-get-a-cup-of-coffee activities.

Anyway, I decided to dine out this evening. I rolled out at 7:45 and went to one of my favorite spots. It was a very low traffic road with rolling pastures on both sides. On the west side, there was the evening's main entertainment...a summer sunset with a gentle breeze and birdsong background music.

Entertainment like that makes even the most humble of meals taste better...the PBJ sandwich a little sweeter. On the way to the dining area, there were some interesting sites, including one frightening one.

It took all the courage I could muster to stroll up to this guy. He was walking down the street with a swagger, daring anyone to cross him. When I came near, he stopped and turned to face me. I snapped his portrait, didn't ask for an autograph, and scurried back to the safety of the bike.

It was quiet, peaceful, interesting, and restful for body and mind. It just goes to show that there is dining out...and dining OUT.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sanger Sights

The plan for Saturday morning was to ride into Sanger, get a haircut, stop off at the new coffee shop, and take photos of our recently completed retaining wall mural. Doing so, I realized that I spend most of my time out riding the county roads and have not documented the more urbanized sights in Sanger. This entry will include a few photos, but this little town has more to offer and I'll follow-up with additional sights later.

I should have taken a photo of the barbershop, but didn't. This alone is reason enough for a follow-up.

I did manage a photo of the front window of the Roasted Bean. The fact that these guys roast their own coffee beans here in this little rural town is impressive. My stop here for a simple cup of coffee turned into a much longer stay. The owner and I chatted awhile about his shop, the City of Sanger, and then cycling. Since business was a little slow, I pursuaded him to take a test ride on the Kogswell P/R. As a triathelete, he is quite fit and familiar with road bikes. However, I think he wondered about someone that purposefully limited himself to a single gear and no coasting. Still, he took a short spin to the square and back. As he returned, he had a grin on his face and said, "It sure is smooth." Yeah, I know. That's why I like it.

I also managed a photo of the Coca-Cola ad painted on the brick wall. These types of signs are still fairly common in many Texas small towns and they always amuse me.

Finally, I managed a few photos of a mural painted on a Interstate Freeway exit ramp retaining wall. What was an ugly concrete wall has recently been transformed into a work of art. It appears to have a theme tied to local history. Here are just a few scenes. This thing is more than 500 feet long, so there's more of these to come.

Cruising through town on the bike reminded me of several examples of small town charm and how deficient I've been in documenting them. I guess I'll need to get back out on the bike and finish up this little project. It's tough work, but I reckon I'm up to the task.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Time Capsule

There are changes to my blog page. I've omitted the Bicycle Log and replaced it with the Poetry Corner. Just as I lost interest in the pursuit of speed and lost interest in my cycling computer, I've lost interest in logging time. I've been thinking about replacing the Log with something else for a few days. Today I figured maybe something similar to my Quote Corner might work. So I'm trying a Poetry Corner. I might include my own work or the work of someone else. It might not change often, but we'll just see how it goes.

What does all this have to do with the Time Capsule title? Well, today I was organizing stuff and found something I wrote for my beautiful bride many years ago. It brought back some memories. Often, I read things written by me a long time ago and I don't like what I see. This one, I like. So it will be my first Poetry Corner entry. It's at the bottom right corner of this page and don't worry, it's not TOO mushy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Utility Bikes

With all the recent attention on the high price of automobile fuel, people are talking more and more about alternatives. For the most part, it's simply complaining. A few, however, are making lifestyle changes. Some are changing jobs so they can work closer to where they live. Others are reducing their driving by taking shorter vacations or combining multiple errands in a single trip. Some are actually getting the nudge for which they've been waiting and are considering making a few trips by bicyle. Those that are already "serious" cyclists are broadening their horizons by supplementing their herds with utility bikes.

Utility bikes are, in a word, useful. They are designed to be easier to pack, store, or keep nearby, such as is the case with my "clown bike" or designed to allow the rider to carry impressive amounts of cargo. There are designs to address almost every kind of transportation usefulness need.

My clown bike is a utility bike with incredible usefulness. It maintains my sanity. Because my job demands frequent travel and because living in hotels and eating restaurant food erodes my spirit, I pack a bicycle whenever practical. My Bike Friday Tikit makes it easy.

Last night, after work, after dinner, after the sun went down, and after the nearby office buildings were virtually emptied, the Texas Tikit rolled. In the summer night breeze and through the urban landscape, we cruised for an hour, cleared the mind, and refreshed the body.

It's not quite like being back home in Denton County with my beautiful bride, but it most certainly is useful.