Just now returned from a disappointing nighttime photo escapade into the mountains to “film” this year’s version of the Perseid Meteor shower.  More like a slow-dripping faucet than a shower. Skies were clear, but stars were so brightly abundant that the occasional meteor was, as old-timers used to say, “a flash in the pan.” Non-event.

But as the morning broke, I did capture a working ranch windmill that set the tone for the day. And in a few hours, I’ll be off to the first full day of the 29th Annual Cowboy Poets Gathering. Oughta be fun! WM-1

Bird Feed. Outside early yesterday morning to accomplish chores left by the previous night’s monsoon storm,  I was chastised fiercely by a Canyon Towhee on the ground near the gate to the backyard where the bird feeder sits, apparently because I was late with feed.  When I turned and saw her, I said, “Okay, okay, I’ll be there in a minute.” She then hopped – as if leading me – through the slats in the gate and down the breezeway.  LARGE AND IN CHARGE! This same bird, three months ago, would barely appear at all if I was in sight. She’s moved up in the world!

* * * * *

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.  ~  Lord Acton, English historian & writer

Cycling Reflections: An Amazing Woman  

Ran across an old magazine today, vintage February 2006, while clearing some boxes. We lived in Ventura County, California at that time, having moved there from central California’s San Joaquin Valley and the nearby Sierras, where I rode (usually a distant last place) with an amazing bunch of young cyclists, several of whom were competitors in stage or criterium races on the Master’s circuit. All of them were guys. But there was one rider who occasionally joined us – but only for short distances – because, after some lively, good-natured conversation, she would leave the rest of us standing in her dust, ESPECIALLY on mountain climbs. She was SO GOOD she blew all of us away, always smiling and waving as she lept on the pedals and accelerated out of sight. CB-1

I tried to keep up with her in the news afterward because she – Catharina Berge, the “Bumble Bee” – was so exceptional, so spirited, so strong and talented and, above all, so dedicated to the sport.  With multiple degrees including a Ph.D. in preventive veterinary medicine, she grew up in Sweden and Belgium, took her DVM degrees in California, and is now back in Belgium practicing, where she also coaches ultra-cyclists. During her racing days, she set several national or international records. You can read more about her on her website:   http://www.bergevetconsulting.com/ultra-cyclist.html

More reflections:  For a fun trip back down the Yellow Brick Road, try these gut-buster excerpts from “Dave Barry’s year in review: 2009,” The Miami Herald, Dec. 26, 2009:

“January, … during which history is made in Washington, D.C., where a crowd estimated by the Congressional Estimating Office at 217 billion people gathers to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated as the first American president ever to come after George W. Bush. … President Obama then delivers an upbeat inaugural address, ushering in a new era of cooperation, civility and bipartisanship in a galaxy far, far away. Here on Earth everything stays much the same.”

“The No. 1 item on the agenda is fixing the economy, so the new administration immediately sets about the daunting task of trying to nominate somebody – anybody – to a high-level government post who actually remembered to pay his or her taxes. BG-2 Among those who forgot this pesky chore is Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who sheepishly admits that he failed to pay $35,000 in federal self-employment taxes. He says that the error was a result of his using TurboTax, which he also blames for his involvement in an eight-state spree of bank robberies. He is confirmed after the Obama administration explains that it inherited the U.S. Tax Code from the Bush administration.”

“February. The Academy Awards are a triumph for Slumdog Millionaire, which wins eight Oscars, only to have them stolen by Somali pirates.”

“The stock market hits its lowest level since 1997; this is hailed as a great investment opportunity by all the financial wizards who failed to let us know last year that the market was going to tank. California goes bankrupt and is forced to raise $800 million by pawning Angelina Jolie.

“April.  In another embarrassment for the White House, New York is temporarily thrown into a panic when Air Force One flies low over Manhattan for a publicity photo shoot. Responding to widespread criticism, White House Press Spokesperson Gibbs notes that President Obama inherited Air Force One from the Bush administration.”

“In other international bad news, North Korea launches a test missile that experts say is capable of hitting Hawaii, based on the fact that it actually hits Hawaii. The United States swiftly pledges to issue a strongly-worded condemnation containing ‘even stronger words than last time.’”

“October. On a happier note for the White House, President Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize, narrowly edging out Beyoncé.” BOBG-1
“November.  In a troubling economic development, the U.S. dollar, for the first time in history, falls below the lentil.”

“December. President Obama, after weeks of pondering what to do about the pesky war situation he inherited, announces a decision … in which he will send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, but will name their mission Operation Gentle Butterfly.”

“In sports, roughly 40 percent of the U.S. bimbo population announces that it has at one time or another hiked the Appalachian Trail with Tiger Woods.”

Ain’t Life Grand?!

Carpe diem. Vita brevis!

© August 12. 2016, Michael E. Stubblefield. All rights to my original work reserved.


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