Monday, November 30, 2009

you don't drive Truck Norris, he drives you!

Just over a week ago, we brought a new vehicle into our lives, making us a two-car family again for the first time in two years. Meet Truck Norris:

Truck Norris is a 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 with a 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel engine, an extended cab, the long bed, and the tow package. We've already had a Rhino Lining bedliner put in, and a canopy top for the bed is on order and should be here in about two weeks. The dogs ride in the backseat, which we've arranged nicely with a flat sheet ziptied to the folded seats to protect them, dog beds on the cargo shelf that folds out from the floor, and soon a net barrier to keep them from warming up the drivers' seat when we leave them in the truck. Phoebe is especially fond of sitting on the top of the seatback and vulturing at us with her beady little eyes.

We're pleased with our purchase, and looking forward to a long lifetime of use for both flyball and home needs. I already took a big load of tree branches to the dump over the weekend, and we've been using it to go to flyball practice and will be taking it to Canada this weekend for the tournament. That will be a bit interesting, as we don't have the canopy yet, so we will be putting our silver travel pod in the truck bed along with the cooler and bin wrapped in tarps to protect them! The new truck will give us a second snow-capable vehicle for the winter, as well as take the burden of long-range travel off of the Subaru (which is just about to turn 80,000 miles) which will help extend the life of that vehicle.

And of course, Truck Norris will achieve his calling next spring, when if all goes as planned we will be purchasing a travel trailer RV. Until then, however, he will have to be content with taking loads of stuff to the dump, bringing home our Christmas tree, and hauling around 110 lbs of dog in the backseat.

All hail Truck Norris!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Halloween celebrations!

I finally got the pictures off the camera, so here are some shots of our Halloween celebration this year!

First off, we have Phoebe dressed as a ladybug as part of the JCJ "Ladybug Flock" for the Cascade Comets costume parade during the tournament the weekend before Halloween. She was not as amused about it as I was, but she was a good sport nonetheless. It's hard to see in the picture, but she is also wearing a headband with antennae. I had tried to make costumes for all three girls, but my efforts were foiled when the tape didn't stick to their coats as planned, and only a teammate having an unneeded small costume meant I got to participate with one of the dogs after all. Lucky (or not) Phoebe!

We hosted our Halloween party on Halloween night this year, which is always nice and which involved lots of food and copious amounts of Rock Band. Surprisingly, everyone was happy to stay upstairs all evening, and we never even went down to play pool, pingpong, or darts. I was pretty happy with the food we had, even if it was too much - chili with cornbread; edamame dip, hummus, and salsa with corn chips, pita chips, carrots, and celery; sugar cookies; sprinkle cupcakes; crack bars; gluten-free cappucino chip brownies; hot spiced cider. I got a dessert tower to use this year, which turned out great, and friends brought a hysterical "dead cheese man" complete with raspberry sauce blood. Yay!

And of course, what would Halloween be without carved pumpkins? This year I picked out and bought some patterns online, and I carved a dragon and Chris carved a dingbat. I also picked up a ghost pumpkin (white-flesh pumpkin) and used a sharpie to put a witches' face on it, which looked nice under my sparkly spiderweb witch hat under the blacklight.

A good time was had by all, and I look forward to hosting again next year. Halloween is probably my favorite holiday, and it just keeps getting better each year with more friends and more fun games to play!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

sixteen thousand miles and counting

Last Friday I turned over 16,000 miles on my bike while going over 520 on my way to work. That makes a little over 13,000 miles I've put on the bike myself in about 19 months, or a little over 8000 miles per year. I'm pretty sure I put well over 7000 miles on the Vulcan before I got the BMW, so that means I've now ridden over 20,000 miles over the past two and a half years.

And sadly, probably at least 19,500 of those miles have been commuting to work and back. We haven't done much fun riding, unfortunately.

As far as I know, I'm the only woman who is still motorcycle-commuting full time now at my work, as the only bikes I'm seeing now all belong to men. Even those are starting to die down, with only 4-6 others showing up on a regular basis as opposed to the 20 or more that are around in the summertime. It's an interesting cohort to be in, the year-round motorcycle rider, and one that is probably comprised of stubbornness and partial insanity. There's probably a large component of testosterone in there as well, which is probably why I'm the only woman I know of who does it. Whether that makes me more or less crazy than the guys has yet to be seen, however.

I still love riding my bike every time I get on it, although I'm really starting to want bar risers more as time goes on, especially when I get stuck in traffic. Wearing the winter liner in my armored pants is quite annoying as well, as it reduces my movement ability and makes me feel quite stiff. My gloves, helmet, and boots are holding up beautifully, however, and my winter jacket is holding its own even though I'm getting the itch to get something different and more streamlined. Not anytime soon, however!
I have officially decided that I will be going with other members of our flyball club to Phoenix, AZ for a flyball tournament on January 1, 2, and 3. Chris can't take that much time off from work, as most of us are driving down and back, so he will stay home with Curzon and I will take the three girls. The tournament is part of Wags for Wishes, an enormous annual fundraiser for the Make a Wish Foundation, and the overall event includes agility, dock dogs, frisbee, herding, obedience, rally, barn-dog, flyball, CGC testing, and more. We'll be quite busy with just the tournament, unfortunately, although I am planning to take Phoebe for a session of barn-dog and am hoping to maybe enter a wave or two of dock dogs competition.

Of course, we'll have to get there first - and that will involve two and a half days of driving to do it! I'll be riding with my friends Ben & Deb in their truck, and we'll be caravaning with four other people in two other trucks in order to handle transporting all of our equipment in addition to ourselves and the dogs. It should be a fun trip, but it's going to be a LOT of sitting in the car!