And now a bit of work on the arm shelf...
One with Mommy...
And if you're going to take after Daddy, you'll have to work on staying much more still for self portraits...
Yesterday, there was a solar eclipse. This was a partial solar eclipse so the moon was partially (~85%) blocking the sun since the Sun, moon, and Earth were all in a straight line in that order. Since the moon orbits the Earth every 28 days, you'd think this happens a lot, but because of the tilted orbit of the moon, it only occurs twice per year as the moon is at the middle point of its orbit. Also, because the Earth is constantly spinning, it's unlikely that the part of the Earth that you're standing on will be facing the sun at the right angle to see the eclipse so the next solar eclipse in the Bay Area is in 2017. Anyway, I was thinking that I could walk outside, stare at the sun, and see the cool "ring of fire" that was supposed to be visible. I'd read the warnings about staring directly at the sun, but I figured that those warnings applied to people who aren't me because I have unreasonable confidence in myself. As it turns out, the sun is really bright and staring at it just looks like a really bright blob. Fortunately, the light was filtering through a tree onto my neighbor's house so I got to see some cool effects from that as well as the peculiar dusky light from the 85% less bright sun. Here's what the light filtering through the tree normally looks like at 6:30pm:
And here's what the filtered light looked like yesterday during the eclipse:
Check out those super-cool crescent shapes in the shadows!
...but in the meantime, enjoy this soundtrack as (or after) you read.
I love riding my bike. When I was young, my family would go to Inspiration Point in Berkeley and go for bike/hike/runs. My mom would walk along with my sister as she rode on training wheels, my dad would wear spectacular headband and short-short combinations and run, and I'd ride my bike alongside my dad as he ran. On the uphills, he was a bit faster, on the downhills I was a bit faster, but on the flats we were pretty much the same speed. Conveniently, the trail ended with a downhill so I always won.
In middle school, when I was really struggling, my mom and I went for a ride in a park near the bay in the industrial part of Richmond. I felt like I could bike out all of my anger and sadness and leave it there. I've never been back, even though I often drive by it (It's just off the Richmond Parkway). I kind of lost track of my bike in high school, but rediscovered it in a big way when I moved to Davis.
When I decided to go to UC Davis, I knew that there was a lot of biking there, but it wasn't really something that influenced my decision. Before leaving for college, I bought an old red Specialized mountain bike with no shocks. I put a Pineapple Sails "Powered by Pineapples" sticker on the back post and biked over to the Piedmont fire station to register it. I never had a car (or a cell phone..."OMG, how did you survive!") while in college so the bike was my sole means of transportation for the next four years. I biked to class on it, to practice at 7pm and home from practice at 10pm, to work at the primate center 4 miles out in the middle of the farm fields, to the grocery store and then home while balancing three bags on each handlebar, and from house to house around town, often with friends in a "bike gang." Over the course of four years of leaving the bike outside day and night 365 days per year, it became more and more rusted and squeaky, and while I did all of the minimal repairs to keep it running, during my senior year, you could hear the bike coming about a block away. I got a lot of odd looks.
For parts of college, we also had a shared bike amongst some friends. It was a white and neon yellow 20 inch kids bike called White Lightning. The handlebars and the seat were both loose so you could turn the handlebars without actually turning the bike, and the seat could flip all the way around to backwards, so you had to ride it carefully. Instead of locking the bike when we parked it, we'd just turn the seat to the side so it didn't look appealing to steal and ride. After a year or two, the front wheel got bent so it wobbled when you rode it as well. Because we never locked it, every once in a while, I'd ride it to class, only to come out a couple of hours later to find it gone, only to reappear downtown a couple of weeks later. It was a spectacular way to get around town.
When I was in the credential program, White Lightning had long disappeared on campus and my Pineapple bike was fighting through a series of flat tires and mechanical difficulties, so I often rode Melissa's old Motobecane cruiser, a beautiful blue bike that rode like a hybrid between a road bike and a cruiser with a big metal basket on the front and a leather seat. We fixed it up a couple of years later and it's still running strong, although with a different front basket after the first one fell off and jammed the front wheel causing the bike to crash.
When Melissa and I moved to San Rafael, we were just a couple of miles from China Camp State park, so I bought a hardtail Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo mountain bike and retired the rusted remains of my old "Powered by Pineapples" frame after cannibalizing it for all of its (very, very few) useable parts. On weekends, I'd bike down to China Camp and get some single-track riding in, sometimes going over the hill to meet Melissa as she worked weekends at Glenwood. I also took the Hoo Koo E Koo to the Marin headlands and rode around Muir Beach and Tennessee Valley, discovering the spot I'd later propose at the top of Tennessee Valley.
In the summer of 2009, Melissa and I got married and bought our house in Novato. That summer, a couple of days before school began, I had a coaches meeting on San Marin's campus and my bike was stolen from the outdoor bike racks. It was crushing, but it got me to get a new mountain bike and a road bike. Both are older bikes, but run beautifully. As much as I can, I try to ride them to school. Last year, for the first time, I went on a real road ride to do the Tour of Novato. It was a blast. Road bikes can get you going so fast and I found it really satisfying to be able to crank through 35 miles in just a couple of hours. Then I pretty much abandoned road biking, except for commuting to and from school for the last year. A couple of weeks ago, Tour of Novato came around again and again I remembered how much I like riding. Although technically it's not a race and there was no official start or end time, I'm going to go ahead and declare myself the winner of the 2012 tour since I passed 12 or so people and was never passed, myself.
Here's an excellent picture courtesy of Sue McQuinn that shows me surging into the lead of Tour of Novato 2012 (although the quick shutter speed doesn't accurately capture my roaring speed. Imagine the picture with speed lines coming off my back and you'll get a better idea):
Despite that entire bike-related memoir, I still wouldn't consider myself a biker or a cyclist. I don't have spandex shorts, or a tight sponsored shirt, or anything made of carbon fiber. I like riding bikes, but I think I'm more of a bike commuter.
One of the benefits (or some might say costs) of riding a bike on a daily basis is that it's made me extremely aware of what takes a lot of energy while driving. This has turned my driving style into that of an old man. Here are a few lessons learned from my bike:
All of this has made me really appreciate the energy it takes to power a car and the small things you can do to make your gas go a little bit further.
Zoe continues to grow and develop. It's crazy how alert she now seems (actually not crazy, but very cool). One of the neatest things is how she can display a full range of emotional faces within a ten second span. She goes from full -on-cartoon-frown-y face to mouth-wide-open-about-to-cry to sticking-her-bottom-lip-out-sad to perplexed to mouth-in-an-O-shape-just-discovered-something-new to huge-full-face-grin. And then, of course, sometimes she just stares at you blankly with her "I'm not sure what you're doing, but I'm not entirely impressed" face.
Melissa and I, meanwhile, have been doing a lot of yardwork. Most of it is just general maintenance, but we've also gotten our summer vegetable garden planted, repainted and installed some old house lights as back yard garden art, and started the process of tearing out the first couple of feet of the lawn so we can replace it with some drought and deer resistant plants to give a bit of a screen. I was thinking that this was going to be a couple of hour project, but it turns out that removing sod takes a significantly greater amount of effort than I was expecting, so it appears I'll be working on it for a while.
Zoe turned one month old yesterday! Thanks to her great friend Heather, she had a pretty sweet one month cake. She even was able to blow out her candle. (Note that the candle is on 1/12th of a cake...Numerical accuracy!)
She's also been able to spend some quality time with Grandpa Clark.
Peyton would like some quality time too, Clark.
Zoe also got a great visit from her Aunt Emma.
And she was able to pull off the coveted nose-pick/finger-suck.
Oh the humanity!
Zoe was not impressed by the previous pictures.
Not impressed at all.
The horse that won the Kentucky Derby ("I'll Have Another") was named after what the horse's owner says when his wife, Zilla, asks if he'd like another cookie. I'd be way more invested in horse racing if there were more horses named after cookie responses. Thanks NBC's pre-race coverage.