Anne Calhoun, Romance Author

Sharp. Sexy. Romantic.

30 Day Challenge: A Week of Rain

We had a fairly dry spring and summer here in the flyover states, but the last week more than made up for it, keeping me off the bike. The farm that grows my CSA share vegetables said their neighbor got 17 inches of rain in 5 days. It’s rained heavily every day except Friday, and been gloomy enough that the sunrise I observed this morning while riding to the coffee shop confused me for a moment, the thick white clouds lit in such a way that the sun appeared to be rising in the north. A few moments on Persie reoriented me. I was glad to be back on Persie after a week of needed rest. While the lump on my leg is slowly subsiding, and the bruising is almost gone, my ankle is still surprisingly tender, given that I don’t remember hitting it at all when I fell. The break from yoga has been good, too. I was ready to go back yesterday, and plan to take class tomorrow with two dear friends.

It’s raining now, the second heavy downpour today. After a while, there’s nothing to do but enjoy it, the lush green grass, the gushing downspouts, the rumble of thunder. The boy has a friend over for the night, and we spent ten minutes outside in our bathing suits, getting thoroughly soaked while throwing the ball for the dog. She thought this was the best thing ever, the whole pack (plus one) outside in the rain, having a good play.

I’ve been reading Mary Stewart’s Arthurian saga, starting with The Crystal Cave, the perfect read for a rainy night. I hope you’re having a good long weekend…


30 Day Challenge – Day 13: A Bike Date

Anyone who’s married and has kids knows you take your dates where you can find them. Free is even better. The boy spent the night with a friend; this morning we biked up to a coffee shop with three newspapers (the local and the last two Sunday New York Times) and spent two hours reading. Nothing special or extravagant, just a bike ride and the escapism to be found in the Travel, Style, and Arts and Leisure sections. On the way home I got the giggles, as Mr. C is both lanky and coordinated; his idea of stopping for a light is to left his right foot on the pedal and brace himself against a light pole with his right. Kind of a feat, but also really amusing from behind. In fact, we’re rather like our bikes: streamlined and fast in his case, slow, heavier, and meant to cruise in mine.

 

Awwwww...

Awwwww…

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend…


30 Day Challenge: Day 12 – A Second Wipe Out

We barely missed the rain on the way home. A shower spattered my sunglasses while I biked to meet the boy at school; the rain held off while moms chatted and kids burned off some energy but dark clouds were rolling in. The boy took a different route home; I prefer the slow, gradual hill while he likes the steep one. He’s younger and faster, and when the garage door opened to show no bikes where I expected to see the smaller blue Trek mountain bike he rides, I knew something had gone wrong.

Off with the helmet, snag the car keys from the hooks by the door, into the car. I was half way down the driveway when he appeared in the rear view mirror, sweaty, shaky, in tears, and with a scrape on his knee. I got the story in between jerky sobs as I examined his knee.

“I did what you said, Mom. I got out of the street so I wouldn’t get run over, and I didn’t let the lady who stopped to help me bring me home because I can’t get in cars with strangers. I didn’t walk my bike, either. I got back on it because it was faster than walking. Can I do the ALS ice bucket challenge now?”

I had to laugh. He was fine, a little shaken up, but a more confident at the end of it. He’d been by himself, wiped out, picked himself up, made it home. That’s two damage-inflicting tumbles for us in eight days. Not bad. We’re taking knocks, but still in the game.

The clouds opened as we finished his ice bucket challenge, and rain soon pelted the ice cubes on the back patio. That seemed like too much fun to be missed.

IMG_1668 - Version 2

Have a great weekend, everyone.


30 Day Challenge: Day 11

Yoga: nope. Biking: nope. See below:

It's so big, I should name it.

It’s so big, I should name it.

Mr. C suggested I might take a wee break and give my entire lower leg a chance to heal. I thought that was a good idea, as I don’t even remember hitting my ankle on the bike frame and yet it’s bruised and swollen. Biking/yoga is on hiatus until further notice!


30 Day Challenge – Day 10: Accessories, Part the Second

Yoga: check. Biking: check (school and back, yoga and back).

I’m starting to loathe the yoga. That’s all. Just an observation. Loathe is a strong word, but applicable. Let’s talk about pretty things instead!

One of the best parts of Caz Nicklin’s book is the attention to detail regarding accessories. I bought a basket (so charming! so French!) but the item I’ve used the most is the Electra saddlebag/tote.

It's a saddlebag! No, it's a tote!

It’s a saddlebag! No, it’s a tote!

The straps tuck away in side pockets. It’s actually quite cute, and not too big when I carry it. Those straps on the front are meant for carrying a coat or sweater, but I tuck my yoga mat into them, tighten them down, and ride to class. Easy peasy!

Handy hooks attach the bag to the rack.

Handy hooks attach the bag to the rack.

Lots of storage.

Lots of storage.

I’ve got a 13″ MacBook Air, an iPad, phone, notebook, and a book in there. I wouldn’t recommend using this bag to transport a larger computer, though.

The whole setup.

The whole setup.

My friend who picked up the bike for me loved the details and effort that went into the design. I’ve definitely used the bike more because I can run errands on it without having to use a backpack. They’re hot in the best of weather, and I don’t like carrying weight on my shoulders.

Do you have any accessories you absolutely love? My birthday’s coming up, so I’m making a list! :)


30 Day Challenge: Day 9 – A Trip Down Memory Lane

Yoga: check. Biking: check.

Another adorable moment on the bike ride to school this morning, one I wouldn’t have seen from the car. We rode past a teenage couple sitting in on a blanket in the driveway. She wore a hoodie and shorts, and had her phone in her hand. He wore shorts, and the rest of him was under a Jeep with an open hood. Tools — wrenches, sockets, that sort of thing — were scattered on the blanket between them. It was a sweet blast from the past, because I’ve been that girl, with Mr. C, except this was back in the Middle Ages, so I had a book. He and his brother were really into cars. Mustangs. At one time Mr. C owned four of these:

 

Four is three too many, but who am I to judge?

Four is three too many, but who am I to judge?

All bought as junk, all rebuilt, except for the “winter driver” Pace Car, which had a V8 in it, and an unreliable exhaust system. I learned to drive a stick in that car, in a snow storm. (It made sense at the time) He also owned a Mustang SVO. 84, I think, or maybe 84 1/2. That matters. Anyway, it looked like this:

This one's an '86. They all looked alike to me.

This one’s an ’86. They all looked alike to me.

I married the boy I used to hand tools to, and just last week – 25 years into the whole “five cars is too many/no, five cars is just right” debate, we were talking about the pace of our lives, and whether or not we could realistically slow it down. Biking does that for me. I add ten minutes to routes I would normally drive, and arrive a little more alert to my surroundings, and appreciative for the occasional slow trip down memory lane.

 


30 Day Challenge: Day…mumble mumble

Yoga: check. Biking: check. First failed day: check.

After that rousing “you just keep going” speech in my last post, I hit the wall. The wall was built by the 6 ten-year-old boys we had over for our son’s birthday sleepover. They went to bed at 1 and were up at 7 to play zombie apocalypse, a complicated game involving a go-pro camera, nerf guns, and a series of forts constructed in our basement. I felt like I was living the zombie apocalypse. By the time we fed them all waffles and got them and most of their gear home, the last thing I wanted to do was go to yoga. I put my pajamas back on and spent the rest of the day in bed, reading.

Today, however, was a different story. I was happy to get back on Persie and ride to yoga. I had a rough morning (very first world problems, broke my tablet’s screen by dropping it on a tile floor) but riding to yoga in the sunshine boosted my spirits measurably. Maybe that’s the real lesson from this challenge, in getting back into the routine when life happens.

Or maybe I’m just a slacker. In that case you’ll want to read a well-written meditation on a lifetime of biking. Thanks to commenter JCM for the link. I hope I’m still pedaling away in my 50s, too.


30 Day Challenge – Day 8: What I’ve Learned So Far

Yoga: check. Biking: check (but only one trip. I’m slacking!)

It was a nice day for biking, with cloudy skies and a bit of a breeze. I felt a little unsteady on the bike on my way to class, perhaps because all I’d eaten was an apple, and perhaps because I was wearing sandals. I vaguely remember being told not to bike in open toe shoes because you could rip a toenail off (ewwwww, gross), but more to the point, it’s hard to stay confident on the bike if your feet aren’t secure in your shoes. I ran out of steam about half way into hot yoga today, spent a couple of poses playing corpse. Afterwards, I treated myself to a chai tea misto and a scone. Sometimes staying in the room is enough for the day.

There’s the initial excitement for a challenge, but that fades and then there’s the daily slog. Writing a book follows a similar pattern (with a few exceptions that are sheer bliss writing projects, joy from beginning to end). You just keep going, words on the page, minutes on the mat, butt on the bike seat. Initial enthusiasm isn’t enough to get you through. I don’t even think there’s a digging deep moment, where you find some reserve of energy. You just don’t quit, and find a moment-by-moment discovery of energy, surprisingly lacking in swelling violin music or a great catchphrase like winning one for the Gipper. You stay in the room.

Lesson learned: an apple isn’t sufficient sustenance to power one through 90 minutes in a hot yoga room;  wear shoes, not sandals; and stay in the room.

 


30 Day Challenge: Day 7 (Week 1 By The Numbers)

Yoga: Check. Biking: Check. I biked the boy to school today, but that was the extent of my two-wheeled excursions.

# of yoga classes taken: 7 (5 bikram, 1 yin, 1 flow)

Total hours in yoga: 8.5

Total hours in yoga the previous week: 1.5

Total hours on Persie: 6 (approximate)

Total hours on any bike the previous week: 0

# of falls off Persie: 1, bruising right shoulder, left calf, and my pride

# of pounds lost: 0

I started this challenge thinking if I add, you know, a dozen hours of exercise to my schedule, I’d lose a little weight. I haven’t. I’ve gained something more important: I kind of feel like a badass. I fell off my bike, into the TRASH, no less. Make that a total badass. Week two starts tomorrow. Bring it, baby.

Did you take on a challenge that made you feel more confident? I’d love to hear about it!


30 Day Challenge, Day 6: In Which Anne Wipes Out

You know how you get on your bike to take your kid to school and ride down the driveway and turn onto the sidewalk, but your husband has put the garbage out so the cans are in the way and you swerve, lose control, and ride straight into the cans and knock them over, then fall over into the spilled bags of kitchen garbage and dog crap collected from the back yard?

Yeah. Gonna be one of those days.

Ouch

Ouch

 

I haven’t even looked at my leg, where I feel a spectacular bruise forming.

Persie is fine. Mr. C asked about her, too. Good man. My shoulder hurts like a mother, though. Yin yoga today. And maybe some cookies until my hands stop shaking.

Keep me company, folks. Got any good wipeout stories?

ETA: the bruise that formed on my calf:

Other ouch.

Other ouch.