Two Mandela’s

My powers of rationalization are on par with superheroes. Friday I decided to go for a mountain bike ride. Forecast said 40% chance of rain so I decided to give it a go. By the time I was half-way to the trailhead, a light drizzle had started. At the trail-head, several bikers were coming off the trail and loading up. The sky had turned dark and angry. I got my bike out and my gear on and started riding. Before I even got off the hardpack and turned onto the actual trail, it was a full on rainstorm and I was completely soaked. I decided to soldier on, hoping that maybe it was just a short burst. I had to put my phone in my camelback behind the bladder to keep it dry.

The rain never stopped. It came down hard for the next hour. Then the lighting and thunder. But I continued to just figure it would be okay. And so it was. The riding was still surprisingly good. The water was running down the trail but it was not as slick as I feared. It was a surprisingly pleasant ride. Definitely not hot, but was warm enough that the rain actually felt good. It was a cool trail. Lots of switchbacks and dips—no real climbs of course, but that is just the way it will be here in the flat midwest. But still a good ride and I was glad I got out.

The trail was called East Rim and I did the Lamb Loop. About 5 miles. I will give it another run sometime soon. Trailhead is near Peninsula off of Boston Mills Road. Afterwards, which is my tradition after a mountain bike ride, I stopped for a beer. This time at Winking Lizard in Peninsula.

In other news, I found out Friday that Aneeka took first place in a singing competition and will travel to Europe next March. So I must see if I can get over to watch her perform over there. I know Naazneen had her in vocal lessons, but I had no idea that a 6-year old could be good enough to win a juniors competition. I think there were some older kids in the program, but I did not get all the details.

I’ve had Namibia on my mind a lot lately. So the feature picture here is two of the Mandela prints that are hanging in my foyer.

I was speaking to my nephew tonight and he gently probed about whether I had followed through on a promise to have Mandela stuffed when she died. It is true that it is something I spoke about often. Always somewhat in jest, but I was also half-serious. Why not I thought? But I had forgotten about it until he asked. I can’t say for sure if it would have been a good thing or not a good thing. I do have a memorial to her in a dedicated space in my house. Pictures, her leash, her ashes, her pawprint, some cards from friends when she passed and a special bone-shaped stainless steel tribute sent from a friend in Idaho. So a physical manifestation? Who knows. Maybe even comforting to have something to touch that was a real part of her. But the truth is, that in that moment in time when it was all going down, I was hopelessly inept. Completely incapacitated from thinking beyond the grief that consumed me. I had made no preparation for a ‘stuffing’ versus a cremation and so the default path won the day. Probably, I guess, for the best.

Thursday I had another dinner at Bratenahl Bistro. Not sure why I keep going there. Food is okay but service is unpredictable. And the place is basically a place where rich people go to die. It is sort of high-end digs in a monumentally ugly concrete building. The old people shuffle down to the bar and restaurant at night. They all know one another and share stories about their first world financial problems. One lady the other night was bitching because they have an 86-acre parcel somewhere that has ‘been in her husband’s family for generations’. A parcel next to theirs was sub-divided and is becoming a housing development and she is upset because it will affect the value of their property. Or some shit like that. Anyway, she seemed haughty and mean-spirited in tone and demeanor. And there are plenty more like that there. Politically very conservative. When I had dinner last week, the democratic debates were on and that was interesting. Most seem to not like Trump (surprisingly) but they really don’t like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. They want Biden or someone else who is not Trump but also not going to make any serious attempt to shine a light on the social-economic issues of our time, especially in gap in income and wealth.

I’ve actually resurrected a private site to this medium where I can delve more deeply into personal matters. Partially for my own edification and partially because sometimes I have thoughts that might cause conflicts in my relationships. And there I have managed to work through a bit more, but I still am out of sorts in a way that I have not felt for decades. I know of course that it is not all about the dog.

Another good ride yesterday, this time on the road bike. Also a bit of rain, but this one was very short and also felt pretty good. I rode a section of the the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath. Which was pretty cool. I picked up the path in Independence, very near the finance offices where I work sometimes (BOC). I rode south through Cuyahoga Valley National Forest for about 15 miles and then turned around. I was tired near the end, which was sort of disappointing. A 30-mile ride is not a big deal, but guess I am still getting my biking legs back after taking some time off. I am going to try to be more diligent, especially now as I am figuring out the places to go for road and mountain.

It’s been a pretty relaxing few days. I worked Thursday (4th) and Friday and was only person in the office except for Harsha, who was there to continue to support London. I got caught up on a lot of smallish things that I had not had time to get to. Today I will head out to Prachi’s for brunch for good Indian food. I need to get in a long-run, so that will either be tonight or early tomorrow before work. Very busy week through Thursday mid-day when I fly to San Francisco to hang out with Bruce and Laura and Eileen for a few days.

I signed up for the Cleveland Rock and Roll museum half-marathon next month. So need to keep running and to stay healthy. Some things on the horizon. San Francisco next weekend. Niagara Falls the weekend after. Eric and Pierre are visiting here the first week of August. August 20 is Mark Knopfler in NYC and September is the boat makers rendezvous in Ontario that I hope to attend. I was still hoping for a trip to Namibia this year but just not sure if that will happen or not. Maybe after go-live next year?

No other news of note.

Some random photos of the past few days, including sweet little Aneeka at her ceremony.

Little Aneeka with her awards and medals. No idea why is dressed like a polynesian.

I underestimated the timing, duration and severity of the thunderstorm. But a great ride just the same.


Just a cute moment as I left the office Friday afternoon.

One of the locks along the old Ohio and Erie Canal

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