Altering Habits

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Scotty's Place





Stormís Over
2008-02-28, 1:22 p.m.

Day 1286

Well, looks like we survived another ĎWinter stormí. Scary one too. We got maybe 12 inches spread over two days. The timing of the heaviest snowfall was very fortunate and the road crews were able to keep up. I even made it to a spin class on time yesterday morning and Iím always a few minutes late. Not always anymore I guess.

Have accomplished zippo on the kitchen the last few nights. Monday I was just dead, Tuesday was my regular Al Anon meeting and Wednesday we finally managed to gather a quorum and elect some District Representatives.

Iíve been a Group Rep since last July and this is the first real live district meeting Iíve been to. It was a sad state of affairs in our district. Our former DR just ran into a bunch of personal issues and couldnít fulfill the duties of the post. The DR is supposed to attend monthly meetings in Syracuse then act as a two way conduit, passing info back & forth between the state organization and the group reps. Hard to do that without a car or phone.

After 5 months and one state level assembly with no active DR, I sorta kicked the bees nest and got things stirred up. Now, 2 months later, weíre set. Finally. Just in time too, because we have another convention coming up in May. Weíll have two more meetings under our belt and ought to be fully organized by then.

Speaking of zero activity in the kitchen the last couple of days, that was the temp here this morning too. A whopping zero. Three days till March and here we sit with a foot of snow on the ground, more snow in the forecast and no temperature. The long term weather forecast had predicted that March was going to be a doozy. Maybe they were right. Weíve had some killer Marchís in the past too. In 1991 we had ďThe Ice StormĒ. Over an inch of ice on everything in a county wide path from the Pa. line right up to the lake (3 whole counties), over a million people with no power, some for over two weeks. Trees were decimated. We lived in Scottsville at the time. Some streets in the village were impossible to walk down much less drive a car. Took days just to clear enough trees out of the way for the power crews to get in. March of 93 we had something like 26 inches of snow in a Thursday storm. Dug out Friday, then were buried by another 18 inches on Saturday. That was pretty special. I remember getting walloped pretty good in 95 & 97 too (something about the odd numbered years for a while) but donít recall the gory details.

People around here getting all up in arms about closing down a school building. Due to some tax revenue shell game, our district is getting less state aid next year. Combined with declining enrollment, itís forcing the district to make some decisions. Now, there are 5 elementary schools in our district. In our 5000+ student district, they are considering closing a 300 student elementary school. People are flying off the handle, reacting as if their kids arenít going to be allowed to attend school anymore. Relax folks. Your kids are bussed to that school, they can be bussed to the next nearest school just as easily. Itís not like there arenít four other schools within three miles. As an alternative, they could double the tax levy of every house in the district (that would put my school taxes over $4k a year) ansd STILL not cover the decrease in state aid. Let them shut down the building. As energy costs increase, the savings from not operating an extra facility will only increase as well. Or Ė the district cold lease out the building and possibly generate some income. Last time they shut down that building (back in 1987 Ė 1991, again due to declining enrollment) the YWCA used it to run some womenís shelter programs. The building stayed occupied, the district made a little money and people got help. Win, win, win. People are so afraid of change. Itís silly.

Made a nice dish last night. Got it from Elie Kriegers show on the food network. Itís called Fish with tomatoes, olives and capers. Cooks up quick and packs a punch taste wise. She calls for sea bass, but we just use tilapia Ė especially when we can get it on sale. Iím thinking even salmon would work with this, or even fresh fish if youíre inclined to go get some yourself. The only other changes I make are to use fire roasted tomatoes (again, you could roast your own home grown Ďmaters if you like), double the wine (dangerous, considering, no?), add a couple cloves of minced gahlik just before the wine goes in and I donít mind using kalamata olives instead of black olives. We buy Ďem whole & pitted at the olive bar and chop Ďem up ourselves. Takes SO much effort ya know.

For Cindy & I, I also cook up 3 tilapia filets, because they are rather dainty little fish. The sauce is kind of a sweet/tart/bitter combo platter that could certainly stand up to a stronger fish like salmon or even swordfish. But you gotta REALLY want the swordfish unless you can get some fresh & in season, when ever THAT is. Ask George Clooney I guess. Oh, wait Ė he never made it back from that trip, did he?

Know what else I like thatís kinda like that sauce? Plain old beans & greens. Escarole, collard or beet greens, sautťed with a little onion, garlic & chicken stock, then toss in a can or 3 of drained & rinsed cannelini beans (or any bean you like really). Had some at a going away luncheon for some work buds. Beat the hell out of getting stuffed on shells & sauce.

Where was I going? Little tiny circles or just a series of tangents? Circles of tangents? What ever.

Bowling again tonite. Only 4 weeks left and weíre 17 points out of first. Have no idea what place weíre in though. We ended up winning only 2 (of 8) points last week, and we have no idea how the third place boys did. Iím thinking we slid a place or two. While the 1st place team has a substantial lead, thereís a bunch of us piled up behind them Ė all nice & tight.

Semi-good news for us? Weíre bowling some teams in the lower half of the standings the next two weeks. Maybe we can gain some momentum heading into the last week or two. Itís be nice if the first place guys actually dropped a game or three along the way too. I have handlebars, shifters pedals & shoes to get for my bike and I need that prize money. Like the $2 a man difference between first & second is going to help.

Judging by past results, the prize money will cover precisely ONE of the items my little heart covets. Unfortunately, they kind of work in pairs. Pedals are pointless with out the proper shoes. New brake/shifter thingies wonít be any good without the correct handle bar. See my dilemma? I can get one, but I have to get permission to appropriate the rest. Now, usually when we do a big project like the kitchen, I get to acquire a significant new toy. I mean tool. Yes. Tool. But so far, Iíve resisted the temptation. Cuz thereís things I desperately need in the world of toys. I mean tools. Tools dangit. Like a compressor with a full array of nail guns. (Zachís already got pneumatic tools for the garage like air wrenches & stuff), or a new shop vac, or possibly a slide/compound miter saw because the table saw I got last time canít quite cut everything I need.

No Ė Iíve resisted. I have a plan. I am hoping that my suffering, my having to make do with inappropriate tools, will pay off. Come the middle of March when the kitchen is done, I plan to point this out. Iíve already planted the seed. It is widely known in our house (by BOTH of us) that Iím cruising ebay, looking for just the right set of brake/shifter thingies and that Iím using my fantastic bowling prize money to finance the purchase. Thatís fine. But I hope to parlay my toy, I mean tool, non-acquisition into permission to expand my ebay search to include just the right set of pedals/shoes.

Know why I need them so desperately? I committed the other day. Iím doing the ADA Tour de Cure again this year. This time, I can start training sooner. My other plan is to finish the tour early enough to get me one of those massages they keep bragging about. Last year? I donít think I finished in time. I rolled in about 3:30. All the masseuses probably packed it in by 3:00 thinking all the serious riders had finished. What they didnít realize is that the riders that finished sooner didnít need the massage any where near as much as those of us that finished later. Heck, I blew 30 minutes at the 70 mile mark waiting for my legs to stop cramping. Know what I learned? Ironically, the way to keep your legs from cramping (or to at least forestall the inevitable) is to keep going. Donít pedal too hard, but donít stop either. Cuz Iíll tell you what. When both quads lock up at the same time? It looks like you have legs of steel. That part is kinda cool. But you canít move, and it hurts like a sonofagun. All you can do is stand there, holding onto your bike and wait for it to pass. In itís own sweet time. So thatís my new target. Finish before 3pm and get a massage. Ideally, Iíd like to finish by 2:30. Thatís 6 or so hours pedaling and an hour of rest.

The other thing Iím doing for this years ride is joining a team. One of the spin instructors at the Y is heading up a team. Not Patty Ė she volunteers to man the rest areas or something. Cherie is our captain. She helped me out immensely last year when I rode alone. Looking forward to the team style participation this year. One of the benefits of being on a team is the shared training rides. And the free t-shirt. Can always use more work out shirts.

Better run. Got things to do before bowling. Priorities. Alla time priorities.

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old habits - new tricks