The Salad

Today at work for our monthly “birthdays and anniversaries” lunch we had make your own salad with breadsticks, and brownies for desert. Also, there were the largest cherry(?) tomatoes I’ve ever seen.

I sometimes amaze even myself by the shear quantity of salad I can put away. Anyone who has been to the Olive Garden with me can back me up on this.

I have been vegetarian for over nine years now, though I was a closet vegetarian most of my life. Salad has always been one of my favorite foods. I still remember piling huge quantities of salad onto my lunch tray in elementary school. I would fill four of the five tray sections with salad. The lunch ladies initially gave me a hard time about it, mostly because they didn’t think I was actually going to eat it all. They eased up after a few days when they realized I could and would eat it.

That having been said, salad still isn’t an entree, and vegetarians do eat more than salad :)

The McJoneses

Our last name is terrible. Every email I’ve sent for the past five years has included a phonetic pronunciation of our name, yet nobody can pronounce it. Nobody can spell it. Crappy computer systems from the 1970’s (like those used by airlines, credit card companies, etc) don’t allow enough space (16 letters), nor do they allow hyphens (nor even spaces), so it all gets squished together and chopped off at the end.

When we would go to restaurants and give our name to the host[ess] to be seated it took more time to explain the name and how to spell it correctly than it did for a table to open up. At some point we got so frustrated that when we went to a restaurant we just started using the names of people we know. Then we started using random names. The problem with this is that we actually had to remember which name we used on which occasion. It was simpler to use the same name each time… but what name would it be? It had to be easy to spell & pronounce, like Jones. But we wanted something a little more unique (and perhaps a bit silly).

We settled on McJones.

I’m pretty good at keeping a straight face, but I nearly lost it the first time we used this name at a restaurant. It’s just such a ridiculous name, yet it met all our criteria. We’ve been using it for four or five years now, and it never fails to provide us with amusement.

“McJones, party of two, your table is ready.”

Rob Raguet-Schofield
(rob ra gA skO fEld)

The Synchronized Swim

Melissa & I watched the olympic team synchronized swimming event while eating lunch this afternoon. It reminded me of how close I accidentally came to being a synchronized swimmer a few years back.

I was doing masters swimming at the University of Illinois at the time. One of the girls who swam on the team was also involved with synchronized swimming. They had a performance coming up and each of the girls on the team was supposed to find an untrained male to try to perform a routine during the show, mostly as a joke. Anyway, none of the girl’s guy friends were willing to do it so she asked the guys on the masters team. I was the only one who did have a schedule conflict (or was honest enough not to claim I did) and after much begging I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed.

I guess it might be fun. I do like to entertain.

The night before the performance I received word from the girl that very few others actually found guys to participate in the routine, so it was scrapped at the last minute. I was a bit relieved, but also a bit disappointed. Who knows, I could have been the next synchronized swimming star…

The Vegan Fast Food

After my first cyclocross race last fall my cousin Scott took Melissa & I to Veggie Bite on the south side of Chicago. It is one of the few (only?) vegan fast food restaurants around. It was interesting (if a little weird) to see healthy, organic vegetables prepared so as to resemble some of the most disgusting foods I can imagine (e.g. gyro, philly cheese steak, meatball sandwich). Anyway, the food was good, and Scott seemed to enjoy it despite being an omnivore, so that says something.

We returned from our vacation in Nicaragua yesterday. On our way back to Urbana from O’hare Melissa wanted to stop for dinner at Veggie Bite. Much to my shock & horror she chose the most unlikely thing on the menu, a chili cheese dog. The food was actually very good. As we were leaving I picked up a vegan chocolate shake, which was one of the best shakes I’ve ever had.

Two of Melissa’s favorite juices, mango & carrot, combined into one

Vegan chili cheese dog, vegan taco & french fries

The Truck Stop Bag

After living in Nicaragua for two months I returned to the U.S. on a business trip. I purchashed many supplies to bring back to Nicaragua– more than I could fit into my luggage. My mother came to the rescue with the truck stop bag. This is a huge backpack with dozens of zippered pockets that she purchased at some truck stop for some ridiculously low price, like $8. We travelled all over Nicaragua and Costa Rica with this bag. It literally ripped apart at the seems and Melissa sewed it back together.

Anyway, we’re on our way back to Nicaragua for vacation (currently waiting to depart O’hare). We wanted to travel light so we didn’t check any luggage, just a duffel bag and (you guessed it) the truck stop bag. Fully packed it’s almost as big as Melissa.

The Jimi

When we returned to the U.S. last August I purchased one of the greatest things, the Jimi. The Jimi is the “wallet for people who hate wallets.” It’s a fabulous, tiny, semi-waterproof, plastic wallet that’s just big enough to hold identification, credit card, insurance card, and a couple bills. Tack on a key chain containing the only keys one ever needs (home, office, bike lock), and you’re good to go. It fits nicely into a bike jersey pocket, and it doesn’t matter if it gets sweaty (I sweat more than any other human).

Wherever I go I get comments on it, like “That’s a neat wallet.” My typical response is, “It keeps me from carrying too much crap around.”

an unsuitable wallet

For the past few months it hasn’t been closing all the way along the sides. More recently the plastic hinges on both sides started to rip. There’s not much left to them. It would probably last another week before completely falling apart.

Jimmy’s down!

Thankfully, I ordered a new one and it just arrived today. Hopefully this new one will last me another year before giving up the ghost.

New Jimi meets old Jimi

The End of July

Six races in the last six weeks. August should be less crazy race-wise, but probably equally crazy travel-wise.

July 2008

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 40.8 Mile 5 8.16 Mile
Big Red 113.38 Mile 6 18.8967 Mile
Litespeed 141.935 Mile 5 28.387 Mile
Pocket Rocket 126.09 Mile 11 11.4627 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 351.91 Mile 9 39.1011 Mile
Total 774.115 Mile 36 21.5032 Mile

Jan – July 2008

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 430.23 Mile 66 6.51864 Mile
Big Red 183.72 Mile 13 14.1323 Mile
Dahon 158.13 Mile 28 5.6475 Mile
Litespeed 334.465 Mile 13 25.7281 Mile
Pocket Rocket 366.16 Mile 20 18.308 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 2417.52 Mile 71 34.0496 Mile
Total 3890.22 Mile 211 18.4371 Mile