Monday, June 29, 2009

dirt in our teeth

It was another dirt bike weekend for the Pohl family.

The boys convinced me to ride along to their Harescrambles event, held in Hill City (not far from Grand Rapids). The event was held at Quadna resort, a place that used to be a premier ski stop and must have been nice at one time. Now, it is a shadow of it's former self-needing some repair and a good coat of paint, and some new carpet and linen in it's lodge rooms. While the ski hill has been shut down for years, they still have a nice campground, and a good looking golf course.

Once a year, they hold this event there, and people travel from all over to compete. We arrived around dinnertime on Saturday night, walked up the rickety stairs to the dusty bar and grill on the top floor, and the guys got registered for Sunday's races. We then drove down the road a piece, and had a bite to eat at Zorbaz (where all of the s's on the menu have been replaced with z's-so you order Zpaghetti with a Zide Zalad...unless you order a taco, then it isn't quite so annoying.) We even caught a gorgeous rainbow on the way home, which we took to be a good sign for the next day's event.

After a restless night spent on mattresses that should have been replaced several years ago, we awoke to a sunny, cool morning and headed in to Hill City to eat at the one cafe. A good breakfast in our bellies, we headed back to the resort so Charlie could get suited up for his 9 am race. Both mom and dad provided pre-race advice. While Mike's focused on the techinical aspects, mine was about staying safe (read-PLEASE DON'T BREAK ANY BONES) and having fun.
A harescramble is a mix of an enduro, and a motocross. It's a shotgun start (literally) and once the gun goes off, you start up your bike, and head up the hill. Providing your bike will start. Charlie got off just fine, and he was on his way. The first part of the race was enduro, winding through the hills on a single trail. Then they headed out into the open, over a jump, and through the checkpoint, to head back into the forest again.
It was an hour long race, and Charlie was wiped out, and even had dirt in his teeth. But he finished! And survived intact.

There is always an organization there, selling food, and this event offered freshly grilled brats or burgers, and amazing homemade potato salad. There was even beer or bloody maries, if you were so inclined, but I didn't see many people partaking of that option.

Next up was Mike, he raced for nearly 3 hours, his course obviously much longer and more arduous than Charlie's. I even got to be pit girl, and replenish the water in his camelback. Thanks to Bob Maki, for trecking into the woods to take these great shots of him! Mike is the unofficial club photographer, and while he gets lots of shots of everyone else, there aren't a lot of pictures of him riding, so it is great to have these.
Speaking of good people, what a wonderful sport this is! It is really a family activity, and everyone helps each other out. Unlike the rivalry often seen at other sporting events (ever listened to an over-the-top hockey mom, or football dad?) here you will find dad's and mom's helping out any kid who needs it. Or feeding single guys who don't have wives to take care of them. Sue's son Tim is just an unbelievable rider, always finishing at or near the top, and Deb travels nearly every weekend with her husband and two sons, who race, and her daughter. As I mentioned last week, they are really good dirt bike moms!
Whether families are jump starting vehicles, sharing dirt bike parts or tips on how to stay cool during a race, it's a feeling of 'we're all in this together'. While I still don't understand the appeal of the physical race (it is unbelievably grueling!) the rest of it is so...wholesome. That is really the only word I can think of to describe the atmosphere that permeates throughout the whole event.

As the sun drew farther to the horizon, dusty and tired guys shuffled off to the chalet to see the results of their endeavors, while mom's packed up campers and gathered windburned, happy children into back seats. Hearty waves and shouts of "drive safely" echoed through the emptying dirt lot, as the trucks and campers and trailers made their way home.

Friday, June 26, 2009

cookbooks cookbooks everywhere...

...and not a thing to eat.

Just kidding.

But I do have a lot of cookbooks, probably too many. But I like to pick one up and then cook new things from it for a whole week. And every so often, I actually remember to do that.

This weeks book:
So far I have made the Shrimp, Tomato, and Basil Pasta (that's it there on the cover), the Greek Salad with Pita Bread, the Mini Lamb Burgers in Pita, and tonight we are trying the Farfalle with Prosciutto and Peas.

The book is organized by season, and has lots of yummy things that are not full of crazy ingredients, and nothing takes more than 30 minutes.

Sounds like the perfect summer meal to me. As Julia would say-Bon Appetit!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

dirt bike Mike

Meet the new leader of the Senior B Class:

After this last weekend's race in Stone Lake, Wisconsin, my hubby is now on the top of the heap. He advanced to the B class last year, after winning the whole C class the year before.

His goal is to be an A class rider by the time he is 50, and the way he is going, he will easily accomplish that. (unless he gets injured, but we aren't going to think about that)

This doesn't just happen, he is totally focused on his goal. He works out daily, either at the gym, or riding his bike, or often both. Tuesday he dressed in mulitple layers of clothes and headed out on his bike in the heat and humidity. I said "aren't you going to get a little hot?" He told me that was the idea, if he trains with lots of clothes on in the heat, then he will be able to handle riding in the heat, in the woods, with all of his gear on. He is always working on his bike, fine tuning it, making sure it will do what it needs to.

I still think he's crazy.

But I will support him 100%. (Unless it involves trudging through the woods, or sleeping in a tent with him. I draw the line there.) But I am happy to have a nice clean, cool house for him to return to at the end of a long, tiring weekend. So maybe that is more like supporting him 98%. And I make him wash his own smelly dirt bike clothes, so that it probably more like 95%...

And I am really glad there are women like Deb Maki, who travel with their dirt biking families, and take great pictures. (thanks Deb!) And Sue Neinow, who helps Mike at gas stops, and feeds him at the end of the race. You are far better dirt bike wives than me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

summer reading

While winter tends to be a time when I only read in bed before I fall asleep, I seem to find many more opportunities to read in the summer. Which makes no sense, as there is so much more going on in the summer, but I have never made sense.

Anyhoo-I tend not to read the 'it' book at the time it is popular, just because I like to roll that way, and be a little different. I had seen this one in big displays in the bookstores, and reviewed in the paper, but for some reason just never felt compelled to pick it up. I love the cover, and the title is intriguing, but I had so many more books in my pile.

I picked it up at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago, for 50 cents, (apparently that is the price I was finally willing to pay for it) and the other day it just kind of called out to me as I was walking by my bookshelf. "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am sure all of you have probably already read it, and you are thinking "Sheesh Kristi, get with it!"

Oh what I have been missing!!!! It is funny, and tearful, and so well written. I want to go to Italy and eat my way through it.

A favorite line I read last night: " is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection."

I am going to finish this as quickly as I can, so I can send it off to my sis. The descriptions of how this woman suffered through her divorce, and how she coped, may help her deal with her own emotions. Unfortunately, she won't be able to leave for a year and travel through Italy, India, and Indonesia to help her through the process, but maybe this little book will allow her to do that without leaving Bemidji.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

time flies, swimming edition

Charlie has always been a bit timid about some things.

Like learning how to do laundry.

But seriously, he rode his all terrain trike until he was nearly seven. He really liked that trike.

Swimming was another one of those situations. His first year of preschool, he sat on the edge of the pool for the entire year when it was time for swimming. Swimming lessons did nothing to encourage him to jump in, so we canceled them.

He had no interest in going to the pool when he was younger. We did go to Lake Elmo, he would gladly sit in the shallows and play in the water.

A few years ago, he went to a day camp at the University of St. Thomas for a week in July. Part of the camp was Red Cross swimming lessons each afternoon. I don't know what was in that water, or who the magicians were who taught him, but he suddenly became a fish, and loved to swim.

The last several years, I have been bringing him to the pool so he could have fun. Not a fan of sitting around all afternoon in a swimsuit, I longed for the day when he didn't need me to bring him to the pool anymore. Unless his cousin Riley was in town, and I could hang out with Heather at the pool too.Fast forward to today. I dropped him and his very good buddy Austin (the wonderful young man who 'hangs out' with him when Mike and I have date night) at the pool for the afternoon. And they had the best time. And I got my work done during the day (instead of having to work early in the morning or late at night like I used to have to do on our pool days).

And it won't be long, and he will be jumping on his bike, with his towel draped around his neck and his friends urging him to hurry up, and he will pedal off to spend the day at the pool unsupervised. And there will be young girls in bikinis hoping to catch his eye.

Criminy. I'm not quite ready for that yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

good finds

June has been good for yard sale finds-I haven't been to many but have found a few really wonderful things (everything you see here cost me less than $35 in total):

First up, some lovely antique hankerchiefs (I collect them for my grandmother, who still uses them) and some vintage jewelry, that I may use as is, or take apart to create new beauties:
Next, some glass oil lamps (I love to use them once fall arrives, they give off such a great glow) and sandbakkel tins, and a fun print :
A really wonderful purchase, these aprons were handmade in the 1950's by someone's grandmother-they are hand embroidered and treadle machine sewn. Love the details! And she never used a pattern. I made myself stop at six.
A vintage Scrabble game, a road atlas from 1960, and a glass Thermos (the plaid is my favorite!)
But my favorite find? This Smith Corona typewriter ,in it's case, still in nearly new condition.
I had one similar to it that I brought to college with me, it served me well, and also helped me earn money typing research papers for people. Why I ever sold it, in a rummage sale years ago, is beyond me. But now I have one again, and Charlie is quite intrigued with it. "But mom, how do you fix your mistakes????"

(I apologize for the crummy pictures, Mike wasn't around to help me figure out what was wrong with my settings, and if I can't point and shoot, then I am lost. Really need to take a class someday...)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

dear old dad

Even though he had a bit of a health scare this spring, Dave is still with us, and still fishing.

At certain times of the day, I find myself thinking of him. If I glance at the clock and it's 10 am, I know he is probably sitting with my mom at the dining room table having a cup of coffee. Back when he used to work in his machine shop every single day, that was his first break of the day, and he was always ready for it. Sometimes a friend of his would stop by, just before 10, knowing that my mom would be serving coffee, or maybe some bars, or even 'old' cake, pretty much right at 10 am. Even though he no longer works in his shop every day, he is always busy working on some kind of project, so the 10 am coffee time has stuck.

If it's noon, I know he is probably at home, this time sitting in his 'spot' on the couch, and my mom is serving him lunch. Seriously, serving him. Unless it is her coffee day, then she probably isn't home yet, and he has to make his sandwich and heat up his soup himself. Even though he doesn't announce it, he always watches "Days of our Live" at that time, and then he has a nice little catnap, to get him ready to tackle his afternoon.

If it's 3 pm, it's time for another coffee break. If it's hot, it will be a big sweaty glass of iced tea, or lemonade. I remember my dad so well on those hot summer days, working away in his machine shop. No air conditioning, and he in his work outfits and leather boots. As a welder, bare skin was not an option, even when it was 90 degrees in the shade. He would come in at 3 pm, just dripping, and my mom would always say, "Oh Dave, why don't you quit early today? It's just so hot." Sometimes he did, and we would go fishing before dinner-it was always cooler on the lake.

If he couldn't finish early, then I could look forward to some night fishing, after mom made dinner. I loved night fishing, the colors of everything as the sun started to sink, and the smell coming off the water. Fish usually were hungrier then, and we nearly always came home with some in our cooler.

I am hardly in Bemidji anymore, but even though I can't be there, I usually can picture what my dad is doing, at least at certain points in the day. And it is always reassuring to know he is still there, sitting at the dining room table.
Happy Father's Day, dad!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Mike-

We are celebrating Father's Day early this year, as on Sunday you will be riding the rocky trails of Stone Lake, Wisconsin, competing in an enduro. It is one of your true passions, and we are so glad that you will get to spend Father's Day doing something that you love. (I still don't understand the part that is 'fun'...but I am glad you enjoy it!)

I was going through pictures the other day, and it struck me how many things you and Charlie have loved doing together through the years. (and you will see that you also have a wonderful wardrobe, especially when it comes to jackets, and headwear, but you already knew that....)
Even though we had worked to have a baby for a really long time, that first year was still pretty tough. You are the youngest in your family, and had not had any experience with a newborn baby who didn't want to sleep, or a hormonal wife who didn't want to go back to work. While I was infatuated with our new life (most of the time), I think you may have been wondering what you got yourself into. And on top of that, you had just opened a new business, and were figuring out how to make it fly. (pun intended)

But once Charlie could communicate with you (if you will recall, his first word was DADDY)-it quickly became a different relationship. You shared a love of construction vehicles, anything with wheels,
and anything with wings. You would take Charlie to construction sites, or on trips downtown to watch the giant cranes in action. You went to see the Holiday Train every December, you taught Charlie how to drive a boat, and enjoy the wonders of a trip down the Missippi River. You helped him appreciate our home town, and took him fossil hunting (when that was his latest obsession). You went ice-fishing, and worked together to shovel us out after a big snow. You took Charlie trick or treating through the neighborhood every year, along with other dads.We have enjoyed so many great trips together: from the local apple orchard and corn maze, to the 4th of July carnival in Bemidji, to Key West, San Diego, touring the USS Midway, Duluth, Grand Marais, Pepin, ferry rides, Santa Fe, Albuquerque,
or just a day trip to Stillwater.
You have helped Charlie build with Lego's, and create models, craft Pinewood Derby cars and Raingutter sailboats, and helped him figure out his math homework.

You have such fun together: swimming, Cub Scout camp, drive-in movies, skiing, and your newest shared sport, dirt biking.

We look forward to going to the State Fair every August,
it is one of our favorite family days! I love to see the two of you interact, and spend so much time together.You are teaching him perserverance, and the value of honesty and hard work. You have taught him to be respectful, of both people and things, and the value of a really good war movie. He got his fun sense of humor from you, and it is developing daily. As Charlie reaches his teenage years, things may get tense, and you will wonder what happened to that chubby cheeked little boy who used to look at you so adoringly. He is still there, and loves his dad so much. Teenagers just don't want to show it.
Remember all of the mornings, when you would hug a sleepy boy good morning. The times his eyes shown with excitement watching a bulldozer work, or his belly laugh when you showed him one of your favorite Looney Tunes episodes. You will always have these wonderful memories to hold on to, and there will be many more to come, to fill our disc drive and our hearts to overflowing.
Happy Father's Day Mike-and thank you for being such an amazing dad. I am so lucky.

Love, Kristi

Thank you for being such a wonderful father, it means the world to me to know that we are sharing this amazing experience together.

Happy Father's Day (and please don't break any bones on Sunday...)

Love, Kristi


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