An Uber Treat

My Friend Erin's Tie Dye (Roll Up N Dye and Colorful Abandon)

My Friend Erin’s Tie Dye (Roll Up N Dye and Colorful Abandon)

I was born in the 60’s. As I grew up in the 70’s and early 80’s, I think there was a lot of residual hitchhiking going on. It must have been leftover from it’s heyday in the 60’s. I, however, was told to not hitchhike. I was raised with the notion that hitchhiking is very dangerous. You don’t know whose car your getting into. It could be a murderer! Well, truth be told, I don’t believe I was ever told that folks picking up hitchhikers were murderers. I’m sure I just assumed that was the worse case scenario of dangerous. And, I probably saw a scary news item or two to that effect. The bottom line message was that hitchhiking was dangerous.

Over the years, I was never tempted to hitchhike, nor did I run with a hitchhiking crowd. We had the “mini buses” or ColumBus buses. So, if I needed a ride to The Mall, for example. I could jump on a ColumBus. I didn’t use it often, but it did save me from hitchhiking a number of times, I’m sure. If we needed a ride to the airport, we would call a taxi. Taxi’s were driven by strangers, but had the benefit of being vehicles labeled as such and being backed by a probably big, well known company. They were just smaller versions of the mini bus. Right?

So, imagine my consternation upon hearing about Uber. My kids were the ones to clue me in on this new ride sharing experience. The first exchange with my daughter went something like this:

Wait. What?

You get in an unmarked car with a stranger?

That’s not safe.

That’s crazy.

No. No, I’ll pick you up. Night or day. Anytime. Just call me or your father. Nope. It’s fine. I’d much rather you get home safely…

The popularity of Uber soared and so did the opening of my mind. I became a hip mom who confirmed that my children would be taking Uber, or Ubering, after a night out on the town. But, even though my children were experiencing Uber firsthand, I was not really accepting it into my world. That is, until my friend and fellow blogger Jessie became an Uber driver. “Whoa,” I thought. “What? Is she nuts?” It’s like picking up hitchhikers, I thought. That’s not safe, I said to myself. So, the same argument for why I wasn’t supposed to hitchhike growing up was, not surprisingly, the same as it was for why I shouldn’t pick up hitchhikers. But, Jessie has always been an early adopter. She not only embraced being an Uber driver, but she blogged about it. I was hooked on her posts. I enjoyed hearing about the people she picked up and her interactions with them. I loved the realness of her trying to find her way through tricky city streets. It was so entertaining. I would read one post and could not wait for the next one. I was thrilled to hear she was planning to publish an e-book based on her experience. It is available now and I highly recommend it.

Are you interested in checking it out? Please click here or visit Amazon.com and look for: Uber Chronicles: Field Notes from the Front Seat  Kindle Edition by Jessie Newburn. You will not be disappointed!

UberChron

@HoCoBlogs

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Tooling Along on our Trail Bikes

The Michael Castle Trail, Delaware

The Michael Castle Trail, Delaware

Heading into this July 4th holiday weekend, we didn’t have much lined up in terms of plans, however we knew we wanted to get out on our bikes again. Our friends, Sue and Sean, were also around. Hurray! Let the planning begin! We looked at the weather and picked Saturday as the best day for our ride. Although we have talked about a number of trail options (and have a long list of places we want to ride), we weren’t set on where to go. We ended up choosing the Michael Castle Trail (in Delaware) and the Ben Cardin Trail (in Maryland), which Sue and Sean had ridden last year.

St. Georges Trail Head, Delaware

St. Georges Trail Head, Delaware

The Michael Castle Trail, Delaware

The Michael Castle Trail, Delaware

We picked the trail head at St. Georges, which had plenty of parking and bathroom facilities. It was very straightforward to find coming from our house, and took about an hour and a half to get there. We were met by the views of the soaring bridges and the beautiful canal right away. After lubbing up with sunscreen, we set off for Maryland and the Ben Cardin Trail. The trail was not super wide, but it was paved and flat. And, while the parking lot was pretty full, the trail itself never felt crowded.

The Canal

The Canal

We were surprised it wasn’t, as it was a lovely day to be out. Everyone we passed was very friendly, which we all noticed. We enjoyed watching the mostly speed boats out on the canal as we tooled along. A couple miles in, we needed to track away from the canal and that’s where we hit a couple of hills. Shortly after that, we were back along the water and heading into a segment of trail that was rocks, gravel, and dirt. Thank goodness Sue had ridden it before and knew it was a definite trail bike trail. A few areas were so rocky, I was sure even the trail bike would have trouble, but it didn’t. Or, rather, I didn’t.

Michael_Castle_Trail_Trail and Canal View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the Many Bridges Along the Michael Castle Trail, Delaware

One of the Many Bridges Along the Michael Castle Trail, Delaware

We arrived in Maryland to literally zero fanfare. No “Welcome to Maryland” or “Delaware Looks Forward to Seeing You Really Soon, When you Return to Get your Car” signs or mileposts marked the change. There was a small sign that noted the end of the Michael Castle Trail, but that was it.

 

 

The trail along the Ben Cardin was also paved and a bit wider and was noteworthy for the benches that periodically dotted the way. There were port-a-potties at the end of trail at Chesapeake City. It was a cute trail head. We stopped and walked around a bit. It was about a 10.5 mile ride from the car.

The Ben Cardin Trail, Chesapeake City, MD Trail Head

The Ben Cardin Trail, Chesapeake City, MD Trail Head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The return ride seemed to go a lot faster, which is always the case. Especially when you rode out the 10 with a headwind. After loading up the bikes, we went into Delaware City. We found a great restaurant, Crabby Dick’s, with nice views of the water and had a delicious lunch. We once again have more of the trail to ride, (and another excuse to come back to this area). The piece going further into Delaware from our St. George’s starting point. We were exceedingly happy with our 21 miles and overall delightful day.

All Smiles After Great Ride!

All Smiles After Great Ride!

Bonus Day Fun

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. So long, in fact, that one of my fellow HoCo bloggers introduced me tonight as a retired blogger. Very funny, HoCoConnect! Because I have had such a good “Leap Day” and not because I was guilted into it, I am inspired to get back to my blog. (Smile)

Tonight, the HoCo Bloggers were invited to enjoy a meal at the new Nalley Fresh Restaurant, which is in the Dobbin Center plaza near Performance Bikes. Nalley Fresh offers a “Chipotle-style” make your own salad, wrap, or bowl. I think one of the more unique offerings, and there are several here, is the sweet potato base for your bowl. I did not try it, because I was drawn to the salad. There is a wall of lettuce options, and I asked to have a romaine and spring mix combination. From there I had to choose a protein, which wasn’t easy. The beef looked fabulous. There was shrimp and salmon, and three styles of chicken, and I was stuck in the land of too many choices. It was temporary. One of the very friendly staff members had told me to ask for a small taste of the protein to make sure I’d like it. So, I asked to try the plain, grilled chicken. It was OK, but I wasn’t sold on it. So, I took a chance on the whisky chicken. I proceeded to the next friendly server and picked a bunch of my favorite salad veggies, then skipped the cheese (as I do) and asked for ranch dressing on the side. I was offered a piece of nutty bread, which I accepted. It was a delicious salad if I do say so myself. It was very obvious why fresh is in the name. It was super fresh. On top of a great meal, John really liked the wrap he chose, too, it was fun to meet new bloggers and chat with the regulars. (I’m going to have a lot connecting to do on social media after I get this post up.)

I was happy to get to tell JessieX in person that I love her new blog series, The Uber Chronicles. It is so perfectly her. I was so energized by her excitement and our conversation that I’m sure that is also propelling me to write this post.

Earlier today I was able to get in one more Masters swim practice for February, and it ended up being about 500 more yards than the coach actually wrote for us. Note to self: It’s time to grab your prescription goggles so you can read what is actually written on the white board. It was a happy problem on a bonus day!

Go check out Nalley Fresh for yourself. You may even run into this guy:

Chef Nalley at the New Columbia, MD Nalley Fresh Location

And, if you’re lucky, there will be live music and you’ll catch him playing a mean harmonica.

#hocoblogs

 

Catching Some Summer Fun

 

I think summer went from fast paced action to almost a full stop in the span of three days. The weather is acting like fall is near (or already here), people have started talking about back-to-school shopping, and my work schedule is sputtering and fizzling, as all the summer swim leagues have wrapped up their short, but hectic seasons. August is hours away, and I feel like I am just now getting to quickly plan and do all the things I enjoy doing in the summer before it's too late.

 

One of my big summer things is seeing “My Summer People” AKA people I met through summer swim team, who I usually/mostly only see in the summer. Last weekend, we got together with some of the swim team friends, who we used to spend hours and hours with every summer while our kids were growing up, and had a blast. I made my tambourine playing debut with a live band in front of people (other than my kids and husband). It was so fun, and no, I was not offered any contracts for my future tambourine playing.

 

Lois, Eileen and Me with Freezer Burn
 

I have a couple other folks I want to see that I need to call right away, before summer is really over. I also would like to have at least one more crab feast. We will probably cover this summer favorite when my brother comes to town. And, I wouldn't mind a few more days of sitting by the pool and reading a good book. I would also enjoy one more trip to Ocean City, but I'm not sure when we can fit that in the schedule. Hope all of you are making the most of the last few weeks of summer vacation. The clock is ticking.

 

The World’s Greatest Distraction

Beautiful Game in Beautiful Sunset

Beautiful Game in Beautiful Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

I’m completely obsessed. Several of my girlfriends are as well. They have told me so, using that exact word or the word “addicted.” My family is hooked. In fact, huge numbers of people in my social circles are. And more and more everyday in the United States are becoming as consumed as the rest of the world in what I consider to be the greatest distraction. It’s World Cup Soccer time. It’s #BecauseFutbol, (the clever Hyundai slogan gaining popularity by describing World Cup fan passion) that regular folks on the street are glued to their radios, televisions and mobile apps. I am thrilled to have an even greater number of co-workers and non-sporting folk to share my excitement with over what so far seems to be the most thrilling World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of watching. And, I think a shout out to U.S. television network, ESPN, for showing all the games is in order. Although I’m sure there are several business owners who are lamenting the fact that the games are running daily during the work day at this point in the tournament. But, soon enough, (too soon for many of us fans), there will be fewer and fewer games to watch, as the tournament winds down to the final two teams.

 

U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, Washington, D.C.

 


 

 

 

So, for now, I will enjoy every minute of every game I can. I know many others are too. I witness and hear stories of people streaming the games on their computers while they are at work, and sneaking glimpses of games and scores from Twitter feeds, apps and Etc. are the norm now. People are decked out in their red, white, and blue to cheer on the U.S. team, which has advanced beyond group play. It is truly a diversion. And it’s a wonderful, delightful diversion that only happens with this level of excitement and pageantry every four years. I’d love to blog on about how great it is to put aside whatever personal issues one may be saddled with to get wildly and passionately excited about a sport competition, but alas, I have to get a few things done around the house before the next match begins!

 

Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at SmallPlanetStudio.com.

That’s A Wrap on a Busy Week!

Some of the Columbia Masters Swimmers Sporting Their Tie Dyed Team Shirts

I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged. It is far more difficult to find the time to write when the kids are home. This past week was also filled to the brim with work for me. I worked endless hours at the swim shop getting kids ready for summer swim team. I worked a last minute Kitchen Angel job. And, I taught a couple of private swim lessons. Whew! All the while, I managed to keep up with my own swimming and lifting.

Today, I was able to bask in the glory of having nothing to do except go to my daughter's Women's Premier Soccer League game. Of course, “basking” for a mom means running around the house trying to clean, straighten, and otherwise get the house back on track from at least a week plus of my neglecting it. I did enough to be able to stand it until I can get more done tomorrow.

I wanted to make sure I updated you on how amazing my tie dye shirt turned out. We all had three universal thoughts on the whole Dish n Dye Tie Dye party for our Masters group: 1) My shirt is not going to turn out good, 2) Wow, my shirt turned out great, and 3) I can't believe I made that shirt! We have all gotten tons of compliments on the shirts already, and most people add a comment about how they'd never be able to make such a cool shirt. So, now I can speak with some level of beginner success expertise when I say, “Yes, you can do it! Erin is awesome and will lead you in creating a cool shirt of your own!” If you still have not checked out the Roll Up N Dye website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter, do it this weekend. You'll be inspired to plan a tie dye party of your own, I bet!

 

Swimmers Get Groovy at Tie Dye Luncheon

Two of the Shirt Samples

Two of the Shirt Samples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@HoCoBlogs

Today was our annual Masters Summer Pot Luck luncheon. A little earlier in the season than usual, but the weather warmed up and got sunny despite an overcast morning. We upgraded the fun this time to include making tie dye team t-shirts! We called it Dish N Dye. Clever, eh? Well, it was a blast! We had a great time.

We set up our salads, sandwiches, and fruit first. And we enjoyed a tasty lunch and chance to chat with everyone in more than 10, 20 or 30 second intervals (which is how swimmers carry on conversations during practice. We are experts at it.). We then moved outside to begin the artsy part of the party. I was quite nervous, since I know how not artistic I am. 

Just about to get our tie dye experience started.

Just about to get our tie dye experience started.

 

The tie dye portion was courtesy of Erin Cassell/Roll Up N Dye, our teammate, who I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts here and here. She brought everything we needed to make some very awesome t-shirts (including her patience, which she has mountains of, to work with non-artists like myself!). We all had had some form of tie dye experience in the past, but never with a professional tie dye artist. We started by selecting from a trio of sample shirts Erin had made for us to use as a guide.  Thank goodness she brought samples.  I had a difficult time picking which swirl I wanted and couldn’t picture any of them without the use of a sample.  Our team colors are pink and black (chosen because of a Speedo swim suit we picked as our team suit years ago). So, once we picked the swirl of our choice, we had to actually touch the shirts.  For that, we needed gloves. The shirts were pre-treated with a substance that will allow the shirts to grab and keep their vivid color.  We pinched, we spun, we started over and over (and for the perfectionists among us, over again and then asked Erin to tidy it up), and finally, we dyed.  Some among us seemed to catch on quickly and then enjoyed a laugh at those of us who didn’t.

Anyway, it was amazing how fun and stressful it is to put dye on a t-shirt. Our shirts are currently sitting in a warm location for at least 24 hours before we follow the directions Erin gave us as to what to do next. I can’t wait to see what my shirt is going to look like.

This is what is looks like now:

Here is the Angie Masterpiece...so far.

Here is the Angie Masterpiece…so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to imagine it will look like one of the sample ones in the top picture.  A great time was had by all, and I highly recommend having Roll Up N Dye at your next swim team event, pool or office party. It’s a lot of fun! And if I can do it, anyone can do it!