Mark may be standing in first place on the podium, but I think I'm deserving of my own award...I've completed my first mountain bike season as photographer and 'water replenisher'. Mark and his friends have done a great job of introducing me to the sport and making me feel a part of this rogue, traveling band of cycling enthusiasts. I've been places I never would have gone and seen things I never would have seen...lakes, parks, small country towns, rows and rows of corn, a giant orange gorilla (I'll elaborate on this later) and so much more.
Mark has wrapped up both Heartland and MidWest Fat Tire racing series by winning his category, so we get to reclaim our Sundays. Time to focus on Cyclo-Cross I'm told. Just when I learn the ins and outs of mountain biking, I am thrown into another new sport. I'm actually looking forward to it! MORE COW BELL!
Yes, my dreaded foe, the cicada, is back. Many people here in the Mid-West have fond associations with this alien insect. "They ARE summer, it's not summer without them!", "We use to have fun collecting their skins", "I think they're cool!", they all chime in when I moan and complain about the summer visitor's incessant shrieking.
I was really hopeful they just wouldn't show up this year as the cacophony started well after summer arrived. Our peaceful dog walks now include the infamous "EEE..EEE.EEEE.EEEE...." at noise levels that can drown out the sound of a lawn mower. Imagine the sound track to the shower scene in Psycho, turn up the shrill factor, put it on a loop that doesn't stop and you'll have good idea of the torture these bugs bestow on your ears (and nerves!).
With their arrival, unlike native mid-westerners that welcome the din of these creatures, I am already counting down the days until Fall and their impending departure...when I can enjoy a nice peaceful, quiet evening walk with the dogs. I guess these cicadas are another proof point that you can take the girl out of California but you can't take California out of the girl.
The 4th is always a fun holiday...hang out, grill, sparklers, fireworks, parades. It's a great time to celebrate because freedom and the values of our forefathers are truly a gift. Hope you're able to get into the spirit like Buster & Athena!
We tried to celebrate outdoors until Mother Nature decided she wanted to have her own firework show by granting us a thunderstorm. What would a true Mid-West 4th of July be without a thunderstorm? I'm sure it will blow over and everyone will be out grilling again.