Friday, March 13, 2015

30 Days of Biking - I can't help it!

I just signed up for yet another round of 30 Days of Biking. I honestly have lost track of how many of these I've done. Thankfully, other people are keeping track - according to this Pioneer Press story by Molly Guthrey, 30 Days of Biking started six years ago. So, if we're in the 6th year and there were a few bonus rounds in September a few years, this will make my 8th 30 Days of Biking - or something like that.

I guess the number of challenges I've done doesn't matter as much as the fact that each April I get out and I ride my bike every day and doing so makes me feel good. If this lovely spring weather we've been having sticks around into April (please! please! please!) then this 30 Days of Biking will be a piece of cake compared to other years when we've had snow, cold, sleet and rain to ride in.

I do have a busy schedule this April because I'm in a musical, Oliver! It's likely my rehearsal and show schedule will be more of an issue for me than the weather.  I've been wondering if, because of my schedule,  it would actually be a good idea to skip doing 30 Days this year. But, well, I just signed up - so here I go again!

It's not even mid-March and 2,261 joyful cyclists have already registered to ride this year. You can sign up, too, just go to: www.30daysofbiking.com



Just for fun, here's a link to a story Molly Guthrey wrote about me and 30 Days of Biking back in 2012. Click to read Turning Point: Northfield mom discovers pedal power during 30-day bike challenge

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oliver!

My copy of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - just £1.99!
I've been super busy lately helping out with a Northfield Arts Guild production of August: Osage County as well as getting my daughter, Rose, to and from rehearsals and performances of Northfield High School's Rock 'n' Roll Revival XI. To top things off, I decided to audition for the upcoming NAG production of the musical Oliver!

Well, I got in the show and I'm really excited that I'll be playing Widow Corney. We've already started rehearsals and things are going well.

Just for fun, I decided to pull out my copy of Oliver Twist and start reading through the Dickens story that inspired the musical. I found my paperback copy of Oliver Twist that I purchased when I was in England for a January Term class through University of St. Thomas back in 1996. That visit was life-changing! (click HERE to read my previous post about my host parent, Bob). When I opened Oliver Twist, I found inside a British Rail ticket to Canterbury, England. Oh the memories! I took a day trip to Canterbury on my own one day during my J-Term. It was one of my favorite, certainly one of the most memorable!, days in my month-long trip. I toured the Canterbury Cathedral, had lunch with some lovely ladies who were on the cathedral tour, and purchased a handmade teddy bear from Canterbury Bears. Then I hopped back on the train so I could attend an evening show with the rest of my class. Except the train broke down and was late back into London. I had to run quite a bit but I made it to the theater just on time!

Here's my British Rail Ticket. A perfect bookmark for Oliver Twist!
Earlier in my England trip, I had the fun of seeing Oliver! at the Palladium Theater. Wow! I've wanted to be in Oliver!, and have wanted to be silly Widow Corney, ever since. Dreams do come true.

My Oliver! program from the Palladium Theatre in London
Interested in seeing the Northfield Arts Guild production of Oliver!? We open April 17, 2015 and run through May 2nd. You can find ticket information at this link: http://northfieldartsguild.org/theater/oliver/


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Laughing all the way

We have a great new mountain bike trail in Northfield. The Sechler Park River Bottoms Trail was built by members of the Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT) club a few months ago and runs along the Cannon River. I've had the chance to ride it with Owen a couple of times and had great fun.

We had a fresh layer of snow last week and I was itching to get out and ride my Beargrease on the trail again. Owen wasn't free to ride and since I'm a beginner when it comes to mountain biking I didn't want to ride alone - I think it's safer to ride with a buddy plus it's more fun! - so I contacted Griff Wigley (friend and blogger at Mountain Bike Geezer) to see if he was free to ride with me. Griff was free so we set a time to meet.

It was sunny and about 28 degrees when we headed out on the Sechler Park trail last Thursday afternoon. The trail was snow covered but fairly well packed by other mountain and fat bikes that had been out not he trail before us. We set off on the main trail then, just as I'd hoped, Griff led me off the main trail to explore some sections of the trail I hadn't ridden before - sections known as The Spine and The Velodrome.

Well, riding those more technical sections of the trail certainly was a challenge! I managed to fall off my bike a few times and had to put a foot down to catch myself from falling over many times. I found it a bit scary to try the new-to-me parts of the trail but Griff patiently talked me through new things and demonstrated how to ride each section before I gave it a go. Though the ride was a challenge, it was also great fun and I found myself laughing pretty much all the way (even when I was falling down or getting up after my falls).
Here I am right after a fall. I decided to make a snow angel while I was there.
Photo by Griff Wigley
Griff took some pictures of me riding (and falling) and also put together a video clip of me attempting different parts of the trail. He also blogged about our ride on his Mountain Bike Geezer blog and on the CROCT blog.

Click on the link to view Griff's video of me riding my fatbike - http://vimeo.com/117544728

You can also view the video, see more pics and read what Griff had to say about our ride at the links below.

Click HERE to read the Mountain Bike Geezer post

Click HERE to read Griff's post on CROCT

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Feature in Piper Flyer

I found a surprise in my mail today - a big envelope containing two copies of Piper Flyer magazine featuring a story I wrote right there on the magazine's cover and in the center spread. I had seen a PDF of the story already and found the story online but there's something extra special about seeing a story you wrote in actual print. It was so much fun to see the story title on the cover then open the magazine to the center and find my story there. Wowza! Now that's exciting!
Here's the cover and center spread - click to view the PDF of the story
The story Airshow Entertainer: Lowell White's Vagabond - A Piper Vagabond Finds Its Way Home is about an airplane that is based near my home here in Minnesota. I first saw the airplane when it landed here at SkyHarbor one day last summer - it's absolutely beautiful! I heard the plane had a cool history and was winning awards and I knew I just had to talk to the owner, Vaughn, and write something about his little airplane. I interviewed Vaughn with plans to do a quick QandA feature on the plane on a website. Yet I knew the plane's story deserved to reach a larger audience and be told more fully than a QandA so I contacted Piper Flyer magazine to see if they would be interested in a story. They were! And they said to go ahead and write it as a feature story to boot!

I sent the story to the editor in August. By the end of September, I discovered the story would run yet this year so I got busy gathering photos to accompany the story. A few days later I discovered the story would be in the November issue. I was pretty excited things were moving quickly and even more excited when a few weeks ago Heather, the magazine's editor, sent me a PDF of the story so I could get a sneak peek before my print copies arrived.

When I looked at the PDF, I was amazed to see my story and the accompanying pictures covered eight pages of the magazine. Wow! Then a fellow Short Wing Piper owner, Curt, contacted me to congratulate me on the story (he had just received his magazine in the mail). He sent me a picture of the magazine's cover - that's when I realized my story was on the magazine's cover. I knew I was writing a feature story but did not realize my story would be THE feature story. That really made my day!
The story got a nice callout in the table of contents, too!
I feel so lucky I had the opportunity to write about the Lowell White Vagabond and wish to give special thanks to Vaughn Lovley for letting me write about his plane and for patiently answering dozens of questions about the Vagabond's history and restoration. Thanks, too, to photographer David Schober who let Piper Flyer use two of his gorgeous pictures of the Vagaond in flight to accompany the story. I also want to mention that I had a super experience working with Piper Flyer for the first time and found it a pleasure to work with Jen, the publisher and Heather, the magazine's editor.

Click HERE to read Airshow Entertainer: Lowell White's Vagabond on Piper Flyer's website