About

ginny is rather older and larger on the outside than she is on the inside (subject to change without notice). She blogs random access memories, snippets, quips, and ephemera.

She owes it all to David, in-house geek & hubby.
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So what the heck is the dealio with the ampersands?? Well, we swore we wouldn’t tell our friend (and best man) Steve until one of us was dead (not Steve, though. That would suck). For now all I’ll say is that it’s an old joke from the very beginning of us.

I was born in an area of southwestern Colorado where there used to be dinosaurs… I’ve been a dinosaur fan ever since. It was the late Fifties – I was a late Boomer, in fact. When I was a baby, we moved to Albuquerque, NM. My earliest memories are of stubbing my toe in front of our faux-adobe house on Candelaria, and of being locked out in the back yard. When I knocked on the screen door and demanded entry, I heard my mom say “They all ran away and joined the circus!” This confused me deeply – if they all ran away, who was telling me this? It sounded like my mom… and if they joined the circus, what would they do? I puzzled over this for some time, even after my mom let me in and told me it was a joke.

I grew up speaking Spanish with the Rivera kids two houses over, and reading children’s books that had Hispanic and Pueblo Indian characters and settings. I’m still strongly attracted to Hopi and Navajo silver jewelry (not that I could afford a solid sterling squash blossom necklace then…). Later, I read all about the Cliff Dwellers and the Basket Makers and dreamed of being an archeologist. I started reading spontaneously at about age 4, because my mom had been reading to me for more than a year, and she taught me using phonics. Strangely enough, it came together in my head all at once when I was looking at the Sunday funnies one morning, and I ran out of my room hollering “I can read! I can read!” and proved it by reading everything she handed to me. I was still sleeping in a crib at the time. This probably led to having all the children’s books. Haven’t stopped since.

In 1962, we moved to Salt Lake. The “blissfully happy” part of my childhood stopped about then, and the “still very happy, except for the mean kids at school” part started.

In 1968, Pop died. The anxious “are we OK, Mom?” part of my childhood started, but ended in a few years. Some fun ensued eventually, I guess. The “mean kids at school” part of my childhood went into high gear.

Then puberty happened. Misery unbounded. The first few years, I was the object of much public scorn from nearly all and sundry. The last few years, I was socially invisible. Or maybe it was a form of caste untouchability? Lather, rinse, repeat – until finally I left for college. Somewhere about then, I read The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings. This probably explains much about me.

College? I don’t remember that much. Had a lot of fun. Never did get my degree. Like I said, fun. Somewhat lonely, so pursued much fun to make up for it. Read much science fiction and fantasy. Star Wars, of course. It was all about Star Wars for a good long while. And then there was Indy. Oh, Indy.

My obsession with the comic adventures of Retief of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne started then. Still have many old paperbacks with “Smith’s Used Book Store” tags on them. I still fall in to some of them.

Crap job, three years. Some fun had, but still lonely. NPR became a big part of my routine. Saturday nights, more often than not, were spent listening to A Prairie Home Companion.

Fell into travel career by accident in 1986. Never looked back. Lonely in Eugene, then moved to Seattle. Still lonely. Occasionally had much fun to make up for it. Watched a lot of TV. Got an orange stripey cat named Studebaker. I was thus a single woman with a cat, and we watched a lot of TV. I became a huge fan of Highlander. Yes, I know, it was a cheesy concept, but damn! that man really knew how to swing a sword (he had a couple of good swordmasters). I bought a computer and became a low-level geekette fangirl and then a medium-high churchlady (ie., “smells and bells” liberal Anglican). Then I bought plane and train tickets for a trip to Utah and Colorado, to see family and then to run off to Denver to the first Highlander convention, to meet all my online chat friends (and see the stars of the show, oh yeah).

Somehow, the TV watching and computer-geeking fangirlishness led to meeting David almost 10 years ago. It’s corny, but he’s my true love. Moved to Chicago, life is good. We travel when we can, take lots of photos, and are citizens of the TiVo Nation. We’re a geek couple. Strangely enough, we don’t go to science fiction conventions – just the one we met at, and the one the next year when I was still living in Seattle and David was in Chicago.

And now back to our show…

Recent Posts

Not The One

So, it’s another summer riding season upon us, and my stable of bikes is now 3. 

Veda, the sturdy hybrid. Not light but has lights.

Geoffrey, the sedate faux-vintage tourer. Also not light, but has lights.

Sara Maude, the step-through starter. Really not light, now chiefly on the training stand. I may keep her as an occasional Burley hauler and loaner for a friend.

Sometime soon, I’d like to have a lightweight road bike, as I’ve tried a couple on recent trips (most recently the unclogged Arizona trip in February, and the unblogged Honolulu Tour de Cure from last November). I liked the road bikes once I got used to the forward-rotated position. But the rentals were really high-end bikes, not in my price range.

My criteria: Lightweight, but aluminum, with a carbon fork. At least 20-22 gears (this means Shimano Tiagra or 105 to a gearhead). Women’s specific design, for narrower handlebars and other differences in geometry. Price range: south of $2000.00. Preferably well south. Brands: something well enough known that it’s not a dark horse.

This one, although the price is attractive, is probably not the one. 


It looks good, the price is good, it’s got 105 components, but it’s an REI house brand – and an unproven, brand new house brand at that. It’s the Co-Op Cycles ARD 1.2 Womens bike. On a whim, I went over to REI to check it out, because they had one in my size in stock. This is an important point, because most bike shops don’t typically have a lot of women’s bikes in stock, built up; you have to test ride the men’s version and order the women’s version “on spec.”

I rode around the lot, and to be fair, the seat was probably a little low, but I didn’t care for it. Shifting was fine, but the saddle was not my cuppa tea; it was slick and glossy, so I’d have to buy another one of my preferred saddles to go on there. 

It’s really a good deal, but it’s an unknown quantity; my husband David thinks I should pass on it because of this.

I’m also looking at the following, but have yet to test ride:

Fuji Finest 1.0 Women’s LE – Meh, the flat blue-grey color is ugh, but the price is good and it has other features. However, David thinks Fuji isn’t a well-known brand (although a friend rides a bike much like this one and loves it.

Specialized Dolce – one of various ones like this EVO, but they all have Tiagra gearing (meaning 20 gears), a bit less to work with on a hill but similar to Veda’s setup.  To get 105 22-speed gearing, I’d have to go up to the carbon-framed Ruby, which is a pretty big price increase, and I have to think whether I want to invest in carbon. I did enjoy the lightness of the carbon bikes I rode, especially the one in Phoenix, but really only rode that one a couple of times. HOWEVER, I’m interested in Specialized’s FutureShock stem technology, which MAY be added to next year’s Dolce Comp EVO. It’s on the Ruby (I think, possibly only selected models).

Trek Lexa 4 seems to be the best of their aluminum line for endurance/all around. Tiagra again. Readily available in several nearby shops.

There are other brands – Felt is locally available, and Liv by Giant is well regarded and carried by a local Giant “superstore.” Of the Liv line, it would be one of the Avail Discs endurance bikes (meaning set up for long rides, not racing).  The 2017 Avail SL 1 Disc has 105 gearing. But I don’t like the colors. The 2018 Avail SL Disc has great colors, but only Tiagra gearing.  It’s maddening.

This brings up a frustrating fact: bike shops generally carry just one or two brands, though there are exceptions, like Spokes Bikes and Kozy’s. Naturally, these Omni-bike dealers aren’t close by. When you’re bike shopping, you have to put some miles in, and a lot of shops don’t have searchable inventory on their websites. So not only do I have to “make do” with test riding men’s bikes before ordering a women’s frame bike, but I have to look around in about a 20-mile or more radius. David bought one of his bikes in Glenview; and he bought the latest one in Wheaton. I bought mine here in Hoffman, and one is from Elk Grove Village; I stuck pretty close to home.

Don’t get me started on the big, fancy bike shops in downtown Chicago. Even though one of them carries this gorgeous Bianchi Volpe, which is not all what I’m shopping for, but pleases my sense of bike aesthetics. Aside from that, BFF Bikes has a nice idea in offering bikes for a female clientele, but their road bikes are Liv. I don’t need to schlep downtown just to see what I can see right here.  

So from a price point-and-features standpoint, I’m stuck. I want what I want, but can’t test ride it and have to make do with trying the men’s version before ordering. Or, I can get something close to what I want, but the colors are garish.

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