Posted by: David | June 9, 2010

Six Times Nine

Is equal to fifty four. Which is how old I am now.

As per tradition I undertook to ride a bicycle AT LEAST the same number of miles as I have years. So today, which was a wonderful bonus day off (planned power outage by PSNH, the electrical utility) from work , my friend Bonnie and I met and rode all those miles and more. 50 for her, and 62 for me.  As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam in countless prior posts, bicycling is the primary method by which I was able to recover good health in middle age, after the prerequisite midlife crises were complete. Secondary was the introduction of a weekday morning exercise and breakfast routine of rolled oats, flax meal, yogurt and banana. And black coffee, of course.

For my birthday dinner, Tuesday night, my wife prepared a sumptuous meal of filet mignons covered in a lovely mushroom sauce and dotted with bleu cheese, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a dessert of vanilla pudding with fresh blueberries. To die for! My wife rocks! Just as we were settling into the peace of the later evening, still belching with satisfaction, the kids showed up and brought MORE birthday booty!

It’s vodka and weird food items. What could be better? Mmmm, octopus.

I ate the octopus (Ingredients: Cephalopods, soya oil, and salt) today, as a sort of oddball dinner after the bike ride. My wife made some nachos so we had those too. She wasn’t interested in the cephalopods. We all tasted the flavored vodkas last night. Interesting! Grey Goose Pear flavored vodka is not unlike some of the better cough syrups I’ve sampled over the years.  The little jar of EXTRA HOT horseradish really IS extra hot. Can’t wait to try the chili chocolate! The LIVER PATE in the can turns out to be pigs’ livers. That one’s gonna take a little more thought. Imagine that Oliver will find that quite delicious if it happens to gross me out. But I’ll certainly taste it. Oliver’s tastes run to squirrels and cat shit, so I’m sure he’ll be thrilled with pig liver pate. If I don’t like it. Chances are in the 50% range.

In the garden realm, I planted the corn seedlings on Sunday. I worked in the rain until about 1:00. Perfect weather for putting out seedlings. We were supposed to attend an 88th birthday party for the mother of a good friend, but we only made it as far as Henniker, where the blinding rain and a radio report of a tornado watch until 8 pm convinced us to return home. 90 minutes later the sun was shining. Followed by another spell of darkness and rain.  Dramatic weather. There actually were reported twisters in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Corn seedlings left, potatoes and tomatoes right, out of frame. Potatoes have not come up yet.

eeks in flowering mode. Year two for biennials that overwintered.

he cabbages and broccoli are getting attacked by chewing insects. Rotenone  time.

he replanted asparagus bed. Not seeing many of the Purple Passion stems poking up. Hope I didn’t plant them too deep. Center frame are beds 13 and 12, as yet un-planted.

The summer solstice rapidly approaches. The sun enters the various windows, illuminating things uniquely each day. On the morning of June 8, our little entry way shrine was illuminated thus. Two frames, one with the camera flash to assist and one without.

The table holds a variety of items of meaning. A framed photo of my late mother and son. Various quartzite crystals. Pine cones of different sizes and species, a brass compass, a stone carved in the shape of a heart. A piece of folksy artwork- THE FARM, acquired at a yard sale. A couple of candles. A felt flower in a decanter. You would walk past this shrine as you came into our home. What caught my eye was the way the sun was hitting it on Tuesday morning, June 8, 2010, around 7:00 o’clock. Another year will have to pass before it hits this table this way again.



  1. Happy Belated Birthday, Dave.

    That’s one heck of a bike ride. The furthest I ever road my bike was about 8 miles (one way) to the K Mart when I was around 10 years old, and my mom grounded me from riding my bike for six months. Being a single mother she tended to be a bit overly protective. She didn’t like the idea of me being so far from home, out on the open road.

    Sounds like you had some good company, good food (and some not so good), ok drink 😛 and a pretty good time all around. 😉

    Thank you Peter. Yeah, it was great. I recommend bicycling as a fairly painless and enjoyable way to get exercise, though walking ain’t bad either.

    What? You don’t like cephalopods? I didn’t realize you guys were vegans. Good for you! Veggie is the best diet on every level for us humans. I really mean that.

  2. Happy Belated Birthday from me, too. It occurs to me that your one-mile-per-year formula is going to run into problems eventually … but for now, nice goin’!

    Thanks Pi! (like the nickname, 3.14159265358979…) That thought has also occurred to me and my middle-aged cycling friends. Bonnie brilliantly suggested that I “bank” the extra miles over and above the age number (e.g. the 8 ‘extra’ miles of Wednesday’s ride) for my 50s and 60s and use them as decrepitude encroaches …

  3. Wow. I am loving the gifts from the kids. First of all, vodka as a gift is always a sign of true, deep affection. Second, cehpalopods?? I don’t know if I spelled that right, but I’d like to try freezing them and then adding them to your grey goose. Great kids. You’ve raised them right.

    Thanks VAGB (SO glad you like)! I think booze makes a great gift too. Second only to cash. You almost spelled cephalopods right. Good try! B-. The Gray Goose is pear flavored, which would certainly give the octopus an extra special tanginess. I only raised one of the “kids”, but she did turn out pretty great. Picked herself a fine husband too. Kids, if you’re reading this, keep the vodka coming. 🙂

  4. Mmmmm….cephalopods and nachos.

    I can imagine you riding eighty miles at eighty years. Really.

    Thank you Moonbeam. I do see a lot of old codgers pedaling down the road. Older than me I mean.

    Victuals update: The canned liver pate tasted and smelled too much like dog food for even me to eat. I gave Oliver a little bit and chucked the rest. He liked it. I hated to throw food away, but this stuff was just DEE skustin! Which did not detract in the least from its value as a birthday gift, since I have a certain fondness for disgusting things.

  5. Oh, my god, that Lindt chocolate bar is going to be so good. Ever since going to Switzerland all I want to do is eat Lindt chocolate bars. Please tell me it was good!

    I love that you are in your 50s and still drinking vodka. I wish I was. That looked pretty darn good, too, but not as much as that chocolate. Ditto on the horseradish.

    Thanks for visiting GFTG. I haven’t cracked open the Lindt bar yet. Soon, very soon. I’m very fond of their balls. The Lindt balls I mean. You know … Sheesh. The horseradish is really HOT.

    So your vodka comment is mysterious. I love that I’m in my 50s and still drinking vodka too. Gave up on the beer a couple decades ago. It made me gassy, bloated, and listless. With vodka, just plain listless. Not such a thing to admire really. Every night, I try again to drink responsibly. 😉

  6. “Oliver’s tastes run to squirrels and cat shit, so I’m sure he’ll be thrilled with pig liver pate”

    hahahaha, that is the funniest line I’ve read in a long, long time 😀

    PS: did you try to the chili chocolate yet? I’m so intrigued as to how that would taste!

    PPS: I love the shrine and the way it was lit, in a strange way it was such a revealing look into the world you literally live in 🙂

    Yeah, he liked it. Glad you were amused. To make a Canadian woman laugh is a notable achievement.

    Haven’t opened the chili chocolate bar yet. Soon. Not really saving it, just haven’t gotten to it for some reason. The vodka slowed me down I guess.

    Glad you liked the shrine too. The light really caught my eye that morning. It’s so interesting the way the sun moves round the sky in these northerly climes and the ways it shines through the various windows from day to day.

  7. PPPS: I can’t believe I forgot this: CONGRATS on the 60-mile bike ride! That is beyond my realm of understanding in terms of amazingness!! 😉

    Thanks Romi. I have to tell you that my friend Bonnie, who is a few years older than me, really kicked my ass in the last 17 miles of our ride. She put her glutes into it. No kidding. With clipless pedals you can sort of pull the pedals upward at the back end of the stroke, with your gluteus muscles. Without the attachment of the pedal to the foot you can only really push down on the pedals as you ride, thus missing the opportunity to add power to 50% of the stroke cycle. Have I over explained again? Bonnie and I rode our very first “century” rides (100 miles in one day- which takes pretty much all day) together several summers back.

  8. HOLY cow: a shrine. Jeez Criminini. Wow, it makes me speechless. Que baje Monolo y lo vea, which is Spanish saying let Jesus come down and see it. To add insult to injury let’s have the latest from the front in Afghanistan with a quote from General Petraeus:

    ““There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”


    Jeez Criminini? Maybe shrine isn’t the right word for this assemblage of objects. I feel neither insulted nor injured. Am I missing something?

    You must be done with your tax declaration by now, hence your giddiness?

  9. I thought later he should have said “potentially it is hugely” and stopped there, after “hugely”. It sounds kind of novel.

    Military-speak is its very own language. I have no idea what he was talking about. Do you?

  10. Your wife DOES rock! As do people who make birthday posts for themselves. What really splendid pics; you gave your peeps here the ability to celebrate with you; late though some of us were.

    Thanks MusEditions, for that lovely comment. My 50s are shaping up to be my very best decade yet. Not one to toot the birthday horn, but I guess I did that blogwise. So glad you stopped by. 🙂

  11. Six by Nine. Forty Two.

    Thanks for that link Nimish. While Forty-Two is always near to my central thought thread, that six by nine part had long since been forgotten. Thanks also for linking back to your blog. I see you’ve “rebooted”. I shall be visiting there forthwith. And commenting anon. Etcetera.

  12. So should I take that to mean you did not try the pig liver pate??? 😉

    Oh heavens no, of course I tried it. It was effing awful. That’s why I gave only SOME of it to the dog. It was so awful that I didn’t give him the remainder, cuz I didn’t want him puking it onto one of our fine carpets. Which diminishes its quality as a birthday gift NOT ONE BIT.

    I didn’t share any of the vodka with Oliver. And only today did I recycle those empties …

  13. I am sorry I stayed away so long, did the tax declaration and then got hooked hook line and sinker at that HubPages place trying to find out how people place ads on their writings. Could not do it, wrote to Amazon, had them explain, finally saw the light, spread ads all over, now floated around the internet and saw an ad on my own blog, next ran into somebody’s photo blog, flowers, and there were ads, too!

  14. I think her flower photos are really first rate:
    though she says she is out for colour, and I think she does understand colour rather than subject matter.

    No, no, my shrine remark was certainly meant to be insulting, for I just cannot take this USA religion thing. Let’s say it looks to me like a dead cockroach with a pink sugar coating floating on rotten vanilla sauce. Eh? How is that for descriptive prose?
    Imagine attaching Meaning to a pine cone and a stone!
    And going collectively like a hoard of brutes after that good old Ratzeli now Pope Benedict.

    Wow, yes thanks for that link. Lovely flower photos!

    I like that descriptive prose. I would apply it to the religion thing all around the world, except for the sugary bits. Substitute salt for the sugar in the rest of the world. Maybe shit for the Middle East. Rome should sell all their treasure and give it to the poor if they really want to set a good example, which they don’t. It’s a power thing. I’ll stop now because I am so full of crap.

    Imagine attaching Meaning to meaningless objects like death, goodness, and evil. What is the meaning of Meaning? Don’t answer that please …

    Walt Disney just rolled over in his grave again. 🙂

  15. As to that Petraeus quote, he was talking about the discovery that Afghanistan is rich in untapped stores of lithium and oil.
    The NYT said that was not known and was not the reason for staying put there.
    And Petraeus said that was potentially hugely. I think that sounds so sweet.

    Yeah, I thought it might have been about the lithium. And the tortured syntax.

  16. Yes, there are quite a few Americans that think that the Pope should sell the Vatican museum. Do they figure payment in lousy dollars or in shitty euros?

    I would hope that there are some besides Americans who think that too. To my simple mind the question transcends any practical economics and boils down to why a church supposedly built upon the life and works of Jesus Christ would feel the need to amass and maintain such treasures in the first place. But hey, I’m just another lousy Jewish sinner, what the hell do I know?

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