When in Doubt, Cook It on Medium, Bike Woes, and Biking to Indianola

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) cooking

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) cooking breakfast.

My husband asked “Would you like pancakes?”

What an Arcadian beginning to Spring Break!

I was groggy.  Was I back on the commune in the ’70s? I wondered. That was the last time anyone cooked pancakes for me.   But no one was wearing overalls, listening to Blind Faith, or feeding scraps to a cute dog from the pound, so I figured it was 2015.

I was reading an article about Hilary Clinton’s private e-mail account when the smoke alarm went off.   BLEEP-BLEEP.  “Where is it?”  That is always the question.   There is hunting, there is following the loud bleep, there is climbing on a chair, and there is disconnecting.  Then there are black-crusted pancakes. They were burnt, but delicious with real maple syrup.

It was a surreal sitcom morning.

Here’s what we learned.  When in doubt, cook it on medium.  My motto:  Cook everything on medium except boiling water.  You boil that.

Bike Woes and Biking to Indianola


My Cannondale is the one with green pedals.

The weather has been heavenly.  It was 68 degrees today.

Biking weather.

I have had a few bike woes lately.

Do you, like us, have several bikes?  A city bike, a long-distance bike, and an old back-up?  Maybe a few more in the basement?  When the back-ups break down, you know you’re in trouble.

My woes started last year when my 2003 Cannondale got creaky.  Everything had been replaced:  seat, pedals, chain, derailleur, brakes, you name it.  I didn’t like the new noise, so I bought an inexpensive Raleigh.

My husband was a little upset by the cheap Raleigh, and said I needed a better bike.  But my reasoning goes like this:  Why spend a lot of money on a bike when you can buy books?

The lovely cheap Raleigh has collapsed, less than a year after buying.   And so I am back on my Cannondale.  It creaks like mad, but it is much faster and easier to ride uphill.   And now I know:  it is the better bike.  He was right.

And so CREAK-CREAK-CREAK:  Yesterday we rode our bicycles on the Summerset Trail from Carlisle to Indianola, Iowa.  The 11-mile trail (22 miles round-trip) is VERY EASY. And that’s why you want to ride it.  Your first long trip of the year eases you into riding.  And so you ride past the wetlands with the frogs croaking and then you are in a state park with a lake.

Uncommon Grounds, Indianola

Uncommon Grounds, Indianola

If you are lazy, you can stop by the small lake (six miles into the ride) and have a picnic.  We go on to Indianola,though,  because I really, really like coffee.

You can go to Uncommon Grounds, a coffeehouse-cum-deli with great coffee, delicious sandwiches, and dessert, if you get there before 2 p.m.,  when everything on the square closes up.

Crouse Cafe, Indianola

Crouse Cafe, Indianola

If you have a big appetite,  you can go to Crouse Cafe, which is open all day.  It has wonderful home-cooking specials like chicken with noodles, rigatoni, or catfish. I’m not sure about the coffee.

I am so happy to take a long bike ride so early. (Last year, we weren’t on the Summerset Trail till April 26:  read about it here..) No jacket, or wear just a sweatshirt–we’ve got to be kidding, right?  And the weather’s going to be nice all week.