Thursday, March 28, 2013

In Today's Paper

Richard C. Cobbs, LTC (ret) US Army, died Monday, March 4, 2013 in El Paso, Texas. He was born August 14, 1933 in Iowa to Charles and Lois Watts. He was raised by his mother and his stepfather, Clyde B. Cobbs in Beaumont, Texas. He married Linda A. Harrison on December 27, 1956 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, daughter Karen Suppler and her husband, Charles Suppler, daughter Kelley Westenhoff and her husband Charles Westenhoff, son Dr. Kenneth Cobbs and his wife Courtney Cheyne Cobbs, mother, Lois Cobbs, brother Russell Cobbs, and his four grandchildren, Walker, Cooper, Lindy and John. He attended University of Maryland. Col Cobbs served in Korea (9/57-12/58), Okinawa/Vietnam (63-65) and Vietnam (67-68), Command and General Staff College (68-72), HQ USARJ (72-75) and HQ USAR/ACSI (75-76). He taught JROTC at Eastwood High School after retiring from the Army and was subsequently employed by Raytheon, Inc. and SAIC. He loved genealogy, history (particularly Civil War), his country and his family. There will be a memorial service at Scotsdale Baptist Church on March 30, 2013 at 1pm. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, friends consider making donations to the Wounded Warrior Project or El Paso County Humane Society.

My favorite photo of my dad:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dressed for Success

I'm anxious for spring now. We've had just enough winter around here and I want to get out and ride.

In furtherance of that goal, I've sorted out my bike gear and cleaned what needed cleaning.

I also (as I told you yesterday) purchased the appropriate journal and stationery. I know - stationery for cycling. I can't help it, it's a weakness. I salivate in paper supply stores the way some women do in Tiffany's. So here are some photos of the stuff:

 I just LOVE, LOVE the birds being included in the fun. And I love that the pages are lined and also decorated.

Here's a photo of the notecards:

They're about 5" x 5" square. It's blurry due to the light and my shaky hands.

And finally, to REALLY get me motivated, I used my REI members rebate AND the 20% member's coupon to order this:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Signs of Spring

I was out shopping today for a plant stand (a particular size and height and no luck today) but because of it, I ran into Home Goods as well as World Market.  Look at what I found:

From Home Goods -- only .99!

From World Market -- matching stationery ... which of course I purchased too.

I love all these signs of spring. I just wish the weather knew it is spring now. Today started cold and got colder. We even awoke to a dusting of snow!

My husband has been doing ground school all week.  He was supposed to get some flying time in, but that hasn't worked due to the high cross-winds. Not great flying weather for a small plane, even for an experienced pilot. Actually, it's the experienced pilot who knows when to say "NO WAY."

Spent the afternoon baking lemon rosemary scones.  They are heavenly.  Oh my.  If you want the recipe, go to Pioneer Woman.  Her photos are better than mine. Be sure to use fresh rosemary to do this. Here's the link for the recipe:

Also cooking jaegerschnitzel for a family from church tonight. It's so easy -- pork chops, mushrooms, heavy cream, and the Maggi mix for Jaegerschnitzel. Add noodles, a salad, some scones and ta-dah!

You can get the mix at World Market. This is an amazing dish for guests.

Cold weather always makes me want to cook. Come on Spring warm weather!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quiet Moments

I'm sitting at my kitchen table, watching a soft snowfall. It's so soft that there was no school delay this morning -- so my sweet son had to walk up to the bus stop in it. I hope it was a blessing -- this late snow. I'm delighted I don't have to go out into it!

After he left I put on my lawyer voice and called the folks at Arlington National Cemetery.  THEY didn't know I was still tucked in my bed in my jammies!  Our family was a little confused as to the delay in Arlington's response to our funeral director in El Paso regarding my dad's subsequent interment at Arlington. We were concerned that she was getting the run-around, and not being a DC type of person, didn't know to push things.

Turns out they're just behind. They will call her by the end of this week to confirm dad's eligibility and schedule an interment for later this year. We know he's eligible and they have the documents -- it's just a matter of working through their pile since they receive so many. Seems like it would be quick to confirm, but such is military bureaucracy, even in death.

At any rate, as I sit here watching this snowfall, and appreciating the dusting, I can just imagine how beautiful it is over there this morning. My dad would be pleased that his final resting place will be amidst his brothers in arms, and on the land confiscated from his beloved Robert E. Lee. I'll be able to ride my bike over to visit his grave marker.

I think one of the things that appealed to him about serving in the Army for his career was that feeling of belonging to something bigger than himself. I know for myself, the fact that I served in uniform gives me a feeling of empathy and belonging to "our" troops that is at a different level. And having been a child of a military member and wife of a military member, I understand what the families experience in a very different way as well.

The photos are from my yard this morning -- a "powdered sugar" kind of snow indeed.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back and Brr!

I'm home for now.  Apparently over the weekend while I was gone it was AWESOME cycling weather here. I can tell you today is NOT.

I got home Tuesday evening after a totally uneventful and smooth flight on United via Houston.  I have to ask though -- when airlines charge $25 per bag under the plane, do they not realize that it will prompt people to try to carry on more than the 2 approved items and in larger than allowed sizes?  Why not just cut the fee and enforce the cabin rules.  sheesh.

Yesterday I met some of my cycling friends/advocates to take a look-see where some development is going on.  One of the County planners wanted to get our group's feedback on how it will integrate into the area around it.  It was really nice for him to offer -- this project was approved long ago so they're not going to change much, but it was great to sit down with the developer's representative, a couple of county people and cyclists and talk about what the future might hold.  Then we took a little ride through the area.

It gave us an opportunity to tell the County person, "this is great, but while we're here, look at the crossover there -- it's not safe to get cyclists or pedestrians over to the (in this case) Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum Annex."  A picture is worth a 1000 words but a personal visit on a bicycle is worth a library!  So noted, I hope it will do some good.

The point is now the County people are asking the advocacy group to evaluate the occasional project instead of presenting it as fait-accompli!

This morning my son's bus didn't show up so at 6:50 I was driving him to school in my pajamas. I thought I'd go back to sleep but couldn't.  I had a prayer meeting at 9:30 and considered riding my bike but today it's about 35 and the wind is blowing like the dickens so I combined that outing with 2 errands and even saved a friend a trip to the post office since I was going anyway, so I think I scored some "almost" virtuous points without freezing my tail off.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sights of the Southwest

I'm still in Texas helping my mom.  I took a walk the other evening though and it was wonderful. The temperature was about 60 degrees and I walked around the big block -- a distance I thought unreasonably huge to ask a high schooler to walk back in the day.  "Oh please, dad.  Why can't I drive to school?"  Um...because we live about a block away?  Sigh.

On my walk I saw this.  Isn't it wicked?:

Yesterday we went out to the base to do some things.  It was fun being around the young troops -- so much joy in life.  They have all these different accents from all over the country, but when they belong to the same unit, they are brothers.  It's cool.  At any rate, wherever there are young men with jobs, there are people trying to part them from their money.  This was parked in the middle of the mall area.

Click on it to see the paint job and the screens.  Multiple screens.

Doesn't it just reek testosterone?  And the screens were showing a Jackie Chan movie.  Yeah.

Finally, today we were out near the airport, and this is El Paso's contribution to statuary art.  It's called "The Conquistador."  Mom says it was very unpopular and only the politicians showed up to dedicate.  Why do you think that is?  Perhaps because the conquistadors were ruthless conquerors of the native peoples who exploited all the resources of the new world?  Hmmm...

Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I'm in El Paso, Texas, helping my mother sort out all the details of my father's passing on Monday night. We knew he was ill, but did not expect things to change so quickly.

As we prepare for this transition in our life, I'm struck by how he was such a warrior, having served as a U.S. Army Officer for his entire career, but when it was time to pass the baton to the younger generation, he did.  He loved studying the Civil War, and for some reason, today this poem seems appropriate.

O Captain! My Captain! 


O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won; 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: 
    But O heart! heart! heart!         5
      O the bleeding drops of red, 
        Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
          Fallen cold and dead. 

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;  10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding; 
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; 
    Here Captain! dear father! 
      This arm beneath your head; 
        It is some dream that on the deck,  15
          You’ve fallen cold and dead. 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; 
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;  20
    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! 
      But I, with mournful tread, 
        Walk the deck my Captain lies, 
          Fallen cold and dead. 

Walt Whitman.

I will say though, that he has crossed to the victory, and is in the loving arms of His Savior. What better confidence than that can his family have?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Change in Tone

I went to the Women's Bike Forum yesterday in DC.  It was sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists who are trying to get their women's division into high energy.  The National Bike Summit, sponsored by same, began yesterday evening so the Women's event was on the front side of the big event.

Most of the people there were, predictably, women.  My daughter was helping with the Georgia in Dublin pop-up shop, so I circled back to see her every so often.  There was a lot of interest in the product, so that was good.

I attended a couple of panels and I have to say I was ... disappointed.  The panels were so much fluff.  I understand that women entrepreneurs in biking are important, and women teaching each other how to use social media, and special interest biking groups...all of that is a part of biking, but there was only ONE panel that had anything to do with safety issues, or advocacy, and it was a last minute add-on, and offered by our own Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling member, Fionnuala Quinn.

The last keynote speaker was one of the rock stars of women's bicycling, Janette Sadik-Khan.  Her efforts have virtually transformed NYC for cyclists.  It helped that she had a mayor with some big cojones.

She was so positive and spoke so eloquently about advocacy and how important it is to changing the culture. She allowed for questions and something happened that I noticed the last time I listened to an effective woman speaker in a room full of mostly women.  The first 3 to ask questions were men.  I don't know why that irritates me, but it does.  It was OUR event!  Plus they each wanted to ask about specific choke points in NYC. They had obviously come for the rest of the Summit and slipped in to this so they could ride their hobby horses.  Annoying!

I think women sell ourselves short.  The panel on "community based advocacy" was more about what divides us than unites us. It wasn't a "how to manual" on getting other women involved, but more of a
"there wasn't a group like me, so I formed one." When we focus on how we are different, we lose sight of how so much we can and should work together to benefit all of us.

There should have been a panel on how each one of us, as mothers and sisters and daughters and spouses are also advocates. When women demand safety, EVERYONE in society benefits. When we have a women's event that focuses on retail (fluff), it's fun, but it tells the rest of the biking world that they need not take us all that seriously in other areas.  There should have been a panel on Safe Routes to School.  There should have been a panel on women in Fundraising efforts for different causes.  In other words, the serious stuff.  All the "serious stuff" will be later in the week -- but many of the women who attended were only able to come Monday.

Oh well.  Here are some photos from the pop-up shop.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Oh What Fun

My nephews are visiting from Texas.  They're 20 year old twins and we haven't seen them since 2006.  Family issues and timing have intervened.  So, the last time we saw them they were high energy boys. Now they're high energy, and delightful young men.

My son was at school yesterday and my daughter, home for spring break, had a paper to finish and turn in, so I decided to take them out for a tourist day.

We got on the bikes (thank goodness I haven't been able to sell the exchange student's bike), slapped on some helmets, and rode to The Air & Space Museum Udvar Hazy center (the annex) out at Dulles Airport.  It's 7.75 miles from my house by bike.  They are both big into biking and loved our trails and roads.

The big surprise to me was how much they enjoyed the museum. They were absolutely enchanted and it was so fun to see it through their eyes.

The ride home seemed shorter for some reason, maybe because it was warmer.

As soon as we got here, they and my son disappeared to work on bikes and other mechanical things.

After dinner I took all three boys to REI. The nephews had never been there.  Now they want to live here -- the trails, the museum and the Disney store equivalent for outdoorsy guys has them over the moon!

Today they're helping the son and husband deliver mulch for Boy Scouts.  They're just the best! My hat is off to my sister in law and brother.