Website Overhaul!

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About a year ago I got my own domain name, flyingabalone.com. I signed up for a fancy webhost, squarespace.com, I launched my new website. There were many things about the Squarespace software that were great, and a few things that I didn’t like so much. In particular, the way that they handled photographs. My issues with it wasn’t really enough to make me stop using the service or anything like that.

A few months ago Squarespace upgraded their software and greatly improved the way images were displayed. But to upgrade, you had to completely redo your website. Ugh. So I put it off. I took another look at it a few weeks ago an decided I should just jump in and make the change. So I did.

I haven’t gotten all the pages reconfigured from the last site and some things like older post on my blog will have funny and inconsistent formatting. I was going to try and get all that done before I launched the sight but then I though the heck with it. I’m not a business so it doesn’t have to be perfect. I work on it as I can and just go forward with what I’ve got.

The photo slide shows should look a lot better. Go to the menu bar above and click on “art” then click on “Russell Rogers” or “Art on North Franklin Street” and check out the galleries and see what you think. Also, try clicking the “Like” button on the bottom of my blog post. I think it has FaceBook beaten by a mile!

The photo up top of the Prima Pils case really has nothing to do with this post, but it does make the tedious task of reconstructing your website much more enjoyable.

Let me know if you have any problems or comments about the site.

Enjoy!

Russell

Website Update

Website update

I am starting to get the hang of the software for my website and have been thinking more about how to organize it. With the Apple service, I created two different websites, one for the family and for the bike club. This of course resulted in two different blogs. With this new site I can't really think of a good reason to maintain two different blogs. When you get right down to it, I could have a separate bike blog, family blog, plant blog, soccer blog so on and so fourth. However, I think that would be cumbersome. Instead, I have decided to merge the family blog and the FABC blog into a new blog called, Le Blog. When I post a family related blog, I'll let family and friends now, and when I do a cycling blog, I let my cycling friends know. Also new is an index for blog entries (on the side bar to the right), which is nothing but a simple list of post from newest to oldest.

Flying Abalone Bike Club website.

The Flying Abalone Bike Club has always be an ill defined conceptual model consisting of a loose confederation of my friends who like to ride bikes, with most of our members working in shellfish, and further still most of those working with abalone. Now that I'm on the east coast, in isolation of all the Flying Abs, I think the conceptual model has become even more ill defined. One thing that I really miss in the northwest is a resource like Gene Bisbee's BikingBis.com. His site is an excellent central location for all things relating to Northwest cycling. I especially miss his ride calendar. There are few similar things here in the Delaware Valley that comes close to what Gene has done. So, I think I might transform the FABC mission to something similar for our region. I'll have to think about how to organize such a thing.

Photos

To the right you will see a heading called "Galeries." Listed below it are photo collections for family, art and plants. Just click on the gallery that you want to see and start browsing. The plants photos have two directories, one with thumbnails photos for each family of plants that I have identified and the other is a simple list of all the families of plants found in Pennsylvania with a link to the gallery of photos for that family.

Most of March and April I have spent birding and botanizing. I've been visiting a local place called the Stroud Reserve, which is only about 3 miles away. I'll post more about that later. As time allows, I'll create other pages as I had on the last website. But for now, the way it is now will have to do.

In the mean time, here is a painting by our friend Nancy Stroud from the small collection of art that Mary and I have. Check out the others in the" Art on N Franklin Street" gallery to the right, then go to the Moore-Rogers Collection. I think you will agree that I have some talented friends. 

Maine coastline

Let me know what you think, or if there are ways to improve it, or if there is something you would like to see.

Russell

Ride lots, stop often 

Back in the Saddle

Bicycle Botany: Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria candaensis  L.) blooming on a roadside in Chester County on 26 Mar 2012. 

Bicycle Botany: Bloodroot (Sanguinaria candaensis L.) blooming on a roadside in Chester County on 26 Mar 2012. 

At long last, I have our new site up and running! On my last post on the old website I stated that I was having some health issues, which included, but was not limited to, joint pains, cramping, extreme fatigue, numb toes, general malaise, to name a few. 

My bike riding was going great up to December then it fell of quite dramatically. Before December I could do 40 mile plus rides and maintain a healthy pace of over 18 mph (a good pace here with all of our rolling hills). Then in December I was struggling to do a 20 mile ride in an hour and 45 minutes. And when I got home from those epic 20 mile rides I was absolutely drop dead exhausted as if I had ridden ten time that many miles. 

My best guess as to what was going on was a tick illness. Back in November I did get a tick bite from an Ixodes tick, the type known to carry Lyme Disease. So, I went to my doctor to get a blood test. The test came back mostly negative (these blood test for Lyme Disease of not very precise). However, what it did show was that I had a severe vitamin D deficiency. Humm....

The doctor said that normal levels of vitamin D in your blood were 33-100. Mine was seven. The doctor said that many of my symptoms could be attributed to low vitamin D. So, they put me on some heavy dosages of vitamins.

This turned things around almost immediately. I have now gone through an eight week course extra D and I'm felling pretty good. Last week I managed to do a 50 mile ride with a 17.5 mph average without any issues as before. So things are looking up!

Another thing that I talked about in one of my last post was my goal of riding my bike on February 29, April 17 and September 23 as they are the only dates on the calendar in which I have never ridden my bike. I have already failed at this. The whole week of February 29 Paddy was home sick and I just wasn't able to jump on my bike at all that day. Oh well. My next chance to close out that date will be in 2016 when I will have a high school senior, high school freshman, and a fifth grader! Holy Mackerel. 

My riding thus far this year is at a much reduced pace with only about 900 miles logged. One reason for this is stuff like the photo above. As spring unfurls in my first east coast spring in tweny years I am seeing many plants that I haven't seen in a long time. When I see a new and interesting plant, I just have to stop and check it out. So you can expect more bicycle botany in future post. 

This one is commonly called bloodroot because of its reddish-orange sap. The genus name Sanquinaria comes from the latin word sanguis which means blood. This is amongst the eariliest blooming wildflowers that I have noticed here. It is also a native plant to North America. Most of the flowering plants that I have seen so far have been introduced. More on that later. 

That's it for now. Ride lots and stop often!

Russell

A New Beginning!

The last blog post on our old site was way back on February 11th about me meeting Sebastian le Toux, the famous soccer player. The post prior to that was January 8th about birthdays that occurred in December. So really, we need to do some catching up for the first three months of 2012! 

As with all kids, ours are growing like weeds. Emily quite literally so as she is as tall as Mary now. She has gotten into fencing and seems to really enjoy it. This past week she got her own sword and outfit with helmet. She has chosen to do epee, which is one of three types of swords used in fencing. I wanted to post a photo of her in her new equiptment but she said she didn't want any photos taken of her. I would have fought her about this but then I realized that she is learning to use a sword, i.e. a weapon, and that I better rethink that a little. I'll get a photo when she is at practice. Don't tell her about my plans...

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William is doing great. He and I have been working on models. The first one that we did was a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress. We finished that and moved on to a German U-boat. Those were "level 3" models in terms of difficulty. And we must say that they came out looking great. William, feeling a bit cocky, wanted to move on to "level 5" the hardest level of all. So now, the model that we are working on is the Cutty Sark, Level 5. These are good projects for William as it makes him slow down and be patient. We spend a great deal of time painting the models and try to make them look as authentic as we can. With the Cutty Sark we have learned that when they say "Level 5" the really mean "Level Eleven"! Here are photos of Will with his B-17.

Paddy has accepted sports into his life. He is currently doing basketball and swimming. He did soccer in the fall and is signed up for baseball in the spring. You would think that all the running around would wear him out. If you think that you would be wrong. It doesn't wear him out. It wears Mary and I out. It only seems to get him warmed up. 

Paddy's basketball team is something to see. It is, from what I can tell, the smallest team in the YMCA league with only six players. The other teams of 9 to 11 players. One of the players on Paddy's team has no legs or arms past his knees or elbow. Yet, he runs up and down the court and fights for the ball just as hard as anyone else. He will get the ball take it down court, shoot and score. He may be short in stature but he is ten feet tall in determination. One of the other little guys has a neurological disorder that causes him to trip and fall a lot. My knees hurt just watching him. Three of the other guys have clearly played basketball before. They look like pros at times.

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Then there is Paddy, who is still struggling to understand the basic concepts of the game. When he started he just didn't know how to dribble, he was totally unaware that it was required at all. He is now to the point where he has scored a goal three times...in practice. Paddy's real gift to the team is that he can talk trash. Matter of fact, he can talk trash like nobody's business. And he does a lot of it.

For example, at the beginning of the game the teams line up in front of each other so that the players know who they are supposed to guard. One game the referee pointed out Paddy to his opposing player. When he did Paddy leaned forward, took his hand and and formed a peace sign with his index and middle finger and pointed it back and forth to his eyes and his opponent's eyes and said, "yo bro, I'm watching you. Uh-hu, that's right, I said you." Paddy did watch him. He watched him score a lot of points. 

Despite Paddy being the weak link in the team's abilities, they win. Actually the always win, every game, and usually by a lot. Once they are up bay 10-20 points, they start doing a "P play." This is where they feed Paddy the ball and hope he scores. He came close one game. He got the ball, shot, and it circled the rim but fell the wrong way. Our hope is that he scores a goal before the end of the season. Here is a photo of the team in action. Paddy is number One!

I am still looking for work. I've had one interview out of 36 applications! I haven't heard back from the job I had the interview for and I'm still in the running for four jobs with the Federal Government. Mostly there are very few jobs in my career path available here. Most of the environment type jobs are looking for people that have experience with freshwater wetlands. Having spent 11 years in Marine Resources in Washington State is not the best match for such things. However, positions do turn up that I am qualified for and we are sure one will come through at some point. The good news is that Mary's job is stable and she is enjoying what she is doing. It pays just enough for us to get by, which ain't bad!

How is that for our first post on the new website? Let us know what your are up to in your neck of the woods. 

Russell, Mary, Emily, William and Paddy