37 Miles

Today I had the longest ride of my life (I think, at least I can remember). I met up with a friend from work and we rode from Crissy Field in San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, dropping in to Sausalito, up the very minor hill Camino Alto, up and around to Tiburon and back. All told, it was just shy of 37 miles, only 13 less than I’ll have to ride next week at the Tour de Cure.
I felt pretty good doing it. No major back pain, no shortness of breath or dizziness, no real ill effects. It helped that I stay well hydrated and that we stopped for pannini in Tiburon. There were some tough little hills, especially at the end heading out of Sausalito. And getting over the bridge in the late afternoon with all the cross winds was no picnic, but I felt I could go much further, so I think I’m a decent bet to complete the 50 miles in Napa.
The only real problem I had is that I didn’t put on enough sun block for the 3 hours or so I was in saddle so I came back with a wicked farmer’s burn. That’s something I really want to avoid again.

Tour de Cure Update

Tour de CureWow! It took me less than 2 days to reach my modest fund raising goal. Thanks Rana, Peter, Michael & Jennifer.
If you still want to donate, please do. I’ve met my goal, but my company has only reached about 25% of its goal of $125,000. Like I said, every little bit helps even if you can only give a few dollars. Of course, your contribution is tax-deductible. It’s fast and easy to support this great cause – you can make your donation online. I appreciate whatever support you can give.
The ride is coming up in a little more than a week. I have to get some miles under my belt if I’m going to make it. Not much time to train.
Thanks!
Andrew with Cannondale near Golden Gate Bridge

Tour de Cure

Tour de Cure
I recently accepted the challenge of cycling in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure fund-raising event. The Tour de Cure is a series of cycling events held in over 80 cities nationwide.
The Tour is a ride with different route lengths from a leisurely 10-mile course to a demanding 100-mile journey. 100 miles is a bit too intense for me at this point, but I’m going to push my limits and go for 50 miles (the most I have ridden to this point is around 40). The goal is to have fun and get some exercise while supporting the American Diabetes Association’s mission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
So on May 4th (a mere two weeks from now), I will saddle up and ride along with Team Schwab in our company’s efforts to raise $125,000. My personal goals here are very modest. Only 200 bucks. Every little bit helps even if you can only give a few dollars. Of course, your contribution is tax-deductible.
It’s fast and easy to support this great cause – you can make your donation online. I appreciate whatever support you can give.
More information on the American Diabetes Association, its programs and diabetes in general can be found at the Association’s Web site.
***UPDATE*** [2:28PM – 4/22] Got my first donation from my first cousin Rana (incidentally the First Lady of San Diego). I’m 1/8th of the way there. Please help me get to 200 bucks, MAKE A DONATION TODAY.
***UPDATE***[3:24PM – 4/22] Thanks to Pete I now have 63% of my $200 total. Of course, Pete meant to bribe me to attend our 20th high school reuninion in June. I’m sure you’ll have more noble reasons to donate. MAKE A DONATION TODAY.

New Toy

New Toy
I’ve been wanting to take up cycling for long time. I’ve been a huge fan of the Tour de France since I was a kid and I always wanted a road bike so I could take up the charge. Now I finally have one. The right circumstances-having some disposable income and a friend who could walk me through the very intimidating environment of the modern bike shop, and a sale-made this the right time to dive in.
I’m really happy with my bike. It’s a Cannondale, like my mountain bike. All carbon fiber, with Shimano parts. It’s super light and very fast. I’d couldn’t be happier.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread
I’ve been wanting to cook up some kind of banana bread for a long time now. We have such fantastic bananas here in Samoa. It’s such an obvious thing to bake.

The catalyst was Jen’s cache of semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts from Trader Joe’s. Paleni also provided the secret to making super sweet banana mash which is to freeze the bananas and then let them soften up into a fermented mush.

The bread tastes as good as it looks. Here’s the recipe for anyone who wants to make it at home.

BANANA NUT CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1/3 c Butter or margarine,
-softened
3/4 c Sugar
1 ea Egg
1 c Mashed banana
2 c All purpose flour
2 1/2 ts Baking powder
1/4 ts Baking soda
1/2 ts Salt
1 c Chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/2 c Chocolate chips (or more if
-desired
1/2 c Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in
egg and banana. Stir together flour, baking powder,
baking soda, salt, nuts and chocolate chips. Add this
mixture to creamed mixture alternately with
buttermilk. Stir until just blended. Pour batter into
a greased and floured loaf pan (9x5x3 inches). Bake
for 65 minutes, or until bread tests done. Cool in pan
for about 5 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf. Source: “Muffins, Nut Breads and More”

1st Full Day in the Village

It’s lunchtime and I’m sitting here in Matautu in my fale surrounded by four kids, Lelefu, Sala, Fala and Timu.

Lelefu is my youngest brother. He has long hair and all last night I thought he was a girl. We walked down to the store (fale’oloa) after dinner and I was tickling him the whole way. Of course, the entire time I’m thinking he’s a she. Common mistake.

Sala is my cousin. He’s my little buddy. He likes to follow me everywhere.

Fala is his brother. He’s 3 years old. He is naked all the time.

Fofoa, my youngest sister, arrives wearing a blue dress with a white collar. I’m surprised that the kids’ clothing is so dirty.

Depart for LAX

Staging is over and the 12 of us from Group 69 boarded the bus for the short trip to LAX. At the airport, Neil and Laurie, the staging coordinators, gave us our “Peace Corps” passports and walking around money for the day we are going to spend in New Zealand.

When we arrive at the airport, there’s lots of confusion. The first 6 trainees have checked their bags all the ways through to Apia before the fuckheads at United realize that they made a mistake and it’s not possible. We’re all bummed because we thought we weren’t going to have to deal with our luggage in Auckland, but it turned out to be a false hope.

I don’t understand why the Peace Corps is routing us through New Zealand when there is a direct flight from Los Angeles. Typical government bureaucracy money wasting.

Goodbye to Saab

My mom and I depart for the Omni Hotel in downtown LA for the start of staging. Time to say goodbye to my beloved Saab. The car has been so good to me over the last three years. It did exactly what I wanted. It never once didn’t start when I wanted it to. This is a distinct difference from every other car I’ve had the sad privilege to own in my life. The Saab also made me feel safe and looked damn good.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to sell it. It sucks because I really needed the money I could have made from a third party. But that’s not such a bad thing since my brother is going to buy it, but at a huge discount. We just need to find a way to ship it D.C. He can just take over my payments which are miniscule, especially for Brian on his first year lawyer’s salary, despite his complaints to the contrary.

Good News

Hey Gang-

After pulling my hair out for the last six months dealing with the US government, I finally got some good news from the Peace Corps.

I’ve got an assignment. I’m leaving the second week of October and I’m going to Samoa. It’s a bit of shock after thinking I was headed for Africa all this time, but I’ll get over it. I’ll be on the front lines on the War on Mosquitoes.

Anyone wanting to visit is, of course, more than welcome (Michael – I don’t think there’s a Four Seasons in Apia, but there might be a Hilton).

I’m going to be down in LA this weekend to meet up my brother (he’s taking the bar this week in Pasadena) to celebrate our birthday. Hopefully we can hook up at some point. Too bad you’re so far away, Jeeves, but I’m going to try to make a trip out to NYC before I leave.

Well, well. Two years from now, I’ll probably have some good stories and a nice tan. Maybe I’ll even have figured out what to do with my life. I’m tempted to say, “god willing”, but that’s blasphemy for an atheist.

cheers,

Andrew