Of singing, bicycling and Super Bowl Sunday


Today’s blog is brought to you by great friends.

For the blog’s purposes, great friends are defined as those who:

  • Throw snow shovels into their SUV before coming to your Super Bowl Party.
  • Put those shovels to use before they leave, helping finish the day’s second cleaning of your long driveway.

Thank you, Chris, Caleb and Seth Hoffman. Without your help, I’d be shoveling early this morning instead of finishing this blog post.

Now, back to today’s regularly scheduled blog … 

The time arrived Saturday to put up or shut up.

Last week, I mentioned my desire to start signing again and, this time, maybe even actually learning how to read music and play guitar.That prompted a series of emails and text messages with Lori Carroll, resulting in my first lesson with her Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church in my town, where she directs the choir.

We started by warming up a bit by singing scales — something sort of like this. We then moved on to a song Lori’s choir will sign on Sunday, Feb. 8. The lesson reminded me of rehearsals for this choir, which was directed by this guy when I was in it many years ago.

“You sing better than you think,” Lori said after we had finished.

I don’t know about that, but I enjoyed the hour, so I’m planning to keep coming back. It will be fun to have a reason to sign again. We all need a reason to push ourselves, keep learning, step out of our comfort zone.

For that reason, I was pleased to hear Lori say she is thinking about riding on RAGBRAI XLIII with Team MCSA. She said she’ll be observing a milestone birthday this year and she thinks it’s time to just buy a new bike, start riding it and go on RAGBRAI. And she likes to idea of going on RAGBRA as a way to support MCSA.

Of course, those are all things I like to hear. RAGBRAI is something everyone should experience at least once. It is the neatest thing that happens every year in Iowa. It’s also very doable to ride a bike 462 miles over seven days. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Also, I’ll welcome as much help as we can get when it comes to raising money for MCSA so the more the merrier when it comes to Team MCSA. Lori, and anyone else who joins us, will have a great time on RAGBRAI. I guarantee it. Even if it sounds impossible today. It’s not.

Yes, it snowed a whole lot

For once the weather forecasters were right.

We awoke Sunday morning to a bunch of snow. And it kept snowing into the late afternoon and blowing into the evening. I saw reports of anywhere from 7 to 12 or more inches of snowfall in eastern Iowa.

I don’t know exactly how much snow fell in my town. But it took four of us nearly three hours to get it all shoveled the first time. It was wet and heavy snow — the kind that sticks to the shovel, making the job even worse. I’m going to say we shoveled anyway 10 inches of snow the first time. After the Super Bowl, when the Hoffmans helped shovel, I’m going to say there was another 3-4 inches of snow.

That kind of snow can result in many changes to plans for the day. Our plans had called for a very early trip to Maquoketa, some 60 miles away. That didn’t happen, which was good, because we wouldn’t have even made it out of the driveway in time to get there.

The kids had planned to go to a Super Bowl party at church, but that was called off when all activities at the church were canceled for the day. This change in plans resulted in our hosting a hastily organized Super Bowl party, making a last-minute trip to the grocery store, etc.

What a game it was. I hadn’t planned to watch it at all, but I’m glad we did. That may have been the best ending ever to a Super Bowl. It was also the best Super Bowl party I’ve ever attended. Janet did all of the work. She’s a great hostess.