Breakfast Cereal Quilter Quiz Answer

The other day I asked readers why my quilter wife would be interested in me eating more breakfast cereal. There were some really interesting answers in the comments of the last two blog posts. I have to give Rachel “Don’t Call Me Bob” Cannon credit for persistence. But her answers, like all the others, were wrong.

Here’s the answer.

One of the most fascinating things about little kids is watching them explore their world. You can take a kid to the most amazing place on earth but don’t be disappointed when they fixate on a bug on the ground.

Babies take this sort of exploration to the max. Babies explore their world with all their senses. They love slippery things and things they can stick their fingers through. And they love things that feel interesting and make noise. Crackling noises are big favorites (for instance, our son loved potato chip bags).

So the reason my wife wants me to eat more breakfast cereal is so that she can harvest the bags inside the box to make crinkle quilts. The breakfast cereal bag (after cleaning and drying) goes between the inner and outer quilt fabric. The perimeter of the quilt includes loops of slippery fabric. So the baby will play the blanket to get it to make the crinkly sound and play with the loops on the edges.

My wife is busy making these for friends with babies.

Here is a picture of a recent creation (I added the calculator for perspective):


For my crafting readers, here’s a website that explains how this all gets put together.

Pictures of the Year 2015

Pool Noodles for the Win: Sam got us organized. We were going to occupy the Pennsylvania bike lanes to get barriers installed between 13th and 15th Street to keep cars from making illegal u-turns. Somebody got the idea of using pool noodles as props, to indicate where the barriers would go. Afterward, Dave carried them off. I think they took him to the nervous hospital later.


We all had a blast. Human bollards come in many shapes and sizes. Here’s the Katie Lee model. It’s generally impervious to u-turning cars, but can be moved aside with tickets to Packers games and Phish concerts.


Here’s Sam, the mad genius behind #biketivismdc. It’s funny what getting run over by a car does for your determination to make streets safer.


Kelly Biked to Work!: Kelly sits across from me at work. She had hip surgery which meant she couldn’t run for weeks. So she took up bike commuting. The smile means it was a success.


To her credit she really got into the bike commuting thing. Here she poses at an underpass on the Four Mile Run Trail. A few days before rising water during a downpour caused her to abandon shelter and head into the maelstrom. She survived and added a snorkel to her bike commuting gear.


Like Father Like Daughter: I went to a bunch of baseball games this year. Katie Lee and I attended a couple of games together. She is a meticulous genius at scorekeeping, an art she learned from her late father. At one game, there were two little boys in the row in front of us attending their first baseball game. They were trying to figure out how to keep score. Katie moved down and gave them a game long tutorial. It was an act of kindness that just knocked me out. Somewhere her dad is smiling.


Posh Bike Parking: For some inexplicable reason, our office building started getting all environmentally conscious this fall. Without telling anyone, they replaced their absolutely crappy bike racks with a pretty awesome, secure bike room. Combined with the gym and showers one floor above, it’s a pretty darn bike friendly place to work.

Here’s the before shot.

Bike parking

Here’s the after.

Bike Room

No Wrong Plan: Ryan, Kevin, and I rode from Pittsburgh to DC. It was my first bike tour in a decade. Here we pose in Georgetown’s Waterfront Park at the end of our trek. Any resemblance of me to Hoss Cartwright is entirely coincidental.


In Williamsport, Maryland, we stopped at the Desert Rose Cafe for breakfast. They made us sandwiches for lunch. Inside the bags they included napkins. Each one had a personal message. Such nice people. Such good food. Eat there. (They speak veggie and vegan too!).


Going Up: I did quite a lot of day hiking this year branching out to Shenandoah National Park for several exceptional hikes. All my hikes were solo except for this one with Ultrarunnergirl. She kicked my ass all the way up to Little Hawksbill, the highest point in the park. Then the mountain kicked my ass all the way back down.


On my 60th birthday, I hiked Old Rag. It was a tough hike and convinced me that rock scrambles are for the young and frisky. Also, the thin.


Glory Days: Mrs. RC is a very talented quilter. When I had to quit running about 25 years ago we talked about using my race t-shirts to make a quilt. Nothing came of it until she made the quilt as a surprise for my 60th birthday. What an amazing gift. Oh how I wish I could run like that again.


Around the World in 19 Days: My kids were living in Sydney, Australia and Phuket, Thailand. We decided to go visit them. While in Australia, Mrs. RC and our daughter Lily went to Uluru for dinner under the stars. Here we enjoy a drink just before sunset.


After trips to Melbourne and the north island of New Zealand, we headed for Phuket. The island is very hilly so everyone rides a motorbike like this one my son Eamonn uses.


We paid a visit to Big Buddha. He was aptly named.


Lily made friends with a baby elephant.


Cookies and Cider: I did a bunch of event rides this year. The Cookie Ride had a good hook. Cookies at every rest stop. Here I pose with a human cookie along with Paris and Lisa.


I missed my two favorite rides of the year, the Backroads Century and the 50 States Ride, which both occurred while I was traveling. I swore off the Cider Ride last year but decided to give it a go after they moved it into November. Finishers got this cool mug. Thanks to Michelle for her event magic on behalf of WABA.


Sunrise: The year is nearly over but I am pretty sure that the new one will start something like this. Thanks for reading.



Running Quilt

Most people think of me as a bicyclist or, maybe a hiker. That’s because they weren’t around when I was a runner. After losing 70 pounds and quiting a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, I had energy to burn. I bought a bike. Soon the days shortened and my bike without a light became dangerous to ride. So, I switched to running.

My first run lasted all of a quarter mile until I stopped gasping for air. Day by day, I added distance and speed. It helped that I was living in Providence RI and, for a summer, Berkeley CA. The weather in both places is ideal for running. More than half a lifetime ago, I ran my first marathon, the Ocean State Marathon in Newport RI. 3:10:18. Lord was it hard!

A couple of years later I ran a 3:04:29 in Troy NY. Then, I played a volleyball game and my left knee popped. I tried and tried to continue with running but my body no longer wanted any part of it.

The irony is that distance running, as hard as it is to do physically, is really not about the body at all. It’s all about the mind. Any meditation teacher will tell you that meditation is about calming the mind. Clearing out thoughts and mental restlessness. Getting rid of the monkeys (or squirrels) in your head. This is what happened to me on every long distance run. Once I trained my body to handle the task, my body would go on auto pilot and my brain would calm. I missed this aspect of it terribly.

The only thing left from my running days are a drawer full of t-shirts.  In the early years of our marriage, Mrs. Rootchopper took up quilting. We talked about creating a quilt out of my old running t-shirts but scores of other quilting projects took over, including quilts for Project Linus.

Night after night she quilts away at the dining room table. It’s such a common sight that I don’t pay attention and try not to interrupt her. This is pretty much what happened over the last month or so.

Little did I know that she was crafting the running quilt all that time. Here it is presented to me as the best 60th birthday present. What an incredible surprise.