Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cycling Haikus

Prose is what usually comes to mind when people think of reading, but poetry presents a whole new way to enjoy words.  Writers like Dr. Seuss capitalize on children’s delight in rhyme and creative language.  Just because you get a little older, however, doesn’t mean that you have to abandon poetry.  And I’m not just talking about required the reading of poetry in high school English class although that can be a pleasurable experience, too.
Kodac Harrison is a champion of poetry and a master of words.  He also happens to be my husband's uncle :)  Kodac is a longtime singer and songwriter in the Atlanta music scene.  In more recent years, he has focused on the spoken word, hosting poetry readings every Sunday evening at Java Monkey in Decatur.  Additionally, he has coached the Atlanta poetry slam team, which has excelled in national competition.  Kodac has even served as a professor of poetry at Georgia Tech, which has not one, but two endowed poetry chairs!  Georgia Tech, of all places, is the only university in the country with two endowed poetry chairs.
I have great admiration for Kodac and others who are so talented at expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas through verse.  My brain works too linearly to write poetry – with one exception.  I love writing haikus.  A haiku is a Japanese style of poem consisting of three unrhymed lines.  The first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third has five.  It’s fun and challenging to try to get a point across in only seventeen syllables.  Nature is a common theme of traditional Japanese haikus.  I have written haikus, however, about a multitude of topics, ranging from MARTA (Atlanta’s transit system) to Spam.  Perhaps most notable is the time that I wrote 56 haikus for Bicycling magazine’s “Win Any Bike” contest.  They didn’t require strict haikus with the 5-7-5 syllable pattern, only that submissions be in that spirit.  Because I’m a purist, though, all 52 of my entries were true haikus.  Alas, I didn’t win the bicycle, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself anyway.  Here are my cycling haikus:

Rushing home from work
Can I bike before sundown?
Standard time be damned

Lovely bicycle
But after that fight with car
Two unicycles

Great weight loss program
Fat bottomed girls get on bikes
Rockin’ world goes ‘round

Boring limousine
Much better wedding transport:
Tandem bicycle

Out of energy
Ninety-degree liquid carbs
Really hit the spot

He’s King of Mountain
No problem keeping up, though
I’m Queen of Drafting

Swimming and running
Fine if you’re a triathlete
I’ll stick to biking

Legs and heart pumping
Mile after mile of asphalt
Cold beer tastes sooooo good

Terror on two wheels
Zooming through the neighborhood
Armstrong wannabe

Flying on my bike
Like a bird, except no wings
And I don’t lay eggs

Stoker on tandem
Scenery doesn’t change much
Excellent hind view

Then: bell, card in spokes
Now: computer, aerobar
Just big kid bike toys

Biker shaves body
Wife doesn’t worry until
Lingerie missing

D’oh! Road rash again
But still more fun to acquire
Than psoriasis

Bumpy road, hot sun
Post-race, crumb-coated chicken
Shake and Bake two times

Cyclist engineer
Force, mass, acceleration
I’m such a gearhead

One-hundred-mile ride
Maybe I’ll be finished by
The next century

Rode a century
Woo hoo! But I’ll never tell
It was just metric

Clowns, golfers, cyclists
Just a few of the people
Who wear funny pants

Chain against my calf
Yet again my bike gives me
A Cat 5 tattoo

Rainbow of jerseys
Polka dots in the spectrum
Confuse Roy G. Biv

Champagne at Tour’s end
I’d be glad to have a glass
Without the riding

Peloton slows down
Leader detours into woods
Time for nature break

Redneck instruction
Angry drivers teach cyclists
About the state bird

Heady aroma
Wafting up from hot pavement
Mmm!  Eau de possum

Legs move like pistons
But my engine is better
Lifetime guarantee

Alien terrain
Gnarled roots, merciless briars
I’m such a roadie

Tour de Georgia shirt
King of the Mountain design
Gee, it’s just peachy!

Pro cycling in South
Let’s pull from NASCAR fan base
Have riders dip snuff

Musical cyclist
Scales apply to both hobbies
B sharp or B flat

Cyclists like pasta
Spaghetti arms on the top
Ziti legs below

Urban obstacle
Vertical slits catch bike wheel
Isn’t that just grate?

Cars just creep along
Cyclists move on down the road
Dude, now we’re jammin’

Riding single file
Move to front, blast like rocket
Must pick up the pace

Which will last longer?
Anaerobic?  Aerobic?
It’s legs versus lungs

Heart rate monitor
Computer, power meter
Must have more data

Austrians fixed flat
Beefy guys named Hans und Franz
They pumped (clap!) me up

Bitter winter wind
Stay inside on bike trainer
Just spinning my wheels

Humble domestique
Servant to all, no glory
Good life role model

Biker or cyclist?
One motorcycles, other
Motors his cycle

Yellow banana
Bicyclist’s favorite fruit
And type of saddle

New pro team sponsor
But riders come in last place
Huffy bikes can’t hang

Old time bicycle
Huge front wheel, little back wheel
Riding in high style

Silly bicyclist
Refuses to wear helmet
Hard head must suffice

Drove into garage
D’oh!  Forgot that new bike rack
Mounts on top of car

Chilly morning ride?
Could use leg and arm warmers
But bed is warmer

Barbecue lunch stop
Lactic acid ebbs, but now
Need an antacid

Pavement needs repair
Cyclists disappear for good
Bermuda pothole

Cycling irony
City: dangerous traffic
Country: no cyclists

Warm weather at last
Feet clicking into pedals
Cyclists’ symphony

First bicycle race
Will months of training pay off?
Rubber hits the road

Laid back tandem ride
Front guy looks back doubtfully
Sure, I’m pedaling

Bike tour in Napa
Ride, sample, ride, sample, ride
I love wine country

Police stop cyclist
“Why are you riding half drunk?”
“Ran out of money”

I can feel the burn
On seven-hour training ride
Forgot the sunscreen

Bad podium girl
Only the winner is French
The kiss shouldn’t be

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