Congratulations to all those celebrating years of hard work at Marshall University. Brent left moments ago to do whatever task he must with the graduate students of his department. He chose to dress in his regalia at home, like he does every year. He chose to wear his cap to the ceremony, like he does every year. Only this year, he also chose to ride a bike.
With this morning’s rain, and continued drizzle, he may get wet. He was looking forward to it. We both love cool rainy weather. I just asked him to park my Yuba at the library, where there is a covered rack.
Thanksgiving was good, Friday was ho hum. So many days at home had me aching to get some errands done. With such outstanding late November weather, we combined them with family outdoors time.
The agenda was Goodwill, library, hike, and let nap and lunch fall where they may. I am digging through my basement/garage and I plan to have it all cleared out by the end of the year, one trailer load to Goodwill at a time. The library stop was just for London, our avid reader. The hike was for me.
Brent has been taking the children hiking on the hill at Ritter Park since we moved here. Those hikes are usually reserved for the older children and him. Now it feels like all the children are “older.” This was mine and Oliver’s first hike in these woods.
The weather was incredibly warm for this time of the year. We stopped on the back of the hill to let the children gather pine cones and run amuck. This particular side is also where Brent takes them sledding every year, something else I have yet to participate in. Always pregnant, nursing or with a wee one.
We had such a fine afternoon. Oliver napped when he needed to, we stopped for carrots and peanut butter sandwiches when we were hungry. We saw several familiar faces and soaked up the best this very late fall season had to offer us.
Friday Comparison! Geez, it’s Saturday? That holiday stretch threw me off. So be it. The above numbers are not including the 52 miles Brent conquered yesterday with Cam and Mike. I just couldn’t see how to work in exercise and leisure miles that would give an accurate reflection of comparing our methods and modes for everyday living. Turkey Trot miles are also not included. I may have to go back and adjust a couple weeks to remove these activities when I do next Friday’s update.
Over all, low on all areas compared to previous weeks. We have been taking it easy around here.
We had a productive nap time today. Not only did we knock out some community connections for Kidical Mass, but I managed to set up some more volunteer opportunities at the children’s school as well as do some research and house work. Rare display I assure you. Certainly worth mentioning so that maybe Brent will read this and give me a pat on the back. I need those every once in awhile.
School pick up was beautiful. 73 degrees and sunny. A bit too sunny for my sensitive eyes, but I am not complaining really, just thinking about how much time I spend outdoors now and wondering about prescription sunglasses.
Oliver and I did our jaunt up the hill and around the bend. After getting the other three we headed to the library. We spent a considerable amount of time snacking outside the main doors. I laid out the children’s options right on the Yuba deck. Instant snack bar!
The children took turns going into the library for books today while I managed the remaining children with their vittles. It never fails that when we all have our helmets on and half of us are heading for the road, there is the need for a diaper change. Yuba deck to the rescue, instant diaper changing table!
Now I doubt Yuba will promote their amazing cargo bike in this fashion, but when you need a snack bar or a changing station, it’s there for you. No modifications necessary.
Donning my Running Shoes
This evening I took London to Girl Scouts on the back of the Yuba. I dressed for a run. The church for scouts was two blocks from the park and trail. Running is always on my mind. Has been for decades. I am not a good runner, I have no endurance, I hate the way I feel when I am moving, but I get a genuine rush of good endorphins later.
Getting mentally prepared to run could take me years, and in this case it has been 10 months. I haven’t attempted to go faster than a walk in 10 months. Before that I was jogging regularly (although intermittent with walking) with a neighborhood friend. We went from barely being able to hold a jogging pace for 60 seconds in March 2010 to running about two miles before we needed a breather and then could pick up the pace again for another mile. We ran/walked the Turkey Trot last year in under 30 minutes and continued our evening runs for a couple more months before life did its rearranging and we just tapered off.
Sunday of this week I was at home cheering on many friends who ran the Marshall University half marathon. Then today a friend posted something on Google+ about their registration for the Ritter Park Off Road Challenge and I was sparked into action. Everyone else is going about their business of running and I am doing an awful lot of thinking about running. So I put on my shoes and took off for the park. I told myself I would go and I went. I made it .76 miles. I congratulated myself for moving from thinking to doing. Now I just need to do it again.
Social creature that I am, we met up with Ashley and Etta again today after school. I didn’t know I was going to see her at the library, but when people know where you will be, sometimes they just show up! Ashley was taking her husband’s new bike out for a test ride. Etta had a new child seat to try out. Ashley intended to meet up at our house, but thought we might be able to show her the route we have “mastered,” so she escorted us home.
We enjoyed some bike banter (sorry Ashley if I couldn’t talk about anything else) and dinner (amazing salmon patties, mashed potatoes, coconut curried lentils, and steamed carrots courtesy of the meal co-op) then Brent suggested I ride with the ladies to their house. I was thrilled for the chance to have some adult company while riding a bike that was not loaded down with five back packs, a clarinet and two children, as it was on the way home. Brent loaned me his mountain bike and we arranged lights for Ashley then took off up the Wiltshire hills.
At turn one I discovered why my husband likes to wear shorts or geekily tuck his jeans into his socks when he bikes. My jeans were lodged in the chain, so I rode the rest of the way with my right pant leg pulled over my knee and my long socks slouched down to minimize the dork effect. It didn’t work, but it didn’t matter, I was having a great time.
Ashley was working hard. She did better than I did for my first dozen rides. These hills are tough. Getting to ride it without a lot of weight and with a light 29 inch bike; I flew up those hills tonight. I felt strong and accomplished, if not a bit dorky.
The solo ride home was invigorating. Sun setting, air chilling, me sailing. Splendid and simple.
This tale left off with an appliance delivery and I am happy Brent got it installed last night. In the mean time, between loads of diapers and linens, I managed to arrange a date for Oliver. The lad has been going around the house declaring every baby picture he sees, Etta.
A little back story. Etta is about five months younger than Oliver and has been coming around since her birth. I hang out with these chubby cheek toddlers occasionally when her parents have other obligations and many times Etta and Ashley, her mother, will just pop in for a few hours to play. Well, it seems Oliver has developed a fondness for the brunette and can’t get her out of his mind. Forward to this scene:
Yes, I think my children have cute qualities. Oliver’s swooning over Etta is one of them. The children and I biked to the library after school and Ashley walked Etta over in her backpack carrier from their house. It’s probably wrong to feel a weency bit excited to see people walking and biking, but that’s where I am. There is a surge of jubilation to see people outdoors getting to and fro with their own strength and when they do it with their children…I am wowed. Easy as that to please me these days. Or as my husband says it, “obsess much?”
When we were leaving the library I felt like a terrible bike steward. The three bikes we brought were inconsiderately parked on the rack, leaving no room for the cute cruiser bike that parked on the side walk in front of the main doors. I apologized to the cyclist for my rude behavior and I am still feeling guilty, yet excited to see someone else biking to the library.
Then there was that moment of getting from the library bike rack to the cross walk. I botched that one. Toppled the bike over onto Avery and into the grass. I knew I should have tried to walk the bike up the grassy hill with Oliver in the iBert, three years worth of Better Homes and Gardens (they were giving them away for free and I have been yearning for a magazine of any kind to thumb through), three back packs, a bag of library books, and Avery on the tail deck of the Yuba…but I thought just maybe I could peddle up. I certainly should stick with what I know and not what I think I can do. Again, no injuries, just a bit embarrassment at my error of judgement, and we were on our way home, arrive just as it began to sprinkle.