Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Bicycling

Today is the wednesday before saint patrick's day, are you ready to wear green? I am! I have a nifty leprechaun shirt I'll wear, hair bows, and leprechaun socks, even though no one will see them through my shoes. Perhaps I'll go to Target and see what goodies are in the dollar section.

I think more people should ride bicycles! It's so enjoyable. Maybe not as enjoyable in hot weather, but it's good for you and surprisingly efficient as a mode of transportation. You don't really realize how far you can go. From work to the house is six miles, although there is a monster bridge in there. I went six miles last week with a cold!
Today I went a different route, the other direction, stopped at the bank, and then Publix to grab a snack, since I left the house without one this morning. I was thinking cheese stick when I walked in, but graham crackers are buy-one-get-one-free. There were no individual cheese sticks, so grahams it is! They were calling my name anyway.

But riding there and back took almost no energy, it feels like. Oh sure, when the wind was blocking against me, I shifted down a gear. Big deal! I got to the bank in only ten minutes at a leisurely pace and stopping at 2 lights (like you're supposed to) like a car.

Seems to me that more and more people might turn to bicycles as a form of transportation if the gas prices keep rising as they have. It may be a symptom of not having my own car to worry about a gas gauge for, but I just realized that prices are up to $3.75 a gallon!! That's almost four whole dollars and I remember people absolutely flipping out about it nearly hitting three dollars a little while ago during a spill I think. Maybe its a good thing my husband and I have been mechanically forced to carpool...

The benefits of biking are many, and I feel like listing them:
-Biking doesn't use gas, deisel, or produce harmful fumes like a car.
-It's quiet! In some places the traffic is so noisy that you can't even hold a conversation, but on a bicycle it's the easiest thing in the world just to wave or say good morning to someone.
- You see more when you aren't going 55mph. Honestly. Think about the last time you went somewhere close to home. Can you list exactly what is between here and there? You can appreciate scenery or notice local tiny shops when you aren't rushing from point A to point B. (Or even if you are on a bicycle, there is time to read the signs :P)
-Exercise! The dreaded word for some, I know. But pedaling a bike is kind of like an elliptical I would think- low impact on legs. It's good for your legs and butt muscles, and even moderate exercise, such as a leisurely bike ride, has been shown in studies to improve mood due to chemicals released in your brain. Like during sex! How about a bike ride, hot shower, and then sex? Three good things in one!
-Bicycles are cheaper than cars! Well, some bikes can get outrageously expensive, but you know what I mean. A bike doesn't need a tag, yearly registration, or even a title! Tires are cheaper for a bicycle. You don't need insurance, only a good lock.
-Yes, you can take things with you on a bike. You can install a rear rack as well as a front basket or panniers. Or, you can go big and get an Xtracycle! This turns your ordinary bike into a longtail bike, capable of hauling small children, an adult, a ton (ok not a real 2000lb ton)  of groceries, or other weird stuff. You find out that you don't NEED to carry a whole bunch of stuff with you either.
-Community. A bicyclist is part of a whole community of enthusiasts who share experiences, complain about road-rage jerks in car-cages, and all the other stuff a group of people do with a common interest. You might bike only for pleasure, or be training for a marathon, but you have something in common with other bicyclists that maybe people in cars don't even care to try to think about. Does the average driver of a honda see other Hondas and smile? I know somemost Beetle drivers do! Just saying, you're like a bus driver waving to other drivers, bikers looking out for each other, or beetle owners spreading the goodwill.

So that's me up on a soap box for a minute because honestly, I just rode 4 miles and I'm feeling that awesome feeling I mentioned above. Now, it's really too bad I won't get home for another 3 hours to continue my checklist...  :P

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Friday 3/11

So, I haven't written in a while...

My last post talked about me getting sick, and boy, did I catch it. I had the sniffles right after my birthday and slept that weekend, which was the 18th to the 20th. There was no school the 21st so that gave me an extra day to get over my cold and by Tuesday I was back to feeling ok with just the runny/stuffy nose and a little cough. No big deal, I thought. So I go through that week and I go to bed thursday. I was cold and wore my footy pajamas, and I woke up Friday morning burning hot. After I got settled with some alkaselter and I figure out I had a fever, which dropped down fast once I got some cool liquid in me, I felt ok enough to go to work. I may not have been in a totally sane state of mind, hindsight being what it is. But I got the kids to school, and I went home for Jamie and he was very concerned, and he ended up taking me to work so I could drive the high school shuttle to the park, but I told them I wasn't sure it would be me picking them up since I wasn't feeling very well. This was true, I started feeling crappy shortly after I got to work.
Anyway, I went home and promptly kept a fever of around 102 for six straight days. I called out the entire next week and sometime thursday my temperature approached normal but didn't stay down more than an hour, and finally Friday afternoon it did break. Of course I had the nose-chest issues I always get, and sometime early on my right ear clogged and stayed that way. It hurt so I was sleeping on my nonusual side and calling that ear infected, but I think it was just clogged. My hearing finally came back to stay I think Tuesday, but all Monday it was really annoying to blow my nose because it would make it pop and that hurt.

My thoughts on that whole week- I had a cold which probably opened the door for the flu? Whatever it was, I just finished this week back at work with people asking me every single day how I was feeling. Apparently I still sound awful, though after Monday they no longer told me I looked that way. And a lady coworker remarked Monday that it looked like I lost weight. Sure enough the scale when I went home shows that a week with a fever and barely eating dropped 5 pounds off me. I had been doing P90, so secretly I hope it stays off even though that is not the method I would choose for any weight loss plan!

The kids on the bus have been fine. Written a few referrals for random things, nothing too serious, and they were only step one write-ups, so just a phone call home. I lost one girl, she moved and no rides the other bus, but her departure has quieted things down. The exciteable girl is much calmer and the general volume up front by my head is usually lower than before, plus there is a distinct lack of whining now :P One girl has brought in so many decorations that she threatens to cover the entire ceiling above her seat and be the first to fill the allowed area completely. Her enthusiasm has rubbed off and prompted a few of the quieter ones to bring in a few things for their own seats, so that makes me happy. Every once in a while I make sure to give myself a few extra minutes just to walk the aisle and look at all the things they have taped up, all the different personalities that are visible. A couple of the substitutes came up to me to make sure I knew that the kids were all very concerned during my absence, and that they did very well and the front girl was a huge help with directions. That made me happy. My only issue coming back is that someone removed my seat belt bracket which keeps the shoulder belt attached to the lap belt further toward the middle than the buckle, so that the shoulder belt doesn't rub my neck and hurt. I can't find it anywhere.

Other than that, I guess life goes on as usual.

Oh! Yesterday was a big day for me, the weather was so nice that I took my new bike out for the first real trip since I got it. Had to air the tires, and I had just planned to cruise up and down the roads behind the school. Well I did that, but by the new theatre I found a sidewalk around a pretty lake, so I followed that. It ended in a strange spot- a traffic circle, and I wasn't sure which direction to go. I had plenty of time and was feeling really good, so I picked a path and took it. Turns out it went under the interstate and ended at a road further than I had planned to go. Anyway, I made my way down that road and then along back to work. The only hard part was the last stretch because it was beside the wide road and the wind was agianst me. I used the easy gears and did just fine, and then spent the next half hour being excited and telling everybody at work about my bike ride, because I mapped it out and I went six whole miles! I was very proud. It's colder today, so I planed to stay inside and write this. I need to adjust the seat a little bit because I sort of slide forward, but its a comfy seat and the bike fits well, it goes so easy that the ride was overall really enjoyable. The most annoying part was that every time I coughed (which was often) it would pull the chin strap on my helmet and get my glasses skewed just lower from where they were supposed to be on my nose enough to be irritating. But that's all! I also found out, its only 5.8 miles straight home from here, although the bridge I bet wwould be murder. I'd probably walk it. So that lent me an even bigger sense of accomplishment. I'm so proud of me!

That's all, happy Friday everybody.