Thursday, March 25, 2010
I Spy, With My Little Eye....
More proof that spring is springing.
I'm anxiously awaiting the sighting of the first robin, the real harbinger of spring. In the meantime, these hedges will do quite nicely, thank you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Rides - Or, Get Out of the Bike Lane, Stupid!
I survived my first 13 mile round trip to and from work well enough to want to do it again. Twice more, to be exact.

(HI, MOM! Yes, I'm still doing this! No, I'm not crazy! Love you!)

Here's what I've learned about commuting by bike:

Bright clothes, reflective gear, lights, need
it all in order for cars to know that you are there, as well as people, who have a real knack for stepping out into crosswalks while talking on their phone, oblivious to anything going on around them. I gotta get me some more reflective stuff.

Bridges, Suspension: they're like hills, with an uphill side that makes you question who in the hell thought propelling yourself on two wheels was a good idea and a downhill side, which is pretty awesome, even if you do need to keep stopping for pedestrians (see above).

Greenways: they are the best thing the city has created/restored/maintained during the heady boom days. Dedicated paths for bicyclists are truly a metroplitan treasure, I appreciate them all the more during my commute when there's a six block stretch of sharing the road with cars. In rush hour. By city hall. (Hi, Mom!)

After the first ride to work by bicycle, I was sore and stiff and generally pretty blah but then a friend reminded me that it was also cold and damp right after that day so maybe warmer weather and a bit more stretching it would be better. She was right!

I rode to work two days in a row last week, on Thursday and Friday. That's a total of 26 miles, a number that amazes me. That breaks down to four one-hour high intensity workouts over two days, which is a 400% increase in exercise. Because until this, I hardly ever worked out. (Well, actually, I swim alot on the weekends in the summer but then I cancel that out in beer and hot dogs so really, it's never.)

This week the weather has been less than optimal so tomorrow will be the only day I bike in but I'm really enjoying it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I Biked to Work Today
From Brooklyn, NY to Manhattan. Over the Brooklyn Bridge.

This seemed like an excellent idea six hours ago. Now, I can't feel feel my butt and my legs are screaming at me.

Back in January John wanted us all to join the Y so we could get healthy together. Here's the thing about joining a gym: I'm not going to go. I just know I'm not. First, I would have to go at a very ungodly hour in the morning OR go at night, around the time most people are getting ready to go to bed. Its just the reality of my schedule. And I'm good with that.

I had a $10 gift card to use at LL Bean, which I decided I would put towards a backpack. The past couple of summers we've gone on hikes and I'm the moron who is carrying her purse around in the woods. A leather purse isn't really all that practical in the woods, no matter how much it holds. I reasoned that I could used it on the weekends we are camping, while hiking and while just running around. Then I had the epiphany that if I couldn't join a gym I could bike to work, and then I could use the backpack on these rides to hold a fresh change of clothes and my other stuff.

And that was the extent of my preparation for commuting by bicycle to work. I bought a backpack and got it $10 cheaper. As you may have guessed, this not preparation whatsoever.

Today, when the Weather Channel said it was going to be 61 degrees in NYC, I decided right then and there that today would be the maiden voyage.

I packed a clean shirt in The Backpack and skipped the yoga pants since I didn't want to run into anyone at work while wearing them (they have a big grease stain from a grilled cheese sandwich....not very professional looking). I opted to wear my nice jeans, the ones which have stubbornly gotten tighter over the course of the winter. I don't know why. (Oh wait...I do. I think it's called "grilled cheese on rye." Also, "cheesecake.")

I dropped Harry at school and took off. My little map from said it would take about 39-52 minutes starting from our house. I started 6 blocks closer and it took me 64 minutes and was therefore late to work. (I should be happy that I got in 64 minutes of cardio this morning but I'm just thrilled that my helmet didn't totally kill my hair.) Half way over the bridge, as all the other bikers were zooming past me in their sleek biking pants (jerks!) I wanted to go home. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore and nearly gave up, I was zooming down the other side of the bridge. Still, the bikers in there sleek, impossibly small bike pants were zooming past me. (I hate them. Every last one of them.) Then I had to maneuver in the downtown Manhattan traffic which wasn't as bad as I thought (although my mother is right now having a coronary thinking about me doing this. Hi MOM!). I gave one cabbie a look that said "GO AHEAD. MAKE MY DAY." He held off making that left turn until I crossed the West Side Highway. Finally, I got to the riverside park where there is a dedicated bike path. A long, long bike path that just stretches on and on. It is the longest leg of the trip and when I could finally see my office building, it still a long way away. Impossibly far. So far that I considered taking the subway the rest of the way. But I persevered.

I decided to walk the last block in an effort to cool down a little before having to enter the building, which was one of the better ideas I'd had all morning. This gave me time to walk on wobbly legs behind some shrubbery so no one at the office would see me in case I keeled over. Still the bikers zoomed past.

My bike is locked up downstairs and across the street, just waiting for me to retrieve it so I can do this ridiculous thing all over again at the end of the day. A coworker told me that if the commute is 13 miles round trip, I'm conceivably burning 100 calories a mile (on average, perhaps more with the uphill part of the bridge) which means in one day, I'm burning at least 1300 calories. I might be able to get behind this idea. Once the feeling in my posterier returns.

Sunday, March 7, 2010
Up To
I've completed my second week of permanent employment. It took nearly that long to complete the reams of paperwork that goes along with it. Health insurance, life insurance, I-9, W-4, FSA....I'd forgotten how much information it takes to employ someone...but who cares? I'll see your FSLA status and raise you one family vision plan, thank you very much.

I'm still the editor of one bilingual church newsletter yet remain stubbornly unilingual. Last Sunday as I was getting the March edition finished, I had both kids with me in the church office. Harry asked "Hey, mom? What does this mean?" When I looked up he was giving me the finger. I tried to calmly say that we'd discuss it later but he just kept flipping me off saying "Just tell me! I want to know!"

After getting our taxes done yesterday we took the kids shopping for some basics for spring. Sophie mentioned that she needed some unmentionables and also added that she'd like to stop wearing t-shirts and start wearing a training bra (or as the tag says "crop top"). While we were looking on the rack, John walked over, saw what we were buying, had a heart attack and died. The end. We will miss you John.

Over dinner I had to explain to John that these things were bound to start happening and that we'd better be prepared so we're not blindsided. Especially since these things are a giant snowball barreling toward us and it keeps getting bigger and faster. (Not that I'm freaked out or anything!) (OK, maybe a little.) (Or, you know, a lot. Send wine.)