Monday, May 25, 2009

Travelling companions



I picked up these two on a trip over Memorial Day weekend. They tagged along for the 300+ mile trip home and now spend all their time on my deck. On the left is Pepperoncini, to be pickled, and on the right is Biker Billy, a hottie.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer


I grew up on the northern shore of Long Island Sound and spent my summers on sandy beaches. Countless sunny days were spent laying on an old army blanket in the sand listening to transistor radios on other blankets, all tuned to the same pop music station. Even in winter I would sit on the sand bundled in warm clothing with a cup of take out coffee and the Sunday newspaper.
The warm evening breeze would carry salt water perfume into my bedroom window. That same salty air that causes rust on vehicles can be a familiar summer memory.
Once again summer is almost here. My beach chair sits by the back door, ready for use. A few batteries for my radio and a tube of sunscreen, and I’m set.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's Official, I'm a Commuter!

I did it! And it really wasn't that bad. Well, this afternoon's ride home started out tough but the second half was good. I live 4.5 miles from work, which isn't far at all, but it's got some steep hills along the way.
I packed up my lunch and clothes and took an early morning ride to work. The birds were singing and the everything was beautiful. There were two hills that caused me to get off and walk, but that was fine. The temperature warmed up considerably during the day so the hills were slightly more daunting, but I persevered.
I signed up at http://www.worldcommute.com/ and will log my miles, both for work and for pleasure. My goal is to commute 3 days per week, weather permitting, along with my weekend rides.
In this picture is my blue Schwinn, which will be sporting some new Wald bike baskets shortly after payday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Year of Independent Living (1970's style)

After high school I moved out of my parents’ house to assert my independence. I found out that living alone was not always easy since I had to provide my own transportation and pay my own way. But in retrospect, it was a great year.
My parents had instilled responsibility in their children so I had no problem getting to work on time or making sure to pay my rent and do my laundry. I only bought what I really needed and travelled by bike or bus. Not being burdened by materialism, my year was filled with interesting people and places.
I worked at a hamburger chain with a crew that included friends about to depart for college, a spry 70+ year old woman who could still work a busy lunch hour, and a very short gal whose husband treated her like a princess. (Every night he would wash her uniform and draw her bath.) All summer we worked hard and relaxed afterwards. It was common to have breakfast at 1:00 in the morning at the local diner after our closing shift was done and the restaurant was scrubbed clean.
For a while I stayed at a females-only rooming house, probably one of the last of its kind. It had clean single rooms for about $25 per week. Down the hall a large, shared bathroom contained claw foot tubs in enclosed stalls made of bead board. I vaguely remember at least 5 stalls, but there could have been more. The living room had the only TV which was dominated by an all-girl roller derby team who were also staying there for the summer. They were very athletic and almost intimidating. They were smokers, I wasn’t. They invited me to go to their matches but my work schedule conflicted.
By the end of the summer I found a small apartment of my own. I could now watch what I wanted on TV! I bought a rug, a used sofa-bed, some dishes, and a combination radio and record-player. I was enjoying the good life.
Eventually I started working for a temp agency and found regular work. It lasted until the following summer when I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and my mother convinced me to move back home. But while I was on my own I took each step as it came, and I consider the year as a positive growing experience. I have found all through my life that we are given chances to learn and to grow.

I sometimes think about that rooming house. I wonder what it would have been like to live there in the thirties or forties.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The most beautiful morning




I live in one of the busiest areas of the northeastern United States, dealing with the joys and aggravations it brings. Life here can be a blessing since I never have to go far if I run out of milk, or it can be annoying when I95 is a complete standstill and I’m able to see an exit ahead but can’t get to it. I enjoy all four seasons; wonderful beaches in summer, richly colored fall foliage, spring-flowering dogwoods and lilacs, and the peace of a winter snowfall. The area is rich in history, having Boston on the east, Manhattan (New Amsterdam) on the west, Philadelphia and Valley Forge to the south, and Ticonderoga/Lake Champlain on the northwest. On the other hand, commuting to work around here is a drain of life energy. So I enjoy the good and deal with the aggravations.

This past weekend, however, I escaped the maddening crowd by visiting my oldest son and his family, who live near the beautiful spot in these photos. These pictures were taken after a night of rain, the clouds just lifting in the early morning. It was still damp and chilly, but absolutely beautiful.