Archive for September, 2009

The Mysteries of the Garden Gnome

The gnome seems to be asking: What the heck am I doing here?

The gnome seems to be asking: What the heck am I doing here?

Beaufort SC is a subtropical paradise, so I pass a lot of gorgeous landscaping while biking.  But there is one yard I pass along the Hot Pink Bike Route that is perfection. Plants of various colors and heights pepper the shaded yard creating a manicured paradise.  And I can honestly say that if the house attached to this yard ever goes on the market I will be hard pressed not to want to sell our home (the one I said I’d never leave after the horrendous moving-in-experience) just to own the landscaping of this one. 

I don’t know how the owners of this yard managed to marry shape and color so well, but they have.  Generous chartreuse elephant ears bend over vibrant purple groundcover dotted with pink flowers.  Lush ferns bank the walkways, the delicate leaves of the climbing fig cover garden walls, and sword-like palm fronds punctuate the shade. 

And lounging front and center at this celebration of all things fauna is a painted concrete garden gnome. It seems so incongruous.  The first time I noticed him, I was tempted to pluck the immobile little guy out of the garden and plop him into my bike basket, thus salvaging the beauty of the plants. 

Instead, I pedaled home, passing by the overgrown 1960s landscaping in front of my rancher before turning the corner that took me to the overgrown 1960s landscaping in the backyard.

Hmmm.  Since I have neither beautiful landscaping nor a garden gnome, I’m thinking that the owners of that yard that I envy might just know what they’re doing…

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The Perfect Ride

bike route paninis 003

Motivation to bike today came in the form waiting until dinnertime, then prompting my son and daughter to ride with me downtown to get a hotdog at the soda shop.  (I can hear the truly healthy folks out there groaning.)

On the way, my son’s chain fell off and I had my first bicycle repairman experience.  Sadly, this can be very empowering for moms over forty.  Our plans changed when we found the soda shop closed, so we went to an Italian restaurant on the waterfront where I had a salad. (Sigh of relief from the truly healthy?)

Sunset pinked the sky over the marsh as we rode home, doggie bag dangling from the handlebar, children riding ahead. Some days the bike route is perfect.

paninis 001

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The Biggest Challenge

bikeThe problem with exercise routines is that you have to keep exercising.  If you stop, it’s no longer a routine.  It becomes something that you describe with the phrase “I used to…” tacked to the beginning of your description.  I have a lot of experience using that phrase.

We start our routines with the best of intentions, just as I did when I started this blog.  But I faced my biggest challenge today.  I couldn’t ride my bike Saturday because I was at a conference.  I got home yesterday around 5:00 pm and I could have ridden, but didn’t.  I’d had only 5 hours of sleep the night before and I’d driven 5 1/2 to get home.  Plus I needed to proof The Pedigru Review, a literary journal, that had to be at the printers this morning. Excuses.

It is the first time since I started this routine that I missed riding for two days in a row.  To be completely honest I had to struggle to make myself go out there today.  It didn’t seem worth it.  This is the danger of breaking with a routine.  We get tired and busy and if we accept an excuse one day, we come up with a better one the next.

But during the ride I dodged a spiderweb, a bumblebee  bumbled into my shoulder, and the wind wafted the smell of pluff mud, a pungent but somehow not unpleasant aroma distinctive to marshes, my way.  I got out there and interacted with the world.  It was worth it.

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Ride Your Bike Before You Go-Go (sing post title to the tune of that 80’s hit by Wham!)

bike route 006     the railroad crossing

     was not adorned with glories

     when engines rode rails

 

A five hour drive to Durham awaits me, but I still rode my bike this morning.  That is something I wouldn’t have done a year ago, let me tell you. I haven’t packed the first bag, or even folded the clothes that will go into said bag.  Being completely disorganized before heading to a conference is exactly what I would have done a year ago.  Sigh.  Oh well, only tackling one bad habit at a time here, folks. 

As the hot pink bike will not fit in my car, I will  probably not post again until Sunday when I return.  Hmm… I’m going to need one of those bikes that folds up like Flat Stanley.

Happy Weekend! And don’t worry. I won’t tack a haiku into every post.

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Of Wheels and Words

bike route 001The octopus waits

On its sunshine yellow box

Who put it there?  Why?

 

 

Confessions of a Word Geek: Sometimes I force myself to exercise my mind along with my body by trying to create Haikus from something I see along the bike route.  Remember Haikus?  (Little poems with a 5,7,5 syllable pattern.)  Yes, I really do this.  And you should try it! This is one of the reasons outdoor exercise is so good for someone like me who spends the vast part of every day inside.  There is so much outside to stimulate your mind!

Days since I committed to riding every day: 35

Days octopus has been hanging out on the newspaper box: 35+

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She Huffed and She Puffed… last year!

Glories from the RR track
Glories from the RR track

My daughter is a member of a Girl Scout troop that meets in the third story of an old building with no elevator. We had the first meeting of the year the other night. I had to climb the staircase twice because when you get to the top of a long staircase you always realize that you’ve left something in your car.  Anyway, I was telling my husband that it was the first time I remembered getting to the top of those stairs without being completely winded, and I thought my 31 days of biking probably had something to do with it. He told me I really needed to put that in my blog. So here it is! My first measurable result: Able to Climb Stairs Without Gasping at the Top.

Days since I committed to riding every day: 34

Days since I started blogging about it: 13

Days I have actually ridden: 31

Given my past spotty exercise habits, I’m encouraged!

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The Railroad Not Taken

bike route 015It was not hard to make myself get on my bike today because I’d seen something yesterday that I really wanted to photograph.  Since morning glories, which are the flowers  covering the sign below, are most glorious in the morning, I was on my bike as soon as the children were off to school.   To me, this looks like something right out of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  This sign stands next to abandoned tracks that run through my neighborhood.   There is some talk of creating a Rails to Trails bike trail along these tracks.  The Hot Pink Bike Route would love to see these tracks used that way.  Oh the places we could go!

bike route 005

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