Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winter Doesn't Wish To Leave

We may end up with 5 inches of new snow.  I suspect the daffodil wasn't surprised, but I was. Tomorrow a predicted high in the 40F's. Perhaps just a little speed bump on the way to Spring.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maybe Next Time

The constellation of relationships in my personal universe seem to be changing. It seems a little different from the usual dance of some folk coming in and some folk leaving; of some folk moving closer and some folk moving away. In some ways it feels like a contraction is taking place. What I do know is this introvert is having even more difficulty finding the energy to keep up with folks I care about. I know part of this could be the result of my delight with the primary relationship I'm in. I do so like spending time with this marvelous woman. I know, too, part of it is my focus on riding. I thrive on the feelings of sanity and wholeness riding brings to me. At times it feels like my world is getting smaller, yet if so, it is definitely different than the way I closed in on myself in the months and years after the head injury. So, it is a mystery. Perhaps it is simply a shifting and a sorting out.

Last night I cognitively decomposed at J C Penny's. I went there to buy a pair of pants. Simple, yes? No. Actually, it was rather simple until I went to check out. The clerk kept asking me questions and giving me choices. I'm sure she thought she was being helpful, but she wasn't. Too many options led to overwhelm, which led to confusion, which ended in complete befuddlement and frustration. I froze up and just kept saying, "I can't do this. I can't do this," over and over and over again. Fortunately, Heather was with me. She had the clerk cancel the sale and got me out of there.

I am happy that these episodes happen quite infrequently now. Their frequency has radically decreased since I began riding. There are times when I begin to think that perhaps I'm back to being my old normal self, but then along comes a reminder like the one last night--a reminder that I am who I am now.

I've learned on those days when I'm having a "bad brain day", a day when I struggle to get my thoughts moving in a good orderly direction, going for a ride brings a clarity and order to my cognitive chaos. Last night after the episode at Penny's I probably should have gone for a ride, but honestly, I didn't think of it. It still strikes me as being rather counter-intuitive that it could be a good idea to ride when my mind is so muddled, yet it is. Oh well, another mystery of this life I'm living.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Catch Up and Flamingos

First the catch up.

Last weekend I went on my longest ride ever: 223 miles. I didn't take many photos. What interested me the most was how I felt after the ride.

The De Soto, Missouri Railroad Employees Memorial

It is the way I feel after nearly every ride, but it was more pronounced after being on the bike most of the day.

It's a mixture of feelings. It is part accomplishment, part astonishment, part satisfaction, and part tranquility, yet it is more. It is a profound sense of well-being. After the ride, I was tired, 223 miles on a 101cc bike is a long way, but couldn't stop smiling.

By the way, when I stopped for lunch, I happened to look at the odometer.

There is a young man named Binh Cheung who rode a Symba just like mine from San Jose, California to the Arctic Circle and back. He went a total of 7747 miles. It took him a little over a month to go that far. It took me a little over a year to go that far. I accomplished this milestone in Sullivan, Missouri. Here's a link to a blog with Binh's story:

Now for the flamingos.

Today I spent the morning giving Billie her post winter bath. It was quite a job. Not long after I finished my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter surprised me with a visit. So, I took them out for a late lunch. This didn't leave much time for riding, so I decided to work on my slow speed driving skills, or as I prefer to say: I went Flamingo hunting. And, while putzing through a new neighborhood, boy did I hit the mother-lode !

I happened upon a house with a flock of flamingos in front of it.

I pulled over and took a picture. After I took the photo, I noticed a man walking his dog and as is my custom I went over and let him know I was taking pictures of the flamingo and not casing the neighborhood. He told me if I liked flamingos I really had to meet the woman who lived in the house. And, he lead me up the driveway to meet Linda. Linda had pulled into her driveway while I was talking to the man.

This is Linda. She didn't put this hat on for me. This is what she was wearing.
Linda was excited to show me her collection. We started in her backyard. She apologized for them not being in there usual places, but rather sort of clumped together for the winter.

Then we moved to her basement.

She was quite proud of this treasure.

Next came the kitchen.

And, then the front rooms.

This one danced and sang, "You Are My Sunshine."

Thank you, Linda.
Since I've been riding my Symba I have met people I would never have met. It is true that I have met the nicest and most interesting people on my Symba.

And, whether it is a long ride, a short ride, or a full blown flamingo safari when I get home there is a smile on my face and contentment in my soul.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Had A Hunch

Last Saturday was a marvelous Spring Day . . . perfect weather for working on ones bike outside. It was also perfect riding weather, but I had a hunch I might find him working on his bike.

When I first starting seeing his bike parked on the street, it was red. Unlike the yellow BMW, it wasn't always in its spot when I rode home, but it was there often enough that I began to look for it. Then it just disappeared. This isn't unusual. People move and bikes get sold or stolen, but, not this bike. It reappeared. Or at least I thought it was the same bike. It had changed color. It was black and not red.

One day, either a holiday or a Saturday, I happened to be riding through the neighborhood and not only was the bike outside, but a man was working on it. Curiosity made me stop and ask if it was the same bike or not. Yes, it was the same bike. Come to find out it not only has been red and black, but at one time it was gray. It was only after I left and was well down the road that it occurred to me I could have asked to take his picture and a picture of his bike. I've been looking to remedy that situation for sometime.

Saturday I was in luck. He was outside working on his bike.

Yep, he was getting ready to paint it yet again.

He and I had another great conversation. And, this time before I left I asked if I could take his picture and he let me.

He tells me he can't make up his mind between red and black, but plans to paint it red again. He also said,  that he probably ought to paint it both red and black and be done with it. Somehow, I suspect that even if he did go two tone that wouldn't be the end of it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yellow signs of Spring

These Daffodils are nearly ready to bloom. This means it might be Spring.
And, the yellow BMW is back on the street. Haven't seen it since last December. This means it must really be Spring.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A week ago today there was freezing rain. It was completely unexpected. The weather folk missed it. The ground had been warm for a few days, but it was a classic watch for ice on bridges and ramps scenario. Actually, it was road crews out patching potholes who noticed the roads were getting slick in places. By then it was a wee bit late. Rush hour was a mess. There was an accident on one of the major arteries that involved twenty-six cars.
Tucker Blvd goes under I-64. It has been my custom to take Tucker Blvd on my daily commute.
I checked the weather before I left. Not much to worry about. I checked the street in front of the condo. It was fine, wet but good traction. It was a very typical commute until I got to Tucker Blvd. The bridge was closed. Later I would find out there had been a twelve car pile-up. Fortunately there were no major injuries.
This is another view of the Tucker Blvd bridge over the rail yard. In the background is the 14th Street bridge.
I was able to turn around and make my way over to 14th Street. There were police cars there as well, but the bridge was open. I suspect there had been a recent fender bender. By this time the salt was working and I was able to cross over into downtown without mishap.

I'd been thinking for sometime that the Tucker Blvd bridge was a hazard waiting to happen. I'd even thought about finding a route that would allow me to avoid all that quick to glaze road surface. But, I never seemed to get around to it. I was lucky that I didn't pay for my procrastination. Luck is good to have, but it isn't a very good plan. Having a strategy is a much better plan.

During my lunch hour I looked at maps and came up with a possible alternate route. After work I rode home that way. I actually like it so well that I'm making it my usual morning commute. Now, instead of Tucker Blvd. I'm going to go down by Busch Stadium.
I admit I liked the Busch Stadium that this one replaced better. This one is nicer, but he seems like so many other stadiums out there. It is difficult to find its personality. Perhaps that will come as the years go by and memories build.

And, I get to say, "Hi" to Stan the Man each morning.

And now a change of subject. I've now owned Billie for one year and just over 7400 miles. It has been great fun. To celebrate I took a long ride on Sunday. Part of the ride was going downtown to get the pictures I wanted to include above. Then I went putzing around some neighborhoods. I call this pink flamingo hunting, but I suppose one could say I'm working on my slow speed riding skills.
My mother, may her memory being a blessing, did stuff like this. It always makes me smile when I see a goose in costume.

Apparently one needs to be careful of ones cow. This one is chained to the handrail.

And, this was the strangest lawn ornament I saw all day.
And, another change of subject. Spring is definitely drawing near. Last evening I ordered new wheels and bearings for my inline skates. I want to be ready for Daylight Savings Time. It will be here soon and that will mean skates after work, yay!