pegkerr: (Default)
Worst Monday morning start.

Neither Fiona nor Delia wanted to go to school. Both were underslept and grumpy and Fiona's fighting a cold. We were hard-asses and sent them anyway, and shall we say it was not all love and kisses when they finally made it out the door.

I tried to resume bicycle commuting today. It was a spectacular failure. I hadn't gone eight blocks before the chain jumped off the derailler no less than four times. WTF? I stopped each time, unpacked the bike, pulled out my rubber gloves, wrestled the chain back on and tried going on. The fourth time, I said screw it and called Rob to come to pick me up and drive me to work.

I'm throwing in the towel. I have enough going on in my life right now (the stuff Elinor Dashwood's not talking about) and I've decided I'm going to resume driving to work. I feel as though I'm copping out, but there are some things I need to simplify in my life right now, and this is going to be one of them. I feel guilty but relieved.

In the scramble to get the bike and everything into the Jeep, I left my keys in the car, which I discovered when I got out and Rob had already taken off. (Rob has a meeting with the census late afternoon so he can't pick me up, which means I'll have to bus home.) The girls will be home from school when I get there so they'll be able to let me in at least. Still, it was a scare at first until I confirmed that Rob had them (did I leave them on the street or something?) When I finally reached him, he noted that I had also left the garage unlocked. Argh, just a terrible start to the morning all around! I'm going to go watch Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" again.
pegkerr: (Default)
I'm sick of being out of shape. I'm sick of my hamstrings being so tight. I'm sick of being unable to balance on my right leg. I'm sick of being ten pounds overweight. I want to get my black belt. So: trying to step up the exercise. I went down to walk the treadmill this morning, since it's raining again today for the umpteenth day in forever and I can't walk the bridge. I decided to make an interval workout of it and so ran in forty-five second bursts throughout the workout. I HATE RUNNING AND I AM NO GOOD AT IT OMG.

I plan to do straddle stretches EVERY DAY. And slow kicks EVERY DAY. I have to build my cardio fitness because if I want to get my black belt I have to be able to spar, and sparring just kills me. (I haven't gone back to it yet because I have to replace my hand pads and foot pads and because I really don't like sparring very much. Ahem, at all. But I know I have to go back.)

I plan to start bicycle commuting again, probably starting May 1. I'm nervous about it, since I've been off the bike for two years, due to the knee injury. I also hate biking without the phone, in case I get a flat, and Rob has to use the phone as long as he's working for the U.S. Census (cheer up, Peg. In all likelihood, he'll be out of work again when you start biking again).

I plan to start weight-lifting again. Really.

I'm, um, thinking about resuming the 100 pushups challenge.

I plan to really really hurt for awhile as I get going with all this.

I turn 50 next month. Oy.
pegkerr: (Default)
I pulled the bike out of the garage, took it to the local filling station to fill the tires with air, and took it out for a ride. I didn't start bicycle commuting on May 1 as I did the previous two years, since I was wary about whether my bum knee could handle it. But I figured I should try it out at least, to see how well I could tolerate it.

I rode for about a half hour, taking the lovely route along Lake Hiawatha and Minnehaha, that runs between flowering trees. It was a beautiful day for a ride. I rode for about a half hour, and was rather winded by the end. My stamina is always lower in the spring, since I've been off the bike all winter, and of course, I haven't been doing karate for about a month. May also can bring trouble with allergies, which also affects stamina, although I haven't had nearly the problems this year that I've had other years. But I was pleased with myself for going out. My knee seems to have tolerated it rather well, although I'm a little tired, and I can feel the results of my effort, particularly in my thighs, which were already sore from the weightlifting I resumed this week. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to bicycle commuting to work--yet--but it will probably be good for me to take the bike out in the evenings, just to try to build up my cardio stamina. Despite the injury, I feel really committed to trying to find ways to stay active and healthy.

What I did today to make the world a better place )
pegkerr: (Default)
Video of police stopping bicyclists to give them hugs and helmets. Happiness all around.

It's sort of hard to imagine that happening here.

What I did today to make the world a better place )
pegkerr: (Default)
It's awesome to have a totally clear day outside for my birthday. Free birthday coffee from Caribou for the win.

Chris Stewart in another racism accusations kerfluffle. Surprised? Not. Judging from experience, I'm much more inclined to believe Tim Cadotte.

The reunion for the Mexico mission group is this coming Sunday, which is the same day as the May Day parade. I'm wildly irritated about this; I don't want to miss the parade, but the girls don't want to miss the reunion, which would mean driving to Minnetonka.

I have been forced to hand over the cell phone to Rob, who needs it for his job with the census, so Mom, if you try to call it to reach me, you'll reach him instead. It is making me remarkably twitchy to be without it.

The Tonks and the Auror's EP "Tonks for the Memories" has given me hope again for the Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club.

Tonight we have a simultaneous Girl Scout meeting, karate class and school meeting for parents. I suppose I'm supposed to get dinner in there somewhere, too, only I have no idea where.

I need a book to read.

I am starting to get a very very tiny itch to write original fiction again. I'm not sure what, if anything, will come of it.

My lawn looks just terrible, and I have zero incentive to do anything with the garden this year. Lack of money, time, motivation. My sister assures me that gardening gets easier when the kids get a bit older. Until then, avert your eyes when passing my house. Sorry.

Bete noir flourless chocolate cake for lunch, also for the win. It's my birthday. Bite me.

I'm not going to start riding my bike May 1, because of the knee problems. I am feeling a great deal of guilt over this. But my knee hurts every time I do something as innocent as hiking it up to cross my legs.

Sometimes grace is all about just going on with your life, despite everything. There may be pride there, too. I've been taught to extol one and be suspicious of the other, but I suppose it doesn't matter as long as the result is the same. Right?


Aug. 26th, 2008 10:54 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
Consider my last half week:

Brown belt test, advanced division
Continuing with 100 pushups challenge
Biking to and from work
Spin kicks practice at karate tonight, and yes, as it ALWAYS does, the tornado kick wrenched my inner groin muscles
continue (fruitlessly) trying to stretch out my super tight hamstring muscles

It is no wonder that if Rob didn't have to have the car tomorrow to take the girls to the orthodontist, I would be driving to work. Because, damn, I hurt all over. And tomorrow I'm expecting girly cramps. I've sure been putting my body through a lot lately. I think it's trying to tell me that really, enough is enough.
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
What with the 100 pushup challenge, I've been thinking about the goals I have in my life, and the progress I'm making toward them. I'm a Myers-Briggs ENFJ, and the "J" means that I'm into goals, schedules, structures (unlike my husband, who in contrast is a "P" go-with-the-flow sort of guy. A frequent source of, shall we say, not seeing eye-to-eye on things in our marriage).

I like setting goals for myself. I respond well to them, for the most part. Sometimes, however, I get frustrated with myself because I am not making the progress I would like. Sometimes that is due to the goal I have in mind isn't very realistic; sometimes I sabotage myself--mildly. Sometimes real life gets in the way (i.e., Rob's job loss has been a set back in a number of different areas).

Money Goals )

Fitness Goals )

Other goals )

What are some of your goals?
pegkerr: (Default)

I have certainly been seeing 'way more bikes on the road. On Monday, I probably could have counted somewhere between 50 and 100 bicycles on my way home, a trip which is just under five miles. The Minneapolis Greenway is just teeming with bicycles.

My ride

Jun. 20th, 2008 08:53 am
pegkerr: (Default)
I step out of the house somewhere between 7:25 and 7:35, carrying my gym bag (which contains my clothes and lunch), my purse, and my commuter cup. I filled it with coffee slush today instead of water, which felt incredibly decadent. I go open the garage, take out my keys, and unlock Baby from the rack in the back. I wheel it out and park it on the driveway. My purse goes in one of the panniers, and my gym bag gets bungee cord strapped on top.

I go to the shelf to one side and don my gear: a helmet with a reflecting mirror clipped to the visor, a neon-orange safety vest with reflective tape, and bike gloves with gel pads. I put a reflective strap around my right pant leg. (OMG I look like a dork!) My cell phone has a radio; I insert the cable with the ear buds and tune it to the Minnesota Public Radio (KCMP) Morning Show. To the soothing sounds of Dale Connolly and Jim Ed Poole, I close the garage door and glide away.

Down the alley and out into the street. The streets are quiet, although I might see an occasional car passing by or someone out working in the garden or walking a dog. A few sprinklers might be going. I turn left at 24th Avenue and head north.

At the corner of 38th, I take note of the latest price hike at the corner gas station and smirk. No gasoline for me today! If I'm running a little late, I turn right and head to the light rail station at 38th street and Hiawatha. I usually gauge this by whether I've reached 38th street before or after Jim Ed Poole does the sports report (generally at 7:40 a.m.) If he's already done the sports report, I usually take the rail. But today, I'm going to be riding all the way in, so I continue straight on 24th Avenue.

There are a few elm trees left which have escaped Dutch elm disease, and their graceful branches intertwine above the street, like the vault of a gothic cathedral. There are maples, too, and this morning their seeds helicoptering down caught the slanting morning sun, flashing gold as they gently fell. Like the golden rain in which Zeus visited Danaƫ, I thought. Beautiful. There are a few hills, and I puff as I strain to get the bike up the incline. I'm still not in the cardio shape necessary to take the hills without any slowing down.

At 32nd, I turn right. Now I cross the light rail tracks and then turn left down Hiawatha. This is a major traffic artery, with the light rail running alongside. I coast down the hill and then, regretfully, I usually have to come to a stop and wait at the light for awhile before I can cross Lake Street. There's a light rail station across the street, but the tracks are elevated, so to get to it you have to go a level up. I've never gotten on the rail at this point. There's frequently a cop car idling there. I will often see more pedestrians, too. The light rail rumbles overhead, light reflecting off its windows to play along the embankment across the road to my right.

Once across the street, I get back on the bike and labor back up the hill. Once I reach the top, I sigh in relief. That's my last hill to conquer on the way to work; from here on it's straight sailing. I keep a sharp eye out for small shards of glass on the pavement. I got a flat tire here once.

I pass underneath the Midtown Greenway bicycle/pedestrian bridge. I could use it to cross Hiawatha, but I generally don't, in order to avoid laboring up the slope (I'm lazy); I wait and cross Hiawatha at the light at 26th instead. The light rail itself has also crossed Hiawatha, between Lake Street and 26th, and once I cross the light rail tracks again, it runs along, again, directly to my left. I see lots of bicyclists now, whizzing up and down the Midtown Greenway bridge and the bike trail.

The sky overhead me is pure blue, with only an occasional wisp of cloud. And that seems fitting. It reminds me of how, supposedly, Persian rug makers purposely introduce a flaw into each carpet: it is not right that anything should be too perfect. Wildflowers bloom on the bank to my right. Faster bicyclists pass me by, nodding in greeting. I pass light industrial warehouses and the Metro Transit center. I pass the Franklin light rail station and cross on the bridge over Franklin Avenue. Over to my right is a collection of friendly bars: Whiskey Junction, the Joint, the Cabooze. Now I'm getting closer to the West Bank of the University, and I start seeing a lot of Somali immigrants. The women wear long sleeved blouses and long skirts, and their head scarves over that, falling to their knees or lower. Elderly Hmong men and women walk slowly up and down the bike trail here.

I pass the Cedar Riverside light rail station. I dump speed again to turn down the little jog at the Bedlam Theater. There's a City Pages dump at the corner here; on Thursdays that's where I stop and pick up my copy, shoving it under the criss-crossed bungee cords that hold my gym bag in place. I cross the street and head down the last stretch of the bike lane that runs along the light rail tracks.

A fenced in field with electric transformers stands in front of the bulk of the Metrodome. I cross the bridge over the disused spur of road that leads to the downed 35W bridge. The trucks and cars of the workers working on the new bridge are parked hodge-podge here, interspersed with construction pallets and Bobcats. To my right is the wildly multicolored Valspar paint building. I pass it and turn right down 11th Avenue, leaving the Hiawatha bike lane behind. Two blocks later and I pause at the light at Washington Avenue. The light is short so I always have to wait. One block to 2nd Street and I turn left.

Past Gold Medal Park. The blue Guthrie Theatre is ahead, with the "Gold Medal Flour" sign atop the Mill City Museum beyond it. Tyrone Guthrie looks impassively at me from the enormous mural at the entrance of the Guthrie as I pass. Past the Spoonriver Restaurant (my source for OMG so delicious sheep's milk ginger yogurt) and the Mill City Museum.

I turn up my street and head into the parking ramp. I guide Baby to the bicycle racks, lock it up, remove the front wheel, and collect my purse, commuter cup, gym bag, and bungee cords and take it all with me, giving Baby an affection pat as I go.

Another work day has begun.
pegkerr: (Default)





I'm quite happy with how many of today's pictures turned out:

Tuesday )

I was so happy with this set of pictures that I posted more of them at my Flickr account. You can see more there of the Guthrie Window washers and the atrium glass art, which turned out really well.

I also re-did that photo I attempted yesterday, showing the corridor at work, and it turned out much better this time.

I suck

May. 5th, 2008 05:45 pm
pegkerr: (Don't let it rankle!)
This was the second day of resuming my bike commute, and the first I rode all the way home instead of taking the light rail part way. I put my bike into the garage, crawled into the house, and almost burst into tears.

I suck at this. My god, it's only five frickin' miles; how can I be so exhausted? Could I be starting to feel effects of the tree pollen that made me so dreadfully sick last year? I thought my exhaustion might be because my tires were low; however I filled them up last Thursday, the last time I rode.

On top of everything, I managed to break my bike odometer when I dropped the detachable part on the bathroom floor when I was kitting up into my biking gear to ride home. It's probably under warranty still, but I dunno if I can find the receipt.

"I hate this," I moaned to Rob and the girls and they put their arms around me and made soothing noises. "I feel old and fat and useless and out of shape."

Rob laughed out loud at that. "You are none of those things."

"Well, maybe not," I groused. "But I absolutely feel that way." Then I looked at the girls and felt a searing wave of guilt. What was all my moaning about my weight teaching them about distorted body image? Rob was right. It wasn't true, and I felt absolutely ashamed of myself for even saying such a thing. I would never ever say such a cruel thing about another person; it wasn't right to say it about myself.

Great. Wonderful role model you are, Peg . Now I'm a screw up as a mother on top of everything.

I reflected, as I tottered upstairs, that as far as I know, I don't think my mother ever rode a bike home from work a day in her life.

I'm probably loading the bike too much, but what else can I do when I have to pack my work clothes, repair kit, shoes, purse and lunch? My purse alone weighs probably seven pounds. I know, I know, I know. Shut up. I have to carry it all. If you lived my life for twenty-four hours, you'd understand why.

On top of everything, I have sparring tonight. Me and a bunch of testosterone-fueled twenty-year old guys. Great. Another opportunity to feel old, out of shape, and physically inadequate.

Edited to add: Yeah, probably not all in my head. The pollen count is super high in Minneapolis right now.
pegkerr: (Default)
I didn't ride it all the way in. A certain amount of swapping cars back and forth was necessary, because the motor on the driver seat window on Rob's car is not working, so he had to take it in to get it fixed. So I threw my bike into the back of my jeep, drove to the mechanic's, and then reassembled and packed the bike and took off from there. That way Rob could drive my jeep to work after dropping his own car off. The extra nonsense meant I made it easy on myself, riding to the light rail station and taking the bike on the train. I think the tires need more pressure, and I won't be able to get to that till this weekend. But I think I will try riding the bike all the way home tonight--and discovering how much stamina I have lost over the winter. I also have to reacquaint myself with all the details of packing my bag with work clothes, locks, equipment, changing when I get to the office, etc.

Nevertheless, it may be said: I'm back on the bike.

Go me.
pegkerr: (Default)
I told the HR people to cancel my parking contract starting May 1, so I guess I'm committing to starting biking again. I realize I haven't done nearly enough to get ready. I'd hoped to be able to buy new wheels for my bike, but I'm dead broke (maybe when the tax refund arrives). I have to see if there is air in the tires at least! And I have to clean a lot of all that crap that Rob's been piling into the garage out so that I can actually reach my bike in the morning without having to pull my car in and out of the garage.

I feel uneasy about starting. Rob is working now and so won't be able to rescue me if I get a flat. But the price of gas is absolutely killing me, I need the workout, and I know I'll enjoy it once I start again.

I also admit, I am going to deeply regret the extra half hour early I'll have to wake up each morning to show up on time to work. I'm short enough on sleep as it is.

Yeah, yeah, [ profile] johnridley, I know, I'm a wuss, and my concerns and ditherings are no doubt a mere bagatelle to you.

At least I'm getting back up on the bike.
pegkerr: (Default)
I had planned to ride my bike to work until at least the end of October. Hey, it was doable, I thought.

Now I'm rethinking.

I've noticed that I really have lost my zest for the ride for the past couple weeks. It's been harder to drag myself out of bed in the mornings, and I have been taking the bike on the train more often. And I've started to actually dread the ride home more. Why would that be when I've enjoyed biking for the most part this past summer?

I realized, upon thinking it over, that the change in going from karate schedules for two people to karate schedules for three was rather a bigger deal that I had thought. Plus, now that school has started, we're going to be adding in confirmation and girl scout meetings. I'm having more days like this one, and while originally the spirit was willing tho' the flesh is weak, lately the spirit has been less and less willing.

Plus, this is a transitional school year for both Fiona and Delia (Fiona to high school and Delia to middle school), and I would like to check in with both of them at the end of the day, go over homework assignments, etc. Delia really has expressed a wish for that, and while Fiona has not, the way she got in over her head on homework last year makes me think that she needs it. I get home a half an hour later when I bike, which gives me no time to go over the school day with them and/or get dinner started before it's time for someone to go to karate.

I'm just tired. I felt a little guilty at first when I thought about ending biking earlier than I first intended, maybe the end of September, but then I thought, hey, cut yourself some slack, lady. You are the only breadwinner in your home right now. You have a damn busy schedule, and some of it, like karate, takes an awful lot of energy. How many other Americans have been willing to drastically change their lifestyle and give up driving their car to work for six months?

*Sigh* Now I just have to find the money to go back to paying gasoline and parking fees. My budget is getting squeezed until it whimpers. This sucks.

pegkerr: (Default)
It was so beautiful this morning that even though I was running a little late, I decided to bike all the way in, rather than hop on the light rail. Alas, I ended up being even later.

I was really enjoyign the ride until a shard of glass flattened my brand new rear tire. Instead of sucking it up and trying to figure out how to pull it off and fix it, working around the panniers and derailler, I weaseled out and called Rob to pick me up. He's going to drop the bike off to get the tire fixed at the Hub.

I've been shown how to change a flat several times, but have never attempted to do the rear tire myself. I am calling myself all sorts of hard names as a result. Rob is not always going to be there to rescue me. I really need to suck it up and learn to do it myself.
pegkerr: (What would Dumbledore do?)
I am still a little sore from the karate test on Saturday, particularly in my hamstrings. The weather report predicted thunderstorms, and I just didn't feel like getting rained on today.

It felt so decadent to simply step out of my house, get in the car and drive to work.

And now I feel so guilty.

[I chose this icon, as I do when I am pondering ethical decisions. And then I realized that Dumbledore had it easy. He simply would have apparated.]
pegkerr: (Default)
I was awfully lucky this morning on my ride in.

I use two wire panniers suspended on the back of my bicycle on either side of the back wheel to carry my purse and gym bag (the gym bag holds whatever book I'm reading, my lunch, and work clothes I'm changing into when I get into the office). I put the purse in one of the panniers, and I put the gym bag over the tops of both panniers (since it's too big to fit inside the other) and fasten the whole thing down with two criss-crossed bungee cords.

The panniers fold, like this. To keep them open, you place a hook on the lengthwise side of the bottom panel through the wire mesh on the side panel:

This morning, I was on a traffic island at a very busy intersection, Hiawatha and 26th Street, when a woman who was turning at the intersection rolled down her window and yelled to me, "You dropped your purse."

I looked around in alarm. There, three feet behind me, was my purse on the pavement. What the hell??? It couldn't have bounced out of the pannier because the gym bag was bungee corded on top of it. I looked at the pannier and felt a rush of horror. The bottom of it had collapsed, dumping the purse onto the pavement. Perhaps the hook had been jolted off the place where it was secured when I went over the curb.

If that woman hadn't said something, I would have never realized that I had lost my purse. All my credit cards, my keys, my iPod . . . I shudder to think what a horror I so narrowly missed. I don't doubt that someone else could have grabbed it within thirty seconds. Hundreds of cars pass by there, as well as many pedestrians and bicyclists. I called down a fervent prayer of thanksgiving, as well was blessings upon the woman who had yelled out to me.

From now on, I'll make sure the bungee cord clips not only the side but the bottom of the pannier. I will probably also get a third bungee cord to support the bottom of the pannier, just so this doesn't happen again.


Jul. 26th, 2007 06:00 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
The weather has been miserable all week, over 90 degrees and generally over 65% dewpoint. Hot and steamy. It has made riding the bicycle to and from work Not Fun.

This afternoon, about 3:00, there was a bit of rain, which dropped the temperature to about 80 degrees by the time I'd left at 4:30. I kitted up in tank t-shirt and spandex shorts (don't look!) and headed out to the bike trail along the light rail. As I rode, the rain started again, a light sprinkling. Slicking down my arms, cooling my back. The coolness prompted a bit of extra energy in the metronome steadiness of my legs, up and down, round and round. Breathe, breathe, breathe, feeling the muscles bunch and extend in my quads and calves. Stopped at a light and took a swig from my water cup and started again. The sky was gray, the weeds along the train bed bobbed with the light collision of the raindrops.

The air smelled of hot concrete, dirt, ozone and rain.
pegkerr: (Default)
[ profile] naomikritzer mentioned awhile ago that instead of taking the Park/Portland bike route, I should investigate the route that runs along the light rail line, on Hiawatha Avenue. I tried it, when I got back on the bike after surgery. I'm sold. I'm actually on the street for only about 1/3 of the route, and it's much less busy. The rest of the time, I'm on a designated bike path. And best of all, if the bike ever breaks down, which has always been a worry of mine, the rail is right there to rescue me. It's about the same distance as my former route but much more pleasant, and it's a faster ride because I have to deal with fewer traffic lights.

I've resorted to taking the bike on the rail several times in the past couple of weeks. Sometimes it's because I'm running a little late in the morning (I've been staying up too late to read), sometimes because I'm in a hurry to get home to get to karate. And sometimes it's the weather. I bailed and took the rail yesterday morning because it was so hot and humid that my shirt was wringing wet after a mile. I like the flexibility.

Yesterday was my first experience biking in a torrential downpour. I was prepared enough to have a garbage bag in my bag to wrap my purse in, and a neon-orange rain slicker. The big adjustment is that you have to give yourself about three times the usual distance for braking. I did not melt before I got home.

My stamina is getting a little closer to what it was before the surgery, but I'm still not quite there yet.


pegkerr: (Default)

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