Friday, April 11, 2014

Another Great Biking Day

Did a quick 10 miles out to Ashburn to meet with my dear friend Kayo.  The hardest part of this ride is getting to and from the W&OD. I start on the trail behind my house, then go on a local road, trying to avoid SUV's in the Kiss & Ride at the local elementary school. I cross a major arterial (with the light) and then get on a path that parallels that arterial.  Technically, it's a sidewalk and I shouldn't be riding on it -- especially since I'm riding against traffic.  BUT, there's no sidewalk on the other side, and no safe way to stay on the road as it's 45mph!

So, I ride that to the W&OD Trail and head west.  From there's it's easy-peasy until I get to Ashburn and turn off the trail.  Again I'm on local roads, but they're not very busy. And (I confess) I cut through a couple of car dealership parking lots on the way.

So, round trip 20.2 miles.  Today I saw dozens of cardinals and mockingbirds.  At one point I saw what looked like a little worship service with 3 or 4 squirrels and the same number of birds gathered around. Someone must have spilled some seeds!

When I got back to my neighborhood trail behind the house, just before I would have turned off, I saw a deer out of the corner of my eye, calmly munching on my neighbor's newly emerging spring foliage.  I just smiled.

Hope your day is awesome and your weekend is even more so!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What a Day, What a Ride

Hooray!  I got to ride with my buddy Betty again today.  We met at Falls Church, rode through Rosslyn, through Georgetown, along the river, and down to see the cherry blossoms.

Today was the 60th anniversary of Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial so there was a big hoorah going on there.

I also saw the FDR memorial -- hadn't seen that before. It's very nice, but I'm done with memorials on the mall. You can hear people talking as if they're at Disneyworld, "We've done the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR. We still have to get across the river for Arlington and then back to do, etc..."  There are so many that there's no opportunity to pause and reflect -- more checklist than memorial.

On our way back we went past National Airport and through Shirlington. Good thing because we happened upon a young nurse who had a flat. We helped her get it changed and rode with her a little while so we were sure she was okay to get home.  We had pretty bad headwinds when we were at our most tired, but we survived.  TWENTY-FIVE miles!

I'm tired.  Enjoy the photos!

Jefferson through the cherry blossoms

Betty grins at Lincoln

Nice shot of Washington except for those cranes!

Tulip tree on the way home

Lincoln -- Betty is helping some tourists by taking their photo

Blossoms along the tidal basin

Waterfall at the FDR memorial

I am so lucky to live and ride here!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Always An X, Never A Y

Do you know that expression?  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  What else does it apply to?

Today on my errands, I realized another iteration of it is true.


Yesterday was miserably rainy all day so I stayed inside and did laundry.

Today I made up for it by doing all my errands by bike. It was only 15 miles round trip but felt like twice that because of the blasted headwind! At one point on the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, I felt like I was standing still.

Ah well, it was sunny, bright, warm and the breeze (gale force at times) kept me cool.  And I found a cute bargain.  I've been looking at these for months...and today they were marked down for clearance!

Since we're traveling to Texas for spring break next week, these will come in handy on the airplane!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 5, 6 of 30 Days

Day 5 I didn't ride.  I know, I already broke my pledge.  I was going to take my bike up to Greenbelt, ride from the Metro to the Mini Maker Faire, and ride back to the station.  The time required to go via metro and bike would have been about 90 minutes each way.  I drove instead, and it was still 40 minutes each way. When I got there it was cold and windy, so I was glad I had.  The Mini Maker Faire was fun.  I made a felt coaster (shown here) and met a very nice lady who I want to have at our next Nova Mini Maker Faire.  I also did some origami folding with a young man, Justin, and showed him how to do the crane. Mostly I just enjoyed talking to people.

Today my son and I did an hour or so of yard work and then went for a bike ride. We rode to the nearby shopping center to have lunch at Subway. They have a new mediterranean sub with feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, and flatbread. Yummm...  Oh, and first thing this morning we made cheese danishes. They're his favorite. This recipe was good, but we will improve upon it in the next batch -- in about a month!

So, Day 6 back on track.  We have a 90% chance of rain tomorrow though so I'm not sure it will be a good bike day!  My new sign:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 4 Quick Ride

Just a quick jaunt over to my friend Amy's house today to deliver this:

Sales of Whoa Toffee! benefit this:

Which in turn benefits this:

So, a quick 2.7 miles each way, a delivery to a friend, a good cause.

A very nice Friday indeed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 3 of 30 Days of Biking

I was pretty tired and sore after the last two days, but I resolved to bike to my church this morning anyway. I used my errand bike which is a lot heavier, but which allows me to carry the books I needed. It's only about 5 miles each way.

On Thursday mornings I volunteer teaching ESOL at the church. I have the most advanced group, which is good, because they ask hard questions!  When everyone is there I have 1 young lady from France (an au pair), 1 lady from Ukraine, 2 women from China, 1 woman from Korea and three people from India -- a young married couple and her uncle who also attends.  Today one of our teachers was out for a family emergency, so I
had one gentleman from Viet Nam and another lady from China.  However, one of my original ladies from China is there visiting family, my second lady from China was home sick, and my Korean lady didn't show.

So ... we were reviewing today which was good for the students from the other class.  Our format is that we do pretty intensive grammar, have a break with the other classes and have some food. Then as a group we review a few Bible verses, and 2 or 3 idioms that are linked in some way to those verses. Then we do a
song or chant together. When we return to our group my students go over a newspaper article that I've given them the week before. We hunt for difficult words or concepts and idioms. I try to vary the subject matter. We've done science, fashion, soccer -- but we don't do politics!

Our article we went over today had been brought by one of the students last week. It was about DNA and how forensic anthropologists are confirming that "race" is not a scientific classification. It said that there are more variations with a particular "race" than between races! It provoked a very good conversation. My lady from Ukraine is very outspoken and will ask questions that make Americans cringe. She asked the Indians about the caste system.  Fortunately, we didn't have enough time to go really deep on that one!

After class I thought about doing some shopping while I was out, but I'm really tired, and I didn't have my lock with me, so I just came home.  I think it's time to do some resting...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 2 of 30 Days of Biking

My friend Amy and I needed to go to a meeting in Arlington today and the weather was supposed to be perfect.  I rode over to the middle school to meet her and we left from there.

It's about 16 miles from Reston to Phoenix Bikes, and it was doable but still challenging, especially after the 28 miles yesterday.  We saw a black squirrel on the way there and back. They're so startling because they're so dark!  We also saw lots of cardinals, newly molted. Their feathers are SO bright!

After our meeting we rode the 2 miles or so to Busboys & Poets.  It's a restaurant in Shirlington. The original restaurant is in Washington, DC.  It's named for the poet Langston Hughes.  You can read more about the restaurant and Hughes here.

Then it was time for the slog home and it was a slog. I was REALLY tired, but Amy was nice and patient.

Except for the fact I really need a shower, I'd sit here for the rest of the week.  Oh, and I need to ride every day.

I'm so glad it's spring.