Posts Tagged ‘random’

It’s officially summertime!  I love longer days, healthy foods, and of course many more bike rides.  But summer cycling can be brutal in the city.  Disgusting heat and smog.   Burning pavement.  And drivers whose minds are at the beach, not on the road.  Fortunately a little preparedness goes a long way– helmet, brakes, lights and water bottle.  And for the times we want to get out of this heat island and hit up the trails running west we bring:

Anti-"rain-on-my-parade" kit

No need to be worried about being stranded with a flat when you have a well-stocked repair kit like this!  I put this together after an unforunate turn of events last spring.  It has everything needed to repair/replace a tube on the go.  Here’s what’s inside: spare tubes, tire irons, tube patch kit (in case it’s not TOO serious), a CO2 pump and CO2 cartridges.  And it all fits neatly into this Clinique “free bonus” tote- tres chic!  When we go on longer rides we also pack our bike multi-tool for any unexpected adjustments.

Thumbs up for preparedness!

I love summer for other reasons though.  Summer always feels like a time of change, probably due to years spent in school when summer is the chance you get to reinvent yourself before the next school year.  Pat’s recent promotion has brought lots of newness to us: a new work schedule for him, new people to meet and get to know, new responsibilities and new resources at our disposal.  My favorite part is having evenings and some weekend days off together again.  Pat has been a grill-master lately, whipping up classics like fiery BBQ chicken and veggie kebab but also tantalizing my taste buds with new creations like a grilled steak and mushroom sandwich (as in the whole sandwich is grilled to heavenly perfection).  Even a little rain won’t stop him!

Rainy day grilling under the cover of the upstairs balcony

New opportunities also mean a chance to re-evaluate our plans and thoughts about the future.  When we first started planning an “around the world” trip nearly 3.5 years ago our lives were A LOT different.  I was fresh out of grad school, Pat was still a little baby barista at Starbucks, we weren’t even engaged and saving tens of thousands of dollars for years to go on a 6-12 month vacation sounded like the best idea we’d ever had.  So I obsessively researched places we could go, put pins on a google map and saved, saved, saved our money.  Now I have a job in my field and am growing as an educator, Pat is on his way to managing his own store, our second wedding anniversary is around the corner and, well, the tens of thousands of dollars is still being worked on.  I will admit that the idea of “getting away from it all” for months, schlepping ourselves and our belongings across Europe to see new and exciting things and setting our lives on an entirely new trajectory still has appeal.  I still spend a lot of time daydreaming about all the many places, people and things we will see one day.  Travel and the allure of the exotic got under my skin after my college experience abroad (or maybe it was all the books set in far-away lands I read as an impressionable youngster).  But other obsessions are emerging, too: children, a house of our own, becoming a school teacher  and helping Pat achieve his goals.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. -John Lennon

How do you decide which of life’s roads to travel down?  We have so many options, opportunities and blessings it’s overwhelming at times.  But one of the biggest gifts I have been given is a partner who understands that it’s really not these future paths that define who we are.  Our life together is in the here and now, the little everyday moments and seemingly mundane.  My dreams, Pat’s dreams, and the dreams we share are fluid and flexible and can be what we make them.  “Giving up” the trip of a lifetime isn’t really giving up anything– it’s adding the potential for many mini-trips, saving money for travel AND family and opening doors to ideas we never considered.  The specifics of the dream may change, but that’s the beauty of the unknown, isn’t it?

Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream. -Anatole France

So I look forward to continuing to dream big dreams, planning for our future as best we can and drinking in the sweet bliss of our everyday life together.  Here’s to this summer, to a wonderful husband and to being here now!

Things are not what they appear to be; nor are they otherwise.


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Well it’s finally happened: the Red Ring of Death has cast its crimson shadow upon Pat’s entertainment center.  The XBox had been acting up for a few days and something about the number of steps Pat had to go through on the “diagnostics” page of Microsoft’s support site told me things weren’t looking up.  It bounced back after a lengthy cool-down session (i.e. no Red Dead for a whole day) but late Thursday night the XBox’s demise was undeniable:

Evil red glow

All is not lost though.  It’s still under warrantee so Pat can send it back for a replacement.  Of course while that happens he will already have the shiny new Halo Reach console, even I have to admit it looks pretty sleek. 

As usual I am annoyed that I have to work on a holiday everyone else gets off.  I shouldn’t be since I am in a business that thrives on vacationers.  But it still seems a little stinky.  However I can console myself with the fact that I will be laying on a Hawaiian beach in a mere 23 days.  Aloha!

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Another weekend come and gone… how is it that my days off seem to move at a speed 10 times that of my working days?  I hope our 365 “days off” move at a snail’s pace!

On Friday we set out to Fairmount Park for some sketching and picnic in the woods.  We stopped by the Bicycle Coalition’s Bike Pit Stop on the way.  One of the Bicycle Ambassadors was really excited for our Long Haul Truckers– he had recently completed a cross-country journey on his (only to have it stolen upon his return to Philly… nice).  We got some free pretzels and stickers and headed on our way.

Pat's bike

After several relaxing hours at the edge of a baseball field in the West Park we decided to head for home.  I thought I knew how to navigate us through West Philadelphia so we didn’t have to go all the way back into Center City just to head west again.  Plus we had just received a free map I thought we could use.  I was wrong.

Magical path

We ended up cycling in a HUGE circle around Bala Cynwyd.  Very nice, ritzy neighborhood, but not OUR neighborhood.  We ran into a (I kid you not) 75-year old Girl Scout who finally pointed us in the right direction.  Along the way I hit a massive, hidden pothole and thought I had broken my bum.  It really, really hurt.  But I survived to tell the tail (get it, tail=tale?? ha!).

I will admit that we should have had a better navigation plan BUT the map was absolutely the pits.  Most roads didn’t have names, and those that did were not laid out in real life the way they were on the map.  This just solidifies in my mind the importance of having a GPS on our trip.  Patrick thought he disagreed– he suggested we just get a map for each place we visit– I reminded him that a GPS does exactly that.  I think we agree to disagree.  See, who needs compromise in marriage?? 😉

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