Happy Anniversary to Me!

I did it! One year down and counting. And here is the car I bought as my anniversary present to myself…  Syke. Yeah, I said syke, and it was fun. Actually, I haven’t even started to plan on buying a car yet and I feel pretty darn good about that.

What I don’t feel good about is being a bad blogger.  When I first began this journey I needed the blog to get me through those challenging first months. It was therapeutic to write about my experiences and gave me a focus that kept me from throwing in the towel — because I wanted to regularly. While the last several months have been extraordinarily busy at work, my lack of blogging has more to do with becoming accustomed to living without a car and not needing the blog as a crutch anymore.

Regardless, today I celebrate and offer gratitude. I thank my husband for encouraging me not to give up, my Mom for carting the kids to dental appointments and such, my friends for letting me hitch a ride in the rain, and my kids for being open to new experiences. This challenge has made for a better way of life for my whole family and I will forever be altered by this experience. Even if I get a car again, I won’t stop walking the kids to school, riding my bike to work, and making an effort to live a healthier, greener, and more inspired life. For now, I leave you with this little nugget of inspiration — cars stay to the right, now.

Bugs and Such Duex

Duex stands not only for the second installment of my bug obsession but also for two found together. Check out this weird little red insect munching on the carcass of his little buddy.

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Just before i witnessed bug cannibalism I walked by this dead snake on the road. Right above him appears to be a dead toad or frog. Strange to find them together? Why, I can just imagine the snake striking the frog for a nice tasty lunch as the SUV rolled over both of them, flattening them like pancakes.

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Bugs and Such

Bugs are amazing, yet alien-like creatures. And just consider how many millions of them there are compared to us humans. I notice these strange little guys more than ever now, so thought I’d share some photos I’ve taken recently. The snail I’ve already shared but it is so striking that it deserves another gander.

The first deceased insect I found was a bee with a long proboscis that I was going to mount for my friend, Nick, who runs Black Hive Tattoo.

Then I found this scorpion. Who knew there were scorpions in Florida? I was so excited to add this to my collection that I rushed home to put it in my hideaway spot with the bee. To my chagrin, someone had crushed that little sucker and all I have left is the photograph.

Today my photos were of a dead butterfly on the ground and an earthworm delving into the soil.

Just this week I spotted two caterpillars, one with bizarre horns on its head and tail and mushroom-like humps on its back.  The other was crawling across the wall on my front porch (that one I got a video of!).  Enjoy!

WHY? Ride Oak Street

RAM mount for a bicycle goes on the handlebars and can hold your iphone on your bike. You can listen to music, see a text pop up, and as I found out recently, even videotape as you are riding down the street!

In the high res video you can see the bright yellow butterfly fluttering along beside me, in and out of the picture, which was a lovely moment. Why? is this video so cool?  Because you get to take a virtual ride with me on my favorite bicycling street.

Seven Months Down!

Whew! Considering the fact that I am more than halfway through my journey brings me a sense of relief, until I ponder the summer months ahead. I won’t think about that now. Instead I will consider the smell of lovely, sweet jasmine wafting through the air recently, the sunshine coupled with a cool breeze, and the interesting people I’ve run into who are out walking in this wonderful weather of late.

One nice couple I met immediately after my television interview last week — yes, I am a superstar now.  I left the station and rode down the southbank riverwalk. Let me digress a moment about my surprise at how bike UNfriendly the southbank is — mainly because the worn, warped planks create the feeling of riding over 1 million speed bumps in a row.

When I reached the fountain, a couple walking by yelled out at me, “You gave up your car!”  Perplexed, I stopped and gave them a puzzled look. They went on to explain how they just saw me on the news and how they wish they could do something similar. We talked for a while and I left with a great feeling. Those are exactly the special kind of moments I would miss boxed up in my Mini Cooper with my ITunes blaring.  It was both spectacular and surreal to be making new friends in front of Friendship Fountain, courtesy of the bike and my adventure.

Mixed Tape

Walking the kiddos home from school, I spied this cassette tape peeking out of the soil beside the road.  I pulled it out of the dirt and began to explain to the children how this was the MP3 player of my high school days.  They were more than perplexed about how a tape worked.  Yet, their minds were blown when I told them that I used to listen to music on 12″-wide, flat disks that would spin in a circle while a needle would play the songs.

To be sure, my first prized albums were pure vinyl that my sister bought me for my birthday: The Cure’s Standing on a Beach and R.E.M.’s Reckoning.  Back then you listened to and knew the lyrics for every song on an album, and because you couldn’t skip forward easily, you instinctively knew which song would play next.

I showed the kids the little I❤ U symbol on the top right corner of the tape we discovered.  They thought it was cool that making a mixed tape back in the day was comparable to giving a girl flowers or candy in the 50s.  It showed someone that you thought enough about them to hand pick songs you wanted them to hear, and maybe garner some special sweet meaning from those songs.  Yes, I got a mixed tape or three in my day.

This particular cassette was not truly a mixed tape because it included just one very sad song.  In my imagination, it was a breakup tape, given to a young man by his distraught girlfriend. He popped it in the cassette player on his 1985 Honda Civic and shed a single tear as he listened to The Dead sing, “Fare you well, I love you more than words can tell.” Then he pushed the eject button, kissed the tape, and tossed it out the window, never to look back.   

Bizarre Notes

As I was walking my daughter to tennis lessons at Boone Park last week, we ran across a couple of really strange notes.  The girl actually referred to them as “creepy,” and I concurred. The first one, above, was well off the main path at Boone Park, hidden in a hollowed out tree stump.  It reads “This is for you… yes you.” No, I didn’t pick it up to see if there was anything underneath. Yes, I am a wuss. While I love to watch horror flicks and brutal shows like Game of Thrones and Spartacus, I don’t want to live them.

The second note was actually scrawled upon the bridge planks crossing the stream in North Boone Park. It reads “Doing what I said I whd.”  The girl asks, “Mommy what does it mean?”  I refrain from saying that maybe the wood is talking to us, leaving us notes to warn us about the Mayan end of the world. Instead I reply, “It proves how important it is to stay in school. If you are going to deface something, at least use correct spelling and grammar.”