Errands and Humor and Uncategorized20 Aug 2008 12:13 pm

I’m going local again today just because that’s the way it is. A mid afternoon dog walk takes me back to the North Branch LIbrary to pick up Breakfast of Champions. I open it to one of the simpler but cruder drawings by Vonnegut and laugh out loud. This is what our friend Martha laughingly told me about when I drew a similar “sunshine” image as part of a tasteless visual joke last Friday on the back of a restaurant’s daily special menu. I am looking forward to this book and must force myself not to try to read it now while walking the dog and crossing Central Street traffic.

Bread is low so I decide to go to the Heavenly Hearth bread shop in Wilmette but on my bike to save time. I just don’t feel like I’m getting as much done as I would like: even with discipline, working at home is a challenge. Not so much from my family but from phone calls and emails, which are mostly and fortunately about business. I end up staying up past midnight to compensate. I chat with the bread shop proprietor about his vacation.

The main observation today is how far into the week a bike trailer full of produce will take me. A dozen ears of corn at 2 or 3 per meal gets you 4 to 6 days. The blueberries and blackberries are holding up well despite daily topping our cereal. Peaches, two bags/green boxes, doing well but they do need to be eaten given their ripeness. Radishes still looking good but forgot some from a week or so ago but they’re OK. The watermelon half is still there so I need to remember that.

Dinner came from the Farmer’s Market load and miscellaneous Whole Foods stock ups and our garden. My wife has imparted to me the philosophy of whipping together dinner without a gratuitous rush trip to the store, so today’s is corn on the cob, a salad of spinach and FM vegetables, and leftover pasta with pesto made from basil from Nancy’s container gardens.

The bagels from Sunday’s bike errand are holding up but disappearing fast, thanks to Number One Son for whom the term, “low hanging fruit” applies to any food easily prepared and applied to his mouth at mid-afternoon or middle of the night.

One late night walk with the dog under the waning moon and that brings today’s mobility to a cool close.

Errands and Humor and Leisure09 Aug 2008 11:25 am

In a past discussion about transit funding and transit use, a friend used the term, “the transit habit”. He said, “You have to get ‘em young.” He’s right about that and it applies to cars and bikes, too. Get ‘em young and that’s what they take for granted.

We can also change our thinking along the way but like so many changes, it’s harder. Even though I’ve ridden a bike since I was a kid and stuck with it, and likewise public transit, having car access for so long now has made that an assumption. Now with this car-free or car-low exercise, I find I don’t make that assumption as easily.

The rental car is still sitting at the curb where I parked it yesterday. And this is not a monkish exercise in self-deprivation. I’m almost forgetting I have it.

My main need for movement today is a delightful plumbing job I have to figure out: swapping out a crummy bathtub faucet on which the shower diverter no longer works. Since I have to turn off the water to the house, I’m under pressure to resolve this quickly, so I rule out dawdling with the dog to Millen’s Ace hardware store, choosing my bike instead. Good choice because the first trip is investigating what I might need for the job. That requires me to come back to the house, bring the offending faucet and feed pipe information, and return to the hardware store for specific items. The bike worked fine for these trips and as I’m riding, I think about those heavy-duty “Cycle Trucks” still used on factory floors for chasing parts.

Interestingly, an email from my wife also delivers yet another story about someone doing without a car and the assumptions he must dispense with:

Living Without a Car: My New American Responsibility
By Andrew Lam, New America Media. Posted July 24, 2008.

Commuting and Errands and Humor and Uncategorized31 Jul 2008 10:44 pm

Being a motorist does not lend itself to a sense of humor. You are in the seat of power, literally. Who’s laughing at that?

Cyclists, on the other hand, are still the underdog in the current US transportation scene. Sometimes we react to that position with rants. Sometimes we respond with a sense of humor. Sometimes both. I saw an example of that today and it made me laugh.

Around 6 while the black beans were cooking, I walked my dog to Kinko’s for copying and faxing. I cut through the alley as usual and there at an old-school grey steel bike rack there’s a well-ridden newer Giant with a blue pickup truck milk crate on the rear rack. A working bike, always a good sign.

On the back of the milk crate is a large white cardstock sign lettered in all caps with wide markers:


OK, in my world, flatulence humor is never not funny. I’m sorry for being so lowbrow, really I am.

I swear I’m seeing way more bikes this summer. My wife says so, too. Bike racks are packed. She said she even had a near miss with another cyclist on blind corner on the bike path in Lincolnwood. It ended cordially without incident but she and the other woman were both not expecting traffic here based on past experience. I’m talking about men in khakis and women in skirts, riding to work or to the train, with bags slung over their shoulders. My neighbor introduced me to his old friend over the weekend and I find out that he commutes to Glenview from my Evanston neighborhood…by bike. He gave me a great route I didn’t know about, too.

Do I like seeing all this cycling?

Do I like lowbrow humor?