I'm continuing to bike frequently. I hate riding in and with traffic, so I still haven't made a trip down to Fed Hill. I'm going to see if I can find a better way than going straight down St. Paul. I like the trails and paths, which I can ride most of the way from my house to the gym and, in the fall, to school. I'm sure there are more paths like that. I've been on the NCR trail before, and might look up exactly where that is. And the Jones Fall Trail? That's somewhere, too. I want to learn more. I've spent some afternoons just exploring, but I think a bike GPS might be a good investment - if they make them. My car GPS has changed my life, until my cigarette lighter stopped working and now I'm back to "Oh, well... at least I know if I keep going, I'll eventually hit a beltway to help me get back home."
1. Sooo sore! Have biked six days in a row, including trips down to Artscape and back twice. Felt great. Took today off, as my rear end hurts quite a bit. Played softball for a couple hours in the heat, didn't even make it to the gym.
2. Have watched Seasons 1-2 of Mad Men over the last week or so. Awesome, awesome show.
3. An awesome reader sent me a great gift pack of Old Bay merchandise! Thanks so much!
4. If you would like to friend me on Facebook or follow me on twitter, just send me an email. They seem to have replaced most of what I did here.
This week, I have been biking everywhere. In fact, I've used my car once all week.
It's an attempt to live greener and to conquer my ever-present battle-with-the-bulge. I've exercised every day this summer and have been eating healthy, but my weight is pretty much the same. Not a huge deal for me - it's about fitness and health, not weight - but it's still mystifying to me. I have noticed on some recent runs that my cardiovascular health is not that great; the elliptical, as convenient and non-pounding as it is, just doesn't provide a great cardio workout. Biking, so far, is.
And it's nice to ride through Baltimore and notice things more. Like, I had no idea that goldfinches and red-winged blackbirds and killdeer live in the city. But I've seen all of them, as I bike through the trails in Herring Run Park.
Going through the busier parts of the city are scarier. I rode on Edison Highway the other day, going from Bel-Air/Edison to Highlandtown. Not very pleasant, but I didn't know a better route. I rode to Artscape yesterday, and it wasn't bad, but driving around the busy area of North Avenue and Charles Street isn't that relaxing. But I stick to the sidewalks, mainly, unless there are people on them. I just can't see risking my life on the road with traffic. I don't understand how people can do that, actually, when it's busy and there is no real bike lane.
It's been fun, so far, and I hope to keep it up into the school year - driving only when it's absolutely necessary, and biking whenever I can. I feel great, both in a fitness sense and a do-gooder sense. I'm going to keep it up, and hope to learn more and more about biking and trails throughout B-More.
1. Wow. It's really hard to keep a whole house clean. Particularly for me.
2. I can't figure out how to get my toilet to quit running. I've fiddled with it and fiddled with it but, sometimes - I'd say once every 4-5 flushes - it will catch on something (not sure what) and periodically run for about a minute.
3. I tried to put a shelf above the said toilet and ended up just putting two unsightly holes in my wall. A picture covered one of them.
4. My garden hose split for no apparent reason. It's about 2 weeks old, but has had plenty of use. Not sure if I have the receipt and not sure if I could return it if I did. I'm going to try duct tape.
5. I can't wait for recycling to be once a week. I have so much recycling that it's a huge project just to move it down every two weeks - when I remember.
First off, I was going to blog my eating and exercising all summer, but have decided to do it through Fitday instead. Suffice to say, I've been doing well - haven't skipped a gym trip all summer, and have been having amazing workouts. And my eating habits are generally solid, though being involved in a weekly softball beer league probably doesn't help matters much.
Secondly, I'm now ready to share an ordeal that occurred with me this summer.
Most readers know that I have a dog. I adopted him back in 2001. He was a wild stallion at that point, but I trained him well and he's been a really good dog for me. He is fiercely protective of the house (mailmen are scared of him because he barks so much on the other side of the door) and of me. This is a good thing; I want him to be a watchdog, to help prevent breakins and stuff like that.
Some longtime readers will remember an incident with a garbage man back in 2002. I wasn't home, and a garbage man came into our backyard and started yelling and banging on the side of the house, ostensibly to let us know our trash was too heavy. My pothead roommate groggily came downstairs, opened the door, and my dog, Holden, scooted out between his legs. He chased down the guy, who had to jump the fence to escape. He says Holden bit him, but never provided proof.
I didn't have Holden's Rabies certificate on me, and my veterinarian office, the Parkville (or Hamilton?) Animal Hospital, had burned down, so I couldn't get a replica. Because of this, Holden was taken for ten days for observations. This was mind-blowing to me, because he never even bit the guy; he just said he did. In other words, you can just report a bite to the authorities and they'll take the dog.
It was a very expensive lesson and it got worse. About a year later, I was sued for $10,000. Those were my broke years, when I was trying to pay off credit card debts and even considering filing for bankruptcy. I did not have any money for a lawyer, although I met with a couple of them. They said they could make it all go away for $2000, but I didn't have that money.
It also turns out the man suing me was a slumlord and criminal, who owed the city $20,000 in back taxes and fines, and owned houses that were used for dealing crack. It's pretty clear to me that this man was just trying to make a quick buck. Of course, none of that info was admissible during the trial.
All that lead-in probably wasn't necessary, but it contextualizes what happened on June 15. I was doing some yardwork, and heard a noise behind me. Some teenagers were twirling a stick against my private fence, then came into view. It startled me, and I turned around quickly. Holden, who was laying in the backyard, with the gate stupidly open (I was going back and forth), sensed my momentary surprise and crept towards the kids, between them and me. One kid, 17 years old, ran. It happened so quickly, but Holden was somehow able to wiggle underneath the picket fence and jumped on the kid and apparently bit him. It wasn't much of a bite, but it did happen. The kid didn't deserve it, and it was scary, and not good at all.
Police and ambulance were called. I provided the Rabies certificate. However, Animal Control still came and took the dog away for ten days of observation, to make sure he wasn't vicious. It ended up taking two weeks, because there is so much red tape in the system, and the bite coordinator is lazy and incompetent. I'm cordial with the neighbor, and the kid is fine. I got Holden back. But it was very, very expensive*, and scary. It's good to have Holden back, but it's clear he doesn't get any leeway for the rest of his life in terms of leashes or gates being open, even for a second.
* Very, very expensive hurts now more than it should. I used my summer savings for the house downpayment, thinking I could live on the $8,000 tax rebate I'm getting over the summer. However, the tax man who I spent $160 on to get the amendment filed, screwed up and didn't file the correct paper. The IRS contacted me on June 14, and I sent it back on June 15. It'll be about 8 weeks from their receipt of that to get the tax rebate. I'm crossing my fingers it'll be quicker, because I'm broke to the point where gas money is tough to come by. I paid my mortgage this month, thank goodness, but otherwise I'm broke. I hate to live on a credit card, but I'm going to have to start that soon.