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A Simple Six: 9/11/11 - 9/18/11

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sister Sara's Wedding Day

A day of primping and prepping yesterday. I followed the wedding party around taking photos at their request.

Sisters and mom.

A lot of makeup and hair treatment.

Mother of the bride and our stepdad.

Krysta and Becca, bridesmaids.

Dessert bar at the reception.

Apple pie cutting, in lieu of cake.

After cleaning up the reception, we wrestled a wedding goer into taking us out to Westgate for appetizers, drinks and dancing. Being the quite soul I am, I managed standing on the dance floor and stealing bites of spinach dip. Our late night party consisted of (left to right) Krysta, my sister Shannon, the wrangle friend of the bride and groom Jonathan, and Becca.

Jonathan and I at Margaritaville. I haven't stayed out till 2:30am in many many years.

I said adios to Becca this morning and my parents this afternoon. Now what are we going to get into? Probably a car. It has been non stop driving since I landed. Yet on the thrifty spending side of the story, I bought a sandwich for lunch yesterday then picked up the Starbucks tab for the ladies on the way to airport this morning.

While I was gallivanting around town last night, my family was taking our new Yuba Mundo bike on it's inaugural Critical Mass ride.

Yuba Mundo Inaugural Ride from delano on Vimeo.

Posted using BlogPress from Brent's Marshall University iPad

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Wedding Prep

Pictures from Thursday....

Borrowed bikes from the bride and groom and rode to the pharmacy for candy and flip flops.

My mother helped the wedding party assemble guest gifts.

The bridesmaids and I slipped in to historic Glendale for browsing and buying.

Meet the bridesmaids, Krysta and I am very happy to not be a part of this ensemble.

Glendale's public arts are fire hydrants. Many different designs by different artists, all over town. Seems practical.

Two hours of flitting in and out of shops and we were ready for ice-cream. Krysta consulted the power of Google Maps on her fancy iPhone device and delivered us to Papa Ed's.

We headed back to the house to gather everyone for rehearsal.

I got a kick out of the lime tree.

Rehearsal dinner at the groom's parent's home.

Then a 10pm reception decorating event. Some people went to pick up my other sister at the airport afterward, I headed back with the happy couple to crash while they made apple pie.

At the end of the day we had driven countless miles, bike about 1, and I had only spent $9 on a pair of flip-flops and ice-cream. Now I am setting off for another round of follow the bride.

Posted using BlogPress from Brent's Marshall University iPad

Location:Glendale, AZ

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Country Girl Goes to the City

When I was in Columbus a few weeks ago I felt the same way. There were credit card readers on parking meters. Buses, cars, pedi-cabs, and bikes all shared a single lane. I had a fear of jaywalking. It was as though I had never seen a building over three stories. I was enamored by the beauty of the city and overwhelmed by it's complexity. I felt very country.

As I spent the better part of yesterday evening traveling by airplane, I am reminded that I left my jet setting days long ago. I was gawking at the trams, USB charging ports in waiting areas, Caribou coffee stations, and six lane escalators. When did I go country? Or is it just town verses big city? It has been 9 years since we moved away from Columbus and two since I was in an airport. These are indicators of my age and parent status. Gone are the frequent flyer miles and excitement over departures. These have been replaced by two days of anxiety, self conscience treatment to airport clothing (I wore a yellow sweater instead of the black that appeared to be airport code), and astute attention to the safety information leftlet in my front seat pocket. I was shocked to learn that there is wi-fi on most flight, for a fee, and the attendants no longer accept cash for food and beverage purchases. Everyone had a mobile device in one hand and a bag with wheels in the other. Fast moving, well connected. I felt lonely.

My Kelty backpack and I made it in to Phoenix after 9pm mountain standard time. My sister's two friends picked me up in a zippy Honda Fit and drove us home. Hours of catching up, a few hours of sleep and I woke up ready to tackle the pre wedding agenda.

- Posted using BlogPress from Brent's Marshall University iPad

Location:Avondale, AZ

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting to the Airport

The Huntington Tri-State Airport is 13.4 miles from our home using the interstate or 9.9 miles taking the more direct route. The fare for flying from Huntington was the same as flying from Charleston, WV or Columbus, OH and far more convenient, or so I thought. The Tri-State Transit Authority does not have a bus route to the airport. I called the two hotels the airport lists as having shuttle service and they don't transport people who are not a guest in their hotel. I called Yellow Cab and learned that it was $2.40 to get in and $1.40 per mile, making it approximately $17-$22 to get to the airport. I truly considered biking. I am only taking my backpack, so luggage was not an issue, but I didn't know what to do with my bike when I got there and the route was not a safe one to bike with my lack of experience and strength. Maybe for another trip?

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Brent's been preparing for my departure as well. He got the oil changed in the van on Monday then loaded up on frozen pizzas and cereal at the grocer's last night (by bike). I have always maintained he would be my biggest challenge to ditching the vehicles. He's been a good sport about it so far, but concessions and compromises are made for the sake of sanity and our relationship. We are planning to drive to pick up the children from school, then heading out for an early dinner on the way to the airport, all for the sake of time.

My family will enjoy their time with out me here and I will enjoy making memories with my two sisters, mom and all the other friends and family while in Phoenix. It will be an East meets West reunion for us all. My sister relocated to Arizona more than five years ago and left all her family in the mid-west. Her two best friends are flying in from Boston and Tampa. The groom's family is all in Phoenix.

This will be my third visit to the dessert, but my first without the children. Does anyone have some suggestions of things I need to do in Arizona, that I can't do anywhere else? I have been mapping out distances from my sister's place in Avondale, hoping to bike as much as I can. I packed my helmet and I can either ride my sister's bike or I found several places that rent them. The bus and light rail system seem to cover the entire city, so I don't feel I will have to be dependent on everyone for a ride after all.

It's also probably a good idea to re-mention that I don't feel cars are the enemy. My original intent with driving less was to save money, and I have done so, quite a lot of money actually. Enough to pay for my trip to Phoenix, but not enough to rent a car when I get there. Between all the vehicles the bride, groom and the groom's family own , the out of town guests should all be able to get to and fro without major hassles. Biking, walking and using the bus system just gives me a greater sense of independence and more options with my own time.

 I hope to keep writing and posting pictures from AZ, but my technology situation (I will have internet access, just unsure about other hardware, card readers and such) is still uncertain at this time. Perhaps you will see something tomorrow, or perhaps when I return next week. In either case, I look forward to reading your suggestions for my time in the dessert.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Night Biking

Rear light attached to London's new helmet. She's riding my bike. Brent went with her to scouts and took all these night pictures.

Tuesdays are just busy days around here. There's the school and work thing, then there is the CSA and egg pick up and some times, like tonight, there's Girl Scouts. Going over for Girl Scouts puts us closer to Kroger, making it also a grocery night. Since autumn is approaching the sun is setting earlier. Evening activities and late nights at work require bike lights!

This was something I actually prepared for, unlike our shortage of rain gear that I have yet to fix. The children's helmets are equipped with small visibility lights. They are not bright enough for them to see where they are going, but enough to let everyone know they are there. London and Elliot's bikes have rear red lights next to their reflectors. Brent has a proper head light and tail light. As of tonight, my bike has a head light and we attached the tail light to the trailer.

In addition to these night time biking safety features, Elliot and London's bikes are also sporting bells with inaccurate compasses attached. I think we paid about a buck fifty for each bell, we didn't expect much more than noise makers. They love them. My ears do not, especially indoors, but they are highly effective for children who claim to be too shy to shout, "on your left!" to pedestrians.

We are pretty giddy about being in better compliance with the WV state law. Good stuff.

Showing off the new helmet, a Raskullz we ordered from

 Tomorrow it will be one month since I began tracking our miles, however unscientifically. We are over 300 miles we have covered without a gas powered engine! I thought that was pretty impressive for our little family. That's a tank of gas.

Miles Walked: 2 Biked: 44 Bused: 0 Drove: 13 This week
53.7 282.8 12.6 450.2 Since August 14, 2011

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Old Central City: The Velvet Owl and Farmers Market

The Velvet Owl, 705 W. 14th Street, Huntington, WV (Old Central City)

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My sister's wedding is in Phoenix on Friday and I own a couple things I could wear and probably should. An opportunity to dress up doesn't happen very often (for me) and having something in my closet worthy of an evening wedding was worth the trip to Old Central City this morning. Oliver and I rode the PATH from Ritter Park to West 14th Street. It always feels farther when I think about it, but it was only 3.5 miles from home.

Our destination was The Velvet Owl. This shop was a smart blend of vintage and modern. Textures and arrangements made it feel wonderfully comfortable, warm and nostalgically unique. I must have tried on every dress in the shop that was remotely close to fitting. The owner stocks consignment resale clothing and furnishings as well as vintage and antique. I found a dozen things I would have loved to have piled into the trailer, but today's mission was wedding clothes, and that is all I walked out with.

Old Central City, W. 14th Street

Duncan Lumber, also on W 14th is a mill and lumber company, that is still open for business. I predict I will live in a building like this some day. It has always been something I imagine.

Old Central City is certainly mending from ages of disrepair. It has held onto the charm of a strolling downtown district, unique shops, farmers market, antique stores, and restaurants. The area has incorporated barn quilts on the sides of many of the old buildings and there's a large gazebo (popular with music venues) in their small park across from the market.

The Bodimer's are at the market Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Check out those great prices.

Since we had biked all this way, Oliver and I stopped in at the Central City Market. We found Lewis Bodimer with his truck stocked. He's the farmer that grows all our CSA produce. We spent a fair amount just chatting with him and the folks who live across the way who have been volunteering their time to help Lewis at the market for 14 years. We didn't purchase any produce, but Lewis handed us a bag of sweet corn for dinner tonight. The children will be thrilled.

I moved Oliver to the trail half way home so he could nap comfortably. The PATH is lined with unique foot bridges over Four Pole Creek.

I have been to Old Central City before to rummage through the antique stores for pirate chests. What great discoveries have you made on the west end of Huntington?

Miles Walked: 2 Biked: 32.5 Bused: 0 Drove: 13 This week
53.7 271.3 12.6 450.2 Since August 14, 2011

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Monday, September 12, 2011

I Like to Bike

London captured a moment this afternoon, when we were switching riders for the end of a tough hill.
Each day I have to make a choice about how I will pick up the three older children from school. The school pick up is the bulk of my travel for the week. I consider factors such as weather, what time Oliver started his nap, what mood and energy level the three children will have coming back, and my own desires. Thus far weather has been a minor issue. We have had rain twice, maybe? Oliver has been pretty consistent with his nap time, thankfully. The routine we established for minimizing fussy grumbling after school has been effective, for a week. Getting a ride to school has helped reduce exhaustion for getting home. So if we have a day where all these things are favorable, it comes down to "what do I want to do?" Walk with single or double stroller, or back pack carriers? Drive? Bike up, walk back? Bike up, bike back?Ask someone else to bring them home? Walk up, bus back? Of them all, I prefer to bike.

It didn't occur to me that I enjoyed biking so much until today. I thought the euphoria of riding would wear off like a young relationship, but I have been spinning those wheels five months and still feel a tug to keep going. I anguished over the bike purchase and I am dreaming about riding. It is still hard work. Very gratifying hard work. I also realized today, on my way to school, that I appreciate the hills, as most of them are in the upward direction on the way there, while my load is light, and more downwardly on the way home when I am hauling three children and heavy packs. My grumble is only over the safety of the ride on Norway, otherwise, there is so much I enjoy.
London hauled Elliot and Oliver up this hill today. Impressive for my 9 year old.

For the first couple of weeks the smells and sounds were overwhelmingly noticeable. Now I finding them to fade away as I really observe the world around me. I can probably describe the road conditions better than the streets department. I feel we are finding our grove and making new habits. Preparing to leave the house is becoming more effortless and just a part of the 1o'clock hour. The children are getting stronger. London is now able to bike uphill with Elliot, Oliver and packs in the trailer. I am getting stronger. Even on my lousy bike, I have been able to make it to school, only stopping once because my legs are burning and my lungs are struggling. I catch my breath quicker, I cool down faster. These are all great things.

Miles Walked: 2 Biked: 21 Bused: 0 Drove: 9 This week
53.7 259.8 12.6 446.2 Since August 14, 2011

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