Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cars Can Kill

A local teen was killed in car crash recently and two of his friends were injured. One car, high speed, collision with a tree...terrible, tragic. Avoidable? Probably.

I remember driving as teen. I had a great teacher, my father. He taught we all sorts of wonderful things about watching sidewalks, driving defensively, looking both ways even when crossing one-way streets, always expect the unexpected, look out for bikes and pedestrians, drive the speed limit, etc. All things I grew to understand and respect, but as a teen I pretty much ignored.

My boyfriend made me upset? Drama ensued with me racing off in my car. Out for fun with friends? More than a few nights of riding too fast down country roads or doing donuts in parking lots. Late for work? Speed limit be damned.

What made me really take driving or even being a passenger in a car seriously was a friend/co-worker of mine dying in car wreck with her young baby. One car, high speed collision with a stationary object. It happens. It doesn't have to.

Please, please, please drive safe. No girlfriend/boyfriend is worth putting your life or other in danger. Going to the hospital or morgue is not fun. Be late, it will be okay. Cars can kill, use them wisely.

Friday, January 20, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

Since the first real snow event of 2012, Parker and I have been walking to and from school instead of cycling. Rob would cycle with Parker (and a friend or two) to school and I would cycle home with him/them. Then the snow fell and Parker wisely decided it might be safer and more fun to walk. We get just enough snow in this area for people to not know how to drive in it, but think they do. Now Parker and I enjoy our one one one time so much that Parker isn't interested in cycling at all yet. When we bike to school he doesn't get much of a chance to chat. I love getting a couple miles of walking in before I start my homeschooling day with the two younger kids. It gets me out of the house when it is 10 degrees out so then the rest of the day I don't dread the cold. Rob has completely lost his winter groove and will sometimes go days without leaving the house. He is too soft from spending last winter in North Carolina. He used to be such a hard man cycling seven miles to work in sub-zero weather even when we had a car. Now he spends all day in his attic office with a space heater so it is the warmest room in the house. Luckily, this winter hasn't been too bad yet and we've already made it through the first month.

I bought a pair of Bogs boots from Champaign Surplus before Christmas and I used them a couple times, but it was almost too warm, but once the snow fell and real winter kicked in I found the Bogs to be a joy. My seven year old is our middle child and rarely gets new anything so I bought  him a pair this year too. He never complains about his toes getting cold and he was able to play in the snow all day without getting his feet wet. He can easily put his boots on himself since they have the handles. I predict the entire family will end up with a pair of Bogs as they grow out/wear out their current boots. Thanks to Loretta and Susan for recommending Bogs boots.

I walked over a dozen miles in my boots last week before the snow melted and they were not tough on my feet. I was happy to get back into my walking shoes since they are a little less bulky, but really the boots were very comfortable. I debated about buying a shorter pair because I think I could wear them all the time, even when cycling. I'll let you know how they well they wear as time goes on.

The younger kids and I walked to the bus station this week to buy new bus passes. I'm going to try to keep a running tally of how often we ride the bus. I'm curious with two bus passes (one for me and one for Parker) and soon to be three (Dema is about the height to need one now, but they said he was still okay to ride without) if we really use them enough of if we should just pay a dollar each time. It is certainly convenient to have the passes instead of tokens or cash, but we're trying to be more fiscally responsible.

After we walked to the bus station, we took the bus to the co-op and back so we have 2 rides for one pass holder so far this year. I was able to get Parker's pass too since his photo was on record, but he doesn't ride the bus as much anymore and he was supposed to be issued a bus pass through the school, but never received one. I'm hoping he uses the bus more independently this year. We'll see.

I wish I had a picture of Josie on the bike of the Xtracycle on the way to ballet this week. In some ways walking is more comfortable in the cold than cycling because walking expends more energy and doesn't create as much wind. Yet Josie was insistent on going by bike. I had to bundle her up with her toutou on. Only her ankles and cheeks were cold. We have several masks and balaclavas, but she refused to wear them since they really are too big for her. I need to look into smaller options of headwear for under her helmet or over perhaps. The ride is only a mile or so and she didn't complain.

Last night we all walked the mile downtown to watch a movie and it was single digits for our walk home. The little ones were snuggled in the Chariot bike trailer and the rest of us kept warm by walking fast.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let It Snow!

The snow started falling in our part of the world as my eldest was getting his coat on to leave for school. Rob and I were debating about cycling or walking to school. Actually, Rob saw no problem with biking there, but I thought it would be silly to bike there just to have to walk his bike home. I don't trust drivers around here on the best of days so there was no way I was going to trust them on the first day of real snow this winter. I was a lovely walk and I was able to have a great chat with Parker. Of course, he is almost twelve and is more than capable to walk to school on his own, but we both really enjoy our time without his siblings.

Josie is dancing around the house singing "Let It Snow" (not the real version, something she just made up). It is kind of infectious. Days like this I am so relieved to not own a car. I don't have to worry about driving on the roads, I don't have to clean off the car, I don't have to move the car to let the plows go by, etc. It takes the suck out of snow.