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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things, Dammit!

31 Dec

1913 2013 is drawing to a rapid close. I realize I haven’t shown my blog all of the love I intended to show it this year, so I thought I’d slap something together see what I can do about crafting an end of the year blog.

So, 2013 dawned on January 1, 2013….

OK I guess you knew that.

I don’t really feel like recapping this particular year. Not until I have consulted with my lawyers, anyway. Suffice to say, any year in which you have to retain an attorney, can’t be all good.

Still, I do not like to be negative. At least not ALL the time. So, I tried to think of some sort of mood enhancer that might help me.

When I say mood enhancer, I mean something that doesn’t come in a bottle or a container with a child proof cap (which, by the way, any child can open with ease, but elderly older people have a bitch of a time opening those prescription bottles. I should know. Every time I need to reach for my meds I have to carry the bottle across the street so my neighbor’s 7 year old can open it for me.)

Some of you may have heard of a little musical I like to call The Sound of Music. Apparently a lot of people like to call it that, because that is it’s title. It is based on some stuff that happened to this family who would not stop singing no matter what  circumstances, and the nun who came to love them and eventually marry their father–thus ruining her nun career forever. Also, there are Nazis and Nazis are bad.

I think that sums up The Sound of Music very well. It was a big hit on Broadway,  so Hollywood made it into a movie starring Julie Andrews back in the 60’s. Apparently  NBC recently did a live television production of this show starring Carrie Underwood.

Personally, I don’t know who Carrie Underwood  is, but I assume she is the heiress to the Underwood Deviled Ham fortune. I think it is better to use real actors and singers when putting on a play, but these rich people are always shoving their heiresses on us and  calling them entertainers, so why not this deviled ham lady?

I did not see the NBC production, as I once had to sit through the original movie at a family gathering when it was broadcast on TV one Thanksgiving a decade or so ago. One of my cousins (one of my relatives that did a lot of drugs at the time) insisted on singing along to every damn song in the movie and, make no mistake, there are a LOT of songs in that movie. Some movies do not live up to their titles but The Sound of Music most definitely does. The movie is going along and people are having a conversation like people do and then, “oh shit–I think they’re going to sing again!” Even the Mother Superior sings and she isn’t even in the family! (Really? I’d like to see her Climb Every Mountain in that habit!)

If said cousin had perhaps offered me some of whatever it was she was on at the time, I too might have enjoyed the movie. Instead, that Thanksgiving got placed on the Holidays From Hell list. (Not  a short list, either. Not by a country mile.) So I couldn’t bring myself to watch this new production for fear my PSTD might kick in.

I heard that a lot of people who watched the live version starring the deviled ham heiress were not impressed. People who love the movie were all, “it’s a classic!” or “Heresy!” WTF? It is an old Broadway musical. Can you imagine how many truly awful high school and dinner theater productions there must have been in the last 50 years of so? Get over it!

I really only thought to mention The Sound of Music because there is a song in the show called My Favorite Things.

Maria, the naughty nun who eventually shacks up with the singing children’s father, provides a list of her favorite things (in song form, natch) and says when something goes wrong (biting dogs, stinging bees, etc,) she makes a point of remembering her favorite things and then she doesn’t feel so bad.

Yeah. Like that will work. “I just totaled my car—let me remember how much I love whiskers on kittens. That will make me feel much better!’

So getting back to the beginning of whatever it was I was trying to do with this blog, I thought I’d take a page from Maria Von Trapp’s songbook and, since I don’t feel like discussing this year, I will instead focus on some of my favorite things, I’m pretty sure, unlike Maria, I will still feel bad, but then I will just make a pilgrimage across the street and get that little boy to open my prescription bottle for me. (One or two of those pretty light blue pills should do the trick…)

In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite things:

Old typewriters

Old typewriters

Neon

Neon

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Street Art

Street Art

Actually, I like a lot of different art.

Actually, I like a lot of different art.

Old books

Old books

I also like new books and bookstores.

I also like new books and bookstores.

Journals and blank books.

Journals and blank books.

It might be possible that the only reason I keep a journal is because it gives me an excuse to buy interesting notebooks and blank books.

Writing in my journal in cafes and coffee shops..

Writing in my journal in cafes and coffee shops.

Then again, I might also keep a journal because I love hanging out  and writing in places that serve really good coffee.

Bicycles. I definitely love bicycles.

bike with mirror2 Bicycles. I definitely love bicycles.

May the New Year bring you all of your favorite things along with the blessing that comes from having a special someone in your life who can open the child proof caps on your prescriptions.

Happy New Year!

For the love of bikes

9 Jan

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

~ Queen

Today’s blog is a tribute to one of my favorite things–the bicycle.  If this was an episode of Oprah and it was one of Oprah’s favorite things, everyone in the audience would receive a free bicycle.

Sorry, I am no Oprah–on so many levels!

(I hear Oprah is going to be interviewing Lance Armstrong soon. Maybe you’ll get a free bike out of that some how.)

Instead of giving you an actual bicycle, I am sharing some favorite quotes about bicycles, along with images I have captured along the way.

I hope these will entertain you enough that you forget about that free bike that you’re not going to be receiving.

(Click on the images to embiggen. Yes, embiggen is a real word! Isn’t that a gas?!) 

HPIM0394.JPG

Washington, DC Tidal Basin

bike quote2

St. Augustine, FL

bike quote3

Jacksonville, FL, Downtown

bike quote4

Jacksonville, FL, Riverside

bike quotes5

Paris, France

bike quote6

Paris, France, Musée des Arts et Metiers 

bike quote7

Paris, France, Quartier Latin

Naughty bicycling video ahead. Parental discretion is advised:

Bikes of Paris

29 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. –H.G. Wells

 

Paris is a beautiful city. One of the things I found most beautiful about it, were the bicycles. Bikes are everywhere in Paris. I like photographing bikes anyway, but since I was a tourist in Paris with my camera at the ready, I found lots of photogenic bicycles while I was there.

 

 

Some of the bikes of Paris were amazingly colorful!

Bicycles are everywhere in Paris–Here’s one parked beside The Seine:

Bicycles are on every Rue and Boulevard in the City of Lights.

Bikes in Paris come in all shapes and styles:

Bicycles are part of the scenery of Paris, day and night.

Happy Cycling!

In which I become a triathlete (sort of)

15 Jun

And so, Wednesday floats in on a cloud of smoke. The city of Jacksonville has issued an air quality advisory which says something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t advise breathing that air if you can help it.” Now there are warnings of “particulate matter” in the smoke. I got a bit of particulate matter in my eye on my way home from work yesterday. It stung!

As I was riding my bicycle to work yesterday morning, singing a happy tune as I pedaled away, I had a sense that something was amiss with my bike. I decided to stop and check it out. Oh, what’s this? My rear tire is flat! So I reached into my utility belt (or backpack) and got my air pump out and began to blow up the tire. It took a lot of pumping, but soon the tire was inflated. I got back on my bike and pedaled away, trying to remember the happy tune I had been singing (I think it was One from A Chorus Line…)

One singular sensation, every little step…

Crap. The tire was flat again. As I was closer to my house than I was to my office, it became obvious that I would have to turn around and walk home. For some reason, to me, there is nothing sadder than a person walking a bicycle (“sick bicycle, coming through!”) and I was one sad character. I wasn’t singing a happy tune anymore.

I arrived home 40 minutes after I set out in the first place and, being the consummate bicyclist that I am, exchanged bikes and pedaled off, retracing the route I had just cycled and walked, singing a happy tune (every move that she makes…) until I was, at long last, at work.

I remember years ago hearing a comedian talk about the people who participate in triathlons–events where the athletes have to swim, cycle and run to complete the event. She said people who participate in triathlons must not have jobs. Or, they have jobs that are really hard to get to.  I felt a little bit like a triathlete myself after riding, walking, riding–just to get to work. They really should give me extra credit for even showing up.

There was a bit of flurry in the news yesterday about Facebook. FB use in the U.S. and the U.K. is reportedly on the decline. People are leaving, prompting some comparisons to Myspace. Speculation is that Facebook has peaked. The people in charge at Facebook are trying to put a good, um, face on the news and are insisting there is no decline. Their plan for world domination continues at a nice pace according to them. Still, there is some speculation that people are becoming concerned about privacy issues concerning social media in general. I don’t know why I got on this subject. It is a big topic. Far too big for a spur of the moment, off the cuff blogger to tackle just now.

Hopefully I will have a less eventful commute to work this morning. Breathing in that smoky air and particulate matter and singing a happy tune.

Something besides One, I hope. I am getting really tired of that song…

Happy Wednesday

 

Lets go ride a bike

30 Jan

The weather is a tad cool today, but sunny and perfect for riding a bike. To celebrate, in addition to actually riding my bike, I thought I’d share some bicycle related images.

Here are some images from one of my favorite places to ride:

Happy Sunday!

Physical Monday

24 Jan

Long time fitness guru, Jack LaLanne has died. He was 96. He once joked, “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.” Jack was a fitness nut back when fitness nuts were considered by most of the general population to be, well, nuts.  Now you can’t throw a stone without hitting a jogger or some other kind of exercise enthusiast. We have more nutritional information available to us than most of us can digest (pun intended). So now, everyone knows what they should do to be fit and healthy. It doesn’t mean we’re all fit and healthy but at least we have the vital information, so we can feel knowledgably guilty about it.

What’s the point? Jack LaLanne maintained a healthy lifestyle and look what happened! He died anyway.

In 1977  Jim Fixx wrote a book called The Complete Book of Running. It was a huge bestseller. Mr. Fixx is credited with helping to start America’s fitness craze and popularizing jogging. In 1984, Jim Fixx dropped dead from a heart attack. He was 52.

A couch potato could find great comfort in the story of Jim Fixx. “See, exercise kills!” Actually, Jim Fixx’s father died of a heart attack at the age of 43.  With a family history like that, you could argue that Jim Fixx prolonged his life by taking up running.

I took up running in 1977 after reading The Complete Book of Running. In retrospect one wonders why you need an entire book on the subject. Human beings have been running since our earliest ancestors figured out they were being chased by something that could kill them or we wouldn’t be here. So, you need a whole book to tell you how to run? Anyway, now I can’t for the life of me figure out what I saw in running. You could say I was just hopping on a trend, but I have never been a terribly trendy person. Now I am kind of vague about how much running I did. I jogged on a track. I jogged on sidewalks. I owned “running shoes”. I wore this cute little pair of shorts. I don’t remember how long this went on. My college roommate and I ran together some. Neither of us was inclined toward athletic endeavor. We’d known each other since we were 12 and had hated gym class together, so in retrospect it is kind of funny we were running track together. When the coach in junior high made us run track for his own sadistic amusement, we hated it. Now we were getting up when it was still dark, of our own accord, to run the track at FSU.

I’m pretty sure that didn’t go on for very long.

I didn’t take up cycling until I was nearly 30. I learned to ride a bike as a kid and rode when I was in school.  Somewhere around high school I stopped riding. One of my cousins gave me a hand me down 10 speed when I went off to FSU and I locked the bike up to a fence near my dorm and never rode it. When I graduated I gave the bike to another cousin. I don’t know why I didn’t ride a bike in college except I think somewhere in my head I had decided bicycles were kid’s stuff.

I don’t remember where the bike came from, but I started riding again when I was between jobs in 1987. It was a bad time in my life, as unemployment frequently is. I’ve always said that cycling saved my life. The endorphins released during my daily spin on the bike helped to counter my darkest moods during a tough time.

All this talk of running and bike riding may be giving the false impression that if you saw me on the street you’d say, “My, he’s a fit fellow”–when in fact you’d be more likely to think, “Look at that fat, old man on a bike. I hope he doesn’t fall and break a hip.” Sometime around the age of 45, my metabolism up and died but I failed to adjust my eating habits accordingly.  Right now I am just trying to lose enough weight just so my “fat pants” will fit comfortably again. Once that milestone has been achieved, we will strive for loftier goals.

That is the editorial “we.” No matter how tight my “fat pants” may feel, there is only one of us in here.

I am back to bicycle commuting to work. Cold, rain, fog and general laziness have kept me off the bike since before Christmas for the most part–except for some weekend riding when the weather wasn’t horrible. This morning I will be back in the saddle because it is a balmy 39 degrees Fahrenheit and that’s warm enough. Really, it sounds crazier than it is. You layer enough, once you start riding it doesn’t feel that cold. And frankly, I am just happiest when I am riding my bike. Even when it’s cold.

I am the same age as Jim Fixx was when he died and, with all due respect, I am not sure I ever want to be as old as Jack LaLanne was when he passed away, but hopefully I can find health and happiness somewhere in between.

Happy Monday

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