Apr 4, 2013

Love Riding The Bike :)

So the biggest reason I acquired my very own paper route was because of exercise. I was going to kill all kinds of birds with that one stone entitled... paper route
...a little cash
... a purpose in life beyond chief folder of socks
...getting out of the house
 I started the route back in February but ever since then Mr. Snow has been on the ground. Everywhere. So I have been taking my car on my route. But every single day I take my car on the route I have been imagining myself riding my bike on the route. Imagining how empowered I would feel. And how awesome and ...quaint? it would be :) And wondering a little about the distance.

Today was the day that all the stars aligned and I was able to ride my bike on my paper route for the first time. I admit I have been a little unsure of how this would work out.There were some unknowns. Usually the papers arrive at my house at about 1:30 in the afternoon every day. I always quickly fold my 36 papers in their blue waterproof bags and head out the door to get my route done and I get back just in time to take Joe on his paper route and then I get back just in time to take Tatiana on her paper route. Riding your bike on your route takes way longer than driving does but I was not sure how much longer so that has been a looming unknown as I try to make sure I can get everyone's route done before five. Amanda was sure my papers would not fit in the bike basket so that was another unknown. There is also a big hill I have to ride my bike up to get to where my route is and that was another unknown. So you can see that there were some unknowns that I just had to face and figure out. Yeah, this is the new Jennifer :)

 I had no plans today and no where I had to be in the evening so the time we had to get our paper routes finished in was more flexible than usual so I knew it was a good day to have my, "ride your bike on the paper route adventure". There is no snow on the ground to speak of...some piles here and there and it did snow a teeny bit this morning but for delivering newspapers purposes it was all systems go. It was very windy and cold but that never has stopped me.

The papers arrived at 1:45 pm and I hurried and folded them and got them ready to go. They all fit in the bike basket which was a relief but the bike would not stand up on its own with the kick stand down with the basket full so I had to hold the bike up or lean it against something every time I stopped to deliver a paper. A small inconvenience but not a deal breaker. I was quite the sight on my little bike with my basket full of Westfield Evening Newspapers riding down the road.
My bike with just a few of the papers in the basket.

Once you ride your bike down my driveway you turn right and then you have to turn right again and go up a pretty steady hill for about five minutes. I was a little afraid of my ability to get up this hill without having to stop but I did it. I was breathing heavy and it was not attractive but I did it. The next obstacle in my ride to the start of my route was riding past the Westfield State College which is up at the top of the hill. The area is really busy with students and cars and I was not looking forward to riding past all that. But it was fine no one hollered any paper girl taunts at me. I am sure I entertained many of the students. No one is ever sure how old I am so that is always a good time. And a basket full of bright blue newspaper bags does draw attention.

I am going to clock the route tomorrow but I am pretty sure it is about three miles from my house to the start of the route but I am not sure of the actual distance I cover in the route. The wind was pretty strong and cold. I wore my hat and two running shirts, sweats, and long johns underneath the sweats and a lightweight jacket. I soon took the hat off but I was glad I had everything else.

It was so fun to ride and deliver my papers. It was actually easier than pulling my car up to each house and putting on the parking brake and getting out and running up to the door or mailbox and then running back to the car and backing out and turning around and all the hassles that come with that. With the bike you just zoom up to the mailbox or door or wherever they want the paper and deliver it. I felt a little sheepish as I rode across a few lawns. The basket tried to rub against my bike tire a few times and made a noise that worried me until I figured it out.

Instead of taking me the usual 25 minutes the route took me an hour and ten minutes including all my travel time. But on the way home I was pedaling into a pretty fierce wind so I am hoping that time can be cut down. I thought twice on the way home that I was going to have to just give up...the wind was blowing my bike all over the place... but I knew once I stopped I would never start again and how would the kids explain to their friends why their mom stays on the sidewalk a mile from their house?

I felt very proud of myself by the time I got home with the reddest cheeks in the land from all that cold wind. I have decided Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday are the days I will ride my bike on the paper route and Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be take the car days....but you probably could have figured that out :)

Apr 1, 2013

Silent and Simple and Still.

I am a little bewildered by how it happened but I have reached a new phase in my life. I am adoring all the possibilities that come with it. I am embracing how natural it seems to feel. It involves three words that no one could really ever use with my name before now.... Silent...Simple...and....wait for it....Still :) I have been thinking very carefully for a few weeks now about what I think of when I think of these words and let me share with you some of my conclusions :)

Silent, simple, and still Jennifer can still use smiley faces after every sentence :) Can't take that away from me :)

Silent, simple, and still Jennifer loves,loves, loves to hike. No one should be able to deny that views are definitely silent, simple and still. I am wanting to join the Appalachian Mountain Club immediately.

Silent, simple, and still Jennifer rarely talks on the phone anymore. This has been happening for sometime now and I have been pleasantly surprised and relieved at how I have embraced it. I have always been a phone chatting kind of girl but not any more. Yeah, my parents are never going to believe their prayers have finally been answered with this one :)

Silent, simple, and still Jennifer started some of her seeds for her garden in her house early this year. She is looking forward with all her might to planting, weeding, mulching, rearranging and playing in her yard. What is better than the simple, indescribable joy that comes from seeing a seed coming up?

Silent, simple and still Jennifer goes most places alone and is alarmed to admit she loves the freedom.

Silent, simple and still Jennifer listens to a podcast from the radio show This American Life everyday. Yep, she just sits and listens. If you have never listened to This American Life....shame on you...you need to go google This American Life right now and click on one of  the most recent episodes all about coincidences...it is so perfect.

Silent, simple and still Jennifer built herself a fire in her fire pit last week and just sat and alternated between playing with and staring at the aforementioned fire when she should have been fixing dinner and doing laundry.

Silent,simple and still Jennifer loves volunteering at the library. And who can not help but notice how the words silent, simple and still all totally apply to the library. I feel such contentedness when I walk in that library.People are actually happy to see me, they appreciate what I have to offer and they don't judge me because I am a little bit afraid of the laminating machine and am not overly confident at making two sided copies in...color :) I love when they send me to the shelves and I find books in the wrong place and I get to put them in the right place. It is definitely the simple things my friends.

Silent, simple and still Jennifer loves that she can play the piano and has lots of plans to practice and play way more than she ever has before. A girl can express so much through her music.

Silent, simple, and still Jennifer has a season pass to Six Flags this year and can not wait to spend way too many days riding roller coasters and the merry go round with Tatiana and Natalie. Okay, I know you are not getting it but dig deeper you truly can squish Six Flags into a blog about silent, simple and still.

Silent, simple and still Jennifer reads Tolkien with her girls almost every day. What is simpler than get the ring back to where it came from...no matter what? :)

I have always thought I needed lots going on around me and I am thankful to discover I don't need that anymore. I still like people okay but I am a little afraid of them these days and that makes me feel silent, simple and still.

My sister Sarah is the one who got me thinking about stillness and its importance and I am so glad she did. As I concentrated on it I found myself noticing how much stillness was in my life and how stillness felt.

Sunshine, shapes of trees, clouds, daffodils coming up, writing a letter, watching the chickens, Larkrise to Candleford, Emma by Jane Austen, O' Pioneers by Willa Cather, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, no radio on in the car, a new gardening magazine in the mailbox, the hammock, mountains, bridges, completing pinterest projects, my paper route and the cute old people on it who love to chat, all these things are my favorite simple things that make my heart swell and swell because they are mine :)