Re-thinking The Automobile

I actually walked somewhere I needed to be yesterday, instead of driving.  Rather than use the word “liberating” to describe a small act of resistance against Car Dependence, I think the term “Common Sense” is more apropos. 

My parents grew up in a world of sidewalks and street cars.    If they needed to get somewhere, they walked or took the street car.  Their neighborhood, Church Hill, was divided from the downtown area of Richmond by Shockoe Valley. Mom would cross Shockoe Valley and trudge up Broad Street Hill when she walked to the old John Marshall High School. I suspect it was roughly the same distance I walked yesterday.  It was no big deal eighty years ago to do what I did.  The numerous immigrants from the developing world think nothing of walking to places when they arrive in America.  Our church sponsored South Sudanese refugees (the famous “Lost Boys”), fleeing that now-forgotten civil war in the 1990’s.  These young men simply walked where they needed to go, out of habit and necessity.  They did not drive.

In my part of Henrico County, sidewalks are a hit or miss proposition.   For example there is was no sidewalk to my destination on the route I took from home, but there was a sidewalk for use on my return route.   Sidewalks are useful if a pedestrian wants to reduce the chance of being hit by an automobile.

After World War Two, the suburban paradigm captured American urban planning and the popular imagination.  Sidewalks were an afterthought and a redundancy.  Cars were the indispensible necessity when planning communities.  It was a given that a household had at least one car, possibly two.   The distances between housing developments and supermarkets (to name one destination) would be breached by a car.  A family bought a week’s worth of groceries on the jaunt to the store; such purchasing was made possible by a freezer and frozen foods.  I remember so well the frozen bricks of spinach, green beans and cauliflower my mother bought.  Fresh meat could be frozen, then thawed and cooked later.   Walking to a store and returning with a sizeable quantity of food was a challenge.

So back to 2017.   The challenge we now face, living in suburban America is to shift our thinking around the automobile from a necessity to a convenience.  I set out a rough guideline. If a distance to destination is under two miles, I will make an effort to walk there and plan my day accordingly.  We shall see how this turns out.

 

A Mentor Has Passed

I saw this news on a blog I follow. Father Kauffmann brought me into the Catholic Church. He wrote my marriage annulment petitions that were accepted within a year, near record time in the world of annulments.  He died a few minutes ago.

His most recent blog posts recorded a pilgrimage he made following the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi through Umbria and Tuscany.

Hello, Jane Dudley, the blog editor here, passing along a message from Saint Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg. Father Kauffmann is gravely ill. Please pray. Thank you. A MESSAGE FROM MONSIGNOR TIMOTHY E. KEENEY It is with a very heavy heart, Monsignor Keeney informs us that our very own Father James Kauffmann has been diagnosed […]

via Pray for Father Kauffmann — The Wonder of Truth

Bird On The Wire.

I remember that as the title of a song by Leonard Cohen, I think, recorded by Judy Collins. However, today I saw this creature perched on the wires in front of my stepmother’s house. I could not resist the chance to take the picture,

Hopefully it will enlarge for you. I think it’s an Eastern towhee.

Weigh-In.

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I hadn’t planned on losing eight pounds this week, but I did. I just followed the Smart Points guidelines of Weight Watchers.  The plan works, at least for me. I realize an eight pound drop is exceptional. I have no expectation of a weight loss of that magnitude this week. 

I have been maintaining a level of physical activity that includes house work and exercise.  At the same time, I acknowledge that such pursuits may seem terribly superficial.  Then again, life feels pretty damn good right now.

12 June, 2017

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It seems like forever since I last posted. It has been almost three weeks.  My younger son turned 29 on 1 June.  We celebrated at Kuba Kuba Dos, a Cuban restaurant spun off from the original down in the Fan district. The celebration was characterized by laughter, great food and was topped off by their incomparable tres leches cake.  I would be remiss if I did not also mention the coconut risotto cakes, their fantastic appetizer.

Next on the schedule of mini-dramas was a car inspection. I am the proud owner of a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis with two new tires, a functioning air conditioning system and a new EGR valve. YEE-HA!   I didn’t see that new EGR valve comingbecause I did not know such a thing existed until mine ceased to function. 

I have had shoulder issues lately, of the annoying category. I think the vertebrae somewhere in my dysfunctional spinal column are pinching a nerve. I have normal range of motion, just some pain.

I started to seriously do the Weight Watchers program again. I’m sick of carrying the weight, eating to avoid my feelings, and having to take medicine.  I have to take drugs to control my hypertension and elevated cholesterol.  The need for the drugs is eliminated when my weight is around 175 lbs, rather than 210, which it is now.  Weight Watchers is simple and fun. I have no sense of being deprived.

Life is good. I have more to say, but am runnning out of time to say it now.

Rambling Guy

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So about 2 weeks ago, I went back to Weight Watchers. My weight was climbing upward, because I rebel against the idea of managing what I eat. So I’ve been toying around with program. My first weigh-in showed I lost about 3 lbs and my second weigh-in had me gain back about 1.5 lbs. That was yesterday. 

I finally admitted to myself I wasn’t being rigorous enough. I know what I can and should eat to have a sustained weight loss over time. I’ve purged a lot of crap from the pantry, freezer, and fridge.  This morning I went to Richmond’s best produce store, Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market and the fruits and vegetables practically jumped into the cart. Leading the way was a quarter of a watermelon. Seriously yummy,

I came home started dinner, a slow-cooker prepared chicken rosemary and mushroom stew-like concoction with tomatoes. I found these great canned tomatoes at Tom Leonard’s, Sclafani’s from Norwalk CT. Sclafani imports these tomatoes from Italy. They are delicious.

Next I started some red beans, Cajun style. With Cajun spicing in beef stock, slow cooked. Added only garlic and shallots.

I went to the Y w D, my stepmom. My swim of 2500 meters was three minutes faster than yesterday. And the weight gain I showed yesterday was gone today.  Go figure. Weight varies daily, that’s about the first thing one learns at WW, so it’s the trend that matters.

My stepmom wanted me to take her by KFC to pick up some dinner. I just offered to bring some of my chicken stuff over. She said yes. Nothing like a good deed done to make one’s day,

Now It Feels Like Monday Afternoon.

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I took that nap. It was a pretty good nap, only about an hour or so, but felt like eight hours.  When I awoke I did some minimal chores, read some blogs,  looked at some people looking at houses on HGTV  (Thank The Good Lord, His blessed Mother and all the Angels and Saints we own the house free and clear!) .  Then I decided to go swimming and swam 2500 meters. After the swim, I went to BJ’s, bought a few perishables, and spent less than $40.  Back home, I decided an update was in order.

The Bachelorette starts tonight. I think I will read, whilst my beloved watches that show.   I shall read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages on recommendation of a fellow blogger.

Stay tuned.

Feels Like Monday

Saturday we went to 5:30 Vigil Mass. This created a Sunday with unlimited late sleeping. Yesterday was brunch and nap and swimming and AA and softball/baseball on TV.  MrsCorC? was doing something with one of her friends and said I was free to enjoy my time on my own.  I last saw her when I left to go to the Y.  She was going to meet up with her friend L and wouldn’t be home when I returned from the pool.  I decide to go to AA. About 8:00, there is a text from her on my phone “I haven’t heard from you in four hours I’m worried.  Are you OK?”. 

“I’m fine. Was at AA. Coming home.”  I text back.  I had made the critical error that my free time would be free from any obligation to “check in”. Big mistake.  So last night was the mix of nice words but icy demeanor.

Now it is Monday. I have been up since about 6:00 AM. And it feels like Monday.  My eyeballs are burning. I want to sleep some more.  I can take a nap if I want to.  I am re-fucking-tired, after all.  I lie down.  But sleep doesn’t happen.  I’m back up.  I need to write.  But I have nothing to say except that it’s Monday and I need a nap.

More will be revealed.