The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Archive for July, 2010

Massage Your Back with a Tennis Ball

Posted by thearrow on July 21, 2010

Do you spend a lot of time cramped up in front of the computer or on the bike (or both)? Me, too! Don’t have money for massage? Me neither!

But you can loosen up those nasty knots in your upper back without paying a penny. Grab a tennis ball, lie down with your back flat on the floor, and put the ball under your back where it hurts most. Yup. It really hurts. Now lift your butt and roll your body on the ball in small movements. Yup. It hurts even more. And that’s what will untie the knot.

At some point the pain gets dull, your back gets numb, and your brain gets comatose (kidding). Do this for 10 minutes and you’ll notice a big difference in how your back feels.

You can do the same with your calves, triceps, etc.

(This is actually a tip from Steve, who sometimes does this with gulf balls. Yes, he’s a masochist.)

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Twin Cherries

Posted by thearrow on July 19, 2010

I’ve got a bag full of twin cherries. First I thought I stumbled upon a couple rare ones, I kept munching on them, and then I noticed that ALL were twin cherries. Pretty cool. Or maybe not, since this might have happen because they were genetically modified. Who knows. They were fun to eat, though.

Later edit: a friend suggested they might be male cherries. LOL.

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Connecticut Avenue, the Next Frontier

Posted by thearrow on July 15, 2010

Getting to work in one hour and a half really started to bug me about a month ago. I looked at the map, saw how convoluted and roundabout my otherwise scenic bike route was, and decided it was time for a radical approach: bike on Connecticut Avenue, a large boulevard about two miles from where I live, going directly into the heart of DC and just a few blocks from where I work. Not on the sidewalk. In traffic. Gulp.

It takes one hour. I ease into it on a winding little street through a park, then deal with crossing a few unpleasant ramps to and from the beltway (where I have to make sure no cars turn right and run me over), then go on the sidewalk while the road is still uphill, and then plunge into traffic. A complete personality transformation takes place, from someone who bikes at relative leisure, to a very tense, alert, and assertive version of me. If you’re not assertive in traffic when you bike, you’re dead. Thankfully, I go straight ahead, I don’t need to switch lanes other than when I pass a parked car, so all I have to pay attention to are the occasional potholes and traffic lights.

It still is very stressful because I know I slow down my lane. The worst is when I’m behind a bus and need to somehow pass it, or when a bus is behind me and I feel like I’m in a race with Goliath. Even without buses my heart just about pops out of my chest and I could bottle the adrenaline gushing out my nose.

But I love it! I think it allows me to express a more aggressive and competitive side of me that otherwise stays relatively subdued. When I’m in traffic I get this “don’t f*** with me” face and I’m ready to freeze the driver behind with a stare. I swing my arm wide to signal a lane change as if I’m a cop directing traffic.

For the most part, drivers are very nice and patient. I do get an occasional “get on the sidewalk” yell, just like, when I’m on the sidewalk, once in a while a pedestrian would chide me that I’m not biking on the street. And my answer to that is, I bike where I feel safe. Some days I’m just not up to being in traffic; I want to take it easy. When I’m on the sidewalk, I always give priority to pedestrians and try not to scare them with my bell.

With Steve as chief bargain shopper, I found some really good deals on winter biking clothes. In the summer, their prices are reduced sometimes by 50%, so, even if I plunked down a significant amount of money on them,  it was worth it since I wear stuff for years on end. I am now the proud owner of a weatherproof jacket, two pairs of weatherproof thermal pants, and a thermal jersey. I’m set to bike year-round, except when the ground is frozen or it’s snowing.

I used to gripe that I live so far from work, but now I’m enjoying my commute so much that I can’t imagine not biking 10-13 miles each way 🙂 I had to take the metro two days this week and I was very unhappy. Couldn’t wait to get back on my bike.

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Farmers’ Market

Posted by thearrow on July 2, 2010

I just remembered that I had a couple of albums I hadn’t blogged about (and many more I haven’t had a chance to create yet). Here are a few pics from a charming farmers’ market right behind the White House, where I happened to stop when I was off from work.

It was the first time I saw anemones. I knew of them from a beloved Romanian painter, Stefan Luchian, whose famous (at least for us, Romanians) painting I included next to those I photographed.

http://picasaweb.google.com/simonne.c/FarmerSMarket#

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