So I bought a mens Diamondback Wildwood Bike (same as my sister's, whose bike I rode and loved a couple months ago), a bike carrier for my car, a bike lock, a gel bike seat cover, and some biking gloves. The total price came to less than the bike would have cost with tax, so I got away like a bandit. A store employee even put the bike rack on my car so I didn't have to figure out that part of the conundrum. Good thing I asked, too, because he had trouble, so I would STILL be in the parking lot if I'd had to put the thing on! He's not even sure he got it on right, but it's solid and the bike made it home without a hitch, so I call that a success.
I've already ridden about three miles, even though it's nearly arctic outside. I plan to ride it for thirty minutes every day it isn't raining all winter long unless the roads get icy. It's great cardio-vascular exercise and is fun besides!
Casey's last soccer game for the season this morning was terrific and the sun was out (forecast was for rain, so God blessed us). The girls (most of them 7 years old -- Casey turns 7 on November 22nd) have improved tremendously over the course of the season as they learned not only rules but strategy. At this age, no one keeps official score, but I think "our" team (The Wildcats) won most of their contests. Of course, their coaches are my niece and nephew, Wendy and Phil (Casey's parents), and Wendy was a soccer star in high school and college, so our team has the best coaching available to seven year olds, probably.
Wendy is just something else with kids. She's perfect -- encouraging and inspiring. She corrects with love and by example. Every kid should have a coach/parent/mentor like Wendy! Phil didn't play soccer in school -- he was a football jock -- but he's out there with the kids and Wendy every week doing his "positive male figure" thing for all concerned. I'm crazy about them both and about both of their kids.
[Addendum: I'm also crazy about Dawn Foxley and her kids (Lizzie and Isabella) but they don't figure into today's blog because they are out and about doing something else today. In fact, I haven't seen them in three weeks! What gives?! I need my Foxley Fix!]
Casey told me last weekend that she is beginning to write stories and LOVES it. Wendy says Casey's teacher always comments on how much more she writes, when given assignments, than the rest of the class. She said she's lucky to get two or three sentences out of most kids, while Casey regularly turns in a page -- with writing on both sides! Way to go, Caserooni!
Casey interviewed me a few weeks ago and then wrote up the interview and had me read it. Except for spelling errors (hey, she's only six -- and the way she did spell the words made sense phonetically), it was complete and amazing.
Since she is getting into it with such passion and success, for her birthday (shhhh!!!) I have bought her a blank book journal and eight pens -- four black, four colors -- and have written, "Given with love and pride to the newest writer in our family CASEY HOPE McNIVEN on your 7th birthday, November 22, 2007, by the other writer in the family, your Aunt Kris." Then on a facing page, I added, "You go, girl! Create a world, or write something about the world you're in... Whatever you do... Have fun, share wisdom, and ENJOY!"
I think she's going to be surprised and very happy.
She's the kind of kid who remembers what I got her last year for her birthday. She told me today, "You got me an otter puppet last year!" Why, sure enough, I did! It's in her bedroom and she says she loves it.
I told her I had decided on something this year that I think she'll love too -- "Something that you and I have in common other than a love for animals." She doesn't have a clue what that might be... and don't you tell her!
Guess that's it unless I get an inspiration later today...