Walking around my new neighborhood is quite different from walking around my old neighborhood. Our walks used to take us along a busy boulevard on the Merrimack River, our walks now are around an older residential neighborhood (or, urban-suburbia, as I’m calling it) complete with old trees, children playing in the streets, and sidewalks. Some of the sidewalks have these Work Projects Administration plaques, I love coming across them when I am walking the pups.
But first I’ll tie up some loose ends, *ahem* 30 Days of Biking. I didn’t ride every day in April, and I’m not even sure I know/paid attention to how many days I missed. This is the last picture I took, but I know I took at least two rides after this was taken. The end of April was, as I knew it would be, incredibly busy and necessitated a car.
First up was a big work event on April 27th, Sowing the Seeds of Community. A group of amazing local organizations partnered to fundraise for, plan, and execute a community garden build day at six sites throughout Lowell.
At the site that I helped coordinate, we built 26 raised beds, moved six dump trucks of compost (> 30 yards,) in about six hours.
Way back in early February, Kristin and I decided we wanted to buy a house (instead of a condo.) This was a long discussion but Simon and Rudy were the deciding factors – we thought they’d love a yard (yes, we *are* those crazy dog ladies!)
We had taken an excellent First-time Homebuyer’s Class so we knew the importance of putting together a good team. We found a great agent and mortgage broker, got pre-approved, browsed some houses online, and had our first showings the first weekend of March. We planned to give ourselves three months to look and we expected to buy something in July or August. That didn’t happen.
We looked at five houses on Saturday but didn’t love anything. Our agent suggested we go to an open house the next day. We agreed, thinking “Our first open house, fun! We’ll get to know the process.” Of course, because we had plenty of time scheduled to look and we were only going to the open house as a lark, we found it. And put a bid in. That very day.
We decided we were going to close on April 30th so we had plenty of time to get our inspection, fill out tons of paperwork, and anticipate. By the time our closing date came around, we were more than ready. The closing went quickly, our deed was registered, and *poof* we we’re homeowners!
One of the first things we bought was patio furniture and we’ve already been enjoying it (when we’ll get real furniture is a whole nother story, I anticipate an empty living room for months to come )
What a week it has been. I have lived in Massachusetts for longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life. So while I was born in Chicago, and say I’m “from” Connecticut, Massachusetts is really the place that matters. It’s where I’ve chosen to live as an adult (because, let’s be honest, I didn’t have any influence in where I lived as a child) and, while those two years in San Francisco were lovely, I always knew I’d end up back in Eastern Mass (and I always thought that meant the Boston area, until Lowell stole my heart.)
Boston is also where my life as a bike commuter really began. When I first moved to Boston in 1993, I took the T most places. Soon, I realized that the T maps were deceiving and that a lot of Boston was much closer than time spent on the T would have you believe. I started walking places, and then started thinking about biking. I got my younger brother’s hybrid bike from my parent’s house, took a class at MassBike in basic commuter skills, and never looked back. I biked to work. I biked to school. I biked to the bars. I biked everywhere.
I learned to ride a bike in Boston traffic, in a time before there was anything remotely resembling bicycle infrastructure, and that is a skill that has served me well in every place I have lived since. If I hadn’t started riding then, I probably wouldn’t be doing 30 Days of Biking now.
Living with what happened on Monday has been so difficult because it hit so very close to home. My heart absolutely aches for the families and friends of those who were killed; Krystal Campbell, Sean Collier, Lu Lingzi, and Martin Richard; and the far too many who were injured.
I am grateful for the medical professionals who are caring for the injured. I am grateful for all of the courageous men and women in uniform who worked together to make sure that the suspect was caught alive. I am also grateful for our legal system that will ensure that the suspect will be brought to justice. I am grateful for Bostonians and for everyone who held the City of Boston in their hearts. I am grateful that now we can come together and work on healing.
Yesterday was the first time that I have missed riding my bike during a 30 Days of Biking month. I had to drive because of things I had to do for work and I was glued to the radio while I was driving. Once I got home, I was glued to the television. I was so relieved when the suspect was finally caught last night that all I could do was unclench and go to bed.
I am looking forward to moving on and continuing with my usual routines, including riding my bike every day for the rest of April.
As I’m sure you know, there are ways to donate money to the folks most affected by the bombings. One Fund Boston is accepting donations and, if you’re local, there is going to be a fundraiser next Saturday, April 27th, at the Old Court. More info, including how to RSVP, can be found here.
My heart aches. It absolutely aches for what happened in my favorite city on my favorite holiday. My thoughts are with the injured and lost, and their families; the runners and spectators; all of the helpers; and the people of Boston. I am incredibely grateful that my family and friends who were in Boston today are safe.
Today, a group of lovely ladies and dapper gents outfitted in their finest tweeds and woolens came together to enjoy a civilized Spring ride through the scenic hamlets of Lowell, Tewksbury, Billerica, and Chelmsford.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Junkculture)
After our ride, we stopped for a tasty repast at Ward Eight.
The entire afternoon was a jolly spot of bikey fun! Many thanks to the organizer, Sophan!