Sunday, September 16, 2012

The bike, blogging and school balance

It's off to school I go, armed with hat, sunglasses and SPF protection.
I'm still here but keeping up with school has become the focus of my life these days.  Higher education has changed a great deal in twenty years and while I'm barely able to keep up with the reading I am far behind of the latest technology.  Yesterday, I sat at this desk and had a near meltdown at my inability to figure out ASU's electronic library system.  Today, I pedaled to the downtown a kind-hearted library science student (would it be too much to say he was eager to help) walked me through the system and I now have a "bookshelf" account.  Please don't ask me what that is.  Card catelogs still exist but since I didn't see one anywhere I assume it is locked away in some forgotten room, or possibly in the janitor's closet.

A pencil skirt in a stretchy French Ponti knit is very comfortable to ride in.
I've missed blogging for the last two weeks, and keeping up with the many blogs I normally follow.  I dare not deviate from my reading schedule on most days and click over to see what Sam or Meli or Kristen are doing because it's just so easy to get completely absorbed in the thoughts and experiences of fellow bicycle lovers from other parts of the country.  I'm a tad resentful of that (plus I won't get to go to Interbike this year) because as much as I love social media and the Internet, I really can't say much for on-line education.  I only have one on-line course this semester, a required course missing from my previous academic record, and, although I'm doing well in it, trying to learn an unfamiliar subject without the benefit of face-to-face instruction and the input of other students takes up an inordinate amount of time and a great deal of frustration.  And time away from blogging.

This is the worst section.  I have to walk my bike on the very edge to get through.
I am happy to report that I reported the oleander sidewalk obstruction on 7th Steet between Thomas and Osborn to both the City of Phoenix and my Councilman Nowakowski's office and received an immediate reply from both!  Felicitia, Councilman N's LA told me they are already working with the Phoenix Country Club on the oleander problem on Osborn, with a plan for a resolution by early October, and will talk to them about the section on 7th as well.  As a former LA myself, if you need to report a sidewalk obstruction, or any kind of public works problem, it might help to send a photo of the problem and convey exactly what is the problem with the problem.  In this case, the overhanging shrubbery sends pedestrians, bicyclists (you can pedal on sidewalks in Phoenix) and people in wheelchairs dangerously close to a really busy street.  It's a risk management issue.  Nobody wants to get sued.  It's also just a plain old good neighborhood issue.  People won't use unsafe sidewalks.  I thinks it's also really nice to send a friendly "thank you" in reply and to be patient.  Be persistent but give things time to get resolved.  Everyone's "to do" list is pretty long.

Just because you are studying to be a social worker doesn't mean you have to forget about fashion.
 Doesn't she look elegant?   I've never tried
biking in a dress this long but I guess it doesn't require a skirt guard.
In between reading, writing, getting technologically up to speed and solving Phoenix's public works dilemmas, I've also managed to meet a few of my bike riding classmates.

I don't know anything about this brand but it's very stylish.  Love the swept back handlebars.
I don't know if they are committed transportation cyclists but parking is damn expensive downtown so for the next two years they just might be.

Deputy sheriff and part-time social work student on a bike.  And, no, I didn't ask him about Sheriff Joe.


I did get hit by a car a few weeks ago as I was returning from class.  I made the mistake of assuming the woman exiting the parking lot of Safeway on 7th and McDowell would not pull out into extreme heavy traffic but would wait for an opening.  I was wrong - but unhurt.  Her car hit by bike but oddly enough didn't touch me.  My lesson is to ALWAYS make eye contact with the driver no matter how unlikely the possibility of him or her pulling out in front of you.  Her lesson - and I suspect she I made my point perfectly clear - LOOK BOTH WAYS.  It shook me up more than I thought it would but I've never been hit before.  No damage to my Breezer.  No damage to me.  I need to bike smarter the next time.  I'll end on that note.  Let's all bike just a little bit smarter the next time.  

5 comments:

G.E. said...

So glad you are okay after your (literal) run in with a car! Don't worry about the school schedule too much. I think the hardest part is figuring out how to do it all, but it does get easier. Glad to read that all is going pretty well for you, too! :O)

DAN said...

I to am back in school. It is hard to juggle things a first but you will get it as I did. Good luck.

phillip wright said...

I did it too. I finished my master's with a full time job, a new wife and a baby on the way. It was painful. Now, no more school and all time for family and bikes.

BluesCat said...

Hang in there, Karen!

When I went back to school in my late twenties, after an eight year absence from academia, it was as tough as the others here have described. But eventually you'll get it down to a system, a routine, like packing your bike in the morning.

The last couple of months, my own riding has been curtailed by a kitchen leak disaster; I've had to run around so much in the car, talking to the insurance company and dealing with contractors and trying to prepare meals without a kitchen.

She Rides a Bike said...

Thanks for all the encouragement about school everyone. Time management is the biggest challenge, isn't it?

Blues Cat: I'm sorry about the kitchen leak. Been there. It's always something.