the first bike nate tried to buy for me was out of some garage in the suburbs of chicago. he spent an hour jumping from bus to bus only to discover the bike was crap, but the guy was deaf and clearly selling bikes for income. nate tried valiantly to fix it up but to no avail. then he found another bike at a garage sale but each time we go for bike rides, something breaks. the last time we managed to get within a couple of miles before the tire fell off the rim, then exploded.

this year i wanted to bike into the city and have a picnic at the art museum for my birthday. along the west side of the schuykill river is a road that they close off on weekends during the summer for bikers and runners, and along the east side is a trail that runs out to the suburbs. we weren’t able to set aside a saturday afternoon until about a month ago. temperatures are soaring, and i’m getting a sizable bump but we decided to brave the heat before it was too late. we packed a picnic and the bike pump and set off. it ended up being cloudy and the 8 mile trek was slow going but without incident. we made it to the art museum and claimed a bench in the park behind the museum. most tourists congregate in the front where the rocky statue is, so it’s pretty quiet at the back. we camped out for a while, mustering up energy for the ride back.

there’s a hole in my bike tire again, so we’ve been taking walks. last night we discovered a boardwalk along a canal in the neighborhood next to us. the view on the other side of the canal is mostly parking lots and the highway but for now, it’s a quiet place we can take one of our many picnics. there are a lot of murals in many neighborhoods and we discovered last night, on a wall in the middle of a parking lot. the canal also had an awesome public art installation of transparent water pipes and motion sensors that pump up water from the canal whenever people walk past, propel the water through the pipes and spit it back into the canal.

the other great thing about summer in philly is there seems to be a good number of free outdoor events. there are free movie showings at a couple locations. they set up a legitimate movie screen and stage with food vendors. the volume is loud enough so nothing gets lost amidst crowd chatter or the wind. the weekend before a friend also had free tickets to an orchestra concert at a bandshell in the park. they concluded the performance with the 1812 overture followed by fireworks. the actual fourth of july we spent in cleveland. it was quiet, but nate golfed, we were fed homecooked meals and spent an afternoon at an indians game.

baby update: we had our first birth class this week. it was informative, but i wish there was a better method than showing birth videos. i have a hard time understanding why the delivery process is described as ‘beautiful’. maybe it’s just one of those things you have to see to undersand. nate is, however, always moved to tears and briefly considered a career switch to midwifery. unfortunately, the other couples are strange and ask a lot of unncessary questions.

some of the girls in our small group threw a baby shower for us, coming up with a great theme of ‘around the world’, cooking up a food from all the places we’ve lived. they made pennants out of maps and the guestbook was an atlas. some friends were able to come from out of town which was amazing. we’re slowly accumulating a pile of baby stuff thanks to the generosity of many. there are two more months to go, i’m nervous and excited about everything from delivery to parenting so pray for us!



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