Hottest Day of the Year Ride, my !@#$%^

The Community Cycling Center sponsors not only the Worst Day of the Year ride in February, but also the Hottest Day of the Year ride in August. On the Worst Day of the Year ride, the temperature tends to be unseasonably pleasant, with lots of sun and not much rain. So it follows that the Hottest Day of the Year ride would be rather chilly, which it was.

I got up and put on my bike shorts and my summer tank top and wandered around the house getting things ready. In my wanderings, I quickly grew chilly and added pants and a jacket. It was freezing. I didn’t warm up until the last 20 minutes of the ride. Did I mention it was cold?

Kelly and I at the start.
At one rest stop they had sno-cones, and a slip-and-slide. I partook in a sno-cone–those are pure sugar!–and watched some crazy 12 year olds and college students slide on this slip and slide.
At the end we swerved to avoid the mist-er and partook of their ice cream sundae bar.

Notice that my jacket is still on. It was cold!

Morning walk, just a few pictures

We are at that happy, albeit brief, time of year when my morning constitutionals have enough light to capture pictures.

I’m not a fan of the things you can buy to make your trees have faces. They seem like a fun idea, but all the faces creep me out. Plus, faces on trees? Is this Oz? It’s just weird. So I’m on the fence about this guy. He’s a bit more natural, and doesn’t look like he’s molded plastic, and he does have some hair, so those are all good things. But, I don’t know, he doesn’t look very happy to be stuck in that wall forever. I’m caught between “fun and kitchy” and “weird feeling.”

This is a very nice little hothouse someone built. The windows can be propped up and it looks like it could be moved, although not easily. If I built one like that, it would take up a lot of my yard, but a smaller version would be nice. Perhaps someday.

Farging Flugtag!

I borrowed my mother’s car so we could go to John and Joan’s wedding without paying for the Flexcar. (Joan’s house isn’t accessible by public transportation) This involved a trip to my mother’s house to pick up the car. Normally this is a fairly easy trip. I get on the Max Yellow line and read until I hit the bus mall downtown at which point I transfer to the #12 and read until I reach her stop. It takes about an hour, but it’s usually a pleasant hour spent reading: either on the bus, or while waiting for the bus.

Not today. Today’s commute would put off a commuter not as hearty as I. First of all, if I chose to take the yellow line, I would have to take a detour because the Max trains were not running over the Steel Bridge, their passage to downtown. Instead, I would have to take a shuttle bus over a different bridge and wait for a connecting train. So, I avoided the whole Max/Shuttle Bus/Max/Bus rigmarole and decided to take the #6 which would take me downtown where I could grab the #12 which takes me straight out to my mom’s house.

The #6 is what I would call an “advanced” bus route. Not that it is difficult to get off and on it, or the route itself is confusing, but for people not used to the melting pot that is public transportation and a bit leery about taking it in the first place, I would direct you away from the #6. First of all, the route, after turning from Lombard, travels a long way on MLK. And many, many people who live and work near MLK need to take the bus. So the bus stops often. On days I want to be somewhere quickly it seems to stop at every possible stop.

The clientele of the #6 bus ranges from incredibly loud teenagers (who can be a bit fowl-mouthed) to middle class working people, to poor working people. Throw in a few hipsters and a couple of guys with big bags of cans and you’ve got a crowded bus. I’ve ridden the #6 morning noon and night and never have I had the seat to myself for the entire trip.

So it was this trip. I was trying to write letters and the constant stopping and starting and sheer mass of humanity had my motion sickness kicking in. Without a book to retreat to, I resigned myself to staring out the window and eavesdropping on conversations.

As we approached the Hawthorne Bridge, my spidey sense kicked in. Shouldn’t we be a lot closer to downtown by now? I consulted my notes and found that, indeed we should be crossing the bridge at this point. What was holding us up?

As we slowly made our way over the bridge I realized what the problem was. It was the Flugtag! For those uninitiated, Red Bull sponsors a Flugtag in different cities around the world. Local teams make flying objects, dress in costumes and then attempt to fly off a pier, or other high place, and land in the water. Some enterprising team flew 195 feet in Austria in the year 2000, but mostly you watch the skit the group performs and then gasp as the flying machine falls off the pier and straight into the water. I went in 2004 and it is a nice way to spend an afternoon.

My recollection of that event was that I wandered down 2 hours or so before and had a seat. People filled in spaces and we all watched the show. From the bridge, this year’s event was a different animal. The “bowl” at Tom McCall Waterfront Park was packed with people. The other side of the bridge, with the big screen TV, was packed with people. Hordes of people were walking on the bridge. Billions of bikes were locked to the bridge. Traffic was moving very, very slowly.
I learned later that 80,000 people came to watch the Flugtag. With 80,000 people in once place, no one is getting anywhere fast. The bus eventually made it over the bridge, but I had missed my #12 connection. The next one was late too. I eventually made it out to my mom’s house and found out that my brother was part of the problem. He had gone to the Flugtag with a neighbor.

ps. I titled this Farging Flugtag because I just read an article about Battlestar Galactica and their clever use of the made up word “frack” which substitutes for another f-word not used on TV, or in polite company. “Fake f-words?” I thought to myself, “Why, members of the Borah Band circa 1991 already had a good fake f-word: farg.” I mostly associate the use of “farg” to Aaron Nesbit, he of the most heavy use, but it was in common use at the time among populations seeking to avoid profanity.

What the heck year is it?

I snapped this photo–do we really “snap” photos anymore?–on the way back from the post office mostly because I could have been wearing this outfit in 1988. She’s got on leggings–with lace on the bottoms! She’s also wearing a black tunic-like shirt with a bit of a ruffle on the bottom. Her hair was pulled back in a pony tail which might not have had a scrunchy in it, but it did have a large hair decoration. She’s also carrying a stripy bag and wearing flats. As I don’t think of myself as “old” it is weird to see fashions I wore in Jr. High/High School come right around again. It hasn’t been that long, people.
p.s. For those of you dying for a scrunchy, they are available. Go get them and relive your late 80s/early 90s life. You can even get one called “Horsin-a-round.”

Pike Schemes Visits

As some of you may have noticed, Sara (of Pike Schemes) and I are devoted blog followers of each other. She easily wins the prize for most comments left on my blog and I have a feeling I’m a top-three finisher for the prize of “most comments left” on her (and Shawn’s) blog. So it was thrilling to have Pike Schemes in Portland.

They were in town for a few hours, on their way to Shawn’s cousin’s wedding, but we had enough time for them to get a tour of the school I work at and to have lunch at Byways, where this picture was taken. You can see it’s obverse here.
After lunch we walked back to school and stopped at Cupcake Jones where Sara fell in love with “The Pearl” cupcake. Cupcake Jones describes “The Pearl” as a: white velvet cake filled with vanilla pastry cream, topped with vanilla bean buttercream icing and a single handmade white chocolate pearl.

After that Shawn and Sara gave me a ride home so they could see “The Orange Door” in person. Then they were off to Corvallis and a wedding. It was great to see them.

Letters written in July

This month started with me writing to me while on my trip. That was a successful effort as I did that every day. Good job me. Then I returned (with letters waiting for me!) and caught up on my correspondence. There were five days when I didn’t write in the middle of the month. Near the end of the month I began sending photos I took of the youth who went on the trip to their parents. Not wanting to just plop photos in the mail with no pretext, I included a note. That took care of the end of July letters and this project extends into August. Overall a good, if not totally traditional letter writing month.

1 July. Me
2 July. Me
3 July. Me
4 July. Me
5 July. Me
6 July. Me
7 July. Me
8 July. Me
9 July. Me
10 July. Me
11 July. Postcard, Deborah, Sara
**Letters back, LEX Diane & Sara (3)
12 July. Deborah
13 July. Sara
14 July. Sara
15 July. No one
**postcard from Sara
16 July. postcard Matt
**postcard from Sara
17 July. Oregonian–yes to the comic Edison Lee.
18 July. No one.
19 July. No one.
20 July. Sara
21 July. No one.
22 July. No one.
23 July. LEX Gerry
24 July. LEX Jan
25 July. Ben Bridge Jewelers (excellent customer service)
26 July. YRUU Youth
27 July. YRUU Youth
28 July. YRUU Youth
29 July. YRUU Youth
30 July. YRUU Youth
31 July. YRUU Youth

Read in July.

8 books, which is not super fabulous considering that I was on vacation for at least 14 days in July. Also, much re-reading of the Lehane books took over the summer. After I finished them the first time, I couldn’t get into any other books, so I just started over with the series.
Just for fun, let’s limit my summaries this month to 1 sentence each.

Finished:

Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Cohn & Levithan
Perfectly captures that adolescent surge of emotion you feel when you meet someone you might fall in love with.

In Defense of Food. Michael Pollen.
My non-fiction author boyfriend writes about food and proposes a way to eat.

To Kill a Mocking Bird. Harper Lee.
The classic is as good as when I first read it, with some perfectly beautiful passages.

I Am Charlotte Simmons. Tom Wolfe.
O! Tom, I glory in your incredibly long sentences and your mostly unlikable (yet sympathetic) main character; your completely exact observations of 21st century culture–high and low–always blow me away.
Grammar watchers will notice my clever use of the semi-colon to give me some more sentence.

A Drink Before the War. Dennis Lehane
Still good the second time.

Darkness Take My Hand. Dennis Lehane
As was this.

Sacred. Dennis Lehane.
And this.

Eat Fat Lose Fat. Mary Enig & Sally Fallon.
I’m trying to read fewer diet books, but I got this because this was a much more accessible way to put into action the food ideas proposed in Nourishing Traditions.

Started but didn’t finish:
Good Faith. Jane Smiley.
Jane, I seem to run hot and cold with you, with this one being a bit cold.

Cage of Stars. Jacquelyn Mitchard.
I think I will enjoy this book, but sometime in the future.

Attack of the Theater People. Marc Acito.
Alas, I remained immune to Acito’s charms this time and put this down about 20 pages in.

Posts you may have missed because they are out of order.

Okay, so these are really old. It’s actually not July 28, it’s September 12. But I have turned over a new leaf in the blog world and I am committed to not posting things out of order. But I have this issue in that I have a fair number of drafts sitting on my “to do” list. I’ve learned from experience that “new” posts published in the “past” don’t show up on people’s readers. And, at the same time, I want to post things in order for those of us who don’t use readers. So I am breaking a couple of rules (don’t publish out of order, always pretend when writing the post that it is the same day) but I think that this solution is the best one for now. The following posts are from April-June and many have no comments yet. You! Could be the first to comment! Don’t be shy.

And the catching up continues….

04/06/08. Dorky State Quarter Holder.
04/06/08. Bruunch!
04/11/08. Their Uniform.
04/14/08. Signs.
04/16/08. A walk through Northwest Portland.
04/21/08. End of Building
04/26/08. Menucha.

Sara, I think you have commented on the above, but not the below.
05/11/08. Even Less Building
05/17/08. Lost in Translation: Lilacs
05/17/08. This House
05/20/08. Jury Duty!
05/26/08. Uniform!
05/31/08. I know which generation I am.
06/03/08. Hee!
06/03/08. No More Building.
06/06/08. It Takes A lot to be Miss Nomer.
06/07/08. Miss Nomer Reigns.
06/22/08. Sunday Parkways.

Bike Project Day 25: I-205 to Hafidha’s Party.

The Bike Project:

In which I attempt to ride all the yellow, green, blue & purple streets on the Bike There Bike Map while increasing strength, stamina, aerobic capacity and exploring Portland’s Nooks and Crannies.

Day 25

Weather: Gray turning to sunny with a nice breeze. Good temperature for biking.

Part I
Ride Average Speed: 11.6 mph
Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Distance: 17.03
Calories: 704

Part II
Ride Average Speed: 11.8 mph
Time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Distance: 16.64 mi
Calories: 642

The Ride:
to Marine Drive
To I-205 bike path.
to 23rd
R on Ellsworth
R on 10th
10th changes to SE McGillivray
R on 22nd
Take a few more turns until you get to Hafidha’s sister-in-law’s house.

Route comments:

· My first time solo biking in Vancouver and it went well. Vancouver has very nicely put a bike map online (http://www.cityofvancouver.us/upload/images/Transportation/Vancouver_Portland_Map_Combined_Final.pdf) and I used it to plot my route. McGillivray is a great street to ride on—big bike lines and not very much traffic.

· I can’t believe I have lived here for 7 years and I have just now ridden over the I-205 bike path. It is a trip. I thought the sound was loud on the Interstate Bridge. Take that noise and double it and then quadruple the length of the bridge. It starts out all nice and flat so there is only the noise to contend with, but then it takes a turn and suddenly there is a persistent uphill grade to deal with on top of the traffic. I thought I never was going to get off of that bridge. It was much more fun riding back to Oregon when that persistent uphill turned into a fast downhill. And, despite the noise, it’s a trip riding in the middle of a freeway.

How did I do?

· This was much further than I should have ridden, given that my longest ride this year was 15 miles. I was very exhausted by the end. I was glad that all the up-hills on the way there were down-hills on the way back. I’ll be resting for the next few days, for sure.

· I’ve noticed that my bike needs to be adjusted. Suddenly, when I ride any length of time, my neck gets very sore. Maybe I need to raise my handlebars?

· My helmet has both a front and rear light on it. For rides longer than 12 or so miles in the daytime I will remember to take the front light off. It’s pretty heavy and it gave me a headache today.

Glorious Bicycling Moments/Neat Things:

· I was riding along Marine Drive at the part that overlooks the Columbia. There were water-skiers out and I think that in a parallel universe I married into a large wealthy family with a penchant for philanthropy and water sports. The family would be chock full of good-natured doctors or lawyers or stockbrokers and my only job would be to produce bouncing babies to carry on the line and take part in the family’s many activities on the water. I would spend my summers water skiing and windsurfing and swimming. My skin would grow dark and my children would grow up in the water with tan skin and prune-y hands and goggle eyes and the lake or river in their blood. In this universe, I miss the hot summers and time spent on the open water, or even at the outdoor pool.

Hafidha’s Baby Shower.

My friend Hafidha is having a baby at the end of September. In 64 days, as she informed us today. She isn’t having the easiest of pregnancies. But, easy pregnancy or not, it was time for a baby shower. Her sister-in-law Tina hosted and her friend Carrie cooked delicious food and a good time was had by all.

Hafidha and Amy. There were three Amys present. This Amy termed herself “three-my” because she was the last to introduce herself.
Hafidha’s mother-in-law (whose name escapes, me, sorry.) This is her first grandchild.
We played shower games, which I enjoy. For the one below, we had to guess how big around Hafidha was in toilet paper. It turned out she was between 11 and 12 squares. I was way off, in the too-big direction, but looking around the room it seemed that everyone else was way off too.

We also played a game where we had to smell eight different jars of baby food and guess what flavor they were. I expected to be better at this than I was, but I did correctly separate sweet potatoes and carrots. Sabrina got all eight, a very impressive feat in my book. The funniest part about this game was how seriously people took it. There were multiple smellings of some jars as everyone tried to get their answers exactly right.
Then there was the great opening of presents. Hafidha got some very nice things, none of which I took pictures of. Somewhere in the midst of the present opening I realized that Hafidha is having a baby in the fall. It wasn’t really quite real to me until this afternoon. Despite the growing stomach and the discussion of the name (Inara) and the various preparations, it was all kind of theoretical to me until today.
It was lovely party and I had a wonderful time.