Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And the winner is...

You know that sensation when something just feels right? I had one of those moments earlier this evening while riding my bike back from work. Ben, from the bike shop, was heading in my general direction so offered to ride back together. It was another gorgeous night in the District and near the end of the ride we passed by the reservoir near Howard University. We were chatting away as we rode up the gentle slope and Ben was telling me about his time on the West Coast, how he'd fallen in love with Olympia when he'd gone to visit the university there. And then it hit me: Olympia! Classy. Strong. Regal. Done. (I'm also excited about the nicknames. Ollie fits pretty well. I'm hoping to avoid Limpy, though her tires are feeling kind of squishy yet again, despite my having pumped them to 80 before leaving the shop.)

So, Ben, the postcard is yours. Heck, I like the name so much I may just send you a second postcard... from Olympia. (The next contest may be a wager on the number of flat tires I'll get between here and there.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

With a little help from my friends

So I've been thinking a bit about fundraising these days. Part of this is due to me drafting an itemized list of what I need before setting out on my trip and realizing that, holy cow, that is a lot of stuff. (The column for "what I have" is mostly blank. I do have the salsa shoes already, fortunately.) Part of the thinking no doubt is arising from the numerous conversations I have been having with folks who invariably ask how I am going to finance this whole thing.

I'd written to Surly to ask them for a Long Haul Trucker, but they turned me down. (I thought it was a pretty compelling letter, actually, but then, I don't make sponsorship decisions.) I wrote to Adventure Cycling asking for maps and was likewise turned away. (Bummer, as I need a lot of maps.) My goodness, is this what it feels like for guys at salsa clubs when girls keep turning them down? I wonder. (I usually will dance at least once with most who ask me. Unless they are clearly manhandling their previous partner. Or have no sense of rhythm. But back on topic....) For now, I'm working out of my savings and applying for a few small grants while trying to find used or donated gear as much as possible. (Thanks, Meghan, for the gloves -- love them!) As for additional funds, well, there have been some interesting ideas.... hosting a benefit brunch, selling bookmarks, getting sponsored by all manner of organizations, writing for biking or cooking publications. Maybe.

Just the other night I was at a fantastic dinner party at my friend Sheffy's place and somebody made the joke about how my learning to ride a bike must be just like... yep, "like riding a bike." Someone made the same comment a little while later at the same dinner party. I proposed starting to charge a nickel to anyone who makes that joke in my presence. I kid you not, I would have about $50 more in my pocket by now if I'd started charging when I started this project two months ago. (Meanwhile, I'm waiting to cash Sheffy's I.O.U. for his dime's worth this weekend....)

Just this afternoon, I attended a fundraiser not for me but for the Visions in Feminism Conference. For $5 each, my pal Rudy and I joined a biking tour (I would call it a race if we'd come in anywhere near the first ten people) that included many of our city's historic sites relating to women's rights, complete with a truth-or-dare style trivia element at each of the seven stops and ending with a potluck. It was a stunningly beautiful day with a friendly group of cyclists for my second group ride ever. I'd managed to patch the tire on PIT and we had a good ride. She didn't even balk when I started tensing up as we practically flew down some of the hills trying to keep up with Rudy and Jordan. I am nothing if not chickenhearted on the big downhill stretches, but I made it.

So, fundraisers. I have a few other ideas. For those of you with a hankering to help a sister out, I have set up a paypal account to accept any donations to this project (lord knows I am going to need a lot of tire tubes along the way). And for the jokesters in the crowd, you can always hand over a nickel.

Still crazy after all these years

So I had my first biking in the rain experience the other day. I also managed to have my first flat on the new bike and my first little accident. (It was a busy day.) They're all related, sad to say.

So, picture me riding down Massachusetts Avenue in rush hour traffic. It's raining, I'm in the right lane behind a metro bus, and cars are zipping past in the left lane. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason -- no red light or bus stop -- the metro bus comes to an abrupt halt. To my left, a car's side view mirror is quickly approaching my elbow. What did I do? Never hesitate: I learned that much from James Bond. (The comparisons end there, however.) I aimed for the sidewalk and hopped the curb. What I failed to account for was the angle I was coming from. So I crashed. Or, rather, the bike crashed; I hopped off as I felt it skidding down toward the concrete. Nobody on the road or the sidewalk seemed to notice (though I felt rather sheepish). I didn't have any injuries I could detect, and good old PIT seemed just fine. So I hopped back on and rode home. As accidents go, this is the best I could hope for. Not that I'm hoping for an accident, obviously, but if it's going to happen... well, it could have been much, much worse. Luckily I am signed up to attend WABA's Confident City Cycling course next weekend....

So this morning rolls around (no rides yesterday -- I spent most of the gloomy day in my pjs doing online research) and I was gathering my gear together to head to the farmers market and... PIT's front tire was completely flat! Now, if you've been following along, you know that I have now managed to patch (poorly) and change (not as poorly) a tire once before. But I'm not that fast at it yet and I hadn't yet practiced taking the tires off of the new bike. So in a panic that I might be too late to the market to procure some of the limited supply of the amazing cherry tomatoes at the Sunnyside Farms stand (I'm addicted, I tell you) I cast a frantic glance around the apartment. There against the washer-dryer leaned good old Sheldon, gazing off to the side, nonchalant.

Now, I've been trying to be very deliberate about getting comfortable on my new bicycle since I will be riding her around the country. And I'm definitely adapting to the different angle of the handlebars, the differently placed shifters, even the general feel of the road on a bike that is technically more my size. But I must say, riding Sheldon today was pure joy. The weather was perfect -- sunny, clear, around 70 degrees, with just a slight breeze. As we cruised to Dupont Circle for the market, I couldn't help but liken the feeling to that of running into a former lover or an old friend on the street after many years. It just felt so comfortable, familiar.

We made it to the market just fine and I loaded up my backpack with fresh eggs, yogurt, veggies, and other goodies. Then we headed home, returning without incident. I'm sure going to miss Sheldon, who will only be on loan for a few more short weeks. Maybe I'll run into him on the street one day, many years from now and we can reminisce....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kermit the blog

Do you ever notice how blogs seem to be multiplying like gremlins these days? Well, I've just added another one to the mix: check out the new Capitol Hill Bikes blog!

I'm hoping some of the other folks at the shop weigh in soon. They're a bright group. Quite witty, actually. (And I don't just say that because they laugh at my jokes... no, that would make them a nerdy, literary group.) I think it should be fun reading. I'm hoping to find out the Muppet identities of the rest of the crowd soon. Me, well, I've always seen myself as kind of a Gonzo character, though these days I wonder if Kermit the Frog might be more fitting.

Oh, my, look at the time. Time for bed. A girl needs her beauty rest....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take a chance on me

Today was my first day biking to work. "Wait... what??" Yes, ladies and gentlemen (and the rest of you), last week I managed to land a part-time gig at Capitol Hill Bikes, the place where I had taken my intro to bike maintenance class a few weeks back. I like to think that it was my magnetic personality or my strong application essays, rather than the freshly baked banana nut muffins (aka blatant bribes) that I brought to the interview, that got me the position. But whatever it is that the friendly owners, Denise and Laurie, see in me -- maybe they have been looking for months for a source of a little obscure literary humor around the sales desk, who knows -- I'll take it!

Feeling more confident on my bike after yesterday's trip to the National Arboretum -- a day spent getting comfortable with my shifters and admiring the early-blooming magnolia trees with my friend Tom -- I bundled up this morning and headed for Eastern Market. It was a beautiful, cold, clear morning and it felt good to be out on two wheels. I find that I no longer have the vise grip on the brakes these days, which means less hand cramps and knots in my shoulders. Nice. And while I have not yet settled on a common name for my beautiful new ride, on the commute to work this morning, she and I agreed on her Native American name: Plays in Traffic (or PIT for short). She's a spunky one, that PIT, flashing her rear reflector at cabs as we zipped past the poor schmucks sitting in traffic. Ah, vindication... Sheldon would be proud.

So, the first day. I think things went well. I tried ringing a few things up, tagged along on a few sales, updated some content on the website, and interviewed some of the staff. In general, it's a friendly group, and across the board very knowlegeable on all things bike related (and then some). I get the impression that some of the guys aren't quite sure what to make of me. I am, admittedly, a bit hyper, but I tried to tone it down. (Also, I tried to lay off the coffee but it's right there and it's not too bad.) I wonder if a loaf or two of zucchini bread might smooth over any rough patches... hmmm.... Definitely some baked goods are in order for Ben, the mechanic who went out of his way before closing up shop to walk me through adjusting my front brakes before letting me leave the shop this evening. (More details on CHB to come: It turns out I'm helping them to set up a blog, too, so there will be plenty of space to read about the cool cats at the shop.)

My ride home was actually pretty sweet. I'm doing a much better job of mapping out routes (god help me when I have to figure out how to use trail maps, though: I swear those things are written in Sanskrit). Having installed lights on my bike earlier today, I decided it was finally time for my first night ride. I bundled up again, switched on the blinkers, took a deep breath, and started pedaling. I made it home (uphill!) in record time. Now, I won't tell you the record because those of you who bike the city might laugh, but it was a personal best for me, with no walking, only a block or two on the sidewalk (I got a little skittish on Florida Avenue), but most importantly I loved the ride. Now, if this were The Time Traveler's Wife, and the me now were to go back and tell the me... well, up until maybe last week... that the words "I loved the bike ride home tonight through the city" would one day come out of my mouth, I would have laughed. Or maybe I would have thought I need to cut down on the wine. But no, I really love being on my bike. I feel so empowered.

I'm looking forward to my next work shift on Thursday. Maybe they'll let me set up a few bikes for customers to test ride. Right: I'd better get baking....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A bike by any other name

Vinnie kindly gave Sheldon and I a ride back from the garden in College Park in the late afternoon. A bit stiff from the afternoon's mulch pitchforking activities and wheelbarrow maneuvering, I flopped down in a chair, scarfed a banana muffin, and called over to Revolution Cycles in Georgetown to check on the status of the bike I had finally decided on: a 50" Surly Long Haul Trucker. (Color: Truckaccino. Love it!)

I'd done a lot of reading and asking people during my quest for the right bike for me. Being new to biking, it was a bit overwhelming. At least once I decided on a touring bike this cut down the options somewhat. Being of limited financial means also narrowed the field considerably. I visited a bunch of shops in the area and test rode what I could. The problem, it seemed, was that no shops happened to have a bike in my correct size, so everything was guesswork. (Also, keep in mind that I have only been biking for a month, so every new bike felt weird.) The Trek 520 was pretty good; I'd tried a few Jamis bikes. But when one salesperson described the Long Haul Trucker as virtually indestructible, something that "you could throw off a building and it wouldn't break," my mind was made up: that was my bike. And in spite of the photo of Dubya consulting on bike matters that sat framed near the front door (complete with secret service agent leaning against a pole in the background), Revolution Cycles would be where I bought it. Friendly, knowledgeable, and patient, Steve, the shop's manager, had talked me through the fitting process and warranty last weekend and I handed over my federal tax refund.

Luckily, Steve was working today when I went to pick up my new partner -- name TBD. We checked the seat height, the brakes. Later, when we started chatting more about my trip, he tried to talk me out of my determination not to bring a camping stove in order to have space in my packs for dancing shoes. (I'm still not convinced: I would choose salsa dancing over oatmeal any day.) Most importantly, Steve pointed out that the name I was kicking around for my newly acquired bicycle, Sheldon Junior, was a bit lacking in creativity. My friends Tori, Rudy, and Steve, who met me soon afterward as we strolled through Georgetown, confirmed this. On my ride home, when I wasn't dodging cars veering into bike lanes, I pondered this. Hazel? Shirley? (Come on, the Shirley the Long Haul Trucker has kind of a ring to it.) Man, now I know what my pregnant friends go through choosing names. At least I only have to deal with a tire pump rather than a breast pump at this point. The name... hmmm.... this is important.

Let's say whomever writes in with the coolest name gets the first postcard I write on my trip. I set out the end of April. Let the names begin!

Meanwhile, I am going to work on fostering a supportive relationship between Sheldon and [for now we'll call her] Shirley. This is critical, as the newcomer does not have a kickstand. I like to think this lack of kickstand is because she is more highly evolved, kind of like people who are born without wisdom teeth (at least that's what my friend Woody, who never had wisdom teeth, used to say. Then again, he was born with three spleens, so who the heck knows. But I digress...). Shirley and Sheldon seem to be getting along alright so far, though I sense both are vying for the alpha cycle position. Shirley certainly is a classy bike, and all shiny and new. She has a bit of a trucker mouth, though....

Visualize whirled peas

Today I made my way out to the Master Peace Community Garden -- part of UMD's Engaged University. Sheldon and I took the metro most of the way there (I woke up a bit later than anticipated) and arrived around 10:30 to discover the garden abuzz with workers. The program coordinator, Vinnie, who I had met at a gardening forum a few weeks earlier, welcomed me and set me to work: first weeding, then digging holes for kale transplants, then mulching, then removing a cover crop from around the soon-to-be raspberry patch (my favorite!), then more mulching. It was a gorgeous day and a friendly group -- a mix of high school and college students on alternative spring breaks, a few other first time volunteers, and a mix of all ages of community members. I seemed to do particularly well with the group of 8-year-old boys who were soon bumping into each other in the excited rush to bring me the next kale seedling for the holes I was digging. But my favorite part of the afternoon came just before the tasty lunch of hearty lentil soup: when precocious Nicholas brought me a handful of purple flowers that he had picked from the edge of the garden as thanks for "all the squirmy worms you gave me." What a charmer.

Here's a picture of Nicholas kicking back while mom (Jennifer, who manages the community plots) puts some final touches on a future patch.

There are so many reasons to garden. To beautify your space. To be outside. To grow things with your own two hands. Some think these homegrown things look less perfect than what you can buy -- I tend to disagree: they're beautiful -- but in any case they sure taste better. Mmmm... heirloom tomatoes. And many dozens of tomatoes for the price of a packet of seeds, not $5 per pound. There is something empowering about being able to feed yourself. I mean actually take ownership of the food from beginning (seed) to end (sauteed beet greens with garlic, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks). And community gardening, well, there's the whole other amazing piece of getting to know people. Sharing recipes and gardening tips. Marveling at the number of worms. Remarking on the richness of the soil. Learning about how things grow and the marvelous varieties of things you can grow. And heading to a bike shop still smelling faintly like mulch, well, now there's a selling point....

Friday, March 20, 2009

I read the news today

Reason number 342 why I should not read The New York Times online before going to bed: I get too excited. It seems that Mrs. Obama has taken to heart the advice of the rising tide of agricultural and culinary activists who have been clamoring for an executive gesture that would signal this administration's commitment to health and responsible agricultural policies.

Yes, it's really happening. Fast approaching Eleanor Roosevelt as my favorite first lady of all time, Michelle Obama, it seems, is behind the effort to dig up part of the White House lawn to plant a garden. A vegetable garden. An organic one. And the first shovelful of dirt is to be cast tomorrow. (I'm so excited I can barely type!) I wonder if they'll need help with the weeding? Now let me check my schedule... yep, I'm free.

P.S.- Apparently the president doesn't like beets. I'll bet he'd change his mind after having my roasted beet salad with goat cheese and lemon viniagrette. And I have a wicked good recipe for sauteed beet greens, inspired by my best friend, Felicity. (Actually, I think I would faint from excitement if I ever got near the presidential kitchen.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vegetable, Miracle

So my pal Ronn, fearless leader of a local Bike& Brunch group, invited me to a cycle maintenance talk yesterday at Bethesda's cool new Conte's bike shop. It's tough to beat free bagels and chats with bike experts, so of course I went. During the tire repair portion of the demonstration, the instructor advised checking the inside of the tire and wheel when you get a flat to see what caused it. Makes sense. Wish I had thought of that for my first, some may say valiant, attempt at changing my rear tire (for more details, see the premature celebration in my previous post, after which the patched tire promptly reflatted). I figured it out, though... on my second attempt. I think I nailed it (ha ha). And of course, I took some silly pictures.

Saturday was supposed to be my first visit to a local farm. I woke up to discover that while it was early it was nowhere near bright, but rather damp and around 40 degrees. Miserable. The group -- Meghan (one of my oldest friends who is visiting from Houston) and Mike (unflagging in his encouragement and advice on all things long-distance-biking who had offered to drive) -- opted to reschedule our visit and we settled in for a brunch of waffles and wild blueberries at my place. But today, still early and still far from bright, Meghan and I braved the PG County local bus system and general lack of signage and made it out to friendly Claggett Farm. We mostly worked in the greenhouse with a few other volunteers, led by Gail (who works there full time).

While I've started things from seed before -- tomatoes, peppers, various herbs and flowers -- never had I planted so many of them, nor organized them so meticulously, or really noticed how very tiny they are. (You pay attention to these things when trying to get only one seed per planter cell, or, as I like to call them, dirt divots, over the course of many hours.) I found myself meditating on more than one occasion, finding myself in awe of these tiny, hard little things -- especially the almost too small to see parsley or stevia (an herbal sweetener) seeds -- which would miraculously grow into beautiful, aromatic bursts of foliage and nutrients in a matter of weeks. Okay, maybe I was a little delirious from getting up earlier than usual or being out in the country (and Upper Marlboro is the country, in spite of the random McMansion developments not far up the road). Maybe I was a little hungry. (Reading all of the delectable sounding names of the varietals and chatting about ways to use various types of hot peppers will do that to me.) In any case, it was a good introduction to the farm and allowed us to get our hands into lots of dirt and help out. We came home to my apartment mud-caked, exhausted, and satisfied. And I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The art of bicycle maintenance

It was a day of milestones. I patched my first tire. I biked my first trail. I cursed audibly at my first DC cab driver -- he totally swerved into my lane not two feet ahead of me. Jerk. That was not the term I used. Sorry, mom. (For those who know me, this is uncommon. In fact, in two years of teaching in the Brooklyn public schools, my high school students found it a source of constant wonder that I never swore in class. One time, about a year and a half into my teaching career, I said "crap" in a moment of frustration over my students' failure to proofread their formal essays -- come on, people! -- and I think three of the kids nearly fainted. True story.)

So, the tire patch: Sheldon Brown came to the rescue yet again, though I would have liked some visuals on this section of the website. For your reference, should you need to patch a tire tube one day, here are a few tricks I had to figure out for myself:
1. Throwing your hands up in despair doesn't make your rear wheel come off the bike. (Finding the quick release knob and jiggling it is considerably more effective.)
2. Mark the leak location with a twist tie (because pen/marker doesn't show up on a black tube).
3. Taking silly pictures helps make things less exasperating.

Next, the trail: Today marked my longest ride to date -- up 13th Street, through downtown Silver Spring (had a bit of trouble with the routing, obviously), and, finally, the length of the Capital Crescent Trail. Whew! I think that comes out to something around 15 miles, give or take. The low point was when I almost got run over by a van while in a crosswalk (apparently the walk signal does not apply to bikers) near the Silver Spring metro/entrance to the proposed Crescent Trail extension. This time it was the pedestrian about 5 feet behind me in the crosswalk who cursed. (Sheldon remained stoic throughout the whole incident.) Once I made it onto the Crescent Trail proper, though, the ride was much smoother. There were quite a number of other cyclists (do I dare count myself among them?) and joggers, some of whom even smiled back as I coasted along. While not a clear day, it was right around 65 degrees, and the lack of cabs trying to run me over made the ride rather pleasant.

I made it to Mitch's place near Foggy Bottom in time to make dinner and catch... a rerun of Lost?! At least the company was pleasant, the food was good, it was one of the better episodes so far this season so warranted a rewatch, and to top it all off I had no broken bones. Upon my arrival home, though, I'm wondering if there's another leak in the rear tire. Hmmm. It's feeling a little flabby again... Good thing I picked up a spare tire at the bike shop today (ba dum bum).

Friday, March 6, 2009

You say you want a revolution

Well, you know, we all want to change the world. With food, we can. And it starts in our kitchens and our gardens. No guns, just forks.

So, there are a few things on my mind these days. One is something I came across in my recent reading of "In Defense of Food," by one of my favorite authors ever, Michael Pollan. (To be honest, it is not his best work, and I kept putting it down as I struggled through the first 2/3 of the relatively short work -- dry and academic, this section, if shortened, might have fit well in a medical journal. Oh, but the last 1/3 of the book makes it all worthwhile. There was the writer I knew and loved.) Near the end, Pollan touches on the Slow Food movement and pitches the idea that to spend the time and money to prepare good food is just the ticket we need to reform the disaster which is the widely accepted American view of food. Don't get me wrong, I love America and Americans, but I also love food and it needs a bit of a leg-up in the cultural appreciation department these days.

Of course the Slow Food movement was started by the Italians (who else?) in response to this very thing: fast food and the attendant decline of culture. (And, yes, at the risk of sounding like a foodie, I do agree with Pollan and others that the decline in the value placed on food in our country is nothing short of a national tragedy.) It will take deliberate -- and, fortunately, delicious -- action to transition the dominant American perception of food as nothing more than cheap, fast fuel for our bodies into something we relish with all of our senses and enjoy with others. (I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.) When and where did we lose sight of the connection between the land, our food, and ourselves (our culture)? Pollan offers some theories and, thankfully, some solutions. Most of his recommendations are pretty sound. (While I don't agree with the anti-snacking -- I am a lifelong proponent of grazing -- I think I understand the reason it was included in the "How to Eat" section: too much snacking on low quality "food products" is a bad idea. Well... yes.)

Slow Food is "precisely the wedge that can begin to crack the whole edifice [...] To reclaim this much control over one's food, to take it back from industry and science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time cooking from scratch and growing any of your own food qualify as subversive acts." Now, I wonder if he is going to wind up on the list of most dangerous Americans for a statement like that, much as Barbara Kingsolver did when she promoted a similar idea in "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." (Wait, will this post get me on that list? Shoot. I can see the headline now: "Food-obsessed Gardening Cyclist Sows Seeds of Discontent Across America." Kind of catchy, actually.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do the right thing

I've been having a lot of opportunities to feed some of my favorite people lately, at least a few each week: wine dinners, soup dinners, impromptu dinners, the occasional weekend brunch. (These are above and beyond the weekly dinners with my buddy Mitch, who not only lets me take over his kitchen but also has a working TV and doesn't make fun of me too much when I urge my favorite characters in Lost not to listen to Ben! He's not to be trusted! Oh. Sorry about that, I get excited.) I have been making an effort to experiment with as much local, seasonal, organic produce as I can these days. I feel proud to be supporting local producers, but beyond that I love the challenge: my days are filled with roasting beets, sauteeing sunchokes, inventing new ways to incorporate potatoes into, well, whatever I can (there are so many potatoes, in fact, that I have sometimes secretly snuck them into friends' handbags and backpacks), baking apples, braising rainbow chard, and figuring out what to do with things I had never cooked before, like rutabaga (I like roasting these with honey). It's like Iron Chef... without the fabulous cookware... or competition. (I win.)

A few of my recent dinner guests have apologized nervously, sometimes sheepishly, for having brought something that was not local/seasonal/organic (let's just call it "LSO" -- I'm feeling silly typing it out every time). It's prompted a number of interesting conversations, along with apologies from my side for giving the impression that any friend gracing my table with their presence -- or some food or beverage that they have been kind enough to contribute -- would be unwelcome. Goodness!

As much as possible, I have been trying to stay as close to LSO* as I can in my own cooking. It's not always possible. I mean, if I happen to have a bottle of good Armenian cognac around, I should use it, right? (It was a gift and I discovered that it is great to flambe with. I'd like to dispel any images of me guzzling it.) I also have a soft spot for lemons in my water. Sure, I buy lemon juice, but it's not the same. And I drink a lot of water, so I generally buy lemons by the bag. I make concessions. French wine, say, or coffee, coconut milk, almonds. When I deviate from my LSO model, I make the decision to do so deliberately, and I'm okay with that. (Incidentally, my cousin Sonia mentioned that she'd heard somewhere that, environmentally speaking, a bottle of French wine often has a smaller carbon footprint than a California one, since French wine is shipped rather than flown. I should look into this, though, and see if it might be the case for my favorite South American vintages as well. I love California wines, too. And Italian ones. And... well, I don't want to give the wrong impression so I will stop talking about wine here.)

I think the trick is something that I hear most often in the context of my yoga class: mindfulness. Basically, it means being aware of our thoughts and actions. Making the best choice for ourselves at the time, being gentle and forgiving with ourselves when our choice isn't ideal. Like when I need fresh lemons in my water. I'm not moving to Florida. (I do try to buy organic when I can, at least.)

*See how catchy it is? You read it first here, folks. Someone call the OED!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow day!

Remember when you used to do snow dances as a little kid? Oh, who am I kidding, I still do them. And apparently I've still got it: I woke up this morning to maybe 6 inches blanketing the neighborhood, with delightful snowglobe flakes still swirling about. The perfect flakes for catching on my tongue and making snowballs. No biking today. And I needed something to get me moving around before hunkering down to (finally) do my taxes. I patted Sheldon on the handlebars, pulled on my outrageously bright magenta snow pants, and sprinted outside. My neighbor, Henry, came out for a few minutes to drop off some compost scraps and help me pile up some snow for the base of my winter masterpiece, what I envisioned as a tribute to FDR. (He's on my mind a lot these days, what with the nature of many of our president's new proposed programs reminiscent of the New Deal in general, and the Civilian Community Corps in particular.) So I got to work, incorporating some of the most recent compost contributions into the evolving sculpture. In the end, he wound up looking a lot more like Teddy Roosevelt -- I think it was the banana peel mustache -- but I'm okay with that. Sometimes the art controls the artist, what can I say.

Okay, now time to do my taxes. Well, maybe after a snack....