Today I reached 100 miles of bike commuting (plus a few short errands) in May. I wouldn’t ordinarily keep track, but May is the bike commute challenge at work.
I am a lazy bike commuter– there’s secure parking in my building, so I ride in, leave the bike overnight and use my bus pass to get home, and ride the bike home the next day. It’s about 50 minutes to work and an hour home (homeward is uphill), and the one-way time commitment is all I really want.
I am loving my new bike, which I sprang for in celebration of completing 100 straight days writing on 750words.com.
Things I love about my bike:
The gearing range is pretty small; I top out and bottom out on my commute. I’m slow, but I’m slow at lots of things so I don’t mind. In general, everything just works.
I like how absorbing riding a bike in the city is. I am busy and don’t have time to mull over something from work or whether I did the right thing six intersections ago. And my commute is on Clinton Street, which I love because the car diverters make it feel like Portland of 20 years ago except bike-centric, and then on the car-free bridge.
Campus errands took me past a belated Holi dance party today.
On the way back, another plaza was strewn with Wilderness First Aid practice subjects, each with two or three people trying to revive them. I tried to take a photo of that too, but it Failed to Save. :-O
Of the articles I have read and stashed over the last several weeks, two still stand out:
A Conversation with Gene Luen Yang about growing up Chinese American Catholic.
I Will Never Forget My First Gay Friends, by Oregon federal judge Michael McShane. An elegy. I wonder what led him to write and publish it now.
Would you rather shop or sunbathe?
Sunbathe, but there must be short duration or ample shade, because I burn easily.
I am surprisingly fond of shopping online, and do it for Sanguinity sometimes. Most recently, workout capris from SparkleSkirts— love their stuff.
Would you rather dance or sing?
Sing, probably. You can do other stuff while singing. And in public I’m probably less self-conscious singing than dancing. And I like the vibrations of singing.
Would you rather watch college football or watch NFL?
Um. Is it like basketball where college ball has more evident defense? I don’t watch much football, just study up on the Broncos a bit if I’m going to be visiting my folks, so I can follow the chitchat among my relatives. The moneyed interests and policies in both the NCAA and NFL may be incompatible with my values.
Would you rather write or read?
Oh, read. Hundred to one, reading.
Would you rather chat online with friends or hang out with friends?
Hang out with friends. I don’t like chat at all and very rarely do it. I just can’t get the hang of it, I always end up waiting around for the other person to say something or feeling very rude for going away mid-chat. That said, I do love seeing my friends’ blogs and social media go by and interacting asynchrously as the spirit moves me.
Sanguinity: What is this? This package here with your name on it… that’s still sealed?
Me: Well… I did something that I am ambivalent about.
Sanguinity: You are ambivalent about opening a package?!
Me: Not opening the package is the expression of my ambivalence.
Me: I bought the big hardback Dykes to Watch Out For collection from Amazon.
Sanguinity: What’s the part you’re ambivalent about?
Sanguinity: That it’s from Amazon?
Me: Mo would be disappointed in me.
Me: I looked for a used copy at Powell’s, several times over several months!
Sanguinity: Let’s put this in perspective. How often do you think Mo is disappointed in herself?
Me: Almost all the time.
Sanguinity: How often is Mo, when she’s going through her day, like “That thing I just did, that was good, go me.”
Me: Hardly ever.
Sanguinity: Hardly ever. Mo has not made peace with being caught in late capitalism. She is still wrapped up in the idea that her individual actions can somehow escape it.
Sanguinity: Now, I do insist that you blog your disappointment in yourself.
I finished my list!
I read 142 books in 2017, and achieved my goal of 50% books by non-white authors. Thank you, Jason Reynolds. :D
Some notes from my 50% project:
And now, books I’m adding to my life list at librarything. It’s a little hard to explain what this list is– not necessarily the books I admire most, but the ones that if they were DNA would, in combination, come closest to coding me. (With additional conventions, like having only one book per author for the most part, even if multiple books would qualify). This year:
Through My Eyes, by Ruby Bridges
The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui
It All Comes Down to This, by Karen English
Little White Duck, by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez
Binti and Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, by Sidney Padua
Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepatys
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
And old-timey YA by Betty Cavanna! And discovering Jean Little’s Dear Canada books! And listening to Hilary McKay’s Saffy’s Angel, read by Julia Sawahla, as I watered the garden.
I don’t think I am alone in always being on the lookout for more advice columnists to read. Did you know that Lynda Barry has been writing advice columns for the Paris Review? I think my favorite is what to do if your roommate keeps leaving their diary in the bathroom.
I went to Powell’s today in search of a copy of Portrait of a Lady that will hold up to the several rereadings I expect to do, and that has more legible print than my Penguin paperback. (I never used to understand what my parents were on about when they complained about tiny print. Now I know.) Alas, they had only three copies, all squinchy paperbacks. I think the literature section is smaller than it used to be… but the YA section has grown by a lot, so I won’t complain. It used to be that a trip to the Cedar Hills store was necessary if you wanted to bask in kidlit and YA.
Anyway, Sanguinity suggested that Portrait of a Lady might be read more on screens these days, being in the public domain and all. Maybe I’ll put it on my phone for when the bus driver decides to leave us all in darkness as we ride. This seems to be happening more often lately.
I’m putting the last touches on my 2017 book list– there were too many books for which I jotted down only the titles before they went back to the library. Now I’m adding in dates, noting whatever impressions of them remain in my head, and finding their place in the list. Next year, I mean this year, I’m going to try a spreadsheet so it’s easier to put in order.
The first book I finished reading in 2018 is Mitali Perkins’ You Bring the Distant Near.
The writing is so assured– the characters seem real, like we’re just dipping in as the three generations live their lives. The resolutions do mostly involve romance, in a way that makes me wonder if Perkins is a Jane Austen fan. (Or maybe it’s just that Sanguinity and I watched the 1995 Sense and Sensibility last night while we waited for the new year.)
It’s been a peaceful holiday season. Christmas was with Sanguinity’s parents, which feels traditional now– eating cookies and reading Yuletide fic on the sofa-bed upstairs while televised football filters up from below. My favorite kidlit-fic this Yuletide is “Completion”, by oxfordRoulette (2106 words). It’s about Lirael from Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series; it has domesticity and refuge, two of my favorite themes. It’s post-canon, so I did miss the Dog.
It’s been a season of good food, too– I made fudge, and Sang gave me a tofu cookbook and made ma po tofu for us. The sun has been shining. I think I’m ready for 2018. Best hopes and wishes for us all!
I wish I could post smells, because this is Pesto-Making Weekend and it’s sooooo fragrant. I supplemented our garden basil with some from Trader Joe’s, but once the garden harvest was in a heap on the kitchen floor I saw it was more than I expected. Pesto will be abundant this winter, hooray! (We freeze it in ice cube trays, sans parmesan.)
Sanguinity made onion gravy last night and that smell was also heavenly. We ate it on fries, poutine without the cheese curds. (The last few times I tried buying cheese curds, they did not squeak when bitten! I was disappointed.) Right now I’m making mashed potatoes for the leftover gravy.
I learned on Tumblr tonight that Merriam-Webster has a Time Traveler feature where you can look up which words and phrases were born (er, first used in print) in a given year. Here are a few the same age I am:
Surprises from my mom’s era: it says poster child and private eye were both new in 1938.
The Friday Five post isn’t up yet at LiveJournal/Dreamwidth, so let’s use the f.riday5.com questions this week:
1. What’s a good movie for October that has nothing to do with monsters or Halloween?
After Life (1998), a Japanese movie that’s contemplative and quirky in just the way I like.
2. What’s a good couple of songs for October that have nothing to do with monsters or Halloween?
3. What are some reasons to love October?
Monsters and Halloween, of course! Also fresh apple cider. Chilly mornings so I don’t get to work all sweaty if I walk. Sunshine with golden leaves and deep blue sky.
4. Radio stations sometimes call this month Rocktober, doing special playlists or giveaways in celebration of rock music. What would be a better rhyming name for this month, and how might it be celebrated?
We have local Walktober promotions. But I’ll go with Socktober, because having enough cozy warm socks without holes is a great feeling.
5. What would be a good holiday to establish in October for those U.S. states not commemorating Columbus Day?
Portland celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day on that Monday; I’m good with that.