Thursday, December 26, 2013

Aloha - Hickam

Christmas in Hawaii.  All four of us, plus mom. It's been awesome.  Here are some of the reasons why.

The ship channel at Hickam AFB, looking up channel
towards Ford Island

Christmas card worthy photo!

Looking down-channel towards the harbor mouth

Guess who else is on-island?  This is closer than you'd
ever get at Andrews AFB!

Local wildlife -- sort of like their version of a robin.

Ubiquitous, but to us, extraordinary!

I know, it's supposed to be Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam now, but I'm old school,
and Hickam AFB it shall remain to me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Fabric of Family

My daughter was home from college for Thanksgiving. We went to the fabric store with fantastic coupons and sale.

This is what she chose:

This is what I chose:


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gotta Love a Parade

On Friday after Thanksgiving, several of our bike committee members met up to ride in the annual Christmas parade welcoming Santa to our Town Center. Fortunately, we didn't have to be there until 10:30 -- enough time for the world to warm up. Even so, I dressed in a bunch of layers!

Since our community is getting a new subway stop in 2014 (was supposed to here already, but that's another story), the theme was "Destination Reston."  Our Homeowners Assn built a float with a metro car on it, pulled by one of the HOA trucks. In addition, we had pedestrians and 4.5 bicyclists.  Craig was the "tourist" on his recumbent bike. Burton was the "businessman" commuting on his foldable bike.  Amber and her daughter were the "parent and child" bike riders (her daughter on the tagalong being the .5)
 and I was the "lady who shops."  I used my older bike and filled the baskets with plastic bags for a (lightweight) base. On top of that I had a poinsettia plant, a loaf of bread, and a bottle (empty) of sparkling cider. On the other side I had a yoga mat and a stuffed dog.  The kids loved the dog.  I filled my front basket with bike maps that I gave away along the route. It was a lot of fun. Several women asked me where to get those baskets -- so I think the point was made! You CAN shop by bike!

Yes, we are OFFICIALLY a bronze level "Bicycle Friendly Community"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Ride

Having carefully prepared a timing plan that had jobs for everyone in the house, I left this morning at 8:15 to go lead a Reston Thanksgiving Family Bike Ride. The ride converges on our Town Center from four areas of Reston.

We were to meet up at the Dunkin' Donuts at the Hunters Woods Shopping Center between 8:45 and 9. From there we would ride up to the Reston Town Center, about 3 miles.

I left early because it was really cold (28 degrees) and I wanted to make sure I was able to get the creaking bones moving!  Not really - I was worried about ice. Sure enough, there was ice on each of the bridges across our paved paths, but I just went slow and straight through. There was one place on the path, though, that I got off the bike and walked on the side because I could see the black ice glistening across the entire way. I was on my road bike with skinny tires, so that could have been treacherous.

I waited at Dunkin Donuts, HEROICALLY resisting going inside, until 9:10.  Since no one showed, I returned home just in time to resume my 'chief cook' duties and stick the turkey in the oven. I think my husband was a little bit sad to no longer be indispensable to the meal...but he relinquished the oven mitts graciously. He's happy to just do clean-up ... you know, cleaning the food off the plate in front of him?  (Seriously though, he pulls the turkey out, carves, and does actual clean-up, so he's more important than he thinks).

So, here's a terrible photo of me (a selfie) at Dunkin Donuts.  The sun was in my eyes, and I was in about 4 layers, but proof that I EARNED my turkey and pumpkin pie this year.

I will say that the turkey and everything turned out to be great.  The only bad thing was the gravy.  I don't seem to be able to master gravy -- but since I'm the only one in the family who likes it, it isn't a huge loss. It sure is a lot of trouble for just me, but I hate failing at something so "simple"...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Unrecorded Saddle Time

This was an interesting week to ride! I led a ride on Tuesday with a new friend, Vanessa.  She came from the West, another from the East, and I from the South and we met at one of my favorite places, Green Lizard Bike & Coffee Shop.  After dosing ourselves with the hot caffeinated stuff, we headed east on the W&OD.  We went as far as the I-495 bride since I wanted the new friend to see how far she could get via the trail! This was on my road bike.

Then we headed back and oh, my, goodness.  HEADWINDS.  We fought our way back to Vienna where Susan peeled off. I stayed with Vanessa back to the Reston Town Center, and then she headed on up the trail home.

Felt very wind-whipped when I got home, and had ridden about 38 miles at about 13 mph.

On Thursday I met up with a friend to bike and cache.  We found Stage 1 of a multi-stage.  We were stymied by Stage 2 and decided to get warm and coffee'd instead!  Since I was carrying my caching gear, I took my Bianchi that day. It was fun but I was glad we didn't go too far.

Friday I went to pick up college girl and today I've been working on Exchange student stuff.  The temps are dropping and the winds are high, so it's a good day to NOT ride!

Bought a bread maker and have been indulging all of us with fresh loaves.  Ymmm. I'm trying to not think about all the cooking I'll be doing next Thursday...maybe if I shape some bread like a turkey they'll let me off the hook?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Sad Story Gets Sadder

In April 2013, a world-class athlete was commuting to work by bicycle in King George County, Virginia. Following all the riding rules, he had a helmet, was visible, and was keeping to the right. Nonetheless, a woman driving a Crown Victoria hit him.

Because this athlete was in superb physical condition, he survived the accident. However, since that day he has been in a coma and has been moved to long term care.

Last week, the woman who nearly killed him faced the traffic court judge.  Despite the police officer's very able testimony and photos, and despite the testimony of a witness, the woman who ruined the athlete's life received 10 days in jail (suspended), and $250 fine.

The officer testified that at the scene she admitted she hit him. Yet, she pled "not guilty".  Further, the officer testified that he asked for her cell phone and verified that at the time of the accident she had sent a text.

Here's where it gets really disheartening.

The prosecutor subpoenaed the cell phone records.  The records for April were erased. The prosecutor did not follow through to subpoena those records from the woman's service provider, which would have corroborated the police officer's testimony, and made it possible to pursue a more serious charge.

My friend, who was a teammate of this athlete in Adventure Racing, was at the hearing and reported that at best, the prosecutor seemed unprepared. As a former prosecutor, I listened to the description and thought "incompetent." The athlete's parents came down from Buffalo, NY to observe this travesty of justice. The woman who nearly killed their son, and might as well have done so, never spoke to them, never expressed any sadness or remorse. She just paid her fine and left.

So, world class athlete Scott Pleban lies in the twilight of life for however long his body continues. Ironically, at the time he was hit by this selfish, incompetent, texting driver, he was a cover story for Orienteering North America (May/June 2013), skiing for the US at the World Championships in Kazakhstan.

When will local jurisdictions -- from police officers, to prosecutors, to judges, take injury to bicyclists seriously and prosecute as if it matters?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why The Rage?

On my way home from church today, I started down a hill near my house. The speed limit here is 30 and near the base of the hill is a crosswalk that goes from a largely subsidized housing development across to the only 7-11 in the area. This route also happens to lead from the high school towards my house so I travel it often and know that pedestrians entering this crosswalk are often unpredictable.  Sure enough, I saw pedestrians approaching the crosswalk, so I stopped to allow them to cross safely.

Oh my goodness. You would have thought, from the guy in the car behind me, that I had committed a federal crime in stopping to wait for a more vulnerable user of the traffic infrastructure. This guy behind me actually honked his horn, furious that I had stopped.

It doesn't end there.

After the pedestrians crossed safely, I resumed travel. This guy (am I allowed to say he was in a silver Mercedes?) roared around me up the hill -- crossing a double yellow line on a two-lane road, aggression and hostility pouring out all over the asphalt. I know this road well and know there are often people crossing near the top -- out of view of the drivers coming up the hill (and where there's no crosswalk).  There are bike lanes on this hill, but a right turn lane emerges at the top. If a pedestrian had been crossing up there, or if a cyclist had been in the bike lane as the right turn lane opened up, I think there would have been a tragedy. When he reached the top of the hill (about 5 seconds before me), he flew right at the 4 way stop without stopping.

I don't know what causes this kind of anger. I do know it is very dangerous when someone is driving 2 tons of steel. He wasn't angry at me as a cyclist (although I did have the bike rack on the car, so who knows what was going through his mind?)

But here's the point. I know he was exceptional. This kind of driving behavior does NOT happen in my neighborhood often. So unlike those who express outrage at the cycling community for the affronts (perceived and actual) committed by a few, I will see this for what it is -- a jerk that happened to be having a bad day.

I will not ascribe to "every other motorist" the same poor behavior choices this driver made. I will not call for a ban on traffic lanes through this stretch since this one driver chose to be a jerk. I will not say things like "no driver has a right to take away my peaceful ride/walk/drive." I'll chalk it up to a guy who needs an anger management class.

And I'll keep my eyes open for this particular silver Mercedes traveling around my normal riding zones.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lotsa Saddle Time

Yesterday I met up with a new rider with Babes on Bike and we headed west on the W&OD. The weather was perfect -- just cool enough. Just west of Leesburg we left the trail and headed through the countryside on 2 lane roads.  Fortunately, Vanessa was familiar with them. Unfortunately, one of them had a KILLER hill.  Oh my goodness. There were other hills which I managed, but that one was a bear. And here I thought I was in shape.

We rejoined the trail and headed back east. By the time I got back to where I had left my car (I had come from a meeting), I had ridden 38 miles. This is the elevation change:

We rode from Mile 24 to about 38, then did major hills, came back to the trail at 41 and then headed east. You see that arrow that says "highest elevation Clark's Gap" -- the road we were riding on was Clarke's Gap Road.  Yeah...I pretty much came home and collapsed.

This was our route if you want to see it:

Today I rode my older bike 5.7 miles to Herndon where I helped with a Boy Scout geocaching outing. It was fun and an easy ride after yesterday! The boys meet at a nearby Episcopal church. It is one of the most beautifully, and natural-looking landscaped church properties I've been on.

Can you believe this tree STILL has these beautiful leaves?
On the grounds of a church, so perhaps someone is praying for them to last...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Confident City Cycling - the Extreme Version

Our regional advocacy group offers a course called, "Confident City Cycling."  I took it earlier this year and it was informative, but I didn't think riding in the city was all that challenging . . .

Okay, I was wrong!

Yesterday I decided to meet up and take a ride with some friends I'd "met" through a Women & Bicycles group on Facebook. We are all somehow connected through the Washington, DC area, and mostly through the aforementioned regional advocacy group, WABA (Washington Area Bicyclists Association).

We wanted to ride the entire "Metropolitan Branch Trail." Sounded good to me, to ride a new trail? What I didn't realize is that very little of it is ACTUALLY a trail.

I drove from my house to the nearest Metro stop. (I actually backed out of the driveway before I realized I'd forgotten the bike!). I parked near the trail in that town, and then jumped on my bike to head towards the city. I had cleaned out my car earlier in the weekend so instead of the cycling jacket I thought I'd find, I had only a heavy winter coat. Since it was about 47 degrees, I wore the coat.

At the 5 mile point I realized I needed to get on the Metro so I rode into a station and hopped on. Fortunately, it was a holiday schedule so bikes were allowed on the train during rush hours. Unfortunately, some of the people going to work didn't realize that and were a little bit grumpy about sharing the space with me. Kind of like sharing the road...

Finally got to Silver Spring station and hopped out to meet Liz and Ursula. Jessica soon joined us and off we went. Thank goodness Ursula knew where she was going!

There was one part of the trail that had an awesome view of the Capitol, although this is not my photo it is what I saw:

At Fort Totten (one of the original forts around DC that were placed to protect the Federal City during the Civil War), we picked up Andrea, one of the bright idea women who had suggested the ride.

We stopped to look at the trail info -- it will eventually be a dedicated use trail according to this board -- but who knows when that will happen?

Andrea, Liz, Ursula, and Jessica

We continued down to the Union Station area where the trail terminates and went to Ebenezer's Coffeehouse-- Coffee with a Cause.

Jessica, Andrea, Liz, Me, and Ursula

After laughing and talking WAY TOO long, everyone realized they needed to get moving. We all went different ways except for Liz and me as she led me a merry chase across DC.  We had to get from Union Station, EAST of the Capitol to Key Bridge, Northwest of the same. It was "up and over"...and this is when the extreme City Cycling came in. Liz kept asking me if I was okay, and I was. As long as she was confident, I was. The biggest challenge was in Georgetown where the traffic was backed up. But, it's hard for a car to kill you when they're only going about 8 miles per hour when they're even moving.

It was a big relief to get back to Virginia and start riding. I rode about 5 miles and then hopped the Metro back to Vienna. Then hopped the bike to where my car was parked, and then pretty much collapsed into my car for the drive home.

Tired last night but happy. Very happy. I LOVE to try new rides, as long as I'm with someone else so at least one of us can call 911 if necessary!

How did you spend Veteran's Day?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not Wanting to Admit This

I rode 38 miles today - about 24 of that was with the Babes on Bikes. It was a perfect biking day, weather-wise. But tonight, I am tired. DOG tired. In fact, at 6:30 after we finished eating dinner I looked at the clock and WILLED it to be later because it was too early to collapse in my bed yet.

On the other hand, I am so grateful. I got to ride on a perfect bike day along the Potomac River, viewing the monuments and memorials, as if they were ordinary. Some people save for years for the chance to come see the city of Washington, to walk in the footsteps of people they admire. I can take it all in stride as local color.

So, thank you God for my husband's job, for our home, for good schools for our kids, for my bike and for my health.

Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy so I can justify staying inside and recovering!

Now it's almost 8, so I can power down.  Whew.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Can We Talk About Something Else?

Yesterday was our Bike Summit. It was very well attended and there were a lot of good conversations. Yes, we were largely preaching to the choir, as everyone there was already involved in bicycling in some fashion. The gain was that now the members of the choir have gotten to know each other and perhaps are beginning to sing in harmony.

Now, (to belabor a metaphor), can we discuss the conductors of the bicycle advocacy choir?

Please, let's STOP talking about how much better off we would be in this country if we would just adopt the Netherlands or Copenhagen as our standard for cycling.

Folks, it aint.gonna.happen.

We are NOT Denmark or the Netherlands. Our population needs and demographics are different and we should not apologize for that or try to conform our differences into their conformity! We are bold, vivacious and out there. While we can look to them for good ideas, ultimately, American cycling is going to be something different that works for us. Heck, it will be different in New York City than it will be in Savannah, Georgia, or Houston, Texas, or Berkeley, California. We are a big dukin' country with a lot of variety.

Everytime I've gotten together with cycling advocates in the last year there's been a lot of talk about embracing one another. You know, the whole "you don't have to wear spandex," or "mountain biking is good, too" or "we love bike commuting." Kum-by-yah and all that.

In working with local schools to encourage kids biking to school, I've come to understand that each school has its own culture. It starts with the draw of the kids -- the sociological demographics that feed into that school. It is massaged by the parents' level of involvement, and finally, it lives or dies by the attitude of the principal. What works at a school that has 80% bussed kids won't work at a school that 85% walkers and vice versa. But each school, if it is lucky, gets one or two parents who are passionate about kids walking and biking, and with a little magic and a lot of determination, the school culture can evolve.

So why do we beat ourselves up that we're "not like Amsterdam or Copenhagen?"  We AREN'T either one of those places with the demographics of their populations. And it's okay for us to develop a culture that works for us, whether it's in Washington, DC, Montgomery County, Arlington or Fairfax. We all bike, we all support biking, and we should all support each other.

I'm finished now. I'll leave you with one of the reasons I bike. I took this today and could get this shot, stopped on top of the dam, because I was on my bike. I couldn't have stopped if I'd been in my car
-- there's no place to do so.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Focusing Better

I guess what I didn't realize about my eye being improved to 20/20 is that the other eye would still be significantly behind, and that my brain is going to have to adjust its neural pathways!  I did stop by our local optometrist and get a contact lens Rx for the right eye -- which helps, but until the 2nd eye is done, it will be a bit of adjustment.

Still, I saw the surgeon today and he said everything is looking great so he'll schedule the other one when I come for my 4 week check up in November. We're kind of in a hurry to finish since he will be leaving active duty in the spring. That sounds like he'd have time, but in reality, it's not -- usually the last month on active duty is full of required briefings, etc. and he may (probably) will have leave saved up so that he won't have to actually go to work past about January 15 or so...

Today when I drove onto the base (Walter Reed Bethesda National Medical Center), I was behind this truck. For some reason, it made me laugh.

It's a Nebraska farm truck license plate, a UT Longhorns sticker,
and a tiny apple sticker. That's one wired cowboy!

I meant to post photos of the parade the other night but it was ... um ... dark! But as I was driving to our meeting place, I saw some pirates getting proper police escort!

This turned out to be one of the Realty office floats. It was 
really well done.

And a BIG thank you and shout out to Dana at Bug's Eye View, who knitted and sent this lovely scarf! It will definitely get some wear this winter! I so admire people who can do anything with their hands!  Thank you, Dana!

Last, but not least, I have some young friends from church who sent me something to speed my recovery. This is the coolest idea -- it arrived inflated via usps!  It's from a company called

If you look at the message at the bottom, you can tell they have two little boys! This time of year, "eye balls" are very funny!  Thank you, John and Owen!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Laughing in the Twilight

Today was the big day! When they take the patch off tomorrow, I should have perfect 20/20 vision in my left eye -- for the first time in 40+ years. Wow.

There were some things that struck me funny today. First, one of the nurses and I started talking biking. She has a Trek and bikes out of Waldorf, but loves Old Town Alexandria, where my adventure yesterday occurred. We got so "into" talking biking that the other nurse had to interrupt us to get the show on the road. Turns out Dr. W was moving along on his earlier case pretty quickly!

Next, they did my BP and ran an EKG and said my heart was in great shape. And here I thought lawyers didn't have hearts.

Next, the the anesthesia guy was hilarious. We talked about everything and he said it was awful when his patients were healthier than him. His last question was what I do for a living. I told him he didn't want to know. He didn't miss a beat -- trial lawyer.  Well, not for a living, but yeah, that's my training. He was wonderful. Seriously.

The whole time he and I were talking, the guy putting the IV in was working on my left hand. Badda-bing- it was done, and he was GOOD.  Like, no pain or discomfort!  They gave me what they call twilight sedation. I needed to be able to respond when the doc asked me to move my eye a certain direction.

Finally, to get this you have to understand Dr. W.  He's a really nice guy, but not much sense of humor that shows. I saw a glimpse the other day in his office, so I decided to go with it this morning. When they do eye surgery they put this drape over your head with a tiny window that exposes only your eye.  I started laughing (and no, it wasn't the drugs) and said, "I'm in a burka!" I heard a few smirkish laughs.  Then they had some great music on, so every time they asked, 'are you doing okay?" I asked, "is it time to sing yet?"

So, I'm home, no pain, although it's uncomfortable with this huge protective patch. Dr. W told me I was going to hate him when he takes the tape off tomorrow. I ALMOST said, "too late" because he'd strapped my head down and had pulled THAT tape off already, but decided to forego any more sarcasm.  After all, he has access to the scalpels, right?

I'm wondering tomorrow, when they take this off, what it will be like to see clearly. I mean, I haven't seen clearly for quite a while yet. I'd been asking my other doc about this for close to 5 years!

I was hoping, under my burka, that when he finished, before he put the bandage on, that I would get a glimpse of the world in focus, but he's too quick.

And my last point, inside my drape, I realized, I have no idea what it's like to choose that, and live it every day. That means I need to go back to the drawing board with my book I'm writing.  Hmmmm.

Sounds like I need another sip of wine.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Full of Fun Day

Tomorrow is my eye surgery and I'll be off the bike for at least 4 days, so I decided to take full advantage of the day.

The next County over (Arlington) has a program for 55+ cyclists in which they tour around the area each Wednesday. I'm not there yet on age, but they let me come along!  Betty met me there too, and there were some of the other ladies I regularly ride with.

Today's ride was from Arlington into Alexandria, on a tour of Civil War sites. It was so great. The weather was cool, warm, cold, wet, dry, windy ... you name it, we had it. Well, except snow. Dana at The Bug's Eye View got the snow. (Isn't it early, even for Ohio?)

Here are the photos from today's ride.

Virginians ratified the vote for secession on May 23, 1861, and Union troops moved in to occupy Alexandria on May 24. Alexandria was decidedly Southern, and too much of a threat to Washington, DC.  The Union troops immediately set to building a ring of forts around the capital. The only one visible today is Fort Ward.  After the war it became a living space for many of the freed slaves who had flooded the area. It didn't get changed much because they had so little money, so when in the early 20th Century Alexandrians wanted to restore the fort, it wasn't very difficult to purchase the land and identify the fortifications. This is just one of the reconstructed walls of the fort.

Next we rode to the site of Fort Worth. Not that one in Texas, the one in Virginia. However, both places were named for the same man! There's nothing remaining of this one except this historical marker.

 The third stop was the site of the former Fort Ellsworth. It is located right next to the Masonic Temple -- high over the city. Our guide, Rob, told us that if you take the Masonic Temple tour to the top and look out over the grassy field, the greener areas are where the fortifications stood. You also get a great view of Alexandria. Tells you why there was a fort here, yes?

Next we stopped at the National Cemetery in Alexandria. We rode to a section where there were many civil war Union graves, but curiously, four civilians. Their stones said, "CIV EMP, QMD" and they all had the same date of death. It turns out these four men drowned while they participated in the search for John Wilkes Booth. For their service to the nation, they were given the same honor of burial as soldiers.

 Our next stop was the marker for Battery Rodgers. It was the only fortification we visited that was actually inside the city limits. Its job was to guard the Potomac and there was a sister fort over on the Maryland side. There is nothing here but a marker now.

Somewhere on the way to Battery Rodgers we went by the soon-to-be dedicated "Contraband and Freedmen's Cemetery". It's not open yet so we didn't stop, but now I know where it is. You can read more about it HERE.

After lunch we went to the last spot of our tour, but on the way, we traversed Holmes Run, an AWESOME bike path. I can tell you that when I lived in this area 20 years ago, it wasn't as clean and inviting as it is now.

Our last stop was at Cloud's Mill. This was where Thaddeus Lowe showed that balloons could be used effectively for aerial surveillance. Rob told us there was a debate between Lowe and La Mountain about the way to use the balloons. Lowe advocated for balloons tethered at 500 feet, with a telegraph wire to convey what he saw. La Mountain advocated free sailing balloons. Only problem was there was no communication and no control over where the balloon might travel or land.  Learn more about Lowe here.

So then it was a ride back to our starting place and a job well done!

And, as if that wasn't enough, tonight my bike advocacy group was riding in the Vienna Halloween parade. Here is my costume!

What a great day! Tomorrow I begin my quest for perfect vision.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

19th Amendment

The Alleycat race on Saturday was in celebration of the 19th Amendment which was ratified in 1920 and which gave women the right to vote.

I have a grandmother still living who was born in 1916. How odd to think that in her lifetime, women went from being "non persons" in terms of voting to "persons." Then I think of all the other changes she witnessed from the front row of the 20th century and I'm really blown away.

But I digress.

I know I wrote about the Alleycat the other day, but I want to revisit it because it had such fun challenges. These were the mandatory challenges:

1.  Lafayette Square, Northeast Corner (park north of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue).  That address sounds familiar, doesn't it? When we got there, we had to answer a question about women's suffrage. This was the one we got:

Frances Perkins was the first woman to be elevated to a Cabinet Level position. What cabinet position was she appointed to?

2.  Sewall Belmont House -- 144 Constitution NE -- where filled in the blank: Four things that lie here: Dreams, Learning, Inspiration and _____________________.

Sewall-Belmont House & Museum
One of the premier women's history sites in the country, the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum maintains an extensive collection of suffrage banners, archives and artifacts documenting the continuing effort by women and men of all races, religions and backgrounds to win voting rights and equality for women under the law.
3.  Tubman Elementary School playground. 3101 13th St NW -- On the playground there's a huge US map painted.  We had to jump onto one of the first 5 states to ratify the 19th amendment. Which states could we possibly have chosen?
All other tasks were optional, although there were several that the entire team had to be present to get the points. Some of those:
a. Pick up a soldier at the Vietnam Women's Memorial and drop it off at Clara Barton's secret office
b. At the DC Government Building, as a team, we donned bowler hats and shouted out loud something about being present and riding bikes as women.
c.  At Lincoln Park we met the quizzers at the monument dedicated to Mary McLeod Bethune and answered a question -- I think  how many books she wrote, but I wasn't the team member who answered that so I'm not sure.
d.  Photobooth at Lincoln Park was worth 20 points
e.  Carrying an egg on a spoon and answering a question about women's reproductive rights in DC (Good thing my teammate answered that one!)
f.  Bike anatomy -- I blew this answer but Jo knew it.  Whew!
g. Old Timey Photo Shoot on the House side of the Capitol. I think it had something to do with Nancy Pelosi, but we blasted off after that on our way back to the finish.
The ones that did NOT require checking in, or the entire team (so people could divide and conquer although we didn't as I would have never found my way back)
1. Sound Bike DC -- he rode along - route of the Women's Suffrage Parade, Pennsylvania Ave, playing music. We had to write down one song title we heard. His play list was AWESOME.
2. Find Rosie the Riveter in Mt. Pleasant -- this was a guy dressed in a bandana, who was strolling or biking in an 8 x 1.5 block area.
3. 1370 Park Rd NW - This woman-owned business has how many leaves on door?
4. Team Picture correctly riding the metro rail or bus with your bikes
5. Team picture next to the Women's Suffrage statue in the Capitol Rotunda (no way to do this with security!)
6.  Get a business card of a woman who owns a business
7. Check out one feminist theory book from a DC public library
8.  Collect bras to donate to charity
9.  Pamphlet from National Museum of Women in the Arts
10.  FDR Memorial, Rm 4 -- How many rings is Eleanor wearing on her hands?
11. Mary Church Terrell Home, 325 T St. NW -- What type of padlock is on the fence?
12.  Women's National Democratic Club - on the painted donkey, what are flying around the Washington monument?
13.  Memorial at M St and Rhode Island NW - How many sisters are depicted on the memorial?
14. 15th & Euclid, NW  What year was the Joan of Arc statue dedicated?
15. Betty Friedan's home (2022 Columbia Ave NW) What color are the gates on either side of the front entrance?

So you can see there were a lot of fun things to do -- but the prizes definitely went to those who knew the city best from a cycling point of view. The tourists who watched us were cheering us on -- it was fun to be part of a tourist attraction!
Feel free to google for some of the answers above!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Strange Dreams

At 1:40 this morning, I was having a vivid dream that involved bicycles and crashes (other people) and the scavenger hunt I did on Saturday, and it was all very dynamic. In my dream I heard a strange crash type noise, and immediately woke up.

My heart was racing. Was the sound something crashing into my house, or did I actually HEAR something in my dream?

The only times I recognize I've heard something in my dreams is when I've awoken and rather quickly placed the sound.

This was different. It was like the crashing of a large object against glass -- but our windows aren't that kind of glass and it was 1:40am!

I got up and looked out the back window and I could see a band of light that indicated our motion sensor light was on. It's over by our carport/shed.

MY NEW BIKE! I immediately figured someone was breaking into our shed to steal my bikes!

So, being the sober-minded woman of judgment I am, I woke up my husband.  NOT.  I went downstairs, grabbed a big flashlight (the kind cops use as a baton) and went out to check.

Of course, there wasn't a thing there and then I thought, what if there had been? I'm standing here in my pajama top, jeans, and fluffy slippers. What a threatening presence I am!

Today my husband did the walk-around and nothing. We can't figure it out. Interestingly, my son says he woke up in the middle of the night but doesn't remember a sound or reason.

I guess it's aliens. At least they're not aliens in search of bicycles!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Those are the kids who are now entering the work force (if they can find jobs).  I’ve been spending some time with them through my biking advocacy, and I’ve observed some things about them.

1.       They are passionate. Whatever they are “into” they are REALLY into. They don’t want jobs in which they just shuffle papers, unless their passion is organizing papers.

2.       They are compassionate. Their hearts bleed for all the ills of the world – from slavery in the world to wanting women to be able to walk down the street without being catcalled.

3.       The young men are amazing – they are not threatened by strong women! They celebrate those women in their lives who are strong and capable, without losing any of their masculinity in the process.

4.       They are open minded. They may disagree vehemently with a position on an issue, but they are largely willing to listen to someone with a different viewpoint, as long as they can share theirs as well.

5.       They are not traditionalists. They love to dress in a hipster style, live in the city, ride bikes without helmets, and work/play in a way that just takes care of their immediate needs. They are open to piercings, tattoos, gender bending, and mismatched clothing. Their causes tend to be liberal, and their inclusion is refreshing. I mean really, when a 50-something woman shows up to a bike scavenger hunt in which the only other woman near my age is immediately teamed up with me, clearly they know we are out of our element. But their greeting to us was genuine and they were truly pleased we participated!

In sum, these kids are very much like what we would have been had we been brave enough to break out of traditional structure. I think that what has enabled them to do so is that each generation from the 60’s on has rejected a little more the intense structured life of their parents, and certainly their grandparents. The millenials are the beneficiaries of "mission-creep" if you will -- each generation getting a little more liberal in their thinking. (Don't worry, I'm not giving up my conservative ideas -- they come from the benefit of hindsight).

Still, I wish I'd had the courage at their age that I do now. The ability to say, "I'm going to do things my way because the traditional way isn't right for me." I made a small statement once when I announced I wasn't going to college and I thought my mother would have a heart attack right there in the Hallmark Store. I really DID want to go to college; I just didn't want everyone assuming that I wanted to do so.

In difference, these kids don’t seem to have much anger about the position they find themselves in vis a vis jobs and future. We seemed to need an anger to fuel our break outs from the mold. They take it as it comes and just press on. And while they’re pressing on if they happen to see a broken person along the way, these kids actually SEE that person, and try to help. I see it within and outside the Christian community, and it is beautiful to behold.

I think the world is in good hands. Sure, there are things that aren’t working so well, but these young people reflect an energy and joy that makes them fun to be around.

If they only didn’t ride so fast on their bikes, I could be around them more often.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Alleycat, alleycat

Boy did I have fun today trying something new. I participated in the 19th Amendment Alleycat Race. Alleycats are a different breed of bike racing. Alleycat races were started by bike messengers.  You can read more about them HERE.

This one was women-only because it was designed to celebrate the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex

I first drove to the metro station in neighboring town with my bike on the back. Then I rode my bike the 15 miles into DC, only getting lost once.

On my way to the meet up point, I saw these two works of art.

Next, I met up with some amazing young women who organized this whole thing. Then I found two teammates, Jo and Julia.

And then we were off -- on a scavenger hunt using bikes in DC -- all over Capitol Hill.  After we finished, I caught the metro home and then drove from Vienna.  Just think -- next year, I'll be able to bike in and metro almost all the way home since the new stations will be open in my town!  Woo-hoo!

Here are some photos of the day. I'm too tired to be much more creative!
Jo in Pennsylvania Ave bike lane

Jo, Julia and Stephanie, who rode with us for a short
while but who is younger and much faster!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Not Stepping Forward

What do you do with a kid who is really smart, but who totally rejects the "game playing" of modern academics. Can't motivate this child through traditional means. When the child presents in class on something he cares about, teachers later tell mom, "Wow, I didn't realize he was so smart."  ARGH.

My kid is really smart. He thinks deeply. He thinks so deeply that if what the "system" is serving up is horse hockey, he will state that to be true. That runs up against teachers who have all this training designed to support and maintain the system.


Then he talks about being president some day.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone I love.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Back to School

I went back to our local university again so I could help with some pop-up advocacy. I met my friend Pete there. He had ridden his bike, pulling a trailer, about 20 miles. On the way he stopped to help someone who had crashed. Pete's a good guy. I drove halfway today and then rode to the campus. Bike parking is easy and cheap - car parking, not so much. Less than 3 miles each way, but fresh air and some exercise. I was pacing myself, and needed to get home for a webinar this afternoon.

While I was waiting for Pete, I took these photos of benches around the campus quad. They made me smile. There's a certain energy about a college campus that is alternately scary and joyful.  Must be the hormones.

 Mariposas Mentoring Project
Dare to Make A Difference

Veteran Society

Table for Two at GMU (google them)

Mason Young Life

 My favorite - the one that caught my eye
and caused me to walk over there!

up close -- isn't that beautiful?

And the funniest one of all:

And here's Pete doing advocacy:

I rushed home for the webinar -- it was on Twitter 101. I needed it. (shamefaced). It was put on by League of American Bicyclists and was actually quite interesting!

Then, the reason I paced myself earlier, after dinner I headed out for our FABB (bike advocacy) meeting in the next town over. I was meeting one of the regulars and we rode bikes on the trail.

While I was waiting for him, I took this photo. It isn't great quality, but I love it. Moon over the trail peeking through clouds.

Just before we get to the library where we meet there's a crossing light that takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  There was a guy there, probably a service worker, spoke no English and he had no lights on his bike.  I had just picked up some froggy lights (they look like frogs and wrap around your handlebars and tubes) from the university today, so I took them off my bike and put them on his. The light was so long I even had time to show him how to put them on.  I then said, "Cuidado" (caution) and he grinned and said, "Bueno!" (Good!) I hope they keep him safe.

After the meeting on our way home, Mike and I scared up several deer, but they didn't stick around to have their picture taken, and I wasn't stopping! So that ride was another 15 -- so with the 6 earlier, I think I did justice to my riding today. And I used my Bianchi, the old faithful so it was hard work!

p.s. The photo yesterday -- it was a GYM! Can you believe that? And you couldn't see the huge pool with slides and toys off to the left.