I am trying to build a better self, to move from survival mode to something more fulfilling. And resist turning this into a kitty blog.

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The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"
Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories
Pattern Recognition
Les Misérables
Anne of Green Gables
The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
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The Return of the King
Omnivore's Dilemma
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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Agnes and the Hitman
On the Road
Dark Blonde: Poems
Fables: Wolves

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Tinniegirl Blogtoberfest 2011






Oh hey, this.

I completely forgot about bloggy stuff over the weekend. It was lovely--we played games and drank beer and rode bikes and had brunch with a childhood best friend. Chock full of living, less time for reflecting and recording. 

But I paid for it today. I couldn't sleep last night, and woke up this morning with a sore throat. Booo. Worked half a day and then took a long nap. But then we felt restless this evening, so Matt & walked down to Eclipse Chocolat. Hooray! Matt ate bread pudding, and I had amazing drinking chocolate (lavender sea-salted caramel hot chocolate). I know we don't need the sugar, but it was nice to walk in the cool evening air down the block for a treat.

cocoa collage

Made me happy. And on some Mondays that's the most important thing. 


4 Things Friday

1. This. The happiest of cows. It's been around a while, and it's sort of the opposite of life here in the northern hemisphere--we're gearing up for winter, not enjoying the first nice days of spring, but it makes me so happy! My friends Steph and Tina reminded me of it today.

2. I'm looking forward to a busy weekend with lots of friends and bike riding. 

3. South Park Walkabout is this weekend. Hope I see you, San Diego.

4. I'm listening to this song on repeat today. 




Oh my goodness. Yesterday was yet another hot day here in San Diego. I'm not sure how hot it actually got, but it was hot and humid enough to make us all miserable. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that it's unusual for summer arrive in July and last until late October. "Indian Summer" is basically just "summer" in California. The only thing truly unusual about the heat here, is that it seems more relentless than usual. Due to our proximity to the ocean, we rarely have more than a few hot days in a row before the marine layer moves in and cools us down for a day or two. Very little of that going on lately. Today is finally a bit cooler, but I'm afraid it won't last.

The heat makes Hamilton sad. He has been lounging on the cool linoleum of the kitchen or on the plywood chairs under the fan in the dining nook, or sometimes he just gives up and flops in front of the fan:


Poor baby.

With all this heat, it's been way too hot to cook. But for way too long. There comes a point in an autumn heatwave when a girl has to stop eating out, can't handle one more salad, and must break down and turn on the oven. 

We reached that point a couple weeks ago. We've roastd a chicken 3 weeks in a row. Now we've moved on to turning on the oven AND cooking on the stove. Nothing complicated, just one of our staples, now that we're getting beets again from our CSA (did they ever really stop?). Ha! Looking back I see that we made this same dish on the same night last year. But last year it was nice and cool, and the meal was a celebration of that. This year it was in defiance! 

So yeah, it was still delicious. And we have enough leftover for breakfast tomorrow or Saturday. But I don't think I'll be bringing myself to cook with the oven and stove together again until the heat breaks for good. Tonight: Matt can cook. I'll just chop veggies.


Behind the curve

So. It turns out falling in love with the idea of bicycling and getting a bike does not automatically, magically enable one to ride said bicycle. What a rip off, right? Ugh. As beautiful as my new bike is, when it arrived in July, I had to confront the reality that I had just spent a chunk of change (we called it our "anniversary present") on something I barely knew how to use. 

scary bike

While perusing bicycle blogs I've encountered the same late-to-bicycling story again and again. Lady (this is a gender neutral story, actually, but the neutral pronouns were sounding stupid) rode a bike as a kid and pre-car teenager. Lady and her gang of girl friends rode all over town! Meeting up at the park or riding to each others houses or going to get ice cream. Oh how carefree she was! The bicycle was freedom! Then Lady got her driving license, grew up, and forgot all about the glory of bicycles... until one fateful day when she climbed back on one, and voila! She was home! She was off! It was bike romance happily ever after! 

This is a great story, and I love and respect it, but whenever I encounter it I can't help but think "you weren't new to riding a bike, you were just out of practice. I would kill to have a history of bicycling skills." And to be honest, I owned a bike when I was a kid. A sweet, stingray-style, banana-seat bike with badass pinstripes/racing stripes. But I learned to ride late relative to the neighborhood (around 9?), and I never felt truly comfortable. I rode past 4 houses, through the dirt field, and then past one more house to my bestie's home a lot; but rarely, if ever, rode farther than that. By the time middle school rolled around just a couple years later, the bestie had moved and the bike was stored in the garage. 

christy bike polaroid

In the interest of full disclosure: 6 or so years ago I acquired a beach cruiser, at which point I relearned the practice of pedaling and moving and maintaining balance, but soon after I got it I moved to a more hilly neighborhood, so I never rode it further than around the block to Walgreen's or the weekly farmers market, and never in traffic. 

Anyway, the point is I have never in my life been the carefree kid who rode her bike everywhere. I have had a few faltering starts, but have never come close to more than the most rudimentary competence at the mechanics of moving a bicycle forward. And now I have a bike that I am still only beginning to learn to ride.

After a few short, relatively miserable trips, I was feeling a bit resistant to riding. I knew my seat was too low, but I liked the stability. Unfortunately we couldn't quite tighten it enough and it kept slipping in weird directions while I tried to ride. We dropped both bikes off at Mission Hills Bike Shop when we left town for a week in early September, and finally having the seat raised and adjusted has made all the difference!

bike racks

I'm not saying I'm any kind of super- or even intermediate-biker. Trust me, I am a total menace. I can't even take my hands of the bars to signal, so I wear my helmet and stick close to Matt. But I finally feel like I can do this. Or will be able to do this if I keep just taking the risk and riding to destinations. In the last couple weeks Matt and I have made a few trips of 2-3 miles each way. I walk up some of the hills, but I can ride up some of them too.

I'm getting better at looking around and seeing what's around me. I am totally in love! I want to ride my bike all the time! The businesses in my neighborhood and the surrounding areas are really bike-friendly--even giving bicycle discounts--and I love feeling like I'm joining this culture and getting even more involved in my community in a new way.

Bikes in the World

Unfortunately our stairs are super narrow, and with the 90 degree angle 2/3s of the way down (or 1/3 of the way up) I have a really hard time carrying it down the stairs, and simply cannot carry it all the way up. I've been stranded halfway a couple times when I've decided I was just being lazy not carrying it myself. So I have to rely on Matt to do the literal heavy lifting. This limits the quick impulsive spins that might give me more practice on my own (there isn't anywhere to lock up a bike for a few hours in our complex downstairs). Still, I'm feeling much better even in these last couple weeks. And now I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of moving into a first-floor apartment, if we can find a decent one. 

If you live in San Diego, beware of me! I am quite possibly bicycling through your area next! Try not to get too close, and I'll do the same. Don't honk! But do meet me for a beer at my destination!

 helmet face



It would probably have made more sense to post this yesterday, but I've been meaning to write about Just Ride for a while, and today I'm feeling less inspired. Last year I participated in Blogtoberfest, and hoped it would launch a good blogging habit. Hahaha! So optimistic! I won't go into what ended up discouraging me, but ultimately I developed an unreliable habit of posting Sunday Snippets. But that doesn't mean I didn't take a million pictures and plan dozens of posts I never got around to actually writing. *sigh*

But now it's been a year. Time to start afresh and get back to writing. This year's goal: actually write the posts I plan! And maybe people will read them again. xo