Science Fair in Pictures: First Grade Edition

It all started when Benji said he wanted to collect elements. Into my mind flashed a vision of a pile of random junk all jumbled together, at best contained in some large and battered cardboard box, that Benji refused to throw away. Benji would clutch every precious item to his chest and refuse to relinquish it because it contained, for example, phosphorus or selenium.

This unappealing vision nearly caused me to reflexively toss out a firm “no.” But I gave it a little more thought and came up with, if I may say, a moderately brilliant idea: Collect tiny samples and tape them to the old kindergarten science fair poster board. This, combined with Benji’s willingness to collect samples that contain an element, rather than pure samples, made the project possible. Continue Reading >>

Commute Home: Sunset Edition

Commute Home Sunset

I’ve been back to biking for almost six weeks, since January 18. In that time, darkness, rain, and wind have characterized most of my commutes. But those only serve to heighten the enjoyment of a day like yesterday: Mid-50s, sunny, light breeze, and daylight fading into a brilliant sunset.

I chose to ride across 520 and along Lake Washington Boulevard to fully appreciate the sunset, and I’m sure glad I did.

Sick Season

On Friday afternoon last week, Benji came down with a fever. It hung around all weekend, causing him to miss school on Monday. But by Monday the fever had subsided into some congestion and coughing, and we figured the symptoms settled into those of a nasty cold.

Now I’m revising my thinking. Benji’s fever came back full force this morning, I’m addition to the coughing. He’s miserable and, to be honest, us grown-ups are miserable too. Ian hasn’t yet been able to go in to the office this week for work, and he’s only gotten in half-day equivalents at home with Benji. I’ve gone into the office every day, but left early to try to get home and help out. Continue Reading >>

Two Legs!

It may sound silly to reach the top of a hill and exultantly exclaim, “Both my legs worked!” But when I got to the top of the full Issaquah Highlands climb, I couldn’t restrain myself. I rode that climb nearly every week for months last summer, and I know keenly how it felt before my surgery. This week I apprehensively anticipated riding that climb: Could I even get up a hill that big, the condition I’m in now?

This ride answered that with a definitive YES. Riding up it with two fully functional legs, even though I have a lot of fitness to regain, gave me so much hope. I had joined the Cascade CHEW ride and finished that hill with a perfectly respectable finish in the middle of the pack. And that’s just a starting point. Continue Reading >>

Waiting Patiently Is Hard

I don’t know how many times I’ve told Benji to please wait and be patient. Probably several times a minute. Thus I can fully appreciate the deep irony of a situation where my patience was stretched to breaking. Here’s the story.

On my morning commute, I ride the bus to Seattle since I don’t feel any need to commute by bike 21 miles twice a day. When I ride the bus, I get off at the first downtown stop, take my bike off the rack, turn, mount my bike, and ride away — directly ahead of the bus. So naturally I try to expedite the unload-and-go process, not wanting to hold up an entire busload of people any longer than necessary. If I use a backpack, I don’t have to worry about hooking a pannier onto my bike before I start riding. I can usually get rolling before the bus has finished loading new passengers. Continue Reading >>

Slippery Cycling

Yesterday we enjoyed one of the few genuinely dry days in a month of endlessly drippy skies. In the evening heavy rain fell, but overnight the skies briefly cleared, temperatures dropped, and all that wetness started freezing.

As I mentioned earlier, Saturday I spent with the family at MoPOP, a day very well spent. To get in my biking, I’d arranged to skip church on Sunday and join a Cascade ride led by a friend of mine. I knew I couldn’t keep up with the pace for long — the first hill would likely eliminate me — but that’s the pace I used to ride, and my goal is to get back there for this summer. There’s nothing like riding with faster people to get faster. Continue Reading >>