Can you spot what’s missing in this picture?

If you said, “something to cover those cold-looking knees,” you’d be right!

I forgot my regular knee warmers, but thankfully it didn’t rain (!), so I got by okay riding home with bare knees. As I did so, I tried and failed to remember the last time I had bare legs on a bike ride. Probably September.

Settle Down That Worry

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worry into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, things fitting together for good, will come and settle you down. -Philippians 4:6-7

I’ve been memorizing and meditating on that verse during my bus rides to work. I need that reminder these days.

One thing very cool was the moon last night. It’s been so cloudy and wet that we haven’t seen anything other than clouds in the sky for…I can’t remember. But last night the clouds cleared for a bit, giving a view of the “blue harvest moon.” It was beautiful as I rode across Lake Washington, and I got some glimpses on my way through Kirkland.

Sadly, we didn’t get to see any of the lunar eclipse, but I’m thankful to have seen any of it.

Lemonade in January

I got another flat tire on the 520 trail part of my ride yesterday evening. That’s two flats in six days, not that I’m counting. They were both in the rear tire, so you might think they were related, and in a way they were. But the first flat was a slow leak from some small thing that poked a tiny hole, and I was able to ride on it for a couple miles as it went flat (and as I fruitlessly hoped it wasn’t going flat). The second one, last night, was a 1/4″ to 1/2″ long slit that emptied my tube in no time flat (so to speak).

I say they’re related because together they tell me it’s time for a new tire.

I changed my flat, again appreciating the well lit nature of the 520 bridge path, but riding along I could feel the tube bulging and going lump lump lump as the wheel turned.

So, once again, I stopped at the bike shop. This time I got a new tire, and since it was time anyway, a new chain too. They also threw my cassette into an ultrasonic bath, which was super cool. If it didn’t cost like $700 I’d consider getting one myself!

That did give me the idea of using an old Sonicare toothbrush on the cassette, though. Much cheaper and I wouldn’t have to disassemble anything. Could be messy, though…

Anyway, I eventually got rolling again but didn’t get home until after 7, thanks to all the shenanigans. I was a little damp, but for a day that featured continual rain from dawn to dusk, I was fortunate. The rain actually tapered off by the time I got going, and it was one of my drier rides this month.

Anyway, I’m thinking of last night’s mishap as lemons, and my getting a replacement tire and chain (and clean cassette) as the lemonade. Still… Hopefully from here on out I have uneventful commutes for a while.


Have you heard the joke about Seattle that goes, “I visited Seattle for two weeks and it only rained twice – once for 10 days and once for four days.” Since November, I think that’s been pretty accurate. My rain garden should be super happy right about now.

The funny thing is, looking around the bus, very few people are dressed for rain. They’re all going to work, wearing business or business casual attire, with nice shoes and no Gore Tex to be seen. Newcomers here think we don’t go in for umbrellas, but every single person in line at my bus stop had one. In short, taking away the dark gray, soggy exterior, the people on my bus could be commuting in San Francisco or New York (although I’d expect more overcoats, scarfs, and gloves for the latter).

I, on the other hand, am absolutely a product of my environment. I’m in a neon pink waterproof bike jacket, weather my work clothes beneath — but I chose synthetic black pants that push the limits of our dress code because they dry out quickly. I’ve got on booties, gloves, and ear covers. As a bicycle commuter, I think I may experience the weather more directly that any other commuters (unless someone walks, I suppose — boy would that be nice, close enough to walk to work). Even waiting at a bus stop in the rain, while wet, doesn’t involve being out in the weather for as long and intensely as I am when commuting.

Hence the bizarre gear.

Indeed, I’m one of those things that is not like the others today. Actually, that’s true every day. I’m not good at fitting in, especially regarding clothes and appearance.

That’s okay. My clothes remain functional and within acceptable parameters.

Now it’s time to go back out into the soaking wet. If you don’t hear from me again, over probably grown gills and turned into a fish.

Future Planning

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. -Philippians 2:1-4

Even wiping away the overtly Christian wording, I feel this verse speaks to so much of what’s tearing our society apart: the being obsessed with getting ahead, the not loving others who are different, the constantly thinking about self so there’s no room for others. What if caring for people came first?

… Insert clever transition here…

The last couple days my jaw has been so sore I can barely open my mouth, and I have been having really disturbed sleep and anxious dreams. If you asked how I’m doing, I’d say fine — but clearly my subconscious seems to be telling me otherwise.

What’s going on? Well, my work is in a fairly quiet place, with deadlines under control. My marriage seems stable, my kid is normal… At least, as normal as you can expect from us. Ian’s work is going through a wild transition, but we can weather whatever happens there.

I think it’s the summer. School gets out on 5/23, and doesn’t resume until 9/7 (or so; a couple days after Labor Day). That’s 16 weeks my kid needs care from 8 am too 4 pm, and there’s no daycare this year.

I’ve started planning, and it ain’t pretty. I’m having to patchwork together a nasty mess of care, one day or week at a time, for 16 weeks. It’s supremely anxiety-inducing and showcases pretty much the worst of being the family scheduler.

Result? Not only will we be using up all the good will of our childcare volunteers, but the kid will be spending most of his summer at the all-day Y summer camp (assuming I can get signed up).

And, on top of all that, it brings to the surface all my guilt about being a working mom. That’s basically a whole nother blog post, so I’m going to leave it there for now. But definitely more on this later.

Meantime, I’m hoping my jaw muscle will relax enough that eating is possible. We can hope.

Rain, the Movie

I’ve set myself a goal of what I do on the bus every morning, and one of those things is write a blog post, no matter how short. In general, I just want to resume a little more consistent posting.

The last week, however, my bus rides have been busier than usual. I see many of the same people many days, and if I end up sitting next to one of those people, we’ll often chat. That happened a number of times in the last week, plus of course having Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The bus ride home, which I avoid as much as possible, I usually just read a book. After a day of writing, I usually want a break.

Like I said, though, I avoid the bus home as much as possible. Instead, I’ve been enjoying the amenities of the new 520 trail across the bridge. Over the weekend, we got some spectacular sunny, warm weather, but now we’re back to our regularly scheduled January.

Yesterday I rode home with a friend. I estimated that at least a couple billion rain drops hit each of us over the course of the 20-mile ride. It was serious rain, the kind they have in movies with huge drops that soak the protagonist in no time flat.

In movies they don’t usually show the time when the protagonist is forced to ride a bike though a deep puddle filling the entire bike lane when an unfortunately timed car goes by. They also don’t usually show the wave of cold, filthy water inundating the protagonist when a car drives through a deep pothole filled with water at just the wrong moment.

And they definitely don’t show the half hour of hanging up dripping, soggy gear, followed by a night of hoping said gear will dry by morning.

Good thing. That’s a boring movie idea.

Goodbye, Prius

An era has ended. After 11 years of Toyota ownership, on January 4 we sold our Prius to my friend Ellen’s family. It’s a strangely bittersweet moment: I haven’t driven the Prius more than a couple times in the last five months, and when I did, it felt sluggish and slow.

…But we’ve done so many things in the Prius. It was our first car, and served us reliably for the entire time we owned it. We drove it all over New England, and Ian filled it to the gills and drove it back to Washington when we moved home in December 2009. I drove it all over Washington, bike on the rack and again filled full, for the Bike Alliance teacher trainings I did in 2011 and 2012. We took it to Seaside many times, a four-hour trip that sometimes too much longer with traffic.

Through it all, the car served us well and reliably. It consistently got 42 mpg average, not the ambitious 60 mpg advertised, but it kept on getting that 42 mph for 11 years. Pretty phenomenal.

Now we have the Bolt, and while I love having this all-electric vehicle, I wish Toyota had made it. We’ve had such good reliability with Toyota, I’m sorry to see it go.