LDS Church at Madison & MLK

Monday was my last day of my first summer school class. This one was an experiment, taught in Baltimore about Baltimore, and I only had a handful of students. Getting UMBC students to travel all the way to Baltimore is going to be a trick, but I’m dedicated to figuring out how to pull it off. This first time around might have been a small group, but it was so much fun that I was reluctant to cancel our last in-person meeting of the minimester, even though campus was officially closed. I’m not one to work on holidays or weekends–too many people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for me to work on those days–but there I was, holding class, because I wanted to.

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Brick Supports Under the Baltimore Basilica

I didn’t have to go to the office today, so I spent the morning reading for fun before taking the bike down to the coffee shoppe to meet V. for a little reading and writing and eavesdropping on our neighbors. I got some good thinking done and then it was time to get back on the bike for a quick stop at the fancy public library for my brand spankin’ new library card and then across the street to visit the Baltimore Basilica, America’s First Cathedral, designed and built from 1806-1821, because there’s little I like more than a visit to a place with tours or history or at least a brochure. Continue reading

Episcopal Church at Cathedral & Read


Finally the rain stopped falling this afternoon and I got to take the Surly out for an inaugural ride in Baltimore. I headed up a few blocks to grab lunch, then over to the coffee shoppe for some work–yes,  I do have things to do besides unpack–and then to Mt. Vernon to meet V., my new colleague and future drinking buddy, for a large iced tea and some conversation. Man, the bike going downhill is a trip! I was seriously flying, and it felt fantastic, if a bit scary. I’m just not used to hills, but I won’t be saying that for long. Just being on the bike made me feel more at home, and I am seriously pumped to spend the next however many years doing laps, using gears, yelling on the inside for the Bolt bus to get out of my bike lane, it’s all I have. I was early to our date–the downhill ride took about three minutes, and I sat outside, looking up at the cloudy sky, thinking this church is awfully old and pretty, knowing that in the not-too-distant future I will take myself on a tour of the thing. So much new! I rode back on the uphill, grateful for my many gears and the part where I am not at all in a hurry.

Empty Lot For Sale at Prytania & Josephine


Today’s ride took me up to the office and back, with a couple stops along the way. It started with sun, but by the time I got Uptown the skies had that steely blue thing going on, and I could mostly just think about my car down on Frenchman, parked in a spot still wet from earlier in the week, and you know what that means. I wonder what it’s like to live in a place with an infrastructure you can trust not to flood in a hard rain. Those places exist, right?

Anyway, I wrote a couple of recommendation letters and threw the rest of my office stuff in to one more box before pedaling home as fast as I could to beat the rain. Annnnnd the clouds were breaking up. Phew. I slowed my roll to enjoy the ride and stopped to take a picture of this lot for sale at Prytania and Josephine. There was a beautiful old church here until January when the place burned down. It had been empty and for sale since Katrina, but I guess there’s not much of a market for a church. The fire was intense, but walls and rubble were left strewn about the place. That lot was cleared in record time, and now here it is, just the ironwork sign and a leaning tree on empty land. Sometimes the bulldozers move quick; we’ll see if the property does. I continued on my way, happy for a day without rain.

Town Hall Meeting About Crime at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in St. Roch

The sun was back out today, so after working from home most of the morning, I hopped on my bike and headed to the Bywater for a late lunch and a grading jamboree. I was in a bouncy sort of mood, so I decided to take a new route, and went down Tchoupitoulas. The traffic was fast, but so was I, and it felt great. After finishing up my work I took the bike on the Chartres-St. Claude bike lane loop–I love some bike infrastructure, that’s for sure. I took a right on St. Roch to get a little more time on the bike. Continue reading

Demolishing a Church at Prytania & Josephine

The weather was ridiculous today–over 60 degrees, sunny, bright blue sky, slight breeze. That meant I could leave the leggings at home and just slip on a skirt and go out for a ride. I rode down to meet A. for brunch and then headed to the Marigny for coffee and reading. Continue reading

Zion Travelers Second Baptist Church at Laurel & Peniston

I woke up early this morning, an hour earlier still than up “early,” in fact. My cats were engaged in a face off with the neighborhood dogs through my windowed door, and Sully, my talkative cat, came to tell me all about it. We then engaged in our easy morning routines–Little, my quiet cat, rubbing her face against my pillow, Sully pacing until there’s food in the bowl, Little making biscuits while I read, Sully laying out on her side with her head in some crazy contortion, looking more peaceful than I can ever imagine feeling. La dee dah, they followed me around as I brushed my teeth, ate breakfast (Sully has to sniff everything), and stared at me as I wheeled the bike out (to dog territory) and headed to work. Continue reading

Christ Church Cathedral at St. Charles and Sixth

Today’s ride took me down to City Hall for a meeting. I can’t really the terrible shape that building’s in. The restroom on the first floor has only one working stall, and that one’s got a plywood swinging door, no lock. I went to fill my water bottle from the sixth floor drinking fountain–until I noticed there was a big moldy growth over the drain. Yikes! Yep, that’s our public building where our public work gets done. Continue reading

Fenced-Off Parking Lot at the New Orleans Mission

It was another hot and muggy early summer day in New Orleans, so I was a bit of a mess by the time I got to campus for class this morning. I dropped off some paperwork with an administrator who told me she wants to ride her bike, but she just can’t stand feeling like, you know–(insert gesture at me)–that. Fair enough, fair enough. But I actually love that warm-all-over feeling you get after a brisk short ride in our thick, sweaty air. Fortunately, I am able to ride, and she doesn’t have to. Continue reading

Sunset Over Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on N. Rampart

I spent the day in my neighborhood doing some writing and thinking about after I finished my writing and could get on my bike. My legs were so tired after the weekend that I was a little nervous the ride today would be work instead of play, but I was lucky and found the pedals spinning just fine as I headed Uptown to the office. Continue reading