Looking up at UM School of Dentistry at Baltimore & Pine

Looking up at a metal sculpture that stands out against tall glass and brick buildings. From this vantage point, I feel overwhelmed.

The weather has turned to fall, and I’m so incredibly grateful for it. I’ve run three times a week for most of the summer, and though I acclimated to the heat and humidity enough to not feel like I had to puke at the end of every run, it never got easy. So much of my body’s energy was working to keep me from overheating that little was left for the actual running. I found it all deeply uncomfortable, but I got enough good feelings out of it for it to have been worth it.

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Celebrate Black Lives Sign in Patterson Park Along Eastern Avenue Near Lakewood

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking down lately. Classes started last week, and I have been busily prepping classes and fretting about prepping classes. If you live on social media, which I do, you’d think a semester of remote learning for college students was the end of the world, especially for professors. For me, it’s just what we’ve got to do for public health, and let’s all do our best to make the best of it. Look around, read the room: it’s fine. (Except when it’s not–access issues have never felt more urgent, but that’s another blog post.) That doesn’t mean I wasn’t wringing my hands the last couple weeks, but now that the semester is underway, I’m just trying to get in a rhythm and swing of things.

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Buildings Slated for Demolition at Ashland & Castle

This is not exactly breaking news, but it is incredibly hot and humid in Baltimore right now. It has been this way forever, it feels like, but for at least the past six weeks. There’s just no break in it, and I hate it. Being outside is what keeps me from utter despair, and sometimes the weather is just so despairingly hot. Alas.

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Black Lives Matter Painted on Linwood Avenue

Saturday was the perfect day for a long bike ride around Baltimore. The heat dome lifted just enough to make it feel like it might be ok out there, so I slathered on the sunscreen, filled up the big water bottle, and headed south, no real plan in mind. I decided to head east, and made my turn on the Biddle Street bike lane. This one’s not protected, and parts of it put you in a ditch, but hey, it’s something.

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Block of Homes on West Mulberry Street at North Gilmor Street

I wasn’t really feeling a bike ride yesterday, but I knew I’d feel better and sleep better if I got outside, even though it was a gazillion degrees and swampy out there. I was right. I headed down the hill and west and then up the hill again to Bolton Hill. I have some friends thinking about moving there, and I wanted to see how long it would take me to get there if they end up doing that. An important part of any moving calculus: how long will it take Kate to get there on her bike? For this one, about 17 minutes.

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Church Parking Lot at Chester & Gay

I took my bicycle to DC last weekend. I used public transportation to get there and back, and while riding around DC, I ate lunch at a restaurant, sitting outside, pulling my mask down just for bites. It felt like being a tourist at the end of the world. The place was empty, except for the gloriously alive Black Lives Matter Plaza by the White House and the streams of local runners making their pretty much everywhere. I don’t know how they do it in the middle of the day, but there you go.

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Looking Down Greenway from Stratford Road

Tuesday was one of those surprisingly packed-with-work days that reminds me that a lot of academics don’t get “summers off,” as much as I wish it were so. The highlight, though, was guest teaching a class for a friend of mine about Baltimore history. I did a broad-sweeping story, all of it geared to understanding how this city, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, is constructed on a miles-deep firmament of white supremacy.

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Mural at Pop Farm at 14 Schroeder Street

In truly thrilling news, my sister got a bicycle! I remember trying to get her on my old cruiser bike in New Orleans ten years ago, and she started panicking with fear after less than two revolutions of the pedal. Much like our dad bailed on teaching us to drive after one or both of us freaked out, I took the bikes back in and we moved around New Orleans on foot instead.

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Cars Parked in the Bike Lane at Monument & Mello Court

Cars Parked in the Bike Lane at Monument & Mello Court

I finally had something to do and somewhere to go, so I started Wednesday’s bike ride with a purpose. I had ordered a few running tops from my local running store, because I want my local running store to exist if this pandemic ever ends, and they accidentally sent me an extra one. I emailed to ask if I could just return it, and they said yes. Baltimore City opened up curbside shopping at 9am on Wednesday, so I biked down to the shop in Fells Point for the hand off.

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Looking Toward Oakenshaw from 33rd & Oakenshaw

Looking Toward Oakenshaw from 33rd & Guilford I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m a runner now. I started running on the treadmill at my Orangetheory classes last year, just thirty seconds or so at a time. And then I kept running, getting up to sixteen slow minutes in class. Then I decided to take it outside in August to see if I wanted to be a runner yet. I’ve been on this road-to-running many times in my life, but maybe this time it would stick. Not that it has to. My dad was an asshole about a lot of things, including “fitness,” but in his old age had mellowed. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it, was the advice he gave me in the past decade or so. If I didn’t enjoy running, I wouldn’t do it.

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