Domino Sugar Factory on Key Hwy E.

A brick factory with steam coming out of several pipes from the roofs.

Wednesday was cool and cloudy, just as I like it, and I had a dentist appointment over in Federal Hill, so it was the perfect reason to ride downtown and afterwards, around Locust Point. I had a vague idea that maybe I could see the Ever Forward stuck in the mud from Fort McHenry, but alas, I’ve got to get out to Pasadena, MD to catch a glimpse. Next week, next week!

I might not have seen the #NeverForward, but it was a lovely day to be on my bike, listening to music on my lil bluetooth speaker the mother-in-law got me for Christmas, and spinning along on my newly-tuned up quiet-as-a-mouse bicycle. I did a turn around the water at Fort McHenry, felt satisfied at all the big ships I could see, muted my speaker as I spun by a guy deep in thought who I didn’t want to disturb, and then rode out of the park, up and down Fort Avenue, headed vaguely home.

I took the long way through Locust Point and around the Under Armour headquarters to ride past the Domino Sugar refinery. They were making sugar that day, and the air had that sweet burning smell. So much sugar, every grain part of such a long and complicated history, but today it was just the background to a ride. Where I put my attention is where my attention goes, thank you for the reminder.

And then it was around the water, ringing my bell as I passed so many people out for a spring stroll. The Inner Harbor is allegedly getting a face lift soon, or a total remodel, and it needs that, for sure. That said, people are down here enjoying the space in spite of the sad shuttered shops down here. And there are still places open–Hooters, the candy place, a space selling Baltimore-made and related stuff. There is life down here, and that was a good reminder. If you just look at Twitter you can forget that the internet just tells one set of stories that gets passed around. If you can, go outside and see for yourself.

I continued my ride around and up and over to home, grateful again for the weather and the bike and the reminders this city gives me, over and over again, to keep that attention bouncing. There’s so much to see.

Flower Trees at E. Monument & Fallsway

Picture of a bunch of trees flowering with white puffy blooms against a blue sky etched with clouds.

It’s flower tree season in Baltimore, and because I don’t have allergies, it is my favorite season. I have lived here long enough to have my favorite spots–the pink ones that always seem to bloom first in front of the University of Maryland School of Nursing; the puffy white trees in front of the old phone company building that is now apartments on 31st and Guilford; the tunnel of pink ones that make the ride up Charles or Guilford spring magic. And then there’s this bunch of trees, right where Fallsway and E. Monument Street meet.

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Looking Out Over the Water at Fort McHenry

A cloudy gray sky is the backdrop to calm blue-gray waters. There's a barge floating in the middle of the picture. The foreground is asphalt and a bit of grass.

I am easily sold things. If there’s a membership, I’ll probably join, and I’m currently earning points in so many “rewards” programs I can’t believe there’s anywhere left to sell my personal information. I spend a lot of time scrolling through different social media platforms, and I am absolutely cognizant of how many ads I’m seeing, that I am the profit generator for the platform, and that no matter my critical thinking skills, the press of resisting advertising all day every day is rough, especially for me, a person prone to be upsold.

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Ducks on a Pond in Patterson Park

Picture of a small pond surrounded by leafless trees and dirt. A few ducks are sitting on the icy part of the pond in the center of the picture. The background sky is cloudy with a few spots of blue coming through.

The weather report for the end of the week was all rain, so I grabbed an hour on Wednesday to sneak in a bike ride around town before everything got all wet. I know, I know, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing, but I hate riding in the rain if I can help it. My brakes don’t work as well, drivers are even more bananas than usual, and once my glasses get wet, I can’t really see. The older I get the more likely I am to choose my mode of transportation or exercise based on pleasure rather than what I think I should be doing. It is a gift of getting older to care less what other people (by which I mostly mean my internal high school principal) think about what I’m doing. And I can’t tell you how happy I was when my stepmom gave me my dad’s bike tour journal, where he clearly chose to stay in hotels sometimes to avoid the rain and charge his cell phone. If you knew my dad, you know he was a purist about many things, so learning he wasn’t always that way was a real treat.

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Looking South Along Chinquapin Run From a Bridge

Rocky stream running between two green and overgrown banks with a cloudy blue sky in the background.

Sunday was–you guessed it–hot and humid. I spent the morning luxuriating in the ice box that is my bedroom when I’ve got the AC unit blasting, the door closed, and the windows covered. I remember a time in my life when I’d be too afraid of the utility bill to run it like that, but now I can afford to cool myself off. So many can’t, and so many couldn’t even if they wanted to. As the heat dome continues to settle over the Pacific Northwest I remember that they’re not ready for it, they don’t have the infrastructure for it, and even if they did, heat waves are the deadliest of “natural” disasters.

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Park Bench and Picnic Table Under Cloudy Skies at Middle Branch Park

A blue park bench is in the foreground, set against green grass and a picnic table and tree in the middle of the picture. The sky is cloudy and the water of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River is steel gray.

Monday was the first day of early voting in Maryland so I wanted to check out the lines at one of the sites. The best way to do that, of course, was on my bike, so I hopped on and headed down the hill toward Camden Yards. When I first heard this was going to be an early voting site I had images of voting from home plate, looking up at my adoring fans in the stands. Alas, you actually vote inside Dempsey’s Brew Pub–decidedly less exciting. I requested an absentee ballot and dropped it off in a ballot box a couple weeks ago. I was, as usual, my own adoring fan.

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Empty Swimming Pool at Druid Hill Park

Empty Swimming Pool at Druid Hill Park

I went for a run this mid-morning, like I do most Fridays mid-morning. Today I ran with Ahmaud Arbery on my mind. He was killed on February 23, 2020, hunted down by two white men and shot while out for a jog. I go out for a jog all the time. One of the things I like about jogging is that it’s so simple. I put on my shoes, head out the door, and just go. It’s so simple.

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Stairs Next Door to 2808 Kennedy Avenue

Stairs next to 2808 Kennedy Avenue

Tuesday had a little bit of sun, and after a long day of work–I’m still working–I decided to get out for a run, so this post is about something I saw on my run that day. I headed out and east, no real destination. I ended up running down Gorsuch to say hi to where R. used to live. She moved away a few years ago, but Gorsuch will always remind me of her, our time in her backyard, admiring her cat, talking about bikes and queers and popcorn and art. I miss her, even though I still talk to her all the time. It was good to say hello.

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Flowering Tree Along the Gwynns Falls Trail in Middle Branch Park

Flowering Tree Along the Gwynns Falls Trail in Middle Branch Park

The sun came out on Tuesday, and it had a profound effect on my mood after a gray and rainy Monday. So much feels gray and rainy that when the skies are like that too, I get a bit overwhelmed with it. But like all feelings, the sadness of Monday melted away to the relative good cheer of Tuesday, made even better by “seeing” some of my students in our online class meetings that morning.

And then I was utterly exhausted. It is going to take me a minute to get in shape for this.

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Community Walk Through Theater at Lanvale & Monroe

20171023_132558-1 I got off work early on Monday because sometimes my life is incredibly blessed.  After grabbing lunch in downtown Baltimore I got back on my bike and headed out for a ride before heading home. I headed west on Lombard and zig zagged up to Mulberry to see if that new bike path on Franklin runs up the other side of the Highway to Nowhere too–and it does. Continue reading