Looking Out at the Old Pier at Fells Point

The ladyfriend took me hiking this past weekend in the Shenandoah, and it was glorious. I loved just driving somewhere away from home with her, something we’ve not done in as long as I can remember. I loved being out in the woods, seeing waterfalls and views, waving an occasional hello to others out doing the same thing. Driving into the park it seemed busy, but once you’re off the main drag, it’s easy to find quiet.

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The Marley Station Mall Parking Lot from the B&A Trail

I have been riding my touring bike for over a decade, and what my rides look like have changed in that time, because I have changed. It has always been my daily commuter from day one, because I love traveling by bike, and I hate parking cars. Seven years ago I used it to train for and ride my first century ride, and five years ago I used it as it is meant to be used–for a self contained tour of the Adirondacks. I asked my dad how to train for that tour. He told me to go on longer and longer rides, and then go on the two week tour, because the best way to get in shape for bike touring is bike touring. He was right.

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Blue Water and Skies from Fort McHenry

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s incredibly hot out. It might be a global pandemic and a revolution, but everybody’s still happy to also talk about how it’s hot out. In Baltimore this past weekend should have been Artscape, the biggest free arts festival in the country, but it was cancelled, of course. Artscape is always on the hottest weekend of the year, and this year was no exception. (PS This week in July is statistically the hottest every year, so it’s not just Artscape that makes it so hot, but clearly it’s mostly Artscape.)

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Old Carnegie Building Being Demolished On the Hopkins Campus at San Martin Drive & University Pkwy

One thing that makes Baltimore so different from New Orleans is that here in Baltimore, for much of the summer it cools off enough at night to make a difference, and sometimes, on summer mornings, it’s actually nice outside. That hasn’t felt true for the past couple of weeks, but Monday at 8:30am it was only 73 degrees and the humidity was only 80%. I was so excited to experience a run in tolerable conditions that I headed out for my weekend long run (four miles, week one of round two of half marathon training, for those following along at home) on a Monday.

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Helicopter and Blue Skies Above War Memorial Plaza

Monday was one of those days where I worked all day but didn’t get anything substantive done. It’s amazing what bureaucracy will have you thinking is labor, but I digress. At the end of it I didn’t really have the energy for a bike ride, but I knew I’d feel better after a ride, and I was right.

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Housewerks Salvage at Bayard & Hamburg

Housewerks Salvage at Bayard & Hamburg

I was feeling kind of blue on Monday, not for any real reason, but you know how it is. I find that all my irritation, frustration, anger, fear, despair…it gets laser focused on some tiny thing in my life that isn’t important at all in the scheme of things, but in a moment can get me so down. Right now, it’s the part where we got a new couch in January, it was delivered at the start of the lockdown, and the legs don’t fit, and so we’ve got a fancy couch sitting on the floor, and we may be sitting on the floor for months and months.

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Looking Down 33rd Street From Elm Street

Looking Down 33rd Street From Elm Street

Every day is the same, and the sameness is grinding. I’m incredibly routinized in general, and it took me only a few days to have a brand new quarantine routine. I still get up at the same time every day, but instead of commuting to work I read a book for awhile and then dither around on the internet. I next join my 8am Zoom Cat Chat group and then my Zoom writing group and attempt to put words on the page for two hours. That’s what I’m doing right now–putting words down for a little bit of time every day. This morning’s words are here.

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Looking Up at Friends in a Window at Chesapeake Commons at Howard & Centre Streets

Looking up at a window at Chesapeake Commons at Howard & Centre Streets

It is an absolutely beautiful day in Baltimore, and it sucks to have to spend most of it inside. Outside feels increasingly dangerous to me. I think it’s the new relatively new call to wear a mask when outside. It’s an acknowledgement that this virus is invisible and could be hanging in the air anywhere, that not even standing all by yourself on a street corner is guard against it. And the masks we’re told to make ourselves, out of cotton, maybe with a coffee or furnace filter stuck in there, will only stop a relatively small percentage of those viruses from getting in. Wear a mask, but not a mask that actually works, because those are (absolutely rightly!) for folks working directly with patients.

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Blue Skies Over McKeldin Square at Pratt & Light Streets

McKeldin Square

I didn’t have a lot of time for a bike ride on Friday, thanks to a writing date, a phone call, and a couple of meetings that broke up my day. Friday was the end of week three of this stay-inside-work-from-home business, and parts of my life are moving along in deceptively normal ways. The deception is that it’s normal.

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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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