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.

Continue reading

Empty Building at Baltimore & Paca Streets

Picture of a four story beige brick building with boarded-up windows on the first floor against a bright blue sky.

The spring semester started this week, and for me, teaching started Tuesday. That means I’m back on my bike commute after six weeks of working from home. It is a huge relief. I love not having to commute into the office, but after a few weeks of that, I miss just being around people. I know many white collar folks who can work from home want to keep doing that, but I like being in person with people, especially with students. And I think there is real value in being together with students in the flesh to talk about ideas.

Continue reading

Geese and Birds Hanging Out on Lake Montebello

Picture of an urban reservoir on a gray and cloudy day. The water is partially frozen, and birds are standing on the ice while others are swimming in the water nearby.

It’s winter, and that means if the weather report includes snow, I try to get in a bike ride before the ice makes the streets scary for me to bike on. Snow was coming Friday afternoon, and I had a break between meetings from 1:45-3:00, so I put on a whole lot of fleece-lined and wool clothing, my windproof jacket, my tiny hat, and some gloves, and I headed out for a ride around the neighborhood.

Continue reading

SAVE OUR BLOCK Mural at Mulberry & N. Carrollton

A picture of the side of a house with a mural that reads: SAVE OUR BLOCK. Black Neighborhoods Matter. "Losing my home is like a death to me. Eminent Domain law is violent." --Sonia Eaddy

There is rubble in the foreground from a house that has been torn down next to it.

Tuesday was unusually warm, a balmy 41 degrees, so I knocked off work a bit early to take a bike ride in the sunshine they said we wouldn’t get. I headed west this time, and then south, heading toward Stricker Street to pay my respects to the three firefighters who died when the house at 205 Stricker Street collapsed on them. A fourth firefighter was injured, though he appears to be recovering. Pictures of these firefighters are all over the news, and they are devastating. So young, such smiles, so many people who loved them, killed doing a job that is entirely about helping protect others. Flags at half mast, a long line of fellow firefighters accompanying them from shock trauma to the medical examiner’s office, so many tributes pouring in from all over. It is just so sad.

Continue reading

Looking Out Over the Water From the Bond Street Pier in Fells Point

The bottom half of the picture is blue-grey water and the top half is gray clouds with just a sliver of blue in the foreground. The picture is divided by a line of buildings across Baltimore's harbor.

I sprained my ankle really badly the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I do all sorts of stuff with my body, but I didn’t sprain my ankle running or riding my bike or doing weird stuff at the gym. I sprained it walking down my own front steps, just a slip, my ankle bent all the way sideways, me in a lump on the sidewalk in front of my house. Ankles are tricky joints–like teeth and knees, a real design problem–and over six weeks out, it’s still a little swollen. Bodies, man! They are so good at giving us challenges and forcing us to listen to them, whether we want to or not.

So I listened, and I stopped running, even though I was over halfway through with my running plan and really into the steady three-day-a-week groove. Running is really hard for me, and I love the challenge of it and the way it makes me feel in my body, but nope, my body said no. But what if it’s time to say yes? I love running when it’s cold out, especially since I hate riding my bike when it’s cold out, and I want to be outside every day. Running is hard, but it is also so easy for me–strap on a sports bra and some tights, a shirt, and a hat, lace up my shoes, and I’m off.

Continue reading

OMICRON IS THE COMMON COLD Graffiti on the Maryland Avenue Bridge over the JFX

Picture of a cloudy sky at sunset, light orange and pink at the bottom and stretching up to clouds and light blue sky. There is graffiti on the bridge in the foreground that reads, "OMICRON IS THE COMMON COLD."

It snowed on Sunday, which I know made lots of people really happy, but for me, snow on the ground means no biking, and I hate no biking. I know, I know, I could still bike, and many people do, but when there’s ice, braking and turning can toss you right off your bike, and I do a lot of those things while riding. For me it’s not worth the risk, so I just wait out the day or two for warmer temperatures that make the roads safer for me.

Continue reading

The Steven Muller Building and Space Telescope Science Center on San Martin Drive

My gym started a “challenge” in November. If you went twenty times between the second week of November and the new year, you would get a free hat. I signed up for the challenge, because I’ve never met a free hat I didn’t want to take home with me, even if I will never wear the free hat. When I signed up for it I wondered what would get in the way of this free hat for me. The last gym challenge I’d signed up for was at the YMCA, six years ago. I missed the free shirt because my dad was killed by a driver, and I had to leave town for the last week of the challenge, a couple days short. What would it be this time?

Continue reading

Blue Skies with Light Clouds Above North Montford & Preston Streets

Two weeks ago Tuesday I was heading out of my house to see a friend read poetry at the brewery just a few steps from my house. I was running late but feeling good, and I hopped quickly down the front steps of my house. I must have missed a step or something, because all of a sudden I was collapsed in a heap on my front sidewalk, unable to get up. I sprained my ankle, badly, but I didn’t know that in the moment. What I knew was that I was hurt, and I was scared, and I wasn’t sure what to do.

Continue reading

Yellow Ginkgo Trees at Centre & Guilford

Bright yellow gingko trees on a busy street against a background of a brick building and blue sky.

This semester has been a slog. Energy levels reached end-of-the-semester levels by midterms, and the joy of being with each other in the classroom, while still there, has been dampened by the part where we’re still in a pandemic, we’re packing our days as if we still don’t have the commutes we lost last year, and we’re all overwhelmed by the energy it takes to pay attention without being able to turn our cameras off for a minute. It has been a great semester (though it’s not over yet), but it has also been an incredible amount of work–intellectually, physically, and emotionally. Still the best job ever.

Continue reading