Smoke-Free UMBC Sign on Academic Row at UMBC

Smoke-Free UMBC Sign on Academic RowI smoked my last cigarette 8 years ago on Tuesday. It was a spur of the moment decision, but one I stuck with, choosing not to smoke, minute by minute, until I didn’t want to smoke anymore. I remembered it was my anniversary as I was dragging my tired self down the hill for a very long day of work, a bad night’s sleep and a headache making the commute seem much more like a chore than a cheerful opportunity to have Deep Thoughts about where the road salt’s going and when, if that RV ever goes anywhere other than that driveway, or whatever else I was going to see on my bike today. And then I smiled to myself, because I don’t have to smoke, think about quitting, or quit smoking anymore. Continue reading

Piles of Tires in the Parking Lot of the Sports Legends Musuem/Camden Yards at Howard & Camden

Piles of Tires in the Parking Lot of the Sports Legends Musuem/Camden Yards at Howard & Camden My coupon was about to expire, so I took my Tuesday afternoon self down to the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and locked my bike up to the new bike racks they’ve installed by the baseball stadium as a way to encourage me to “Go Green.” I wonder if there are folks who ride a bike because it’s “green” rather than because it’s fun, cheap, easier than driving and parking, faster than the bus, or any of the reasons I ride a bike. I remember when I quit smoking–I suddenly cared deeply about the deep imbrication of tobacco production with the growth of southern plantation slavery, but that’s certainly not why I quit smoking. But hey, anything that gets you off the smokes and on the bike will make you a happier camper, in my opinion. Continue reading

Baltimore Irish Northern Aid Society at Charles & Franklin

Today’s ride took me down the hill to meet friends for lunch and then a walk over to Charles Avenue for the St. Patrick’s Day parade (and no, I don’ t know why it was today). This is my third parade in Baltimore, and S. reminded me not to go in to compare this parade to New Orleans parades–they’re totally different things–and to see what fun I might get out of this one. I heeded this most excellent advice and leaned back on my heels for 90 minutes of Ancient Orders of the Hibernians, Irish dance teams, beauty queens, and bagpipers. Continue reading

Birds in a Tree at Lake Pontchartrain

Five years ago I quit smoking. The first three months were terrible–lots of crying and worrying that I’d be logged on to my support site for the rest of my life and feeling like I’d accomplished some amazing feat by managing to wait 40 minutes for an oil change–how do nonsmokers wait? That seems like a zillion years ago. Continue reading

Standing Ashtray on Tulane’s Academic Quad

You know what a long day of bike riding often gets me the next day? A tired day of lazy bike commuting and not much other riding, which is fine, but kind of hard to balance when the weather is just so perfect and the bike beckons, as always. But alas. I hopped on Rhoda this morning for a leisurely pedal to campus where I met up with campus guest Susan Stryker, who kindly agreed to visit my classes and dazzle us all with her proven wit and intelligence. Continue reading

Abandoned Piano at Beauregard and Wisner

I met up with S., an old friend from college yesterday for beer, chatter, some of her homebaked pecan sticky buns (positively ridiculously delicious–if you are in Memphis, hit that farmer’s market for sure!), and, surprise, surprise, bike gossip. You see, she has this bike that an ex gave her, and it has been living in a basement in New Orleans while she’s off grinding her own wheat flour in Memphis. Continue reading

Cigarette Machine at the Avenue Pub on St. Charles

Ok, I know we all talk about weather too much, but I’ve got to tell you, it was sunny and in the seventies today. I was actually sweating on my ride up to campus for final exam #1. It was such a lovely respite from the cold of the past week. My apologies to the neighbors up north–I hear you’re shivering in a blizzard. After proctoring a four hour final (!) I zipped over to the Avenue Pub for the Metro Bicycle Coalition open meeting. Continue reading

Railroad Crossing at Royal and Press Streets

Railroad Crossing at Royal and PressThis picture captures, I think, the crazy sun of today.  It was absolutely beautiful, again.  And I was in the mood to celebrate outside, because today marks the third anniversary of quitting smoking.  Three years ago today I was a quivering mess, crying between mouthfuls of Fritos or M&Ms, not sure why I’d made the terrible decision to quit smoking, and feeling quite certain that I’d never be ok again.  Continue reading