Crazy And We Love It

Last night I had another one of those “my family is awesome” moments. 

Marin and I had cycled across the river to meet Seth as he got out of work and then we were going to check out the concert by the Weezers that Microsoft was putting on. 

The trip started with a delay by the princess, so Marin and I were a little tight pressed for time to stick to our prearranged schedule with Seth. That meant that I couldn’t take my time riding downtown, I had to push it. Do you know what it’s like to ride a slow, loaded three wheel cargo bike from 39th to Pioneer Square in 30 minutes? Your legs get a wicked burn just going up little inclines like the ramp from the esplanade up to Hawthorn bridge, and did you ever notice that most of the bridge itself is an uphill ride? 

I forget which road we turned up from the river side (maybe Taylor?), but the first light you hit is always a red. Once you get the green on that though, if you can keep your speed up it is a straight shot with constant green all the way up the hill to the square. I love that shot. It is a small adrenaline rush for me, surrounded by traffic, pushing the muscles hard to stay with the flow and not miss a light.

Breathing gets fast and heavy, calves yell with the effort and that’s when Seth called on my cell! Fortunately I keep my phone in a little pocket on the bike just below te handlebars, so I could access it without breaking rhythm. 

“Hey, I’m out of work.” Seth told me.

“Great! Sorry I’m late, but I’m almost there. On 5th and coming your way.” 

I think it was easy for him to figure out from my heavy breathing that the conversation had to end right about there, as I was too busy to focus on chatting about anything else, so he said bye and went out to the street corner to wait for me.

Huffing, puffing, smiling big and giggling, I found my man and we took some time to let me catch my breath before grabbing a bite to eat at Freshii and exploring around the concert area for a while then we both at the same time called it quits and said we were uninterested in the music they were playing. 

Somehow we almost always seem to be on the same page with stuff. We like similar styles of food, with each of us coming down to the same two dishes we want to try at restaurants, so we just get both and share them! Or like last night, we were both curious about the concert, but both lost interest at the same time. Then on the ride home we stopped to admire some live-aboard sailboats and we both liked the same one. Sometimes I think we must be a crazy couple, but then, it’s probably better to be crazy and love it, then sane and hate it!

Sunday’s Adventure (also happened to be Father’s Day)

Father’s Day. Yeah, everybody is writing about it aren’t they?

Well, I think Seth had a decent day. It started by chatting with the house guests that arrived almost unanounced the previous night (they turn out to be pretty cool people) and then off we went as a small cute little family to check out a Pedalpalooza group focused on riding bicycles with small children. We had thought that it was going to be everyone riding their bikes with kids, but we found it was more of a sit down talk session at one of the bike shops where a lady gave was explaining the diferent options for carying kids. So…. we continued on down to the weekend market instead. I’m sure we probably could have picked up a few tips or something, but Marin is fairly well set in her carseat on the trike, so we didn’t feel the need to stick around.

Downtown is a weekend market that consists of artsy-fartsy craft people of high caliber, so we always enjoy checking out what they have and grabing a bite from one of the food carts.

To add to the downtown atractions, there was also a Gay Pride Parade going on as well, so of course we had to stop and watch them for a little bit and marvel at the dress code. Or at least, marveled at the dress code or lack thereof.

Then it was off to work for Seth, so we said goodbye beside our bikes and parted ways, except that after wandering around the crowds for a little while longer, Marin and I went to visit him at Mountain Hardwear for a short bit. I like the staff there, as they are all very suportive of Seth and have no problem with me stopping by and taking advantage of their little sitting area to get off my feet and nurse Marin. I think Seth enjoyed having us there, being able to peek around the corner when he didn’t have a customer to talk to, and see Little Marin fascinated with her own reflection in a full length mirror. She was able to walk right up to it and touch it, not knowing what to think of the cold hard thing getting in her way of touching the other little girl that looked just like herself.

Seth and Marin being goof-balls
Seth and Marin being goof-balls

Yet again, we had another family adventure on bicycles in Portland!

Cargo Bike Rally

My husband Seth has done a little bit of work with Tom LaBonty building cargo bicycles, so when we heard that there was a Pedalpalooza event based on Tom’s bikes, we HAD to go!

Everybody met at Hawthorne’s Lucky Lab pub for, as they say, “you can’t have LaBonty without the Lab”. 

Games ensued…. I think? I actually didn’t get there until well over an hour after their start time, but there was a “slow race” with a bunch of the bikes, to see who could ride the slowest without falling off. I wasn’t allowed in because I showed up on a three-wheeler and that just wouldn’t be fair!

After the games and getting to know people, we all headed out for a group ride up to Lucky Lab’s northeast location way up on Who-Knows-What Street. That was the first time I’ve ever ridden with a group that all came together because of one type of gear. As you can see from a previous post I have ridden in a larger group, but it came together because of one LACK of gear!

At the north end of the Eastbank Esplanade there is a bicycle switch back that I never really thought much about before, but riding with a bunch of people who had 8 foot long bikes, it makes you wonder how they all got up there without crashing into the walls on the corners first! Embarrassingly enough, I hit the wall on the first bend. Oops!

Then there was the corkscrew. One bike at a time. All the way up the bicycle version of a spiral staircase, across a bridge over a busy road, then down the other side on another corkscrew. Riders were doing everything from cussin’ to laughin’ and everything in between.

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At the NE Lab location the bikes all piled up together and looked pretty cool sticking out from the bike racks and half hanging out into the street. Jammed and crammed.

Seth was able to meet us all at the north location just as we got there, so drinks all-round and Tom and him didn’t take too long before they started talking business again. They love it though!

After all that hoopla and fun group riding up, it was a pretty quiet ride going home with just Marin and I on the trike, Seth on his speedy city bike, and a new friend Kathleen on her bakfiet who knew the roads to get us home safely. We even had time to check out some free cycle piles!

Us and the World Naked Bike Ride

Us and the World Naked Bike Ride!

I think I know what you’re thinking.

“WHAT???”

Every year during Portland’s Pedalpalooza, the WNBR (World Naked Bike Ride) throws an event that draws thousands of people. People line the streets cheering cyclist on and giving high-fives to the participants. Bikes and other means of human-powered transportation are lit up with regular lights and intricate, crazy, multicoloured, cool lights.

Cyclist wear shoes. That seemed to be the one and only thing that every participant agreed to wear. Police asked everyone to also wear helmets, but you know people…. some of them skipped that safety item. There were guys in top hats and vests, girls in princess and fairy costumes. Naked people in wheelchairs and on skate boards, riding on cargo bikes and just plain running.

The only down side to riding with no clothing is if on the off chance you have a spill, there is nothing to protect your skin. I saw a cyclist crash when he ran into the edge of a cement lane divider. I didn’t see the in-line skater crash, but I did watch him get back up with a purple/red bruise the size of a cantaloupe on his buttox.

Despite the risks, people were in high spirits. There is a thrill in being naked with thousands of other people, in front of thousands more fully clothed people. Exhilaration and freedom!

Seth and I stopped about 2/3 of the way through the course and just watched the other cyclist go by. Everyone so unique and different. An education to be sure!

Where was Marin during this family adventure? Bundled up cozy warm and fast asleep in the front of the trike. She fell asleep right after we left the house and didn’t wake up at all until we were back home and putting her to bed.

Unicycles, tall bikes, cargo and tandems. Hispanic people, Asian, male and female. It was a night for every make, model and size, both for bicycles and people!

Proof we were there and I wasn't just making all of this up!
Proof we were there and I wasn’t just making all of this up!

Last Thursday

Last night was the Last Thursday On Alberta St Market.

Neither Seth or I had ever been to it before, but that didn’t stop us from cycling up there with the trike and setting it up as our own art stand!

Sorry, in the excitement we forgot to take pictures. Bad us!

We slow walked through the first couple blocks until we found a very nice little corner where the road narrowed a bit and the crowd was drawn in by one of those “see how strong you are” bell thingys. I held Marin while Seth did most of the setting up, then I added my touch with the art and started working on a painting right there.

Just sitting and looking at people never worked to draw in a crowd. No sirree. What DID work though, was ignoring them and painting, open coffee jar and everything! I think people were drawn mostly by the comforting smell. They would stop and look… smile… ask what kind of paint it is.

“Why it’s coffee!” I’d say, to which a look of surprise would cross their face until I allowed them to smell my paint.

“Wow, it really IS coffee!”

I think that was the most fun part, seeing people register that yes indeed I was making art out of their daily morning beverage.

 

Mother’s Day Adventures

Mother’s day was a little different this year. For the good and bad.

The good part was that this year I woke up with my daughter beside me instead of IN my belly, and Seth was there beside me as well. Last year we were in different coountries on this day. A good thing was Marin and I got out for a bike ride and spent a wonderful time with some friends that we ran into.

The bad part was having a full day of dealing with a teething child whose gums hurt her terribly. Oh well, that’s life!

"Tall Bike Tim" out for a political cruise
“Tall Bike Tim” out for a political cruise

While we were slow peddaling along the Springwater Corridor, we came across our friend Tim, parked on the side of the path, handing out Free Floride Free Water to passing walkers and cyclists in an awareness campaign about the issue of having low grade floride chemicals put into Portland’s drinking water, which causes all sorts of health risks especially for individuals who aldeady have health problems.

Anyway, here’s a picture of him on his tall bike towing a trailer behind. Sorry you can’t see the trailer very well.

As most of his water had been drunk up, we waited while he loaded everything back down, then together headed back to his place to visit Jan and show Marin the chickens and pigmy goats at their neighbour’s place.

Getting baahs from the goats and giggles from the girl
Getting baahs from the goats and giggles from the girl

 

No Cares On A Sunday

Another day spent outside with my little girl. Nothing too important to do. People watching, slow peddaling.

This morning while taking down the tent in the wind, the fly got a small puncture and a couple good scrapes in it. Wasn’t the best way to start the morning, that is for sure! It is lightweight silnylon made by Nemo. Beautiful tent and well structured! But that silnylon along with being ultra light for camping, is also surprisingly easy to tear and not so easy to fix.

While Seth headed off to work for the day, I did an internet search on how to fix silnylon. You can’t just sew on a patch and throw some goop on to waterproof it and call it good. One of the beauties of the fabric is that almost nothing ever sticks to it……….including adhesives. So my searching was also one to find where I might pick up a patch kit. Easiest place was REI, so off we went. Well, sort of.

There were delays getting to the sports store, as Andrew volunteered to make lunch and I was not about to say no to that! And then there was the issue of it being a highly breezy day and me only having one pair of shorts (whose reach just covers my knees) so Marin and I stopped at Goodwill to find a cooler pair of shorts for me. Okay, so I didn’t really find shorts, but a nice running skirt with built in boyshorts seemed to do the trick for keeping me cool the rest of the day.

Finaly we made it to REI and Marin started telling me she was hungry, so I found a quiet little corner amongst the sleeping bags (like anybody is gonna go shopping for a bag on a sweltering hot day like today!) where I could nurse her without any distractions. It worked so well though, that she fell asleep and refused to wake up! So I carried her all sprawled out in one arm while searching out the repair kit and I had to ask the cashier lady to bear with me as I had to do everything one handed. In fact, Marin was so sleepy that only opened her eyes for one second, not even two, when I put her back in her carseat on the bike. Zonked OUT!

When Marin woke up from her nap we watched all the little kids playing in the water fountain down by the river. I did some drawing while she watched the kids and played with her little maraca, becoming the center of attention for a couple other little tots who thought she was awefully cute (as always!).

One of the fun things about these longer nice days, is that Marin and I can meet Seth downtown when he gets off the train from work, and we can cycle home together, often stopping somewhere for a bite to eat first.

I love seeing Seth at the end of his work days! We have such fun together and it doesn’t take big activities to keep us entertained! Small little things like walk, bike rides or simply watching other people go by, is enough to keep us amused and happy.

All and all, I think it was a fantabulous Sunday! Yay!!!!

 

My Cycling Father

Dad trying out the fat tire and watching how it worked beneath him.
Dad trying out the fat tire and watching how it worked beneath him.

While my dad was here I found out that he enjoys riding bicycles. We always lived a little outside of town (sometimes right out in the country!) and so cycling had no interest as you were always stuck on the same road. Portland is different though. There’s bike lanes and so many alternate routes that it is impossible to get bored especially when you’re only in town for one week!

Seth picked up a Pugsley Fat Tire by Surly last year, but my dad didn’t get to see it last time he was through. This time though, he spotted it and his eyes lit up right away.

“Who’s is that?” he asked with excitement in his voice.

When I told him it was Seth’s, he asked if he might be able to take it for a spin. Of course!!! So he tried it out on the street just in front of the house, and since we were heading out on a ride and I was taking the trike (which is slow), he opted for the fat tire ride. It was great to see him on it. He loved it!

Most our rides this last week has been with him on the Surly. It is slow, but still a heck of a lot faster than our trike which Marin rides in.

Grandpa cycling around proud as punch with his little granddaughter sleeping content on front.
Grandpa cycling around proud as punch with his little granddaughter sleeping content on front.

When I would suggest walking anywhere after the first couple of rides, his face would drop just a tad, then he would mention the option of riding to our destination instead. So we rode almost every day that he was here, including the last day when he had to pick up a few things for the kids’ school.

For that last ride, Seth stayed home with Marin while I rode Chester and my dad rode one of Andrew’s bikes downtown. We rode fast because we could.

First stop was Voodoo Doughnuts where we picked up a full dozen doughnuts and of course ate a couple of them right away. Had to get some energy to make the last few blocks to REI where Dad picked up some gear for the kids’ GoPro camera.

Heading home I got us a little off track, but didn’t exactly get LOST. Just didn’t know where we were going per say. Didn’t take too long and we were back on a familiar route, then we hit a section of heavy traffic being directed by cops, so we got on another detour, ducking and weaving between traffic. As we spun onto Clinton Street, Dad figured out where we were and took off like a rocket! Those doughnuts must have really given him a boost, because it was all I could do to keep up with him!

One Way to Tucker Out Your Dog

Your dog greats you in the morning with so much enthusiasm that you know he needs a good long walk. You grab some breakfast and head out, walking for a couple of hours which leaves you exhausted for the rest of the day with the bonus of sore feet. Your dog? He is playing in the back yard as if he had never left.

I think all large-dog owners have experienced this little scenario at one point or other much to their chagrin. I know I certainly have and I don’t even own a dog!

As many of our friends, family and blog followers know, we are living in the full basement of Seth’s brother’s house in Portland, and Andrew has a dog. A beautiful well-behaved loving dog who lets the neighborhood children pull his tail, ears and climb on him. Despite how mellow he acts though, he is a bundle of energy that needs to vent every day. With other things on my to-do list I often have a hard time getting him out for as long as he really needs, especially as Andrew and the kids are still away on holidays and so there are fewer people to walk him through the day.

But I discovered a great fix to all that! We have a bicycle that attached to a special stroller similar to a Chariot, turning it into a trike with 2 wheels up front and one in the back. One of Marin’s car seats has been affixed into the stroller from which she has a great view of the passing scenery as we roll along. The whole contraption is quite sturdy, so I decided that with little effort I could take both the baby and the dog out for fresh air by making the dog trot along beside us.

For bike rides it certainly doesn’t get you anywhere very fast, but it gets the dog moving a lot faster than if we were all walking, which was the point behind it all. It worked so incredibly well that after cycling up to Mount Tabor, letting Lorax play with the other dogs at the park and then rolling back home, even with dog-piss breaks, he was well-worn out for at least the next 4 hours. But having a couple of hours of knowing the dog had gotten a good work out was wonderful!!

I know most people do not have trikes on which they can roll along slow enough for their dogs, but for those that do, it is worth a shot to try taking your dog out with it and see if you can’t outlast your canine friend!

A Day At The Zoo

You know how sometimes there is a serious aspect to your life in the moment and it seems to consume you and tint every part of your day, even if you are not directly trying to deal with it at that point in time? An issue is big and menacing and it starts to get you down over time. That’s not a good thing. It happens, and is quite normal, but it drains you and leaves you feeling tired and weary. That’s when you go out and have a day of fun!

We were getting pretty quiet and focused on what we needed to get done, but Seth in his wonderful way insisted on a day off. So we went to the zoo.

Of course it wasn’t quite such a simple matter of packing up the baby, hopping in the van and driving out to the zoo. No, we packed up the baby, straddled our bicycles, rode downtown to Pioneer Square, locked the bikes, jumped on the train and rode it out to the zoo. We almost never do things the simple way!

For most of our wanderings through the green bordered paths between the animals, Marin sat quietly on my hip, looking at everything, being especially intrigued by the other humans wandering past. She gazed for mere moments at the animals, becoming fascinated with the waterfalls. Finally near the end of our time there, we found some animals that caught her interest. The first was the Arctic Terns, as they splashed in the water right in front of her, they took flight in grand swoops around their aviary, with Marin twisting her head, trying to keep them in view. She smiled big every time they flew close. She was also quite taken later with the little parakeets as they nibbled on her finger tips.

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At the end we found a river otter playing by himself, doing backflips off the plexiglass observation wall, twirls in the current and dives from the shore into the swift creek flowing through it’s small home. Seth held Marin up for her to watch the otter, following as it swam back and forth, bringing Marin to giggle and laugh and it’s antics.

When the day was done, we all were happy and tired, glad to have had a day of fun, leaving all worries behind.

Days like tthis are what keeps us going. They remind us that life is worth living and loved ones are worth doing whatever it takes to keep them beside us.