May 20

Got bread? I know how you can make others jealous

Well, we made it to the weekend. Treat yo’self for that.

It’s warm here now, and that’s nice. We’re in the 70s, and just 48 hours after jackets were required. So summertime acclimation has hardly begun. For now, it’s nice and it’s Friday and that’s more than enough.

We had a nice 32-mile ride around one of the lakes today. I only dropped my fuel and then my sunglasses. And then I got dropped on the back third of the route. The Yankee was cooking today.

You know who else was cooking was this guy, George Rabich, celebrated baker of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

We were doing a little casual genealogy research this evening and I ran across that New Year’s ad. It seems an odd bit of clip art, but, really, how many different pieces of New Years lead would a 1916 newspaper keep in their typesetting cabinets?

We followed along, and apparently 1916 was a good year for the baker. He’s in the local paper quite a bit. You could get some luxury bread in early May of that year. And needles! Needles were still like a currency in Allentown that spring, I guess.

Probably there’s a good reason. Hemming clothes or something, I’m sure.

Later in May, and it hasn’t yet occurred to anyone to specify that the needles were not in the bread.

The needles are not in the bread, people! You may eat and break and dip our bread without concern for your gums! The needles will be in a package on the side. We keep them entirely separate of the luxury bread here in the bakery.

Now, the blue collar bread? Needles for days.

By June, and no, I did not actually see this coming, they’ve realized the problem. Our bakery is one of the cleanest in town! Guaranteed! Healthful! Unless you’re the one guy in Allentown with a gluten problem, then you should probably stay away.

But everyone else! Clean! Healthful! Ask our customers! They’ll tell you Rabich bread is some of the cleanest bread in town. And they give you needles!

All of those were 1916, and before there were needles, there were prizes for kids!

Bring in your wrappers and get a bike, or a jump rope. Be the envy of all.

I bet all the neighborhood kids are sizing each other up over jump robes and strider bikes. He’s got that and bread? Maaaaa!

May 20

Come on now

And on Wednesday, the 20th day of May, a jacket was required.

Full fingered gloves would have been nice, too, but I left them inside.

What are we doing here?

May 20

This is mostly about a bike ride, but also pets

Today I learned that next week is Memorial Day. Sorta sneaks up on you, doesn’t it?

We get a three-day weekend! I wonder what that will be like. Probably we’ll hang out with the cats, same as everyday. They are having a great time of it all. Phoebe has lately been enjoying the steps in the midday:

Poseidon spends a lot of the day warning off the birds, finding new ways to get into the same kinds of trouble and relying on his cuteness to make us forget about it.

We’ve recently shown them some more windows they haven’t had available to them, but they always come back to the windows that point to the southeast. They get it.

Had a lovely little bike ride today. And by lovely I mean we did hill repeats. You go up a hill, then you go down that hill, then you go up that hill, and then you go down that hill, then you go up that hill, and you realize you’ve lost count already.

So I sing a different song to myself each time. It’s somehow easier to count back the songs than recalling how many times I’ve grimaced over that especially steep spot.

Today I was singing aloud, which has the added bonus of amusing The Yankee when she was going up or down the hill opposite my journey.

(That is not the hill. That’s just part of the ride on either side of the hills. The hill was steep, tree-covered, slick from an earlier rain and featured an embankment on one side and a steep drop-off on the other. Also part of a tree fell over behind me at one point. It was an altogether different vibe than the approximately-a-suburb you have in that photo.)

She’s getting stronger on climbs, and if that continues I’m in real trouble.

So it was a lovely 22-mile ride. We rode past a colleague’s house and I yelled to him from the road, which amuses us, and him, but not his neighbors. Probably that route takes us by someone else we know, but I don’t know where everyone lives, which is a shame for so many reasons.

On my last repeat I went all the way down to the lake, where the boat launch is, and climbed the whole way out. And suddenly I realized why we were only doing the top half of the climb for the repeats. After 13 reps up an 8.6 degree ascent the bottom half of the full climb is a leg breaker, it was a 200-foot ascent over a half-mile with a maximum gradient of 12 percent, which, by then, was enough. And that’s not the point. The hills were the point. which is certainly one wake to look forward to the end of your weekend. And since there was a ride we can return to the irregular-when-I-think-of-it Barns By Bike feature. Look at this beaut!

Remember how, on Friday, we examined the malfunctioning speed on one of the cycling apps? Today it said I was doing 130.7 miles per hour on the first descent. I was not.

I save that kind of speed for the climb back out, where I set PRs on three Strava segments after riding all those hills.

May 20

How fast am I?

We went for a bike ride to bring in the weekend. We decided to go out 50 minutes and then turn around and come back. I went 55 minutes, because sometimes you need an extra 10 minutes. I’m looking, now, at the mile splits on the tracking app. Each number represents the maximum touched within that mile. Let’s check them out.


There are no typos there, but which do you think are wrong? Some of them are wrong. I was pounding on the pedals and stretching the chain and really working through the hills and trying to remember to breathe and, otherwise, having a good ride. Still, nothing like some of those speeds. So I assume there’s a GPS-out-in-the-country issue, or a dropped-signal issue or a this-app-isn’t-very-good issue.

Anyway, on mile 17, when I wasn’t doing 49.9 miles per hour, I cruised past this place. Couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a kokopelli.

Surely there’s something about putting two of them together that is a bad idea. It was a god of fertility, a god of agriculture. Oh, and also a trickster. If there’s a place where you don’t want a trickster god, it would be in your crops, or your abode.

Elsewhere, work stuff. There was a meeting and I wrote 1,900 words about demo reels and so on.

Most important news of the day …

And, to the weekend!

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May 20

The usual much ado

All of that sun on Sunday was so nice and lovely, but the passing shadows told the tale. When I stopped taking pictures of the birds it was because the sun had scooted beyond the houses and was focusing on something else. A chill took over from the sun. Because that’s going to be the natural conclusion of things around here in May. I went inside because I was shivering.

And yesterday, Monday, I went on a bike ride and shivered some more. It remains the second week of May and jackets are required.

It was a quick and short ride. Today, a short and slow run. First time out in a while, dashing off a casual little 5K:

Because if you asked me to actually work through a 5K right now I could only laugh at you.

We talked the performing arts! Dance! Theatre! Musicals! I mentioned a classic Italian and sounded learned:

Of course, it is a conversation with the chair of a high quality program, so we know who the real learned person was. These conversations are fun, but here soon, as the reopening begins, or continues, or begins to continue, we’ll have to start thinking about some of these are framed. Which is just as well. We’ve had about 15 of these sorts of episodes now and a little change of pace is called for.

Which is why it’s cold, and I’m shuffling on slow neighborhood runs. See? The pace, she changes.

I’m getting to the point where I could do for some change. Thursday will mark nine weeks at home. That’s a lot, and I’m a homebody. One mustn’t complain overmuch. We have our health, and the health of our loved ones. We are still working. And sure, we have missed out on some activities, but those are relative inconveniences. It is easy to get caught up on the personal inconveniences. It should be easier, still, to maintain one’s perspective. I read that story about cruise ship crews and I think of the few I’ve been on, and the gracious and kind people who spend their lives working hard and working long hours for small amounts of money to make sure people have a wonderful experience, and this is happening in their office. It’s a terrible thing. My office is all-but-closed and we’re working from home offices. And, if that gets too stuffy, I move to the living room, or the kitchen island, or the deck as I did one day, or the front porch as I did another day. So I’ll stay quiet about what I need. My chief complaint, then, is the weather, which is out there while I’m in here. What I can complain about is inconsequential at the moment.

I sat on the deck all afternoon Sunday, I had a bike ride yesterday, a run today, and tomorrow it will be cold again. I’ll have a Zoom meeting or two. We’ll read about something sad that has happened somewhere, and something sweet and endearing that took place elsewhere. I’ll probably watch something I have had in a queue for a while. It’ll be Wednesday. (Or so I’m told.) And it’s all downhill from there. Patience and grace.