Saturday, June 11, 2011


If you ever come to Portland, one thing you must try is a Saint Cupcake cupcake. They are, hands down, the best cupcakes in the Universe. The red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is just amazing. To. Die. For. Simply wonderful. Seriously, one day I was really depressed (it was just a really bad day that simply would not get better) and my friend Lucy called while I was in the middle of sobbing. She said, "What can I do?" I said, "Can you bring me a Saint Cupcake cupcake?" And she did. And it helped. They are just that good.

So, upon realizing that we were running out of time to make something homemade for my friend Taya's party tonight we decided to walk over to Saint Cupcake and get a dozen. The lady behind the counter said, "You going to a barbecue?" I said, "Yep. I figure if you're not going to bring something homemade, there is nothing better than showing up with cupcakes." She smiled, "These will definitely be a hit."

Reilly had a flat (I think she needs a new tire), so we strapped the cupcakes to the rack of Peter's commuter bike. I took out Amie, my much ignored road bike as of late, dressed in my new favorite sundress.
It's not a short ride to Taya's new house. We took the bike streets until Burnside had a bike lane, then zipped down Burnside, up 122nd and over to 131st (about a 40 minute ride total). The whole way I kept asking, "Are the cupcakes okay?" "Yep, they're good!" replied Peter, looking back to check on them.

We got to Taya's and presented our gift. "Saint Cupcake!" she exclaimed and she opened the box:
Oh no! We laughed so hard. I mean side splitting, tears, silent laughter kind of laughing. It was a great party and people still enjoyed the cupcakes, scooping out some frosting with each one.

We really moved on the way home and I had so much fun! Might have been bitten a little bit by the bicycle bug tonight again. My back felt good with the 80 minutes of riding. If it's a sunny day tomorrow, you might find me out on the Springwater on Amie. We shall see.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chris and Ashley

My brother, Chris and his fiancee, Ashley, are out visiting this week. They got here Thursday and for dinner we attempted a bike ride to the taco cart. Unfortunately, our bikes, even with the seats all the way down, were way too big for them, so we had to change our plan and walk instead. I will say that riding my road bike around for that little bit reminded me what a great bike it is. If I can carve out some time and get some nice weather I'd really like to attempt a 2-hour ride soon. My back has been doing so great lately that I have been hesitant to change my workouts much. But I do miss long rides and we've got the Cycle Oregon weekend ride this summer so I've got to get some training in!

Yesterday, we took them on an all-day marathon walking tour of Portland. I was a little worried the whole time that they were going to get exhausted and stop having fun. But, they were both troopers and I'm sure by the time the day was over we'd walked over 10 miles.

We started with a walk downtown, across the Willamette River where I got this nice shot of them with the city in the background.
Our next stop was the cart pod on SW 10th and SW Alder. First, we did a once-around to show them all their options. It's really astounding all the great food choices we have from carts in Portland. Lots of Thai, Vietnamese, barbecue, Japanese, Greek, hot dogs, Egyptian, Indian, Brazilian, Cuban, soup, German, organic healthy, NW, fish n chips, bubble tea and desserts and I'm sure more than I can't think of. Eating at a cart in Portland is a quintessential Portland experience. Peter decided on a gyro, I went for chicken yakisoba and Chris and Ashley went for fish n chips. We ate our meal in the Galleria, got dessert at Cafe Bleu and started the long walk up the the Japanese Garden.
Along the way, Chris had a little fun with the creepy baby face statues.

We had a nice view of Mt. St. Helens with my favorite bridge, the sweeping Fremont Bridge.
When we got to the Japanese garden, we headed first for the view of Mt. Hood. Amazing.
Then, we wandered around the garden, admiring the azaleas and Japanese maples, taking pictures of koi, watching the zen stick slowly fill with water, dip down into the bucket below then lift back up and slowly get filled with water again. Mesmerizing.
On the way home, we showed Chris and Ashley Matt Groening's Bart picture near Lincoln High.

Then, we came home for an hour and a half rest. Chris and Ashley fell right to sleep, Peter and I made sandwiches and walked Dexter and before we knew it it was time to leave for the hockey game.

We always walk to the Rose Garden from our house. It's much more fun than driving. To my amazement, Chris and Ashley were still up for it which was so much fun. I felt like I was not only sharing my city with my brother and future sister-in-law, but I was showing it to them in the way that I, myself, love to see it. In my head I thought as we were walking to the game, This is, hands down, the best visit I have ever had with a family member.

The hockey game was fun, even though the Winterhawks lost. Kootenay Ice actually won the WHL championship as a result, though, so it was fun to watch them get their trophies and celebrate.

On the way home we stopped for another quintessential Portland experience, Voodoo Donuts. It was packed! Peter and I decided to try the bacon maple bar for the first time. Ashley and Chris got a bacon maple bar to share and my favorite donut, The Old Dirty Bastard (oreo, chocolate and peanut butter). We walked home and sat around the table eating our donuts (delicious!) and talking and laughing until the wee hours of the morning. It was a great day.

Friday, May 6, 2011


We set out today after a solid morning workout (and a light breakfast) for a five-hour adventure around the city. First stop, Built to Grill to share an order of fried calamari, our current new food interest. The calamari was crispy and delicious, drizzled with lemon and served with marinara sauce.
Then, we set out for lunch. I was in the mood for SPICY so I decided on chicken fajitas served with corn tortillas and habanero salsa. Peter went with a Bohemian goulash that he enjoyed quite a bit.

We wandered over to Deschuttes Brewery next for a couple of nitro stouts. So good! Their coffee nitro stout could very well be the finest beer I've ever had in my life, but this was mighty tasty too.

Next, we ambled over to Pazzoria to hopefully find some cinnamon-y chocolate chip cookies, but sadly they were out. So, we walked over to the Heathman to see if we could participate in high tea. Unfortunately, high tea requires reservations and had started an hour earlier. We'll definitely have to do that sometime though. So, we settled on chocolate chip cookies (which were quite cinnamon-y) at the Nordstrom cafe, sitting out at the bistro tables across from Pioneer Courthouse square and sipping coffee.

While we sipped and nibbled, sitting there for quite some time, we talked about how neither one of us are multi-taskers. We both like to do one thing at a time. I guess we enjoy listening to music while we do cardio, but in general, we try to focus on one task at a time. We wondered if this is partly because we don't have children. Maybe it's a luxury to be able to focus solely on one thing, cooking or reading or cycling or writing. If it is, it's something I enjoy about my life.

We also got talking about our new Molecular Gastronomy kit we'd received in the mail a couple of days ago. We decided we wanted to play tonight with our new toys. So, we walked back over to the Pearl, to Sur La Table, and bought some not-to-expensive little serving dishes for amuse-bouches. Then we went to Whole Foods and bought some ingredients for our ideas.

After walking home, we set to work: We juiced, we measured, we blatzed in the cuisinart. When we were done we had 5 little dishes.

Little caprese salads made from Greek yogurt, tomato and powdered olive oil.

Shrimp with a lime, olive oil, jalapeno and cilantro sauce.

Fennel, salami and feta amuse-bouche drizzled with olive oil.
And these little kiwi things that were supposed to have little beads of rhubarb juice and mango juice sprinkled on top. The beads just melted so we obviously need to get better at that, but it was still mighty tasty.
A last minute addition to our feast was frozen coconut lychee jelly (like you get at the Asian grocery store) shaved over chocolate chips.

This was one of our most typical weekend days. Exercising a ton so we can eat like kings, wandering all over the city, thinking about life and food and somehow always finding something interesting to talk about even though we've been together for nearly 14 years. You know, when we got home, we were drenched with rain, but as I was writing this I had hardly remembered that. Good food, good fun, a good friend and a little adventure could never be dampened by a few raindrops.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two Tomatoes

I rode off today in the best mood. I got a very reserved, very "Mom" client to drop the f-bomb this afternoon with my new trap table workout. It is so hard and wakes up muscles in a way they've never felt before and really challenges your balance and coordination. And about 25 minutes into it, she said under her breath, "F*#k!" That, I tell you, will make any trainer's day. I should put a sign on my door that says, "Profuse sweating and outbursts of profanity much appreciated."

Anyway, I don't like to talk about my work on here much because that's not what this blog is about, but man did that feel good. She was so proud of herself when she was done and gave me a huge hug with an exclamation of "Another amazing workout, Sara." So, anyway, as I rode off that was what I was thinking about and even though it was drizzling the world felt quite sunny to me.

Actually, I think one sunny day in Portland in the spring, for me, is like one rainy day in the desert. The positive repercussions last for days. I don't care that it's drizzling, I got to wear a sundress yesterday!

I already had my workout done for the day, but I needed a couple of things to get ready for my friend to come over for a sauna party. Well, it's not really a party because it's just one person, but if you're an introvert like me having one friend over feels like a party. My plan is to make caprese salad, and since I couldn't resist enjoying the tomato I bought for it over the weekend, I needed a new one.

As I pedaled through our neighborhood, the streets shiny with rain, I was mostly thinking how much fun it is to do cheap, fun things. I feel weird about spending money on stuff. I always ask if the thing I'm buying will make me happier than what I already have. Like, "Will these sandals make me happier than my flip-flops?" Unlikely. "Will this new car with it's monthly car payments make me happier than my old car?" Definitely not. I like spending money on experiences like travel or food. I'd rather pay for a massage than a new purse. Actually, I hate purses so that's not a good example. Anyway, my point is, I just got both my bikes fixed for 10 bucks and I'm having a ball on my short little ride to the grocery store. So, it's a cheap, fun thing, and well, it makes me happy.

Anyway, 10 minutes later, I was out of the store, having forgotten my wallet, (but luckily I remembered some cash), with two bright shiny tomatoes. And, so I pedaled home, with the sun peeking out as it does so often, even on a rainy day in Portland in April, pleased with my day and my work and my life and my now functioning bike to get ready for my friend and fire up the sauna. Cheers!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Coffee, Calimari, Cookies and Chicken Taco

Peter and I take amazing walks. It's part of how we feed our natural traveler's spirit when we're in between trips. I've decided to start including a diary of our walks here on my cycling blog, because, well, it's my blog and I thought it might be fun to record and share them.

It's about a 30 minute walk to downtown from our house and just before you get to the bridge across the Willamette you walk past Water Avenue Coffee. We decided to stop in and try out the Pour Over Coffee, a very Portland experience. The barista was dressed smartly in a button down shirt, tie and apron and explained that we had two choices for our coffee, an African coffee, that was richer and had tea overtones and an El Salvador coffee that was lighter with hints of tobacco. We said, "One of each!" First, he ground the coffee and then poured hot water through the filters and into the carafes below.

Then, he took about 3.5 minutes to carefully, methodically, pour hot water through the grounds. As he poured and we watched, he explained in some detail, the intricacies of pour over coffee and the particular types of coffee that we had chosen.
When he was finished, he swirled the coffee around and poured us a cup of each. We sat down for our taste test, sipping and switching and sipping some more. We talked about how fun it would be to take my brother and his fiance here when they come to visit next month. Eventually, we decided that Peter liked the El Salvadorean coffee best and I liked the African coffee best which worked out nicely.
As we left I said, "You know, that is a characteristic I really appreciate in my fellow man," speaking of the very knowledgeable, very zealous barista. "What do you mean?" Peter asked in response. I said, "To love something that much, to be passionate, almost to the point of obsession, so that it is obvious to anyone who comes across you that you love something so." Peter said, "Yeah, it's amazing to see someone who loves what they do as much as he does."

I was very excited to be able to wear a sundress today and Peter got this nice picture of me with the river and the city in my dress. Proof of sundress weather in Portland in April. Yahoo!
"I'm really craving calamari!" Peter had announced before leaving, so after getting downtown we headed over to Berbati's Pan for a plate of fried calamari with feta, olives and green onions. We'd never had this before on our downtown walking adventures, so it was fun to try something new.
Next, we walked to the Pearl and stopped at Pearl Bakery for chocolate chunk cookies. We used to live in the Pearl District and after finishing our cookies and we talked as we wandered around the neighborhood how it was one of those things in life wear the reality didn't live up to the dream. I think people who love Europe wish that we could have what they have with long afternoons sipping espresso or drinking wine while sitting in wicker chairs around bistro tables surrounding the piazza. I know I was wishing for people young and old going for walks before dinner, or meeting up for ice cream for an afternoon snack. Unfortunately, we found that once we got to the Pearl that the sidewalks were nearly as empty as the sidewalks in the suburbs. The only people you saw out were the dog walkers. Within 9 months of moving into our loft, we were out looking for houses. We also got tired of having to pay money to sit outside. It's nice to be able to go out on the back patio to drink your coffee and eat your cereal in the morning...for free.

Continuing on with our snacking we stopped at Cha! Cha! Cha! for tacos; chicken for me and shrimp for Peter. I did a masterful job of splashing avocado salsa all over my cardigan and dress, but, for the most part, got myself all cleaned up in the bathroom. Whatever is left we'll just say is adding to the "patina" of the dress. Sure, that sounds good.
Next we wandered up to the NW 23rd area, where there are many, many more people out enjoying their neighborhood. We went up 21st, down 23rd, admiring the cherry blossoms and planning what we wanted to do about dinner. Peter had mentioned ceviche which sounded good to me. We have an agreement in our house that we must go out for ceviche. We tried to make it about 6 months ago and after eating it Peter was in such a panic about food poisoning that he very quickly set about getting both of us drunk. You know, to kill the bacteria. Reminiscing about this night we both had a good chuckle, but in the end we decided that a couple of bahn mi sandwiches sounded the best.
So, we wandered back into downtown, and over to the cart pods where we purchased 2 sandwiches for 5 bucks.
Then, we made our way back across the river, across the train tracks and back up the hill to home. I changed out of my sundress, built a fire, and we enjoyed our sandwiches to the pop and snap of a real wood fire in the backyard.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunny Day, Skyr, and Thoughts on Life

What a beautiful, sunny day it is today. I had an hour of cardio dance scheduled today so I knew I didn't want to go for a fitness ride (ie. hills), but a 40-min there and back ride to Whole Foods sounded like a lovely thing to do when my 10:30 had to reschedule this morning. You see, I've become a little bit hooked on Siggi's skyr. I have a thing for creamy food. I love all things dairy, especially yogurt, whipped cream, mousse, ice cream. I also love guacamole, hummus, baba ghanoush. We ate skyr two or three times a day when we were in Iceland and since we've been home I've just kept up the habit. Skyr on oatmeal for breakfast. Skyr for an afternoon snack. It's packed with protein and at just 100 calories a serving, it's the perfect food for someone who has an (ahem) slow metabolism.

Anyway, two weeks ago when I was at Whole Foods I bought so many of them that the clerk asked me if I just wanted to order cases so I could get a discount. "Sure," I said, "I'll take a peach and a vanilla." Yesterday, I got the message that they were in, so it seemed like the perfect excuse for a sunny ride to NE Portland and back on my trusty, basket-equipped commuter bike, Reilly.

Despite the dry, near perfect day, I was in something of a somber mood on my ride. My thoughts were about how life can really get hard sometimes. I have four friends who are going through some tough times right now, some harder than others. Some really, really hard. Anyway, I know what that's like because I've had some serious struggles in my life too and well, today it was just on my mind.

I have this theory that hard things we choose to go through like running a marathon or putting yourself through college or doing RAGBRAI or losing 40 pounds, these things I think can have an incredibly empowering effect on our lives. I think it's because at any time you can just choose to stop and nothing really bad will happen to you. But, if you finish that marathon even when nearly every part of you wanted to stop; when you just held on to that little part of your will that said, "You can do it! Keep running!," then you can draw on that feeling for the rest of your days. You learn that you are able to persevere.

But, I think some things, like long illnesses, like the death of a loved one, like crippling poverty or the sense of being trapped by choices that you didn't even make in your life, these things can leave us feeling vulnerable. I think it's because you're stuck. You can't get out of it, you have to just w-o-r-k t-h-r-o-u-g-h it. Some people do feel empowered by these things, I'm sure, but I think it is less likely. At least, that's my experience. It's hard to reminded that life can get really hard, really fast, with no warning and what you thought you knew about life and maybe even yourself just isn't true anymore. That's tough. Life. It can sometimes be so hard.

Of course, I was thinking about all these things as I do when I ride in that relaxing left pedal, right pedal slightly meditative state. I was heading through a bike signal by the library after having picked up my skyr when, WHOA!, a firetruck was running the red light. I had heard the siren, but hadn't quite registered it as being close because it was being blocked by the houses. I slammed on the brakes, stopping halfway into the intersection. Cycling can really be a mixed bag, sometimes. I'd love to live in a world without cars. Of course, I guess you'd still need firetrucks. And airplanes because I want to see the world.

So, I made my way home, still pensive, still pedaling, but now with two cases of my current favorite food. In fact, I think I'll go have one right now. I'm thinking vanilla. Or, maybe peach. No, definitely vanilla.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I don't know if anyone remembers this, but after completing RAGBRAI I set two goals for myself. One was to get to 3000 miles on my road bike by the end of the year. The second was to try to "go for the second fat roll" on my belly, ie: lose some weight. Of course, if you're like I am and gaining weight is fast and easy, you know that a big part of the 3000 mile goal was to lose the weight. Well, I didn't get to 3000 miles. My back got upset and frankly having that 3000 mile goal made me like riding my bike less and I didn't like that. But, starting the Monday after Thanksgiving I decided to give the weight loss thing another try. I'd lost 6.5 pounds on RAGBRAI and 4 of that had stayed off. Over the next 4 months I kept my promise to myself to workout 6 days a week and to stay within my calorie budget. I road my bike for transportation and for a few fitness rides. Mostly, I stuck to hard workouts on my LeMond exercise bike, my elliptical, cardio dance and I tried to confuse my muscles as much as possible in my toning work.

Aside from losing 40 pounds total (about 2 pounds a week) which feels amazing and I love fitting into my old thin clothes, I think the most important thing I learned was about setting goals. Everyday, I set the goal to get in my workout and stick to my calorie budget and everyday I did it. At first I set 2 pound weight loss goals because, frankly, I didn't trust myself to really go for the dream. But, as the weight came off, my trust in myself increased and soon I was setting 10 pound goals. Eventually, I just decided to go for it and get off all the weight I had gained in 2009-2010.

Anyway, if you've read my cycling blog for a while you know that I often started off with rather nebulous goals. I'd say things like, "I set off for Mt. Tabor with the nebulous goal of riding it 8 times." I really didn't trust myself to just say, "I set off with the goal of riding Tabor 8 times." This is because I was afraid that if I didn't do it I would feel too bad, or that just by setting the goal I would back away from it, essentially sabotaging myself. Well, I've learned how to do this now! Just set the goal. If it's big, it's big. It's something to strive for, then strive! If for some reason you can't do it, just instantly forgive yourself and move on to the next goal.

Saturday, I went for a Tabor ride. As I was climbing up it with my new, much more slender, body all I kept thinking was "This is SOOOOOOOO easy!" I knew 4 times up Tabor was not going to give me the workout I needed for the day. I hemmed and hawed for about 20 minutes about setting a bigger goal. Then, I just said, "I'm doing it 6 times." I could feel myself completely relax as soon as I said it. I knew that short of my back seizing up and me toppling over on to the ground, that I would keep my promise to myself and do it 6 times. And I did.

The ride felt great and in some ways I'd love to try RAGBRAI again now that I'm thin. I wonder if the heat would give me so much trouble. We've got lots of other travel plans on the books, however, so the weekend Cycle Oregon will have to do. I'm excited to really get out on a long ride somewhere like the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and see what my new lighter body can do. I've definitely learned that while wearing a size 6 is nice and loving the way your arms and abs look is very rewarding, the true gift of a major weight loss is knowing that when the going gets tough that you will choose to be disciplined and tenacious. It's about knowing you can trust yourself to follow through and not let yourself down. In many ways the last four months has been like one long ride. There were days when I just had to dig deep and keep pedaling and at other times it felt really easy. At the end I'm left with the knowledge of how to set goals and make goals which will be a lot of fun as this cycling season unfolds.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Flower Arranging

I decided last week that I really like riding with flowers in my bicycle basket. It's kind of like riding with groceries in your basket, which is fun too, but prettier. Yesterday I decided I might try taking up a new hobby: flower arranging. So, I set off today, dressed in my favorite pink coat for New Seasons where the flowers by the stem options and varied and not too pricey. Peter was on his way to the record store, so after snapping my picture he rode with me for a few blocks until he turned north and I turned south.

At New Seasons I thought of a theme for my first flower arrangement. Well, Valentines is just around the corner, so why not pink and white? The florists were busily churning out bouquets for the holiday, but I wanted to do it myself. Hmmm...these mums are pretty and I like these snapdragons. That's a nice pretty pink filler flower and a few bits of greenery. Add in a few white snapdragons and I was ready. I got my ticket while the florist wrapped up the flowers for me and went in (grabbing some miso that I forgot at the store yesterday) and paid my bill.

Outside, I picked up my flowers, strapped them to my basket with my oh so useful bungee cord and I was on my way. It's such a pink day today, I decided. Pink coat, pink mums, pink butterflies on my helmet.

When I got home I laid out all my flowers, filled my vase with water and added just a tiny splash of bleach to keep them fresh longer. Then I took my time arranging them one by one. It was a lot of fun. And when I was done I had my first bouquet:
What a fun little outing and my first steps into what could become a lifelong hobby.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dressed in Fog

You know I'm feeling excited about cycling when I look at my busy schedule for the next day and decide to wake up early to ride. I'm definitely a dinner after sunset, late to bed, late to rise kinda gal but if I wanted to get in a ride today it had to be early. So, at 6:20 I was up, ate breakfast, walked Dexter and by 7:30 I was on my way to Tabor.

It was cold! Very, very cold. People were scraping the frost off their cars and my fingers, which were exposed because I just had my cycling gloves on, were freezing. The combination of the 32 degree air and the wind from cycling had me stuffing one hand at a time under my jacket to warm on my belly as I rode to Tabor.

As soon as I started climbing, my hands felt toasty warm. High heart rate, no wind...if I had gloves on I would have been stripping them off. The park is closed to cars on Wednesdays which meant that for the first time since before RAGBRAI, I listened to my MP3 player. I decided to just listen to my songs starting with A and pedaled up the mountain.

The whole top half of the mountain was like riding in a cloud. I couldn't see a view at was all just dressed in fog. There is a special kind of quiet that comes when there is that much fog and it was a peaceful thing to ride in the cloud, listening to Bjork and thinking about my very close trip to Iceland.

There was hardly anyone else out this morning, just some walkers and one other cyclist that I saw. I pedaled happy through my three climbs, took out my earbuds, and then descended down for the cold (oh so cold!) ride home.

As soon as I got home I iced my back for 10 minutes which was hard to do because I was freezing then jumped into a HOT shower to defrost and get ready for my day.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I think it is good to have an off season. At least it is good for me. I've spent this winter working on fitness and keeping a tight clean diet. Since my highest weight on RAGBRAI I've lost nearly 30 pounds. Which is good because in 2009 and 2010 I put on 38 pounds. By the time November arrived I was a little burnt out of riding for fitness and needed a change. I think my body had become too adapted to it too so it was good to mix things up with the elliptical and cardio dance.

Today, however, I did my first real Tabor ride of the year and it was so much fun! My legs were strong and fast. Cardiovascularly I did very well. Most importantly, mentally I was focused and having a ball. Four times up Tabor which is 40 minutes of what I call hard cardio plus 30 minutes to get there and back. In my mind, I was imagining summer rides to the river or on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. I was picturing a new pair of Louis Garneau riding shorts and how funny I'm going to look in a bikini at my brother's beach wedding in late summer with my cycling tan. I still have two-toned legs from last summer. I was making plans to find the cutest sleeveless cycling jerseys and promising myself that this year the Neutrogena Sport sunblock is going on every time. I was looking forward to Cycle Oregon's weekend ride and wondering, "Can I get my RAGBRAI jersey taken in?" I told my husband when I got home, "I'm so excited for cycling season!" He said back, "You go, bike girl!"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Riding with Flowers

I rode off today dressed in my new puffy coat for a packed afternoon of errands and a massage with my friend Taya. As I'm riding away from home I think about her and how excited I am to see her for the first time in months. I decide to stop at Fred Meyer for a bouquet a flowers. A little bit of spring in winter.

Once the flowers are firmly attached to my bicycle basket I ride briskly over to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Bringing in my flowers and my bag (you have to bring everything in when you do errands by bike), it's hard to jostle everything while I sign my receipt. The clerk was nice enough, though, to use a Sharpie to scribble off the price on the flowers.

Taya's house is on Mt. Tabor so I decide to ride up the steep side, go around the top, and then down to her house. I haven't been doing much fitness riding on my bike and I'm on Reilly, the 46-pounder, so when I see Mt. Tabor looming up ahead I feel a touch of anxiety. Come on legs!

As I get closer I see my friend Leslie barreling her way home from her fitness ride all decked out from head to toe in roadie gear. She looked great. "Leslie, hey!" I said. "How are you?" "Hi Sara! Have a nice ride!" she says as we zoom past each other.

Soon I'm at Mt. Tabor and my legs remember all those hill repeats I did last year. Even on my heavy bike it's no big deal, although I have to unzip my puffy coat all the way. Too hot!

When I get to the top I take a picture of the city just to prove I was up there and then scoot on over to Taya's for my massage. She opens the door as she sees me approaching on my bike and asks, "Do you want me to throw your clothes in the dryer? It's no problem." "Thanks!" I replied, "that would be great!"

My massage was lovely and now I have one more errand. When we went to Whole Foods on Thursday we got blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, but Peter was sick so he couldn't eat them. I decided to go back to Whole Foods to pick up fresh berries for him (and for me too) since he is all better now and ready for some flavor!

It's amazing that with all this riding I am on neighborhood streets the whole time. There's one little tricky part where you have to take a pedestrian bridge with a twisty ramp to get across the freeway, but otherwise it's easy low-traffic streets. They mostly have signals for bikes to cross and painted all over the roads are sharrows. What a pleasure it is to ride a bike in Portland.

Berry shopping done, I hop back on my bike and wind my way through the bike streets and home. 2 hours of errands by bike and a one hour massage (complete with dry clothes at the end) sure makes for a fun afternoon.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Make It A Perfect Year Party

It was a busy weekend filled with a sunshiny bike ride to Whole Foods on Thursday and dinner guests on Friday. Saturday promised my friends' Susie and Paul's Make It a Perfect Year Party and I had plans to wear a dress that prior to about a week ago I was too big to fit into. I'm actually not such a fashionista and if I look great on my bicycle it's all because of Susie and her great Carol Anderson clothes. But one of my clients mentioned on Wednesday that it is a major faux pas to wear pantyhose with open toe shoes. As luck would have it, my only fancy black dress shoes were opened toed. Not wanting to embarrass myself with a thing I had not even known a week ago was worth being embarrassed about, we hopped on our bikes and headed over to Nordstrom Rack downtown for some quick shopping. 30 minutes later, and a new pair of pointy toed sling back pumps, black pantyhose, a black scarf, and a pair of grey slacks and a thin fit button down shirt for Peter later, we were pedaling back across the river ready for our night out.

Here we are all dressed up for the party:

Riding in pointy toed sling back pumps is far easier than walking in them, so on goes the bike helmet.
And on to the bikes we go for a ride to Architectural Center in my dress, heels and my new brownish maroonish puffy coat that my parents got me for Christmas. Thanks Mom and Dad!

The party was too much fun. Great food including crostini and salsas and asparagus wrapped with cheese. We both enjoyed the delicious red wine and I got to catch up with a few old clients. Soon, however, we had to go as Peter has to be up way before the crack of dawn on Sundays to work. As we were leaving and I was donning my helmet with light blinking and my coat these women called me over. "We've been admiring your beautiful floral dress," one of them said. "And now I see that you are riding a bicycle!" "Thank you," I said. "Riding in heels is easier than walking in them." And so we ventured home after a great night and a great weekend, filled with good wine, good food and the extra fun that comes with getting their by bike even dressed in your finest duds.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mom's Visit

You know, there is something about being dressed up on a bike that excites me. So often, lately, I've been in work clothes, which for me are workout clothes, and I just throw my Columbia jacket on over them. Especially when it's raining it doesn't make much sense to wear one of my collection of beautiful coats. But today, I took the day off. My mom is flying in from the east coast and I wanted to be able to pick her up this afternoon, take her out to dinner and get her home before she crashed from jet lag and "I had to get up way before the crack of dawn to catch my flight" exhaustion. So, I got up early, got in my two hour workout and realized, Hey, it's sunny! Seems like a good day to be a well-dressed cyclist.

December was not a good month for me. Some stomach issues that started with the medicine I was taking for my back got really exacerbated by the stress of the holidays. I spent the month of December sick or in fear of getting sick and after puking up Christmas dinner cried uncle and went to the doctor. The treatment: take a couple of medicines and let your stomach rest for a month. Bland diet: no coffee, no tea, no chocolate, no alcohol, no citrus, no vinegar, no dairy and as low fat as possible. My husband, the world's greatest man, truly the most supportive spouse ever, has been doing the diet with me and as a result we have nothing fun to eat in our house.

So, I thought I'd go on a ride to the store to get some fun food for my mom to eat and while I do it enjoy the sunshine, the blue sky and the kind of thrill that I get (and I can't be alone) from riding a bike in a tapestry coat, skinny cords, and my Lucchese cowboy boots. That sounds like too much fun.

It really wasn't that cold out although snow is being predicted tonight or tomorrow. I was loving my ride and soon I was at the store. Okay, what to get. Mom's favorite foods. I already got regular coffee and half-and-half. She'd be zombie without those. Pretzels! She loves pretzels. Oh and cheddar cheese. Pretzels and cheese are the way to go. Yogurt always a good bet. I know she loves raspberries so I'll get two of that flavor. She loves sandwiches so how about some black forest ham and some Genoa salami. Yeah, that should make her feel right at home.

Before I knew it, I was back on my bike, happy that I remembered my gloves and pedaling home, scarf blowing in the breeze. An errand that could be pure drudgery in a car turned into an exciting adventure thanks to my two wheels and a clear, sunny day.