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The Green Peugeot: Listen up, you.
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let me talk about running for a minute

I’m just going to talk about running for a minute and then I’m going back to reading about justice and the environment and then some knitting and TV watching.

Running. I’m doing a lot of it these days as training ramps up for the Lake Placid Half-Marathon in June. This past Sunday we (that is, Team in Training Brooklyn) ran the Roosevelt Island 10K — that’s 2 loops of a silly sliver of land between Manhattan and Queens. It had all the things that go with racing: bib numbers and water station and chip timing and getting up at 6 on a weekend to ride the subway for an hour in order to run for an hour. Or an hour and one second as my official chip time recorded. And then the tram and the subway home.

Roosevelt Island 10K
(Here I am, running that race).

The thing about this race is that I ran fast. Faster that I’ve recorded before (and I keep pretty good, anal records about distance and time, in the same spreadsheet that I record the money I spend and coop shifts worked and for a time, metrocard swipes). Faster that I would have guessed I could have run for 6 consecutive miles. I think it’s half the race environment and the little bit of competitiveness I have in me (get past the woman in pink! she’s the worst!), and half that I probably spend more time standing and waiting for cars to pass that I can account for when I run in the neighbourhood.

But here I am now, excited about running fast. About clocking a time that I’m a little floored by. This doesn’t completely fit with my image of myself…but I’m getting there. After the first (and only other race) that I ran, in Philadelphia with Goliath, I was grumbly. It seemed ridiculous to get up early and drive to a place and then stand around and then run five and then drive home–I can leave the front door and run 5 miles and be home in less than an hour. But this Roosevelt Island race didn’t feel that silly; I don’t know what clicked. Maybe it’s having the team (see below)?

tnt on roosevelt island
(team)

One other thing is that it was wonderful to go to a part of the city that I had never been to. And to have Eleanor Friedberger in my head all day:

I felt that way too, about the Saturday morning run in Bay Ridge the other week. There’s this great waterfront path, that goes under the Verrazano Bridge that I didn’t know about.

bay ridge run
(Here’s my butt, headed under the bridge)

I certainly haven’t spent much time in Bay Ridge, and it was great to take more ownership of my adopted town by running on a new part of it. The start of the run was by the Owls Head water treatment facility, and so I had different Eleanor Friedberger stuck in my head that day.

I think that part is the most exciting to me: I know this place. I ran it. I used my own power to move my body through this place in the world. When Naomi and I were in the cab back from the airport after our trip to Puerto Rico, we were driving along Eastern Parkway towards my house, and as we passed Buffalo ave she asked where we were and I was like “This is my running route. I know where we are.”

This is a charming thing.

You know what never fails to make me grin? An Alpaca Parade!

alpaca parade

(this was taken at Rhinebeck back in October…I was feeling grumpy and then this happened! It was awesome).

From Franklin Ave to Franklin’s House

A few weekends ago, my friend Michael Gately and I went on a small voyage up to Hyde Park, NY to visit the FDR library and museum. A few weeks previous, we had been eating crumpets and marmalade and discussing presidential china patterns, and decided on a trip to visit the closest presidential library to New York — which turns out to also be the first presidential library. FDR!

Mosaic Map
Mosaic Map

There’s a great mosaic tile floor map in the main hall, which also serves at the meeting point for tours of the grounds or of FDR’s house — which is really Sara Roosevelt’s house, but Franklin lived there, and Eleanor too. The tour was led by Shannon, a park ranger and delightful history nerd who answered our questions as fast as we could think of them. She had worked at a different historic site/national park before she came to Hyde Park, and we asked if she had been deployed here. She looked at us like we were crazy and said “I applied for this job. The national parks are not the military.” She then confessed to us that her dream job would be to work at Gettysburg, but whenever a job opens up there, 500 people apply, so it’s best not to get one’s hopes up.

wheelchair with swivel mounted ashtray

In addition to the house, we saw the library, which is FDR’s former study, and broadcast location of at least two fireside chats. It’s the only presidential library that was actually used by the president in question, and the study is preserved with FDR’s things — including his special made wheelchair with “swivel mounted” ashtray.

wheelchair with swivel mounted ashtray

We learned a lot of things about America’s longest-serving president. Like he was a cheerleader. And had a lifetime membership to the Natural History Museum. And that Eleanor knit during meetings!
FDR was a Leader of Cheering
National History Museum lifetime membership
Eleanor's Knitting Needles

We also got to pose for some photos with Eleanor and FDR:
Franklin and Michael and Eleanor
Franklin and Dory and Eleanor

And then we hit the gift shop. All in all, a successful and educational adventure. We’ve pledged to return in the summer, when the rose garden is in bloom and walks in the woods can be taken.

I'll bet my shirt

More facts about my friends

Michael Gately loves a waterpark;
Kurt Wong loves driving standard;
Natalie Forssman is great at wall squats.

A Supposedly fun thing I’ve never done before

I’m running a half-marathon. In June. In Lake Placid, which is something like 5 hours north of New York. I’ve never been there. I’ve also never run a half-marathon before — It’s 13.1 miles, and I’ve only ever run 5. (Maybe 5.5?). I’m doing this through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, which means I’m going to fundraise $2600 to fight blood cancer, including Myeloma, which is what my aunt Mimi died of a few years ago.

This is my fundraising page, where you can donate. There’s also a widget on the sidebar there, if you’re reading this not through google reader or whatever.

I’m excited! I’m also super nervous. That’s a lot of running. First practice was last night, and it was snowing, so we ran in the snow — this is already making me feel pretty hardcore, but it’s just the start.

I know I’ve put this photo up before, but I love it. From the 2011 NYC Marathon:
clear eyes full heart can\'t lose

Mint and Pea dip

Mint and Pea dip by dorywithserifs

The only thing I like about the superbowl is the dips!

I am made to return

ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn

I didn’t take very many photos on the trip to Puerto Rico. I didn’t want my camera to get wet and sandy, and most of our fun was had at the beach. I’m not sad, but I felt silly that I think about taking “vacation photos” but rarely keep the camera with me on regular days. Monday was sunny and gorgeous and so I walked the few miles to the Hoyt subway stop on my way up to Columbia (first I thought, I’ll walk to Atlantic, then Nevins, but I didn’t get on a train until Hoyt).

The Hoyt stop is right up against the downton Brooklyn Macy’s — where ESPO has painted this gorgeous “Love Letter To Brooklyn” mural on the parking garage. I had seen it quickly, on bike, and of course on the internet, but it was great to discover it all over again, especially on a day that I set out to pay attention to the place I live the way that I had to each new thing when in Puerto Rico.

A few more:

ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn
ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn

I also noticed this excellent address ironwork:
Prospect

And realized that we really are getting a stadium:
we really are getting a stadum.

Pink Grapefruit, Naval Orange, Meyer Lemon

I just got back from Epic Lady Vacation in Puerto Rico. We stayed on the beach in San Juan for the first few days, because, as Naomi said, “we’re not here to prove how bohemian we are.” Instead, I said, we went to prove that we have nice shoulders, that we love swimming in the ocean, and that we tan up nicely. In July, lying on the beach at Fort Tilden or Jacob Riis, I pointed out how good we are at enjoying the sun and ocean and declared that we should plan to do this when it’s cold in New York. So we planned for Puerto Rico in January, and then all of a sudden exams were over and we were taking off our flip flops and beach dresses and plunging into the Atlantic.

Puerto Rico, Jan 2012
(Naomi and Naomi, walking in Vieques)

The thing about vacation — at least for me — is that time spent not doing certain things reminds me that I love them. And vacation is not really a time for making. I knit a little bit of sock when we were hanging out in our little traveller’s apartment one night, and I made us a salad when we realized that beer wasn’t really dinner, but vacation is not time for cooking or crafting. So it was nice to come home and trudge through the snow to the coop to buy oranges and meyer lemons and grapefruit for Three Citrus Marmalade . I zested, cut away the pith, supreme the segments, and boiled it all up with sugar. It took longer than I expected for the pot to hit 220 degrees, and even so I’m not sure that it really set, but I have 6 beautiful translucent jars of sweet and tart citrus deliciousness.

taking exams

Tomorrow, I write my second comprehensive exam of my PhD–my sector exam. I’ve been reading and making notes for months, and tomorrow and thursday I get to finally answer some questions and put these ideas together. I’m looking forward to it, really.

pile of reading

ozzy studies for comps

Macaron in Orange and Turquoise

macaron dress

I made a dress! I had been working on it in bits and pieces, but took New Years Day off of schoolwork to finish it up. It’s Macaron from Colette Patterns, and the main fabric is stuff I bought at the Workroom back when I still lived in Toronto. I bought both blue and orange fabric to use as the contrast, but ultimately decided that the orange was better and that I could certainly use the blue for other project.

I made a size 8, and the only thing I modified was the length of the pleat stitches–it was tight around my butt so I picked them out and re-sewed so that they stopped above my butt. The whole thing is only okay–I know that I’m not a very careful sewer, so things don’t line up quite right everywhere. I’m much better with quilts because they work great even if they’re not totally square. It’s good to do some clothes-sewing once in a while to remember that it’s hard and time consuming and not the thing I’m best at. It’s easy to lust after dresses and pledge to make them, so I’m happy to remind myself that it’s not as easy as that.

The other day I took two of my wintercoats to get fixed. There’s a guy on Washington that did a great job taking in a Lily Pulitzer dress I bought secondhand for $30 even though it was a size too large, and so when I decided that two vintage coats that were my mom’s were worth saving despite missing toggles and a destroyed lining, I brought them over. The coat that needed a new lining is actually too big, and because he was going to reline it we/I decided that it should get taken in as well. It’s so impressive to watch someone who _is_ careful pay pin up a coat so that it fits properly. I also got an excellent earful about the economics of New York’s garment district! I already knew a bit about it because of the Design Trust’s Made in Midtown project, and it was great to hear my Crown Heights tailor talk about engaging with the district as part of his work.

babushka pickles

babushka pickles by dorywithserifs

Via Flickr:
I was in Brighton Beach the other week, and I bought these pickles for the label. They’re pretty good, but not great.

Hipster Domesticity in the WaPo

domesticity27So here is an article about hipster domesticity–the rise in canning and knitting and backyard chickenkeeping by young, city-dwelling ladies. It’s not that interesting an article or discussion (asking the question of whether this is empowerment or a rolling back of feminism isn’t a very sophisticated analysis), but it does have a great illustration by Julia Rothman who is one of my favourites.

One thing the article mentions is a bunch of new books, including the new Bust DIY Guide to Life, most of which I find pretty bothersome, in that they are all really entry-level. I don’t need multiple books that are about cooking and crafting and cleaning and fixing stuff; at this point in my “career” I want more substantial books on the parts that I’m actually interested in. The internet is full of lots of intro and beginner stuff, what’s really hard is figuring out how to learn and advance, such as how to go from following canning recipes to understanding the science enough to make your own recipes and can things safely. If the world keeps pumping out these overly generalist books trying to capitalize on a trend, it belies the fact that it is a trend, and that you’re not expected to take it seriously, it’s just for dabbling.

I was, however, pleased that the article mentions the competitive aspect of some of these domesticity project (especially the ones with beautiful blogs). The WaPo says:

You could say these women are simply homemakers searching for a purpose beyond driving carpool. As work-life balance scholar Joan Williams tells me, extreme domesticity can be a refuge for educated women who’ve left the workforce: “You’ve been trained your entire life in a high-pressure, high-achievement atmosphere, and you need somewhere to put that,” she says. “So you turn your household into an arena for dazzling performance.”

I would have taken that sentiment in a different direction though, because I think the over-perfect aspect of some of these blogs (eg. the DIY projects in something like DesignSponge) is gross and annoying. Those of us who love canning and cooking and sewing and knitting and gardening do it because we love it, not because it makes for a perfect blog post to show off on to the internet design and lifestyle hubs. Things are canned to be eaten, not to be beautifully labeled and photographed (though those things are fun); tomatoes are grown and eaten because they are delicious, not because I’m showing off just how committed I am to overthrowing the industrial agro-food system (that change doesn’t come from the garden, I promise you). What I think is needed in this realm is more discussion of failures, mistakes, misconstrued goals and oh-yeah-that-will-make-do solutions. Because that’s how it really works, at least in my kitchen and on my needles.

UPDATE: I want to mention a few sites that really speak to my sensibilities about all this. Food in Jars is my very favourite canning blog, Punk Domestics understands the rough-around-the-edges approach (and has great stuff), You Grow Girl takes on gardening in small and odd spaces and learns from mistakes, and the Smitten Kitchen does magical things in a tiny kitchen. Oh, and of course, my friend Kat has thrifty fun in threadbare times.

Copious Cans of Curried Cauliflower

curried caulifour

I worked a Saturday night shift at the co-op, ringing up fun Saturday night groceries (lots of pints of ice cream, and ice cream sandwiches!), and got home at 11. I had bought 2 small heads of cauliflower to put up using the Curried Cauliflower recipe in Put ‘Em Up, and I decided just to go for it. I have a mixed CD from my friend and former roommate Holland called “late night baking” (the cover features a receipt for flour, baking powder, and chocolate chips timestamped at 2:12am); I suppose I could make a complementary version called “late night canning.”

And then I used a bicycle stamp to make the labels. Yay!

Also, gearing up for Thanksgiving, I made a batch of Cranberry Walnut Orange Mint Relish, from Karen Solomon’s Can It Bottle It Smoke It–a book I won from a giveaway over at Punk Domestics — one of the best canning sites there is. I am looking forward to eating this soon.

cranberry relish

Facts about my friends #1

New feature! Facts about my friends. Today, Jamie.

Fact: Jamie likes having her expectations calibrated.

Sherita!

sherita

Sherita lives at the corner of Atlantic and Classon. I bike by her all the time and she never ceases to amaze. What is she? What is her connection to heating oil?

And as it turns out, she is playing at Jalopy on Saturday.

Clear Eyes, Full Heart

NYC Marathon 2011
NYC Marathon 2011 was incredible! The best! We watched on 4th ave in Brooklyn, then got on the subway and scooted uptown to watch on 5th ave in Manhattan (amazing geography of fourth and fifth being very far apart). It was a beautiful day to be outside and people watch, and then wander through central park and then see finnishers wrapped in space blankets spill out into the streets. Going home, I’ve never had a friendlier crowded subway ride, everyone congratulating each other, talking about their times and their travels.
NYC Marathon 2011
NYC Marathon 2011
NYC Marathon 2011
(Jamie and Elon with their encouraging sign)

NYC Marathon 2011
(and here is Hollis with her amazing sign)

The thing that’s hard is explaining why the marathon is so great, though. My friend Ryan asked what it was that made the marathon inspiring, and I wrote back to him saying:

I don’t know how to explain just how amazing the marathon is. I never thought I would care until it ran by my house the first year I lived here and I just got all teary. I think it’s something about athleticism without sports stardom, about the collectivity of doing a thing, the way the city really changes to let this thing happen…and then add to that the people you know who are running (and have been training forever), and the blind runners and the guides to the blind runners…It’s all kinds of outstanding. It doesn’t make any sense, but it is.

Do any of you have a better way to explain why you love the Marathon?

Happy Marathon Day

Today is the NYC Marathon! It’s my favourite holiday in New York. And I am so excited to see Naomi Wolf (not this Naomi Wolf) run in the thing she’s been training for forever!

Here are a few snaps from last year:

marathon 2010
marathon 2010
marathon 2010

jars and frustration

all labeled

This is a photo of some corn relish/salsa (a combination of 2 similar recipes, one called salsa one called relish) I made in August, which seems like a very long time ago, now. Yesterday I made some applesauce and some roasted tomatillo salsa — using 2 of what Alan says are the very last of the local heirloom tomatoes we’ll see this year. It was sort of a disappointing canning day–one of my applesauce jars broke in the canner and there was applesauce everywhere, and the yield from the ~6 pounds of apples was much less sauce than I was anticipating in the first place. And I could swear that there’s one quart of applesauce from last fall’s canning batch, but I can’t find it anywhere! Which is crazy. Canned goods don’t just up and walk away. For serious. I guess I ought to just make some more — I have a vision of rows and rows of applesauce to eat with oatmeal and make into applesauce cake all winter. Maybe I should just make a salted caramel apple pie.

It’s really important to know when to redirect your frustration!

redirections

So long, Blue Schinn

Me, on a bike by dorywithserifs

I got a hot new bike for my 29th birthday (more on that soon, I think I’m calling her Ghosthorse), but I don’t need to have 3 bikes. Thus, with a smidge of sadness, I decided to sell Lisa the Blue Schwinn (that name never really stuck).

This is a photo of she and I at last year’s Tour De Taco.

Enjoy her charms, Rembert Browne!

Bikeshare

jon: captain bikeshare by dorywithserifs

So New York is getting a bikeshare system–very exciting. I didn’t actually ride one of the bikes when I was in DC, but I did take this photo that makes Jon look like he works for the program.