ten miles, give or take

Week 10 of Illinois’s Shelter in Place order, and I figured it was high time to get on my bicycle and start pedaling. This beauty (the bike) is in need of a tuneup, but still operable. Climbed onto the saddle and off I rode.

Having commuted by bicycle for several years as a Chicagoan, I found it pretty easy to get back into a bicycling-with-traffic rhythm. First day, 10 miles (give or take) through Oak Park and Berwyn. Second day, 12 miles. Today, another 12 miles.

Tips for those who are interested in bicycling, for recreation or commuting:

  • If your budget can support it, get fitted for a bike that is specific to your sex and height. Can women ride bikes built for men? Yes, but the seat-to-handlebar distance on men’s bikes is longer, so more leaning/back strain. No bueno, in my opinion.
  • Wear a helmet. Just wear a helmet, please. This one is important.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic. Don’t ride on sidewalks.
  • Keep an eye out for cars behind you as well as parked cars ahead of you where the driver might open the driver-side door.
  • Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
  • Inhale deeply and enjoy the ride.

blueberry ricotta ice cream

Can ice cream be sentimental? I hope so. Back in January, the last time I saw my dear friend L, I brought her a container of blueberry ricotta ice cream. She was in hospice care, and I thought she might like it. Her eyes opened wide when I told her what I brought her. She managed a few spoonfuls, and it made me happy to see her enjoy them. Sometimes those small moments mean so much.

Yesterday, I noticed some more containers at my local grocery store, so got one for myself. Lightly sweet with a hint of salt and mellow blueberry compote rippled throughout.

the frank lloyd wright historic district of oak park

If you’re an Oak Parker, you’d know that Oak Park has three historic districts—Gunderson, Ridgeland—Oak Park, and the granddaddy of them all—the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. The latter is where I now live. My means (one-bedroom condo) are pretty average in this zip code. Neighboring properties are the opposite.

Behold the Cheney Mansion. A 12,000 SF (yes, 12 thousand) abode designed in 1913. Expansive grounds that are open to the public. Perfect place to spend an afternoon.

The house where Ernest Hemingway was born and raised.

Elsewhere houses achieve grand scale.

chicago botanic garden‘s orchid show

Sun’s out so I headed north to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show. And show it was. Petaly, perfumy magic.

Admission when you factor in parking is kind of spendy ($34 for nonmembers), but it would be hard, not to mention exceptionally expensive, to recreate the experience, so I gladly paid up.

snow (paw) patrol

If you live in a place where it doesn’t snow (lucky you), you might be surprised that there are different types of snow. Different types of flakes. Big, fluffy snow that feels feathery soft, but cold.

When mixed with bits of ice, snow feels like tiny, freezing darts to the skin (not terribly pleasant).

The other night the snow was soft, and a neighbor’s dog left these prints for me and Penny to find. Snow (paw) patrol.