Monday, December 31, 2018

Gratitude for all the gardeners

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I am surrounded by many people who are gardeners. We all plant little seeds in our own ways, using the gifts we're given and entrusted with for a lifetime.

Today I'm remembering Heather Robinson, a beautiful soul with whom I had the great joy of learning Torah many years ago as she prepared for conversion to Judaism. Over the year and a half that we studied together we became friends. She was a fiber artist, whose specialty was knitting (and beautifully! There's a sweater here that she made for my birthday).
Heather was not in great health when we began our journey together. She was elderly and housebound and wanted "to die Jewish". But along the way, her delight in LIVING Jewish was infectious. She planted tiny seeds of joy in people along the way. Her conversion ceremony was quiet, elegantly simple and very sweet. She lived for only six or seven more months after that. And when she died, she was buried in a Jewish cemetery. As we lit a yahrtzeit candle for her today, Sweetie commented, "Heather is probably knit-bombing Heaven now." It was perfect, and made me laugh out loud.

Today I'm grateful for my friend Alison, who wanted to help out with the bike project but lives in El Paso and knows nothing about bicycles. So instead she ordered eight bicycle locks for me online and has arranged to have them sent to me. One of them will go with this lovely beauty, which I built up with a donated frame and parts from The Pile, and finished this morning.

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Today I'm blessed by my wife, who understands how hard depression is to live with and who is patient with me when I struggle. Fifteen years into our marriage we have learned how to love and help each other without judging each other. It takes time to learn how to find the balance and I am grateful to have found a partner who is as willing to do this good work of relationship as I am.

And today, I'm grateful that I somehow found a way out of my gloom so I could push my bicycle pedalstroke by pedalstroke up the hill and revel in the sunshine on my back.
I hope there will be more good days like this.
Happy riding.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

little bits

It was colder today and dry, with lots of afternoon sunshine. So I forced myself to go out for a ride.
My house is at the bottom of a long hill if I want to leave my neighborhood and go south, or downtown. That long uphill can sometimes be enough of a downer to keep me home in the winter. But with the sun out, it was easier to convince myself that I'd be okay.

I've come a long way from when I raced ten years ago, and didn't care about hills.

But that was then, and this is now.

So I rode up to the CCC for Salvage Sunday. Salvage Sunday is usually two hours of idle picking through broken spokes,  its of rusty chain and assorted bike components with little or no future; but now and then I can find something useful for fixing up these older bikes I deal with. At fifty cents per pound it's a good deal for anyone willing to do their own rust removal and cleaning.
I really didn't have much money to spend, but for a couple of bucks I scored two rear racks, a few patch kits and a wrench for the refugee bikes project.
One of the racks was broken at the welds in two places. I wasn't worried. With duct tape and hose clamps, I can fix almost anything. (After taking this photo, I covered the pointy bits with more tape.)
This rack will work just fine to carry a bag of groceries on a bike I'm currently fixing up for Catholic Charities.

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I managed to run two errands and stop for a little off-season coffeeneuring in two hours' time.
The ride home was lovely, too; I could feel the sun warming my back just a little bit and reminded me that the days will now grow longer. By my birthday it will definitely feel like early spring.

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Amazing what sunshine, pedaling and a little coffee can do for a soul.
And yes, that is a lot of plaid I'm wearing. Welcome to Portland.

(If you're curious, the hat was a custom job, made from one of my old Pendleton shirts by the Misia at Double Darn. She creates beautiful hats that fit very well.)

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Portland weather for the next couple of days is supposed to stay dry and cold. I'm meeting a friend downtown tomorrow afternoon, and perhaps I'll help myself to a First Ride on Tuesday.

For all my readers, thanks for hanging in there with me in 2018.
May the coming year bring us all many happy miles and smiles.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Nothing to see here right now. Sorry.

Depression has taken hold and won't let go.
I haven't felt like riding since the weather turned cold and wet. I struggle to find the energy each day to do SOMEthing, whether it's hustle for gigs or create music or art or even just do the laundry.
I know that a great deal of my depression is amplified by Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I know that moving to a warm, sunny place would probably help at least a little.
We're not moving. Can't afford to, don't really want to, etc.
But while the weather is this cold it is super-hard to make myself get out on a bike.
The closest I've come is to turn wrenches in the shed, working on refugee bikes (I just got a few donations in -- thank you! -- and so I'm whipping them into shape).

I will try not to berate myself too much. I will try to make myself take a little spin around the block later. I will try not to criticize myself too harshly if I fail. And I will try again tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2018

winter riding isn't bad when it's dry outside

Two weeks ago, I stood with my feet in the Atlantic Ocean, on an 80-degree day in south Florida.

The water was warm and the humidity was noticeable. I sweated through my shirt.
Spending so much time in summerlike weather in December grew disorienting. Eight days into my tour of central and south Florida I found myself longing for the cold and damp days back home in Portland.
And while I'm grateful for the experience provided by my recent travels, there is nothing like bundling up n layers of wool, reaching for the thick wool cycling hat and throwing a leg over my bike on a December day when the high is in the mid-40s (F).
Today I rode errands, downtown and then to Bike Far to raid the free pile for future refugee bike builds. Along the way I stopped for coffee and lunch and enjoyed sunny views of the Willamette River and Big Pink gleaming in the distance.
It was a glorious day to ride.

Happy Friday, Shabbat Shalom and as ever, keep the rubber side down.
(Below: Peninsula Rose Garden at rest.)

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(Below: Downhill towards home, Woodlawn)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Reprint: DIY shoe covers for rainy day riding

These were designed some fifteen years ago by Amanda Kovattana. A friend at Citybikes made a pair for her boyfriend and they lasted three rainy seasons before they needed to be patched and re-sealed. I've never made them for myself but if I can ever get someone to loan me a sewing machine with a heavy-duty needle and thread, I might just try one of these days. They're that cool.


DIY shoe covers: Recycle old conference bags into useful cycling rain gear
Anybody who attends conferences usually has goody bags to bring home. Amanda usually donates her bags to Goodwill, but the bag from her latest trip was made of vinyl, "just right for raincovers for cycling."

She writes:
"I drew the pattern based on my favorite winter shoes, but they will fit over my Keen sandals too. Those spandex type covers sold to cyclists may look slick, but when you take them off all muddy and wet they wad into a stiff ball."
"I did make the bottom pieces bigger by sewing together scraps. Then I took apart the bag to salvage the vinyl piping to use to stiffen the top of shoe covers. I had velcro salvaged from another clothing item to sew on the ends so they would close over my heels. Both piping and vinyl were easy to sew on my machine."

 (Editor's note: The bottom of the bootie is a half-sole that runs only from the toe to the middle of the sole. The heel remains uncovered to avoid excessive wear, and also serves as a reminder to remove the covers when you get to your destination, and not walk around in them.)

"It only took me 3 hours to sew them up which gives me about $7.50 an hour given the price of the cheapest rain booties I could have ordered from Campmor, but no one else was paying me for my time yesterday and I didn't have to wait for them to be shipped."
"They have a clunky charm and the asymmetrical color combo is stylish. The gap between pants and raincovers won't matter too much because the flair of the pant cuffs seems to keep the rain off. And this way there will be some ventilation. Poor ventilation is the biggest complaint about rain booties. For traction I may run a line of Shoe Goo across the bottoms."

  This is a simple, good design and with the right material you could make a great pair of shoe covers that are similar in design and shape to Rivendell's Splats.
Bonus: You keep old bags out of the landfill and save money.

winter riding in the age of climate change

Over the last three or four winters, Portland temperatures have grown warmer on the average. We still get a cold snap here or there at least once a winter, with temps down in the twenties that can freeze everything over for a few days; but by and large the weather between November and February has been warmer than it was when I was a kid here. Also, we've been having some pretty dry winters of late. Oh, it still rains here, and we still have gray skies most days this time of year, but overall things are unusually dry for us this winter.

What this means is that riding in cold weather has gotten easier for me. I still carry rain gear in my saddlebag and keep my leather saddle covered from November through April; but more often than not I can find myself riding on dry streets these days. And while cold weather still presents challenges for my arthritic knees, the absence of rain has made riding this winter easier and more enjoyable.

Since getting home from my 12-day tour of Florida last week, I've actually enjoyed riding on cold, drier days like these. I've been running errands and taking indirect, more scenic routes home to enjoy the occasional sun rays sneaking through the clouds and watching the late afternoon light move across the West Hills as the sun sets.

It's been nice to be home again. I enjoyed my tour, but spending more than a days in a sunny place in December became disorienting. I was glad to get home and ride again.

I might have to do it again tomorrow after the big front moves through in the morning.

 If you feel similarly inspired:

Remember to bring rain gear. Stuff it in a saddlebag so you'll have it ready if the big drops fall mid-ride.

Left: My favorite jacket, the Burley Ultra-Rider. Mine is over 20 years old and with several re-proofings is still going strong. Underarm vents keep me from overheating and the drop-down tail in back covers my butt to prevent a muddy stripe running up my backside. No longer made, but Showers Pass offers a newer version of this design, and used Burley jackets can still be found at used sporting goods shops and on Craigslist. I like to add RainLegs chaps (OR make your own by cutting down an outgrown pair of rain pants and adding a webbed belt and elastic straps) and Rivendell Splats (or a really cool homemade alternative by Amanda Kottavana, which follows in the next post), plus a short-brimmed cycling cap under my helmet.

 Waterproof bags keep your stuff dry. I still have this one, which I got years ago after Citybikes and BRixton Cycles did  worker exchange; this bag was one of many "gifts" the guy from Brixton brought with him to Portland, and I snagged it from under a pile of crap in the attic before I left the shop for good several years ago.
 Fenders are an absolute must in the Pacific Northwest. It still rains enough here that they're far from superfluous. Some group ride organizers will require your bike to be equipped with fenders in order to join them (it's really rude to spray gritty rainwater in the face of the rider behind you.)

They can be super-fancy, hammered aluminum (like the Honjos on the Hillborne at left), or sturdy plastic (like the Planet Bike fenders below).
In either case, I recommend full fenders that remain bolted on the bike, over temporary clip-on fenders. Here in the PNW we all just leave them on our bikes year-round anyway.
Last thing I'd recommend is to carry a spare pair of dry socks in a zip-lock bag, so that if you get soaked on the way to school or work you can stuff your shoes with newspapers, toss the wet socks on the radiator or heating vent, and wear the dry socks while you wait for the shoes to dry a little.
Your feet will still be damp, but not soaked. And if the socks are wool, they won't stink like polyester socks do.

Go ride in the damp. Stop and get some coffee (or bring it from home in a thermos). Take the scenic route and notice the beauty of the winter hills and roads where you live. And be grateful that you can ride a bike. It's the nicest way to get from place to place. Happy riding!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

On being Other in a world that would rather I wasn't

So this is the blog where I get the most political.
Because bicycles, sustainability, economic justice and social justice all intersect here.

So when I'm called out for speaking my truth, for calling out a case of cultural appropriation, and then getting my head handed to me by the folks who basically rule in my professional landscape, well, that really hurts.

Here is the text of a post I shared elsewhere, and then retracted because it was too politically charged and the language deemed too hurtful.

Can you handle metaphor? Promise? Great. Read on.

***    ***    ***   

(from a FB post earlier today)

I'm about to get my head handed to me somewhere. But I think this needs to be said.
I watched the newest video from the vocal band Six13. Six13 is an a cappella group of six Orthodox Jewish men and their harmonies and arrangements are often amazing. Their musicianship is evident in everything they record.

Their latest video is a "parody" of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," with the lyrics re-written to tell the story of Chanukah but the vocal harmonies left the same as in the original.
It's well-crafted.

AND --

I actually did not like this at all. And I had to think about why I didn't like it. Because on its face it is pretty cool.
Until I finally realized that I struggle to appreciate this because six frum boys appropriated the musical genius of a man whose pansexuality and flamboyance they might not defend publicly if he were still alive today.

Cultural appropriation of queer people is a real thing. And it troubles me deeply. Especially when it's done by people who think it's perfectly fine to condemn the individual human being while at the same time borrowing his artistic gift.
And I guess that's why I can't get excited about this.

As a queer person, I'm just calling it like I see it.

Cultural appropriation is theft.
Cultural appropriation is murder.

***    ***    ***    ***

So that's what I originally posted. At my personal FB page, which probably has too much overlap with my professional life. (Yeah. I'm gonna work on that.)

And within five minutes of hitting "post" I was besieged by over a dozen Jewish professional colleagues who PM'd me to tell me my post was inappropriate and that I owed the group an apology because my words were so hurtful.

I sent the apology. And, because I'm sensitive to the realities of my professional landscape, I also decided to pull the post by marking it "Me Only". I didn't delete it because while my words are intense, they are still how I feel. And at some future moment I will want to return to them and re-read them and ponder.

These guys may be all over the map individually, but they move with ease through the Orthodox world, and within a system that says queers are not acceptable and that women should not sing out loud within earshot of men because inserting the controls for men's sexual urges is actually the woman's job. (No Jewish stream is monolithic, but Orthodoxy is more unified and leans more rightward on a lot of social issues than most other streams of Jewish identity. So, sorry, but yeah, that's a thing.)

The older I get, the angrier I get -- especially about everything I've had to stuff over a lifetime of being not only other, but silenced for it. And I guess that at some future point I'll be compelled to choose between keeping peace in my professional landscape so I can get work, or throwing up my hands and deciding that I'm going to be like the Shondes, a Jewish band who will likely never perform in a mainstream Jewish space again because of their sexual and global politics.

I'll put this aside for now. Anyone who wants to read it here, read away. If you want to seriously engage, and if you can do that without attacking me, great. I'd love it. But if all you want to do is tell me to shut up about my pain and anger, I'm not interested. See ya.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

introducing my new blog

In the past I've shared occasional forays into my drumming world at this blog.
But as my interest in drumming has grown, and I've made more time for drumming in my daily musical life, I figure it's time to make space for it elsewhere.

If you or someone you love is into drums and percussion, check out DRUMLOVE, my new blog devoted to drums and percussion and everything related to it.

Check it out!

Monday, November 12, 2018

2018 Coffeeneuring Challenge # 9 & 10 ("Make mine a double")

Everything is bonus now, but since the Challenge is ending soon I've decided to add more as I'm able to. The weather turned cold last week, and this week the lows are down into the 30s at night. The air is cold and dry, and as long as I bundle up it's actually pretty nice riding.
Today I ran errands after my morning's work. My first stop was New Seasons Market on North Williams, to pick up a couple of staples and have a cup of coffee.

Stumptown Coffee makes a special blend for the New Seasons Market chain. It's robust and very flavorful without being overly strong.

I coupled it with a favorite treat -- New Seasons' Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Krispy bar. Try it.

After that, I rode over to a friend's house not far from the market, to pick up my official Unpresidented Brass Band t-shirt. It's a little cold to play gigs in a t-shirt now -- word on the street is that we'll also be ordering hoodies soon -- but it was nice to finally get a t-shirt after playing with these guys a few times.

After I left my friend's house, I pedaled over to Breadwinner Cycles Cafe.

I still had some coffee in my mug, but I needed a bathroom and figured I could find something cheap to buy while I stopped there. I enjoyed a fabulous peanut butter cookie (I can basically eat peanut butter every day. I love the stuff) and relaxed with a magazine while I watched a new frame being brazed.

Breadwinner Cycles, a partnership between custom frame builders Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira,  has grown in both reputation and production since its beginnings several years ago. Today the workshop is housed inside a spacious industrial building with room for a small cafe. A large window allows cafe patrons to watch the craftspeople at work.

I will never buy a frame here -- I have all the bikes I need and they work perfectly fine for me -- but the bicycles made here are exquisite, beautifully and durably-made works of true craft. I've known these guys a long time and am happy to patronize their business in any way I can. (Breadwinner has a nice partnership with Water Avenue Coffee, which is locally roasted and absolutely delicious. Get some.)
I ran a couple more errands on the way home. The air was cooling as the sun sank lower in the sky, and the wind picked up again. Although my bad knee was beginning to complain, I still enjoyed riding along with the wind behind me for a change. By the time I rolled up to the house it was going on 4:30 and the moon was high in the evening sky. When I looked for it again a couple of hours later, it was larger, lower in the sky and about to set.  Long winter evenings are returning, and with them shorter rides in more layers, and hot tea when I get home.

This will possibly be the last intentional ride I log for the Coffeeneuring Challenge. It's been fun, but at this point I've got a ton of prep still to do for my big extended [music] tour of the year, coming up at month-end. I'll ride more, of course, but at this point I'll file future coffeeneuring rides under Off-Season Coffeeneuring (see #alwaysbecoffeeneuring).

Buckets of appreciation to Mary G. for hosting the 8th year of the Challenge. One of my favorite colder-weather ride series and I enjoy it every year. Looking forward to the Errandonnee later this winter, and of course the annual #30daysofbiking next April.

Until then, I'll be looking for reasons to enjoy short neighborhood rides.
Happy riding!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 8: Havurah Shalom

My synagogue community, Havurah Shalom, holds worship services every Saturday morning without fail. Our Conservative-style gathering includes lots of singing and praying, all centered around a Torah service where we read the weekly portion from the Torah scroll. We end by blessing wine/juice and breaking bread together. Sometimes there's a kiddush lunch, too.

Today's service, part of a worldwide movement called #solidarityshabbat, was advertised as a "slightly expanded" regular community minyan. Sweetie was really tired and underslept, so she stayed home and I rode into town. I made coffee to take along in my thermal cup (Nossa Familia Italian Roast. Get some) and rode away from the house in cool air with a touch of leftover nighttime dampness.
Photo: Interstate Avenue bike lane, leading up to the Broadway Bridge. Those are grain silos. The Willamette River is below, on the other side of them. Trains bring wheat from Eastern Oregon, and it's loaded onto ships headed for Asia and Europe.
Oregon is a major contributor to US exports opf hard wheat.

Below: On the Broadway Bridge, with the Fremont Bridge in the distance.

My tallit (prayer shawl) in its bag.
I didn't need to stick it in a plastic bag because it stayed dry all day.

The All-Rounder, parked outside my shul, Havurah Shalom. The sanctuary was packed to standing room only. People sang and swayed to the music, and talked with each other about our collective fear. We resolved to move forward together to help each other and make our community and our world safer and better.

It was a really good morning to spend in community.

Riding home was sweet. I rode along tree-lined streets turned golden by the changing season.
Riding under trees that were shaped like a leafy canopy took my breath away. Knowing that within a month it would be gone, I had to stop and admire it. And give thanks.

(looking eastward on N. Ainsworth Street.)
There is nothing like riding at a slow enough pace to actually notice beauty. Total: around 9 miles.

I may try and squeak in another one or two Coffee rides before the Challenge ends.
Happy riding!

Friday, November 2, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 7 -- bento-neuring edition: Gino's Teriyaki

It got too late in the day to get coffee, so I went for lunch. Gino's Teriyaki has been a mainstay on Killingsworth for years. Last summer it changed owners and the menu and service have slowly crept downward. Still, I had hopes for something decent.
The chicken bowl was okay. They were out of soy sauce. (Really? What Asian restaurant runs out of soy sauce? Seriously.)

The bike rack is just ridiculous.
Nowhere else to go without sticking the back end out into a car parking spot.
And when I do that, someone complains.

Meanwhile, the place looks sad and quiet. At the height of the lunch rush there were exactly three people eating inside. The sign on the window advertising "Cashier Wanted" had been there for a few weeks. Good help is hard to find, I guess.
My lunch was merely okay. I drank a whole lot of water (beverage requirement fulfilled.)
But I needed a ride to forget it.
Fortunately, the fall colors are still pretty splendid around here so I didn't lack for pretty sights to lift my spirits.

Mood: better after a two-mile ramble around Woodlawn neighborhood.

It's not coffee, but I rode at least four miles and I drank something with my lunch. I'll call it good. Though I suspect I won't go back unless the place changes hands again.
Because right now, it's a plateful of meh.

In other news: The local black community paper, which I read over lunch, interviewed folks about why voting matters to them. Four of the five featured all gave perfectly sound reasons for voting.

The fifth said this:
Entitled brat.
Yeah, I know.
But still, if you don't vote you shouldn't be allowed to bitch.

Looking forward to riding into town tomorrow for services, and getting some good coffee on the way home. Wherever you are, be sure to vote next Tuesday -- and happy riding!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 5 & 6: ashland, oregon

Just got home from a week in Ashland, Oregon, seeing the final week of plays in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2018 season with family and friends. Knowing that there'd be a lot of sitting around, Idecided to take the folding bike and run it through some longer paces.

In order to accommodate the show schedule (6 plays in 5 days), I opted to do # 5 early in the week, a stretch of the rules but still well within the spirit of coffeeneuring.

Ride # 5: Case Coffee, Ashland.

This began with a ride around downtown Ashland to see the lay of the land by bicycle. The folder worked beautifully and once I dialed in the saddle height I was very comfortable.
First stop: Brothers Restaurant, where I was treated indifferently by a distracted waiter and served a small coffee for three bucks that turned out to be lukewarm and weak.
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I didn't sip it until I'd gotten back to my bike, so by then I decided not to make a stink. But I knew I had to find something better or I'd be sad all afternoon.

So I saddled up and rode out onto Siskyou Boulevard, out to the far end of Southern Oregon University, where I saw a cafe called Case. I decided to toss my coffee and try again.
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I was pleasantly surprised. The coffee was fresh, hot and had an interesting almost floral finish that worked well with cream and sugar.
I would return to Case three more times during my stay in Ashland, because the coffee was simply and reliably awesome every time. I learned that there are two locations: "Upper" Case on Siskyou (whee they roast their beans) and "Lower" Case on Lithia Way (a smaller, more intimate location)  near our hotel. Both had great coffee and a nice selection of pastries.

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The ride there and back was lovely and allowed me to see more of Ashland than just the downtown quarter neat the OSF theatres. I'll certainly visit Case again next time I'm down there.
Total: 5 miles

Ride # 6: Pony Espresso, Ashland.

This began with word first thing in the morning about the synagogue murders in Pittsburgh, PA. Sweetie and I were devastated but knew the place to go was the shul where we'd planned to attend services anyway. I decided to take the bike so I could have a slightly longer a ride out into the country to Temple Emek Shalom. The community was warmly welcoming and glad to have us join them, and praying with them was a balm for my head and heart. I promised that I'd return when my travels brought me back to Ashland.

After services, I took a scenic route back to town along the Bear Creek Path and wound up at Pony Espresso Cafe, where I stopped for a fresh cup of Columbian and a piece of lemon pound cake I'd brought along from the Oneg Shabbat table at the shul. Nice combination. And a longer ride on a gorgeous day that was sunny and unseasonably warm, with a high of almost 70F.
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Total: about 7 miles.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 4: taco bell. (i know, i know.)

I left the house around 12:30 and rode to three different places that all turned out to be closed on Sundays. The fourth place had a line out the door. In the end, I decided to go to Peet's, where I thought I had a little something left on my card. But on the way there, I was confronted with yet another block of tents parked along a sidewalk.

My heart sank.

Shit, I thought. Will this ever get better? And what can I do about it if the people with the power and wealth won't do anything?
An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 men, women and children go to sleep outside every night in Portland, due to a crippling combination of things that all point to the one big thing: poverty.

When you're dirt poor in a city, you can't always access medical or social services. The cost of transit fare may be enough to halt you in your tracks. Rents are rising much faster than wages. There is a severe lack of affordable housing that the city and development interests are simply not acting to remedy.

So we have a ton of people forced to sleep outside.
And their numbers are growing.

Distraught at the sight of another row of tents, I lost all interest in coffee. But I hadn't eaten anything since around 7am and it was going on 2:30. I had to eat something in order to take my meds, so I went to the closest place I could find: A Taco Bell.

Yeah, I know. It really is all that bad.
I ordered a veggie burrito and some cinnamon twists, and ate them with my own bottle of water while I watched the people around me.

Inside and outside the restaurant, people who looked like they hadn't bathed or eaten in days clustered around benches, fell asleep at an inside table, or nibbled the edge of a paper cup that had held liquid hours ago.

My "lunch," such as it was, cost less than three bucks. Fast food is cheap and that's why poor people eat lots of it.

Not sure whether or not I'll continue the coffeeneuring challenge. Today, like so many other things I do in my day to day living, it feels sort of pointless. I'll see how things go tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 3; arbor lodge coffee

Saturday came and went. After helping to lead services at my shul, I picked up my new glasses at the optometrist, came home and crashed for a long Shabbes nap. I woke up at 4, realized I hadn't ridden all day, and decided to take an evening ride. The sun was low in the sky and would set soon, but there was still plenty of light as I made my way to The Arbor Lodge Coffee. I got there half an hour before closing and was treated to a free cup at the end of the pot of coffee, and a day-old snickerdoodle for twenty-five cents.
I also bought a patch. The price was right (three bucks) and I liked the design. I'll make some space for it on one of my bike bags.

I continued on to Overlook and turned south onto Willamette Boulevard, enjoying the cooling air and the dramatic drop of the sun behind the west hills.

I was also really enjoying the Dahon folding bike, which I plan to take with me to Ashland next week so I can get some riding in between plays at the Shakespeare Festival.

I'd attached a Bushwhacker "Shasta" handlebar pouch to hold my coffee cup, at the suggestion of a reader of this blog (thanks!). It's not perfect -- it hangs at a slight angle because the straps are not positioned exactly to fit the folding bike setup -- and has no extra pockets the way the fancy, locally-sewn ones do; but for ten bucks it fits the bill nicely without getting in the way of pedaling, and it's far more affordable than the locally-made models that start at $50.

Autumn here has been warm and dry, so the leaves have taken their time in turning and falling. But there are enough leaves on the ground now that I think we're on the downward slope of the season. Rain is forecast for the end of next week and after that most of the rest of the leaves will make their way to the ground. I've been enjoying the rich colors on my rides

Sunset at Overlook (with the Willamette River and industrial complex below, and the West Hills in the distance; and moonrise as seen from N. Rosa Parks Way.
Total: around six miles. It was still just barely light enough when I got home that I quickly mowed the lawn before the light faded. One less thing to do tomorrow, and more time to ride.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 2: world cup coffee & tea

Today's adventure dawned clear and cool. The ride into town was delicious, cold enough to need a sweater, wool cap and full-finger gloves but not freezing. And whenever I rode in the sun my back ws pleasantly warmed.
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I rode into northwest Portland and up to World Cup Coffee & Tea, where I ordered a cup of the dark roast and a bagel. I had invited other Portland coffeeneurs to join me, but none did. It gave me an opportunity to people-watch and enjoy the changing colors of fall.

I also introduced myself to the new manager, gave him my card and told him of my musical history with the cafe. I suggested we talk about me coming in and playing live music some Sunday morning. He was interested and said he'd be in touch.
Before I left, I got a ginger cookie that was absolutely delicious.
So if you go there, get the ginger cookie.