2016: A Year in Review

2016 was a big year for us. We traveled quite a bit & then we sold everything we owned & moved across the country!


Puerto Rico! We took a delayed honeymoon to Puerto Rico & spent our days lounging by the pool & hiking in the rain forest! We hiked up a closed highway for an amazing view & then swam in a crowded and cold waterfall in the only tropical rain forest in the US. I brought back a mild case of Zika but the fried plantains were totally worth it.


Amsterdam! We took a whirlwind trip to Amsterdam after finding an amazing deal on flights. Mike forfeited his license at a bike rental shop so we could make our flight on time. We loved riding around & exploring the city & dreaming about raising our future babies in such a family friendly city. I sold my first painting!


Paperwork! After returning from Europe we finally worked on our name change documents. It’s complicated to change your name & it’s even more complicated when it’s a full name change (not a maiden name). I had been suffering in pain for a long time & finally found a diagnosis. I received my acceptance to the University of Washington. I was accepted into my first juried show!


I started treatment for my pain & was finally able to see some minimal relief. I was anxiously awaiting word on my application to Portland State University. Eventually I heard that I was not accepted to the program & was reconsidering our move to the West Coast. I sold a number of paintings in a prominent local show.


I spent some time in New Hampshire for my sister’s graduation. I accepted my position at UW. A quick turnaround lead me to Seattle for a few days in search of an apartment for us. I met some amazing & friendly humans who helped me get a better sense of the city & which neighborhood to live in. I sold 8 paintings & had my first solo show!


June was a blur! My doctor recommended surgery to cure my pain & we were able to schedule it for just 2 weeks later. I spent 2 weeks on bedrest post-op & the rest of my time was packing, packing, packing.


I left my job on a Friday & we left for Seattle the very next morning! We spent 2 weeks driving across the country, camping in national forests & failing to shower or brush my hair for many days on end. There were a lot of pit toilets. We cooked our meals over open fires & enjoyed a lot of canned beans. We arrived in Seattle with the dogs (still married) & picked up our few possessions from the train station. Our bikes arrived in the mail & we furnished our apartment with a combination of Goodwill & IKEA furniture. We sold the Prius & became a car-free family!


I did a lot of healing in August. My body was still exhausted from the surgery & our trip so I spent a lot of time reading on the couch. I also started learning to play the ukulele. I got back on my bike! It was slow at first but I was able to ride comfortably quite quickly after hopping back on.


My dad came for a visit & we did all of the touristy Seattle things. I headed up to Vancouver with my bike via the train for Pro Walk / Pro Bike / Pro Place. I met some fabulous new friends & made great connections with people working in urban planning! We took the dogs on our first true Seattle adventure: camping at Fay Bainbridge (& pt.2)


My program was in full swing! Lots of new people to meet & remembering how to be a student again. I went on my first Critical Lass with some amazing ladies & a ton of positive feminine energy. I thought about adding another 2 years & an extra degree onto my program. I found out I was pregnant! And we didn’t really know what to think because we were so sure it wouldn’t happen after years of me being told it would be difficult & I would need fertility treatment. Turns out doctors are wrong & it can happen the first time!


Being pregnant got more real & I felt nauseous tired much of the time. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I was over this quarter & just wanted to be done with classes! I decided to switch my focus to Transportation Planning & take electives in Urban Design. I won’t be staying on for the additional degree. We took our bikes on the train to Portland for the weekend & enjoyed exploring a new city.


Finals seemed to stretch on forever & I think I spent 2 weeks not sleeping at all. I slept for 18 hours straight after submitting my last paper & then all of the pregnancy sickness caught up with me. Much of the last 2 weeks has been spent in bed eating saltines & drinking gatorade which has been less than ideal. I’m hoping to finish out the year on a positive note & eat a real meal (& keep it down) for dinner!

Here’s to finding out what 2017 has to offer!




Biking to REI

I had to made a swap at REI. My dad bought me a new jacket for my birthday but it didn’t quite fit so I ordered a larger size to the store. I decided to wear the jacket over & return it so I wouldn’t have to lug an extra coat around.

REI is only about 4 miles from me by the most direct route but Eastlake is a total bummer so I decided on a very calm yet very circuitous route. My route was very flat – the only hills being on Harrison & the climb up the 4 blocks at the end back to home.Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 5.25.38 PM.png

I rode the Burke Gilman Trail to the Fremont Bridge & then hopped on the Westlake cycle track until I got to 9th. I took 9th to Harrison then over to Yale and down to John because the bike parking is located on the Eastlake Side of the building.

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The ride was pretty calm & there weren’t too many people out until I got over to Yale which houses the parking garage for REI. This is a mess. People are angry.

Despite wayfinding signs getting to the bike parking is tricky. The signs all seem to point in contradictory directions & they use the term “bikes” to mean “mountain bike test trail” NOT to be confused with “bike parking”.

The parking is covered & close to the exit – although weirdly far from the entrance – of the store. I was disappointed in the installation of the racks. They’re bolted together to a stringer that connects 8 or so racks but this puts them too close together & the stringer made it hard for me to set my kickstand. My bike JUST fit in the rack but it meant I was taking up 2 spaces instead of 1. There was also a limited number of racks for the MASSIVE number of car spaces in the parking garage. It was token bike parking & that’s a bummer.

The store is huge. I thought I was in an IKEA. There’s a play area for kids & a restaurant & 8 million lines for returns & online orders. It was packed the weekend before the holidays & wait times at the checkout were 30 – 40 minutes.

I was able to swap out one jacket for the next size & headed back out on my cold, snowflakey ride home.

Pregnant Biking: First Trimester Adventures

Biking in the first trimester has been hit or miss. My body isn’t a fan of exertion right now so it can be difficult to ride up hills or for long distances without a break. I’ve been taking Bikey more & more often in order to use the assist.

I’ve found that sucking on these Preggie Pop candies help to quell my nausea while I ride. They have B6 in them, which my midwife recommends, but they’re 25 calories each (of JUST sugar) so I try not to eat too many. In the end though – not puking is important to me so I’m going to keep eating them without remorse.

I’ve also found myself REALLY thirsty so I’m constantly filling up my water bottle. I use a cupholder mounted on my handlebars to hold my cup for convenient rehydration. I wish more places had water bottle filler stations to make it easier to fill it back up.

Bumpy pavement bothers me more than before because it hurts my boobs! It’s hard to find bras in my size so I’m holding off on buying new ones. As such -my current ones aren’t always as supportive as I need. I’ve taken to avoiding certain stretches of the Burke Gilman Trail (looking at you Google steps) to prevent major jostling.

I have ligament laxity, meaning my ligaments are overly loose. This causes me to translocate (not quite dislocate) my joints frequently. It usually doesn’t hurt & is easy to pop back in, but it does mean that I keep my seat lower than “optimal” in order to prevent hip translocation. I’ve been experiencing some lower back/hip pain while walking so I’m hoping that biking continues to be pain free.

I’m hoping to bike for as long as I’m able because it’s an easy & convenient way to get around. Biking is freedom.

UVillage Fanciness

I don’t go to University Village that often. It’s not far from us, it’s just too damn fancy. I don’t want any of the things they sell at the stores there. But I had to go to the dreaded Verizon store.

After #coffeeoutsideforher this week I headed to UVillage with Chris, who works at the Apple store there. It’s not a bad ride overall, it’s right off the Burke Gilman Trail. We headed down off the trail on Pend Orielle to wait at the light. A lovely truck had a grill decorated with a dead elf butt sticking out because it’s SUPER HILARIOUS to hit & kill people with vehicles. LAUGHING ALL THE WAY HAHAHA

I usually take the sidewalk for the one block here but we rode in the street this time. Chris stuck a bit too close to the gutter for my tastes. But hey – I’m an east coaster & we take up a lot more space there.

It was pretty empty when we arrived around 10:15 & I locked up to the side of a rack near the Verizon store. There’s plenty of well spaced bike parking around but none of it’s covered & they’re all these short wave racks which are less than ideal.

After having my issue somewhat resolved I headed to find a bathroom at the QFC. I forgot that there are a million bathrooms all around the shopping center. Then I walked around the outside of the center & popped into Land of Nod – the Crate & Barrel kids store. Who pays $1,000 for a crib? Is that a real thing people are doing?

By this point I was starving. I grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich from the Starbucks next door although had I realized the center has three – yes THREE – Starbucks I wouldn’t have waited in such a long line & would’ve gone to a different one.

I kept wandering around for a while & checked out the new Amazon bookstore. Great bathrooms. Also they have a nice water bottle filler which was awesome! I like that they organize the store around recommendations – if you like X check out Y. It’s a nice option if you’re just stopping in to browse without a title in mind.

My last stop of the day was GAP. I wanted to see if they had any maternity wear or baby clothes on sale. People say they love shopping for baby clothes but I hate it. It’s so incredibly gendered & sexist & it makes me feel so icky. Boys & girls onesies can’t even hang next to each other! Every single item in the girl section was pink & covered with hearts & creepy sayings. And the frills. I’ve never washed poopy onesies before but I imagine ruffles can’t be easy to get clean. Boys clothes had so many more options but they were also weirdly gendered. Baby jeans (0-3 months) listed as “boys jeans”. Why? What makes them boys jeans? There were no girls jeans.

I did manage to find this one cute thing under a pile of unrelated items so I had to buy it. I wish they had it in a smaller size since it only goes up to 12 lbs (& Mike weighed 10 at birth) but I couldn’t find more anywhere.

So I bundled up & headed back home only to find myself overheating. By the time I was half-way home I had stripped down to just my vest & scarf – no mittens or hat. I guess it is all uphill but with it only being 35 I figured I’d be chilly.

And only 2 more hours on the phone with Verizon & I’ve solved 85% of my problem. So mission pretty much accomplished!

Review: Coobie Women’s Comfort Bra

More biking while female problems.

Normally when I ride my bike I do so in my normal bra under my normal clothes and all is good and well. But recently my boobs have grown and have been very sore (thanks pregnancy hormones) so I looked into purchasing a bra without underwire to wear around the house.

I was lead to the Coobie – a softcup bra (there are cups & there are 2 distinct & removable pads) but had some reservations. My major fear was that it wouldn’t work. As a 32G I’ve accepted that I need underwire in order to be supported and comfortable, and to take the pressure off of my back.

Good news! It works! This bra was surprisingly supportive for wearing around the house & I was able to sleep in it to relieve some soreness.

Bad news! It’s not great for bumps. I wore it while riding on the Burke Gilman Trail in Fremont (SO MANY TREE ROOTS) and it was quite painful to go bumpbumpbumpbump.

Overall my review is positive but I would recommend bustier women stick with the underwire while riding if your route involves poorly paved areas.

You can buy it on Amazon or local maternity stores. I got mine at Village Maternity (in U Village) for the same price as Amazon (although not as many color choices).

Critical Lass to Candy Cane Lane

Yay holiday lights! Yay women centered bike rides! Yay combining the two!

I love holiday lights so so very much. They’re just so bright and happy! ‘Tis the season!

We met up at Fix Coffehouse in Greenlake & took the protected lanes up Ravenna. Then we turned left at the big intersection with all of the weirdly configured stop signs & headed right onto a contra flow lane. This led us to the bike/ped bridge & we headed up a rather steep & narrow hill, back down a steep & narrow hill (alley) & then up another hill to Candy Cane Lane. 

They do put on a great show here with all of the homes lit up & a giant display in the center island. We made 2 loops before dropping off food donations & retracing our route back to Greenlake. 

I won the unofficial costume competition!

After the ride we got tacos & warmed up our frozen toes. 

I should’ve worn my big fuzzy socks & winter mittens but I went with my festive elf socks & my toes froze! It was good in a way that I couldn’t feel them, because we did a lot of stopping & broken toe was not pleased about it. I’m left footed so I always stop with my right foot on the ground, which is currently not awesome. 

I must’ve forgotten to charge my light because it died halfway through. Mike met me at the taco place with my extra battery pack so I wouldn’t have to ride home in the dark (although it’s mostly well lit). He pointed out that I do ride at night almost everyday but I guess I figure it’s such a short ride that I never think to charge it. 

I got closed passed by 4 cars on the way to ride (in just 6 short blocks) so yay! One driver called me obnoxious. But don’t worry he got his parking spot right out front (there were 6 spots, but HURRY). This stretch of University Way is due for repaving in 2017 & I believe there are plans for a road diet & protected bike lanes. It can’t come soon enough. 

The ride was big – 25 or more people. But the biggest issue I had with it was that it wasn’t a women’s ride. I’ve shown up for these community rides before where 90% of participants are men even though it’s “open to all” & it’s such a different (and quite frankly unpleasant) ride. In this case there were only about 5 men but I seemed to get stuck riding near them & it was just a bummer. 

I don’t ride fast or go on training rides so maybe women there yell too, but on social rides my experience is that women often ride side by side & chat with the people around them. Not so with men. They yell. Constantly. CAR! STICK! POLE! GRATE! BIKE! PASSING! Bro. I see the bollard in the middle of the trail. It’s got reflective stickers & we’re going 8 miles an hour. Also the passing. The damn passing. It’s a social ride. Not a race. 

Men get to go everywhere & feel comfortable. The world is their oyster. It has been their legal domain forever. Like actually forever. So when women organize a women centric event you should stay home. I get not turning people away. We want to be friendly & welcoming (we are women after all). Women are constantly expected to alter their behavior to please men or adapt to men’s spaces – give us ONE ride of our own. 

Broken Toes and Biking Woes

I broke my 4th toe yesterday. I was carrying a hot bowl of soup & stubbed it against the coffee table. I knew it was broken right away because toes should not go in that direction.

It hurts way more than one might think for an injury so small. The bad news is: there’s nothing they can do. The good news is: there’s nothing they can do so don’t bother going to the doctor.

I straightened it out & taped it to the pinky toe. It’s like wearing toe socks. Horrible.

But the good news is I will have to bike more! Toes take forever to heal because they don’t get a ton of blood flow and you’re always using them, so biking will help keep weight off the injury site.

I guess that’s not a biking “woe” but the title rhymed so I’m sticking with it. SO HA!

Here’s a photo of creme in front of our holiday lights! Sound Transit does a nice job of changing up the artwork around the site & they added lights for some sparkle. Riding Creme this week has reminded me why she’s my “me” bike. COASTER BRAKES FTW!