Summer

School is OUT! I fondly remember, as a child, waiting anxiously for this day to come, and revelling in the ten (or was it twelve?) weeks of summer. Summer, in my case, was summer camp, at the local YMCA. This was in California, and so I spent every day in the pool, if we weren’t going to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knot’s Berry Farm, or into the mountains to hike. Every summer I got a wicked burn, then a wicked tan (for those who know me today: yes, it is possible. I have proof.) At the end of camp in 4th grade I broke my arm skateboarding, at the end of camp in 6th grade I had a “boyfriend”. We held hands.

School seemed an interminable period of judgement, testing, studying, and BORING things. Fun fact: I like learning now, I did NOT like learning then. I have dozens of saved report cards from my formative years informing my parents that “Bobbie could do so much better if she just applied herself.”

When I hit 28, I was in full-on baby-mania. Actually, that’s not quite accurate, I was in “have a kid, change my life” mania. It wasn’t just the “baby” I wanted; I wanted the 9-year-old telling me he forgot he needs to bring 2 dozen cupcakes (the morning he needs to bring them). I wanted the cramming for the SAT’s, and the first trip to Disneyland, and reading books goodnight. And I felt sure that when I had a child, what with my academic-leaning parents, I too would become an academic-leaning parent and come to see the value of school.

It is therefore with a mixture of embarrassment and wonder that I report that while I do truly cherish the value of school, and I am that academic parent (that was me, putting my kid in tutoring), I also could not wait for summer. Because it meant a reprieve.

A reprieve from parent-teacher conferences, from enforcing homework revisions, from watching the frustration on his face when he didn’t get a concept or (in the long tradition of my family line) didn’t get it exactly perfect the first time. (He carries that trait to everything, skateboarding and electric guitar have been recent lessons in “no one is perfect the first time”). It’s a reprieve from emails from the teacher, from looking for lost hoodies in the Lost and Found, from waiting for the June Box (items taken by the teacher go into a box and are retrieved… in June), from nights filled with homework, projects, and the dutiful requirements of school.

By the time the end of August rolls around I will revert to the feelings of my youth and delight in back-to-school shopping, even if my son doesn’t. I will feel re-invigorated and redouble my PTA efforts, all the more excited as this is our last grade school year (and I’m chairing the Science Fair). I will be all excited again.  And the boy… the boy will have had ten weeks of fun, and sun; he will have a wicked tan (bless his Father for giving him better skin than I had, the kid does not burn). Even he will be looking forward to school and seeing his friends on a more regular basis, if not the excitement that being a 5th grader (and therefore, top of the heap) brings.

But here we are excited and grateful, officially, for summer.

I Find This Lack of Internets Disturbing

[Editor’s note: written in Word while on the last leg of 3 legs to London. I was a bit ranty…]

Well, United Airlines (now with Continental!) is spending slightly over one half of one billion (yes, B, not M) dollars on improving its airline interiors, including seat upgrades and satellite Wi-Fi.

This really can’t happen soon enough.

For the business traveler, especially one going from Seattle to Europe, a transatlantic flight represents a minimum of 9 hours where if you SLEEP you’re SCREWED when it comes to jet lag; the best thing to do is tough it out and slog through it. Except if there’s no Wi-Fi, there’s only so much you can do.

For example, I just “kicked off” seven emails. These emails will sit, rotting in my outbox, until I get into my room, acquire Wi-Fi, and they get sent out. By then they will be about 7 hours old. Instead of receiving 7 hours worth of action on them (oh, who am I kidding, but call it 7 MINUTES, fine) I will have zippo on them in the ensuing time. The brain is full of ideas but they have no external avenue!

Likewise I can’t do non-work things that I have in place to keep me non-work busy. Planning the training rides for the STP? Already done for me, but I can’t send emails to discuss/’negotiate” the rides because no internets. I can’t get quotes for balloons for the science fair because no internets.  I can’t get the STOCK MARKET quotes because of no internets, and this is a sad thing.

Am I addicted? Possibly. Have I built a life around me that requires this tethering? I’ll buy that. But the technology exists, it’s not even that EXPENSIVE, we just don’t seem to have it in the places we really need it.

Frankly France

My boss is French. My skip-level is French. And I think I’m becoming a closet francophile, but NOT because of them. We had an offsite.

In Lyon, France.

For those not in the know — which, until about a week ago, included yours truly — Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France. I was there for 4 days and gained approximately 1 pound per day, and so we can all acknowledge that this was due to the fantastic food. I ate everything and then some, and in a country where bread is served at every meal (and contains only the classic ingredients — none of this corn syrup business or dough conditioners, thank you very much), this was no small feat. Oh, and the wine.

The Wine!

As I stated, my bosses (plural) are french. And so when it came time for wine to be decided, the menu was handed to them, and after a studied reflection of the menu and nonverbal cues between them, they’d summon the wait staff and give them the cursory order. In French. In other words, I couldn’t understand a bit, and so I can’t repeat what they ordered, but everything tasted wonderful. (In the states I eschewed French wines as “dusty” — not a speck of it in France. Not sure what is up with that!)

I see I’m babbling. Let me go at it chronologically:

After a day of travelling — Seattle to Heathrow, Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle, CDG to Lyon via train — I checked into my hotel (the Radisson Blu, which has unparalleled views in Lyon and quite the nice breakfast!). It was 10pm at this time, and the short walk from the train station allowed me to see the perfect pinks and oranges of the sun as it set. Bracing myself for “French disdain of the American”, I asked the concierge downstairs for restaurant recommendations.

I was presented in a charming and friendly manner with a map, highlighted directions, and two options: did Madame want something “safe”, or did Madame want something traditionally Lyonnaise? Madam indicated Lyonnaise, because I am not about to let a little jet lag in the way of Madame’s sense of adventure. A right from the hotel, and then the next right, and then a left, down two blocks: I found myself at a not-very-distinguishable bistro on a cobblestoned lane.

I was one of 3 tables at that time: a french couple having a romantic dinner, a set of Americans doing their best to keep all sorts of boisterous clichés in place, and then, well, me. The waiter switched to nearly-flawless English (and not in a disdaining way) when he discovered my French was non. He did want to make sure I understood what I was ordering as I was picking it out of a French menu but fortunately French is a Latin-based language and I can understand it just fine, I can’t speak it. Anyway, chicken with mushrooms and a side of ratatouille, and an okay bordeaux was dinner. It was beautiful (hey Kevin — the ratatouille was WAY better than that one we did, so we may need to revisit that at one of the HP get togethers), and then there was dessert.

Oh yes I did. I’m sorry, but my weight loss programme does not extend beyond the borders of the US, and so tarte tatin it was, and it was AMAZING. That, and coffee in a little demitasse cup.

Sated, I went back to my room… and woke up promptly at 5am. With the local gym not open until 8am, and no power converter (the three that I had brought with me did not work, and the person in charge of adapters at the hotel was not in until 9), I went for a run. Lyon is an excellent place to run — the walkways are wide, it’s mostly flat, and you cannot help but look at amazing architecture, beautiful scenery, and it’s cool in the morning even on a summer day. I only did about 4km — the knee is messed up again (that is another post for another time). However, it helped me feel better about the caloric intake of the night before.

I will say nothing of the meetings in Lyon that I was there for because they are proprietary to my company, with the exception that they were incredibly productive and useful. I was surprised because usually these sorts of things are endless power point decks and stifled yawns, but by day 3 we were still active and passionate about what we were doing, and had come to a better understanding of how each wheel works in this little clock of ours. I came home with 7 pages of notes.

At any rate, each day had breakfast in the hotel — oh, the cheese! — and a prearranged luncheon. Dinners were out on the town with the bosses, and that was where the careful wine menu scrutiny/ordering took place. Dinner conversation was equally as pleasantly a surprise as the meetings themselves: our party included two from Hong Kong, one from Amsterdam, two from London, the aforementioned two French, a few Americans, an Italian Australian, an Italian Italian, a Swede, and three from India (originally). I discovered many things, including that restaurant service and gratuity expectation/practice varies widely globally, that personal space in social situations does as well, and that the US is sorely behind in languages for its children. Case in point: my colleague from Amsterdam had mandatory Dutch and English until she was 10. Then French was added in. Two years later, so was German. She took Latin and Greek for fun.

(If you’re counting that as six languages, let’s take note that she knew a handful of words in other languages including Spanish and Italian).

At any rate: Lyon was pretty, with a variety of architectural styles but mostly consisting of the beige stucco/stonework and reddish-tan roofing, most buildings not exceeding 4 or 5 stories. We visited the local cathedrals (the two biggies, anyway), if I can get them off of my iPhone I will post pictures.

In short: Lyon is a 2-hour train from Paris and worth it.

As to Paris: I spent half of one day there (by the time I got the train and metro sorted out). In that half of a day I saw the Arc de Triomphe (larger than expected, and there were people at the top, which I hadn’t realized was possible), walked down the Champs-Elysees (endless shopping possibilities, but I’m not a shopper and people were thick — in both senses of the word), walked around the Louvre (not in it, I’m afraid, time being what it was), and down to Notre Dame (did walk in, it is GORGEOUS).  If you’ve ever seen the TV Miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, you will learn how they figured out how to make the heavy stone archways (and not have them pulled down by gravity and killing people, for example) or the architectural purpose of flying buttresses; and this makes the Notre Dame all the more impressive. That, and the realization that all of that lovely colored glass was done without chemicals — or not the way we think of them. For example, did you know that in order to get RED glass you need gold?

I didn’t make it to the Eiffel Tower, as I dawdled (dawdled??) in my walking — the architecture in Paris is AMAZING. You can tell the difference in building ages just by their accoutrements — who has gargoyles, who has scrollwork, what kind of columns were in fashion. Some buildings are relatively new — say, mid-1900’s– and about twenty feet wide, having been risen between two older buildings that formerly may have had garden space between the two. Cobblestone streets abound, and the smell of everything is in the air. I don’t know a better way to describe it, but I’m in love, I truly am.

My only dinner in Paris I had close to my hotel (Hotel Ampere, 17th arrondissement, absolutely beautiful in and out) and was a fixed-price with some choices. I sat outside, so as to watch the people walking by — I love people watching — and had a very leisurely dinner. The service was very friendly and attentive, I had to ask the people to my left — four older French people, two older couples — if tipping was okay or would elicit offense. I had to do this in Spanish as it was the only common language we had, their English being only fractionally better than my French. (I am not dissing them at all — at least they spoke another language! Never mind two. America, we need to catch up!) After some discussion, they agreed that the service was very good, and that leaving service (propina in spanish) was okay — in this instance. Of course she would not be offended, I just needed to realize this was only done when it was *really good*, not as a matter of course.

Morning came on my last day, with enough time for a quick breakfast and then 4 Metro lines (kinda like our subway system) to the RER train, back to my flight. In all, travel on my last day took 22 hours. I was very happy to see my bed.

I will be seeing France again though. I politely informed the male person this morning we are going back and spending some real-time there. He took it rather well.

Everybody’s Selling Something

My house is on the market.

No, this isn’t an homage or reference to a “Company Men” instance, in fact, life is good at the Big Travel Company. But the fact of the matter is my house and its square footage (interior, not so much exterior) isn’t enough for Myself, Boy, Man Person, and His Cat. Honestly, it’s the Cat that needs the square footage.

Having taken most of the unused furnishings and the entirety of my 2k+ volume library and boxed them up, tetris-style, into my garage, I can no longer park in it. Having replaced the carpet and repainted much of the interior, the house is officially on the market. This is a demoralizing, un-fun event, on several levels.

First, there is the fact that one needs to work with a realtor. In a buyer’s market, selling a house is a pain in the butt, and it’s a double pain in the butt if you’re a hyperanalytic metrics fiend. I can tell you right now the selling stats of every realtor who’s been through this house, the days on the market of each competitor to this house, and the pros/cons to my place vs. my comp set. I can also tell you it astounded me, too, that the competitor house listing at 35k more than mine that had their hot tub in the front yard (mine was in back) and had 100square foot less and about 1/3 the acreage just went pending. I have no idea why. Your realtor is there to guide you through this, mine is guiding me, but that doesn’t mean that her years of experience and my years of analysis don’t clash occasionally.

Second, there is the fact that your house is no longer your home — it is NO ONE’S home. It’s staged. Ever live in a staged house? It’s seriously un-fun. First off, staged houses do not admit that people wash their hands, so 2/3 of the bathrooms and the kitchen have the soap dispensers hidden. Also, because people do not wash their hands, the towels in those areas can totally be wrapped in raffia — no point in drying hands that haven’t been washed. Somehow it is still okay to have toilet paper in the bathrooms, apparently we all acknowledge that people poo. They just magically have sanitary hands afterwards. 

In a staged house, your TV will be at an angle that home-theater experts will declare is “exactly wrong”, you will have dishes in areas that you never had dishes (over the fireplace??), you will have angled “uplights” and fake ficus, place settings on the never-used breakfast bar and feature cards touting the wonderfulness of your RV parking (hey, mine has coax and full hookups!). Your glass coffee table and dining table (they aren’t really mine, in a way) will be cleaned daily (as will your stovetop) JUST IN CASE folks show up to view your house.

About that: item 3,492 that sucks about having your house on the market? Realtors who leave messages insisting they will show your house between 11 and 1, and then don’t. Or show up early or late. Or call with 5 minutes’ notice.

You would think the yummy prospect of homebuying (with a staggering pre-approval) would take the sting out of this: it doesn’t, quite. It’s not that we haven’t found some amazing places (we have — and considering that our search radius is 1.5 miles, that’s impressive). It’s not that we haven’t created a pecking order (we have a solid #1). It’s that there are so many that come *close* but are either oddly laid out or have too much space or have too little space or have EVERY ROOM angled. Paint and cabinets are relatively easily ameliorated, bones of a house are not. I tell you what though: anyone who wants a beige and brick 2-car garage house that looks like every other one on its block is TOTALLY in luck.

This also brings up a different sort of language you speak with your Significant Other. You start to refer to housing prospects by such monikers as “619 Dog Pee” (it was going for 619, the garage smelled of Dog Pee) or “Rambler Weird Kitchen” (nuff said) or “Eat Pray Love” (you don’t want to know). And then you need to explain the relative merits of things that excite you: “Oh, okay. So finding a house with a greenhouse is like you finding one with a complete home cinema already wired and all tech stays”. “Marble slab countertops = good, marble tile = bad. I would explain why but it’s like you explaining why one projector is so much better than the other. Just trust me.” 

I totally get that these are great problems to have. And ultimately there are things I will not be flexible on — location, for example. There are things he will not be flexible on — space, for example. If it means we are left in this house for another year while we wait for someone to transfer or bail, that’s fine.

I have cranberry juice in my crystal decanter, and artfully done throws on each bed; so I cannot live like this for a year or even several months.

Event Driven

In keeping with my usual way of doing things (e.g., the dopamine rush that one gets from chocolate, online Scrabble, and checking things off of one’s list) I have signed on for a whole bunch of stuff this year. Some I will discuss, and some I will not. There will likely be an announcement of the Not Currently Discussed Items around June or July. But this isn’t about that. Think of it as one of those teaser trailers before the show.

The Events of 2011, at least sporting wise, are:

  • A 5-k run. Yep, I have to get back into running. I’ll be starting a team of at least 10 here at Expedia for the American Lung Association’s annual 5k, and so I shall go forth to the Running Shoe Store where they will provide me with shiny new shoes. Be prepared for posts about sore knees, the amazing physics of excess flab as you run, and whether or not this was really a good idea. Also, I have to raise money.
  • A 2-day double-century bike ride, known as the STP. The Seattle To Portland, more specifically, and training for that has already begun. The fact that as part of training we will be riding 80 miles one day and 80 miles the next which is what I did for The Whole Ride last year is a bit of an eye-catcher.
  • An October stair climb event for the ALA (place to be determined). Again with the raising money.
  • And then, depending on how things went with the 5 k– the Seattle Half Marathon in November. Again.

Folding into this training schedule is that thing I call my job, which I love but which has gone up to 11 as of last November and *stayed there*. When your boss looks at you earnestly and asks you when you’re going to take any time off, and at least three coworkers suggest you need a drink, you may need to take some time off. But when you’re committed to having everything come off PERFECT or at least NOT MESSED UP then you have a hard time putting down the iPhone and the Email. The Job is having me travel a bit this year, including to Geneva (let’s hope my luggage doesn’t get lost) and then there’s personal travel too (hello, Phoenix! Hello, Hawaii!).  Oh, and then there’s boy schedule and its companions of sports and karate and boy scouts and camp and PTSA in there too. Mustn’t forget that.

This year is the first year I’m operating completely without a paper calendar. Usually, I am the recipient of a calendar from a friend who likes dogs, from a family member who defaults to Calendars, and some sort of work gift thing. And this year, I got none of it. My wall at work is empty, my dedicated calendar space at home is devoid of said calendarage. I’m operating completely on my Google and Outlook (syncd!) calendars. It will be an experiment in e-venting, I’m sure.

What I’m discovering thus far is that I need to stick to plans if I’m going to make them. When you put in your calendar that you are going to go to spin class, it’s because you realized two weeks ago when you put that there that you had a 7am call the next day and so you wouldn’t make it to *that* spin class and if you were going to get your required weekly time in the saddle then yes you really did need to do spin class on Thursday. Or when I lay out the menu for the week then I really do need to stick with it because if I wing it and use the potatoes with the pork tenderloin instead of the pasta then that means the chicken has to now go with the rice and you have to put peas with potatoes which takes it away from the cacciatore that was supposed to go with the pasta. Oh, and you end up with really weird menu combinations, which sounds fine for Iron Chef but not for Random Sammamish Hurried Dinner Wednesday.

I have — and love — my iPhone. I may need to expand its applications to help me keep the dopamine rush at a steady state.  Meanwhile, you are to fully expect more e-Venting.

PS — Starbucks is releasing a 31 ounce coffee drink. ‘Nuff said.

Back Anywhere But The Saddle Again

Having just completed 160 miles on a bike I really am not sweating training for the 12 cycling miles of the Danskin. I *will* get on the bike, I just haven’t this week. I also haven’t run, or swam, this week either. This week I was very very very lazy, workout wise. This week was full of travel (coming back from Vancouver, to/from SF, and now to Phx), full of food (Mom’s house, a beer tasting, Chupacabra’s baby-size burritos, etc.), full of drinks (well, naturally), and full of work (which is fun).  That said, I will shortly (erm, 2 hours?) be in Phoenix, Arizona, and must correct all of this laziness.

It is 110 degrees F (43.3 degrees C) in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a dry heat.

This means if I want to run (and I need to do it at least twice while there) I need to do it at 6am. If I want to swim (and I need to do it at least once while there) I need to do it in the early morning or late evening.  I have 4 days worth of regular clothes, workout clothes, miniature toiletries (this trip’s forgotten accoutrement? Hair goo), sunscreen (spf 50 for us pale types), and the last Harry Potter book all crammed into my carry on, and I’m optimistic that I can actually, you know, get a workout in on this trip.

Home Stretch

Considering that I’ve only been in training 4 and a half months, I can call the next five weeks the home stretch. I’m following the training guidelines, and am on a first-name basis with my local bike fixer dude, as my derailer isn’t quite sure if it wants to derail my chain appropriately or derail my ride inappropriately. I blame poor nomenclature for its inadequacies and overcompensation.

I have, as of last week, made the minimum amount of money raised ($2,500) and am aiming to get my goal of $3,000 in. At this point, my goal is to stay on the bike for the two days of riding and hope my rear end doesn’t fall off.

Or maybe I hope it will. Since starting training in January I have gained — wait for it, wait for it — seven pounds. SEVEN. POUNDS. This is insane.

Ok, let’s put this into perspective: I weigh X.

At my lowest weight at this height, I weighed X-19.  At my highest weight at this height, unpregnant, I weighed X+40ish. (Yeah, I’m putting the “ish” there. I wasn’t proud of it, and it was a long long time ago). I am on the slighter end of this sliding scale but it doesn’t make me happy.

I have ordered a body fat scale (hello, whole new heights of things to obsess about!) and I’ve downloaded an app for that, and an app for this. I would really like to get back to at least X-7, which is where I was in the New Year and fine with that. I’d like even more to get back to X-19, or even perhaps X-25; but let’s not get too carried away.

That said, I have a new job 🙂 Perhaps that will help burn some excess calories?

Diversion

I have two blogs: this is my public one. Yes, there is a whole other blog out there, one that has been carefully crafted (ok, not all that carefully) and maintained (although not terribly faithfully) for five years (okay, four and a half). That is the blog I usually dish about life and love and romance and sex and coworkers and occasionally religious derivatives and chemistry and biology and movies. Sometimes really weird combinations of them.

That blog is not this blog. This blog is usually about workouts and work, more the former than the latter, because it’s my public blog and as such it shouldn’t mention all of the things one avoids discussing in public (e.g., sex, politics, religion, and money. Or having sex with a politician for money in a church. Or something.)

Therefore, the urge to write on this blog of things not appropriate to it is, on occasion, overwhelming. For example, I’d like to blog about how I haven’t yet participated in the Rides of March (aka Taxes). I’d like to blog about the atrocious parking at the Braevern, the happy hour fare and fair to be found at John Howies Steakhouse, the simply staggeringly awful week I’ve had at work, the other job I’m applying for, the angst-ridden time I’m having attempting to find a simple pearl grey dress to satisfy two weddings. I would totally blog about it… but not here.

No, here you are to hear of my workouts, of which I have not done one today. I went to spin class  yesterday (and did some endurance riding the day before) and have this to say of my gym:

People appear to be leaving it.

It started with the Hottie and the regular Spin Class Lanky dude. Those two have been missing for over a week and someone else has taken the Hottie’s bike and is now staring at herself in Hottie-like fashion. Two other regulars have dropped out and all that are left are the old lady with the bike on her ankle, the Napoleonic guy with longish hair (ok, so he cut it but it’s still somehow long and yet not long enough for a ponytail), the elderly man who has more musculature in his little finger than I posses in my entirety, and the bellevue housewifey with the bandana hairdo. The rest of them are new, people wafting in and out of the class who clearly cannot appreciate what Hot Teacher Eric means when he says we are going to to “jumps” today.

Other things are happening too: I was able to get a regular cardio bike of a Tuesday at 5pm. This NEVER happens. Clearly, the New Years’ Resoluters are irresolute and have waned, leaving me free to watch CNBC in peace. I hope it lasts through the summer, you get better service and less stink at an unfull gym. Also, I needs must check out the pool: chances are if they’ve cleaned it lately I can swim in it again and not be reminded of Puget Sound’s visibility. That is to say, you don’t want to go swimming in a pool that belongs to a frequently crowded gym.

We have a long bike ride planned this weekend — 46 miles and mostly flattish terrain; I’m not intimidated but I am reluctant. We are entering the phase of training where I feel inept, like I can’t possibly do as well as I need to. That’s okay, I feel like that at work lately so it’s nice to know there’s a consistent theme. Despite all of this exertion I continue to eat slightly under my own mass in chocolate and so I haven’t lost weight, although my mother noticed a shift (“Oh! You’ve lost weight!” she exclaimed at dinner the other night. I hadn’t. I then promptly gained 2 pounds).  In my experience this exercise in apathy will end sometime around May where I will realize that I have but five weeks to go and decide that this is proof that I can fight aging.

Which brings me back to the discussion I want to have on the difficulties of finding a simple grey dress for a wedding. But I can’t blog about that here.

Completely Unnecessary Spin Class Update

You guys! you guys!!!

So the hottie wasn’ there — no! And the jock she’s usually with (sort of– they sit at opposite ends) spent the entire time in class looking at the floor. I figured it out! He looks in the mirror, so he can watch her! Neat, huh?

Ooh. I hope they didn’t have a spat. Cuz that would suck.

Spin class continues to be only mildly entertaining. It’s about 20% regulars and even I am less enchanted with Eric the Hot Instructor than I once was. I will note his music is still good and there were actual droplets of sweat involved in this last workout. I will also note I’m the only one who shows up to class with visible bruises (mine are from the weekend rides). I am wondering how long before one of the other class members comes to ask me if he beats me because he loves me.

This week I plan to add running back in as well as another half mile in the pool, as I have just committed to do the Danskin Triathlon in August (or is it September?). At any rate: I shall be in front of my machine at 9am sharp on 9-March to enroll. Go me!

Keeping the Gordita Honest

I’m in Zihuatanejo, Mexico which means that what with sun and surf and sand and great food I’m just not really biking, at all. However, I *have* run two days — one at my fastest pace ever (1 mi in 7.5 minutes, which even amazed me) — and try keeping up with a 7-year old who’s discovered the joy of getting thrown into the waves. My arms are totally buff now.

Fundraising seems to have slowed down on the Ride to Conquer Cancer, so I will be sending out an email shortly to beg for money. If you have any other fundraising ideas (bake sale?) please forward!

PS — I have an awesomely splotchy burn that I hope to even out before I’m clad in naught but bike shorts and similar skimpy active wear for 2 days.

PPS – I have procured clippy shoes and appropriate pedals, and the bike is fixed — won’t get out for another 2 weeks (thanks to schedule) but still: clippies!