Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hoofing It (with some pedaling thrown in there for good measure)


In Full Winter Gear


Out and About on Friday and Saturday (1/21-1/22/11)

Don’t be fooled by all the green and sunshine in these photos.  It is indeed winter in Texas, and apparently, that means we get an alternating pattern of balmy days and bitterly cold days.  Friday was on the balmier side, or at least it felt that way as I walked across campus, bundled up in scarf, hat, and coat.  It was an unusual and busy day: a job candidate visited the lab for an interview, so my colleagues and I were busy playing host(ess).  I enjoy meeting postdoc candidates, so I don’t mind the disruption, but it does make for an unusual day, as I bounce from experiment to meeting to seminar back to experiment.  By Friday afternoon, I was feeling exhausted, but I pushed myself to get one more thing done before leaving to run some errands at Target.  I gave myself a gold star for effort that day!

At Target, I had to return those grey tights, which were, sadly, way too long for my short legs.  The fabric was excellent and I loved the pale color, but they were made in a very long length that bunched at my knees and ankles.  To replace them, I bought two new pairs of tights: a new grey pair and a Joker-purple pair.  I’m a little nervous about the purple ones, as I’m not sure I can pull them off without looking like a cartoon character.  But I’m going to try!  I’ll share photographic evidence of my attempts with you.

Friday night was lovely: dinner with our job candidate and two of my labmates at Los Cucos, which I have decided is my favorite Mexican restaurant around here.  We ate well that night: lots of enchilada plates, a fried avocado to share, and some drinks to make it a festive evening.  Afterward, we hopped down a few doors to go to Muldoon’s for after-dinner coffees.  It made me happy to realize that I’ve been living in College Station long enough to have developed a mental list of places that I like, places where I can take visitors for good eats and drinks.

Today I’ve been feeling rather lethargic, perhaps because I ate too much last night.  It might also be a general lack of sleep or well-being, as I haven’t been feeling great this week.  But I did get my act in motion to do the grocery shopping, which desperately needed to be done after my week of abstaining from the stores.  As usual, I spent too much money on food, but I have no regrets.  We had such a nice day here today, and because I was running errands, I got to spend most of the afternoon outside.  I walked to Albertson’s, which is just three short blocks from my apartment.  Then I thought about walking to Brazos Natural Foods, until I decided I also wanted to stop by Barnes & Noble to peruse the magazines (and finish reading an article I started reading while standing in line at Albertson’s).  To make things a little speedier, I rode my bike over to the bookstore and BNF, where I got to catch up with one of my favorite people, Jeremy, who works at BNF and always makes me laugh.  On the way home, I had a little run-in with a driver, who scolded me for not stopping at the stop sign.

Do you know the police can give you a ticket for not stopping at the stop sign?” he asked me as we both waited for our light to change from red to green.

Okay, thanks,” I answered.  As a matter of fact, no, I was not aware of this.  But what I really wanted to say was, And will the police also give you a ticket for parking like a moron while you pick up your mail?  This guy had blocked the sidewalk by parking his enormous van wrapped around the corner by the mailboxes, so he blocked me from staying on the sidewalk without hopping off my bike or riding out of my way to a driveway.  Because I am lazy and hate to lose any bike momentum, I rode off of the sidewalk and onto the street, where I wound up with this guy in his van driving right next do me.  We were on a quiet side street, so I wasn’t worried about it, and when we came to the intersection with a stop sign, we both slowed down.  He stopped, so I rode through and waved to thank him.  His response was to scold me for not stopping (in which case I think he would have turned in front of me and cut me off, which I’m sure he wanted to do, based on his lazy parking job at the mailbox.  I suspect that’s the reason he scolded me).

But it turns out that he’s right: in College Station, bikes are considered “motor vehicles,” so we’re expected to stop at all stop signs and traffic lights.  I didn’t know this!  I don’t think it's an issue very often for me, but I do feel a peevish sense of gratitude that this man told me about the law.  He’s still kind of an a-hole in my book, but he did do me a favor.  The other thing I learned today is that if one is riding a bike at night, it’s illegal not to have a white light on the front of the bike.  A light is an excellent idea, of course, both for your safety and the safety of those around you.  I don’t have one right now, but I plan to get one very soon.  I don’t like riding at night, and I only do it when I’m staying late at the lab for an experiment, but having a light would make me feel better about riding home after dark.

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