Quicksand

Last Monday, my course veered undetectably by me. Until the moment my body slammed to the ground–rudely snapped against a boardwalk much like a rag doll without consideration of human bones, ligaments, tendons, organs, and blood–I thought I was simply out riding my bike.

A simple swerve to the right–or was it to the left?–over mist-covered algae growing on a wood boardwalk changed the course of my wheels, my day, and perhaps even my life. The loss of traction was immediate. There was no skid, no slow motion fall, no time to realize I was under attack by the forces of physics that remain as undeniable as death and taxes. I found myself on the ground, shocked.

A tiny version of myself stepped outside my body and tried to make a video of all it could see, but my tiny self’s view was obstructed by the giant helmet on my banged-up head, the bars and shafts that made up my bicycle, my Gulliver-sized legs, and the shadows cast by all. Yet my tiny self was amazed to watch my big self rise up to a seated position and do its best to be sociable with a woman who had stopped to help.

Smiling, making a joke even, denying any serious injury. Above all else, protecting self by refusing to admit any vulnerability to a stranger–even a lone mother walking her infant in a stroller.

All pain was pushed aside. The knot of confusion was barely hinted at in the statement, “I hit my head.” I stood. I walked. She rolled my bike along. I sat on a bench, she parked my bike next to me, assured me she would be back shortly to check on me and disappeared both visually and in my memory until hours later when I suspected I’d dreamt her. Then, later still, the video my tiny self made was unlocked from some deep archive and returned to my big self for viewing.

Yet, I remembered I had a phone. I remembered where it was. I remembered the password to unlock it. I remembered how to call my husband. I asked him to come and get me. My tiny self was fully back onboard with my big self at this point–there was no video for me to return to later.

I still cannot recall the conversation with my husband. Nor can I recall the quarter-mile walk I undertook to meet him at the nearest street–I had fallen on a pedestrian-only portion of the Tennessee Riverwalk.

What I do recall is a moment of utter panic. Of being uncertain that I was going in the right direction, uncertain of where I was, uncertain as to what was happening. I choked down an urge to sob. I gave up crying long ago, after my mother’s funeral. My mother was the only person I ever knew with a healthy respect for a stranger’s tears–the only person I knew who was comfortable to just allow them. For everyone else, they are at least a source of discomfort if not disgust.

I keep mine close. Occasionally, I allow moisture in deep empathy for someone else’s pain. But if you see a tear for my own pain, it’s either a once in a decade occurrence or you’re someone I trust with my life.

To be standing on a street corner lost and confused and blubbering would be the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt in my life. Standing on a street corner lost and confused was close enough. I swallowed hard, choked once, blinked away any tear that had dared to form, and recalled my phone.

I scoured my muddled mind for a memory of having spoken to my husband recently. A vague impression of having had a conversation formed much like a shape bubbling up briefly from under quicksand, then sinking and disappearing again. I wanted to reach for the memory, but feared grabbing it would mire me in muck so deep I might not surface again. I let it go.

I dialed my husband again. The words that came were, “Are you coming to get me? I’m so confused.” And I choked back a sob for a second time.

He talked to me from that moment until he arrived to pick me up. His voice my lifeline through the quicksand of my mind. Then, he scooped me safely into our van where a wet muzzle reached from behind my seat to check on me, reminding me my boys will protect me and care for me when I will let them. It’s the letting them that’s always the hardest part.

In the ER, I learned I had a concussion. Nothing dangerous or permanent, just scary. I was sent home to heal with instructions not to watch TV, use any electronic devices with a screen, or read any non-fiction. Thankfully, I was allowed to sleep.

I thought I would be fine in 2 days. I was not. The more I learn, the more I realize this isn’t something you recover from at the same rate as the 24-hour flu.

I’ve also learned that bike helmets don’t offer much protection against concussions. I’ve found one that promises a novel design technology called MIPS that’s supposed to have slightly better protection than traditional bike helmets against concussions. At $219, it seems pricey. When I get the ER bill, it will seem like a bargain if it works.

I will heal and I will ride again. But the experience of temporary dementia haunts me. I find myself wondering if more than my tires veered.

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Riding at Sunrise

Sunrise reflected on Amnicola Marsh

Sunrise reflected on Amnicola Marsh

5:15AM didn’t seem any later this morning than it did yesterday.  Especially not after a bad night’s sleep–poor Tisen started itching again in the middle of the night.  But, I managed once again to get myself out of bed.  Then things went a bit South.

A sculpture lurking in the dim morning light

A sculpture lurking in the dim morning light

It’s like a time warp occurs in the morning.  I can look at the clock at 5:20, do a task that normally takes 5 minutes, and suddenly, it will be 5:45.  By the time I’d had a cup of coffee, gotten myself together, taken Tisen for a short walk, and gathered together all of the required accessories for an early morning bike ride, it was 6:40.  Then, still adjusting to having my bike in the parking garage and having to take all steal-able accessories off every time I ride, it took nearly 20 more minutes from the time I walked out our door to the time I’d finished re-accessorized my bike, unlocked it, and filled the tires.

The train crossing in morning light

The train crossing in morning light

At long last, I headed up the River Walk.  By the time I started riding, I felt foolish for bothering with the lights–it was light enough I no longer needed them.  As I made my way back across the Walnut Street Bridge and East along the Tennessee River, two Great Blue Herons flew straight at each other as if they were playing a game of chicken (I wonder if they call it “heron”?) until one suddenly swooped downward in a graceful dive, leveling out just above the water.

A Great Blue Heron perched on the rail of the pier below the bridge

A Great Blue Heron perched on the rail of the pier below the bridge

 

As I watched, my mouth dropped open just about the time I rode through a cloud of small gnat-like critters.  I guess I was hungry, but it wasn’t quite the filling snack I had in mind.  I have to say I preferred the mouth full of gnats over the eyeful of gnats I got simultaneously.  I rinsed my mouth with water, shut it tight, and wiped as many bugs out of my eyes as possible.

The final stretch of the River Walk

The final stretch of the River Walk

I rode as hard and as fast as I dared on the river walk–it’s not really a route conducive to riding fast, in fact, one section is posted 3-5 miles per hour.  I can’t imagine it’s physically possible to ride a bike 5 mph or less, but clearly the people who built the river walk weren’t cyclists.

Can you spot the Great Blue Heron on the rocky shore?

Can you spot the Great Blue Heron on the rocky shore?

When I came up on the Amnicola Marsh, I had to stop.  The sun was rising behind the marsh, reflected in the water.  3 Canada Geese were rendered into black swans, silhouettes against the brilliant light.  Near the shore, a group of Coots stretched out their gangly legs and ran back into the water as I rolled to a stop.

After taking a few photos, I remounted and made my way up to the dam.  A fisherman on the pier caught something big on his line as I was turning around to return home.  I wonder if it was an old tire or a giant fish?

My boy waiting patiently at home for breakfast

My boy waiting patiently at home for breakfast

Summer Morning

Hipstatmatic version of the Chickamauga Dam shortly after sunrise

Hipstatmatic version of the Chickamauga Dam shortly after sunrise

Someone flipped the weather switch from winter to summer.  After a quick afternoon walk in the park with Tisen yesterday when I discovered it was suddenly August, I decided it was high time I get my bike out of storage and take it for a spin.

Camera! version of the Chickamauga Dam

Camera! version of the Chickamauga Dam

It seemed like a fantastic idea last night.  I got it all ready to go, putting air in the tires, checking the brakes, digging up my biking shoes and helmet.  I even found appropriate attire and laid it out so I wouldn’t have to hunt around for what to wear.

When the alarm jerked me awake mid-dream at 5:15AM, it seemed like less of a good idea.

But, once jerked awake, it’s hard to go back to sleep.  I stumbled into the kitchen and made some coffee.

Train trestle over the Tennessee River

Train trestle over the Tennessee River

I eventually made it out the door, still ahead of sunrise.  When I told Tisen goodbye, he momentarily raised his head a fraction of an inch and blinked.  Then he fell back into a state of involving loud snoring.  I was jealous.

Hipstamatic makes high tension wires look charming

Hipstamatic makes high tension wires look charming

Once on my bike, I realized I had never headed to the Riverwalk from our new location before.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to make it to the Walnut Street Bridge without having to navigate any stairs.  I didn’t quite make it there stepless–I had to carry my bike up one flight of steps–but I did make it without riding on any streets, which was a nice way to start out the morning.

Structures I normally try to keep out of the frame

Structures I normally try to keep out of the frame

I took my time riding in the dark, breathing in the smells of spring, and watching the light gradually increase in the sky ahead of me.  I saw Osprey and Great Blue Herons.  Ring-billed Gulls and Tree Swallows.  Dozens of Warblers teased me by flying ahead of me and remaining just visible enough to be recognized as Warblers, but not long enough for their particular species to be identified (even when I got off my bike and pulled my binoculars out of my saddle bags).

The iPhone might not be good for getting photos of birds, but it does pretty well capturing high-tension wires

The iPhone might not be good for getting photos of birds, but it does pretty well capturing high-tension wires

When I made it to the last mile before the dam, as I entered the sculpture garden, I saw the strange exhibit I call “Abduction” glowing in the dim morning light as a cloud of mist rose off the grass and the sky turned pink in the distance.  I thought it was an excellent time to make use of my iPhone camera.

Abduction Sculpture at sunrise with last bit of mist in the background

Abduction Sculpture at sunrise with last bit of mist in the background

When I made it to the end of the Riverwalk at the Chickamauga Dam, I coasted down to the fishing pier.  I decided it was another photo op, although maybe not the kind I usually think of.  The large manmade structures used to generate the electricity that powers Chattanooga (and probably a lot of other places) may not be my normal idea of a subject I want to immortalize, but this morning I just felt grateful for the electricity instead of annoyed by the environmental impacts of the dam.  And for once, I found myself smiling with appreciation.

Much later in the day, Tisen enjoyed sitting in the evening sun with Cow

Much later in the day, Tisen enjoyed sitting in the evening sun with Cow

 

Bike and Then Bird

I have been riding the Tennessee Riverwalk twice a week for a few months now.  It’s one of those places that makes me happy.  It’s just a beautiful way to wake up.  Riding along the river on the mostly quiet trail, exchanging smiles with the dozen or so pedestrians who also haunt the riverwalk just after dawn–there just isn’t a better way to start the day.

I have also been leading bird walks a couple times a month.  And, I went on a biking tour of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park last year, which was organized by Outdoor Chattanooga.

Thus, it was only natural that, as I rode past great birding spots along the riverwalk, I would think “I should organize a bike and bird!”

Allow me to clarify for safety reasons:  I am not advocating birding while riding a bike.  That would be dangerous.  However, a bird walk is a usually a slow meander through a relatively small area with a good bird population and does not afford the opportunity to cover much distance without driving.  It seems counter-intuitive to me that we would increase the amount we drive in order to pursue an activity motivated by the desire to learn about and appreciate creatures quite dependent on an unpolluted environment.

To give credit where credit is due, a friend of mine back in Columbus, OH previously organized “eco bird walks” where all participants agreed to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the starting point and they walked from there.

So, I my idea was not exactly unique.  Regardless, I get a special pleasure out of combining activities.  I formed a plan:  Outdoor Chattanooga organizes bike tours all the time.  Why not ask them to do a bike and bird?  They have a fleet of bicycles so even people without bikes could join.  I would invite the Chattanooga chapter of TOS and the Audubon Society and we could have a lovely morning of riding and birding.  Or, to be more accurate, riding, stopping, and then birding.

And so it was.  It took a few emails and phone calls, but that was it.  Outdoor Chattanooga did the rest–and what a great group of people they are!

Finally, the Saturday selected was upon us.  I’m not sure which of the folks at Outdoor Chattanooga was in charge of arranging the weather, but they did a fabulous job.  I suppose if it would have been a little less breezy, we might have had an easier time spotting small birds among the trees, but the clear blue sky with little humidity and the cool breeze kept me smiling the entire ride.

We saw quite a few good birds, although not quite the bonanza I was hoping for.  As I told our guide from Outdoor Chattanooga, it was such a beautiful day that I would have enjoyed it even if we hadn’t seen a single bird.

Mountain vs Couch

As much as I love to be active, there’s a part of me that would really prefer to lay on the couch all day.  That part of me was screaming when we decided to try mountain biking for the first time in Jasper National Park several years ago.

Fortunately for me, I was still shooting with my PowerShot G3 at the time, which weighed approximately 1/3 what my current camera with a wide angle lens would weigh.

When the locals we talked to assured us that there was a “super easy” trail just outside of town that was only 10 miles long, I imagined it would take about an hour to cruise around this loop trail.  I planned for us to take it easy, stopping for a picnic lunch by a lake and having a leisurely day.  As we headed out for the trail, I wondered what we would do the rest of the afternoon.

When we got to the trailhead, we found if we went to the South, it looked flat.  If we went North, it was a very steep climb right from the start.  We, naturally, went South.  Of course, after about 100 yards, the trail turned uphill and we began the most painful climb of our lives.  Painful for two reasons:  first, our lungs (and every muscle in our bodies) were burning trying to keep the bikes moving up and over roots, rocks, bumps, and pot holes as we climbed.  Second, we were crawling along at such a slow pace that the plentiful mosquitos were keeping up with us.

When we encountered objects beyond our skill level to get over or around, we fell over.  Once we fell over, we had to push the bike along until we got to a flat enough place to get started again.

I pushed the bike up a hill at a run with my rain jacket on and the hood up trying to get away from the mosquitos.  I’ve been riding bikes a long time.  I’m pretty sure that “riding” doesn’t mean taking your bike out for a run.

After stopping for a quick lunch (due to the mosquitos) in a spot where we could watch loons on a lake, we turned around and started heading downhill back home.  We came to a screeching halt when Pat spotted a black bear peeking at us from behind a shrub.  Eventually, the bear figured out we were humans and took off.  We went on our way singing loudly in the hope of scaring the bear away (anyone who has heard me sing would appreciate how effective this would be).

Then, we out-peddled the mosquitos and discovered how much fun mountain biking is when you’re going downhill!  Much better than laying on the couch.  Going up, not so much.

When at last we arrived back home, over 3 hours had passed in spite of our brief lunch.  We both needed a nap–the perfect time to hit the couch.

Good Dog

It’s Sunday.  No alarms, no where to be.  It’s just a nice relaxing Sunday.  Except one thing.  I feel like I was run over by a truck when I wake up.  Every muscle in my body, including all those little secret ones that I’m always surprised about when I realize I have them, is completely wrenched.  My neck hurts, my shoulders hurt, my back hurts, my hips hurt, my legs hurt, and, yes, every cotton pickin’ toe hurts.  Even my ears feel strained.

When I get out of bed, I walk like a cowboy after a month on the trail.  It’s like my knees won’t bend and I have to rock my weight back and forth from foot to foot, swinging my legs from my hip to move forward.  This is what running down a hill with a glider on my back does to me.  Who knew it was such hard work?

I get the coffee going and then, while I wait for it to brew, I do some yoga.  I end up doing a lot of yoga, trying out virtually every restorative pose I can remember, trying to ease my body back into movement.  By the time I have spent an hour doing these gently relaxing poses, I am able to walk back to the coffee maker looking a little more like I have the joints of a human being than the joints of a barbie.

I take my cup of coffee back to the couch, but instead of sitting there, I choose my office chair instead.  I have a remarkable office chair.  For my entire career, I’ve had a bad habit of slouching down into my chair and resting my head on the back of the chair.  Given that I am tall, this requires scootching my rear end all the way to the front edge of my seat and then stretching out my legs to plant my position so I don’t drop off the edge and fall onto the floor.  From behind, people think I’m sleeping.

In any case, this posture has always left me with back pain and I could never figure out why I always slip into that position when I’m not paying attention.  Well, when I bought my own office chair, I figured out why.  It’s because my neck hurts.  All these years, what I really needed was a neck rest on my chair!  Now that I have said neck rest, it gives me a place to perch my head while I’m sitting straight up.  My office chair has eased my neck pain on more than one occasion, so I give it a try again today to see if putting the weight of my head on the rest and pushing back gently against it to stretch my neck helps.

While I do this, I work on processing photos.  I might as well do something productive while I’m sitting there.  Pat got up before me and is already on the couch nursing his sore muscles.  Although, he is in far better shape today than I am.  He stopped flying early because he wanted to protect himself from pulling his hamstring again, having just recovered from the last time.  So, he did half as many flights and launched on all of them, meaning he didn’t run all the way down the hill like those of us struggling to launch did.

I resent this about him.

After having plenty of time to relax and ease ourselves into our morning in our own ways, we decide we should ride to the market today.  While I hurt, I haven’t actually pulled or torn anything, I’m just sore.  And riding a bike gently and a short distance is a great way to get blood flowing to sore muscles and ease some of the pain.  I’m totally up for that.

We make our way across the Walnut St bridge cautiously–the crowd for the Head of the Hootch is back again today, although somewhat thinner now.  We are prepared to walk our bikes if the crowd gets too thick, but we make it across still in the saddle by riding slowly and watching out for darting pedestrians.  Fortunately, there aren’t any races going under the bridge as we cross, so the darting is minimal.

At the market, we stop to talk to Lou and Eddie, the honey and candle makers we’ve met at the market several times now.  Pat has a printout of some info about a trumpet Eddie wants to sell.  He goes through what he found with him and gives him the bad news that his trumpet is not likely to sell for a lot of money.

We move on to find lunch.  We didn’t realize how late it was getting when we left for the market and after our little ride there, we’re suddenly ravenous.  We find a hot dog stand in the back corner of the market.  It’s called Good Dog, which is a restaurant located about half a block from our apartment.  We’ve eaten there once and they serve the same mustard used in the Cleveland Indians stadium.

We each order a couple of dogs and while they cook, I get into a conversation with the owner.  They are from Akron, Ohio and the owner used to go to watch the Cleveland Indians with her grandparents.  She saw an article about how the mustard on the hot dogs there was part of what kept the Indians fans coming to the stadium even when the Indians had one of the worst records in baseball.  So, when they decided to open a restaurant that serves hot dogs, they decided to serve that mustard.

When our dogs are ready, we say our good-byes after getting directions on where to buy beer.  We didn’t realize they always sell beer at the market, not just during Oktoberfest, but there are only a couple of vendors rather than a bunch.  As we make our way towards the beer, we pause to take a bite of our dogs.  My teeth pierce the skin of the dog and juice squirts out a good 3 feet.  I laugh.  As I chew my mouthful, I’m impressed.  “Good dog!” I say.

We drink our beers and finish our dogs slowly, wandering around and checking out the vendors who are there today.  Some of the same photographers are there, including one that prints the photos on fabric so they look like a photo-painting.  I do not like this look.  As Pat says, “It should be on black velvet.”

We visit the produce vendors next and pick up some watercress, radishes, tarragon, and lettuce.  We’ve decided we’ll make my favorite salad with the first three ingredients, although we will have to supplement with a few items from the grocery store.

Having eaten, wandered, and purchased everything we could use, we decide to head on home.  The crowd on the Walnut St Bridge has grown slightly, but we’re still able to make it safely through without walking our bikes.  We get home, unload our groceries, and collapse on the couch.  Having loosened some of the kinks out of my body, I’m now completely ready for an afternoon nap.  Ahh.  It’s the life of a good dog.

Main Street Market

It’s Wednesday. We plan on going to the Main St Market tonight, but it’s only open from 4-6PM. It’s a true farmer’s market with less craft stuff and more food stuff, from what we’ve heard. We’re hoping to find good local produce priced more reasonably than the Greenlife Grocery store. But, in order to get there with time to shop before they close, I will need to take a break from work no later than 4:45PM.

I am having one of those busy days with a calendar so full of meetings that I just keep collecting action items throughout the day. I manage to get some things done during the last call of the day, but I have only 45 minutes to make sure I get anything I need today from anyone in my time zone so I can finish up on the other items I need to get done today after I get back from the market. This, of course, takes longer than expected and we find ourselves rushing to get to the market at the last possible minute.

We grab our bikes and get downstairs as fast as we can. Then we realize rush hour has started and we need to revise our planned route. We will take Walnut St bridge instead of Market St, although it seems wrong that we would not take Market St to the market. It’s a beautiful fall evening to be out riding, even at rush hour. Once we make it to Walnut and start our way up this wood-surfaced bridge, the old nursery rhyme “To market, to market” starts in my head to the rhythm of our tires rolling over the wood planks. We, however, will not be buying any of the nursery rhyme items.

As we exit The Walnut St bridge, we realize we have the problem that we don’t actually know where we’re going. The Main St Market is somewhere on Main (yep, figured that part out all by ourselves) between Market St and Broad St. We know where Market and Broad are, but not where Main St is. We want to stay on Walnut as long as possible to avoid traffic, but we aren’t sure if Main and Walnut intersect. We cruise South and decide as long as we keep going South, we have to hit Main at some point. This turns out not to be true. Or, at least we run out of road before we hit Main. Then we have to go West to get to another road that goes South and we find the roads so confusing that we aren’t sure whether we could have gone around Main or not and are unsure of whether we’re too South or not South enough. We pull over and google.  As one might have predicted, we are not South enough.

We find just how South we need to be and head on down the road, finding the market just where google says it is. We are somewhat relieved that there are not that many tents set up–we wouldn’t have had time to peruse them all if it would have been a big market. Although fewer tents means fewer options, given that the season for fresh produce is winding down, I don’t know that even having 10 more vendors would have made the selection significantly more varied.

We circle our way around the market, selecting fresh green beans, gorgeous yams, and a bunch of multi-colored radishes that resemble a bouquet of flowers. Then, we get to a stand with wheat and wheat flour. I am tempted to buy some wheat four just to see if it works for bread, but I remind myself how long it’s been since I last made bread and decide I’m not likely to take up bread making as a hobby any time soon. Instead, we strike up a conversation with the wheat farmer and learn that he teaches Spanish at one of the local schools and farms wheat in his spare time. He tells us that he has wheat all year long here and that the market stays open, although the hours go to 4-5 in December when there isn’t enough light to see after 5. I had forgotten about the short days coming–I guess the longer duration of daylight savings time has me thrown.

Next, we visit Lou and Eddie’s stand. We met them at the Oktoberfest market and have been enjoying their honey for the past few days. Although we have met them inly two times briefly and as customers, I feel like we’re visiting old friends. Lou takes me to a cheese maker’s booth and has me try the cheeses. The cheese maker suggests the milder of her two cheeses to try with slices of honeycomb (also purchased on Sunday). I then return to Lou’s booth and we end up chatting about hair while Pat and Eddie finish their conversation. Eddie tells us he’s going to be semi-retired soon. I suggest he should label his honey “Limited Edition” and charge more.

Next, we hit the last few stands, getting a few purple peppers and a small, heavy loaf of whole wheat bread with a crisp crust. Pat selects the bread and then asks how much it is. We are both surprised when the baker says it’s $6–the produce has all be very reasonably priced.  Pat nearly hands it back to her, but doesn’t since he didn’t ask before she bagged it. We contemplate the loaf of bread and wonder if it’s baked with gold, which would explain both it’s price and it’s weight. As we walk away, I wonder if we got the “let’s see how much you fools are willing to spend on bread” price and if, perhaps we were supposed to barter.

As we return to the honey stand to say our good-byes (we really didn’t need to rush so much to get here after all), a car goes by in the street and a man with a bull horn leans out the window and starts saying things. Everyone looks puzzled–either the bullhorn or alcohol has garbled the man’ speech and no one can understand what he’s trying to say. Fortunately, he moves on.

On the way back, we decide to turn off Market St early so we can avoid going up a really steep hill to the Walnut St bridge. However, we had failed to notice on the way out that Walnut is one-way between the bridge and where we are and we are now going to the wrong way.  Because the road is narrow and has parked cars, we decide not to risk it and go around the block instead.  As we wait to cross a fairly busy intersection, a guy with a bullhorn drives buy, also barking unintelligibly from the car window.  I ask Pat, “Was that the same guy as over at the Market?”  and Pat says, “There was a guy with a bullhorn at the market?  What’d he say?”  I have to laugh because of course, no one knows and I am also amused that Pat was apparently engrossed in a conversation to the extent that he missed a guy with a bullhorn.  In any case, since the odds of there being two such men with bullhorns seem smaller than the odds of there being one, I have to assume that it’s the same guy, driving around Chattanooga looking for people to shout something at.  I wonder if he is just having fun and doesn’t care that no one can understand him or if he actually believes he has an important message that everyone must hear and doesn’t realize no one can understand him?  Either way, it’s clearly a poor choice of communication methods.  One of my favorite (mis-)quotes from Emerson pops into my head:  “Who you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”  The fact that the bullhorn makes the shouting literal in this case makes me smile.

When we return home, I roast the sweet potatoes and green beans in the oven while Pat prepares salmon.  We try the bread and it’s good, but not $6 good.  I go back to work between cooking and eating and then manage to finish up the critical items I needed to get done today in another couple of hours after we eat.  I am wound up after working late all week and take my iPad to bed with me in the hope of getting my mind off work enough to fall asleep.  When at last I drift off, I think of the man with the bullhorn one last time and smile.