darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I was just standing here eating broccoli when it occurred to me how odd both of those things are. I switched to a standing workstation a couple of months ago, and somewhere in the last year or two I've finally managed to make vegetables a part of my everyday life. I believe, but can't prove, that each of these changes has been good for my health.

So I got to wondering what else I've changed in the last few years.

Turns out, quite a lot. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (true colors)
Sartorial )

I'm really having fun. And I'm working on some actual pictures of myself before and after Dressing Your Truth.

Deep roots

May. 14th, 2012 10:08 am
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
(Crossposted to [community profile] bicycles)

Back in 1895 or so, Miss Gertrude Cone (later Gertrude Yost, and my mother's mother's mother) put on her best outdoor gear and posed with her elegant ladies' bicycle at the side of the Willamette River in Portland.

It's nice to have roots. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (clothes)
After discovering that the Interim Holy Grail jeans fit today, I got really daring and decided to try on some other stuff from the back of my closet.

I found a whole outfit! )


Jun. 12th, 2010 04:10 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
What a day! What a day!

The sun came out. The temperature rose. I feel fantastic.

Summer! )

Laundry's on the line and drying fast. My sister's honeybees are buzzing. I'm heading back out now for seven more sets of flowers. Man, *these are the good old days.
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
Fun with privilege:

Dottie, the blogger-in-chief of my favorite bike blog, Chicago's Let's Go Ride a Bike, wrote a wonderful post today about the positive impact bike-riding can have on the self-esteem as well as the health of people who participate in it. She's a leading advocate of everyday biking for everyday people (with a cycle-chic slant endorsing the wearing of nice street clothes while doing it).

The most salient point of her post today is this:

When your body carries you several miles to and from work every day, you appreciate your body as a tool and a workhorse. When your lungs fill with air and your heart pumps energetically, you know your body is good, without having to examine it in the mirror, searching for flaws. If society declares that your body is not ideal because you are not skinny enough or muscular enough, or your hips or thighs are too big, you know that society is wrong because your body works for you admirably every day.

Words to bike by.

So of course some asshole has to weigh in. )

The more I ride my bike, the sharper my retorting skills become, I swear. (Also, I've been listening to Sian Phillips reading a Georgette Heyer novel, and those Regency cadences are stuck in my head.)
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
When I bought Clyde, there was no question in my mind that I would get a helmet at the same moment, and wear it every time I ride. I'm not so vain, nor is my hair so beautiful, that I can't bear to wear a dorky-looking hard shell on my head while I'm out on my bike.

It turns out that helmets are a wedge issue in the bike world. Some cycle-chic and slow-cycle advocates claim that helmets are a deterrent to appearance-conscious people (women and girls are usually mentioned) who might otherwise get on a bike. Fear of mandatory helmet laws drives a lot of your more gung-ho cyclists to hate helmets on principle.

There are lots of arguments out in the bike blogosphere about the relatively minor statistical value of helmets in preventing injury in bike accidents. In my mind, even the slightest statistical benefit makes the helmet worthwhile. This ain't Amsterdam. Even in Portland, bikes are in the very-small minority on the streets. Safety from automobiles is a BIG concern.

And yet.

My route to work is 75% on traffic-free neighborhood streets or bikeways. And it's spring. So today I rode 3.25 miles without my helmet, and three-quarters of a mile with, and I have to say, the helmetless part was awesome. I felt like people could see me. I was more part of the scene. People on foot--even other cyclists--smiled at me more.

And my hair was dry when I got to work, too.
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
I've discovered the secret to riding in a full skirt on a windy day. It's this incredibly clever idea, and I found it on The Internet!

Here's my new secret device. )
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
Two brand-new cycling experiences today, and one yesterday.

First, in my push toward a bit of cycle chic, I wore a skirt. It's a straight but stretchy number, quite long, so the getting on and off the bike was awkward (Clyde is not a skirt bike), but the riding itself was fine. Wore tights and wool leggings and a fur-collar wool jacket in the very chilly east wind we've got going, and was comfy and warm.

Second, there was some construction on the Eastbank Esplanade, and they had a flagger/traffic control guy there just for bikes! The flagger waved me through (when a space about 2 feet wide opened up behind the truck) with a kind of embarrassed "Yes, we really need to do this" little half-wave. So I threaded through and said hi to the crew, and a little farther on I saw what they were doing: they were planting new trees!

So it was an awesome ride to work.

Oh, and yesterday I gave my monthly bus pass to my nephew. My December one went entirely unused, and it seemed lame to waste the January one. I'm paid up through May, so he might as well use it to get to school. After May, it looks like I might be saving $300 a year.
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
While I eschew spandex, refuse to wear bright bilious rain gear, and get white around the nostrils at specialized bike-riding shoes, I'm not about to forgo two cycling safety measures: a helmet and lights.

But man, that shit is UGLY.

I'm working on that. )
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
I used to be fashionable. Despite needing bigger shoes and wider, longer clothes than ever went on sale at Nordstrom, I used to be a sharp-dressed woman. In the periods when I managed to diet myself into the normal size ranges, I was killer. Take my word for it.

But a job not requiring dress-up, and passing the age-45 mark, and losing what little ability I ever had to diet myself into the normal size ranges have all conspired to reduce me to black pants and a selection of jackets, and the removal of full-length mirrors from my house.

One of the coolest things about riding Clyde has been that I've taken an interest in my wardrobe for the first time in YEARS. Riding around town on an upright, comfortable bike is not only something a gal can do in fun clothes: it makes a gal feel like she deserves them again!

I won't be visiting Abercrombie & Fitch anytime soon, but hey, it's a start. )

Next up: helmets, lights and reflectors: trying to make safety attractive.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Well, I tweeted too soon. Of course.

Me, yesterday: Amazing how often it doesn't actually rain in Portland. I've cycled every day & been drenched only once. The weather is great from a bike! 12:59 PM Dec 14th from TwitterGadget


Make that drenched twice now. And just keep counting, twice more for every workday between now and Xmas, because it's pissing it down out there in that endless Pacific Northwest way that caused the Journals of Lewis and Clark to begin many a day in 1805 with "Cloudy windey morning wind from the East" and end it with "began to rain hard at Sun Set and Continued".

Merino wool is my new best friend! I found Minus33, a source of washable merino wool sport garments IN MY SIZE. I wore my new thin wool leggings and socks today, and though I was pretty soaked, I was warm and comfy. I wrote a fan letter to Minus33 to thank them for acknowledging that yes, big women do go outdoors in the wintertime.

Seriously, how much of the vaunted inactivity of large people is owing to their ghettoization by the American bullshit notion that activity=competitive sports and fitness=Olympic training? You don't need special gear to go outside and move around, but you DO need climate-appropriate clothes. The acrylic and polyester that fills up the plus-size shops is not adequate...but the sporting-specific shops look at you with a kind of pity when you wander over to their clothing racks.

So, thank you Minus33! If you had anything other than black, I'd buy one of every color!
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
It took me less than an hour to reassemble Clyde today. While I was at it, I cleaned him up a little, then degreased and re-lubed the chain (I now have pink dishwashing gloves on board for this sort of thing--my sister thinks that's lame, but the black-fingernail look is not Cycle Chic!), then rode a few blocks.

A tentative thumbs up: the rear tube seems to be holding.

Now I'm obsessed with making my own panniers. I found an Instructable on the subject (I love Instructables!), and now I'm on eBay bidding on old beat up leather messenger bags that might be converted.

On a completely unrelated note, Ciao Bella's Malted Milk Ball Gelato is worth a trip to the store. It's malted-flavor gelato with chocolate malt balls in it! I'm sort of hooked.


Nov. 25th, 2009 10:39 am
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
There's this Tweed Ride that started in London last winter. They wear tweed. They ride in London. Down Savile Row where the tailoring comes from, and twice across the Thames, and through Hyde Park, and all around. And they give prizes: Most Dapper Chap, Most Dashing Dame, Best Mustache (open to all genders).

And maybe it's just me, but this fabulous photo from the event is just...*guh*...and makes me want to write early 20th century bicycle slash.

And anyway, we're going to have a Tweed Ride in Portland! In January. So I'm going to start hunting for something tweed to wear. This could make me get out my sewing machine again. It really could.

Cycle Chic

Sep. 27th, 2009 10:51 am
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
Now that I've been at this cycling thing for a few weeks, I'm becoming conscious of some nuances of bicycling culture.

There Are Two Main Kinds of Cyclist in Portland... )

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