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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

On a lovely warm Sunday afternoon, the much-improved end to the 50 Fixed Women Ride’s rainy start, a bunch of us were gathered at The (old) Ship, in Fulham, and it was discovered that one of the ladies rides a bike that has a 52×52 cm frame. This is exactly what I’m looking for, after having discovered that for longer rides, exactly the right size frame is kinda necessary and my 52×54 (seat tube x top tube, for those not conversant) frame is just a bit too big for me. This wonderful, metallic cherry-lipstick-red frame only had clipless pedals though, and I can’t ride clipless yet. But what do you know? The owner of said frame also wears my size shoe and was perfectly OK with swapping shoes so I could have a clipless experience!

She showed me how to clip my dominant side in, then sent me off, and I pedaled slowly around the pub’s green past kids on scooters, fellow imbibers, under trees, past brick walls, along the river path, avoiding stairs, and back around, three or four times, completely unsuccessful in my attempt to clip the other shoe into the pedal. I finally gave up and got an explanation on how to get the other one in (tip toe towards ground, push) and was off!

Joy! A responsive bicycle experience is suddenly so much more responsive! Can I skid to a stop? Let me try! Pedal, pedal, pedal towards friends, lock legs, skid to a gorgeous stop exactly where I had intended to, on dry pavement (!)……and fall right over, slow-mo stylee! I just had to laugh, I was barely hurt, just a few grazes to my left lower leg, and then discovered I was stuck in the pedals! Cue more hilarious laughter from friends and onlookers alike, and the eventual discovery that I can, indeed, unclip from the pedals while laying on the ground.

Oh man, I gotta try more of this! Am currently on the hunt for shoes, cleats (to go in the shoes), and pedals, and will detail the continuing adventures of yohabloespanglish y los equipos sin clips!

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I did a little research on my sewing problem, utilizing a gift from my mom, in the form of Nancy Zieman’s book Fitting Finesse, to find out why everything seemed to come out too big, regardless of whether I measured for my size, or how exactly I matched the stated size on the pattern. It turns out that because my bust is larger than what most pattern makers design for by using my bust as the guiding measurement makes everything else too big, hence the too large dress (though 10″ of ease is QUITE large), the too large blouse I’m making, the too large everything. She suggests going by the “front width” measurement but if I go by that I am less than a size 6. Hm.

The thing with vintage patterns, though, is that I’ve made them and they’re not as far off. The little jacket I made fit perfectly. The dress that I made needed only to deepen the darts at the back. So now I just have to learn how to alter patterns because it will be a requirement in anything I make. I’m looking forward to it! At present, though, I have about 6 patterns that may or may not fit me (especially a jacket pattern with no back darts) and I want to be sure they’re right before I cut into fabric.

To that end, I and two friends I’ve met through the LFGSS are going around London visiting fabric shops today, one in Lewisham and one near Hackney. A stopover at one of their friend’s places, in the first part of the day, will allow me to talk to someone about pattern altering and perhaps see if I can pay her to alter mine so I can have something to do until I can find a class. Or maybe I can pay her to let me come over and have her teach me. Then in about a week and a half we’ll end up over at one of their houses, up to the craft room (!!) to work on our various projects all day, punctuated by cocktails and homemade pizza.

Last night was one of those horrible sleep nights where you’re waking up every hour. It’s gonna be a two-cup a’ coffee kinda day.

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I think rhubarb is mostly seen as a sour, strange thing in the States, though that may just be my Southernness, as it doesn’t grow down there. I personally love tangy rhubarb pie and sweet delicious strawberry-rhubarb pie (and jam!). Since coming to London, I have noticed the British predilection for rhubarb; it’s sold at every place that sells fruit & veg, around this time, and every major brand of yogurt makes a variant (even Activia!). I am in LOVE with rhubarb yogurt! A while back I bought a yogurt machine but it just ended up being a bit more work than I had anticipated and you can’t re-use any of the pots you make to start more than the very next batch, or at least so I remember. I am up for the challenge of making yogurt again, but I need to buy a strainer. I think that’s what was the problem with my last attempt; it was so wet it hardly resembled yogurt, especially when I’d been eating thick-as Greek yogurt.

I also really want to can things. When I tell young British people they should can something, they look at me like they’re waiting for me to finish the sentence. It’s then I realize that I haven’t seen canning jars in the £ stores. Or anywhere else. And I think, “But this is England! Everyone prides themselves on their can-do, old school DIY, make-do attitude!” But it doesn’t seem like they can here the way we do in the States. So I’m not sure how I’ll can anything, especially since my main goal was to can tomatoes, and I’m pretty sure you can’t can tomatoes via the hot water method. Something about the acids, but I don’t quite know what. I am sure, however, that people make jam, so I wonder how they can it? I mean, do you have to close it up a different way than you close up canned veggies or soups or whatever?

£ stores, that reminds me of another story. Last night at South Drinks, a friend was saying her boyfriend wants a dog and she wants a cat. She’d told him they could get a dog only if they moved to a bigger place. I said, “Make sure you get a pound dog.” The two Brits stopped and sort of looked confused, so I said, “Wait, what do you call the RSPCA?” “For what, dogs? Cats? You just say “Battersea” (after the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home).” “Right, because we have £ stores. That would be a cheap dog!”

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It’s shocking how fast time has gone by and here I sit, a married lady for twelve days! I wish I had written about the wedding earlier, things are already starting to slip away.

For the first week I kept saying, “Dude! We’re married!” until he was sick of hearing it. But then he’d turn around and say, “You’re married to me! How does that feel?” We thought it wouldn’t change anything, getting married, it would still be just us, right? But there’s a definite feeling of being more closely bonded and shmoopy (though maybe that last bit is just on my part). He has a new-found, highly amusing tendency to tell me I have to turn down his side of the bed and have dinner waiting when he gets home. I laugh at him, or hit him, and then eat some peanut butter. It works.

As for the day itself, I’d been worried I’d forgotten to take care of something, or things wouldn’t go smoothly, and of course they didn’t. It wouldn’t be a wedding without things going wonky. From flowers that arrived packed not in boxes but flimsy paper bags, or with half the buds unopened (even to this day), to forgetting I would like an escort to the registry office, things were mildly difficult from the word GO! The car called to take the Moms and a bridesmaid, and the wedding dress and assorted items never showed up, but luck was with us in a roommate who owned a vehicle and hadn’t yet left for the wedding. The registry office was behind schedule and the groom and best man arrived before the wedding dress did, so I was in my riding outfit. A friend of ours from the States (who spent all her monies to get here!) was with me when she noticed them coming, grabbed me and steered me away, yelling at the groom to go away! but was not heeded.

In fact, he eventually came toward me, spoiling plans to keep us apart until the exact moment I walked in the registry office, but that was a foregone conclusion anyway. We ended up meeting in a lovely hug on flagstones, surrounded by friends, and staring at each other for about twenty minutes before the ceremony started, to The C-Quents’ “Dearest One”. This song is so ideal, a melding of his soul music and my doo wop, all wrapped in one perfect tune! With so many of our friends around us, our moms there, this fantastic song, my cheeks hurting because I was smiling so much, we walked in to begin the first steps to married life.

Wedding cake! An amazingly rich, three-tiered, marzipan-covered Guinness-soaked fruit cakestrocity! Apparently fruit cakes are customary at English weddings; I also had a fantastic vanilla cake layered with strawberry mousse and covered in cream cheese frosting, strawberries and silver decorator balls. It was gone in about 2.5 seconds flat but you bet I claimed the first gigantic piece for myself. Well, I did share a bite, as is traditional. And I ate marzipan cycling caps and cogs off the Guinness cake, as well as all I could manage of the richest cake I’ve ever eaten save flourless chocolate torte.

Dancing, drinking, eating, DJs, friends, bikes out the wazoo, we couldn’t have hoped for a better wedding day and reception! It passed in a blur, but at least we have the photos.

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Irony of the day: wearing my pink Local Girls t-shirt, sporting two different shades of hot pink nail polish (hey, I was testing out ridiculous pinks) and complaining about when bike companies put pink stuff on women’s accessories.

Bike shipping box, fork and dropout spacers, even tubing foam wrap! procured from LBS and I am now ready to get my bike back to London. I’m so annoyed that I haven’t been able to ride my bike around but I just don’t feel safe riding in Clearwater. Besides that, everything’s ages away from everything else, and if I have to get groceries, forget it. The boyfriend and I together can basically manage any shopping run or random trip to the store but when you’re buying a flat of dog food or 20 thousand cans of soup for your grandma, it’s a bit different. So I have yet another reason I can’t wait to get back to London, besides all the kisses I can handle and finally sleeping next to someone again.

Ooh, cool happening of the day: ran into a good friend from my childhood at the grocery store! She even lives around the corner from my mom, with her two kids! Too cool.

Deep thought of the day: living with a hearing impaired person really teaches you about when it is and is not necessary to vocalize your thoughts.

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The boyfriend and I are having a somewhat non-traditional wedding, me not in white, no structured wedding party, a bike ride from the wedding to the reception, and so it was without fail that I had a non-traditional engagementwedding celebration party. By that I mean that my mother said, about three weeks ago, “Hey, do you want to have an engagement party?” and I said, “Hm, maybe?” and then it all just seemed to plop down, fully made, in a day and a half (Mom was on a cruise the week of the party).

I made tres leches cakes from a recipe found via the rabbit hole of cooking blogs, and 101 Cookbook’s Caramelized Onion Dip, which people went absolutely nuts over, and also her Hummus en Fuego, which did not end up being very fuego-y due to not adding any red pepper flakes to the Cuisinart. We had fruits, very delicious rum punch and a concord grape/lime juice/vodka drink that I sort of made up after having drunk a number of them at the Chinatown Brasserie in NYC. There were meatballs (never forget to make meatballs, they are always a hit), Sam’s Club appetizers, a giant Greek salad, little cheesecakes, Brie, and what else? Gosh, lots of food.

Lots of food, lots of booze, lots of friends; some of my buds from college came down from Tallahassee and I managed to have a playful scuffle over the last of the beets in the Greek salad which resulted in a bloody mole on the neck for me courtesy of a bracelet on the other contender. How is it I frequently manage to wrestle people roundabout the first time I meet them? My buddy the Weasel has been doing Brasilian Jiu Jitsu for a few years now and potentially made me interested in the form. I have been used to being able to hold my own in wrestling matches before, but maybe those boys were pulling their punches or just weak upper body-wise and have had my ass handed to me in a couple altercations in the past year and want to again surprise people with my strength.

Several of us had raging hangovers the next day, complements of the sneak-attack drunk that certain liquors early in the evening and certain beers later in the evening provide.

A few days after the party, after having eaten my way through part of the leftover tres leches, the argument went thusly:

Angel on shoulder: “Yes, the cake may be delicious but if you don’t stop eating it you won’t fit into your wedding dress.”
Demon on other: “You have a waist cincher and a month and a half, it’ll be fine!”
Self: “OK, but I’ll just eat the squishy bottoms and the maraschino cherries.”

Having accomplished that goal, but made myself a little sick doing so, I tossed the rest. Finito.

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(though in actuality, I will be in the mountains of the Fog Belt)

Saturday marks the third time in twenty four days that I will have hopped on a plane. Sleep is fractured, full of strange dreams and I awaken early most of the time. Last night’s dream was being in a flying contest [propelled by one’s own muscle power] where everyone was trying to cheat by pulling down everyone else’s vehicle, which were like tiny Victorian ideals of balloon travel, and then I actually got close to the front and one of the guys opted to lose, himself, in order to lead me wrong and make me lose. Obvious, much?

Until then, friends, friends’ children, Mom & Gma, the beach, and working on my tan.

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