My poor bike has been hanging neglected on my deck for a few good months. It’s collected an embarrassing amount of dust and cat hair along its greasy parts so I took a cloth rag and wiped it down and made it look a little more respectable.
On a weekend bike ride, I’ll just cruise down to the ocean and come back. According to Yahoo!Maps, that’s 3.9 miles each direction (or 6.2764416 km) and it normally takes me about 45 minutes for the round trip. I have no idea if that is a good time or an incredibly slow time, but that is my time and I’m fine with it.
Going to the ocean, I take Montana Avenue mostly and there are some fun parts where it slopes downhill and I don’t have to pedal and Whee! I feel like a kid. Then I head north a few blocks to take San Vicente Boulevard back home. San Vicente is a really wide street with bike lanes on each side and it’s fairly level. There’s a wide grassy median in the middle of San Vicente dividing the street in half. My neighborhood seems to be filled with healthy athletic types who are out cycling, walking, running, roller-blading and walking their dogs. If you don’t have strong self-esteem, you might feel a little less than sexy in the face of all those toned and fit souls who are out there getting even more toned and fit.
Sunday’s ride was hard. I don’t know if it’s because I am so terribly out of shape or because it’s been so long since I’ve been on my bike or if the winds were blowing really really hard (I am choosing to believe that it was this last option) but I was having a tough time out there. On gentle little slopes, I’d downshift to the lowest gear and could feel my muscles straining to push down the pedals. On the return trip up San Vicente Boulevard, I had to take two (okay, maybe three) breaks because my arse was sore and I could feel every single pebble on the road against my more ahem, delicate parts. And I was going so slowly I thought to myself that I could make better time if I got off my bike and walked it back home. And as an added bonus I didn’t feel the pebbles. I’d get back on my bike because I had no other choice and I couldn’t call m to pick me up since he was at the gym and I’d left my phone at home and we had plans to go out that night, so I couldn’t just take my sweet time. A snowy-haired elderly woman hobbling by with a cane passed me. I shifted up a gear and tried to pump my legs harder. A swollenly pregnant lady, glowing and peppy passed me. Okay, technically she was jogging in the opposite direction, but if she were heading in the same direction as me, I know she would have passed me.
Somehow I managed to make it back home where I lay on the floor of my living room trying to will myself to get up and cook the side dishes that I was responsible for our potluck picnic at the Hollywood Bowl that night. Somehow I must have done so because the next thing I remember is that we were at the Bowl going to our seats with our picnic baskets.
The Hollywood Bowl (yes that Hollywood Bowl) does a summer concert series where you can bring picnic baskets (with alcohol) and there are even tickets for $1 for seats all the way back which is a great deal because they are no worse than the seats you pay $13 for. They even have shuttle services for lots of L.A. locations for folks who don’t want to drive. It’s a neat way to enjoy a night out. And cheap too!
Sunday night was the last night of the summer concerts and Willie Nelson was playing with Ryan Adams and Neko Case (!). What a great trio of performances. Friends janet and eric joined us for a picnic and fun night out. We ate some great food under the watchful eye of a neighboring concert-goer who kept swiveling around to see what we were eating. I think she got a crick in her neck from all the swiveling and staring. It was pretty funny. Our menu consisted of:
- roasted Armenian style chicken and tri-tip schwarma from Zankou Chicken
- steamed brocoli with roasted garlic cloves drizzled with some really good kalamata olive oil
- tons of hummus and pita bread also from Zankou
- a La Brea Bakery baguette which I crisped in the oven before we left and put in the cooler to keep warm
- some really good brie for the baguette
- green grapes (because it makes some people fart and we thought that was kinda funny)
- assortment of olives in brine
- Estancia Pinot Noir which didn’t taste as good drunk out of a metallic lined travel mug
- Trader Joe’s baklava and profiteroles for dessert (I also heated the chocolate sauce packets at home and stuffed them in a travel mug to keep warm)
We made a happy mess stuffing ourselves with our delicious meal (doesn’t food just taste better when eaten in open air?) and leaned back to enjoy the music.
We heard Neko Case
who was funny and told us that “y’all’s food smells good” and commented on the coolness of playing at the Hollywood Bowl, just like Bugs Bunny. Her band was good, with a really kick-ass banjo player and her songs were charming.
It-boy Ryan Adams was up next
and what a let-down that was. All his songs sounded the same with too much self-indulgent noodling and the like. He was really absorbed with his guitar riffs and seemed to be playing for himself instead of for an audience. And then a two minute monologue about eggs (I kid you not, eggs, like the kind you get scrambled in a diner) during which I think janet fell asleep.
We were glad when it was finally over and we could enjoy Willie Nelson.
His show is actually called Willie Nelson with Family and Friends as his sister, two sons and friends each did a piece of their own. That was nice. Willie was great. He was funny and played all the favorites (Crazy, You Were Always On My Mind, On The Road Again, Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys), he played a beautiful Django Reinhardt number that was perfect for a moonlit evening outdoors and a few new tunes with funny lyrics that the crowd enjoyed. It was a good time.
Yesterday I was listening to my local public radio station and guess who was their guest studio performer? Neko Case! She played a few sets of music and then I won one of the signed autographed copies of her latest cd. Yay!