biking to the public market

This morning I decided to take my bike for a ride.  It finally stopped snowing here, and I have been enjoying taking my bike out more.  I was excited to get the bike last summer, but I quickly discovered that I don’t really like biking to nowhere.  We live very close to the Erie Canal Path, and I thought I would like to just go for joyrides and exercise.  Turns out I don’t. But biking to run errands or to visit Alan at school?  Super fun!

So far I haven’t gone more than a couple of miles each way.  Last summer I did ride up the Canal Path to a Wegmans in the heat of summer.  It was about four miles each way.  I put on a backpack, rode in the heat, bought some food, loaded it into my backpack, and rode back through the heat.  It was terrible.  I hated it. So I’ve been keeping my rides pretty short.

I have a Haro hybrid comfort bike.  I sit pretty upright on it when I ride, and it’s definitely not built for speed.  As I’ve been getting more excited about riding my bike, I’ve been reading some bike blogs which make me even more excited about riding.  These ladies ride their bikes to places (and sometimes just for exercise).  They go shopping.  They go to yoga class.  They go on bike dates.

So I was inspired to bike to the Rochester Public Market this morning.  According to google maps, it’s 5.3 miles via bike, which should take 35 minutes.  (It’s 7.8 miles and 15 minutes via car—biking isn’t that much longer!)

my bike, ready to go to the market!

I wanted to go early, since the Saturday crowds at the market can be crazy.  My alarm went off at 5:45, and Alan and I left the house around 6:20.  Alan biked with me as far as the University.  My rear tire was a little flat, and our bike pump was at school.  He helped me inflate the tire, and then he rode back home while I went north.

Alan putting air in the tire

I went north on the east side of the the Genesee River Trail all the way to downtown.  It was a nice ride.  At one point I could see the city buildings, and they seemed so far away.  I thought that I had gotten in over my head.  But before I knew it, I was there!

Map from google: I rode on the east side of the river, from “B” to “C” on the way there

I weaved through the city streets as the river path ended.  I try to obey traffic lights and signs when I ride my bike.  But a lot of the roads were one way.  I’m not sure whether bikes are supposed to ride the wrong way on one way streets.  But I’m not really comfortable doing it myself.  Fortunately, there were practically no cars in the city before 7:00am.

I crossed Main Street at 7:07 (there was a bank clock), and pulled into the market.  I locked up my bike, and began shopping!  I didn’t feel too tired or like my legs wouldn’t take me home.  I think that part of the reason it was easier than my four-miler to Wegmans was the weather.  It’s a lot easier to bike in 45 degree weather than 80 degrees.  Also, I didn’t concern myself with speed—I just chugged along.

After twenty minutes or so I had my groceries.  I got black plums, black grapes, ramps (pizza tonight!), potatoes, red Thai peppers, a tuna filet, and a quart of organic yogurt.  I didn’t want to buy too much and not be able to fit it into my baskets.

Bike loaded with groceries

But everything fit fine.  I probably could have bought twice the volume, and been just fine.  I installed a set of Wald folding baskets on my bike this week, and I love them!  The collapse down to just an inch when not in use, and hold like 50 pounds each when expanded.  (You can see how they look in the picture of Alan inflating the tire with one collapsed and one expanded.)  I much prefer to bike with cargo on the bike, than to have it on my back (another reason this trip was better than the Wegmans trip).

The trip home was also good.  I decided to try to take Main Street to the river path.  It was kind of crazy!  There were definitely more cars, and buses (which were not as scary to drive with as I anticipated).  The biggest difference was that I had a hard time finding the river path.  I figured once I crossed the bridge, that it would be pretty obvious.  But I ended up riding along Exchange Street for a while, and cutting through a parking lot to get to the path.

Same google map: I took the west path from “C” to “D” home

The path was nice, and I felt really good riding home.  In fact, I could barely believe when I was back to the university.  It felt like such a quick ride!  The worst part of the whole ride was Brooks Avenue, the last east-west leg there.  It’s a steady climb to the top, and my legs were feeling it.

But I made it!  I got home at 8:10, 35 minutes after I left the market.  I thought for sure I’d be much slower than the google prediction. I have a great sense of accomplishment—this was the longest ride I’ve taken yet!  And I got groceries!  And I went on a path I’ve never been before!

I’m also really excited about how easy it is to ride into the city.  Before I leave for the summer, I want to go with Alan on some bike dates into the city: to Dinosaur BBQ for dinner, to Geva Theatre for improv, to the Little Theater, to the Golden Port Dim Sum restaurant.  It’s really amazing how easily you can get around on bike.  We live right on the edge of the city, but I still think that we can take advantage of city amenities on bike!



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still here

We’re still here, just busy. I have end of the semester projects and papers, finals to study for (the only grade of the semester for Law classes), and continuing responsibilities for the two law journals I’m on.

Alan continues his research, which requires long hours in the lab and on the computer.

The only significant recent change is that it finally stopped snowing in WNY, so I’ve started to ride my bike around. I installed a rear rack and folding baskets on my bike on Tuesday. It’s fun now to bike to a Tops a mile and a half away, buy some groceries, load up the baskets, and ride home. I’m going to try to go all the way to the Public Market tomorrow. It’s more like five miles. We’ll see how I do…



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Burned Buns

The other day I was making Alan some pizza burgers for lunch.  I tossed the hamburger buns under the broiler for the last minute.  Turns out a minute was too long. (Side note: the digital timer on our oven can’t be set for less than one minute.  It seems like a design flaw to me…)

one burned bun

Rather than toss the burned bun, I got out my cheap grater…

cheese grater

(Pardon the cheese crumbs!)

…and scraped it lightly across the surface of the burned bun, sharp side down.

scrape lightly

A thin layer of burned bits will come off, but the bun will still be toasty.


It also works on burned banana bread.  Sure you could just cut the burned part off, but then you lose all the crust, which is the best part of banana bread.  Also, this method works better than scraping the burned part with a knife.  The sharp grater seems to be the ideal scraping plane.  (I’m a burned food expert, apparently…)

So I hope you’re better than me, and that you won’t have to use this trick!




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special dinner

Yesterday I was driving home from Buffalo, and I called Alan (as I usually do) to talk about dinner plans.  The menu on the fridge says we should have tofu coconut curry with snow peas and rice.

But, for the first time ever, Alan said, “I took care of dinner.”

I said, “what?”

“Don’t worry about it.  It’ll be at 7:15.  Oh, and you should wear a dress or something.”

After quite a bit of asking, begging, and pleading on my part, Alan held firm, and wouldn’t tell me what was up.

So I came home, did some work, watched some hulu (I missed all my NBC comedies Thursday night!), curled my hair and put on a dress.  Alan came home around 6:40, took a shower, shaved, and put on khakis (!) and a long-sleeved (!) button-up shirt (!).

looking for a belt

I drove (as usual), and Alan directed me to………


I’ve heard their commercials since I was a kid, but I’ve never been!  Good job, Alan!

We went to celebrate a lot of cool things that have happened in our lives (mostly my life, probably) in the last few weeks.

1. I got accepted to work for the UNDP in Kosovo this summer.

2. I found out that my trip will be funded through the Buffalo Human Rights Fellowship.

3. I was elected as Editor-in-Chief for the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review for next year.

I want to work in international development and human rights law, and the past two weeks have been a huge reassurance to me.  (I also was accepted at a summer program with IJM, the other organization I dream of working for, but ultimately decided to go with the UN.)

Back to dinner:  We ordered arancini for an appetizer.  I’ve tried to make arancini before, and I wanted to see how mine compared.  Theirs are better.

Alan ordered lasagna, and I had lobster fettuccine.  So delicious!  And the prices were not as super-expensive as I thought they were: maybe just one step up from Macaroni Grill.

after dinner

statue outside the restaurant

It was a lovely dinner, and a really nice night.  Thanks, Alan!



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Grandpa’s Memorial Service

Yesterday Alan and I drove down to Ithaca for my Grandpa Ludington’s memorial service.  In July 2010 he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most common and aggressive form of primary brain tumor.  He had brain surgery, chemo, and radiation.  But it wasn’t enough, and he passed away on February 12, 2011, just seven months after his diagnosis.

The service was held in the church he and my grandma attended for more than 30 years: Bethel Grove Bible Church.  I will weave together pictures from the service with a brief biography [update: the biography is taken from the memorial service program] of him.

Born in Holley, NY, Dave [my grandpa] graduated from Cornell with a B.S. (1956) and an M.S. (1959), both in Agricultural Engineering; he earned a Ph.D. from Purdue University in Agricultural and Sanitary Engineering in 1968.

at the church

He joined the faculty at Cornell in 1959 in the Department of Agricultural Engineering, where he taught and conducted research for 35 years, before retiring in 1995.  During that period, he taught courses in electricity, refrigeration, energy technology, water pollution, and environmental technology.  As founder and director of the Cornell Agricultural Energy Program, he helped establish seven demonstration farms that showed the farm public what can be accomplished through the use of sound energy management technologies.

Dave Jones: friend, Pastor of Bethel Grove Church

After retiring from Cornell, Dave founded DLTech, a consulting firm that worked with dairy farmers to produce a better product, conserve energy, and improve profitability.  Recently, he directed work in anaerobic digestion on dairy farms.  He was still working with several farms until the time of his diagnosis….

Kirsten Seitz Peltz

Dave received Christ as his personal Savior at age 30, and that decision impacted the rest of his life.  He received great pleasure in ministering to those who attended Bethel Grove Bible Church, by serving as a deacon, elder, Sunday School teacher, small group leader, member of the finance committee, and by the church bus.

Chuck Tompkins, former Pastor of Bethel Grove

He was passionate about his family—Letty, his wife of 54 years, and their three children, Debbie, Paul, and Anne, their spouses and eight grandchildren.  He was blessed with his first great-grandchild in January, 2010.

Teresa Ludington (my mother), reading a eulogy


It was a good kind of memorial service: a nice mixture of sadness and celebration.  It was also really nice to see so many family members together!

My sister Katherine came down from Boston:

People say we look alike…

My brother Dan and his wife Kristen came up from DC


Alan even wore a suit!

Doesn’t he look happy to be in a suit?

There were two receptions.  The first was on the church property, and there were a LOT of people there!

In the evening there was a smaller (but still 70 people!) reception for family, closest friends, and people who had traveled long distances to come.  We shared some more rememberances, and enjoyed the company of people we get to see so infrequently.

All in all, it was a good day.  I really am going to miss my grandpa.  He was an exceptionally kind man, who gave you his full attention when you were speaking.  He always learned the names of waitresses when we went out to dinner, and would tease them with a big smile and a twinkle in his eye.  He was spunky and active, and a lot of fun to be around.

Someone said that it was ironic that he would have loved to be there, at his own funeral.  He would have been so happy to greet all of his friends.

Love you, Grandpa!

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