[M.A.P.L.E. IV-9] Flood!

This is a Freewrite with the prompt word “flood.” I know I can start with a few relevant examples.

On Wednesday, severe weather hit Nebraska hard. Although  I was not there, I certainly saw the aftermath of it on TV, Facebook, and other venues. I tried to call Mom and Dad on Wednesday night after getting back from the basketball banquet, and they luckily picked up in one piece.  They were hanging out in our basement, and had no flooding.  But the rain caused major reductions in visibility!

It reminds me, thinking of reduced visibility, once when I was riding my bike home from an SPG Improv workshop. There was a torrent of rain that I waited out in the lobby of Seabury, and finally it stopped raining, so I thought I had a chance to get home (about a 4-minute bike ride).

But a minute after I left, the torrential rain continued. It stung my eyes (despite my eyeglasses), and I had a REALLY hard time seeing. I should have stopped and waited out the weather (while getting soaked!), but I obstinately continued back to the apartment. The good news: I got home safely, and all of my possessions were in one piece.

Speaking of biking at Northwestern, the road to Lakeside Field (Lincoln Avenue) has been under destruction/construction these last few weeks. With this situation, there is a one-lane road with a stoplight taking the place of a STOP/SLOW flag-man. Thankfully, I never had to wait there, since I ould use the sidewalk and bypass this region. (Not to mention also: it would be illegal to ride in this area… the signs near it specifically say “no bikes or pedestrians.”)

This one-lane road also reminds me of road trips that we took in 1993-6, when we lived in Fort Dodge.  One trip that took us to Nebraska was dark and stormy, but we traveled during the day. I can’t remember the exact year, but the salient part of the trip was along U.S. Highway 30.  Just like the previous paragraph, there was a stretch of the highway that was a one-lane road due to construction.  There was either a flagman or a temporary stoplight.

Well, either on this trip or a previous one, the bad weather that I mentioned cuased some road flooding, and there was definitely flooding in the roadside ditches.  Because this was on Highway 30 near Denison, Iowa, we (i.e., my siblings and I) nicknamed the place Deniflood.

Deniflood? That was the second time that we nicknamed the town something other than its actual name. (In retrospect, there’s something that is cool about “Deniflood…” try calling it “Deniwood” and notice a feature of the town, in the picture below:

Courtesy Best Western Iowa.

But, no. Near the intersection of Highway 30 and 71 (I think), my family always noticed something that smelled really weird: a combination of cow doo-doo and factory smells. As a result of this, my siblings and I started calling the place “Denistink.” The last time that my parents and I drove through the area in 2009, I didn’t notice any horrible smells.

Oh, and about horrible smells, that reminds me of the song “Interstate 80 Iowa.” I’ll post it at the end of the post after the clock hits zero: I’ve only got 90 seconds left!

Floods: I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post about the flood on my sixth birthday. I’d still like to go canoeing, even though I did it in a proper sense in 2008. Come to think of it, that week seemed a week of “history repeating itself” in some strange way… much like how I interpreted my eleventh-grade year. That may be a new blog post later… and that’s TIME!!

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Today is the ninth day of the fourth round of M.A.P.L.E. That makes one week and two days.

היום חמישה ושלושים יום–שהם חמישה שבועות לעומר

Countdown to “D-Day”: 23 days.

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[433/441] Joy and obsession of mundane

When thinking about a blog post for today, I was skimming the Chicago Tribune website, looking for an article about the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament.  Though I did not find much about it (women’s sports don’t get a lot of media coverage), I did find an excellent article, which I would like to summarize and reflect on.  After all, it relates to MY story!  In this post, I both summarize the article which I read, and then reflect on it.

The mundane can be special…

Day of double irony

Today was a day of double irony, and not in the sense of Alanis Morisette’s song.

First, I rode to the Bike To Work Rally with some of the members of the Evanston Bike Club.  The irony here is probably obvious: I played hooky from work today to enjoy the weather and get another bike ride in.  That’s one advantage when the advisor is out of town, and since I work hard during most of the days.  I’ll call it a small reward for finishing the TA work of the quarter on Wednesday.  Does that seem like a reasonable excuse?

It was a fun rally!  I got a free T-shirt, bagel, water, and KIND bar.  I saw Dan (manager of Team To End AIDS when I did it two years ago), Julie (head of The Chainlink), and enjoyed the program, where some of the bigwigs talked about the vision for Chicago, with Divvy, more bike lanes and infrastructure, and basically how to make Chicago even greener and more bike-friendly.

Second, I then biked to Deerfield… in order to go to the DMV to get an Illinois DRIVER’S license.  Thankfully, after getting through the short Duloc-style line that Shrek and Donkey just ran right through, the gatekeeper who approved my ID documents said that I would only need a written test.  Yay–so I didn’t waste a trip since I don’t have a car!

However, it was a long, annoying wait in line–at least I could sit down!  The screen showing the numbers and the counters sometimes repeated the same number up to four times.  “Now serving H 8 8 8 at counter number 5. <Repeated three times>”  My number was F646, and for the first twenty minutes, there were no “F” numbers called.  The first “F” was F638, so I figured I would have to wait a while.  While waiting, I overheard some of the music in the background faintly, attempted to journal, and occasionally clomped in my bike shoes over from the cattle car to the window–my bike’s lock had not been tampered.

Fast-forwarding past the irritating wait of over an hour, the mechanical woman’s voice proclaimed in an articulation that could be a singsong, “Now serving F Six Four Six at counter number 8.”  This was the one essentially in front of me, and the attendant saw my enthusiasm as I rose and said, “Yes!” immediately after seeing the number on the screen.  I paid the fee and took the easy written test, sitting in a school-style desk.  My photo shows my curly hair, which I probably need to get cut soon.  I was partially irritated with the wait since my lunch time had a cap at 14:00.

My favorite thing: ROAD DESTRUCTION, made the exit from the DMV a little awkward.  After riding on some neighborhood roads, I popped out onto Deerfield Road, got to the Skokie Valley Trail, and in short order arrived at Mizrahi Grill, since this was one of my reasons for going all the way north to Deerfield.

Lunch was wonderful!  I had a pita with schawarma, and also a side of fries.  I find it interesting that schawarma is often paired with fries, as this is not the first time that I have had this pairing.  Indeed, this was also combined when I went to פלאפל ירושלים (Jerusalem Falafel) in באר-שבע (Beer-sheva).  Interestingly, there were several other connections to July 28, 2011 in today:

* The food connection above, with a further idea:

–> Got to eat outside on a pleasant day!  (Unfortunately, this time I was not accompanied by anyone on Birthright, although I saw someone outside who strongly resembled, but was not, ברכה (Bracha, my ulpan teacher from 2011-12)).

* The bike riding did a number on my bladder :p (Sometimes, my bladder is more of a limiting factor in continuous riding for me than my stamina…)

* I got up prior to sunrise.

* I was required to give my demographic information at a government agency.

Isn’t it funny how that works?  On my return ride home, I was a lot slower than I might have otherwise been, because the food was deceptively filling.  At least it was bike-riding, which is much easier on the GI than running.

THANKFULLY, there was no injury this time.

To cut the post, I’m trying to use 10,000 spoons.  It’s not very effective…