Five Boro Bike Tour – cold, wet, and fantastic!

May 5, 2019

I’ve wanted to do the New York Five Boro Bike tour for a number of years, but had been put off by all the details and complications of getting into the city with my bike and gear. This year I was going to plan ahead and do whatever it took to make it happen. I registered way back in November and planned to stay overnight in the Village with my colleague Jayn Rosenfeld. She had done the ride many times and would help with logistics and moral support. She picked up my packet at the NY Bike Expo Friday morning, and I drove in Saturday afternoon and parked at a very expensive garage on 11thstreet. The weather on Saturday was lovely and I enjoyed walking my bike and overnight backpack through the streets of Greenwich Village. Jayn and I had a wonderful and long overdue visit before we each had to set out for evening plans. She and her husband were going to a concert. I met a former student for dinner and then had comps to see the first preview of the new production of Frankie and Johnnyon Broadway. Maybe it was crazy to have a night out before a big biking day, but I had a great time and managed to find my way back to Horatio St. before 11. I actually slept pretty well with Benadryl and ear plugs.

As forecast, Sunday morning it was raining, and it rained pretty steadily all day. My biking friend Muffin had told me what rain gear to wear, but even with waterproof pants, a new rain jacket from EMS and a shower cap over my helmet, I got wet fairly quickly, and stayed wet all day. Luckily it was not windy, or too cold, in the high 50s, so I was not terribly uncomfortable, but it probably kept away many of the 30,000 riders who were supposed to participate. Jayn decided to start a half hour later than we were scheduled, to avoid the heaviest rain, but I ended up not riding with her and her friends and family. It was easier not to keep track of a group through the crowds, and they ultimately decided to take the subway home from Queens when they got too cold and wet.

I rode alone as I have in many other biking events, but I was surrounded by people and had a fantastic time. Everyone was very friendly and considerate, and I heard many different languages being spoken all around me. There were old people and young people, fit people and not so fit people, high end bikes and neoprene gear and clunky bikes and makeshift gear. It was a typical New York showing of the whole range of humanity. The support staff and volunteers were impressive: even in the rain, bands played along the route, cheering squads urged us on, and volunteers with bull horns alerted us to sharp turns or slippery curves and hills as we made our way along. It was a thrill to ride up 6thAvenue past Macy’s and Radio City, through Central Park, across a number of famous bridges, around neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn I had never seen, and even on the BQE highway, all with no cars! 

The first rest stop at mile 15 was a zoo with hundreds of port-a-potties. The next one was much less busy and I helped myself to a banana and dried fruit treats to keep my energy up. I felt strong and triumphant as I sailed over the Verrazano Bridge and into the finish festival at mile 40. Trying to pull my wet gloves and bike shorts back on after the port-a-potty was not fun, however, and wading across a mud swamp with my bike and thousands of others to get to the exit was one of the low points of the day. It was windy on the road to the Staten Island Ferry, and the traditional treat of ice cream as we neared the terminal was not quite what I was wanting. I eagerly gobbled up the sugar as I waited in line to board nevertheless. The mood on the ferry was pretty quiet: everyone was cold, wet and tired, yet happy to be out of the elements. I was charging my phone on the lower level and didn’t see any views of Manhattan as we approached, but the whole city was in a cloud of fog so I didn’t miss much.

Fellow cyclists helped me find the West Side Bike Path as I disembarked and it was only a few miles north to get to 11thStreet and Jayn’s apartment. The bike path was deserted and wonderful to ride on, but it was a bit unpleasant to go back out into the rain after the respite of the ferry. Finally back at Horatio Street, I stood in a hot shower for a long time and then traded stories of the day with Jayn and her friends. I didn’t stay for dinner, but walked back to the parking garage where my car was waiting for me. The rain had finally stopped and I had an easy drive home. I rode 47 mile total for the day and had the most wonderful time, even in the rain!

No now, now, and the Super Moon

March 25, 2019


It was spring break at Princeton and I had arranged to spend 10 days at Forest Refuge in Barre. Michael was back to teaching and conducting in the second semester. He had also been in sinus rhythm for several weeks after his third cardioversion, and was significantly happier than he had been all fall. He is still not back to full energy or physical mobility, and he still enjoys his afternoon naps. This may well be the new normal for him at almost 70 years old. He assured me he would be able to handle things at home with Louie while I was gone. Continue reading

Louie at the Farm

January 30, 2019


Louie and I just got home from our second visit to Preston, CT and cousin Mike and Kathy’s farm. The first visit was back in December where Louie discovered dog heaven, with fields and wooded trails to run in, goats to chase, and donkeys and alpaca to investigate. The second time, he met 14-week-old Tessa, the impossibly cute golden retriever puppy, the newest member of their family. Continue reading

Welcome Louie

September 1, 2018


Today we got a new puppy. He is 10 weeks old. (I am writing this several months later.) His name is Meriweather Louis, after the intrepid explorer of the American West, and we got him from Cerise English Springer Spaniels in Sherman, CT. Michael had found out about the breeder, and I had visited last March, on my way home from a meditation retreat in Barre. After all the mysterious and unexpected health problems Hugo developed, we wanted to make sure our new family member was healthy and strong from the beginning, so we decided not to get another rescue. Continue reading

Bike Virginia 2018

June 29, 2018

Today is my birthday and I rode my bike 60 miles! I feel very strong after a week of challenging riding in Virginia. When we got back from Alaska, I wasn’t expecting to go away again so soon, but a friend from Morris Area Freewheelers announced that there was a last-minute opening for Bike Virginia. Michael would be fishing in Montana, we don’t have a dog, I am healthy and in good shape – might as well take advantage of all the favorable conditions and seize the moment! Continue reading

Anniversary Celebrations: Uncruise in Alaska

June 11, 2018

Today is our 35thwedding anniversary and we have been celebrating for over two weeks. Actually, there are many things to celebrate, including Michael’s birthday and the end of the second cancer year. On May 24 we flew to Seattle for the beginning of our Alaskan adventure with Uncruise. After two days at the elegant Mayflower Park Hotel and some fun touristy walks around the city, we flew to Sitka to board the SS. Legacy for seven days of inside passage wilderness. Continue reading

Walking with the Monk at FR

March 25, 2018

Last September I had to cancel ten days at Forest Refuge so I could be with Michael as we waited for more test results. Luckily the MRI showed that a suspicious something was nothing, and I rebooked my retreat for spring break. Too bad that was exactly when Michael would receive his honorary membership at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London from their president, HRH the Prince of Wales. Continue reading

Kvelling over my students

March 10, 2018

I was so proud of Solène after she sang Barber’s “Knoxville Summer of 1915” with the Princeton University Orchestra on their March concerts. We had worked on it a lot last fall in preparation for the concerto competition. I loved teaching the piece to such a sensitive and talented singer, sharing all my favorite moments of interpretation and expression. It was actually good vocal practice for Solène as well, focusing on the simple, sweet, childlike quality of the music and text, learning not to overload her voice and do more with less. Continue reading

Biking in the Sonoran Desert

February 16, 2018

It was time for a winter get-a-way to someplace warm. It was also a great opportunity to see my sister again. We decided on Tucson where we could relax and visit for a few days before I went on another Backroads biking trip. Susanne thought the last time she had visited was 2007, the final year my parents spent the winter there. For me it had been much longer. Continue reading

Farewell Hugo

I can’t believe he is gone. We didn’t have enough time with him and now the house is too quiet. I find myself wanting to check on him or thinking of getting him his special food at the market. Poor dear Hugo had not been doing well as of last summer. He didn’t want to walk, couldn’t get in the car and wasn’t interested in his dry dog food. He walked in circles and seemed to get lost in the house.  He had been slowing down for the past year or so but was much diminished when we picked him up from the kennel after our trip to Scandinavia. Continue reading