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More Shawls!May 28, 2014

Hi friends, 

We have two more entries in the giveaway: Make an Alice's Embrace lap blanket/shawl for an Alzheimer's patient (full instructions here) and enter for a chance to win one of these THREE shawls! The first two were made and donated by Christian, and they're blocked and so gorgeous: 

2014-05-13 14.42.31


2014-05-13 14.42.12

I made this next one, and it's not blocked, but it's very warm and squooshy. 

2014-05-13 14.41.18

Make a simple (quick!) blanket or shawl using Diane's instructions, mail it to her, let me know, and you're entered. Good odds. GREAT cause. 


This is ridiculous. I'm not getting over this bike bug I have. I made a pledge to do all my errands by bike for the month of May (once a week, I allow myself to take the car to get things like dog food and pick up big packages at the mailbox). And I have done it. A couple of times I thought I wouldn't (going from our house in East Oakland to the Grand Lake area takes about an hour each way), but then I made myself and loved it. Once I took bike-to-BART to attend the Oakland Museum food truck half-price-entry night, which was great, and I can see myself doing that a lot more. How fun to think about going to San Francisco on a bike! I will do that soon. Things I carried on one trip this week have included: A zucchini plant, a burrito (naturally), a food processor blade, and my computer. I love its versatility, and let's face it, my SmartCar isn't THAT much bigger. 

Right now, though, I'm a still a little scared of night riding. I have ALL THE LIGHTS: 

 but our neighborhood is not ideal for night rides. Friends of a friend (male and female riding together) got mugged at gunpoint the other night not too far away, and that freaks me out. I like to be brave and daring! I like to pretend I'm not frightened of anything and then, eventually, I'm not. Some folks would be nervous to ride in our area during the day, but I've gotten over that, and now, while I ride quickly past the sketchier stuff (drug deals in progress and hookers at work in cars while pimps stand guard), I've gained a whole new appreciation for the beautiful things in our neighborhood (small produce stands, fresh tortillas, kids playing basketball in the street, saying hello to people). 

But night makes the scary folks that much more scary (click on Christian's link, above, to read a terrifying night ride experience in Sacramento) and I'm not sure I'm ready for that. That sucks, because night riding sounds awesome. I would like to ride and look up at the stars. I'd like to go see friends and have dinner and get home under my own power. I'm just not ready to do so yet. I might never be, not here, anyway. I might change my mind, and I'm sure I'd feel better riding with a group (but not just one other person, see above mugging story). 

That's okay, though. It's almost summer, there are plenty of daytime riding hours, and now that Lala's bike is fixed (she's the original cyclist in the family - remember when she rode to LA on the AIDS ride?), I predict a lot of summer rides to the movies and, of course, to ice cream. 


I'm inspired by all your bike riding and good on you! But stay safe first and foremost. I try not to let fear rule my life, but there is good common sense too. If your gut is telling you to wait and be careful, then listen to it. There's plenty of riding around to do in the daytime!

It's been a couple of years since I've seen Oakland (on the way to Alameda where my husband grew up), and I think you're brave to ride in daylight! Have you thought of carrying pepper spray in a place that's easy to get to?

Good for you on all your bike riding and I don't blame you for not want to ride at night. It's not just the neighborhood but even with cars.
I live in the bay area too and a few times have walked to N. Berkeley Bart ridden to SF Embarcadero and then walked to Sausalito and taken the Ferry back to SF and Bart to Berk, etc. It's about 15 miles and takes most of a day but it's a fabulous route on days like we are having now.

Many years ago, in the Bay Area, I took a self defense class from Model Mugging. It teaches women specifically how to get away from an attacker. It was started by a woman who was assaulted, but couldn't get away from her assailents despite years of traditional self defense training. The program has grown since then, and I think is now offered in more cities (perhaps there is one in Sacramento). The practice includes real life simulations using a real life (and well padded) mugger. It also gave me lots of info on how to proactively avoid confrontational situations. I have never needed to defend myself, but I have the confidence that if I needed to, I could.

I have no idea what it costs these days, but it was worth every penny to me.

I think I'd be scared of cars more than thugs, but either one is bad...You are adorable all flashing like that! Like Vegas in Oaktown. Maybe just start with a short night ride to a yummy meal as incentive?

Self-defense on a bike poses interesting problems. Daylight or night riding, you might consider looking for defense training. I've been considering starting to ride again this summer, just daylight errands around my suburb, but now I see that I should muster up more than a helmet and a light.

Yeah, I'd be most worried about getting hit by a car at night, especially in neighborhoods with less consistent bike traffic - a bike is unexpected, especially at night. Some days, it takes me a few minutes to realize what those flashing lights are (and where they are - my depth perception isn't as good at night).

Long summer days are perfect!

(I found the elephant mural - a couple blocks from our temporary office. Of course it looked familiar!)

I used to ride my bike all over the place when I was younger. Loved it.

And I love the Shaelyn shawl! SUCH an addictive pattern. LOL

Wonderful bike lights! Although, sounds scary to bike at night there. How great that you kept your pledge the whole month and did all that biking. Very inspiring!

The shawls are gorgeous! I am planning on making 2 blankets, one knit and 1 crochet. Since I live in Northern Cal. (Winsor), I will be dropping them off at Purls of Joy in Healdsburg. Not sure how often you make it up this way, but it is a wonderful place! Lots of bike riders and gorgeous places to ride! Your bike lights are wonderful, I wish more riders would use them.

Hi Rachael,

I sent my blanket to Alice on Friday, see my Ravelry page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/annewswissknits/faith-lap-blanket

I had so much fun knitting this and hope that it will make someone who needs it very happy. Thanks for advertising this great cause.

I love reading your blog and also purchased on of your books, but have not had a chance to read it yet.


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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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