[I apologize, but Blogger is being screwy with pictures. Here's one to whet your appetite-- you'll have to use your imagination for the rest! And, yes, that man is wearing a tweed crab on his back!]
It's been a long run, to say the least. I realize that I haven't exactly "arrived" anywhere (still pregnant, still busy, etc), but I feel like I'm getting a bit of a half time, or a 7th inning stretch, or whatever the sports analogy might be. And let me tell you, it feels great.
Ever since November, I've gotten the one-two punch of pregnancy illness and excessive traveling. There were literally some months where we never bothered to put the suitcases away, and it seemed like if I wasn't on a plane or in a car, I was plastered to the couch moaning about nausea.
But I'm not here to tell you about being pregnant. I'm tired of that topic. I want to share about my weekend-- that glorious weekend that was a big, deep breath. The weekend that marked the (momentary) end of huge responsibilities, and the beginning of Spring Break-- which technically doesn't mean vacation, but at least it means getting our ducks in somewhat of a row again.
Chris & I were faced with an entire Saturday with absolutely nothing to do. It sounded glorious-- the sky's the limit!-- but somehow the thought of all that open space scared us a little, like a big black hole that might suck us in. After a huge crepe breakfast in our PJ's, we looked at each other and asked, "Now what?"
With just a little internet research, we discovered "what": The Old Fashioned Tweed Ride in Berkeley. What better way to spend a sunny spring Saturday than dressed up like a turn-of-the century British golfer, riding our bikes around one of the kookiest towns in America with a band of complete strangers??
[If at this point in the story, you are wondering WHY would a group of people dress up in tweed & ride their bikes around together, let me spoil it by telling you that there is no reason. Some things you just don't question] ;)
After discovering that impromptu costumes are trickier than they seem when you're 5 months pregnant (and also discovering that Chris was actually meant to be a Newsie-- he looked perfect!), we lugged our bikes onto BART, crossed the Bay, and bumped into about 80 other cyclists who looked even more-- in fact much more-- ridiculous than we did. We were dull & clean cut compared to this crowd.
As we joined the bike procession, we took over the streets at a leisurely pace, and soaked in the perfect sunny day. At one point, as we were entering a park that sits on right top of the Bay, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge & the City, we came upon big rolling green, windswept hills and dozens & dozens of kites flying overhead. Just at that moment, one of my fellow Tweeders passed me, pulling behind him a wagon with an accordion player in tow, serenading us. For a moment, I felt like I was in the movie Amelie... and a little bit like I was on drugs (but in a pleasant sort of way).
We ended our ride at the pinnacle of the park, right on the water, where the accordion player was joined by the rest of his band. I took in the scene around me: an eclectic group of steam punk musicians played everything from a xylophone (with spoons), a ukulele, a plastic keyboard with a mouth piece, and sang into a "microphone" made of a bull horn taped to a mic stand. All the while, a band of gypsies (really, I don't know how else to describe them) danced in little circles around & around a picnic table-- one wearing a top hat, antique aviator goggles & a (real) giant flared mustache, his dancing partner in a leather corset & knee-high lace-up boots. Let me tell you, it was surreal.
I'm sure that part of the experience was the feeling of release, knowing that we had made it through the busiest, hardest stretch of our year. But it was also rather magical about being a part of something so very "other". It was lovely.
We discovered that there is another Tweed Ride scheduled for San Francisco in April, and I can assure you that we will be there. Until then, I'm on the search for tweed maternity pants and a bubble pipe.