Sunday, December 14, 2014

In Memory Of My Mother

I lost my mother today. She has not been well for a long time, but last month she was admitted to the hospital with low sodium and things got worse from there. She started having seizures, she had a heart attack, she slipped into a coma for a while. I thought she was getting better last week, but when I went to visit her yesterday, she was confused and her breathing was off. When I got the nurse they couldn't get her blood sugar to register and her blood pressure was dangerously low. She held on all day and into the night, but whenever someone asked how she was doing she responded that she was just so tired. Sometime after midnight she stopped breathing. After that her heart stopped. The doctors in the ICU tried to revive her, but after about twenty minutes of chest compressions and fighting to keep her here, I made an impossible choice and told them to stop trying to revive her. And just like that she was gone.

I can't go to sleep yet, knowing that I will have to wake up and remember all over again that I don't have her anymore. I know none of you knew her, but I just need to tell someone about my mom. Her name was Sylvia and she was 57. She was strong, quirky, independent, and fiery. My dad was never around, so when I was a baby she moved back to the small town where her parents lived and that is where she settled down and raised me. 

My mom was a nurse, a lover of all things Animal Planet, an avid sew and crocheter, and one of the kindest, and strongest people I have ever met. Even though she worked long hours and commuted out of state for work when I was a kid, she would still help at my Girl Scout troop's activities and sit through my summer softball games in the sweltering heat. When she was able to talk this past month, she told all of her doctors and nurses that I was "her little lawyer." No matter what, she was always so proud of me. I wish I had thanked her more for all the sacrifices she made so that I never had to do without. I hope that she knows how much I loved and admired her and that I would give anything to have her back now, even just for a day.

I can not express how much it would mean to me if you would dedicate your next workout to my mom. If your mom is still with you, please call her and tell her you love her and if your mom is gone too, send your love to her on the wind. I spent as much time as I could with my mom this past month and I told her I loved her every time I visited, but it was not enough. All the time in the world and all the "I love yous" on the planet wouldn't be enough. I miss my mother more than I can tell you. She was gone far too soon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Brick Walls

It's no secret that my life hasn't been going according to plan lately. I've been Crohns-ing for a few months because my new medicine hasn't been keeping some of my symptoms at bay. Instead of starting my fellowship last month, I had to scramble to find another job because the organization I was supposed to work for decided to close. On top of that, I left the bar exam in July and was absolutely certain I failed.

I'm still not feeling my best, my job isn't a permanent one, and bar results aren't out yet. Nothing about my world feels steady. I am a boat overturned and I spend most of my days trying desperately to turn myself aright. I've never been some Little Suzy Sunshine, and hope usually leads to disappointment in my world, but today, I taped the quote above to my desk so that if things keep going wrong, I'll remember not to give up. 

This is not the first set of brick walls I have faced and it probably won't be the last. I'm too stubborn to give up. And I've come too far not to finish what I started. I don't know which brick walls I will have to tear down next, but I guess I'm ready to do some dismantling. At this point, overcoming the obstacles in my path seems like the only choice.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Weekend Rundown

Let me give you a brief recap of my weekend. As per usual, it started on Saturday morning with a walk in the woods.

I decided to start out on the lake trail and then attempt one of the more rustic trails once I had gotten my water feature fix. 

I won't say I got tired of this view, because I don't really think that's possible, but I did eventually veer off the lake trail to head into the woods. I chose a trail at random and ended up on a steep, narrow trail with tree roots and loose rocks making the path a bit treacherous. I'm guessing it was meant for more serious hikers since I kept seeing people with trekking poles and daypacks, but I soldiered on even though I wasn't prepared like that because adventuring. At one point I was convinced that the trail did not in fact loop back around to the lake and I was lost in the woods with no food or water and a dying cell phone, but it turned out okay. I kept following the trail and eventually got back to familiar territory. Stats for Saturday: 14,051 steps, 48 floors climbed, and 5.77 miles total.

I wasn't feeling quite as chipper when I woke up this morning, so I didn't take a road trip to a new park the way I had planned. Instead, I found myself catching up on television until well into the afternoon. I watched the Gracepoint pilot (dark police drama that I think I will like), Red Band Society (quirky drama about sick kids who live in a hospital that I found deeply relatable as someone who has spent ample time in hospitals) and The Mysteries of Laura pilot (light-hearted police comedy that I didn't really care for). Eventually I dragged myself outside for a long, but easy walk at one of my favorite parks.

I parked my car by the lake and apparently interrupted a party. The ducks were incredibly friendly and welcoming, though. As soon as I got out of the car they all started walking toward me to say hello. They eventually carried on with what they were doing when they realized I didn't have food, but I was surprised they let me get that close. 

I hadn't been to this particular park in a while and I discovered that they had started building some new trails in my absence. I did a little exploring on one of the new trails, but ultimately stuck to my tried and true favorites. I started listening to the second audiobook in the White Trash Zombie series (Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues). I was so engrossed in the story that I almost didn't notice the snake slithering across the pavement until I was right on top of it.  I was very proud of myself for not running away shrieking. I might have stopped dead in my tracks and stared like an absolute lunatic, but I did not shriek or run. It probably helped that it was only a little green garden snake. I will not be responsible for my actions if I ever come across a bigger one. Stats for Sunday: 15,277 steps, 13 floors, and 6.28 miles total. 

Have you ever had any animal encounters while getting your workout in?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Something Peaceful

My week was a whirlwind of work, shopping for new health insurance and, cramps, so when I woke up this morning I just wanted to do something peaceful. That's how I wound up hiking around my new favorite lake.

I was pleased to see the first colors of fall appearing among the leaves and there was a telltale nip in the air. I have always loved autumn, so I couldn't be happier.

I wound my way around the lake for an hour or so before I got adventurous and decided to try out one of the uphill trails that meandered through the woods.

The trail was a little narrow in places and one misstep would have sent me toppling down a steep hill. Rather than turn back, I decided to press on. I was listening to Allegiant, the last audiobook in the Divergent trilogy, and I think the main characters' bravery rubbed off on me. 

I managed to get through the entire hike without tripping over any tree roots or breaking any body parts. I also discovered that the park has a drinking fountain and a real bathroom. Well done, Nashville. I love a park where bathroom is not synonymous with port-o-potty.

I would like to have stayed for a little while longer, but a bunch of volunteers and boy scouts were in the park doing trail maintenance. They weren't telling people to leave or anything, but there were dozens of them and they all seemed to have huge wheelbarrows. I didn't feel like dodging them anymore, so I finally made my way back to the parking lot and left. I got in a total of 5.11 miles for the day. If it doesn't rain, I'll aim for more miles tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Very Crafty

I haven't been feeling very well this week. It started with a cold that has been plaguing me since Friday and now I have cramps as well. I haven't been getting much exercising done as a result, but I have been doing a few craft projects while I lounge around. I mentioned on Twitter a while ago that I was going to try sewing. I've been practicing, and over the weekend I finished up these:

If you saw them up close, you would probably be horrified by the stitching, but I did my best and I'm kind of proud of them. I wanted some teal throw pillows for my office at work, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money on them. I was pretty sure that even I could make a couple of square pillows with enough time and patience, so I bought some fabric and stuffing and set to work. A few Netflix movies later and I was done. Hopefully no one at work will scrutinize them too closely. 

I also discovered that Walgreens will let you print Instagram photos ridiculously cheap. I ordered 11 of these little 4x4 prints and with a 35% off coupon I found online, I only paid $2.79 for them. They were ready in under an hour and they were perfect for another of my craft projects.

While I was in the craft section of Walmart, I found some little wooden picture frames for 97 cents each. I had been thinking about attempting  fabric covered picture frames like the ones I saw in this youtube video. I figured there would be a learning curve involved so I wanted some cheap frames to practice on and these were perfect. I bought a few of them along with some cheap yellow fabric and some mod podge and set to work. Once the glue dried, I added my pictures, and voila. Insta-office decorations.  Have you tried any fun craft/decorating projects lately?  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Trail Porn

This morning, I got up, went exploring in a new to me park, and took all the pictures. Scroll down for free trail porn.

After a brief stroll on a rustic trail, I found the lake. I stopped to take pictures because it was stupid pretty.

After that, I headed back to the rustic part of the trail and strolled through the woods for a while. There was a lot of gorgeous going on there, too.

I came across a group of turkeys just off the trail, and saw a deer not long after that. There were the usual squirrels too, and when the wildlife wasn't entertaining me, there was plenty of people watching to do.

There were signs for different trails, but I mostly stuck with the Lake Trail because I wanted to walk all the way around the lake. 

I didn't see the length of the trails on any of the signs, but the lake looked large-ish. I wasn't sure whether the Lake Trail went all the way around the lake, but I figured if it didn't and I had to walk back the way I came, it wouldn't be too bad with such a great view.

The good news is that the trail did wrap all the way around the lake. The bad news is that my phone died halfway through my hike and I had to commune with nature for half an hour without taking any pictures or listening to my audiobook.

On second thought, maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world. I heard a woodpecker going at a tree and overheard a toddler in a baby backpack talking to its parents. I saw what appeared to be a swamp and a dad who stopped to let his delighted little boy play in the dirt. Eventually I made it back to my car and checked my Fitbit. Just in case anyone is wondering, the Lake Trail is approximately 3.6 miles. Also in case anyone is wondering, all 3.6 miles were as pretty as the pictures.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What Would You Have Done? (Seriously, I Want To Know.)

This morning, I got up and went to one of my favorite greenways for a walk. The trail is a little over 3 miles with minimal hills.

I originally wanted to go to a different park, but apparently 32 teenagers from a juvenile detention center went all Prison Break somewhere in Nashville and have not all been captured. I'm sure I would have been perfectly safe in any of my favorite parks, but I decided to go to a higher traffic one just in case. Most of the jail breakers were caught immediately, but the ones who weren't are clearly wily and probably desperate. Better safe than sorry.

It was a good walk and I decided to complete my workout with 100 kettlebell swings when I got home. I had finished my swings and taken my shower when I heard someone just outside the door to my apartment. I hear my two closest neighbors going in and out of their apartments all the time, so I didn't think anything of it until I kept hearing someone try the lock on the door across the hall without opening the door. Normally my neighbors don't linger in the hall too long when they get home so I got up to look out the peephole in my door. This guy I didn't recognize was standing in the hall with a bunch of keys trying them in the lock and cussing under his breath when none of them worked. I thought it was weird, and was relieved when he finally left. I was about to go downstairs and ask the security guard at the front desk about it when two other men showed up and started trying to get in the neighbor's door. 

I felt completely nosy as I was watching all of this through the peephole in my door, but let's be serious. I chose my building because there are security measures to keep random people from walking in off the street and roaming around. As I was watching three men try and fail to get into the apartment across the hall, my imagination went wild. It couldn't be a work crew doing renovations I decided because they should have a functioning key. Then I decided someone who used to live here was trying to break into their old apartment for some reason. Then it was an abusive ex-husband trying to break into his ex's condo. Then it was a band of thieves. I was full of theories, but the only thing I could make up my mind about was that as soon as they got the away from that door, I was marching downstairs to notify the guard that there were three suspicious men skulking around my neighbor's apartment. 

Long story short, the security guard already knew they were in the building and they were supposed to be working in the apartment they were "breaking into." My question to you is, what would you have done if you were me? Ignore them? Tell security? Call the police? Open your own door and ask them who they were and what they were doing there? On a scale of reasonable to extra cray cray, where does my reaction fall?   

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fun with Kettlebells

If I am ever going to have the toned body that I want, I'm going to have to do more weight lifting. The problem is that I have no idea what I'm doing around weights and I don't have the money right now to hire a trainer. I bought a beginner kettlebell DVD a few months ago and I finally decided to pull it out and start using it again.

Using kettlebells without proper training is probably a bad idea (don't try this at home, kids), but I'm hoping that since most experts suggest that women start with a much heavier kettlebell than I'm using, I won't hurt myself too badly even if I'm doing the exercises totally wrong. 

Anyway, my current goal is to do the following workout at least three times per week:

Deadlift--10 repetitions, 2 sets
Two hand swing--10 repetitions, 2 sets
One arm swing-- 10 repetitions, 2 sets
Squat thruster--10 repetitions, 2 sets
One arm high pull--10 repetitions, 2 sets
Figure 8--10 repetitions, 2 sets
One arm clean and press--10 repetitions, 2 sets

At the moment I am using the 15 pound kettlebell for most of the exercises, but I probably need a heavier kettlebell for deadlifts, two arm swings, and figure 8s. I can't tell yet if I'm building any arm muscle, but I think all the squatting is making my legs stronger. There's that at least.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Popcorn, Polenta, and Crohn's

It's shark week and in addition to the usual violent cramps, I'm feeling fatigued and Chrons-y. I'm going to attempt a kettlebell workout later, but for now, I'm going to talk about food.

I've mentioned my ileostomy before, but I haven't talked about what it means in terms of my diet. Immediately after having ostomy surgery, there are a lot of foods that you are supposed to avoid because they are known to cause blockages. Some of the foods include nuts and seeds, vegetable and fruit peels/tough vegetable stalks/any vegetable that isn't really really well-cooked, foods that cause excessive gas, and, particularly hard for a lot of people to give up, popcorn. I have read a lot of ostomy patient forums online and it seems like most people do a little experimenting with the prohibited foods after they have had their ostomy for several months. I was no different.

My early experiments taught me that even several years post-op I have problems if I eat too many vegetables, particularly broccoli stalks, even if they are very well cooked. I can have small amounts of nuts and beans, and I do well with most fruits. The one food I haven't really experimented with is popcorn. At least, that is, until now. 

I was in the store last week and decided to buy a box of those snack size bags of popcorn. I ate one of the bags yesterday, drank a lot of liquid, and waited to see what would happen. Long story short, I didn't end up in the hospital. I probably won't be making popcorn a regular part of my diet, but I just like to know that i can have it on occasion if I am watching a movie with friends or something. 

I've also been experimenting with polenta again. Last night I sprayed a skillet with coconut oil cooking spray and browned some sliced polenta from Trader Joe's. In another pain, I cooked a turkey burger and made some gravy. When the turkey burger was cooked all the way through, i served it over some of the polenta medallions with plenty of gravy. It was delicious. Next up, I'm thinking I'll try deconstructed tamales. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Haircut

My legs are cursing my name after yesterday's stair workout, so I decided today was a rest day. I probably wouldn't have had much time for a long sweat session anyway because my day was busy. I took a road trip to visit family, got my hair cut and relaxed (a chemical straightener), and did some browsing in TJ Maxx. By the time I got back to Tennessee, I was exhausted and my giant foam beanbag beckoned. Goodnight internet. I'm going to bed early.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

100 Flights of Stairs

The humidity was around 94% when I woke up this morning, and I just couldn't bring myself to do an outdoor workout. Instead, I decided the stairs in my new building would make an excellent fitness tool, particularly if I climbed 100 flights of them. I go up stairs all the time, I told myself. How hard could 100 flights of stairs possibly be?

It was a serious shirt soaker. I'm slow, so it took me almost an hour to finish this workout (including the time it took me to descend once I made it to the top floor), but I'm thinking those stairs need to be a weekly thing. It got my heart rate up, it worked my leg muscles, and the windows in the stairwell provided some great views and people watching. Plus, if the workout gets too easy, I can always add more flights of stairs or try to do it faster. How did you get your sweat on today?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To Lose Myself In The Woods

I wanted to go for a really long walk this morning so I took a field trip to one of my favorite local parks. It's so large that I have never walked all the paved trails, let alone the unpaved ones. It's the place I go when I want to lose myself in the woods for a while without truly being lost in the woods.

I didn't wear my Fitbit so I have no idea how many miles I walked, but I was in the park for around two hours. I'm currently in the middle of an audiobook called Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen so I enjoyed the story while I people watched and basked in the shade. 

By the end of my walk I was sweaty and happier than when I started. If anyone needs me for the rest of the day, I'll be curled up on my giant bean bag with a glass of iced tea and TV show called Fargo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Floor Has Fallen

This morning, I got up and went for a walk. It was a short one--a little over 3 miles--but it gave me some time to commune with nature and think. Nothing in my life has been going quite the way it was supposed to lately. The primary problem is that I found out last week that the organization I was supposed to start working for in September has decided to close. As a result, I have found myself unemployed and terrified about it. 

I am lucky in that my family will help me until I find a new job, but that doesn't make it feel any better. For almost a week, I've felt that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when an elevator lurches downward too fast and you feel like the floor has fallen out from under you. I'm hoping it will all work out for the best and that I'll end up finding something better, but I am clearly not a fortunate individual and I don't want to set myself up for disappointment. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Hey everyone, remember me? It has definitely been a while, but I have a really good excuse: I was taking the bar exam, the MPRE, and moving to a new apartment. The bar exam is the two day, twelve hour test an aspiring attorney must pass to become licensed. The MPRE is a two hour professional responsibility exam that a lot of states require for bar admission. Moving to a new apartment is an exercise in torture and misery and apparently involves misplacing pretty much everything important including your bakeware, your cycling knickers, and your laundry detergent.

Now that the exams are over and I have located the detergent, I'm going to start easing my way back into the swing of things around here at Downsizing. Anyway, I hope your summer has been going well. What fun fitness related things have you been doing lately?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Almost Over

The bar exam is almost here...and maybe once it's over I can do something other than this with my life.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My IBD Can't Stop Me

Yesterday didn't really go as planned. I wanted to ride 15 miles but only rode 11.11 because I took a wrong turn somewhere along the route I planned out and ended up 4 miles short. Additionally, I had an infuriating experience with an AT&T customer service rep who seemed to think I was too stupid to realize he was trying to swindle me. Then I laid down for a nap at around 2 PM and woke up at around 9:30 PM wondering why it was suddenly dark out and I hadn't gotten any studying done. It was not my finest day. I ate a small dinner after I finally woke up and then hit the books because that's just what one does when the bar exam is imminent.

In other news, I found this IBD awareness type website where they were selling "My IBD Can't Stop Me" shirts. I fell madly in love with the quote on the back so I ordered a lightweight tech hoodie thinking I would be able to wear it in the fall. Little did I know that Tennessee would get some cold summer mornings this week that would allow me to wear the hoodie now. Here's the front:

And here is the back. 

I was a little hesitant about buying a shirt with "" on it, even in small letters, but I decided that life is short and maybe if more people were vocal about the challenges of living with Crohn's Disease, I wouldn't have had so much trouble getting reasonable accommodations at school. I had high school teachers who gave extra credit to students who didn't ask for bathroom passes. It was a serious problem for me because I genuinely needed to use the bathroom a lot during class, but I was also competing for valedictorian and didn't want my classmates getting extra credit that wasn't available to me. Then there was college when the housing committee could not seem to understand why a student with a medical condition that causes diarrhea should get first dibs on housing that had fewer people using the bathrooms. Fortunately the disability office was able to intervene on my behalf, but it always bothered me that that was necessary. 

When they sent my hoodie, they included the sticker and buttons above. I'm pretty sure that no one will actually bother to ask me about my IBD when I'm wearing the shirt or otherwise, but it's important to me to support groups that are trying to spread awareness in whatever small way I can. What about you? Do you know anyone who has Crohn's Disease or Colitis?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So Cold

I got up this morning, put on a tank top and cycling knickers and headed out the door for an early bike ride. I didn't make it very far before I had to turn around and go home to change because I was cold. I hadn't checked the weather before leaving because southern summers are usually predictably hot. Imagine my surprise when I opened my weather app and saw this:

Apparently Nashville got confused and thought it was autumn. This would explain why there were some trees in the park whose leaves were already changing colors. I'm not complaining. Fall has always been my favorite season. I pulled on a warmer top and headed out for a second time for a gorgeous morning ride.

I got in 13.19 miles before it was time to head home to my stressful bar prep life. I'm not really sure how the exam is going to go at this point, but I've prepared for it the best way I and my overpriced study course know how. Maybe I'll pass and maybe I won't, but either way I'm just glad that this experience is almost over. It hasn't been a good one and I'm really ready to put it all behind me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


There is a huge Johnny Cash mural on the side of this building I pass sometimes. I went by it again today and finally made a point of taking a picture. I can't say that I'm much of a fan, but I love the quote you see in the mural. I think everyone has two dueling natures, me included. I think studying for the bar has brought out the worst in me and I can't wait to be done so I can get back to myself. 

Today's ride was 14 miles, all of them gloomy. It rained last night and when I went out this morning the rain clouds had not yet gone. I was mildly concerned that the sky would open up and pour before I got back home, but the weather cooperated. It was a physically demanding workout, but enjoyable nonetheless. Two weeks left until the bar exam. Time to resume panicking now.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Back to Back

Yesterday I did a long ride of 21.16 miles. I found a new route that I loved and I guess that's why I woke up this morning, went crazy, and decided to take the same 20+ mile route again. That's right, everyone. I did my first back to back long rides this weekend!

The route is an out and back that weaves through some really pretty areas. My only complaint is that there are some nasty hills towards the end of the ride that weren't too bad yesterday, but nearly killed my legs today. I know that if I keep doing hills I will get stronger and more fit, but it's hard to remember that when your muscles and lungs are burning on the way up a steep incline.

I know 20 mile rides are pretty standard and easy for a lot of cyclists, but for me it's still really challenging. My plan is to keep building up my endurance so that I can do progressively longer weekend rides. Who knows? Maybe this time next year I'll be blogging about my first century!

Friday, July 11, 2014


When I was running, I learned that not every run is a good one. Well, not every bike ride is a good one either. Normally I try to ride at least 10 miles a day, but today my body just wasn't having it. It's shark week and I am absolutely miserable--cramps, fatigue, and achey muscles make exercise a struggle. I made it 6.39 miles on one of the easiest routes I could think of and even that short ride left me absolutely exhausted. I thought about forcing myself to keep going, but ultimately chose to listen to my body. My body told me to go home and find a hot water bottle. That's exactly what I did.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Greenway Time

I take the bar in less than 3 weeks and the stress is really starting to get to me. I keep telling myself that I don't have to memorize everything about every topic that will be on the exam, but it's hard to stay calm. I keep imagining what it would be like to fail the bar after all this hard work. What would I tell people? How would I respond to rude or snarky comments from people who don't like me? Worse yet, how would I respond to people who pitied me? I've been telling people I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little girl and knowing that one test could ruin my dream is...terrifying.

I knew the best way to reduce my stress would be with exercise so I took Genevieve to the greenway for a 12.34 mile ride. I'm still mildly panicked, but the activity made me feel more like myself. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go tackle Remedies and Torts. Wish me luck, internet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dear Drivers: Share The Road

I was riding my bike one morning last week on a designated bike route when I had a really off-putting experience with a driver that I wanted to share. I was approaching a stop sign when some older man in a truck pulled up behind me and started honking his horn. Repeatedly. 

Before I continue, I want to point out a few things. Under Tennessee law, bicycles are considered vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as other traffic. Additionally, Tennessee law allows cyclists to take up an entire lane, which is what I do if I am riding on a street without a bike lane for several reasons. The first reason is that taking the lane forces motorists to pass you in the other lane. If you ride too far to one side of a lane, some motorists will try to pass you in the same lane and for me, that is too close. 

I also prefer to take up the lane to avoid cars parked on the side of the street. There is a phenomenon called being "doored" that happens when someone parked on the street opens their car door without checking for cyclists. If the cyclist is too close to the car when the door opens and they do not have time to brake, they crash into the door. A lot of people suggest that cyclists ride at least 3 feet from parked cars to avoid being doored and on a narrower street that means taking the lane. The final reason I prefer to take the lane is that if you ride too close to the curb in the right lane, there is nowhere for you to go if a car tries to pass too close. Being trapped between a curb (or a ditch or a railing) and a car that is crowding me seems more dangerous than riding in the center of the lane with flashing lights on my bike for added visibility. I'm sure some cyclists would disagree, but for me, taking the lane feels like the safer choice.

Anyway, back to the other morning. This guy starts honking his horn and since I was on a quiet side street with next to no traffic there was no reason he couldn't just go around me. I kept peddling and motioned for him to pass me. Instead of just going around me like every other car I have encountered since starting to ride on the road, this guy decided to pull over and lecture me about riding "in the middle of the street."

I was absolutely livid. I tried to explain to him that bicycles are considered vehicles and I had the same rights and responsibilities on the road as him. I told him that if I was too slow, he could just go around me. That's not right, he said. That would put him into oncoming traffic he told me before finally driving off. Apart from the fact that there was no oncoming traffic on that tiny side street, it really upset me to encounter a driver like that on a designated bike route that was clearly marked as a designated bike route. It didn't help that I'm a recent law school graduate who takes the bar in a few weeks and this idiot was arrogantly spouting off misstatements of the law to me like I was a child and wouldn't have the sense to call him on his shenanigans.

As someone who is both a cyclist and a driver, it doesn't make sense to me when drivers behave as though cyclists shouldn't be on the road when the law makes it clear that they belong there. Drivers may not like that the law allows cyclists to share the road with them, but harassing cyclists on the street is not going to change things and real talk: it just makes you look like an a**hole. If you are a driver who doesn't want to share the road with cyclists, why don't you try talking to your local government officials about putting in better bike infrastructure--separate and ideally protected bike lanes on every street that will allow both cyclists and motorists to get where they are going with minimal friction. And until that becomes a thing, drivers, please be courteous. Going around a cyclist is no different than going around a car that is moving slower than you. You may not like it, but that's the law.

***Although this post discusses some Tennessee traffic laws, it is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you need advice regarding your local bike laws, please find an attorney in your area.***