Post-it Treasure Map

Hop onto the bike
into the jungle we go
carving a crooked path
over rocks and mud
over sand and loam

Following a treasure map
scribbled on a post-it
X marks the “secret beach”

Toes in the sand of the water’s edge
wade into the surf
dive beneath the waves

Cleanse me of grief and sadness
take my unfulfilled expectations away with the tide
they are of no use to me anymore
Were they ever any use for me?

Can one feel sadness when surrounded by beauty?
I cannot escape either

The tide begins to rise
Eyes to the horizon
Where the sky meets the white caps
What does the future hold?


Tinder Tourist

Swipe right for the beautiful women
But will they swipe right back
Superficiality rules

No tourists
No tan lines
No hookups

No braces
No duck face
No car selfies
Casual connections welcome,
recommendations for beaches, too

“You are cute and smart
but live a thousand plus miles away…
My luck.”

Falling Down/Getting Up

“Man down, man down”
I was doing so well
A handful of brake is all it takes
To slide out
Crashing to the concrete floor
Jarred back to life
Bikes whizzing by
A dizzying blur
Wrap the chain back on the crank
Grease-stained fingers
Gotta keep going
Do not give up
Get back on and finish
10th  place
Not what I hoped

Disappointment sets in
Blood flows
Adrenaline wears off
Pain takes hold
No skin to protect me
Exposed to the hurt
Exposed to the world
Truly vulnerable

Lessons learned
When you fall
Get up
Keep going
Wounds are superficial
Comfort in healing,
In time
Scars are but a reminder
Of what we endured,
Of how strong we are.

Authentic Austin Pig Roast

Words and Photos by M.L. Huisman —

On Friday, Dec. 20, my friends Ian Buchanan and Ryan Reid roasted an 80-pound pig. It was their third time roasting a whole pig but their first using the caja china method, an aboveground roasting box. Ian and Ryan engineered a box out of cinder blocks, lined it with aluminum foil and capped the structure with an ⅛-inch steel sheet.

The day before Ian and I picked up the pig from a butcher near Manchaca, Texas. Back at Ft. Lott, the pig was rinsed, dried and had its spine split to allow it to be placed on a rack. It was then injected with mojo a mixture of cumin, oregano and other spices with orange and lemon juice. The liquid flavor is injected on the meat side so as not to pierce the skin.

On Friday afternoon, the pig was put on a rack built with 2x4s and chicken wire. A fire built on the metal roof serves as the heat source for the caja china. After five hours Ryan and Ian flipped the pig, scored the skin and cooked it an additional hour and a half. Once free from the rack, it didn’t take long for the hungry crowd to descend on the pig.

Safety Concern of Pennsylvania Ave. Bridge

In mid April, I wrote the District of Columbia Transportation Department about concerns I had regarding a section of the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge that crosses the Rock Creek Parkway. I cross the bridge two times a day as part of my bike commute to and from work.  During the first few months of this year, I noticed that the height difference between the eastern-most section of the bridge where it meets the road was growing. Given the news of a bridge collapse in Washington state, I figured it would be timely to publish DDOT’s letter in full.

Dear Mr. Huisman,

We at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) have received your message regarding the stability of the bridge along Pennsylvania Avenue.

The bridge is safe. The reason the bridge is appearing to sag is due to the support bearings having settled slightly. This condition will be addressed in a forthcoming rehabilitation project which will replace the aging bearings. In the interim a temporary asphalt transition will be placed to soften the bump by the end of June 2013, until permanent repairs are made.

Regarding the gap you mentioned. All bridges are built in this manner there is a rubber joint which separates one concrete slab from another on bridges. It’s an expansion Joint between the bridge deck and the hard street approach.

For further questions regarding this matter, please contact DDOT at 202-673-6813. Thank you for contacting DDOT.

d. Clearinghouse