Dropping some sweet sweet sewer district knowledge. While Biking!

I led a bike ride through STL with my cycling group, The Monthly Cycle, last fall (2018.10.01). All about sewers and water quality and combined sewer overflows and the history of the River Des Peres. Such fun.

Here's the tentative route I created but ended up cutting short because we had our largest crowd to date (that and I talked to much...) We also got to have a special party at the end in honor of the closing of Spoked Bikes. They're refocusing with Spoked Adventures now!

Full Route including home-to-work, work-to-start, monthly cycle, end-to-home

Then our super cool internal Public Affairs specialist wrote a little article about me!

Here's the article as it appeared in our internal newsletter on 2018.11.05:

MSD Engineer leads cycling group on educational stormwater asset tour

Kaleena Menke, Civil Engineer in Development Review, led a group of cyclists on a tour of MSD stormwater management assets throughout St. Louis City on Monday, October 1.

The approximately 13-mile ride featured stops at several stormwater-related sites including the pervious concrete on South Grand, the River Des Peres interceptor, and raingardens at Cortex and Ikea. A group of 41 people joined Kaleena for the ride, the group’s largest ride to date.
“My goal was to combine my passions for bicycling and stormwater management while also educating people about the services we provide at MSD,” said Kaleena. “The ride was so popular that we are going to offer it again next spring!”
The cycling group, called the Monthly Cycle, is open to women and non-binary St. Louisans who enjoy bicycling. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at Gelateria on South Grand. The rides are medium paced, about 15 miles long, and are open to all levels of riders. For more information, contact Kaleena Menke at email address.


Twas a Studpendous Week

... and exercise was a huge contributor to its awesomeness.

Winter 2018/19 was long and stressful for me. Usual SAD aside, I also changed jobs. I love the job change and job, but the transition has been incredibly rough. On top of that, STL had a wetter, yuckier winter than usual. One wet day followed by a day where I needed to use my car for work during the day and excellent biking-to-work track record stopped just before Thanksgiving.

But oh baby I'm back at it! And it's fun to watch my emotional well-being stabilize right along side adding exercise back in.

Here's my super fun week in pics and captions:


Route. About 11.5 miles

Some old friends and some new friends. Picture taken to commemorate creating an untappd account.
First and prolly only review for a good long while.


Deanna and Daniella and kiddos visited STL and me for the week on their spring break. Monday night they got a babysitter and we spent a couple hours listening to blues music and danced a bit too!

Deanna Daniella Kaleena. Yes. 3-syllable names that end in "uh" rock!

Double fisting water. Like I do.


American Planning Association Spring Seminar:
  • Law stuffs - new case law for and land use regulations, zoning and land use for medical marijana, and opportunity zones
  • Mobility For All By All
  • Food Access
  • Water & Green Infrastructure (with impromptu 3 min presentation by me!)
aka rapidly mentally flipping between hope and despair for the STL region


Gateway Greening event and first visit to the Three Sixty bar

All dolled up on top of the world! Well, STL anyways!


I took the afternoon off and made it to the City Museum for the first time ever. (Yes I've lived in the area for 5 years. Yes, it's embarrassing that I've never been there before.) 

Then dinner at my place with the fam and BFFs with another b-day celebration!

Finally Dani took the kiddos home and Deanna and I got some quality sister time. With dancing!

Sitting at the very end of an airplane wing hanging in space

Sitting at the very end of an airplane wing with my cute sister too!


Somehow I still managed to squeeze in a full work week this week too. Oy!

Engineers Without Borders 10th Annual Trivia Night and I got to buy the balloons again. (Hopefully for the last time.) Also talked several trivia night tables into an after party at a nearby bar and closed not one but two bars with them. Whoa.

This is what the bottom side of 25 helium foil balloons look like. #protip latex balloons make a much better popping sounds if that's what you're going for.


It was a heck of a packed week so I thought I'd stay in BUT THEN I talked myself into saying yes to dancing. Saying yes to dancing is always the right answer. Brassy Beauti Thick N Curvy Edition (Denise Dance LLC) for my friend Al's birthday party. Saying yes to dancing was the right answer this time too. 
Solo wiggling. Like I do.

Nikia and Kaleena!

Blurry selfie. Makes it more alluring amiright?


Breakfast and new couch enjoyment at Lauren's



(The publicly shareable version, anywho)

Don't just wish for a great 2019. Make it so.
On new year's eve I got to watch two of my favoritest people get engaged. If that doesn't make you want to refocus on what's important in life, idunno what will. "This intentional family that we've built and we've created is just so phenomenal. We just really appreciate each and every one of you."

I love these two.

Tangible Stuffs:

  • show up to parties on time. (where "on time" = within 30 min of start time for large parties and 7 min of start time for small parties)
  • laser eye surgery
  • dental work on front teeth

Nebulous Stuffs:


  • recommit to eating less meat. one chosen meal per week worked really well for me for most of the year. I want to keep doing that. 
  • related to above...continue pursuing more sustainable local food sources

Biking/Alternative Transportation

  • recommit to biking to work most days of the week. walk, bike, bus/metro as often as possible. set up carpools when attending something that's a drive-able distance.
  • bike accidents happen, bad weather happens, shitty cagers happen. keep the habit going anyways. You love it too much not to.

Phone Attachment

  • prolly the hardest on the list. figure out ways to reduce time on phone. recognize that stupid gaming apps are designed to keep me sucked in. digital detox? keep out of the bedroom? I haven't fully figured this one out yet...
Log out, power down, and get that screen out of your face.


Wall of Comedy and Shame

Just a collection of work related funnies that got stapled to my wall over the last few years to create a fun collage. My favorites are where I screwed up. So saved a visually version of it so I wouldn't make the same mistake again.

Included in a shop drawing for Concrete Mix Design. FYI. This doesn't need my approval. Whatever it is

Marketing Postcard for Civil Engineering Services

Sperm parking! Thankfully this one didn't get built

More importantly...Why are we freezing the dead animals?

From boss to me. I was told I could use it as a one-time coupon when he was expecting too much :)

Not accurate. Just funnin'

Noooooo. I didn't. Inside joke - AutoCAD is hard

Way too long of a manual to learn specifications software. But the clipart is fun!

That one time we got complimented by a federal government reviewer. Thanks yousayse!

Redundant data is redundant

Note to self: Units Matter. A Lot.

That's...that's not where the building goes


Heck Yes! I'm Koalified!

Going through old emails and found this gem and laughed and laughed and laughed. Saving here for safekeeping. 😃


Day 11

This afternoon I have a couple meetings nearish to where I live so I stopped at home between the two and hopped on my bike to head to the second. It was only 1/3 of a mile away and I probably could've walked their faster by the time I got all the appropriate gear situated. Ah well. It was fun to make a statement with my arrival.

I mentally noted how I've been judgey of other people's mode of transportation with a "Really? You an architect/engineer! You're gonna show up to a meeting with developers/owners/clients in THAT?!?!" and then I showed up on bike. Hehe. I suppose I should work on that.

This is my kind of redevelopment. Close to home. Equipment Company to Brewery. Reuse an existing building and add some flair! The other people on site needed to check out the building but I needed to check out the condition of the parking lot and figure out where the stormwater goes.

Note my bike parked on the fence
The Old. Dinzler Equipment Company
The New. Rockwell Beer Company Rendering from NextSTL
I also hopped on my bike a second time today for homemade dinner with friends hosted by Andrea.

#protip water bottle holders are the perfect size for most wine bottles

4.53 miles


Day 10

I had a plan, darnit! Thwarted by rain again so I didn't make it to the Engineers Without Borders SLU Fundraiser at Chipotle tonight. Post work chill time was loverly though...

Instead, I sped-walked to the train and headed to a concert on the UMSL campus. "Percussion Ensemble and Vocal Point in Concert" My friend Matt is the head of percussion studies there.

I ended up getting there super early and giggled thinking of my car-free days--rarely late because you hafta plan ahead.

16 min walk if you follow blue dots. Or 2 min walk as the crow flies. All paved even!

I spent my free time podcasting (Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me with Hickenlooper), "moving around colorful dots on the screen" (aka candy crush), and attempting to take artful pictures. And watched the sunset too!!

Lots of the concert reminded me of my African Dance class I had at CU Boulder and I sooo wanted to get up and dance. I politely bopped my head along quietly though.

Matt's the leftmost of the drummers

I finally got home around 10 and realized I still need to do a quickie on the saddle.

From one end of The Grove to the other. 
I made a seesaw! Or something. 

2.41 Miles


30 Days of Biking Thoughts

Soooo, I saw this thing on facebook through a couple friends: 30 Days of Biking. I hastily signed up a couple weeks ago and then decided it might actually be super awesome and exactly what I need.  The goal? Get on your bike everyday during the month of April. That's it.

I would like to have some sort of reporting in on social media aspect, but also know that piece can tend to hold me back from posting anything at all so I'm trying to be charitable with my head. A daily picture would be fun. Do I post to twitter or instagram or facebook or all 3? Do I post to one and then link the other 2? Do I post natively to all three? What about the 10-bazillion other ways I could track and post? What if I forget to take a cool picture one day but have 4 great pictures for the other days? ACCCKK!!!

I'm using my usual go-to fitness tracker Runkeeper to track. Only because I've been using it for the longest. But 30 Days of biking is also partnering with a new app, Ride Report, It's still unreleased but fun to try out for a month. The goal is that you don't hafta do anything and it tracks automatically which really appeals to me. I'll report back on the app later. Also, they have the prettiest logo you ever did see:

So far I'm 3/3 in April, but here are some challenges coming up:

  • Travel: I'll be in Colorado over tax day and a functioning bike may be hard to find. 
  • Bad Weather: Yep. Already came up on Day 3. The plan? Just get wet and live to tell the tail.
  • Long Work Days. With full evenings after work: The personal minimum in my head is a 2 miles ride. Which is only 7-10 minutes on my bike. I can make room for a 10 minute ride even on a busy day. My body will thank me.

A few rides in made me rethink the initial pledge I wrote. It's quite a bit simpler than that:
Learn to love myself again and smile at myself more often when I look in the mirror.


Join me?

I'll prolly use this initial post as a spot to index rides and thoughts and edit it periodically.



Creative Leadership Project

Oh the things you find while trying to freeing up space in your Google Drive because your cheap and don't wanna pay for more... This is a really fun assignment I did as part of the INVST Community Studies Program. This was for "INVS 3932: COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP INTERNSHIP Fall 2007" taught by David Meens. I recently found my notes for the presentation most everything still resonates with me almost a decade later.

Here's the assignment prompt:
Creative Project and Presentation (10%)
This assignment should be fun to do, while simultaneously stretching yourself creatively. It is intended to build upon your Personal Profile, requiring that you reflect upon the question, “Who am I as a leader?” and then to communicate your thoughts to your classmates through a “shrine” assemblage. Photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, found material installation, journalings and poetry are some of the media you might consider incorporating—some examples will be presented on the first day of class. You will have 10-15 minutes to present your project during your allotted time in class.

From what I recall, I started with a blank model and then taped on each piece as I talked about it.

Orally Presented 2007.09.30
Rough Notes for Presentation:

Me and Mini-Me!

(Mine's a bit different because I am working on having less things (especially nicknacks))

I'd like you to meet Mini-Me! (aka Kaleena) She needs some clothes and accessories!  With these accessories I'm going to explain a bit about who I am as a leader.

- male role sometimes (engineer, auto mechanic, tools)
- Joan of Arc, patron saint, led army into battle in a traditionally male role

- I like my feminine side
- necessary to have both sides

High Heels
- Know how to go out and have a good time
- Have a balance in life
- I feel the most me when I am singing and dancing

Tennis Shoes
- Am willing to work very hard
- Take me to many different places
- Relate to more people and more situations

Star Trek Communicator
- looking towards a better future

- the glue that holds groups together
- Susie, Lauren, Kristina
- Keep the peace among friends and family

- all we need is love
- not afraid to try new things
- guided by my heart

- spreadsheet!
- Helps me to see the whole picture, but still having attention to detail
- engineering, linear, in boxes
- it's purple because I still have the ability to think outside the box
- not afraid to ask questions

- I speak the truth when necessary, even when it is hard
- I try to choose my words carefully

-listen to others needs

- notice when people are in need
- look out for other people's feeling, especially of loneliness
- notice special talents in others (see their potential)
- Denise's Bob describe my eyes like warriors, but still feminine
- I think a good leaders should be someone that strives to promote others rather than themselves

Rose-Colored Sunglasses (because I don't wear glasses)
- see the good in everyone
- view the world positively

Boeing Internship
- "There will always be people telling us what we can't do.  Which leaves us endless opportunities to prove them wrong."

Final Product


Almost 30

Just finished watching Master of None. It's really excellent and available on netflix. Thanks for the recommendation Matt! The last episode was pretty moving for me as the main character is recognizing that his possibilities in life are invigorating and limitless but requires making touch choices so all possibilities don't "wrinkle and go black."
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Click on image to see the rest of this gorgeous comic
I suppose I need to add The Bell Jar to my reading list now too.

Here's a poor quality video from the episode. I really like the photo-mosaic during the monologue. Throwing it in at the end because I'm guessing the link wont stay active long:


36-Hour Clean Water Fast

While in Bolivia, my chapter of Engineers without Borders worked with a local NGO, Engineers in Action. Their tagline "Clean Water Shouldn't Be a Luxury" really resonated with me as I hiked through the mountains to find sources of clean water for the rural Bolivians we were serving. When their executive director asked us to participate in a 36-hr fast as part of their fall fundraiser I signed up and started this morning (ending at our monthly Engineers Without Border monthly meeting tomorrow evening).

Measuring Flow Rate of a New Spring

Could you please sponsor my fast? engineersinaction.networkforgood.com/

Dollar amounts are in odd amounts to match the 36-hour fast. Feel free to use the blank box to donate any amount. (Note: half the money will go directly to Engineers in Action and half will go to my local chapter in the form of a reduced price invoice for future trips)

Thank you so much for considering.


P.S. Bonus pictures! Because I remember my coworkers sharing pictures of their kids as incentive to buy girl scout cookies being especially effective... Here are some cute Bolivian kiddos!

The first schoolgirls to warm up to us
Someone who loves me very much went to Belgium and got me this shirt
P.P.S. Full report/blog post to follow