Crisp Tuesday.

September 29, 2009

So word is out on all the girl-bike blogs. There's a bite in the air signaling fall's arrival. I can concur with other reports I've read and hereby verify this is indeed the case up here in Edmonton. Yesterday was incredibly windy. So much that more than one person wrote to me asking if I rode. I didn't. Heavy winds are the bane of my cycling existence.

Went out to run some errands this afternoon, and figured it was a day for pants. My wide legged cotton trousers fit again. Most excellent.

I was also very pleased to wear one of my silk blouses. This one has cute tailoring on the front and I love how the print is horses patterned into diamonds. When I was small all the white girls at school were into horses in a big way. Funny how not being introduced to certain books meant I had no idea where this obsession came from. My best friend Chrissy (who is also Chinese) and I would watch this girl named Lauren prance around the field braying and such. We thought she was crazy. But it turns out horses and unicorns are very common childhood loves of many a white girl I've met! These are (generally speaking) also girls who come from families where their moms never called them fat and ugly.

I can sense Miss Sarah getting a little jealous...

However, growing up with my mama ended up giving me lots of character!

In other news, it's the season of coats. I love this navy Marc Jacobs trench of mine. I have to name drop here because I adore Marc Jacobs. There are certain kinds of clothes that just hug in all the right ways. I haven't met any piece of MJ that hasn't done that for me. Thank you, designer clothing.

For the record, I'm all about fit and quality. That doesn't necessarily mean things have to be expensive. In fact, I am all about sales. All the most stylish people I know understand how to mix high and low brow pieces. It's not about the names on your clothes. It's how they fit you, and how creative you are with different pieces. That's also one of the reasons I refrain from wearing too many monograms, particularly with bags.

There is a huge surge of Coach popularity these days and although I am a Coach carrier, it's because my mom has been rocking these bags since the 80s. I much prefer carrying something well made over something that is over branded. The bag you've been seeing in most of my pictures of late is from Roots. Pebbled grey leather with dark brown leather accents... yes please!

Anyway, I couldn't find my gloves today so I suffered the curse of cold hands. I also forgot to put a silk scarf on with the trench. The things I forget after a lifetime of living somewhere cold! I also have to find a new pair of long gloves. I had the most beautiful pair last year, but then I left Dougal loose in the house and he ate/destroyed one. He also ripped the pom pom off of my favourite toque. The new rule is if nobody is home with him, Dougal goes in the crate.

All this is to say that fall is here and it's only going to get colder. Stay tuned for the continued chronicles of riding a bike in the cold, without Gore Tex (unless that includes my parka).


September 27, 2009

When I was at lunch with my mom last week I noticed Dexter crank his neck around to check out this lady wearing an zebra print blouse. Decided to pull my own zebra print out of the closet a few days later, and paired it with my red repettos. People always think I wear heels because they're "stylish." They always ask me how I ride the bike in heels, etc. I wish the conversation wasn't so heel-centric. What about a conversation about pretty shoes in general, on bikes, with or without the heels?

Okay, enough about shoes and more about the outfit that I wore to the Meals on Wheels fundraiser I attended Friday night. Don was auctioned off as a dinner companion and got purchased by Paul Mennier from a local news station. To be honest I think he might have been a little tipsy! Luckily there was very little heckling on the auction block. At one point while they were listing off some of Don's attributes to help sweeten the deal and the auctioneer lady enthused, "He just had a baby!" Then this one other lady in the audience turns around and says to me, "YOU had a baby, how's that going?" Word, lady. Word.

When I was a teenager my mom used to give me a lot of grief over wearing shorts because she said my calves were huge and so were my thighs. She used to also claim that these thicker parts of my person were inherited from my dad's side. Way to take responsibility for your spawn's proportions, mom!

Then I would get contradictory fashion advice from magazines telling me that if I'm short and have short legs, wearing things that are short makes your legs look longer. What to do?!

It's true that I don't have skinny legs nor do I have those long model legs that actually look great in skinny jeans. I've got shapely legs. Not fat, but definitely not slender either (at least not in my opinion). I've decided just to embrace them. I sometimes like to wear short things because I CAN. Dresses this short on some of my friends would probably end up looking like some weird R rated tunic. I bike a lot. My legs are, shall I say, well defined. For some people a lot of exercise makes them really skinny. Biking just makes my legs muscular. Sigh. It's just how I roll.

The hairband was a birthday gift from my sister.

The pink stockings are from Clerys in Dublin. I can't believe they don't have holes in them yet. I bought the same ones in bright green for Sable.

The rest of the weekend is a blur already.

On Sunday I had some friends over for tea, chilling out in general, and Trek. That's right. Star Trek. The Next Generation.

We watched the two part episode where captain Picard gets taken hostage. THERE ARE... FOUR LIGHTS!

Here's Dougal, likewise chill on a Sunday.

And tea cups for drinking tea out of.

And goldfish crackers in a little melamine bowl because it looks cuter than eating it out of the bag.

Friends. Family. Good times. That's what it's all about!

New Shoes!

September 23, 2009

Yeah yeah, ladies be shopping. It's true.

I didn't buy a lot of shoes last year because of the pregnancy. I heard all these stories from moms of my students about how their feet changed sizes and never went back, and how their ankles were so swollen all the time they could only wear clogs. The other reason they wore clogs is because they couldn't see their feet so they could put those shoes on by sort of using their toe to blindly feel around the floor. Ah!

If I was walking for hours and hours a day then later in pregnancy I did notice my feet swelling. I wore a pair of velcro Airwalks from payless. I figured if I wasn't go to look chic, I might as well do a little Miss Sarah circa 1997. Awww yeah.

Fall is upon us and this is evident when you visit shoe stores. I had such fortune/misfortune (depends on how you look at it) to visit shoe stores both on Monday and Tuesday. Ladies, these are dangerous times.

Here is one of my new pairs of pumps! I wore them with a navy silk skirt that I got on sale at some store in a fancy mall in Hong Kong 3 summers ago. You can't really see in the picture, but it has this great ribbing detail. I love it when things are made with care and detail.

I also visited redbike and had a chat with my beloved Cliff. He's my bike man. There are actually several lovely bike men there, but he is my first bike-man love. Ladies who have been waiting for your Pashleys from redbike. They're here! But don't get too excited, you have to wait for a couple of the dudes to get back from vacation so they can be assembled properly. You will be riding soon.

Cliff is also stocking abici too! Aren't they so pretty? The blue one has great lines and even though it's frame is more aggressive (for faster and harder riding), I could definitely get on board with that. They are so beautiful. And expensive. But if you like beautiful expensive things... I highly recommend you test ride one. The aqua one in the foreground is super pretty too.

See that grey Batavus? Part of me wants to sell the Pashley to one of you adoring readers and buy that Batavus in size small. Cliff figures if I wear 4-5 inch heels like I had on today I could probably fit the smaller one no problem! Especially if I had the saddle all the way down. The Batavus seems like a perfect bridge between the Pashley and my Amsterdam. A hybrid of my two favourite bikes... but then I'd have to sell both of them in exchange for the Old Dutch. Just look at the handlebars. And the big big wheels for super smooth rollin'.

Anyway, back to reality. Here's a cute orange cargo bike!

And even though I may covet and look at other bikes, the Pashley is my lady bike for the time being and I love her.


And bell.

What a classy lady bike.

Hot Tuesday.

September 22, 2009

Oh man, I was totally over dressed today. I checked the weather online, and also did the look out the window thing (I can see how much wind there is if I watch the tree across the street). I even stepped outside the front door while checking the mail. It was nice, but sort of chilly.

I wore a hunter green knit cape that I really like.

It was so hot. Eventually I just had to take it off.

I fail.

In happier news, my pre-pregnant jeans fit again! I was capable of putting them on a few months ago, but saying they "fit" would certainly have been an overstatement. I am reveling in being able to wear my cherished collection of fashions again. Pregnancy wasn't hard, but the clothes are boring. And that baby bump took such precedence over my appearance that it didn't matter what I was wearing. Most of the time people would gasp and say something about how "huge" I was, even though I didn't feel that way.

So my pants fit. Awesome!

Some of you have commented that you think I look good, particularly for recently having had a baby.


I'm going to wander into the realm of vain and admit that it feels really good to have people notice I look nice. I just spent the better part of a year hosting Dexter inside of me so part of me hardly remembers what I used to look like. So thank you for the kind compliments. They are voraciously consumed by my ego on this end of the internet and you guys make me feel special to have your good wishes.

I sort of want to be all gracious and humble and modest about it, but let's be real. My clothes fit and people notice!

I'm quite surprised, yet proud of how resilient my body has been throughout pregnancy and now post-pregnancy. I attribute all of this to healthy, active living. I don't do diets and gyms.

Biking be praised!

Finally, that's Pashley up there with me, hanging out with Dougal at the dog park before we went downtown to meet my mom.

Family Day.

September 21, 2009

For the first time in a long time I'm not working on Sundays. It's glorious. Don and I get to see each other in the daylight on a regular basis. What a luxury!

We went to visit Don's parents this afternoon so they could have the opportunity to see the progressive development of baby D. They live just a few neighbourhoods over from where we are so it's very easy to make a visit. Don's dad is regularly biking over to our place for one thing or another, and vice versa. Mr. Iveson senior currently rides Don's old Amsterdam Mens Sport in red. Don bought it a few years back when I got mine, but it's just too small so it had to get passed on to somebody who would put it to good use.

I've waxed poetic about mature neighbourhoods before. Don's parents live in Parkallen, a neighbourhood that was chosen as a pilot 'hood for this past summer's ecomobility challenge. I'm so jealous Don got to grow up there. It's one of those cozy little pockets with a nice mix of old/new houses, lots of little paths that help you cut through the neighbourhood, and now his parents' house is about equal distance to the South Campus LRT station as ours is to the McKernan Belgravia one.

Our neighbourhood is great too. And moving here is one of the big reasons we impulsively decided to start a family last year. Great schools. Dog park. Ravine. Transit. It's neighbourhoods like these where I imagine kids are still allowed to walk or bike to school with their friends instead of getting dropped off and picked up by car. Sadly, I still often see the one mom and one kid combo inside a huge car, driving maybe 5-10 blocks. I TRY not to judge but... couldn't people at least attempt a car pool with some other kids or something? Anyway, I'm sure the answer to that question is that all families are all busy in all sorts of different ways.

I'm still judging.

Anyway, check out beautiful Parkallen!

Although we have brutally cold winters. One thing I love about living here is the prairie sky. So crisp.

And here's mom-in-law, recovering slowly and steadily. I get a lot of comments with you readers reiterating how cute you think Dexter is. Just for the record, I never tire of these comments!

Leaves. And more leaves.

I am sad they don't seem to make lawn chairs like these anymore. Classic.

I think a lot of people are narrowly focused on their destinations. Hence all the driving? Perhaps the lure of getting there safer and faster is just too good to pass up. I hope that we can teach Dexter that it's about the journey, not just the destination. It's good for his nose to feel the temperature outside. It's go to know that his muscles work. It's good to interact with his neighbours.

I have a lot of hopes for Dexter, but will always try to enjoy our journeys and maintain hope that we're moving in the right direction. For me that's the joy about biking. It's not just about where we're going... getting there is the fun part.

LRT Adventures.

September 19, 2009

Here's Dexter all excited about the day we're about to have on the train! I'm still working out the kinks for transporting him by bike, so baby and I are still in public transit mode on our outings. I did, however, put him in our chariot trailer thing and towed him behind me (on the Amsterdam) last weekend. Quick review:

Trailer was surprisingly light, barely felt it was there.

One must be careful with turning radius.

Baby looked safe, albeit sort of wedged with the bumper pad thing I bought for extra stability.

Looked like everything was perfectly sound until I went over bumpy roads (which are unavoidable here) AND I was riding incredibly slow. Like, somebody could have been briskly walking the same pace I was riding.

I can honestly say I gave it a try. If you want to wait until your kid is old enough to sit back there and play rock paper scissors with his sibling... then fine. Get a chariot and knock yourself out. I am impatient and I really think the thing is ugly. I am convinced now more than ever that a cargo bike is for me. My main hesitation is that there is no dealer in my city. The nearest I know about is a bakfiets in Vancouver or a nihola in Toronto. They are both expensive (I've sort of blown my bike budget with my road bike, the Pashley, and my many other bikes). I'm thinking Madsen is the solution... I believe one of you fine readers recommended these cargo bikes to me! Will keep you updated. If you guys have more tips on cargo bikes that are already on the continent and that will ship to Edmonton, I would be thankful for any leads.

Back to our Friday. We went on the train to meet a friend for lunch downtown. I've always been telling people that Dexter is super easy to take care of. I am a little concerned about what's in store after seeing my friend's 1 year and 4 month old kid. The mobility... is terrifying. This kid is running around and eating naan bread and swatting at the mango pudding and demanding water from the glass because it's cooler than drinking it out of his straw and water bottle. Intense. Dexter takes 20 minutes just to roll over. On the other hand, the older kid is way more interactive for longer periods of time. And the kid can also FEED HIMSELF. Wow!

My friend Connie wanted to come back to my place to check out the pad (we moved here just over a year ago) so we loaded the kids up in their strollers and headed to the train to go back to the bungalow. While waiting on the platform I asked her if people ever failed to vacate the priority seating on the train. She said most of the time people get out of the way so she can park the stroller and sit down with her baby. Just after telling her that much of the time people DON'T pay Dexter and me this courtesy, we get on the train and the couple sitting in the priority seating move over so she can sit down and park her stroller. Oh the irony! On my side there were these two louts parked on the bench, oblivious to what is happening even after I roll Dexter past them and park the stroller right beside them. There they are. Just sitting there with their legs spread out so wide. Using "fuck" as every second word in their dialogue. Listening to rap out loud on their cell phone(s). "This is so fucking hard!" says the guy on the left. "Put on some Tupac," the other replies. One word. DOUCHEBAGS.

Just look closely at their expressions!

SO PAINFUL. I got Connie to photograph the situation for your entertainment. If any of you follow me on Twitter you probably caught these images yesterday, and although they are bad photographs since the train was moving and they aren't in focus... you can perhaps relate just a little to the lack of chivalry we experienced. Barf.

Anyway, back at the bungalow Connie takes another picture of me and baby.

And she also caught me playing the 6-7 chord progression I know on the ukelele.

We actually took the train out again. This time I was meeting Raffaella and Lisa for some snacks, dinner, what-have-you. The girls are contemplating their gelato choices while I click away with the iPhone.

My shoes are the blue ones. Lisa's are the salmon.

So it was a food, friend, and train filled day. Sure, we encountered some losers. But such is life:) Dexter and I keep on with the walking/rolling. The more I walk, the better my old clothes fit!

Ladies Who Lunch.

September 16, 2009

Upon reading my previous posts, I realize (and this is not the first time) how much personal information I divulge and also how incredibly wacky my posts are. I'm talking about babies. And bikes. And my dress. And the weather. Jeez! Thanks for putting up with me and continuing to read the rampant chronicles of Miss Sarah.

Weather continues to be good. Thanks, global warming.

I had a lunch downtown this afternoon. When I was getting ready earlier I was rummaging through my closet looking for something that I would never wear in the winter. Found this old gem! I remember when my mom saw it years ago and said that it was so ugly, and that it looked old and tacky. Ironic, because I LIKE it due to its being old and tacky looking. Go figure.

It was a joyous day of "Hello!" out on the bike. Like stopping at the same red light next to this tree remnant collecting truck with three shirtless dudes inside. Talking about how it's hot out, and negotiating who is going to go first when the light turns green... that fun banter you don't always have with motor vehicles. Glorious!

After crossing the bridge I ran into Raffaella and Wade reading books in the park. Stopped to say 'hi' to them and took a picture of another fellow bike sister out during the lunch hour.

Continued on and had somebody shout to me that they were impressed that I was biking around in heels (yeah yeah) and later on some girl shouted from the stoop of a music venue that she loved my bike, all while the roadies were moving gear into the place for a show later tonight.

One of the things I love the most about biking is the sense of community. Not just with other cyclists, but with people in general. The feeling of being connected to the space and people you come across on a daily basis, just makes me feel so very alive, active, and happy.

So the lunch was at the Edmonton Marriot, whose restaurant has a fantastic veranda overlooking our river valley. Friends Ashley and Mina took the City of Edmonton bikes. The city has a bike library that its employees can use for work or recreation... so they came on bike too.


Here's Ashley, who was having a hell of a time with the wind tunnel our bikes were parked in. I think I saw both her bum cheeks a total of 3 times as she was trying to get the wind to stop raping her skirt. The best part was her mortified squealing. I thought it was funny. But we all know that I'm going to have some problem with my own skirt and bum exposure in the near future because the Universe will think it's funny when it happens to me too.

Ashley also had on pretty shoes. Good colour. Ditto with the toes.


Since we were in front of a huge parkade the girls were joking about my taking photographs showing off how pretty Edmonton is. I took this last picture to commemorate the irony.

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