Beam Me Up, Scotty.

October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I won't have Dexter in his costume until later tonight, but I've been in my costume all day long.

Don is a long time Star Trek fan. He digs the original series, with TNG coming in second. His favourite Trek movie is the Wrath of Khan, which I must admit, is pretty good. If you want a synopsis, watch this Robot Chicken reprisal and you'll basically get the idea.

Years ago when he was in Vegas, Don picked up this Uhura dress at the Hilton's Star Trek Experience. He also got some science officer uniforms for our good friends and a Captain Kirk one for himself. Yes, it's ultimately dorky. I do like the dress, however, even though I couldn't be classified as a Trekkie.

It's made out of the same cotton used for sweat pants so it's like wearing a sweat pant dress. Yes, I know I just wrote the words "sweat," "pant," and "dress" in succession.

Last year I wore this on the bus while I was going downtown to meet people.

This year I'm wearing it with Pashley.

She's pretty much well my version of the Star Ship Enterprise.

Together we explore strange new worlds.

Seek out new life and civilizations.

And boldly go where few stylish North American woman have gone before.

Have a fun and safe Halloween! I'll post some Dexter-in-costume pictures tomorrow.

Foldy Bike.

October 30, 2009

Just a quick story from last week, about the Dahon.

A friend of mine was seriously considering getting a folding bike because she lives in a compact apartment, there's no good place for her to lock up outside or underground, and in Edmonton we're allowed to ride on the sidewalk with wheels smaller than 20 inches (amongst other reasons). I suggested that she borrow my Dahon for a few months to ride for an extended period of time since test riding a bike at a store and riding it in real life are different.

We met up for dinner so she could return the bike to me and I arrived at the restaurant, pleasantly surprised that she took the time to fold it down. I rarely fold the Dahon unless it's getting stuck in the back of a car, in which case I usually just half fold it. Since it was already broken down, I locked it to a post that way and we went into the restaurant to have some eats.

We got seated by the window, and it was incredibly distracting for me because I just sat there watching person after person stop and gawk at the bike. First I thought this hobo wanted to steal it because he was circling it for an long time, but then I realized he was just checking it out because the bike looks so weird. I kid you not. No less than 20 different people stopped to remark on the bike. It was really cute to see people so incredibly perplexed and curious about a bicycle! It was like watching a silent film where the subtitles would have been "OMG!" over and over again.

After dinner we went back out to unlock the thing. I took the bus so that I could ride the bike home. Then we ran into some guys who were ogling the bike and having a smoke while I unfolded the Dahon back into it's fully functional form.

A few minutes passed with chit chat about the thing, and I offered for one of the guys to test ride it up and down the block since he was so curious about whether it was fast at all. This is where his friend told him that the only important thing was knowing it was faster than walking. I never heard somebody put it that way before but... that's a good way of looking at it!

On the way home I was riding slowly beside my friend on the sidewalk while she was walking back to the train, and some dudes passing us while we crossed a street remarked that I was hot.

A girl on a bike is almost always hotter than a girl in a car. That's just my opinion.

And my bikes often result in my meeting new people and having random conversations. That has never happened when I'm driving my Mazda (which, by the way, is getting written off after the rear ender).

Oh, and this friend is getting a folding bike... but has decided to go for supreme quality with all the bells and whistles. She's getting a Brompton instead!


Inaugural Madsen Ride.

October 28, 2009

I rode the Madsen today. Solo.

We have a house guest coming this Sunday, so the basement has become a priority on the to-do. Madsen baby retrofit is last right now, with an unpromising "we'll see..." from Don when I followed up about whether we could maybe find time on the weekend.

All that aside, I knew I had to ride this bike soon. Seriously. It's been in the house for around two weeks and no outside time?


The weather was around the plus 3, minus 4 mark (24-36 for the rest of you). Sort of wet. And by the time I was heading home there were ice flecks getting in my eye. I wore this dress with boots, my trench, scarf, and gloves.

Took it over to redbike to show the guys. They thought it was really novel and Cliff immediately suggested he and Brent get into the back while I pedal. At first I was like, "Uh... really?" and then he said, "Well, that's what it's for." He's right. It's just that I've never had two grown men offer to ride with me on my bike! Too bad a customer came and they had to help him out so perhaps next week when Bryce is in town.

Took Madsen on the Miss Sarah circuit. Bike place.



Cargo included goodies such as birthday presents for my niece, some groceries, and a box of pastries and muffins.

I can eat this way because I bike a lot.

So my initial thoughts? It was surprisingly easy to ride. The turning radius is wide, but not weird like on a tricycle. It's definitely not FAST. Though, and I quote from some dude who was talking to me about my folding bike (another post I'm working on), "All you need to know is that it's faster than walking." His friend was dubious about whether a folding bike had any good purpose, and was very curious about how fast it went.

So it's not as fast as riding alone (I anticipate that I'll get very strong from riding and then I'll be faster), but that is likely because of the weight, the fact that it's new to me, and because I don't have everything in the right position yet.

The saddle isn't as comfortable as my Brooks on my other bikes. Again, this will probably be "whatever" once I tweak a few things. Still, it felt very pointy. I'll see how much Don likes it, since we'll both be riding this bike, and then we can make a call about whether to leave it or change it.

I'm going to change out the plastic pedals. Maybe I'll wait for them to break and crack with the cold first, then I'll replace them.

The brass bell isn't nearly as offensive and shrill outdoors as it was indoors, so I'll probably keep that too for the time being.

Brent at redbike said the bits on the bike are all decent. It's certainly not state of the art and the most luxurious of bike parts, but it'll do the job and it's not outfitted with a bunch of cheap crap parts either.

I like the cargo on the back and it is handy to just dump things in the bin. I think this is a bike that will be handy for taking Dexter on short runs in the surrounding areas. Somewhere between 6-12 miles round trip? It should suit us fine for school, groceries, library, and some extra curricular activities depending on where those are. Yes!

I know, I know. Dexter is still a baby, why am I thinking about school already? I like planning ahead. And seeing all the moms that drive less than 10 blocks to ferry their kids to school... forces me to take these things into consideration.

Oh, and once I have a second baby. I'm pretty sure riding this bike is going to make me fit again. I don't want to scare anyone away from buying a cargo bike, but I'd be lying if I said it was as easy and light and fast as riding say, my road bike. On the other hand, as somebody who is used to riding bikes, I know it's just a different style of riding and once I get used to it I'll probably wonder how I ever thought I was traveling slowly in the first place. I decided to just go for it and rode on the main roads, in traffic, just as I would with any of my other bikes. It was surprisingly not terrifying. Felt normal.

None of my muscles hurt. I'll check back tomorrow and let you know if that's still the case:)

And yes, lots of people stopped to gawk and talk about the bike. I am the harbinger of stylish, active living with kids (in Edmonton)!

Night Rider.

October 27, 2009

Wore my flat boots tonight! They're flat. But contrary to the advice people give me about wearing flat shoes (that I should do it more often because they are sensible), they were not comfortable at all when I first got them. It's taken several wears with thick socks to get over this incessant rubbing on my right ankle. Ow.

A week and a half ago this was still a problem. Maybe it's because I didn't walk very far tonight, but there is no present pain to speak of. Perhaps I have won the battle against these boots?

They are patent on the front, but matte on the calf part. They make me feel like a super hero.

Oh, and a brief gripe about cars. I got off this multi-use trail and arrived at a big intersection to see this. Sigh. How does somebody crash into a piece of the city's infrastructure while making a right turn? Our lanes are surely wide enough. Is it really that hard? What if somebody had been standing on that corner walking to cross the street when that happened? Walking and biking are not dangerous activities. The only thing that is dangerous are half-conscious people operating huge motor vehicles. Mega sigh.

The rest of the evening was excellent, however. My good friend Dave and I are doing a regular after work drinks thing. He works too hard and I miss him. That's all the motivation we need. We're also combining forces on a special project so now we have even more excuses to confer on a regular basis! Sometimes life just gets so busy and you don't get to see the people you care about nearly as much as you would want. We're doing something about it.

Coasting on the way home from a great visit.

Vancouver Day 4.

October 25, 2009

I'm writing from Edmonton, recovering this fine Sunday night, from a very eventful few days. Got in late last night, put the baby to bed (no crying on the flight home either), and woke up only to scramble together for tea with some lady friends this afternoon.

Our last day in Vancouver was different, but likewise fun compared to the other days. We walked to Gastown to have lunch with Rosie and Justin at Finch's. Then proceeded to have the most leisurely day of strolling around the surrounding streets.

Dexter looking dubious about solid food.

Popped into a button store. Looked at cool buildings nearing completion. Stopped for coffees and biscotti. And we spent a good chunk of time browsing a beautiful design store. It was lovely because there are no pushy salespeople. Just beautiful home things, and you get to hang out and experience the space without any pressure. Dexter was pretty enamoured with all the lights.

Auntie Rosie with Dexter.

Here's Don. Possibly distracted for a few fleeting moments, from thoughts of how the way many of us live is ruining the planet. I know, it's ironic saying that while posting pictures of us hanging out at a fancy furniture store. Are sofas as bad for the planet as cars?

Justin, as relaxed as the rest of us.

I sat on an enormous chair. It was so comfortable with the exception of not being able to touch the floor with my feet.

Dexter was transfixed with this light. He kept batting at it with his hand.

The best part about this mini getaway was discovering a city I already know, with Dexter. It's nice to recharge every now and then with good friends, good food, and lots of urban exploration. My family made a tradition out of visiting Vancouver. It's both strange and excellent to think that I'm starting to do the same with my little family.

P.S. The Yaletown mini-dogs I saw would make delicious one-bite snacks for Dougal, on a subsequent visit.

Vancouver Day 3.

October 24, 2009

I haven't said anything about the Canada line yet. It's awesome! You take it right in from the airport and it basically gets you anywhere you need to be. On the way in the other night everybody in our car (train car) was talking about how convenient and awesome it was.

We took it out to Richmond today to meet some of my family for dim sum at Aberdeen Centre. It's so strange because I often forget that Chinese is the first language I learned as a child. I use English far more often, especially since my parents are also very fluent in English, and the Chinese is just in this compartment in my brain that I don't require access to very often.

Here's Don getting caught up on reading and emails on our trip over.

As I was on the train I didn't realize it, but my brain switched over to Cantonese mode and all of a sudden I was at this very Hong Kong inspired mall and craving desserts with red bean paste in them. I wanted bubble tea, and to go to the weirdo photo sticker booths. After the dim sum Don indulged me as I browsed Daiso, the Asian $2 store.

Even though it was raining, we did a fair bit of walking in addition to bus and train. Came back in from Richmond and visited Rain City Bikes like I said I would. An incredibly friendly dude was tuning up a ride behind the counter. We browsed the little place. I fantasized about buying one of the Batavus' they had on display outside. It was a Blockbuster Dames... which I suspect may be the bike Trisha rides over at LGRAB? As much as Pashley is totally the Miss Sarah standard now, I do get impressed at how light other bikes are. Were I to buy another one (not likely in the near future, but let's just say for the sake of argument), I would get something that fills a niche. This Batavus seems like a good contender.

Anyway, here is a nice little fleet of Pashley Princess Sovereigns. They're just waiting for lovely owners to take them home.

And me with a half folded up Brompton.

Walked over to a friend's place to visit and also see her little boy. Then walked up to our dinner date with my one of my best friends, Rosie! We were so excited to see each other all week and have been exchanging texts about said excitement. Then when we actually DO see each other it's just like I saw her last week even though it's been months and months. That's the great thing about good friendships. It's like time stops.

She and her husband put on a lovely evening for us at their beautiful apartment. There was wine.

And pizzas that we could top ourselves! I've never been to a pizza party before, nor have we ever made pizzas at our house when I was small. I thought that was just stuff that people did on TV, until tonight. So delicious.

And gorgeous Rosie making sure everything is wonderful for her guests.

And, of course, the guest of honour!

Vancouver Day 2.

October 23, 2009

My trusty feet took us on more leafy adventures.

Dexter had a wonderful day full of firsts! I was meeting Chrissy for lunch and left early because I wasn't sure how the bus was going to work and I didn't want to be late. The bus came within minutes of my arriving at the stop. And I got to the lunch location twenty minutes early with the help of google maps. With nothing else to do, I started photographing Dexter with abandon.

Lunch at Salade de Fruits was delicious!

Afterwards, a stroll down to west 4th to do some Kitsalano shopping.

Fresh B.C. fruit while in B.C. What a concept!

Dexter making new friends at one of the many designer things baby stores.

Later on, met up with Don at Granville Island. It's such a lovely place down under the bridge with tons of artsy places to browse and of course, the market! I've come here so many times with my own family while growing up and then with friends over and over again on subsequent visits. I was so excited for Dexter to have his first outing here.

I am also excited that my overall mini dress fits again.

I had my repettos in the undercarriage of Dexter's stroller and changed into them because I was doing a lot of hills.

My men.

Dexter likes the salty sea air (I presume).

Harvest time!

We took the sea bus (yes, with the baby) and got off in Yaletown. Lots of shops. Lots of mixed use housing. Wide sidewalks. I'm not going to lie... I do like the look of Yaletown (the ellipses indicate that I briefly fantasized about living in a town home there).

After a pit stop at the hotel for Dexter's nap, we headed back out on foot to dinner at Hapa. Dexter was quite the charming ladies man and proceeded to win the hearts of many an Asian waitress. The proprietor came up to us and held the baby for some time too, relaying his own experiences with the bugaboo. Then he took the baby on parade through the restaurant so everybody could ogle. Funny, only because this place wasn't very family-like. It was hip and bustling with beautiful people. Just not the place I'd imagine people to be excited about babies, but I guess Dexter turns it on!

Oh my. I'm so glad our friend Jhen suggested getting plum wine. It. Was. So. Good.

Like drinking candy.

The food was likewise tasty.

Jhen settles up.

On the way home, Granville at night.

Vancouver Day 1.

October 22, 2009

One of the things I love about Vancouver is the way it smells (with the exception of east hastings). Because I'm blogging quickly while Dexter is napping before our dinner date, I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

For the record, Dexter was wicked on the airplane. Milk snacks on take off and milk snacks on landing make a happy baby. I didn't realize how much Dexter would like a king sized bed. He's been rolling around on it like a fiend! Left, right... he's unstoppable.

We're staying at the Moda hotel, which is a great little boutique place on Seymour and Smithe. It's a short walk to downtown amenities so the baby and I went strolling and shopping yesterday. Granville street is just one stop over. I like how old-timey it looks, even during the day.

Vancouver has LEAVES! Oh, it's nice to have a bit of fall because the colours are so amazing. It snowed so quickly in Edmonton that I really missed the autumnal changes. I know everybody says the same thing about pretty leaves, but it's true. The trees here are so vibrant. In the spring the blossoms are also excellent.

Can't wait until Dexter is old enough to eat one of these awesome Halloween candy apples. Yum.

I was very impressed that I was able to walk in a pair of my favourite shoes all day and night. In Edmonton I rarely run into moms that have the same stroller as Dexter since it's expensive and very much a stroller for the avid pedestrian. Here, tons of moms have it! I was in the elevator with another mom with a British accent and she showed me how to attach the rain cover because I've never had to use mine before. Point is, either more of the moms here are into walking a lot, or they're more into having a pricey stroller just for the sake of having something pricey for their baby? Probably some of both.

The shoes are very fall-like. I love these ones because they're sort of 1930s and remind me of a pair of Clarks I had when I was 3 years old.

An entire wall display of sparkly head bands tempted me to spend way too much money. I resisted. Particularly because my mom gifted me one of these last week in Edmonton and I should be spending my shopping time finding cute and neat gifts for friends.

Had after work drinks at the restaurant (Cibo) attached to the hotel with Edmonton expatriate friend, Elicia. She likes the baby.

Don after an invigorating day of sessions. He's tired, but has reported to me that it's motivating to meet a lot of people who are as concerned about sustainable living as he is. And no matter how tired Don is, when he's hanging with Dexter he's always present and full of fun.

Being silly in the lobby. It was Elicia's idea to hang out on the baggage cart.

Ready for dinner part 2 at Nuba.

I picked out Don's tie. It used to be my dad's from the 70s and I'm glad I salvaged it from one of my mom's ruthless purges. She's the woman who actually gave her wedding dress to Salvation Army because she was never going to wear it again.

Potatoes and Fatouche.

Vintage tiles at our hotel. I'm dying to have these honeycomb-like tiles at our house but Don says they are not suitable since our house is 50s. UGH. What a purist.

So far this little getaway is awesome!

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