Sunday Tea.

November 29, 2009

Rode to tea with some lady friends today at the Arbour Restaurant in Rutherford House on the University campus. Nothing like scones, raspberry butter, devonshire cream, and little sandwiches to round out a weekend.

Another pretty dress.

I really love these shoes of Lisa's.

Oh, Raffaella got this new camera. We have plans to do a night photo shoot soon... the new camera has super powers.

This jacket is my new multi-purpose warm maker.

Dahon is turning out to be a handy winter bike.

Here's my icy ride home. Awesome, huh?

I'm sort of resigned to the fact that I'm probably going to wipe out on this snow/ice/sand combination. The roads are just too inconsistent, even for an experienced cyclist like myself. I figure falling down on the Pashley is bad because it has so many bits that are precious to replace. With the Dahon, I can just get up and start riding again. And the puffy wheels are serving me well.

Maybe it doesn't show in the photos, but that ice with partial melt is brutal. Proceed with caution!


Family friends of ours offered to babysit Dexter tonight, under the caveat that Don and I would go out on a date and not do work. We were happy to oblige.

I've been talking a lot about local buying and local businesses lately. When I asked Don where he wanted to go for a dinner date he suggested Skinny Legs and Cowgirls. Apparently he had heard about the place through his networks and it boasts all organic fare so we decided it would be worth a try.

So delicious. Man, it's great when food tastes like... food! Organic is the bomb.

Afterwards we went to SNAP gallery's print affair. I knew there was going to be a show and a reception, but I had no idea it was a full blown party for print buying, complete with food, drinks, and DJ. Utterly fab.

We got a really witty little piece for the bungalow and ran into many random, fun people. I love events like these where you run into somebody from your neighbourhood who you usually see at the dog park. A good bike friend's girlfriend who you've heard about but have never actually met until they recognize you from your blog. Your best friend's brother. Stuff like that! Makes me so happy to have good, honest human synapse. Particularly when you're all at a party that promotes local artists.

It's not often that I am at events where I am impressed to any great degree by the proliferation of good fashion. Tonight was an exception. People were looking really good so I had to take some photos to share.

Blue dress with bubble skirt and grey tights. Yummy.

Tall and small. This is basically what I look like next to most of my much taller girlfriends.

Ah, colour!

Oh, that's me! I'm glad I was wearing a pretty dress. I had no idea the show was a fancy party thing. Also, new boots.

Always a fan of chevron stripes.

These next two pictures of by far my favourite outfits of the evening. I LOVE the girl's black frock below. I have several of dresses like this and people would ask me if I was pregnant all the time when I wore them a few years ago. Ironically, these dresses don't fit when you are actually pregnant. Hers looked really, really good. Something about the easy hair and the focus on silhouette and flat shoes. I thought she was fantastic. There's a picture earlier in this post where she's with one of her friends.

And this girl was another favourite of mine. Her dress was so interesting, not to mention hot, and had very neat movement to it. You can't see, but the shoes were these epic column heels. And the earrings were chandelier and jealousy inducing.

Printing presses and artsy people. Party had a great vibe.

People milling about as the night continued on without us. We had a great time, but had to relieve our babysitters. All in all a very successful Saturday night.

Edmonton Holiday Gift Guide

November 27, 2009

In the spirit of all that buying local talk a few posts ago, here's a gift list compiled by a local blogger on the Edmonton food scene. I'm near the bottom so you'll have to scroll down for me. It was an honour to be included! Now that I've seen the post I notice that many of my contemporaries are included in the mix. I love good company.

Even if you don't live in Edmonton there are a lot of good gift ideas that I'm sure can be replicated from local sources in your own town. So here's wishing you happy local Christmas shopping!

My favourite gifts to get are delicious food items and fabulous fashion finds. The latter is a tough call because unless somebody really knows me or understands my size, it's hard to hit the jackpot. Last year my good friend Dave got me two vintage broaches. So perfect. And people close to me know it's totally kosher and actually encouraged to buy me ostentatious hair pieces.

And I'll never say no to earrings.

Okay, this is clearly digressing into a post about all the presents I want for Christmas. Perhaps I should write about that separately.

For now, buying local in Edmonton! I would list some of the local businesses that I love, but this other blog post already takes the cake so I'll leave you to go browse.

Biking and Walking = Good For You.

November 25, 2009

Yup, that's me! Talk about a photo which is sort of a blast from the past. Thanks to you guys for bringing it to my attention. I don't actually get the paper. I'm just surprised that it's all over the wire. Flattering to have representation in all our major Canadian cities.

I've since then given that helmet to Leanne because it looks great on her with her blue Amsterdam.

I am no longer pregnant.

I still wear those shoes.

But, I hate how my hem is caught in the heel! How the hell did I not notice that? It sort of makes me look like I'm wearing skinny jeans and skinny jeans were not a good pregnant look for me. Oh well, I still think I look healthy and that's the point of the article.

Regardless, I think that picture was taken at around 34 weeks so Dexter was born a month after I was photographed.

So, yeah. Did you know that climate change is real? Some people actually argue that it's made up. You know, just a term that we hippies use to try to scare hard working tax payers into becoming socialists. Sigh.

Climate change is happening. And it would be prudent to think of the consequences, as outlined in this article. At the end of the day it's all of us who are going to suffer and it's our health on the line. Try to forego the car on occasion. One small step for man... might equal one big step for mankind!

I like to be optimistic.

(P.S. I know I'm supposed to credit the photo and it's driving me crazy that I don't remember the guy's name. He was super nice and also happened to attend Don's campaign party when we won the election. So sorry.)

Snow Again.

November 24, 2009

I rode to HUB mall this morning to get my hair cut by this guy who came highly recommended by a friend. My old stylist moved to Saskatchewan and I've been shopping for somebody else who is actually good and taking new clients. It was great! Whenever I'm in HUB it really brings back tons of undergrad memories. It's a place where you can eat fast food at 10 am and nobody judges. It's lots of different styles all mixed together. It's people watching galore. It's a hub of activity!

Rode the foldy so it would be easier to take onto the train. I'll say this. The Dahon is fabulous for transporting on the LRT. My Pashley was so heavy and huge that I had to take the elevators. With the Dahon I can actually use the escalators or just carry it up and down the stairs.

Here's the little guy in an elevator, just because I thought I had to at first.

And waiting on the platform for the Northbound train to arrive.

It was so cute, while I was sitting in the saddle and holding onto the bar (I find this is easier than standing beside the bike or sitting beside it) a little kid was saying to his mom, "Look mom! I'm on my bike - Ding Ding!" He was playing pretend that HE actually had a bike on the train and was ringing an imaginary bell.

Took the train downtown to meet my mom for lunch and to give Dexter a feed (he was sleeping over last night and again tonight). Then mom had a doctor's appointment so I folded up the bike and put it in her backseat so we could get to her appointment. I watched the baby while she did her thing. Afterwards I unfolded the Dahon and rode home while she took the baby onto the freeway back to their place.

See? Just because you have to go do multiple things and coordinate being here or there. There's still a way to save a few car trips. And hey, if we can just save one here or there... I'm down.

So let's talk about the snow. I think the most annoying thing for me is the inconsistency in the roads. People tell me to get studded tires. To get this bike or that bike. I don't know... half the time the treads in the roads are worn down enough that it's fine. There are no huge snow banks now so I'm not dealing with a lack of road space yet. It's just that the conditions are changing at every moment. Ice. Wet snow. No snow. Sand. Blah!

I'm thinking Dahon is going to make a great winter bike because the wheels are so small that I'm allowed to not so guiltily take the sidewalk from time to time if there is no road to ride on. Also, it's very train friendly so I can use it in tandem with transit. And I'm not sitting very far off the ground so if I'm going to wipe out on ice or that sticky, slippery snow... I don't have far to go before I hit the ground:)

It was a windy day.

You'll be seeing a lot of these boots.

And here we are back at home, ready for a warm coffee. Yes, that's a babydoll plaid shirt with ruffles. So what?

Do The Madsen.

November 23, 2009

One of the great things about this blog is meeting blogsphere friends. There's sort of a natural screening process because I don't think anybody could read my writing and then follow up with me on Twitter or email if they didn't dig what I was putting out.

I got the best pictures from Braxton and Ashley Colagross, of baby Claire in their Madsen. They also do the car seat thing, I believe it's without a platform, but the concept is the same.

See, I'm not crazy! There is at least a few other couples in North America doing this. Not to mention the countless other families using bikes as transportation in other parts of the world where it isn't so taboo.

How validating.

Continued happy riding, family style!

Mama Gonna Knock You Out.

November 21, 2009

Here's Pashley on my way home from hanging with my ladies. Even after an evening of prosecco, pizzas, and another movie at an art house theatre... the mom in me was still in action. Though it was late, it occurred to me that I should stop at the 24 hour drug store to get Dexter supplies. Vitamin D supplement, teething ring, children's tylennol (just in case)... I always forget when I'm grocery shopping and after the movie it all just came to me.

I got an Anthropologie dress on sale! It's silk and has gold buttons. Delightful.

Checking to make sure everything is tip top before heading out.

When Don saw these boots he cautiously asked, "Are those new?" Happy to report that they're just REALLY old and they haven't been taken out in quite some time.

So we went to go see An Education at the Garneau. A charming and lovely film. I'd recommend.

Prior to show, the ladies met up for some post-work drinks and food at Da Capo. I was miraculously the first one to arrive. Seriously, when I'm not dealing with consecutive diaper wettings in the middle of a change, or not chasing Dougal when he escapes and runs out the door, or waiting for Don, I am actually capable of being somewhere on time. While I was waiting I was listening to this girl at the table next to mine.

I paraphrase:

"I can't talk to her about my career because she doesn't HAVE one. She has KIDS. I mean, what kind of a person are you if the only concern of yours is having babies? And I'm supposed to feel guilty about my life because I'm doing something with it and she's NOT? And when we do meet up, she has to leave after an hour because her baby is acting up. How lame is that?"

Guys, it took so much self control not to say something to her. Not that I don't understand parts of where she's coming from. I've never identified with girls whose major desire was to have a baby and certainly I had other things I wanted to do before I had a kid. At the same time, the conclusion that I've reached about baby-talk is that there is no good time. Early. Late. During school. After school. I don't know, everybody just has to do their own thing. It's sort of stupid to assume that what works for one person or makes them happy is the same thing that will work for somebody else. I don't believe there is a perfect time. And I really feel as though there's a huge stigma perpetuated by the fear mongering trauma moms out there.

When I was pregnant I had to endure countless renditions of how being a mom is so hard. How pregnancy sucks. How child birth is the most amazing pain ever and that you just want to die. That your kids will be jerks to you and you'll never sleep again. And then there's this tiny qualifier at the end of these traumatic emissions saying that of course it's all worth it. Uh... thanks?

Want to know something personal? I got an epidural. I had some people telling me not to get one, and some people telling me to go for it. I did weigh the pros and cons and decided I wouldn't rule anything out. I take my word very seriously. If I say I'm going to do something, I Sarah Chan-do-it! It's an expression Bryce made up for me, which is supposed to encapsulate my decisiveness and commitment to accomplishing things. Anyway, promising one thing or another when you have no idea what's going on is sort of setting oneself up for disappointment. I thought it was sort of futile to go into a situation I've never had to deal with before (labour & childbirth) making all sorts of presumptions about what it was going to be like. Pain is different for different people. Labour is different for different people. It's best not to assume the very best or the very worst. It will just be whatever it is.

Anyway, to wrap up the story of Dexter's birth. My water broke but I didn't have contractions for over 24 hours. So I got induced. I went from feeling totally fine and absolutely normal to having 60 second on and 60 off contractions. In my back. There's something about having a pain in your lower spine that is oh-so-weird. Anybody who has had contractions knows that 60 seconds is a long time. Particularly when I had no build up to it. My body didn't have a chance to get accustomed to infrequent contractions and then gradually get used to it. It was nothing. Then everything. So after doing that 1 minute on and 1 minute off for around 4-5 hours I asked if they could see if I was ready for an epidural. Nurse said sure. We got the guy to come and fix me up. And it was fantastic! I could actually speak. And make jokes. And be all witty and sarcastic. The nurses loved me!

The point is every lady just has to do what is right for them. If it works and it makes you feel good, then knock yourself out. When I tell people that labour was no big deal (in an attempt not to scare off many a reasonable girl from ever procreating) I also add that I got an epidural. Then they always point accusing fingers at me saying, "See! That's why!" And I counter with a polite yes. That is indeed why. I made a choice and I don't regret it and in fact, I actually ENJOYED the labour because of the choices I made. So there. At least I'm not running around scaring everybody about the state of my lady parts and needing to turn my pain into an oral tradition. Having been on the other side of all this I can say with certainly that nobody really wants to hear about that. I mean, other that the baby, are there prizes for putting yourself in a situation where you have to unload your psychological burdens on unsuspecting young ladies? Also, even somebody has an awful labour, maybe they should say something constructive? Being a first time mom, my philosophy was that freaking myself out about labour months before it was going to happen wasn't going to make it any less painful (if that's what I was going to be in for).

So if this girl at Da Capo thinks her friend is lame. Then why is she friends with this mom she knows? If she was a good friend, she would try to be helpful when they are out for coffee and the kid is acting up. Not just pretending to be nice and then talking about this mama behind her back. I don't know... I was just sort of offended at how gloriously this girl pigeon-holed motherhood. I think it's highly unfair that parenting and mothering is not valued monetarily in our society. So since you don't get paid big bucks to do it, must mean that you have no aspirations in life? Bollocks.

Also, you have to carry the baby around for almost a year. And that results in being prey to the most inane conversations about your weight and appearance. It's highly irritating.

It just bothered me. I just sat there thinking she probably had no idea that a new mother was sitting at the next table, and that this new mother was certainly well-rounded, working, and taking care of her baby. I found it ironic that she kept talking about how lame her friend was, and she was essentially monologuing about how she herself was AWESOME in comparison. Sigh. Isn't that the thing that is really lame?

Just to add. I can think of plenty people with jobs/careers that don't make them happy.

Being interesting is what makes people interesting.

Having a baby. Not having a baby. Choosing to have it early or late or not at all... I feel has relatively little to do with somebody having substance. My verdict is that being somebody's mom doesn't mean you're not interesting. There are way too many factors to take into consideration before making such an assumption.

I'll just put it out there that trying your best to raise a good person, a good citizen, and a good member of the community? This is worthwhile. And that work is priceless. Maybe some people are busy doing that and not so busy talking shit about their supposed friends on a Friday night.

So... back to Da Capo. We ate tasty food.

The bow on Lisa's dress.

Leanne rocks giant gingham. Please note the belt. So excellent.

Elise had the prettiest collar on her shirt. I never buy shirts with stuff like that because I'd end up ruining it in the wash.

Lady friends at the concession.

So it's possible to go out and having meaningful interactions with people before and after having a baby. Just so you know. And you can be out with your friends and still have time to swing by the store on your bike to get your baby some supplies. It's not rocket science. It's just life. And it can be good. Even with a baby.

In fact, I can honestly say that having Dexter is the best thing I've ever done.

Good and Bad.

November 17, 2009

Blerg. Today was one of those days where some things went swell and other aspects of the day were arduous.

I saw a Tweet this morning about how windy it was. I decided to ride the Amsterdam since it's lighter and I prefer the Pashley at night because of the lights and reflective bits. I figured it was bright and dry out so the Amsterdam was a good choice. I also had to ride longer distances than usual. I'm glad I took the Amsterdam. It was SO windy! I hate wind. It was so bad that when I was standing still at a red light, the wind nearly blew me over several times. And when my bike was parked with just the kick stand deployed, it DID fall over. Poor bike.

Oh well, I got a work out today.

Lucky I had a hat. Which brings me to one of the good things! I came home last night to see a box from Headcase Hats. I took a sneak peak inside, thinking it was swag that Don got from one of the fashion shows he gets to model in every now and then (for charity). It was obviously a ladies' hat, but I had up until that point heard nothing of it so I just left it on the counter. Part of me thought that Don was feeling really sweet and sentimental and appreciative, and that he went and got me a present for no reason. Ha! I should have trusted my instincts and known that isn't his style. Don is appreciative of having me in his life, but he doesn't very often say it or relay those sentiments with grand gestures. He does things like put more ram in my computer, fix my bike, and renovate the house. To be honest, I do prefer these gestures over flowers.

Turns out the lovely gesture and gift of my new beret is from Don's research assistant at his office! Don and his office crew were at the launch party for shop local month organized by the people behind Keep Edmonton Original (at least that's how I understand it to work). It promotes spending one's dollars in the local economy because three times the amount of money stays circulating within the community as opposed to the minute percentage of shopping at big box stores. I know a lot of people buy things at chains and big box stores because they are often less expensive, and I certainly do my fair share of purchasing from chain clothing stores so I'm not trying to be holier than thou. If it comes down to a good value, however, I suppose the discussion turns into what constitutes a good value for some.

It's like bike riding. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You know, the people who don't want to bike when it's cold? Well, if you really don't want to, then don't. Just bike when it's nice out. Or people who are really staunch either way about helmets. Wear one. Don't wear one. To be honest, it doesn't offend me one way or another. I just feel guilty when people give me a hard time about whether I'm personally wearing one.

So local shopping. Sure, not everybody is going to be able to buy local everything. But every spending choice you make makes a difference. So if it's a choice between eating at a chain restaurant or some local joint. I'll usually go moms & pops if only because I seem to live near a lot of those. Plus, I find them more unique.

It's nice to buy groceries at the farmer's market because you get to actually meet the people who grew your food. I dunno... it's pretty cool. And I like shopping at local places because I can get unique gifts. Shopping local is the bomb.

Speaking of which, on the way home, I stopped at a local music book store to get some Christmas books for the kids.

Anyway, Don's RA (research assistant) won this beautiful hat and it wasn't really his style, and he thought of me... so now it's mine. Thanks Dan! I will wear my Canadian made Parkhurst hat with pride. Plus, it's made of water repellent wool felt. Perfect for windy days like today. And hey, it's got embroidery. Yes!

Wore it with an old skirt that I've had for years. I still love it. Pin stripes. And tons of pleats.

I'm really into belts these days.

My shoes are playing hide and seek.

My faithful sunglasses (they're prescription) that keep crap from flying into my eyes. Also, they help me see.

When I finally got home there was just enough time to ride the bike over to the park with Dougal. What a grateful little dude.

Lots of benches to look down into the river valley.

I suppose it wasn't such a bad day, after all!

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