Kona's Winter Makeover.

December 31, 2009

Took winter Kona out to my physio appointment yesterday and I'm in love with winter riding and studded tires. You techies out there are going to be really disappointed with my vague descriptions and lack of details, but if you're dying to know exactly what brand of whatever I had put on the bike, lemme know and I can ask my redbike guys.

It was -17 C/1 F with a light tail wind on the way there and what felt like a stronger head wind on the way back. The bicycle path has now been appropriately plowed and the crossings are no longer obstructed by gigantic windrows. Thank you, city of Edmonton!

The major advantage to the studded tires I have are that the nubbies are concentrated on the edges, so when I need to get out of the saddle to conquer the moguls I can rock the bike from side to side to build my momentum and also dig into the snow and ice. Glorious.

The mountain bike is also much more suitable for these Edmonton roads. I'm not sure what it's like elsewhere with snow, but the layers of frozen ice alternating with patches of fresh snow and the odd bit of exposed road make for major frustrations. With the mountain bike I'm out of the saddle quite a bit and riding much more aggressively. The advantage to this is feeling incredibly bad-ass and it's also a rigorous workout.

The cold parts were mainly my face, knees, and toes. My boots are insulated, but I'm not sure if the insulation extends down into the toe of my boot. I should have worn warmer socks. I was wearing these thin trouser socks, nothing thermal or wooly. My bad.

I went 4 blocks without my sunglasses and pulled over to quickly put them on. Frozen, watering eyes... blah! Don and I were just online ordering winter helmets and I'm honestly tempted to get goggles! Not ones that make me look like a sport extremist, but pair that will make me look like Lady Gaga. Stay tuned.

Onto the bike. I replaced the old saddle. It used to be horrible. The new one is so much more comfortable. I'm thinking of switching it over to the Madsen in the spring when I put Kona away and take Madsen out again.

One of Kona's main problems was its fit with my too-short arms and legs. My redbike guy figured we should change out the handlebars for this pair that would push me farther back into the saddle instead of the old ones that had me leaning over.

The winter ride. Propped up in snow.

And here's Dougal welcoming me back home after my afternoon excursion. I didn't even bother wearing my parka. I just wore this lined coat and it was plenty warm with the body heat I was generating. Underneath I was wearing a light sweater and skinny jeans.

I'm really excited! Now that I have the right bike, winter riding and I have a bright future together:) I think -20 C will be my cut off for the time being. But you all know me. I'll try anything once.

Madsen Ride with Bryce.

December 30, 2009

I got the best email from Bryce this morning!

Back when he was visiting around Halloween, he took a short video of me riding the Madsen with Dexter sleeping in his car seat in the back.

He finally sent it to me. Yay!

I miss dry roads.

The Gifts of Lady Friends.

December 29, 2009

Came back from a day of errands to find a running shoe box on the counter by the door. Christmas presents from my lady Rosalie in Vancouver!

I was right to be excited. The loot is SO GOOD.

Dexter got a hand made (in Canada) cate & levi puppet and a book about a tiny giraffe.

The Miss Sarah gifts are just as good. Rosalie must know about my love for Marimekko because she got me both a Marimekko memory game (equal parts dorky and beautiful) and a complete set of dinner napkins! We're big entertainers here at the bungalow and these are great because I can wash and reuse them over and over again.


People are so thoughtful when it comes to presents. I've also received the most delicious selection of things from my lady friend, Crystal. She was the one behind the Betsey Johnson necklace from my Christmas Eve post. What I didn't write about was the smoked sea salt she also got me, and a tiny little salt pig to go with!

AND vanilla bean paste.

There is also some fantastic smelling BBQ dry rub she brought me from Dallas while she was on a business trip. Unfortunately it's not as photogenic as the other items, but I'll have to take a picture of my dry rubbed meat another time.

I feel so lucky to have wonderful and generous friends who know me so well. I'm still reeling from the good feelings of this holiday season.

And to top it all off, I got a call from redbike today. Winter Kona is ready for pick up so you can expect to see pictures of me on it tomorrow!


December 27, 2009

Alright, I'm succumbing to demand. Demand for studded tires and some other ride that is going to kick the shit out of the windrows and the annoying inconsistencies on the road. Ice. Snow. Fresh. Packed. This is no way to live!

The Dahon is okay when snow is super light, but not when it's heavy.

The Pashley has great brakes for winter, but I don't want to take my pretty bike out when it's -30 and there is crud all over the road. One slip and my fenders will probably be bent to hell. Plus, that upright position I usually love so much is just not conducive to ass kicking.

I don't think there is anything to do other than ride more aggressively (not traffic-wise, just power-wise) in order to reign supreme over the snow.

So it was time to unleash my Kona mountain bike circa 1995-96? I bought it from my god-brother when I was in high school. It served me well for a good chunk of time but I never LOVED riding it. Never quite fit.

Don and I took it to redbike last week and it's getting a makeover. New handlebars to change my posture. Different saddle. Studded tires and some general cleaning up. Will call in the next few days to see if it's done.

I carried the bike for a good few blocks and I was struck by how fun it is to be able to lug my bike around on my shoulder! That's something that Pashley and I don't do. The angles are so weird there's no ideal place to grab onto that pretty lady.

Looking forward to new adventures with my old bike!

Stay tuned for aforementioned ass kicking.


December 26, 2009

Christmas Day is a mixture of modes. Phase one is sitting around in pajamas for a really long time watching movies and eating Christmas baking. Most of our gifts from friends had been opened during earlier exchanges so there's no mother load of treats until we go over to my mom & dad's. The bungalow is very chill.

Dexter bounced around in his jumper with his sock puppet. Luckily the thing has these skinny legs that are perfect for Dexter to grasp while he tries to fit the rest of it into his mouth. Judging from the other gifts he got, swirly ribbon seems to be a big hit. Perfect baby toy.

Phase two is over at my parents' place. There are lots of people. My Dad bustles in the kitchen that keeps emitting clangs and thunks while he orders people around. I don't know what it is but when I'm speaking Chinese the volume of my voice also seems to increase by several degrees. Multiply this by the other Chinese speaking members of my family. It's a very festive time indeed!

Here's Don and Dexter are showing off for everybody. The baby loves being upside down. Don is tall. So they have this walking on the ceiling thing they do. It was a big hit that generated gasps of horror and squeals of delight.

Dougal is a faithful little dog.

This is Toby, my parents' cat. Like with us kids, mom and dad claim not to have favourites, but it is very clear there ARE preferences. This cat is my dad's favourite by far. While we were doing family photos Dexter knocked this ornament off the tree. Having a thing for humiliating family pets, I quickly put it on Toby's head.

Merry Christmas from the Chivesons (Chan + Iveson)!


December 25, 2009

I was hosting a turkey dinner last night and we set out the antique limoges china I was gifted from the in-laws. I enjoy the sense of formality and history it lends to a meal.

I am in love these vintage bubble glasses. I don't use them very often because they need to be hand washed and I am afraid they will break. One of them has the tiniest chip in the rim (I use that one). They're not as old as the limoges but equally sentimental. They used to be Bryce's. He has a very keen eye for antiques and collectibles. When he moved to Toronto he couldn't take all of his things with him, so I inherited these.

The turkey.

Here is the Cinder+Smoke dress in action.

I was giving Dexter some antihistamine and he knocked the spoon with his flailing fist, spilling sticky artificial grape flavoured goo all over the dress. Hopefully it comes out in the wash...

Oh, and Christmas presents! I love love love my two new necklaces. The one with an apple and gold bow is Betsey Johnson, from Crystal.

The one with a bird and little nest of treasures is by Toodlebunny, from Chrissy. She said there is a shop downstairs from her condo where various designers go on rotation, displaying their wares. She had gone in a few times to scope out the Toodlebunny stuff and finally settled on this one for me. Sounds like my kind of place.

It's funny how two of my oldest friends, though living in different cities, found me Christmas gifts that are so "Miss Sarah". I am a lucky girl. So far, the holidays have been full of smiles, sparkle, and shine.

Happy Holidays!

Open Bungalow (Colour).

December 24, 2009

Santa's little helper at the party.

Erin and Ione Hooper.

Leanne. Helping with baby Dexter! Actually, now that I look at the sweater closely, I think that's Devlin.




Miss Crystal. I have this picture of Crystal in black and white as well... but I think she looks equally pretty in both.

Open Bungalow (B&W).

Since we have so many diverse groups of friends, we host an open bungalow. There are the various friends from out of town that we want to see but can't always make it out to the bar to meet up on the various reunion-type get-togethers. The friends who live in town but we don't see enough of because of work and general busyness. Regular friends we see as often because of love and organization. Neighbours, parents, family... the open bungalow hosts all.

Photos from a bustling bungalow (up above I am trying to fit this wine nurb into a bottle).

Lounging on the couch.

Mr. Michael Janz and his lady friend, Brit.

Danny K.


Miss Crystal.

Charlie and Emma.

Leanne, Adam, and Shafraaz.

'Tis the Season.

December 23, 2009

Here we go. Christmas vacation has officially begun and I don't see another student until January 4th. Now begins the onslaught of food, friends, and good times!

Funny. Many of my friends who live in Edmonton have families elsewhere so they're off on various road trips or vacations for the break. Some of my old friends no longer live in Edmonton but their families still do so they're back every Christmas. This holiday is like a friend swap, with some really great overlaps where I get the best of both worlds of newbies and oldies.

The girls wanted to get together for a relaxed evening before the aforementioned holiday dispersal. Tis the season for entertaining so I offered up the bungalow for a casual dinner.

Elize did some epic baking over the weekend and brought us jars of cookies. I ate them all today. They taste as good as they look.

Eilze also made us one of my favourite meals. Mac n' Cheese. Oh sweet sweet mac n' cheese with cauliflower, and broccolini on the side.

Reading entertaining Christmas letters out loud.

And I always appreciate having nice things to look at during dinner. Lisa had on a great tank with rosettes.

After dinner, more glasses of wine and treats gifted to me from a student. Her mom makes the most amazing almond roca and I've been getting it every Christmas for years and years. It's so delicious.

When it's cold out I often hibernate. There is an alternative to needing to take the car if the snow is bad and transit isn't going to get me to my destination in any timely manner. I just stay in. A lot of car trips can be cut down by simply planning. I make sure I've got a good list of groceries so I don't need to run out just for one thing. If I forget an ingredient I'll either improvise or call a friend who I know is on the way. I'm always trying to think of ways I can cut down on trips by car. Even if it's just a few a week... if more of us could try to cut down on a ride or two I bet that could make a collective difference.

Just like dinner the other night. Everybody brought something and a tasty meal was had. Working together yields results. Every choice to save a trip by car, they can add up to make a difference too.

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