All Over Town.

April 30, 2011

Yesterday I had the glorious experience of efficiently getting all over town by bike and bus.

My little ride up the street indicated that it was very windy out. I hate wind. So I did the lazy thing that people do when they live up the street from the train... and I locked up the Pashley and hopped on the train. I almost missed it too. I was totally that person who runs like a maniac and dives through the closing doors just in time. You can call me Indiana Chan.

Got downtown and ran a multitude of random errands, including picking up many sheets of bus tickets.

Then I was underground again and took the train a few stops for lunch.

I am newly in love with my super pleated silk tartan skirt.

Went to MRKT and met Lisa and Leanne.

We ate sandwiches.

After I dragged the ladies around to pick up treats at Queen of Tarts, I was struck by the dangerous idea that we could do some spring shopping at Anthropologie.

The thing that made us hesitate was the prospect of going to West Edmonton Mall on a Friday afternoon (tons of annoying after school kids).

We walked around the corner and Leanne pulled out her phone to see which buses were fastest and what time they were coming. Our dream bus, the 100, arrived immediately!

Then we arrived at a consumers wonderland where I proceeded to do all the Miss Sarah things I do when shopping. I am really critical and picky. I have a lot of shopping rules:

- Don't buy things that duplicate other things I already have
- It has to be something I am going to wear at least 20 times
- It has to go with other things I already own
- I prefer things that can be worn year-round
- I don't buy things that are "okay". It's either really good or it isn't.
- If I hesitate on whether I like it, I don't buy it.
- No suffering from non-purchasing remorse.
- Look for a good return on investment. As nice as a dress may be, anything that comes near the price of a mortgage payment is just sort of ridiculous (for me).
- Always aim to buy from the sale rack.
- Look for things that look good pre and post baby.

My mom used to drag us around shopping with her all the time so I have very finely honed skills. I've developed all these rules over time because I'm tired of having closets and drawers so full, I can't tell what I have anymore. And I don't do therapeutic shopping. I generally feel like we all have a lot of stuff and I'm not really into weird impulse buying. I hate wasting money and creating waste from things we don't use.

Shopping with me is sort of ruthless. If you want somebody to go shopping with you and tell you everything looks "cute" and you could "wear it with jeans too" then I'm not your wing-woman.

This is why we need to have bubble tea after a few hours sorting through racks. I am relentless in my quest for me and friends to not buy garbage! My company is exhausting.

Mango with star shaped mango jellies.

And then we went to catch our buses. Lisa and Leanne were headed back downtown, and I caught the 4 and it dropped me off right across the street from my bike. I was door to door in less than 30 minutes.

I arrived home with pastries, tailoring, and a little shopping (1 dress, 1 pair of shorts, a bunch of plain cotton tank tops). Then only had a mere 20 minutes before I was back on the bike for my evening outing.

More on that soon!

Thanks for coming shopping with me :)

First Madsen Ride 2011.

April 27, 2011

The weather was so fine on the weekend! I suggested to Don that we give the Madsen a spin so we could see how Dexter fares in it now that he's bigger and stronger. Last time he rode in it was in the fall and his helmet was horribly wobbly and he had a lot of conflicting feelings about the whole outing.

Now that he is a little older, he seems to be cool with wearing his head shell.

It's still huge on him, but at least it doesn't just slide backwards and off his head like before.

As you can see, Dexter is clearly ready to rock as a Madsen passenger .

Off we go!

We decided to spin around our neighbourhood.

Dexter was in fine spirits.

I even took the bike off a few curbs and purposely rolled over some pot holes to see how Madsen would fare... both Dexter and the bike were fine.

Then we swapped off so I could be the photographer and Don could have a go with the bucket.

Dougal was being very bad and tugging, so I told Don he needed to be responsible for both little d and stinky d.

Dexter loves his bucket bike!

He seems to be sturdy enough to enjoy the bumps and open air now, whereas he seemed quite dubious last fall. Now that Dexter is so happy in the bucket I'm really looking forward to taking it to the farmer's market this summer so that Dougal can join us as well. When we go via train we're not permitted to bring the dog:(

Here is Dexter after his ride, enjoying the sunset while we talk to our neighbours!

Now, the one thing I am going to complain about with the Madsen is that I HATE the saddle. It's so awful that I wonder what the point is of selling the bike with that saddle at all. Without getting into too many details, let's just say that saddle + Miss Sarah's bum is a highly uncomfortable combination. UGH! I can't wait until we change it out.

Don, on the other hand, doesn't seem to think it's nearly as bad. Maybe it's nicer to boy bums than girl bums?

After this ride, Don used the Madsen the next day to take Dexter to the park. Worked like a charm. He rides around with Dougal so that the dog can have a nice run, then afterwards they all roll over to the park and play. Faster than taking the stroller! And fun for the kids to take turns sitting in too. I like the kickstand on the Madsen because people can climb all over it without the thing tipping over.

Yay for cargo bikes and biking as a family!

Bokashi Update - Week 12.

April 26, 2011

Michael Thomas came by on the weekend to interview us for his Bokashi project!

Last week he was talking Bokashi to attendees at the Beacon Heights Living Green 101 Earth Day celebration. I heard the event was packed and excellent - so sad to have missed it.

This weekend, he came over to chill a little at the bungalow, and got the low down on our experience thus far with the Bokashi composting (in this photo Dexter had just woken up from his nap and is watching a video of Michael's cat while having a yogurt drink).

So I finally got around to Earth's General Store to pick up my 2nd Bokashi composting bin! Now I have the first one that is full and hanging out while I'm filling up the 2nd one. This first one will sit for several more weeks. I'm on the verge of tea with this one, and I'll give it a couple of mixes and just wait for it to ripen for the garden in May.

Bin #1 has lots of moisture happening.

Bin #2 is still in progress. I also got a few plastic plates at the dollar store to squish down the contents and keep air circulating at a minimum.

Hello, food stuffs.

Just before Michael arrived my dad happened to be stopping by to take a look at our barren landscape (we're going to be doing a bit of work out there when it's warm enough). When I told Dad I was composting, he got all interested and asked me all the usual quesitons.

Dad: Well, it smells, right?

Miss Sarah: Nope, the Bokashi stuff makes it all good.

Dad: It's a lot of maintenance, like having a fish tank!

Miss Sarah: Not really. You just sprinkle the stuff on and then leave it.

Dad: Let me know how it goes, how long have you been doing it?

Miss Sarah: Since January.

I'm so excited that somebody like my dad would be interested in Bokashi compost! He has a super garden at his place and his plants (both indoor and out) would most definitely benefit from the compost tea. Plus, he could bury his finished compost in different areas to help boost the health of his trees and shrubs.

Time will tell whether he would be into something like this as an every day routine, but for now at least we know Dexter likes it.

He enjoys the sprinkling part the best, hence all the hoarding of that Bokashi bran.

In the interview Michael asked all sorts of questions like how Bokashi complemented or fit into our ongoing recycling. He inquired as to whether it was hard to get into a routine or hard to keep the compost healthy. I wish I had more exciting things to say, but the composting is really easy! You save the organic stuff you would otherwise throw in the garbage, and put it in the bin. Sprinkle it with the bran, then let it hang out.

After a while you get magic tea!

And I'm sure the compost itself is going to be excellent in the garden and with my planned potted tomatoes. But I'll have to get back to you on those.

My point is, being less wasteful and creating something useful out of your "garbage" makes sense. It seems logical to me... and maybe that's why I find it easy?

Easter Bunny.

April 24, 2011

For Easter, Dexter got a little gold bunny.

He stalked it.

Kept his eye on the prize.

Then devoured it! Afterward, there were melty chocolate hand stains everywhere.

Oh, and these are the unnamaed berries I was previously talking about. Ideas?

Hope everybody had a happy Easter and is enjoying the long weekend! I was still teaching over the weekend and today, but we specifically kept our weekend devoid of plans so that we could catch up on some much needed family time and rest. Ah!

Family Time.

Dexter loves the park!

Today Don and I took him in the Chariot, then went to Old Strathcona to have lunch with grandpa and my uncle.

Before meeting Big D and Little D at the park, I took Dougal around the 'hood for some exercise .

Then we met up with the boys. They were having lots of fun!

There is a whole little kids park set aside from the big kid stuff. Somehow Dexter is only interested in the big kid stuff. It's much more stressful to follow him around to ensure he doesn't fall off of the many ledges.

A neighbourhood girl, Megan, was a sweetheart and insisted on keeping Dougal company. She walked him all over the park and tried to teach him to roll over.

Then it was time to ride over to have some lunch at Buddy Wonton with the family. I always forget that's what it's called in English (I don't think it's a very good name for a restaurant) because we always refer to it in Chinese.

We like it there because it's affordable, fast, and convenient. And good too. It's not Hong Kong or Vancouver amazing, but it's good. I just went and read a bunch of the reviews on the link I provided and some of them are not kind.

I think what some people may not understand is that it's a different style of dining that Western dining. You don't always get lots of small talk and friendly smiles. To be honest, it's just very straightforward. Order. Eat. Pay. It's not finishing school, it's just a casual restaurant. I always find staff are nice to us.

I ordered a red bean drink. It's been a favourite of mine since I was a kid.

Dexter likes it too. We share.

Dad saw that they had a special Hakka chicken dish (from his specific cultural background). He was curious to see how authentic it was, so we ordered one.

And there were a few other dishes of noodles and stuff. Very casual.

Dexter played with grandpa, ate lots of stir-fried treats, enjoyed some tea, then cried a bunch when he had to go home.

Oh, the life of a toddler is so hard! Getting to take epic afternoon naps and sitting in a Chariot while your dad pulls you all over town to eat yummy foods and go to the park? Must be tough.

Rodeo Burger.

April 23, 2011

Don and I are very lucky to have grandparents who are crazy-in-love with Dexter. There is almost nothing my mom loves more than to buy Dexter fancy things and then parade him around like a shiny jewel. Dexter's rad shoes? Grandma. Dexter's designer winter parka? Grandma. Designer pajamas? ALL GRANDMA.

I have no problem with any of this because it means I basically never have to go shopping for my own child. He just shows up with new things that fit, and my motto is I don't really care about the style so long as the kid is clothed. Good thing my mama has good taste!

Dexter goes over to my mom and dad's for frequent sleepovers. They have cats, toys, an incredible garden (lots of garden-y wildlife), and a gigantic house. He loves it. They cook him special Dexter friendly Chinese food (hello, congee) and they have a very fancy bathtub with jet bubbles. My mom refuses to say that Dexter is going to have a bath, instead she prefers to refer to it as "spa time".

So on just such a sleepover night, Don and I decided to have an incredibly low key evening sans baby. Lately, whenever I think of a perfect night out I keep thinking less is more. I don't feel like getting dressed up. I don't want to go anywhere fancy. I just can't get enough of hibernating in a t-shirt and very old jeans (though I have to wear heels because they are hemmed too long).

Still, now that the weather is not in a constant state of permafrost, we will always take bikes. Low key evening is accomplished best via low key transportation.

Love the bike lane that runs along the perimeter of my neighbourhood and alongside the train.

The one thing I hate is how it's super convenient, but then you always have to wait for a very long time at this horrible intersection.

It's huge.

But at least waiting around gives me chances to take a panda?

Oh, and then a train came!

Then it was the cars' turn.

And finally we transfer to the road. Can't wait until the streets are swept and there isn't as much scary gravel.

Then, a few minutes later, we arrive at our destination for a "night out".

Oh man, there is something about a good burger and fries that I love. They have this relish that I think is yummy. And the fries are crispy. I also like that the patty isn't the size of a grown man's fist. Something about an overly gigantic hamburger patty that is too spherical, just makes it so hard to eat. Especially if you like your burger with fixings, and I like lots of fixings.

I also really enjoy root beer.

With a full belly I meandered home to watch the third season of Damages on Netflix. I think the character Patty Hewes is simultaneously amazing and terrifying.

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