May 31, 2011

SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists) is throwing a fundraiser, Love Those Clothes 2011, on Saturday June 18th.

The theme is "Riding Pretty".

The master of ceremonies is... ME!

It's going to be a grand evening filled with art and bikey goodness - I am very excited.

Tickets are $25, or $20 for SNAP members. Grab a ticket and come hang out with me at what looks to be like a pretty wicked party.

When I was asked to emcee, I was told the party will include:

- A fashion show, "featuring clothes by marvellous local designers"

- A wicked silent auction of "unique hand-printed garments, accessories and linens"

- A fantastic cocktail party at the Fine Arts Building Gallery on the UofA campus.

Two more exciting things!

I have collaborated with my designer friend, Dave Leriger (same guy who did my header for this blog), and we have created a pretty scarf for the silent auction!

Come and bid on our item so we may have validation of our creative efforts. I'll post pictures of it when the silk screening is complete.

Also, SNAP has offered me a pair of complimentary tickets to give out as a blog prize! Drop a comment or "hello" below and I'll find some random way of selecting a winner after the weekend.

If you have issues filling out the blogger comment form, send your comment via email (you can find it under my profile over on the right) and I'll put it in for you. Check back next week to see if you're my lucky winner.

Good luck!


A Pashley sister of mine is currently living in Scotland, and recently took a trip to Oxford, only to discover it is a wonderland of cyclists!

She sent me some pictures so that I might revel in the glory from this side of the Atlantic.

I am posting them for you guys, so that we might enjoy it together.

Like this business dude - well done!

Zoe (my Pashley sister) sold her hunter green princess sovereign before she moved. I see she spied a fellow Pashley sister in Oxford.

And just for good measure, even though there aren't any bikes, here is the physics building.

I like it. It reminds me of the cold war-esque architecture here in Edmonton.

And check out this bike rack!

So glorious.

Thank you for the Oxford photos, Zoe!

Skipper Balance Scooter.

May 30, 2011

Here is Dexter with his new Skipper Balance Bike!

It's probably no surprise to you all that I have been looking for a push bike for Dexter since early spring when there was still snow on the ground. Problem was, all the other little push bikes featured at the bike stores (wooden and otherwise) are too big for Dexter. And some of the ones I found online were just crazy expensive.

While I was out shopping with Crystal last week I spotted this awesome balance bike at the store Shambles, on High Street. It's adorable! More like a Vespa than a bike, and aged 2-5 so that Dexter can enjoy it for a few years before I can find him a bigger push bike with a proper headset and tires with inner tubes.

I think this little thing is classified more as a toy than a bike, but I plan to shove this thing into the Madsen's bucket so when we arrive at destinations he can paddle around while we walk.

I think he looks awesome!

Here he is with Dougal.

And here we are walking up a street. Oh man, the majority of pre-dinner was spent repeatedly walking up and down each sidewalk that was within a one block radius of the bungalow.

So far he seems to just like walking with the bike. He hasn't really figured out that you should sit on the seat and then paddle with your feet, but I'm sure he will figure all this out in time.

I am so pleased that I have found a little balance bike toy thing for Dexter! I am all for this no training wheels thing (I had mine for only a short while before I asked my dad to take them off because they were annoying). And I am also excited to be able to eventually walk my own pace with Dexter keeping up on his own two wheels.

The Run.

May 29, 2011

Here at the bungalow we often say we're going on a "run" for groceries or snacks. The run is best made by bike.

Last weekend it was me and Leanne, to the Italian Centre for Dexter's pizza party.

This weekend it was Don and Tom, for blizzards at the semi-new Dairy Queen that opened in the University area.

A rear rack is all you really need to carry four blizzards back home. My new favourite is Reese's Pieces.

And earlier in the day I ran out for dinner things on the Pashley.

I'll take a 5-10 bike ride for frequent grocery and treat runs any day! Especially now that it is sunny and pretty outside.

May your future blizzards be enjoyed on two-wheels!

Crystal's Birthday!

May 27, 2011

Today Crystal and I enjoyed a day in and around 124 Street in celebration of her birthday! A little browsing, shopping, catching up, and then a yummy supper.

This is our 16th year as friends. I still remember when Crystal used to wear cropped tops with high-waisted jeans and I wore pyjama pants and jelly sandals.

Those were the days.

We don't get to have weekly lunches in the atrium on campus anymore, and it's been a while since we've gone globe-trotting together. Instead of churros y chocolate at Cafe de L'Opera followed by an afternoon at MACBA we decided to do a little Edmonton vacationing and had gelato, coffees, and shopping in one of my city's best little neighbourhoods.

124 Street is home to all sorts of good stuff. Restaurants, fashions, beauty products, food, stationary, art galleries... and of course, MEC - the place where I get lots of bikey odds and ends. It's been too long since I've gone down there to check out the various wares. We had a great time!

I am so happy to celebrate another birthday with one of my best friends!

And here is a list of some of the great places we visited today:

There are other places that I didn't get a chance to see, like Head Case and red ribbon, but those are favourites too. Oh, and I've heard very good things about the florist, Marlow & Richards.

Enjoy your weekend!

Dexter's Birthday Party (2/2).

May 23, 2011

Enjoy the show!

You can see pictures and read about Dexter's birthday over here.

Dexter's Birthday Party (1/2).

Last night we celebrated Dexter's 2nd birthday with barbeque pizza and dense chocolate cake, courtesy of Leanne.

I'll probably write a more comprehensive post on Wednesday (Dexter's actual birthday) including all the reasons he is awesome, so for now I'll just show you the party.

Leanne and I actually did a bunch of prep the night before. We rode the bikes to the Italian Centre to stock up on cheeses, meats, veggies, and olives for her pizza creations. It was a pretty impressive haul. I stuffed my half into the pannier, and Leanne rode with her bike bag. I got 2 mosquito bites on my back.


Leanne grates some cheese onto a fresh pizza, and Lisa takes on waitress duty.

Pizza off the barbeque has excellent crust. It's so delicious.

While the ladies are busy assembling pizzas, the guys are doing... other stuff.

And inside, Dexter gets excited about watermelon.

I'm glad he enjoyed the streamers I made him out of construction paper.

My dad handed Dexter a carrot stick to use in lieu of a fork.

Dexter takes a look at his cards and presents.

And insists that everybody notice him in his new hat!

Thanks to Jamie and Jessica from Maid Marian for the fantastic t-shirt! They have a little kid's book about Maid Marian, who bikes around Brooklyn selling delicious muffins from her mobile bike-bakery. And this book is based on the real life Maid Marian who bikes around Brooklyn selling muffins! More on this later, but for now I just wanted to send a shout-out to these lovely ladies.

Watch Dexter's birthday movie!

Pizza Night.

May 20, 2011

It has been a long time since I've been to Da Capo. Don threw it out as a suggestion when we were looking for bike-able eats on the south side, so a few of us fell in line and met up on a Friday after a L-O-N-G week (kids are totally spacey now that the weather is warm, which makes teaching... repetitive).

That's why it's nice to give Dexter a night with grandpa and grandma, and me a little dinner time with my friends.

And now that it's warm again you can expect to see lots of Miss Sarah eating gelato over the next several months! I want to talk to Antonio, the owner, to ask him to make a black sesame flavour (my favourite from Hong Kong). I just have to get over coming across as a crazy anonymous gelato fan.

May you have good pizza in your future too.

People for Bikes.

Thanks to a tweet, I was directed to this video made by People for Bikes. I am now resolved to do some post-apocalyptic night riding this summer. The season for this sort of thing is so short, and the deserted streets late at night are hard to deny.

Happy Friday!

Regular Mom Stuff.

May 19, 2011

This is a post that blogger lost for me last week when it went all wonky. So I'll keep it short.

Dexter and I rode out on a super windy day to get groceries.

He was very sweet and helpful and had a good time!

The urban grocery nearby doesn't have the massive shopping carts, so he just sat up top. And yes, he was fully supervised the entire time!

We had a pretty big load of 3 hefty bags, and I think the Madsen could have handled at least twice that much, even with the kid.

On the way over we saw two LRT train cars go by, and Dexter waved at them as he exclaimed, "TRAAAAIIIN!"

Just some real life adventures by bike. It was crazy windy so I just geared down and took my time. No rush. Just time with my little man, running some "mom" errands.


May 18, 2011

I wrote about Owen last year, and referred to him as my keen student who rides his bike from school to his piano lesson (it's very close).

This year he has grown and I am happy to report that he is sporting a new, bigger bike!

The bikes may be getting bigger, but my little student is as sweet as ever.

Bokashi Update - Week 15ish.

May 17, 2011

So Mike came over a few weeks ago to do a little wrap up interview on our experience with the Bokashi thus far. Want to see the Chivesons in action? Well, here it is.

Warning: The video is pretty long so it would make me feel much less self-conscious if you didn't watch the whole thing, unless you want a full account of my shifty eyes.

I think Dexter is probably the highlight of the video. He is so cute!

Even thought the official experiment is done we're still going strong with our two bucket house. I've currently got two full buckets hanging out with healthy white mold proliferating the brew. Isn't it awesome that I can think of mold as pretty? Talk about progress!

Bikey Brunch.

May 15, 2011

Sunday brunches are the best. Sometimes we just do very casual stuff with our little family at home (like make pancakes, waffles, or scones), other times we entertain, and sometimes we venture out! Yesterday's Sunday brunch was made even better by our family biking.

Oh the wind was something else, but I just geared down low and took my time. Even so, we weren't even late!

We were welcomed with a cheery brunch table.

And fresh banana peanut and chocolate chip muffins.

Berries are yummy too.

It's always nice to be at somebody's warm home. I don't like domiciles that look too staged, there has to be evidence that somebody lives there!

I am totally in love with the little vignettes everywhere.

And after yummy homemade granola and two kinds of quiche, Dexter treated us to some music.

Then it was time to go home for nap time.

It's so cute, Dexter likes to hand signal like his dad!

Like father like son.

I hope you all had similarly lovely Sunday brunches. Low key with good friends is ideal!

2011 Books 2 Eat.

This year's Books 2 Eat fundraiser by Edmonton Public Library was fun fun fun.

It's a good thing I picked this dress to wear. Upon finding my post from last year's party I realize the other contender for dresses last night... was the one I wore last year. Also, after looking at last year's link I can't believe how tiny Dexter used to be!

The first time I went to a Books 2 Eat party it was located at the downtown branch. Very transit friendly. The last two years it has been at the Lois Hole branch in the west end, which is the same neighbourhood where I grew up! It's certainly possible to bike from the bungalow to the west end, but... it's not really my idea of a good time. River valley trails (recreational route), gross hills (in my opinion), and sometimes stairs you have to carry your bike up. And that's on a regular day. Paired with the crazy winds we've been having and I say, "no thanks". Sorry to disappoint, but I invoked a car-use night. I wish I could be more hard core for you guys!

Check out the party:

I had a conversation with J, a reader of this blog, about active lifestyles and location. J used to live in Toronto in his 20s and didn't own a car until he came to Edmonton and had kids. He questioned whether or not there was some sort of secret to my making biking look so "easy". After a little more conversation I came to the conclusion that the thing that makes it all look easy... is the location of the bungalow.

The closer the location of home to work (and other life stuff like groceries and kids schools/daycare/what-have-you) is, the more straightforward and easy it is to live a life using active transportation. I live in a good location by choice. Where we bought our house is no accident. And I think it's really important for people to consider location when choosing where to live - it effects the kind of lifestyle you end up having.

I talk to people a lot about the barriers to cycling, and oftentimes I reach an impasse when we get to the question of location. What I don't like is how people so quickly resign themselves to a lifestyle of driving everywhere. Even in a non-ideal location like a suburb, there are still ways to enjoy life on a bike.

I grew up in a suburban area, but I still biked to the grocery store 10 minutes away to get my mom groceries, and just a few blocks past the grocery place was the YMCA where I did my swimming lessons and stuff. I biked to school with my brother in elementary (or else we would walk together). And when I was older in jr. high I would bike by myself. When I needed to get to a friend's house I would bike, or if it was far away we would car pool with other friends. I even biked to high school sometimes, and that was 40 minutes away and hilly.

What made it fun was the sense of independence. I could go anywhere I needed, whenever I wanted! And the social aspect was fun too. I could get places... with my friends before we were all old enough to have licenses. Even after that happened, the bikes still came out.

So you can live in a suburb and biking can seem too time consuming and sort of a pain. But those neighbourhoods can still churn out girls like me. Even if we end up driving to a party every now and then.

Speaking of which, let's get back to the party!

It's a really fun evening and it supports one of my favourite organizations: the library. I could go on and on about my love of EPL, but let's just say it's awesome and you should come to next year's party and hang out with me.

If you want to see more of the cakes, check out the Journal's gallery.

And keep on pedalling - no matter where you live. Eventually, you will make it look "easy" too.

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (2/2).

May 14, 2011

Here, a little vid of an evening out at the ballet!

Including arrival by bike, reception time, backstage pass, intermission and party, and ride home.

Fumbling Toward Ecstasy (1/2).

May 13, 2011

Tonight we rode to the Jubilee Auditorium to see the Alberta Ballet's most recent collaboration with Sarah McLachlan. The show is called Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and I don't think it's overstating it to say I believe this is the most beautiful ballet I have ever seen (and I've been around).

When we arrived there was a little reception in a fancy room. I had not eaten dinner so I apologize to other guests that so much of the delicious appetizers were missing. They were all in my tummy.

After snacks and visiting we had the unique opportunity to tour backstage and on stage! It was pretty awesome to look out onto the empty auditorium from the stage.

Artistic Director Jean Grand-MaƮtre (who is the genius choreographer behind the work) schools us on the production.

Everybody was pretty excited about the behind-the-scenes opportunity.

I'll work on a mini movie with the footage I shot from the evening, but I just wanted to post while my enthusiasm is still fresh. I can't believe how amazing the production was! It was one of the first times I didn't feel like the dancers were merely playing a part, it was like they were playing themselves (if that makes any sense).

The emotion and expression displayed by the dancers could not have been mimicked or "produced" - And I really think this translated to the audience. To be honest, it was so beautiful to watch that there was barely a dry eye in the house.

Cheesy, but true. Despite my best efforts to maintain composure I couldn't help being moved to having a single tear moment.

And I'm not even a stereotypically sensitive person.

One more thing. You watch all these movies with ballerinas in it and there is the whole drama and tension between the soloists and the corps. With Alberta Ballet the soloists are certainly impressive, but the collective talents of all the dancers together is totally inspiring. You would never watch this company and think that there are a bunch of "background dancers" while there is one star. They're all incredibly talented and the athleticism across the board is amazing.

If ever any of you have the opportunity to see this production, please do yourself a favour and GO. I don't think it matters if you're a long time fan of dance (the production is ballet, but with influences from jazz and modern) or if you're totally new to it. It will be one of the best and most beautiful live performances you will see.

Congrats to all the superstars who worked on this production! And I would be remiss not to mention the amazing costumes by Paul Hardy.

In lieu of my own mini movie, check out this one from Alberta Ballet!

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