U of A Campus - Old and New.

August 31, 2011

Richard and I had our last day together on Monday. We biked over to the Sugarbowl for lunch, then coasted over to the University of Alberta campus to randomly wander around.

Since I've graduated, the campus has been a veritable construction zone, with lots of new buildings going up and old ones coming down. None of these fancy new buildings have anything to do with my studies of English literature or Music, but it's still nice to see what all these lucky engineering and science students get to enjoy.

The Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS) is awesome! Tons of light, great walkways and stairs everywhere (makes it feel like an organized and modern Hogwarts), huge lecture theaters, and impressive (and comfortable) furniture.

Richard tried out one of the space chairs.

Then we went in search of the biggest lecture hall.

Richard said the offices for professors here must be a lot more luxurious than the one he has as a PhD student at Rutgers.

Even the ceilings are cool.

Then it was time for me to head to the hospital (on the University campus) to get my thumb checked out. This is the pretty new building on the corner of 114 Street and 87 Avenue.

I am required to wear my splint for another 2 weeks and then it's time to re-strengthen sans splint.

Afterward, I wandered back to campus to pick up Richard, who was getting way ahead of me in his reading of book 4 in The Song of Ice and Fire.

We went to see some new engineering buildings.

Edmonton is a city of pedways. All these new buildings have them.

Student lounging areas.

Again, with high ceilings and natural light.

I'm used to older buildings on campus, like this Administration one that is getting torn down soon.

And these old brick ones facing the quad.

I spent much of my campus time walking through HUB, between the Humanities building and the Fine Arts Building (FAB).

I asked Richard if he wanted to visit the scariest library stacks, ever.

Rutherford South. It's like a haunted submarine.

But upstairs things are beautiful in the reading room.

I used to study here.

Now check out the time capsule that is the Humanities building. Oh yeah. I've sat for hours in chairs of pea green and harvest gold, many a time.

I think it's fun and interesting to see the buildings we spend all our time in. The different design and function of each building makes me think about the people who learn and work there. It also gives me pause to be jealous of how much money gets put into these fantastic non-liberal-arts establishments.

Also, I wish I lived in Belgravia during my undergrad! I drove a car to school, which cost my parents a small fortune in gas and parking. I hated how if I was on campus all day and studying in a building far away from my parkade, I would have to walk 15-20 minutes back to the car and move it. Other days I would be late because I would circle around the parkade so many times without being able to find a spot. And once I parked I would have to hike over to my classroom, anyway. Lame.

By the time I was taking graduate courses, I was cycling from my old neighbourhood of Malmo and later, my current 'hood. Coasting and locking up right at your building is so convenient. And when you have to be on the other side of campus you just throw all your stuff on your bike and pedal over.

There's something about a University campus and bikes that just feels like a good combo.

Annual Photo Shoot.

August 30, 2011

For the 3rd summer running, Raffaella has gone out with me to take Dexter photos.

When he was 3 months old he looked something like this.

Here are a few shots from last summer.

Sometimes the crying pictures are the best.

This year we decided to have some wading and lunch at the Legislature.

I rode with the Chariot on the Amsterdam. Surprisingly, it didn't feel that much lighter than the Madsen!

Here is my new hitch adapter in action.

My little man!

Dexter is all toddler-y and likes adventures.

Raffaella took a break from her camera to play with little D.

Good day for water splashing.

Around noon I unhitched the Chariot and went for sammies and iced coffees at elm.

I am proud to say I did not spill one drop. Expert coffee-basket placement combined with precise evasion of potholes were the keys to my success!

I know baby photos can be done up all nice in a studio, but I prefer to have pictures of Dexter out and about, doing fun stuff. That way when we look at these photos of our family, we can enjoy images of us looking real and happy and active. That's how I would prefer to remember my little family.

Boys Night.

August 29, 2011

You guys often see me + friends on the blog, but what you don't usually see are some of my best and oldest friends. They have all moved away to places like Vancouver, Toronto, and well... Richard was in Montreal, Boston, and now New York (Brooklyn). The one big virtue of staying in Edmonton is that eventually everybody comes home to visit!

Two of my best men-friends are currently in town. Bryce and Richard! Visiting separately, but collectively adding to my summer happiness.

Last week, we all rode over to Da Capo for some pizza and drinks.

Group riding with little D in the Madsen bucket is fun. We all take turns riding up and getting high fives! At one point Dexter was trying to lean out of the bucket to touch the spokes on the rear wheel while the bike was in motion. The wheel was too far away for him to reach it, but I didn't want him getting used to leaning out of the bucket (I prefer all limbs inside) so I sternly warned him to stop it.

Wow. Dexter knows how to hold a grudge. When we first arrived he wasn't on speaking terms with anybody except his dad. Look at this grudge-y face.

Mom: Dexter, want to take off your coat?

Little D: NO.

Mom: I love you, Dexter.

Little D: { silence }

Mom: Shall we go change your poo diaper? It must be uncomfortable to have poo in your pants.

Little D: No.

And that's how it went for a while, until little D eventually warmed up and started eating our pizza and gelato. Then he was back to high fives and being charming.

Cheers to that!

My thumb splint sort of looks like a bike glove that I refuse to take off.

Much later, after riding home on the scenic route, uncle Richard did some story time with the little man.

I am lucky to have lots of great friends in my life, and I really miss my faraway friends. Even though they're not here every day, when I see them again there is a familiarity and comfort about being around them.

I still remember things that happened over a decade ago, like how Richard made a comment about the Sailor Moon (Super) t-shirt I was wearing in English class when we were 15. Shortly thereafter I found out his phone number, called him up, and declared that we should be friends. We would take the bus after school or on weekends and wander around University campus or downtown. He used to keep me company before my evening piano lessons, which I also bussed to after school. We would talk on the phone for hours, until I would have to say that I had to go to the bathroom or get a snack, and we would break for a few minutes.

When I had a particularly bad breakup and would go running off to Montreal to get away from it all, Richard would take me to eat smoked meat and sesame bagels. Sometimes we just lay around and read books and comics. Last year we prowled the meat packing district in Manhattan and ate thin crust pizza and went bar-hopping in the east village.

And I have a little D now. So we read Dexter books, have dance parties, give him baths, and go on bike rides.

It's not just about good times, since Richard and I are also known to fight. We can both be very stubborn. We hold each other accountable for bad behaviour, and nobody likes to be told they're doing something wrong. A true friend will be honest, and trust that the recipient of the criticism knows it comes from a place of love.

Richard is one of my true friends. Sometimes I get sad and disappointed when a friendship doesn't live up to my expectations or when things just fizzle out (it just happens, people grow apart). Then at times like this, most unexpectedly (like when I'm rambling in a blog post), I remember how lucky I am to have true friends who understand me.

And it makes me feel really good about being here.

Drift Food Truck.

August 28, 2011

On a very windy Thursday I rode to meet Lisa for a sandwich at the Drift Food Truck.

I've heard very good things of this magical food truck that hangs out around 108 Street and Jasper ave.

Lisa had back bacon and I had jerk chicken. Didn't have room for the renowned fries, but our sandwiches were many magnitudes of yummy. They do it up on this crispy bread that has lots of holes and leaves flour on your hands. It's excellent.

Our bikes hung out while we ordered.

Then we put everything in my basket and found a sunny perch to eat our lunch.

I am really excited to see that the Drift truck is also going to attend the next What the Truck on September 16th!

It's nice to be mobile and also eat from a mobile food truck. Always on the go!

Dinner and a Movie.

August 27, 2011

My free evenings are soon coming to an end with the approaching school year. Back to teaching piano and seeing all my students!

Don and I decided to pass one of these free evenings with dinner and a movie.

Lately I've been noticing that everybody I ride with has a fast and light bike. At times I feel self-conscious that I'm not keeping up. Even if I'm slower, I enjoy being able to sit upright, which has left me spoiled (as I discovered when I made the choice to ride my road bike to pilates last week).

So Don and I set out. He was on his 1-speed road bike. I was on the Pashley.

I had to carry his lock for him because his bike has no cargo capacity. I was a bike mule!

We went to the Princess Theatre to see Potiche.

Very hilarious and excellent! And French.

I love this old theatre.

Maybe I'll see this flick next time.

We weren't hungry before the movie, but were definitely ready for munchies afterward.

We went to the Pourhouse across the street.

I had a nacho dog, and lots of laughs.

The way home featured a speedy ride on the new bike lanes that go right to my house.


They're not separated and on some sides of the street there is still parking so you're stuck in between traffic on your left and danger doors on the right. Even still, I've become so accustomed to looking for non-shoulder checking car operators that the lanes are considered a huge improvement in my opinion.

I think both cars and cyclists need to travel with caution as we all get used to these new lanes. There are portions where the bike lanes end and us cyclists need to merge into regular traffic. In these instances it would be wonderful if everybody followed the rules of the road and for either party to yield appropriately (sometimes it's easier to let the cars go first and then tuck in, other times we need cars to obey speed limits so that we have a chance to get in).

Regardless, let us all exercise excessive shoulder checking! When you need to turn right and into a bike lane; when you are pulling out of your parking spot or opening your door next to a bike lane; when you're a cyclist needing to change lanes... look first.

Share the road!

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