Wednesday, July 30, 2008

from grotty

two views of the new camper trailer at the Wee Jasper campsite -
note the little collapsible heater sparkling in the early morning sun

in which i am a good capitalist

second last day at work. in time-honoured teaching tradition i spent this morning playing hangman with my students. it's surprisingly difficult for ESL students. and me.

last time i was at the bike shop it rained heavily all day, so we had very few customers. i spent about three hours reorganising the storeroom - pulling down boxes of inner tubes and arranging them on the right shelves, sizing the loose kickstands lying on the floor and filing them away, putting the plastic over-pants all the same place and hanging the different locks on display in the front of the shop. the whole process was kind of calming.

then i cleaned up the wall displays in the body of the shop. i discovered that i have a talent for arranging merchandise, which is creepy and wrong. i am very proud of the kids' display, though, which looked like a dog's breakfast before i reorganised it. colleague j and i made a sign that says "cool kids cycle" and put stickers of children on bikes on it. it was incredibly nerdy and made us both very happy.

speaking of dog's breakfasts, i have a dog for the next month or so. chicorydawg is a lot slower than he was this time last year, and more inclined to yelp if small children pat him wrong. i wish i hadn't fallen for another elderly dog, but it is so nice to have him around.

i had best start working on my proposal. i'm very impressed with myself for a) procrastinating, b) being annoyed with my supervisor, when i don't even start studying til september!

Friday, July 25, 2008

critical mass still rox

i got out of work today and noticed that there were thousands of cyclists buzzing down the street - i had forgotten critical mass, but it hadn't forgotten me! so i hopped on my bike and quietly joined the throng. we went all the way up hastings st (it was neat being in the middle of three lanes of bike traffic) then hung a right at commercial drive. so we did my commute, essentially, except on a much faster route and without stopping at traffic lights. it was great to ride home with an escort of people in tutus and helmets.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

bike! bike and tomatoes!

first things first. check out these beautiful babies!

they're growing very slowly, and ripening very slowly, but i have about a dozen little tomatoes sprouting all over. only the yellow pear variety has fruit at the moment.

and look what my cucumber plant made!

it's very exciting being in harvest time. i dug up three little potatoes from the front garden last week, and ate three thumbalina carrots from the allotment today. yum! ziggy and i also have a farm share, so we get a bunch of random vegetables every fortnight, grown by a guy in coquitlam or somewhere. miriam is drying garlic at her house right now, and we're going blueberrying soon. every morning when i make my sandwich to take to work i pick some lettuce and spring onion, and coriander or basil for extra flavour. deeeelicious!

anyway. i do think about things other than my belly. like bikes! remember i said i fell in love with a commuter bike? well, i decided it was a super investment, never had a really nice new bike before, useful staff discount, couldn't live without it, etc. etc.

here's my baby:

oh, and i love it so much! it is a 2007 devinci oslo. the parts were made off shore, but it was assembled in quebec, which is about as local made as a bike gets. it's a hybrid commuter built on an aluminum touring frame, which means it's light but stable. it's got 700c wheels, skinny tyres and flat handbars. here's the specs, if you're interested. it rides like a dream - so fast and responsive, and coasts beautifully. i shaved five minutes off my commute.

you'll notice that the bars are all taped up - that's hockey tape, which covers up the logos and stops the bike from screaming "I'M NEW AND SHINY! STEAL ME!" i've never had such a nice bike before - it's a real responsibility (actually, it's the most expensive thing i own, apart from my laptop. i am really still a poor student).

i have pinheads on the wheels, which is new technology from a company in toronto. you replace the quick release skewers in the wheels with the pinhead skewers, and that means you can't get the wheels off without a special key. my bike will not be one of those sad wheel-less frames you see locked up around the city! i have a big u-lock to look after the frame, and i'm thinking of investing in a bike locker at uni, to keep it dry as well as secure.

this is me lifting the bike one-handed, to show off its Xtreme lightness. it's definitely not as smooth a ride as my old clunker, as the aluminium doesn't absorb any road noise, but the speed makes up for it.

that's about it for my news. i'm still working six days, so between work and sleep i don't do much else. oh, except that missymojay and handy are here! wheee! i luuuuuurve them. we have hung out twice and may be having some sort of extended sleep over in early august, which will be fun and chaotic all at once. it's exciting having visitors! handy talks almost exclusively in australian slang, which makes me love her extra-much. she asked me if i "had to get up at sparrow's" to get to work. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

in which i am a quitter

i quit my ESL job yesterday! well, i gave two week's notice in writing, as dictated in the office manual. you'd be surprised what useful things you get when you google "polite letter of resignation template." i've never quit a job before, but it went surprisingly well, with the bossman saying he'd keep my resume on file and see me next summer. reasons for quitting include: having no spare time/life, being in a basement all day, wanting to stab people after a shift.

here is me in my cubicle, only for another two weeks:

Monday, July 21, 2008

happy bday sky!

she turned two on the 2oth - another only daughter, as grotahaci says.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

i heart tutus

ooof. birthdays are exhuasting. but i love birthdays! huzzah for parties and random (e)mail surprises!

my fairy party was v. fun. i made trifle from an australian women's weekly recipe i got off the interwebs. it worked really well, considering the cultural translation that went into it. ingredients unrecognisable or severely rare in canada: cream, swiss roll, jelly (but "jello" is fine), custard powder. miriam also cooked with australian women's weekly, making me a fabulous train cake. it had a sparkler for the smoke and fresh berries for the cargo.

it was a fun low-key kind of party, with several small children running round being cute in tutus and, of course, chicory dog:

i found a fabulous cheap tutu and silly hat downtown, and enjoyed my outfit very much. other people had tiaras and false moustaches, which i no way supplied. this is the playground we played on, and this marks the end of photos without other humans in them:

i have been busy working six days a week + doing some marking on the side + helping miriam move house + having asthma. actually, life is pretty good, through all those things. it's been beautiful and sunny for weeks on end (i am wearing a skirt and singlet and no shoes) and i've been eating lots of yummy things and reading good books. also BIKE!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

happy bday bbb!


i am too tired to string a narrative together tonight, but here's some nice images i've been wanting to share with you folks for a while:

ziggy's b'day pres (from me to her). looks like a cheap and nasty paper cup, huh? well, it's actually a "not a paper cup"! it's made from ceramic, with a silocine lid, completely washable and reusable. huzzah! i am v. pleased with this (rather last minute) present, as ziggy has a huge reusable cup collection and i think this is a clever addition.

miriam and i have taken up backgammon, using the cute little travel set i got in amsterdam for bbb and i to play. i only just taught miriam the rules but she's already evenly matched with me, so we take it in turns to thrash each other. nice gentle entertainment, especially in the park on a warm summer evening.

kangaroo paw! kangaroo paw with funky camera settings. even though it is environmentally reprehensible, i really like having fresh australian flowers when i can get them.

these are garlic scapes from miriam's plot. they grow out the top of the garlic plant and would turn into flowers if you let them. but you shouldn't let them, cos then the plants put their energy into making flowers rather than making garlic bulbs. so you cut them off and put them in stirfry, where they add a nice garlicky flavour. i like how they grow all curly.

my half of the strawberries miriam and i picked early one morning before work. yum yum! we spent an hour and a half picking in a field way out in delta. i picked 12 pounds (5.5kg?) and then spent the next few days freezing them. now i will have delicious strawberries through the long dark winter. huzzah!

me and the tomatoes. see how big they've grown! one of them is taller than me. i am so proud! the white flowers in the front of the frame are from the radishes - they're almost in seed. in this photo i have "i just rode 30k" face. notice the bunch of cherries in my hand. did i mention how much i enjoy summer fruit?

in other news, i have begun working on proposals and scholarship applications for my phd, which has been surprisingly rewarding and fun. doing intellectual work again feels like a release.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

car free festival

a few images from car free festival, which was a few weeks ago. i've been sitting on these pics for ages, but just found a very funky vid to go with them, so here ya go!

the video is about the philosophy of the car free fest, and has good footage from this year (also nice tourist footage of vancouver generally and critical mass). apparently there were 60,000+ people at the commerical drive festival. i stole the vid from "streetfilms". i know one of the ppl featured in this vid. if you're interested email me. it's a bit cool.

and the photos i took:

massive crowd, heading south

communal double dutch. lots of people tried and failed while i was watching, and then a middle aged woman ran in, jumped neatly a dozen times and ran out again, to great applause.

and street hockey, near stellas and joes.

i only got to enjoy the festival for a short period, cos i just ran over on my lunchbreak from work, but it was still really cool.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

happy canada day!

i've nearly been here two years now, and see what i've learnt: