Thursday, December 24, 2009

merry xmas, y'all

the baby enjoys the hat i knitted

Thursday, September 10, 2009

blue huckleberry pie

we had a statutory holiday the other day (BC day? something along those lines), so friends and i decided to do the very vancouver thing and hike a mountain. in the rain, as it happened, which is even more vancouver. we did this trail:

Mount Seymour: Length, 4 km. Suggested hiking time, 2.5 hours. Elevation change, 450 metres. This busy trail starts near the north end of the top parking lot, traversing Brockton Point and First and Second Pump Peaks. From the summit there is a panoramic view of Vancouver, the lower mainland and, on a clear day, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. This hike is rated moderate to difficult.

the fog cleared just as we got to the top, and we got a quick view out over the north shore before the clouds rolled back in.

here's me at the top, wearing gaiters:

we ate delicious homemade hummus and bread at the top, fending off a huge raven. on the way back down we picked blue huckleberries (save some for the bears!),

then when we got home we made huckleberry and peach pie:


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

an atheist bikes alone

i went on my first self-supported biking tour a month or so ago. loaded up my bike with cassandra's tent, camping mat and stove, stuffed mr fix-it's panniers with clothes and food, strapped my sleeping bag on the top and headed off to the island.

just me and the open road for 90k . . .

actually, just me and a bunch of jesus botherers, who were doing a "bikes for bibles" fundraising ride - we tag teamed up and down highway 19A for six hours. they were very friendly, and i was very proud of keeping pace with them, loaded up as i was.

having biked up the big island i hopped on the little ferry to denman island and biked across to a little ocean-side campground and set up my little camp. i've never camped by myself before. i liked it. i didn't talk to another human for three days.

this was the view over the top of my morning coffee.

and this was my half-arsed anti-bear measure. fortunately the camp ranger told me there's no bears on denman, and there was a cougar, but nobody's heard anything about it since march, so not to worry.

i spent my middle day doing a slow ride round denman, investigating the local craft store, bookshop and cafe, and eating lunch on the beach. it was all very zen.

the next day i up and broke camp, caught the little ferry back to vancouver island and biked all the long way back to nanaimo to catch the big ferry. it's a beautiful ride most of the way. a little too much highway, but a lot of empty forest and gentle rolling hills.

next trip i'm using my lovely new leather saddle instead of that "comfort gel" monstrosity.

Friday, September 04, 2009

farewell to summer

uni goes back next week. it's a bit of a mindfuck. today is the first day in a long time that i've spent some serious time at the desk, working on the first of four papers i should have written over the last few months and kind of . . . didn't.

it's weird to be turning inwards again, sitting quietly, reading, writing, thinking. my shoulder muscles are engaging in strange ways to fit my hands on the keyboard.

i'm trying to decide if i should stay on at the bike store a couple of days a week over winter, and imagining switching between the self-directed, gradual world of academia and the very physical and social world of the shop.

we're also preparing for fall: filling the freezer with frozen fruit, canning salsa, repairing and buying warm clothes, replacing the full-spectrum light bulbs against SAD.

it's a lot of transitions to think about for a blue sky day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

beautiful delicate florets of tasty

look what we made! it is a cauliflower. so delicious we ate about half raw before we could get it on the barbie.

i have work and knitting and gardening and not enough sleep. it is excellent except i should do more phd reading. poo to you, foucault!

Friday, July 03, 2009

island hopping

another flying trip to the island, this time to victoria to check out the treasures exhibition at the musuem. i took my bike and did the 30k from the ferry terminal down to the city of victoria. it was a beautiful ride, very flat and well signposted, through bush, farmland, suburb and seascape. the sun was shining, there were bald eagles circling lazily in the blue sky, and cute deer eating other people's gardens:

the exhibit was pretty good. they'd got a bunch of stuff from the british museum, and it was arranged chronologically and by continent. there was an egyptian mummy and some roman sculptures, and neat cuneiform tablets. the oceania section was very small, and didn't have any papua new guinean artifacts from my childhood. boo!

i enjoyed remembering the history i've learnt, and thinking about my trip to italy. i'd forgotten what bastards the british museum are about returning aboriginal bodies and so forth, though, and the colonial politics of the exhibition were disturbing. all civilisations were gradually working towards western culture?

you can find out more about the exhibition here:

i also checked out more of the permanent exhibits. the indigenous totem poles were unexpectedly confronting. they're so big and intimidating? threatening? something like that. beautiful, as well, but in an uneasy way. i suppose that's what they were intended to do - draw you in, but point out how small you are. welcome to my village!

and with some humans, for scale:

there's also a sweet fossil exhibit. this mastodon tooth was found on vancouver island. can you imagine an animal this big stomping round here? (um, the tooth was about a foot long.)

it was the first time i'd spent canada day in the province's capital. there were a bazillion tourists everywhere, mostly loud americans wearing maple leaf tattoos on their cheeks, complaining about not being able to use US money in cafes.

to celebrate canada day i experienced the parliament buildings (vis. lay under a tree and read):

and got to know some of the locals:


(grizzly bear hiding up the back)

actually, i realised that i'd bought clothes from local designers and books by local authors, and was eating some denman island chocolate, not so much from patriotic reasons, but ecological and ethical. but still!

it was a very pleasant few days pottering around, enjoying the sunshine and not doing much. i visited my favourite gumtree, sat underneath it and read.

i forgot how messy gumtrees are! also that smell. oh, i miss eucalyptus forests.

then i biked back up to the ferry and began the long trip home.

(i am my father's daughter . . . )

Sunday, June 28, 2009

a day in the life 2

alarm clock! oh noes!

i've got into the habit of taking my coffee into the garden in the mornings; pottering round the tomato plants eases the pain of waking up.

sometimes i get too distracted, though. this morning i had to book it to work. here's my "riding fast" face:

here's part of my commute (not that i stopped to take photos when i was running late):

it was a kind of cold and rainy day, strange after a few weeks of lovely vancouver summer sunshine.

i got to work not too too late.

our first job of every day is too hang all the display bikes out front and lock them up. we have to do this while beating off the customers, who don't appreciate that we physically can't fit them in the shop til all the outside bikes are out!

after that it was life as usual.

cos it was a bit cold and wet the shop was pretty quiet. i spent some time in the bat cave, restocking the tubes and rearranging the locks.

brake pads confuse the hell out of me!

i also spent some time hanging out back with the mechanics, because they are cool.

the tools one needs to assemble this bike.

(a mallet isn't one of them)

i spent my lunch break right there, under that tree.

that's leftover pizza from my dinner party the night before. it was the first time i'd tried cornflour in the dough. an excellent choice.

i'm reading a book by jane rule, who was this local lesbian activist type who academics keep mentioning. the novel isn't doing it for me so much, i have to admit, but i'm ploughing on.

i also contemplated buying new boots. do i look unprofessional? or kind of DIY-biker-hard-core?

business stepped up a bit in the afternoon, selling bikes and helmets and so forth. working with customers on these things is an oddly intimate experience. i spend a lot of time staring at people's earlobes, and the sides of their knees.

i also spend a lot of time removing pedals and turning handlebars, so we can file the bikes without mashing them up. i'm a dab hand with a pedal wrench and tri-al.

these run bikes are a real hit with the under-4 set. they're tiny bikes without pedals, the idea being that the kid learns balance on them and then can go straight to pedalling a bigger bike without training wheels.

it was about this time that we heard the news about wacko jacko, and cranked the stereo in sympathy.

i ducked out to get a cup of coffee in the afternoon. it was sweet to get a break from being nice to people. on the whole, our customers are fabulous hippie, punk, DIY, queer, friendly types, and the staff likewise, but a girl needs some alone time sometimes.

there i am, back hard at work.

at the end of the day we pull all the bikes and stack them inside again. it's how i get my biceps, baby.

i spent some time hanging round w a mechanic friend after we closed the shop. we discussed our unicycling experience. i wasn't so good at stilt-walking at circus, but i can ride a mini-bike okay. the mechanic learnt when he was a kid, but has been too scared to try as an adult.

then i biked over to kate reid's album launch. she's another local dyke-y type who writes very entertaining songs. she sung "co-op gurlz", my favourite song of her's, and a bunch of stuff from her new album. (kate, incidentally, tried to buy my shop shirt off my back when i was working last summer. dyke-chic?)

it was a sweet gig, but i was pretty wiped by the end. long day on my feet!

safety first when biking home after dark, especially after beer!

when i got home mr fix-it and i knitted and watched the X-files.

we saw an entertaining episode with mulder and scully running around in lighthouse park (where we biked to last summer) claiming to be hunting weird alien bugs in washington DC.

then a little reading,

then hand-cream and arnica balm (see above re. biceps), then sleep.

aunty beryll says goodnight!