Question of the week

Why, given a large strip of grass that’s at least 2′ by 6′ outside the front of our house, do the binmen choose to throw our bins on top of the flower bed when they’ve emptied them? It’s considerably smaller and full of flowers. Do you think they do it on purpose?

Roo (or is that Satchel?) is here!

Very different from Daisy (he is a little bit of a scaredy cat) and as good as gold (so far).

After a day that began at 5am, leaving the chalet to fly to Greensboro via Buffalo and Philly, the puppy (who may be called Roo and may be called Satchel) and I arrived home in Hamilton at about 7pm last night.

Although the travel sounds brutal, I had a really good day, chatting up a storm with a couple of really nice women that I met – one on the way to Calgary from Buffalo, and the other on the way back from Philly to Buffalo who shared the same taste in British comedies as I did (we spent the trip quoting ‘Little Britain’ characters and lines from ‘Are you being served?’). Melissa, the breeder, is lovely – she spent quite a lot of time with us at the airport making sure everything about the return trip would go smoothly. She had already given the puppy a temporary name, Satchel Page. Apparently this Satchel was a black baseball player and because my puppy’s mum was called Page, she liked the play on words. Satchel, although Melissa wouldn’t have known this, is also the name of the dog in the cartoon ‘Get Fuzzy’ . From what I can tell so far, Satchel’s personality isn’t that different to our little one’s – so the name may stick.

I can’t really say the trip for Satchel/Roo was much fun, he was evidently not terribly impressed by airports, planes or being handed over to some complete stranger who spoke with a funny accent and did not smell like home.

We had a quiet night together and I have figured out that he is almost perfectly house trained already, does not like stairs or screen doors, loves food and sleeping, and is pretty sure I am OK, but not 100%, as yet. I think that’s pretty good progress and that once he settles he should be fine. He’ll meet his new sister today who was staying at Dave and Mari’s this weekend. It remains to be seen whether she scares the crap out of him or relaxes him a little bit…..

Rob returns today from Vermont with the one working camera we currently own, and so I have included a shot that I took this morning with my Blackberry.

Mountain Biking Widow

This weekend has been a busy one. Mari and I celebrated the genesis of Rob and Dave’s new business venture on Friday night with one or two bottles of Malivoire (M2 and their blush, which was a lot dryer than a rose would usually be, and very tasty). I’ll leave Rob to write about this venture, and update the photos…

On Saturday we went to Rob’s brother Mike’s wedding. It was a great day, both Mike and Diana’s family and friends were out in force, beginning in downtown Toronto at 10am, and ending at who knows what time at a banquet hall in Vaughan. I felt like I needed a medal at the end of the day for staying on my feet. We even managed to dance. It wasn’t only the longest wedding I’ve ever been to, it was the most multicultural – a truly contemporary Canadian experience.

Diana’s family is Hindu and so the night before was a tradition Hindu ceremony. We weren’t able to make it, but I am told that Mike rode up to the ceremony (which was held in Scarborough) on a white horse in full traditional Hindu dress. The ceremony the next morning was at a Catholic church and Diana had a dress with a train that was longer than she is tall. That afternoon, the reception began with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony for the immediate family, and then went on to cover traditional Indian drumming, a salsa show, and a break-dancing demonstration. The food was Chinese meets south Asian and the drinking and high jinks were very much North American in nature.

Next morning Rob and I crawled out of bed at sunrise so that we could get him to Morriston in time to meet his friend Phil, one of the six guys Rob is heading down to Vermont with for the week on a guys mountain biking trip. We were both remarkably fresh given the antics of the day before. Rob headed out to Vermont (to return a couple of hours later, I understand, because Phil had forgotten his passport) and I went to collect Daisy from Dave and Mari’s and had breakfast at Earth to Table, the new addition to the fold that includes the Ancaster Old Mill and Spence’s.

It was fantastic to have a whole Sunday to myself. I walked Daisy at Kerncliffe Park, tidied up the house and watched the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with my dinner on my knee, a nice glass of Cab Sauv and my dog curled up next to me. Even better knowing that Monday was a holiday!

The telly broke!

Just coming off a lovely weekend in Ellicottville. What amazing weather! Keep it coming.

Dave, Mari and Max came down to join us on Saturday morning, full of stories of their adventures at Rock of Ages the night before and giving us plenty of excuses to do Guns and Roses impressions.

We had a great ride up Eagle and around the ski hill. I even managed to stay on my bike for the entire ride. Even though I managed not to land in the middle of any raspberry bushes this time (thank you to Mari for rescuing me last week), single-speeding is still making me feel like I am learning how to ride a mountain bike all over again – I wonder if I am getting too old for this business?

Saturday night after dinner we had planned to watch the movieDogma, one of my favourites. When we turned the TV on, all it would display was a white line running horizontally across the screen. There was a collective sense of “well what do we do now?” and Rob, half joking, offered to do an emergency Walmart run (the only kind in our house, I hasten to add) to buy a new one.

Instead, being the sensible adults we are, we broke out Dave’s 30 year old bourbon and made up names for our new puppy – arriving on 11th September.

Passing quickly through Arthur, Brian, and Graham we got more imaginative as the night went on….Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, Vlad the Impaler, Adolph Hitler, Eeyore…but eventually decided on Roo. Which we even liked when we woke up the next morning.

Amazing what you can find to amuse yourself when the TV breaks, and we still managed to get in a ride on Sunday…

Rain and Riding

So, I still haven’t found the pictures that spurred me to write my first blog post in two years (HINT: Whip It), but I thought our ride home this evening was somewhat  newsworthy.

I recently moved to our spanking new business campus in Burlington. There are many advantages to being in the new building (formally known as the Ron Joyce Centre).   RJCApart from the fact it is LEED Gold certified, has huge amounts of natural light, gorgeous furniture and represents an important development in raising DeGroote’s profile as a North American business school of choice, the other great thing about it is that it’s 5 minutes away from where Rob works and so we get to commute together. A huge bonus, given that during term time we don’t see each other for two days straight during the week because I am going to night classes.

Rob repairing bike Aug 2010

Today was the first day we rode in together on our bikes. It was a beautiful morning, without the humidity we’ve suffered recently and I made it in less time than it used to take me to ride in to Hamilton. I found out the shower at the new building isn’t running hot water yet and the lock on the door wasn’t installed, but these are all minor wrinkles in an otherwise pleasant start to the day. I sang loudly and showered quickly.

Lift Bridge Aug 2010

The way home was a different story. The heavens OPENED and out came lots of rain. My bike got a flat tire and then the lift bridge went up for a ship and a sail boat.This isn’t that fascinating, but it certainly gives me a good excuse to post two cute pictures of my husband in his riding gear….  The one above is of him mending my tire under the lift bridge as the rain causes little rivers to flow past us on the concrete floor, and the one to the right is of him on the lift bridge waiting for the boat to pass beneath.

I ended the evening pulling out weeds from the garden and helping to clean up our neighbourhood by relieving it of a stack of red bricks from the abandoned house behind us so that I could make a border round a flower bed in our back garden.

Cider Now enjoying a Rekorderlig cider (why does everything that comes from Sweden sound like a piece of Ikea furniture?) that Mari and Dave kindly left behind after having dinner with us last night. Yum.

Where to start?

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote and way to much has happened for me to give a catch up in one short post. However most things have changed. We live in a different house, in a different city, we now own a ski chalet, a hairless dog and, I think at least two more bikes. In addition to these momentous changes, the world now has iPads, you can buy a Kindle in Canada and an Icelandic volcano held up the world’s air travel for over a week. Wonders will never cease.

So really, what to write about? Perhaps nothing very much to start with, just to ease me in gently. But be prepared, once I find Rob’s camera, for an onslaught.

Dukes Epic 8 Hour Endurance

EnduroRob and I are a bit stiff in the legs and lower back this morning after the Dukes Epic 8 hour race yesterday. We rode round and round a 9km loop as many times as we could for eight hours. It was a hoot.

We were lucky to be parked in the solo area with the True North team and their support crew. Housed underneath a huge tent, complete with Max the dog, they adopted us and were just brilliant, helping us with their encouragement, filling water bottles and passing us food.

I felt dreadful at the end and didn’t really have as good a day as I had hoped. With the pain behind me, I can see where I need to improve in my training and, it was a great learning experience to take forward to the rest of the season (most notably the Crank in September).

In a nut shell, my long distance training to date has been to do a maximum of four and a half hours of riding, and, sure enough, up to the four and a half hour mark yesterday I felt great but after that, I was more or less just focusing on finishing without doing myself any damage.

All that said, Team Wanderlust (Rob, Tecla and I) and the True North guys did really well. Mari and Jen (True North), who were doing a tag team, came 1st in the Women’s Tag Team category, Rob was fourth in the Solo Men’s 40+ category and I was sixth in the Womens Solo (which isn’t defined by age groups because there were only 13 of us, so, just in passing, I’d like to note that two of the women who beat me where under 29).

Jasmin took quite a few photos of the day, and I’ll link to them when they are up on the web, but just to give you an idea of the sort of state you get into after 8 hours of riding in the dust, check out the one above taken at the end of a similar race last year. I’m still trying to get the grit out of my eyes this morning.

He’s the Greatest Dancer!

Rob and I are in an 8 hour endurance race tomorrow and so,following the instructions of our coach and all the advice of the books about racing, we’ve been taking it easy this week. I can’t say I’ve really enjoyed this enforced relaxation (which has made me more RESTLESS than RELAXED), but I am prepared to give it a go. One of the good things that came out of being couch potatoes was the opportunity, last night, to catch a TV show called “So You Think You Can Dance”.

Young amateur dancers lined up to audition for a shot at the big time in Las Vegas, and this guy, in the YouTube video below, was absolutely incredible. I have no clue how anyone one can move like this, but I could watch his set over and over again.

We Miss Dave Beer

We Miss Dave BThis post is just another excuse to link to Tecla’s Flickr site. We went to Mari’s house in Hamilton for dinner on Saturday night. Her husband, Dave, is still in Tokyo and so we thought we’d send him a Tokyo style “hello” courtesy of Tecla’s photo skills.

On Being Really Impressed by Material Trappings

car photo 258126 25 450opRob and I have been “negotiating” for about 24 months on the subject of a new car. He has the VW Westfalia and I have my ’97 Civic. Lately, Rob has been riding into work everyday. This is just one of the reasons why he looks like Canada’s answer to Lance Armstrong at the moment and is in the best shape of his life (I won’t take any credit for my cooking here). He has bought good rain gear and his ride to work is relatively safe on local roads. It seems like an arrangement that will stick.

I can’t ride to work as I frequently need my car for meetings, the dress code is more professional, we don’t have showers and I work further away. However, I have been getting increasingly more frustrated with my little car as it gets older and more and more things seem to go wrong. First the drivers side window stopped rolling up or down (I have to get out of the car whenever I enter a car park where you have to collect a ticket before the barrier will lift). Also, whenever I go over a bump the windshield wipers switch themselves on, which isn’t that useful on a dry day.

Negotiations concluded last weekend and we decided that we really and truly are going to sell the van (honest!) and we would shop for a new car. We’d pretty much decided on a Toyota Matrix. Reasonable gas mileage and a good sized boot (or whatever you call it in Canada) for all our gear.

Off we went to the Toyota Dealership in Milton (Gorruds for anyone wishing to avoid a really awful customer service experience) with our “we want to spend money at your outlet, what have you got?” faces on. I am not even going to give details on the bull shit we had to wade through with their people just to buy a car that we had already decided we wanted before we arrived, but needless to say, after about the fourth attempt to sell me financing, rust protection, multiple extended warranties and then some nonsense about how it was illegal to throw in a roof rack that was probably worth about $2.50 at cost, we left, deciding that there is only so much insulting our meagre intelligence could take.

Again I’ll spare the details, but we ended up with the most amazing car that I thought in my life I would never be able to say that I owned. A Mazda 6 Hatchback. It has heated (leather) seats. You can actually hear the stereo above the engine and it goes like s**t off a shovel. I am not ashamed to say that I am impressed with myself when I am driving it. The hatchback is huge, enough for at least two bikes and all our gear (although, God knows I’ll have a fit the first time we put muddy stuff in the back).

It is not fuel efficient by any stretch of anyones imagination, and I did dream that Al Gore paid us a personal visit last night to give us a telling off for being so flagrantly irresponsible, but it is a pleasure to drive and Rob, I am sure, is making up for our carbon consumption by riding in everyday, so I don’t feel too guilty. Zoom, Zoom as they say…