Category Archives: General

Can’t talk – turning string into fabric….

To get a break from all the biking and skiing (and parenting and working and cooking and cleaning and aggghhhhh….) I have been knitting. Here are the things I have worked on the the last year or so.
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And here are some action shots (in the reverse order from the Ravelry page above):

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When I first made this shawl I was disappointed because it is too wide and not long enough. I got used to it and now I love it and take it everywhere. I did not make the hat but I wish I did!

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I am reluctant to knit socks as they don’t last very long, they are not as visible and you can get better foot coverage from the machine made ones you can pick up from Costco in a stack of a billion. However, I had sock yarn and it was just asking to be made into socks. Chris is happy with the result and they have not worn out yet.

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Not only is Markus really enjoying the owl hat, but he found a green balaclava I made for Trevor many moons ago and always wears it underneath. This solves the problem of hand knit hats not being tightly woven enough to keep warm since he is technically wearing two hats and the owl has a tree to perch on.

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Here again, due to warmth concern, Markus is wearing owl mitts over bike mitts.

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Hippo mitts were made for a friend. Markus liked them so he asked me to make alligator mitts for him. They are not complete yet as I am improvising from the hippo pattern and there is a lot of fiddly detail and sewing so it is taking a while. Hopefully they will be done to be worn this winter.

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I am in the same place with this shawl that I was a year ago with the red and gray one. I am still trying to find a place for it.

Caffeneuring 2017

I got really spoiled with weekend morning outings this year. We started out as soon as there was fresh snow. The best cross country skiing in the region is at the Gatineau Park, but this year we stuck to the Kanata Lakes golf course and the Wesley Clover grounds.

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Wesley Clover

Alas, this year there wasn’t much snow and skiing was icy. That only meant that the Randonneuring season started early…

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Temple’s Sugar Bush in Lanark

Followed very quickly with family coffee rides.

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For a very rainy year, we only rode in bad weather once or twice. This was one of those times – coffee and hail.

Then there were the early morning “let’s see how much biking we can get in before lunch” rides.

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Watts Creek Path – our usual gateway to anything east of Kanata

My goal this year to make these outings diverse and interesting – something for everyone. With that in mind we tried out Orienteering.

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Registering at a checkpint in the South March Highlands

I am picky about lake swimming but Meech hit the spot. Also, we did not get eaten by bears so win all around.

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Meech Lake

Getting kids biking is always challenging what with different levels of ability and interest. Markus’ best effort was eight kilometres on the bike and 1 and a half on a scooter.

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Enjoying the Bike Sundays (Parkways get closed to cars)

We visited all of our favourite joints, but also checked out some new locations. Tonique opened in Old Chelsea offering full breakfast just when and where you need it. Britannia and Westboro beaches now both have cafes on site. We made it to a few spots that were on the list for a while such as Equator on Churchill, Edgar in Gatineau and Constance Lake Lodge in Dunrobin. My favourite experience was at the Happy Goat Cafe in Baywiew. It was the morning after Canada Day and the staff handled hangover with enviable panache.

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First cup of coffee at Happy Goat (though a series of hilarious mishaps I think we ended up having three)

More than anything I really tried to discover new (to me) places to bike to. We enjoyed both banks of the Rideau River from the Hog’s Back to downtown. We checked out the neighbourhood paths between Bruce Pit the Experimental Farm. We found a better way to get to Manotick (conclusion: Cedarview/Jockwale – bad, Steeple Hill/Twin Elm/ Century – good). We explored gravel roads behind Carleton Place and just missed Dan on Grand Fondo in West Carleton.

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View from Morris Island Conservation Area

The prettiest place we’ve been to this year must be the Morris Island Conservation Area just south-west of Fitzroy. If you look at the above picture closely you can see the Cheanaux Dam, another one of my preferred biking destinations.

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Newboro 200

In actual Randonneuring news, I completed three 200km Brevets. What surprised me the most is that they do not seem to get any easier, at least not at this point. My goal for next year, instead of setting a longer distance, is to be able to eat a meal after I am done with the Brevet. At the end of the Newboro 200 this fall, we all went to a pub where the experienced randonneurs ate a full dinner wile us newbies could barely nurse a beer. Apparently it has something to do with pacing yourself.

There were so many wonderful rides this summer, I am having hard time listing them and not turning this post into a novel. I put together an album on Flickr, so if you managed to get to this point of the post and still want to see more biking pictures you can check them out there.

And with that, I am off to enjoy the ski season that just started…

Granby

We had a beautiful long weekend getaway in the Eastern Townships.

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We climbed Mt Sutton.

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Biked the Route Verte from Granby to Bromont.

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Visited the Zoo.

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Giggled at the 50’s diostopia of provincial Quebec.

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Had lots of treats…

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and all around great family fun.

Fifteen years

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1997

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2017

We celebrated our 15 year anniversary this week. We snuck out of the house and went out for yummy dinner in a noisy pub downtown. We are doing so well, but the kids and the jobs and responsibilities are piling up and most days we are so exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than being exhausted from wonderful things. There is nobody I would rather be completely exhausted with than Chris.

Blog reflection: Off The Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path is a blog for Bicycle Quarterly magazine and Compass Bicycles store. I’ve never bought anything from Compass because it is high end stuff I am not really the market for, but I savour the Bicycle Quarterly magazine from cover to cover. I like this magazine, and by extension the blog, because the articles combine detailed bike reviews with somewhat romantic descriptions of scenery in which the bikes are tested; “The choice of hydraulic brakes becomes obvious on this trail – oh look, hoar frost!”. The writing glorifies what I like most about biking, it is about visiting interesting places on well thought out machines. The downside of Bicycle Quarterly is that it is a very narrowly defined. This is good when the two of the reviewers can ride the same bike since they are roughly the same size and ride in similar style. However, you have to take the opinions expressed with a grain of salt, if your build or preferences do not match. I would love to have one of the Bicycle Quarterly jerseys you can buy at the store but they are only offered in men’s sizes!

Anyhow, my randonneuring season started last week, but I will not bore you with that. In the spirit of visiting interesting places I will talk about this March Break’s edition of the yurt trip.

On Friday night we reached the yurt a little later than we planned. The night was extra cold and it took a while to heat up the stove so we opted for a quick snack instead of a full dinner before bed.

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We woke up to a sunny and crisp Saturday morning.
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The chickadees are very well trained.
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Our yurt was on Lac Phillippe, and we walked over to Renaud cabin for lunch.
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Renaud cabin was filled with sunlight and skiers.
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Our lunch included delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.
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It was an unusually cold weekend for such a mild winter. We hiked to Lac Renaud and then by a slightly different route back to our yurt by the way of Lac Phillippe. We stayed outside as much as we could, but the cold was serious and we had to be careful not to overdo it.
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The boys had a great time building things indoors.
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Markus still occasionally lies down on the ground when he wants to get his way. It works so well we all decided to adopt it. We considered falling into _every_ _single_ footstep hole we could find, the way Owen does, but it seemed like too much work.
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Time to start planning next year’s trip!
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Blog reflection: Cup of Jo

Cup of Joe is a sort of glossy magazine kind of blog with a big heart. Joanna et co. write about beauty and fashion, families and gorgeous apartments. Occasionally they will do a piece about what to do in a new city and this is what I will reflect on today. What to do in Kanata!!!

Ok, now that we’ve stopped laughing we can all agree that Kanata is only good to work in and raise kids. Not great for visiting. However, over almost two decades of living here, I have developed a proficiency in finding good coffee places to bike to. Shall I take you on a tour? What can you do in Kanata? Get out of it of, course!

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Morning Owl
As of last fall, Kanata actually has a coffee shop I enjoy hanging out at. It is like we’re getting gentrified. This is the only coffee shop I have skied to, biked to and walked to. Decent coffee, nice snacks and appalling lack of bike racks.

Various Bridgeheads
Did you know they are building a Bridgehead in Kanata? It will be a few years. For now, the Pinecrest and Golden Avenue locations are our go-tos. I slightly prefer the Golden as it is more cosy and easier to get to in that it does not require waiting at Richmond and Greenbank intersections made by urban planners who counted on people of the future crossing the roads with jet packs. Back to Bridgeheads; good coffee, good snacks, good racks.

Art-is-In
A little Ottawa jewel on the Eighteenwheeler Riviera. Someone had a bright idea to turn an eyesore cargo distribution centre into a trendy urban hotspot and it works really well. I try to get to Art-is-In as soon as it opens to avoid the crowds. It is amazingly easy to get to by bike and just the right distance. Croissants there are essentially butter floating in air.

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Gatineau, Old Chelsea and Wakefield
We’ve been to two cafes in Old Chelsea, both nice though I wish there was a place there that served breakfast or at least sandwiches early in the morning. Biking through the Gatineau hills makes me hungry enough to eat a full meal once I sit down. There is a place at the entrance to the Gatineau park that looks promising, but last few times we were there much earlier than it opens. My favourite place in Wakefield is Le Hibou.

Arlington 5
This place is soooooo cute! I found it a bit fussy to get to but mostly because I am not used to biking downtown. I am sure if we went more often and I got used to the roads around it, it would be fine. Must go more often then!

Alice’s Village Cafe
Now we are getting into the outdoor gym that is rural west Ottawa. Alice’s is where I learned the hard way that Portobello burger is only 0% meat.

Quitters
Quitters is in Stittsville just off the Trans Canada Trail. Good for both snacks and Canadian Content as it is run by a retired rock star. Nice sandwiches and good music.

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Good Food Company
Continuing on the Trans Canada Trail past Quitters will get you to Carleton Place. We visited Good Food Company this summer after many years of absence. Much like Potatbello burgers are not meant for bonking omnivore cyclists, cozy cute diners and toddlers don’t mix. It is nice to be back.

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Or just stick around in Beaverbrook….