Category Archives: Film

Film: Dual

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At the beginning of the year the one intersection that Trev has to cross on his way to school got a crossing guard. For those of you not living in Canada, a crossing guard is an adult with a stop sign that helps kids cross the street on their way to school. As an extra bonus, the crossing guard is a friend of mine and I always enjoy chatting with her as I walk Trev to school. It had been my plan to start sending him to school by himself, but he still prefers to walk with me. We always have really nice conversations in the morning and, as it is on my way to the office anyway, I take the extra ten minutes and spend it with him.

At the beginning of the school year there were a lot of kids, with and without parents, crossing the intersection, but as the weather got colder the numbers dropped. On a nice day you still might get two or three families, though most of the time it is just us. At first I was wondering why people are freaked out by weather. Now I am worried that I am not.

Film: Love and Friendship (sp)

After some thought I decided to put password on the kids blog but not mine. In their age of literacy, or near literacy, I want to be able to write cute stories without worrying if I am embarrassing them. As I only tangentially talk about my family here, there is little need to password it.

After three years of training, I have participated in the Rideau Lakes Tour. This is one of those quintessential Ottawa things. Instead of boring you about it, I’ll let the T-shirt convey the salient details:

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Despite the head wind that some will tell you went up to 40km/h, this turned out to be a great girls’ weekend getaway. We kept a nice pace, had the best bike snacks I have ever imagined, got comfortable with clippy shoes and, for the first time ever, biked 200km in just 30 hours.

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Perth

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Kingston

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Perth

I am still putting my thoughts together about the weekend. More than anything it was fun. Though we never passed anyone that was not stopped and had the support van “chase” us from Narrows Lock to the finish, neither of us had done this kind mileage before which made our success sweet. Luisa pushed her bike to the limit and then a bit further. Though her derailleur was trashed before the last 20 kilometres were out, it was somewhat gratifying to know that we can complete the route as the support cars with bikes of people who had abandoned the ride passed by. It was fun to bomb down the hills we had climbed the day before. What a great weekend!

Film: The Martian

I’ve come up with a million different blog post topics. Should I write about how hectic life is? Or sing praises to the hiking knickers? Maybe actually review The Maritan? No! I will review my last years’ goals. My success is “achieved goal, but…”. It was nice to spend more time on actual vacations, but I ended up struggling to get things done without any free time by the end of the year. I learned a heap of delicious new recipes, but my kids will not touch the stews with a ten foot fork. I grew beautiful berries, but I ate them all on the way back from the garden to the kitchen. Watched a couple of good films, but then fell down a rabbit hole of depressing sic-fi and had to take a break.

So forget resolutions. Back to knickers… I believe similar were used for x-country skiing around these parts.

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You can’t really walk into a sports store and buy corduroy knickers any more, you’d have to go on Etsy. Come to think of it, you probably could not buy them in the late 80’s when this photo was taken either (go hand-me-downs!). I’ll tell you a secret though – 3/4 yoga pants will do.

We wish you a wonderful winter solstice time and may the ever increasing daylight bring many knicker-worthy adventures!

Film: The Intern

I am declaring 2015 a good year for sporty biking.

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Getting better at this

Chris and I talk about biking for hundreds of kilometres at a time, but but we do only as much as we can given our fitness and opportunity to get out and ride. Last year I completed my first 100km ride; this year I did three 100km events. I can’t really get out there and do longer stretches, but I have been able to ride the 100km with increased ease and comfort.

Ralpha Ride

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Nobody is going to notice I am not on a road bike…

The first of these events I did by myself, or really with a bunch of strangers. I would classify the experience as a pretty good disaster. It was billed as a friendly women’s only ride with groups delineated by their speed. I lined up with the 20-25km/h group and mentioned that I should be just peachy at that speed though I might fall out starting from stops or at longer hills due to heavier bike. The group consisted of the leader, two women in their late fifties who kept to themselves looked like they biked across the continent once or twice and another woman in roughly my shape that had just returned from cycling holiday in Majorca. Easy peasy.

Here is a good illustration of the ride:
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The first twenty kilometres is just me riding to the event, I was on the paths so I kept to the speed limit (yes, I am that geeky). The next twenty kilometres were fine, all chit-chat and flat roads back to Kanata. At this point we were joined by a guy and a woman who (as I found out the following week) was familiar to my road racing friend. I am going to make an educated guess that they did the Grand Fondo the day before and were looking for an easy ride. I kept up for another twenty kilometres while the pace slowly increased and I kept falling off the back of the peloton and having to rush to catch up more and more. For goodness sake, I signed up for 25km/h max and we were going 28km/h up a hill. I bonked around kilometre 65 .

Now, I never thought that I would be inconvenienced by “we don’t drop anyone” policy or the existence of the broom car, but I was. The leader stayed with me and tried to coach me to catch up to the group – yah right, we were on the Galetta “And Up And Down” Side Road – I am not catching up to anyone, lady. And while the broom car was nice to have it was at the same time embarrassing. We made it to Fitzroy snack break (and caught up to everyone) at which point I told them that Chris was coming to get me and to head out without me. I waved them go and as soon as they were out of sight, headed home on my own terms.

Lessons learned:

– Despite the drama, at the end of the day I rode about 110km without too much discomfort
– I am not a roadie – don’t mix with roadies
– Don’t do group rides unless you are riding with friends you know are going to ride at your pace, and not just say they will
– I can ride 28km/h uphill – whoa!

MEC Century

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Ready to roll

MEC ride was everything opposite of Ralpha. Chris and I started at the lovely Carp Fairgrounds and Luisa joined us in Appleton for the second 50km.

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The weather was nice, the route easy, many other riders were at the same or slower pace than us so it was never just us on the road (though it was not crowded either). We even had enough energy to bike back to Kanata after the lovely dinner.

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At the finish line

Lessons learned:

– Long bike rides are great, long bike rides with friends are AMAZING!!!
– When doing an organized ride, stick with the route they’ve chosen. Prior to the day I had seriously considered returning by a different path. Indeed, Stitsville and Huntmar were blah (though not trafficy as I expected), but if we had avoided them we would have missed much of the pretty countryside.

Perth Cyclosportif

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The day of the Perth Cyclosportif was a beautiful day, I did not even bother bringing my jacket, but I was working harder than usual to move the bike. I had come to expect this in the fall. The route took us through pretty cottage country with a bigger share of hills than we are used to. In retrospect, I am glad I did not look at the ride profile because I would have expected the last 20km to be easy-peasy downslope, yet this is where the head-wind hit us and Luisa and I had to switch the lead every few minutes to give us a break.

Even though this was the most difficult 100km I did this year it was also my favourite. Luisa and I were pleased that we were able to do 100km a whole hour faster than last year, even with more climbing and later on in the season. I don’t even think there were any new lessons learned except that while I am now unquestionably able to complete a 100km event, it can still give me a good run for my money.

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At the rest point in Westport

Grandparents have been especially kind this year in babysitting department and I was not only able to get out and do these three events, but also a number of shorter coffee runs with friends. The outings with kids, though shorter and slower, aren’t anything to sneeze at either as Owen and Markus are getting heavy. Hauling them up the hill to the Wesley Clover Forest School off of Corkstown twice this weekend was a fun challenge.

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Trip to Quitters in Stitsville earlier this summer

To close up this great season, Chris and I will, for the first time, attempt the coffeeneuring challenge. You can follow Chris’ twitter feed to check out all the great coffee places you can bike out to from Kanata.

As for next year, I would like to do the MEC Century and Perth Cyclosportif again. I would also like to attempt a longer distance, but in what form this will happen, I don’t know yet. We have been tossing around the idea of the Rideau Lakes Tour for a couple of years now, but even though I am fairly certain I can complete it now, I am not so sure I could do it without being completely miserable. In a couple of years it should be a no-brainer, right?

Film: Moonlight Kingdom

Trev and I spent the day downtown on Thursday. He had a doctor’s appointment in one of the skyscrapers and then we met up with Maria to eat street food. Trevor went for a burger and Maria and I got sticky buns. We run into Nona and Nada and later Trevor got to chase some ducks that stubbornly decided to live in the Confederation Park fountain. After a nice walk down Elgin street we said bye to Maria and headed off to the Nature Museum to see “Animal Inside Out”.

I feel ambivalent about nature museums in general. Despite the creepiness, I can’t object to taxidermy, I think displaying the animals as close to the real thing makes sense and the museums themselves would lose much of its richness had they resorted to papier-mâché versions of the real thing. I still find it eerie that the objects are kept in some sort of pre-decomposition stasis for such a long time. Plastination resolves the decay issues but is like taxidermy on speed; interest and creepiness both amplified to 11. OMG, a Cerebus!!! No, it is just a camel with its head split open into three…

After we finished the exhibit, Trevor wanted to stay and see all the other parts of the museum which took us to supper time. There were two restaurants on Bank street I have been wanting to visit for a while, so I arraigned with Chris to meet us at the Korean place with the rest of the crew. We rarely go to restaurants any more (other than quick lunches on workdays) so going as a family was an event in itself. The boys ended up eating Chris’ meal, Chris ate Trevor’s dish, I ate the boys’ soup, Owen cried until we ordered him tofu salad and then ate tree forkfuls of it because that’s all he ever wanted, the waitress was spoon-feeding Markus and so on. Surprisingly enough the outing was not a complete disaster.

Now I am sorry I did not take pictures of the day, but it is something that I very rarely do anyway. When I am doing something with the kids I tend to not want to distract myself with the camera, besides, Chris is the designated photographer. It was nice to spend the day with Trev. There have been a number of challenges in school and Chris and I have been racking our brains trying to make the best decisions. It is hard to understand why there is so much of head butting at school when at home he is as easy going as eight year olds come.