Stylocycle’s Blog


Getting Caught Up
April 18, 2010, 6:53 pm
Filed under: around town, Uncategorized

Sorry, sorry, sorry… I’ve been running like mad!

March was rather consumed with three separate speaking gigs which included two major deliveries and one less stressful one.
All the events were delightful and productive in their own ways, but kept me hopping with travel, long lay-overs, a bunch of networking, and all kinds of social interaction that I tend to find very draining.

And so it is that I find I have some catching up to do around here.

First, when last we decided to do a little marketing here in town, we were delighted to be stopped for a chat with two other cyclists, a retired couple who ride their bikes around town to get from here to there and wherever their fancies might take them. On the occasion of our meeting, they were very impressed to find that our two bikes were authentic Dutch bikes, not expensive copies with questionable parts. The woman, it turned out, was of Dutch heritage and was quite familiar with Batavus bikes having ridden them when she was a young girl.

This couple was kind enough to send me some pictures they took of each other with their bikes back at their house. I had tried to get some shots when we were at the market, but the batteries I’d just bought for my camera were dead. Alas!

Anyway, it seems that choosing to cycle can correspond positively with other choices about how to live, and this couple happens to be committed to organic gardening in their own garden, so the pictures show their compost piles as they appear in early spring.

Here, for your enjoyment are the pics they sent me.

It’s one of my great pleasures that in choosing to ride around town I get to have really lovely conversations with people I’d never have otherwise met.

Next update:
The GPS units for the ‘winter riding’ study have finally arrived in our sweaty little hands. Sweaty because — as you may have noticed — it’s no longer winter! Ah… well, at least this way the city planners will come to learn our preferred routes, rather than the limited routes we are compelled to take in winter months.

I’ll keep you posted on how the study progresses when I have news to share. For now my bike is in the shop getting a nice spring tune-up, new brake shoes, and a new lamp installation. The new lamps (front and rear) will be charged by spinning electro-magnets instead of a dynamo converter. What this translates into is: no friction/drag. Very nice new development and I’ll keep you posted.

I was going to switch out my front wheel assembly for a new disk-hub braking system, and was really happy to find out that the folks at My Dutch Bike (whose lovely little shop I went into while I was in San Francisco two weeks ago) would happily ship me what I would need to have the unit installed here. However, I’m going to have to live with the caliper brakes I have because the kid, oh the kid, just hit a curb in the car last week and did $5000.00 of damage to the front suspension of the car. We had the entire front suspension rebuilt. So: no new brake system for me.

What’s up for my next few weeks? I have to get back on track with the revision on my textbook for the new edition slated for publication in Feb. 2011. I have to get all my end-of-year assessments in for students. I have to request a special extension on my federally funded research grant so that I can spend some more of the money on training a graduate student in publishing processes; otherwise, I’ll have to send a big pile of money back to Ottawa. I have to chair a PhD defence on the 20th, and get ready to act as the external examiner on another PhD defence — a trip that will take me back to the Netherlands. (Yes, I’m a little worried that air travel may still be terribly disrupted and make it impossible for me to do the exam in situ).

We are also doing work around the house. The bathroom walls have finally been repaired. Now we have only to complete the cosmetic aspect by choosing and installing appropriate tile for the area from the ceiling to the subway tile in the bath-surround. We like the subway tile that goes up to about 6′ high, but can’t install those any further because the wall curves, following the roof lines. We are hoping to find a pretty sea-glass mosaic style tile to put up there, but it’s likely to take us a few weeks to find what we want.

Next week-end will find us at my Gramma’s scattering and memorial service. I have a feeling that I’m not going to be so stoic there as I have been since her death. I realised this while recently purchasing some lovely, pale yellow and pale pink Gerbera Daisies for an arrangement to put in the newly painted bathroom. Gramma adored Gerberas and so I decided to get some to give to my mother on the day of the memorial. Just thinking about it puts a terrible, strangling lump in my throat. I really don’t want to say ‘good-bye’ and I’ve been refusing to do it since the moment I arrived in the hospital to find that she had so recently passed that her cheek was still warm.

I promise to spend more time, rather than less, reading Patti Smith’s memoir of her youthful arrival in NYC and her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. It’s a gorgeous book, and I was very touched that Dear Spouse thought of me and brought it home as a surprise yesterday.

I promise to spend more time maintaining my garden, and learning how to get rid of grass, and how to nurture my growing things without harming the soil…

I aim to have more time on the bike, more time exploring the city, more time spent having really nice dinners with Dear Spouse (in which we cook together, listen to music, and enjoy our space, our neighbourhood and each other).

These may seem like trivial and self-indulgent promises, but after the year we’ve just had, I feel that it’s the least we can do to try to find our way back to peace, calm, and so on.

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