A Bicyle Built For One, “Me”

“Shadow”

Over the years, bike riding was an “on-again, off-again” love affair.  My first bike was a gold CCM purchased at a hardware store next to the family restaurant.  It came in parts so I had to assemble it myself.  My 10-year old brain at that time, had to take guesses as to where everything went.  When I took it to the gas station to fill up the tires, the attendant told me I had the back fender on backwards.  (An embarrassing moment and I don’t understand why I remember that.)  I rode it all throughout my elementary school years.  

My second bike was a beautiful brown Raleigh 10-speed.  I just graduated from high school and had moved to the big city.  I made some cash working as a waitress at the Commodore Cafe on 2nd Avenue.  I rode that bike with no fear.  I got honked at by a lot of irate drivers at that time.  But hey, I was 17 and had no brain.  When I moved to Toronto, I had taken my bike with me with the belief that I was going to use it.  Toronto city streets is no Saskatoon city streets.  The bike stayed in the apartment and eventually got stolen.

Eight years later, I had a bike with a child seat attached to the back.  Amber use to fall asleep during these Sunday rides.  With great dexterity, I kept one hand protecting her head and one hand on the brake handlebars.  In those days, children’s helmets didn’t exist.  The family bike riding continued with Amber growing up to be independent on her own pink bike.

Between 1990 to 2005, I don’t remember a bike’s existence.  In 2005, we moved to a highrise condo in downtown Saskatoon.  I remember we had bikes, because they were locked up in the bike parkade gathering layers of dust.  When my husband’s bike was stolen, he took over the use of my bike as he was more intuned into it than I was.

As I got older, I didn’t enjoy the prospect of riding a bike.  However, I did go through a couple bikes with determination that this was the year.  They never lasted very long.  I had a bright orange urban bike with balloon tires that I got because I thought it was really cool looking.  However, the rides on a rough terrain became unpredictable and unsteady.  My 60-year old body didn’t relish the idea of broken bones.  The same dealer was able to sell it on commission.  It was an unpleasant loss financially.  Then came along a Canadian Tire bike that was a spur of the moment purchase because it was on sale.  I rode it two times and sold it for the same price I paid so nothing loss there.

It was an inspiration of a friend, that made me spend loads of money on an ebike.  Wanting to support local entrepreneurs, I bought a foldable, step-through Kutty from Biktrix.  I knew I had to justify the purchase of this bike so I challenged myself to make good use of it.  However, it didn’t end up being a challenge.  34 hours of bike riding spread over 2 months, “Shadow” and I accumulated just over 450 kilometers.  Now the challenge is not whether I’ll fall off the bike but how far I can go.

Contentment

Wayan
Wayan

On one of our day tours in Bali, the Besakih Temple was part of the itinerary.  To get to the main part of the Temple, a one mile walk was entailed.  During the walk back to the bus, my husband and I were given the opportunity to share a private conversation with Wayan, our tour guide.  He warmed to us and freely shared some of his personal life.   Chances of him ever getting off the island is practically nil.  A vacation might be to go to the other side of Bali.  He calls himself fortunate that he has a room near his employment so he would not have to travel far if his workday extends into the dark.  As he was telling us these things, the tone of his voice was not in a complaining manner but a “this is the way of life” manner.  Coming from a First World country, I immediately felt sorry for him.

Time has passed since then and I wonder if it is he that would feel sorry for me and my lifestyle.  I analyze my expectations of a happy life in a grander scale.  Along the way, we define contentment in large screen TVs, fancy cellphones, nice cars, large homes, and luxurious vacations.  These items will hold us through until we can afford to retire.  Then we find ourselves never seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because we just bought ourselves another luxury item to keep us happy for now.  So we continue working and grumble along the way.

So, it leads me to question our daily contentment.  Is Wayan more content on a day to day basis than I am?  His expectations of a happy life is definitely less materialistic than mine.  So why is it that he can be just as happy as me with less.  Did I get caught up in “Keeping Up with Jones”?  Fear in “What would people think”?

It’s the world we live in and what we have become accustomed to.  I have my large screen TV, my iPhone, a nice car, large condo and twice yearly vacations.  I am content with it and I shouldn’t feel sorry for Wayan.  Chances are he might be just as content with his life as I am with mine.

Joani’s Kitchen

My current cooking interests are about par with ironing clothes.  I know I need to iron that cotton shirt before I can wear it.  However, I’ll look in my closet for something else to wear.

If I serve baked beans as part of an evening meal.  I question whether I need to heat the beans while I open the can.

Spending two weeks with my friend, Joan, gave me an idea of what I was lacking…enthusiasm.  Joani’s the type of person that when I hover over the supermarket cooler to decide which cheesecake to get for dessert, she would say “Why buy, when we can make it?”

Joani’s kitchen doesn’t allow a lot of room for baking and/or cooking.  The working counter space is what you see between the sink and the bread maker.  The atmosphere is homey and comfortable.  She works that kitchen like Dario Franchitti driving the Indy 500…with speedy precision and accuracy.

She introduced me to Boursin Cheese.  She told me how to make brown sugar and spreadable butter.

After two weeks of incredible cooking, I thought I would get that enthusiasm back.  But alas, I didn’t.

As I open my can of beans, I wonder if I should heat them up.

It’s Autumn

Vancouver, BC

October 22, 2010

11:36 AM PST

Fall is my favourite time of year.

The time of year to start over or do over.  As youngsters, a new school year begins.  It was going to be  the year that you were going to be a better person academically and socially.  You were given another opportunity.

That feeling carries over as you get older.  When the leaves turn into their vibrant colors and start to fall, it’s like a starting pistol.  On your mark, get set, go….

A Bright Fog

Along the New Navy Base Road near West Humboldt.

Eureka, CA.

September 10, 2009  8:48 PM

We had decided to explore Eureka and discovered this area which is on a little strip of land separated from Eureka by the Arcata Bay.

The heavy fog had a brightness to it because the sun had not set.  It was calm but yet spooky.   You felt like you were in a horror movie where a ghost sailor would emerge from the fog and screams “BEWARE!”.  However, the feeling is broken when a young family of four scooted by on their ATVs.  The youngsters had on bright little helmuts and their colored flags were flying.  Their laughter displayed the fun they were having.  I wish I could have joined them.

This is my favourite picture of this adventure.

My husband Rod (right) and our buddy Rod (left)

The Hoover Bypass

The Hoover Dam, Outside of Las Vegas NV

March 21, 2007 3:00 PM

I am in awe of this structure.  To build a bridge across the depths of this canyon is mind boggling.  I have a hard enough time building a simple bridge with legos.  My place is behind the lens to capture these engineering feats.  My respect goes to the men and women involved in the creation of this amazing bridge.

When this picture was taken in 2007, the pillars to the upper left-hand corner were in place.  When we flew over the dam a couple of months ago, it looked almost complete.  According to the internet, they claim they are ahead of schedule and the 2010 fall opening maybe sooner than expected.

Dress Code

Spokane, WA.

July 26, 2007

The “Dress Code” sign was located in the window of a downtown bar in Spokane WA.  As crudely written as it was, it got to the point.  The presentation in itself emphasized the message.  I wonder if it had been professionally done with proper grammar and neatly printed whether it would have had the same effect.

This establishment meant what it conveyed.  Even as this picture was being taken, a staff member came out and asked if he can help us.  We explained our appreciation of the sign and he left us alone.

The following is what the message says (the picture is not clear enough)

*DRESS CODE*

– No gang colors or gang logos

– No overly baggy pants, shorts or shirts

– No DU-Rags/Wave Caps or Bandanas

– Shirt and Shoes REQUIRED

No “Wife-Beaters”/Jerseys

Also –

– No Harassment of staff or patrons

– No Swaying, Passing Out or Puking

We reserve the right to refuse service to ANYONE!!!