Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Grocery Shopping

Since one can never do enough cycling during the winter here in the frigid north, it was an easy decision to go to the organic grocery store and pick up a few things for my daughter.  When I say a few things, there were three items she needed.  Carrots, apples and lemons.

Perhaps riding over to the south side of our city on the one bike I had in front of me with its slick tires was not the best choice.  I see couriers riding around on skinny road tires and my slicks are at least twice as wide...so with my broad wheels, I should have no trouble negotiating the snow.

Recently, we've had as much snow in a day than we usually receive in a month and our wide streets have become narrow snow encrusted lanes.  I knew I was in trouble within a block of my departure point.  The bike was bucking and slipping on the road so I opted out for the sidewalk which meant my short ride to the store was going to be lengthened considerably.
You get the idea

 When she asked for carrots, I imagined one of those bunches you see in the vegetable aisle.
It wasn't until I got to the store that I re-listened to her phone message and realised that when she said she wanted carrots, she was talking about a twenty five pound bag of that orange vegetable.

The lemons filled a small bag and the apples I stuffed into two more bags and they would all fit in my two saddlebags.  But twelve and a half kilos of orange produce?  Was I going to end up like one of those pictures you see every now and then of an overloaded bike?

My father used to say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I've been meaning for over a year to make a cobra-knotted lanyard for my bike for just an emergency like this.
It would be with little effort to unthread the paracord and voila!, I'd have enough rope to safely tie that heavy package to my rear pannier rack.  As it turned out, she changed her mind and I was saved the experience of having to improvise a rope.  I was a little sorry that I didn't get to have the twenty five pounds of traction that that weight would have given me for my ride back to the north side of the river.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

He's a Winner!

With today being December 1st, that means that NaNoWriMo is over.  NaNoWriMo?  WTH?  The acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month and the idea was to write 50,000 words in one month.  That is why loyal readers, there haven't been the insightful and humourous blogs in November that you have come to rely on for your internet entertainment.

 My skills at math - even very basic math are not what they could be.  My father always wanted my brother and I to be engineers but I knew from a very young age that vocation was not for me.  My brother on the other hand always pretended to have an interest in our father's profession and that's why he became a stage manager.

I woke up Friday morning and ran to the computer to tabulate the number of words I had written all month. There was a certain amount of pressure involved since my wife had uploaded her 50,000 word novel the night before. It was with confidence that I sat down at the laptop sure that the only thing I had to do that day was to transcribe a few thousand words and presto!  I'd be done.  After adding up the columns of numbers, I discovered that I only had written 43,000.  Three times I added and got the same result.  What's the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result!

 Fourteen hours later, a writing/transcribing session peppered with every excuse not to write ended.  I had to make more coffee.  Step outside to see if the city had plowed our street.  Had a nap. Make a pot of slow cooker soup.  Iron a shirt.  Have two showers to loosen up the neck muscles.  All told, I probably spent less than half of those 14 hours actually working.

When all the typed pages were uploaded to the NaNoWriMo site and run through their word counter, it was with dismay that I discovered that there were over 57,000 words written.  While I should have been elated at such productivity, I was too worn out to feel like celebrating.  Maybe I had so much difficulty writing all day because my subconscious was trying to tell me that I'd already completed what I had set out to do on November 1st.

Over did it a bit
The month of November was the most unusual month in that we found ourselves writing in places like Denny's or in a public library.  Most of the Saturday mornings would find us feverishly scribbling at a corner table for hours on end at a nearby Starbucks.  My favourite place to write was a an east end bookshop that we'd only recently discovered.  Being surrounded by books and having ample window light to write by made the experience an enjoyable one and not the agonizing marathon that was Friday, November 29th.