Applied Experience

Good Morning friends, and it is a very good morning, full of hope and possibility – or maybe it just feels that way because I’m in beautiful Vancouver drinking a cup of coffee and looking at the North Shore Mountains, instead of out riding a bike.  (Don’t worry, I’m still training. I’m headed to the stationary bike in the gym in a few minutes.  At least I’ve never fallen off one of those.)

It must be how beautifully yesterday went that’s got me in such a great mood, because I’m not even totally stressed out about the knitting pickle I find myself in, and make no mistake, I should be.   Yesterday morning I got up and surveyed all that is in the works around here, and I made a big pile of knitting,  I packed Omelet, and Lizette, and the stuff to start Flow, and then a sock and then another skein of sock yarn, and then thought something like "Oh right, that sweater for Marlowe" and started to add more yarn, and then wondered if I should bring my wheel, because it is the Tour de Fleece. 

Then I stepped back, looked at that, and I can’t really explain what happened next. I suppose that I overthought it.  I suppose I looked at the last eighty-seven thousand times that I’ve packed way, way more yarn than I needed, and I thought about the last week, where I thought I was going to get so much knitting done and didn’t hardly get any, and I looked at my itinerary and thought "You’re busy doofus" and then I did something that in retrospect makes me wonder if I hit my head harder than I thought on that last ride. 

I took out the baby sweater yarn. I took out the sock – I forgot about the wheel, and only packed Omelet, Lizette, and Flow.  (I did put a package of sock needles in my purse just in case there was some sort of emergency. I am still somewhat myself.) I’ve been trying to finish those three things for weeks, and despite my best effors, they’ve been un-finishable. Heck, Flow was un-startable. It was more than enough I told myself.  Don’t overpack, I said.
I zipped the bag, and left. 

About an hour later, having been through security and posted to the blog, I sat in the airport waiting to board my flight, and I took out my knitting.  I realized instantly that I’d made a mistake.  First of all, I thought there was another chart to do on Omelet.  I don’t know why I thought that, there isn’t. There’s never been. I had only about ten rows and a cast off to go – and knitters, it was a 5 hour flight, and- I realized with horror, It was the only knitting I had in my bag.  Panic swept over me like a wave before I got a hold of myself.

There was nothing for it, and somehow it all worked out anyway.  I finished the knitting on the plane – the last few stitches as I landed in Vancouver, the cast off as I arrived at my hotel.

Obviously it needs a proper blocking, but I’ll worry about that when I get home.  I was right smug with how it all worked out, and I turned to pick up Flow and make a start on it. 

Flow’s that cool tank from Norah Gaughan, and I love it.  It’s a simple knit, making it a really good foil for Lizette, which is sort of at a fussy part.  I thought it would be a great thing to have to just churn away on – and I took it out of my suitcase, cast on, immediately realized my needle size was wrong-ish, and did a little gauge swatch.  Totally wrong. I had 5mm, I need 4.5mm, and I can’t believe someone who’s been shafted a million times by this an experienced knitter like me didn’t pack a range of needles – or swatch first, but that’s another affliction.  I tried not to panic.   In my teaching stuff there’s a pile of needles for students to borrow if they’re stuck.  Surely one set was 4.5mm? Nope.  I resolved to worry about it the next day, and went to give my talk at the Vancouver Library.  They look like this, and a big high five to Amanda and Fiona of Knit Social for doing an amazing job.  (They seem like the kind of women who would always pack a range of needles.)

I had a very nice time giving the talk – and then went back to the hotel and knit for a tiny bit. Since I coudn’t start Flow, I worked on Lizette.  I knew I had a million repeats of a chart to do before something else happened, and then two whole sleeves, so that was enough knitting to hold me.

Wrong.  I have only a few repeats of a chart to go, and the sleeves are tiny, and I have all day today to get through and not only that but tomorrow is a travel day and Lizette is not going to cut it, and now that I think about it, I think that Flow isn’t either, not when you think about coming home again, and really, why didn’t I think about that? I’m trying not to panic, since there’s a craft store near the hotel, and after I go to the gym I’m going to walk over and try to get some needles, and tomorrow I land at A Verb for Keeping Warm, and I’m pretty freakin’ sure I can get a backup skein there to take on the plane home, in case I finish all of this.

The crazy thing is that as I typed that, I know what’s really going to happen.   I’m going to be so worried that I’ll run out of knitting that I’ll buy more knitting, but then I won’t run out of knitting after all, because I have been doing this for a while and I’m probably right, and then ….

I guess I don’t have to ever really wonder why the stash doesn’t shrink.

This should not get out

Today marks the end of my mum-cation – the week I’ve had alone in the house, and it wasn’t until a text from my sister-in-law Katie, that I wondered if I did it wrong.  Katie is Lou’s mum, and she said that since she figures that she’s about 20 years away from the kind of freedom I enjoyed this week, that she really hoped it had been a week of margaritas, long baths and takeaway dinners, and the minute I read that, I felt like I’d wasted an opportunity in the most horrible way.  I don’t mind missing out on the margaritas, I don’t really care for them (tequila flashback to important lesson learned when I was 19) but when I thought of the idea of the takeaway, I was furious with myself for cooking.

The thing is, for someone as deeply introverted as I am, just this much alone time has been delicious all by itself, and there was something brilliant about still cleaning the kitchen, but cleaning it alone – or getting up in the morning and not encountering a soul, or thinking in a nice straight line all afternoon without interruption.  I may not have had takeaway, but I did stay up late writing, curled in my office chair, long past the time when the company of my family would have reminded me of the hours that normal people keep.  I felt like those were my treats, and I like that better than margaritas.  (Still pissed about the cooking. Why didn’t I think of takeaway?)

The interesting thing was my knitting and spinning output.  I had these wild visions of kilos of roving passing though the wheel. Whole sweaters flying off of the needles… at the very least I was sure I would finish Lizette.  It only needed a front and short sleeves, for crying out loud.  I would probably start and finish Flow, and some socks. For sure socks. And Omelet! I was free! I had nobody at home! I was only taking care of myself! How hard could it be?

Turns out, pretty hard. Between the riding (the riding takes up a lot of knitting time.  I can’t wait until August.  I’m going to knit the daylights out of August. August is going to be like a frat party of knitting) and the fact that just being alone doesn’t really change the number of hours a day I work (might have increased it, actually) it means something really profound.

All these years that I’ve thought that if only the kids were gone I’d get so much knitting done? They’re not the ones holding me back.   I think the family actually helps me get knitting done.  When they’re not home, I don’t watch movies, go places in the car… sit in the backyard and talk – all prime knitting time.  Turns out I’m my problem, not them – but I’d rather you didn’t mention it. 

PS. I wrote this post in the back of a cab, on my way to the airport.  I fly to Vancouver today, and Joe and Sam fly to Toronto. 

Despite how much I loved being alone, I really missed them. I can’t believe I won’t see them for 5 more days.

PPS. I have Omelet packed for the plane.  I think I can finish.

How hard can it be?

Winning Monday

This was a hard weekend for our family cycling team.  It was the weekend that we were doing our back-to-backs.  See, the rally has a list of training accomplishments that need to be done by certain dates.  50km by this date, 100km by that date, and then back-to-backs, which are two long rides done back to back, one day after the other.  We decided it would be Saturday for us – or at least for Amanda and I.  Samantha and Ken are way ahead, and have already completed theirs, and Erin did hers last weekend I think, because she had to be a mum this weekend.  I’d been dreading it all week.  The plan was to do 120km on Saturday (that’s (75 miles, if you’re keeping track) then go home, sleep and get up the next day and do 65 km more. (40 miles.) Now, I think that any reasonable person would be pretty worried about that, so I didn’t worry about being worried, until Saturday morning, when I woke up with a knot of anxiety in my tummy – so significant that it threatened to make me dizzy at times.

It’s been hot here all week, and I was worried about that, but on Saturday it was threatening rain, and so I worried about that too.  We arrived at the meeting place to ride, and there were about 60 riders standing around, all looking at an ominous sky that rippled with threatening clouds.

We made light of it, said that at least a little rain would be cooling on our bikes, but people don’t look up that often if they aren’t concerned.  We checked in, got the route straight, and started promptly at 8am.  At 8:01 there was a tremendous crack of lightning, earthshaking thunder – and then the sky opened.  It sheeted down on us, pounding so hard that at times I was sure it was hailing.  (It wasn’t.)
Lots of riders turned back at that point, but us – we didn’t, because it was our back-to-back deadline, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of choices around it.  I could hardly see where I was going (glasses + bike + buckets of rain = CRAP) and I worried about running into the back of Amanda, or slipping, or my brakes not working… within moments I was so wet that my shoes were full of water. 

It let up about 10 minutes later, but continued to rain a little, until around the 5k mark.  It was at that point that Amanda had the second bad thing in her day.  She checked over her shoulder for traffic, overcompensated by a millimetre, and her front rim hit the edge of a gully by the curb.  If it had been dry, everything likely would have been okay, but it wasn’t dry.  It was very, very wet, and she tumbled and skidded off her bike, then smeared along the road for a couple of metres, before coming to a halt tangled in her bike.  ( I narrowly missed running her over, which was the only thing that could have made it worse.)  She was literally covered in road rash – both legs, elbows, a shoulder, her side, both hands…

You could have knocked me over with a feather when the kid got up, let go a few tears, and then got on her bike and kept riding.  115 km to go, all banged up, and she kept riding.  I don’t know if I would have.  So proud of her.
30km later I took a scary spill on an incline and smashed the right side of my arse enough that it’s still so swollen I sit crooked in chairs.  I cut my leg up, just where it was starting to heal, and skidded my elbow pretty good.  I’m the mother  though, so I pretended it didn’t hurt, but it really did. 
I cried on the inside.

5km later Amanda had a flat, and by then the sun was searingly, hatefully hot… and the rest of the day passed in a haze of aches, pains and determination. 

The next morning Amanda and I texted each other from bed comparing the size of the relative trucks we felt had hit us, and trying to get out of riding again. There was no way out, and we finished our back to backs yesterday without anything else happening… which was a minor miracle considering the level of anxiety we both had.  Falling is hard on the soul.  It was so bad at a couple of points on Saturday that I couldn’t even remember why I was doing it. 

And then I remembered. Fundraising. The whole point. Riding my bike to Montreal actually does nothing to raise funds without your help, and I’m ever so grateful that you all make it worth it. 

(PS. While Amanda and I were falling down, across the city my sister Erin took a tumble too.  I think it’s genetic.)

Without further ado, this week’s Karmic Balancing gifts, with our thanks.

The forever generous Debbi (Stitches of My Life Designs) went into the stash and came up with karmic balancing presents. She’ll be sending Wendy W a beautiful skein of Brooks Farm Riata  (mohair, silk and wool)

A beautiful skein of Shepherd’s Wool is headed off in the mail to Bettina H

She’s parting with a skein of Gaia Lace (40%cashmere, 60% silk) – heading off to a happy new life with Becky G.

Finally – Sunshine P is going to be lucky to get 3 skeins of Tilli Tomas – Beaded Plie. 

Katherine did a little stash diving herself, and she’d like to share two balls of sock yarn (I love this stuff- but as you know, I’m a sucker for self patterning yarn) with Jean A.

The lovely folks at Miss Babs Yarn and Fibers (a source of many delicious things) have donated a $25 gift certificate that is going to Corrie S.

Dani over at Lioness Arts has very generously offered to dye up a gift.  She’s willing to part with four skeins (that’s enough for a sweater) of her Alpaca/silk in
the colourway "Shapes in the Clouds."

Lovely stuff, and it now belongs to Aprille J.

The lovely ladies at Jordana Paige, purveyors of fine knitting accessories, have kindly donated a bag- the fabulous Rio bag, to be exact. 

The family cyclists (I think this time it was Sam)  pulled out Kim P’s name. 

By the way? You should totally take a look at the Jordana Paige Fundraiser for the Preeclampsia Foundation. They’re selling off imperfect bags for $50 bucks a pop, with 100% of the sale price going to the foundation. Very nice.

Stephanie at Dirty Water Dyeworks has a beautiful kit for Dipped Infinity

and Judith F will be picking her colours and getting that bit of prettiness in the mail.

Jenny in the UK has some very pretty locally dyed sparkle yarn from her stash that she’d like to send along.

It’s Fivemoons laceweight, and she’ll be sending that to live with the very lucky Linda L.

Kathy A’s stash offered up something lovely. 

A skein of Henry’s Attic Lace – 100% silk that she’ll mail to Marguerite M.

Laura of Knitfacts has two sets of her amazing ringlets to send away.

Lori S  and Jen H can each choose their favourite colourway.

The delightful Aubrey over at Goodies Unlimited (I personally recommend her Everything Balm. I have it slathered all over my bike gouged leg at the moment, although to be fair, her Stress-free Green Tea soap is a favourite too.) has four $25 gift certificates going out to lucky knitters…

Janene R, Cindy W, Jacqueline F and Lindsey TG are going to be her newest fans.

That’s it for now, thanks for your support! Remember that everyone who donates to anybody on our family team is eligible to randomly receive a Karmic Balancing gift, and because someone will ask if I don’t post them, here’s the link to all our pages.


(PS. It doesn’t matter how much you give – everyone has the same chance.  We know that everyone does their best with what they have, and we’re grateful for it all.) 


Like a big chunk of North America, Toronto is roasting in a heat wave, and like a lot of Torontonians, we’ve got no air conditioning.  Mostly I don’t mind the heat, but when it’s this muggy and hot- even the most die-hard summer lovers get a little weepy around the edges, and that’s where I’m at.  The sustained heat has soaked into the house, and last night I slept downstairs because the upstairs felt a lot like Satan’s armpit.   (Or so I’ve been told.  It’s not like Satan’s actual armpit and I are well acquainted.) 

It’s so hot that this morning I didn’t even consider going on a training ride (and I’m pretty nervous about the back-to-back long rides over this weekend) and just now I thought about going out to run an errand – then opened the front door, and the second the blast of heat and sun hit me I thought "You know, there’s nothing I want out there" and went back in, and decided to give up and do what you’re supposed to do when it’s hot like this.  I’m going to crack open a frosty beer,  sit myself down in front of a fan in the living room and relax until it’s cooler.  (I don’t know what exactly I’ll do if that means I’m sitting here until September, but I’m going to worry about that in the morning.)

Spinning has been slow, since I’ve discovered a basic incompatibility between roving and a fan, not to mention sticky, sweaty hands,  but in the evenings when it’s cooler I can manage – and even with just that little bit of time I’ve got the grey North Ronaldsay done.

I spun it to match the brown, and I’m going to do the white the same way – just the minute it cools down enough to make it all reasonable.  That tiny accomplishment brings my meagre Tour do Fleece production to about only 600 metres and about 300g- but I’m not worrying about it.

Until I’m emotionally ready to think about turning off the fan, I’ll be knitting. I’ve got the back all done, and the bottom front wrapped up too.  Last night I did the provisional cast on that begins the top front, and with that…

I feel like it can’t be long now before I have a new summer sweater,  which will be ironic, since I can’t imagine putting it on right now. 
Is it hot where you are?


I swear to you that I wasn’t going to do the Tour de Fleece.  I swear it. I’d considered the idea carefully and weighed the pros and cons, and then, after careful deliberation I came to my conclusion, which was essentially "Screw that."  This month is killing me.  I’ve got a ton of stuff to do, the family’s busy, I’m away for a week, the Rally is at the end of the month, hours a day are going to training rides that are starting to hurt, and frankly I need another goal this month like I need a hole in the head.   (Also, I thought that if I did one more bike related thing I would probably barf.)

The hardest thing about the commitment to the Rally has been the time.  I guess I don’t mind riding my bike this much (sort of. I’m pretty tired) but the time it takes to do it is crazy.  Now that we’re in the home stretch, this week I’ll do "quick rides" which are 90 minutes every morning, and then the whole weekend is taken up by back to back whole day rides- and that doesn’t even get into going to the meetings, going to the bike shop, managing fundraising… I’m the one who made the commitment, so I don’t mind, but it doesn’t leave a lot of free time. Just the idea of adding another thing made me flinch, and I’m pretty jumpy these days anyway.  I don’t know if you’ve thought about this- but you can’t knit on a bike.  The basic minimum amount of knitting I need to do – the little that it takes to keep me from being a horrible person with no patience is already endangered. Why would I want even less time to knit by setting a spinning challenge?  No. No way.  I wasn’t going to do it, and I decided not to. It was final.

Then the night before the Tour started, I had a complete change of heart.  I realized that I’ve got no issues with spinning, I love spinning, and it’s almost as good for your personality as knitting, and it would be great to get a bunch of spinning done… and all of a sudden it came to me.  I had no problem with the Tour de Fleece, I just needed a reasonable goal. I just couldn’t let it get crazy.

Now, I’ve met me, and I realized pretty quick that I was going to have to be careful here.  I’m forever setting "reasonable goals" that then kick the snot out of me. I’m reasonable about most everything else, but when it comes to goals I just take all leave of my senses.  This mostly works out and just means I experience some stress for a bit, but I’m good with stress – so no problem.  Now though? I’m already under stress and I don’t see any reason to pump it so totally over the top that I take an emotional blowtorch to the whole month of July.  This is uncharacteristically clever and mature of me, and so I really gave it some thought.

Someone suggested that I think of a reasonable goal – and then cut it in half.  Someone else suggested that then I cut it in half again.  There were lots of good suggestions, and then it came to me.   Instead of doing what I’ve done before – which was setting a goal of a certain number of grams spun (1500 or 1400 to be precise) I would make a vague goal.  I’d make a goal that was more about effort than it was about amount, and I’d let myself off the hook on days that spinning happened in huge quantities on the bike, rather than at the wheel. Once I thought about it like that, the Tour started to sound like fun again.

I made my goal that I was going to try and make the spinning stash retreat back into its bins.  There’s lots of ways to do that too- I can tidy up, I can give some away – or I can spin it.  It’s a nice vague goal that should stay reasonable, and so far, so good.  I’ve had this beautiful North Ronaldsay roving in the stash for a few years, and it’s the first thing up. 

North Ronaldsay sheep are an endangered sheep breed.  They live in Scotland on the northernmost island of the Orkney Islands, on the beach.  They mostly eat seaweed (they’re totally odd) and they’re not found anywhere else. Just one  three mile long island in the whole world.

I’ve got a total of 500 grams of nice soft roving in three colours (I’m pretty sure it came from Scottish Fibres) and it’s so nice it almost spun itself up while I sat in the backyard.

All told, 200g of the brown became about 440m of a fingering weight yarn- and it’s pretty as all get out. 

I’ve traditionally given away everything I spin during the Tour, but this?
It makes me a little greeedy.

PS: It’s day one of my little vacation alone.  So far, I’m planning pizza for dinner, and feeling proud that they’ve been gone for three hours and I’m not totally feral yet.

PPS: Happy July the 4th to my American friends.  Have a great holiday.

I might hear myself think

Tomorrow Joe and Sam leave for a week on the rock, to hang out with her grandparents and hike Signal Hill and go sailing and eat jam-jams. I’m not going with them because I have work commitments here, and because, frankly – an 18 year old like Sam, who will never be stronger or more beautiful than she is now can miss a training ride, but a 44 year old woman who’s barely limping through this thing has to stay on track.  If I went with them on holiday, I’d miss a week of training – and then another week when I go to Vancouver and San Francisco to speak and teach next week. Trust me. That’s not the kind of slacking you can do if you’re thinking of surviving a 660km ride.  I already spend every minute that I’m off my bike feeling like I should be doing something to keep this Rally from being the biggest mistake I’ve ever made, and I know I’d just panic if I spent two of the last three weeks not riding, so – here I stay.

I’m a little bummed about missing the fun, I love Newfoundland, and it’s been a few years since I was there, but I know the decision to stay here is the mature, proper thing to do. I am spending a little time reflecting on how consistently I find that the mature good decisions are the ones that are less fun, but it’s not like that’s a new idea I have to adjust to.  If I’m staying though, I’m going to make the most of it.  Today I’m cleaning the house, doing the laundry, hitting the grocery store, making everything as nice as I can, because other than the weekday morning rides (and the whole day rides on Saturday and Sunday)  once I’m done my work everyday for the next week, I’m on a mum-vacation. I’m going to be alone in the house for a week.  Just think about it.  Think about what I could do!

Okay. I can’t actually think of what I might do that’s really that different, but I’ll do it all alone, and that’s a pretty crazy thing.  For one whole week, dinner can be whatever I say it is, and there’s going to be nobody here to judge it. For a whole week I can go into the bathroom anytime I want –  heck, I can even read in the bathtub for an hour or two, and nobody’s going to knock on the door and ask me when I’m going to be done, or if I think it’s been a little long, or if my book is good because they’re out of books and did I really want to finish that one? I can write until 3am and nobody will say I should go to bed earlier.  For a whole week, I can just use the phone whenever I want. I can even watch the movies that Sam and Joe think are stupid, like Deep Impact or The Day After Tomorrow or Ice Twisters (that one was particularly contentious)  and nobody can say anything like "MUM. The comet is going to hit the earth just like it did last time, can we please just watch Glee?"

For one week I’m going to do exactly as I please (except for the work and the riding, but no plan is perfect) and I’m actually a little excited about that. If by excited you understand that I’m going to miss them dreadfully. So much. I’ll actually probably just sit here and cry the whole time.

Wanna do karmic balancing gifts to cheer me up?

From the generous hearts at Hearthside Fibers, two skeins of their BaaBoo fingering weight yarn, one for Krystal R.

and the other for Sarah T.

Christian over at Radioactive Rabbit has two beautiful bags to give away (and she’s doing a half marathon for charity – have a look! )  One beautiful bag for Kate K,

and one pretty one for Laura W.

Melanie at Black Trillium Fibre Studio has generously donated ten skeins of her pebble yarn – and five (that go together so beautifully) are going to Amy S.

and the other coordinating five are going to live with Kalita B.

(All I see when I look at those is Color Affection.  I might not be quite over that.)

Max over at Max’s world has this great gift.

Max makes knitted sculptures – and Linda P is going to receive a brooch, earrings and necklace, as well as the Knitting Octopus greeting card. 

Tamara is giving away this beautiful handspun she made.

She’ll pop that in the mail for Hilary J. 

As proof that the planet’s really into the karmic balancing thing, Tamara is the winner of the next gift! (I swear. Random selection.  Bizarre, right?)  Elizabeth will be mailing her a fractal roving (have you seen this yet? Pretty cool)

It’s shown here in Grey’s Analogy Antique, but Tamara will be choosing her favourite from The Hilltop Fibre Worker. (I also think it worked out rather nicely that I know a spinning gift is going to a spinner!)

Kim (who I know in actual real life and is really nice) at Indigodragonfly has a fabulous contribution.

Two $30 gift certificates will be going out, one each to Suzzanne R and Lynne W.   Thanks Kim!

Dani (who I also know in actual real life and is also very nice) who is KSC Designs, would like Vicki K to have a box bag – just like this one, except that she can pick the fabric:

and a sweet roll like this one for Barbara LW except again – Choices!

Whew! 13 gifts – and there’s way more to come.  Next week there’s some lovely things, and a surprise from Sam later in the week, as always, everyone who donates to anyone on our family team is eligible to get a karmic balancing gift, and I’ll be giving away stuff up to (and probably after) the ride- I’m going to keep going until there’s nothing more to give. (I’m starting to feel like that’s the theme of the whole rally.) Our departure date is 3 weeks and 4 days away,  and as always – the links for our little team are below.  Thanks to everyone who’s helping us make it possible.


(PS. It doesn’t matter how much you give – everyone has the same chance.  We know that everyone does their best with what they have, and we’re grateful for it all.) 

Randomly on what I think is a Monday

That weekend blew by me faster than a teenager thirty minutes past curfew with beer on her breath – but let’s try to sum up, shall we?

1. Happy Canada Day!  I swear I was going to put a post up, but yesterday got seriously out of hand, and instead of arriving home in the early afternoon to finish it up and hit post – I arrived home at 11pm and lay helplessly wilted on the chesterfield instead.  Still, don’t take the lack of a post for a lack of enthusiasm.  The post I was going to put up listed so many of the things that make this country great, and then I realized that it’s Luis’ first Canada Day, and thought of what I like best about what growing up Canadian will mean to him.

This country is safe. 
Unbelievably safe.  Our crime rate fell another 5% last year, our homicide rate declined by 10%, the severity index said crimes in general were 6% less nasty. In a country of just over 34 000 000 people, only 554 of them were victims of homicide in 2010.  It’s not just that, we’ve got no really deadly animals, no really nasty insects, and a stunning lack of natural disasters.  We’re politically stable, more educated than any other nation, we have a social safety net that- while it’s far from perfect, provides a great deal of security.  Our health care system covers everybody, and it must work, because only 5 countries have better life expectancies than Canadians do. We enjoy a terrific degree of freedom,  our economy is remarkably stable,  we have no major infectious disease like yellow fever or malaria – and most Canadians enjoy the luxury of flushing the toilet with potable water. We have few enemies,  only share a border with the US, and they haven’t invaded since 1812 – in short, it’s a fabulous place to live, and Lou will be very safe growing up here, and what could you want more than that?

2.  I decided to do the Tour de Fleece.  My goal is to get all the spinning stash to fit back into the bins. I’m afraid to weigh what I have to move out of here, but I spun a chunk on Saturday.  I’ll show you tomorrow.

3.  Yesterday my sister and I (and her charming friend Nina) decided to ride our bikes from Toronto to Port Hope.  That’s about 110 km, and we thought it wouldn’t be that hard. 

(We are seen here smiling before it got too hard.)

4. Then I suggested that we take the waterfront trail. It’s sort of zig-zaggy, which I didn’t think of, but it’s close to the lake, which we all agreed would be cooler.

5. Then we got lost.

6. Then the destination was about 5 km further into Port Hope than we hoped for.

7. When it was all said and done, this is what my odometer said.

That’s right. 141.2 km. (That’s about 88 miles, for anybody who’s wondering.)  That’s so far.  That’s ridiculously far.  That’s so far that when we were about 10 km from the end, I remember thinking, in all seriousness, that it was a shame I was going to die so close to finishing.

We are seen here smiling because we thought we were done – and seconds after a kindly passer-by stopped us from posing right by that sign, and in a large stand of poison ivy, which would have really just been the icing on the cake. (Thanks dude.) If we’d have known then what we know now, which is that the sign was 20km from our destination, we wouldn’t have smiled. We would have called someone to come get us.

8. I am currently not in a civil speaking relationship with my thighs or any part of my body that touched the seat.

9. Wait until they find out we’re riding again this evening. 

10. I didn’t spin yesterday, because I figure that since yesterdays stage of the actual Tour de France was 198 km, and I rode 141 km, that maybe I could let myself off the hook.  I did a lot of spinning.  It just wasn’t at the wheel.

11. If nobody minds, I’m going to do the Karmic Balancing gifts tomorrow. I know I said Monday, but my drivers license expired and I really need to do something about it.

12. I can’t believe I have to ride my bike to get there.