Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Torches and Motorcycles

Yes truly! That is one of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay torches. And that is the famous (infamous?) PK Giesbrecht smoozing with one of the relay runners in Salmon Arm this morning as they waited for the lit torch to arrive.

Bryan and I had thought to be there but he's been suffering mightily with his ankylosing spondylitis the past two days, completely bedridden yesterday - better today after mega-drugs and a visit to the chiropractor.

Do you think she was having a good time?!

Anyway, last weekend was of course the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. Odd considering the show is actually in Abbotsford, outside the city (however, if you've been to the Lower Mainland you'll know it's sometimes hard to tell).

We attended with niece Jolene (daughter of Torch-Toucher PK above) and her partner Russ.

Yes indeed, the happy couple, although the little one is looking a bit show-weary.

It was ok as these shows go. I am of course in lust with about five new bikes now. The frontrunner in the race for my affections, the Suzuki Gladius, comes in two new paint jobs this year:

basic black, and

red with black trim. The yellow accents are reflections from the overhead lighting, although it does make one go, "Hmmm....."

Excuse me, sir. Sir! Yes you, you're on my Ducati. Please step away from the bike.

"Where are the handlebars on these things? Are there aftermarket accessories? What's the mileage on one of these babies?"

Really, some people will ride anything. And I do mean anything.

What an outrageous piece of work.

The Royal Enfields were intriguing. Bryan looked them over carefully and was sorely tempted.

In fact, he's just been hovering over my shoulder, saying "Go to their website. We should get you one of those." But honey, I really want a dual sport.....

It's a lovely sunny day here today. If my work week is to be cut back, it's nice to at least have a sunny day to enjoy. Things still aren't too rosy on the economic front, so I don't know how long the reduced hours will be in effect. At least it gives me opportunity to do chores around the house, freeing up the weekend for things like the jaunt to Pitt Meadow (not Fort Pitt as I erroneously wrote in some emails - that's in northwestern Saskatchewan, north of Lloydminster).

Bryan's feeling much better this afternoon, the combination of drugs and physical manipulation having worked their magic. That's good because he's planning to take the Moto Guzzi out to Calgary, to be shipped with a group of bikes to Phoenix. David is taking his annual group ride to the Mexican Baja; then he and Bryan are planning a ride in March.

Momma's staying home, nose to the keyboard wishing for spring.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lady in Waiting

It's the ol' 'hurry up and wait' game today. Problems arose and ensued in the classified pages department (not my department) and there's naught to do but wait..... The editorial pages from Winfield haven't arrived yet and there's naught to do but wait.... I'm a lady in waiting, as it were.

Went to Timmy's down the street a bit for a midafternoon cup of wake-me-up. It's a very Taranaki winter day out there - rain rather than snow. And a Taranaki feel to it as well, although the landscape is proportionally opposite: whereas that lovely spot of New Zealand has one mountain and a large body of water, Vernon has many mountains and a somewhat smaller body of water.

Sneaking in this quick note to pass the time. Would also like to pass on a new favorite blog - hope I've got it right without my personal bookmarks in place (I'll list it soon) called Panopticon.

One more sleep and then wingward north.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

That Self-satisfied Feeling

On a computer all week at work. On a computer almost all weekend at home. What a life.

In my defense, I have Bryan's company account books now up-to-date and the GST cheque is, as they say, in the mail. Once the T4s and their evil cousins all arrive, the entire shebang will be boxed and sent up to Yvonne the Accountant, my guru on all things fiscal, to do the taxes.

Bryan and I played hooky for a few hours yesterday morning, scouting out the salvage yards in the valley. He's planning to build a motorcycle shed out back. In the process of cleaning up the sewing room, I unearthed a book on sheds that I knew full well I had stashed somewhere. After Bryan investigated the price of prebuilt and package sheds, he gave the idea of building one himself serious consideration. Now I hasten to tell you, he's a fabulous mechanic but a mediocre carpenter. Still, with the supplies we sourced yesterday and some help from the neighbourhood framer down the way, I think the DYI shed is possible.

It's very, very quiet at work. My Wednesdays have been cut for the foreseeable future. Giving that, and the fact that WestJet had a seat sale last week, I grabbed the opportunity for cheap fares to fly north for a few days with Marlon, Krista and Abby. Maybe even some of the Valleyview gang if all goes well.

The flight there and back came to $301!!! Including all taxes and fees. I know. That's about what a usual one-way fare runs. Even ol' McSkinflint Me can justify that price. I fly up Tuesday morning, arriving mid-afternoon. Fly home Sunday, leaving midafternoon and arriving here suppertime.

With my accounting done, the sewing room looking spanky and most other aspects of life under control, I'm feeling quite content. Can you hear me purring?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Order from Chaos, and a Christmas recap

My old standby, a 1940s vintage Viking, with the most even stitching you could wish for.

The small guest room is in moderate chaos, as is the storage corner of the basement. In the pursuit of order, chaos ensues.

The small guest room was originally intended to be the office but my enormous old oak desk won't fit through the door. I could always cut a bigger hole I suppose....

Anyway, the little single bed that was Becca's is now there, as is my sewing machine and serger, the spinning wheel and part of the book collection. A true hodgepodge of stuff. Which means, an usable workspace.

I have sewing projects backed up to kingdom come. In order to do the simplest of tasks - mending - I had to keep moving stuff.

A 'have-to' mending project entered the room earlier this week.

The crisis point of my sanity in this situation had been reached. Something had to be done.

During a recent trip to Kelowna in search of small end tables for the living room, Bryan and I ended up in my 'favorite' store - WallyWorld (aka WalMart for the overseas crowd). And voila - the answer to my fabric stash problem.

These are hanging closet organizers: the two on the left are for shoes, the one on the right (centre of photo) for sweaters. At least that's what it says on the labels. I know them as 'small pieces' and 'large yardage' storage. The bookshelf and junk to the far right is actually reflected in the mirror surface of the sliding closet door.

But never mind that. Focus on the neat, visible organization of my fabric collection! Other than the broadcloth in the second-from-bottom space on the right. That needs work.

I changed the bed's orientation, brought up another bookshelf from downstairs to be reassigned sewing implement storage duty, and have almost got things to a point where I can actually do the mending that started this whole thing.

Meanwhile, the neatly stacked boxes and bins downstairs are not quite so neat.

I find liberal applications of Crown Royal help make that problem go away.


I promised a little more info about our trip up to north spend Christmas weekend with the kids.

I was done work by 2pm Wednesday, so we left that afternoon for Valemont. With a stack of graphic audio CDs (dusters: Blood Bond and Last Mountain Man - we love them) to while away the hours, the trip started fine.

North of Blue River, the road conditions quickly deteriorated. 50 km south of Valemont we hit a long patch of black ice. Bryan had a second of inattention and the truck immediately went out of control, turning 180 degrees as it slid across the highway. Thankfully no one else was around at the moment. The truck hit the snow on the west shoulder side-on which flipped it into a roll down a 35 ft embankment. Thankfully the snow was deep and quite soft, because it minimalized the damage. Still and all, we rolled completely over once and came to a stop midway through a second roll.

Neither of us were hurt, but there was a long pause while we digested what just happened. We were a long way down, out of sight from most highway traffic (and there was very little of that although it was only 7pm or so). The truck was at a 45 degree angle (my butt was half resting on the side window, the door armrest wedged into a most uncomfortable place). Bryan had to give a massive heave to open his door up and over in order to then climb out and up to the highway.

A northbound truck happened by almost at that moment. Reassured that we were ok, he continued on into Valemont to summon a towtruck for us. We were out of cellphone range. Bryan came back into the truck - it was only -15C outside but the truck was still able to run and so it was a warmer place to wait out the hour or so before we could reasonably expect to be rescued.

Sure enough, the nice towtruck operator was there shortly before 9pm, about the time the RCMP officer on duty arrived. The officer clambered down the embankment with Bryan to retrieve the registration information (why he didn't wait until the truck was up on the highway, I don't know) and wallowed in soft snow up to his gun holster.

By 9:30, the truck was back on pavement. Damage noted - roof punched in, side mirrors both bent and one cracked, the front fenders also pushed in. The windshield was cracked beforehand from rock chips but now sported more lines. However, all that said, it was still mechanically sound and running fine. Believe it or not, we drove it up to Grande Prairie (arrived mid afternoon Christmas Eve) and all the way home again on Sunday.

Marlon and Bryan pushed out the major roof dents and figured it fine. Let's just say the truck has character.

My right shoulder sported an impressive bruise from point to backbone, but that was the only physical damage either of us sustained.... or would admit to.


Christmas in Grande Prairie was fun and fattening. Krista and her kitchen elves did proud, producing food for the 5000, and there were but six adults to deal with it all.

Miss Abby is still a bit young to get into the paper-ripping part of Christmas morning. Of course, with six adults watching her every move and frequently 'aaahhing', it's no wonder she was distracted. Thankfully it hasn't gone to her head.

Auntie Becca managed to pin her down a time or two to give serious thought to gifts.

Krista's food artistry wasn't limited to the turkey. Her snacky plate was both nummy and fanciful. That's a ham dip snowman featured in the middle. When he re-emerged the next day during a crokinole tournament, laid down in a plastic storage container, I commented that it looked like a ravaged body in a coffin. Yes, that's the sort of humour our family runs to.

Abby and Grandpa entertaining each other while waiting for supper.

The kitchen crew: whipped potato king Marlon, bartender Rebecca and head chef Krista.

And so we are back home and work (or at least I am). Weather here has been mild - it's socked in fog all day today. We thought to go visit Bryan's mom in Revelstock yesterday. After a 2 ft snowfall on Friday, it's now Revelstuck and the TransCanada closed at Griffin Lake for avalanche control (shoot 'er down and push 'er off). That's when plans were amended and the sewing room project was begun. Which is where today's installment began.

I hope you had a joyous holiday break, that things weren't too stressful or overindulgent, and that 2010 brings blessings to you and your family.