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The mornings are getting darker when the alarm clock goes beep-beep-beep. So much so that it’s taking me longer to open the curtains and blinds because I really don’t need the construction workers across the street seeing me before I’m at my best. I had no idea there was snow on the ground until NosyNeigbhour opened the curtains after his shower.

I hadn’t planned to walk to work, so I decided to cycle. I’ve never cycled to work in the snow. I’ve been on the bike with snowflakes falling, but never with any accumulation. And what would the drivers be like with the first snowfall on a work day? Read the rest of this entry »

To celebrate the expansive new store, MEC is having “a day of fun” on Saturday December 1, 9:00-5:00. Prizes for the first 100 people to arrive and hourly give aways, draws and contests. There will also be free workshops and clinics and product demos and samples. Read more here.

 

imageOn a blustery late November Saturday we went for a walk heading east. This, after an evening in Westboro at the Clocktower Pub, but more on that later.

The first change we noticed was the paper on the windows at the former site of Santorini’s Greek restaurant. I took the pic on the right so I would remember the name that’s printed in small letters along the paper. It was something to do with a raw food bar. Will this mean competition for the Table vegetarian restaurant or Sushi Umi?

Next up we noticed a new sign above Bija. Very stylish. I haven’t been in for a while, so I’ll have to make a point of stopping in there soon.

Emulsify, which now occupies the former site of Booster Juice, was also open. They had literally just opened that morning with a test week before the grand opening next Saturday. And while initially I thought the concept of selling oil and vinegar was a bit odd, the woman was very helpful in explaining the concept. She and her partner had seen the concept in Florida and thought it would work here. Little did they know that someone else would open a similar concept store in the Glebe. The oil and vinegar sits in vats on the shelves and you can sample the different flavours and ages before buying a 750ml bottle. They also offer a sample pack of six smaller bottles that you can mix and match. NosyNeighbour tried a few samples for me. I was chewing gum and knew that the flavours would be out of whack. Who knew that balsamic vinegar could be as thick as molasses? I think we’ll be back, especially given NosyNeighbour’s prowess with baking bread. Would love to try some freshly baked bread dipped in an oil and vinegar mixture. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ottawa Citizen isn’t giving it away anymore. But this article in today’s paper is worth sharing with people who live in or are interested in central west Ottawa.

Do an abandoned rail tunnel and a lost train lie somewhere beneath LeBreton Flats?

By Ian MacLeod,

OTTAWA — The guy on the bar stool next to mine works in the sewer business.

“So what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen down there?” I ask.

He takes a sip of his beer. “One time a few years ago we found a train.”

“A train? A train! Like a locomotive train?”

 “Yeah.”

 “In a sewer in Ottawa, you found a train!?”

 “Uh-huh. We were on a job down around LeBreton Flats.” Read the rest of this entry »

I love winter, but until it arrives I am happy to continue cycling Clara to work. And only 17 more days to go!

The weather has been unusually dry, and starting yesterday unusually warm. The combination of warm air over cold water and ground led to thick heavy fog this morning. When I tied up the cat in the backyard for his morning outdoor time, I wondered whether I would need my gortex pants over my dresspants. The dampness chilled me in the 20 seconds I was outside. But my hands hadn’t gotten cold and the Internet was telling me that the light winds were from south.

While the cat played outside getting his paws all muddy, I had my morning cups of coffee and made my lunch. Today’s fuel consists of leftover barbecue chicken, sliced up and served on a One Bun with a slice of Provolone cheese, a dollop of olive hummus, sliced tomatoes and baby spinach. With today’s warm temperatures, there won’t be any grilling in the toaster oven at lunch. Instead of a fruit salad, I washed some blueberries and raspberries and filled up the rest of the container with Greek yogurt. That stuff is magical. I use it in muffins, cheesecake, soup, and anything that calls for sour cream. A few clementines, an apple and a banana, along with a bag of baby carrots and my lunch was complete.

Next up was the breakfast to eat upon my arrival at work. If you’re Canadian, you know what a timbit is. Dunkin Donuts calls them munchkins I think. I used to love them. So much that we named our last cat Timbit. But then Tim Hortons changed their operating procedures and all timbits arrived at the franchise frozen. I gave them up then and sought a replacement.

I found the healthy alternative when I figured out a no-fat, no-sugar muffin recipe and bought a mini-muffin tray. I actually have two now because one batch fills two trays. On the weekend, and sometimes during the week, I make batches of muffins and freeze them. Then I plop up to five in a Ziploc bag to have for breakfast at work. This week’s flavours are cranberry-orange, banana-pecan, and maple-oatmeal.

I brought the cat in and didn’t feel the same chill. So I decided to forgo the gortex pants. With a high of 11 degrees C today, I know they won’t be needed by the end of the day. And I left the neck tube at home too. The skiglove shells were traded in for the liners but the headband made it to my head just in case my ears got cold. I also put on a light merino wool sweater on top of my blouse, again, just in case my core got cold.

The fog was still soupy and I worried about being seen. My dress pants are protected by reflected straps. Yes, just like the 40-year-old virgin. It’s not a fashion statement when I ride to work. I care more about how my cycling skirt matches my cycling top when we head to the Ashton pub in the summer. But really, with 17 working days left, who cares?

NosyNeighbour was away on business, and I was tempted to “borrow” the flashing red light from his helmet. But I was pretty sure we still had some old ones kicking around in the basement. After rummaging around the crawl space, I found one. But it needed AAA batteries. I was pretty sure I’d found some rechargeable ones in the computer room and even charged them. I removed the old batteries, one of which had leaked, and put in the rechargeable ones. Result! It was blinking. I added to my pannier bag and double checked the light on my helmet. Yup, it was still working too. The fog outside was intriguing and I decided to be proactive about snapping a quick pic on my way to work. I put my phone in my pocket instead of in my purse in pannier bag.

With the pannier bag loaded up, I said my good byes to Wellington, double checked that I hadn’t left any windows open, and locked up. I opened the side door to the garage then looked back to see if Wellington was at the window. He wasn’t and I wondered whether he was wiping his muddy paws all over the white duvet on our bed.

Clara was waiting for me in the dark garage. Her tires were still firm. I strapped on the pannier bag, attached the headlight and turned it on, then reversed her out of the garage. After mounting her, I traveled a few feet down the driveway and tested the brakes. Those worked too.

The fog was still thick and I could barely see down the street. I was glad I had extra lights on me. More than half of my ride is along the river. Getting to the river is usually uneventful, except where I cross Scott to go through Tunney’s Pasture. The last leg of my journey is across the Chaudiere Bridge, which can be a challenge with buses. But if I get onto it when the light by the museum first turns green for cyclists, I can usually make it across the first half of the bridge before traffic catches up.

I cycled along the river pathway with thick fog beside me on the water. It made me think of the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water” and helped me get a rhythm going to get to work a bit faster.

I crossed over the road leading to Lemieux Island and headed towards the dip down under the railroad bridge. Through the thick fog, the bridge appeared and I felt as though I’d been transported to another world. It was a black and white world, with no wind and not a soul around. I couldn’t see or hear the cars that I was sure were driving along the parkway. See for yourself:

Smoke on the water … under the bridge

image

I think I’ve mentioned that Booster Juice has closed its doors on Wellington St. W. And I may have mentioned that a new sign went up on the door.

THis morning I opted to walk to work with my walking pool buddy. As we walked along Wellington I tried to stay focussed on our conversation while at the same time being aware of where I was so I could take a pic of the new sign.

So there it is … Emulsify Fine Oil and Vinegar Experience. I’ve googled it and come up empty. No news on when they’re opening.

Also in the future new to the hood … an espresso bar — Illume — plans to open on December in the ugly new building on Wellington West at Carleton. (Pic to follow)

There is still no rain (or snow) in the forecast, so I’m still cycling in. Every morning I check Clara’s tires before I attach the pannier bag in the garage. Once she’s loaded up, I stick my head out the side door and say goodbye to Wellington, who is tied up for his before breakfast breath of fresh air.

Then I mount my trusty steed Clara and push off down the driveway, testing the brakes before I get to the sidewalk, where the driveway slopes down to the road. I’m always amazed that the brakes still work and the tires still hold air. I keep thinking that Clara will let me down before the snow falls. I think she’s just like Clara Hughes, a fighter. And she’s determined to go down to the basement on a high. Read the rest of this entry »

November is usually cold, wet and dark. So far it’s been cold most days, with the exception of our record-breaking Monday, and extremely bright. It’s been great for cycling to work because I only have to worry about cold and not rain.

In my last post, I wrote a note to myself to find my fleece skate warmers. Well, I found one, but not the other. This morning I contemplated using one fleece shoe cover and one gortex to see which one kept my feet warm. But I didn’t want to look like a total dork arriving at work so I instead arrived with very cold feet. Read the rest of this entry »

Riding Clara the Clunker to work this morning was cold. It started with my butt hitting the seat as I got to the end of the driveway. I knew it would be cold as I tested the brakes going down the hill. It almost felt like Clara’s hips were as stiff as mine when the cat sleeps on my legs in the evening.

The weather has been wonky the past few days. On Monday (a holiday for me) it was in the low 20s and we broke a record. Then yesterday it was back to cold temperatures, with a mini snow squall around 10:30. But the forecast for the week looks pretty good, so Clara is going to continue to be my main mode of transport to work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chaudiere Falls

I took this photo yesterday on my walk back home. People walking towards me were looking at the raging river too. I had completely forgotten that I had taken the photo. Then today as I cycled across the bridge, I saw a photographer with a tripod walking along the bridge ahead of me. And I knew what he was doing. I like taking photos too, but I would never walk on that side of the road on the bridge.

a

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