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There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about Ontario’s new law that requires motorists to leave one metre between themselves and cyclists. Ottawa Police on bikes are testing a new sonar device to educate drivers about just how far that distance is. Delivery trucks are parking in bus lanes and buses are parking in bike lanes. Several newspaper columnists have written columns about their experiences either as a cyclist, driver or both. In all the comments, the one that spoke to me the most was the one that said something like: there are dickheads on bikes and dickheads behind the wheel. Please everyone stop being dickheads. Read the rest of this entry »

The WordPress.com monkeys sent me the link for my year in review. This year I thought I’d add my own thoughts about the past year.

I meant to blog a lot more than I did. I walked or cycled almost every day in the hood, sometimes snapping photos with my phone to remind myself that something new had popped up or closed down. But then I would get busy with life and forget to post. Read the rest of this entry »

So, now that I’ve finally visited Ireland, was it what I expected? Yes and no. I did expect the initial confusion caused by driving on the left side of the road. That awkward moment where as the passenger you try to get in the driver’s side. I did expect the rain, but more sunshine would have been nice, especially in Derry. Read the rest of this entry »

I haven’t been blogging lately, but do have some news. But this post is about saving on groceries. It was prompted by NosyNeighbour’s comment at lunch. Somebody he knows at work asked why the blog didn’t have a link to Produce Depot.

I’ve since added the link under Flyers and thought I would share my philosophy about saving money on groceries. Keep in mind that I’m retired now so I have a bit of extra time. Three seasons of the year I use active transportation so the links for the flyers are all within an easy bike ride. I have a specific bike I use for groceries, with an old milk carton on the back, a clip on basket on the front and a backpack on my back. You tend to make healthier decisions when you arrive by bike. I also never buy meat unless it’s on sale.

Wednesday is the day that sales start at Produce Depot and Giant Tiger. But there’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve gotten a great deal on a product only to discover it’s cheaper somewhere else the next day. So I’ve started going to Smart Canucks to make my entire list on Wednesday. It has all the flyers usually by Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday is the day that sales start at Food Basics and Metro. While the prices might be a bit higher at Metro and it’s no longer 24 hours, I do like to support my closest grocery store. It’s where I go when there’s only one item I need, regardless of cost.

And while I hate to support big American chains that put small independent shops out of business, and use predatory pricing, I sometimes will go to the Walmart Supercentre on Baseline since I’ve discovered I don’t need to cycle on any major roads and can take the path almost all the way there. They don’t get a link for their flyer though, just on principle.

Friday is when the Real Canadian Superstore starts its sale. But we don’t call it that anymore. We call it Stupidstore. One of neighbours used this term a few months after it opened, and it’s stuck in our minds ever since. Here’s my side rant about the Stupidstore:

  • the staff aren’t helpful or polite
  • sale items are often not in stock
  • the produce is usually mangy
  • the entrance is overcrowded

Okay, I’ll stop there.

I sit down and write my list, then search recipes for the best deals. I’ve made key lime ice and lime doughnuts, which I never would have if it hadn’t been for a sale on limes. That week also saw lime chicken.

Then I work out how much I can fit on my bike and set off early the morning that the sale starts. Not only am I getting good deals, but I’m also getting exercise three days a week by splitting up my grocery shopping.

Happy shopping!

Going to Stupidstore (aka Superstore) is generally not pleasant, especially when you’re a pedestrian. When the project was approved, it was sold as pedestrian friendly with entrances at each corner. But the doors by the floral department have never been used, so if you approach it from the east, you have to walk half way down the building to get to the first door. Then you have to walk all the way to the west side to pick up a grocery cart. And the small ones that are more manageable are inconveniently tucked under the stairs, if there are any at all.

So as a protest, I always push my cart to the bus stop, even if my bag is really light. But the past few times I’ve gone there, something strange has happened. Instead of loading up the north exit with junk (usually Rubbermaid containers), it’s now full of the small shopping carts. So I no longer feel the need to prove my point. And today I left my cart INSIDE the store for a change. One small step forward! Read the rest of this entry »

I had to go back to the Post Office today so thought I’d provide a bit of a neighbourhood update on what I saw on my walk there and back. Following our 15 cm snowfall on the weekend, the city has been very slow to clean it all up. I suspect they hoped it would get milder (but it hasn’t) and then just thought they could put it off until next year to get access to the new budget.

I’m not sure whether they contract out the sidewalk clean up after the first pass. But I saw something very sad just outside the Rexall at Wellington and Parkdale. Sorry, but it was too darn cold to take out a camera or cell phone for a pic. The  trees the city planted a few years ago following the major overhaul of Wellington aren’t the best looking and don’t provide a lot of shade. In fact, as they started to grow I thought they were a bit of a nuisance, with their branches whacking my face on windy days. But I still like them. And now we have one less. I don’t know how the snowplow or bobcat operator could have missed it. It’s trunk was small but its branches reached up for at least 20 feet. And there it lay on the sidewalk, its trunk twisted open like a femur break. If it’s a contractor that did it, I hope they have to pay to replace it. And could we have an upgrade? Maybe a maple tree?

Also on my walk (again, sorry, no pic) I noticed that Destination Hair’s building has finally been sold. No idea of what’s going in it yet, but I will keep an eye out for trucks and signs in the coming weeks.

And now to the that of the this and that post. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I was heading to the post office. Every year I make a calendar of the best photos of our cat and give them to the cat lovers in our lives. Plans to get a calendar to Nova Scotia fell through so I was left to visit Canada Post to get it there. Ordering 10 calendars through Apple cost $9.99 in shipping from the U.S. Sending one calendar within Canada through Canada Post cost $10.92 plus tax and a fuel surcharge. Really???? He said it was my fault because if the calendar had been half an inch smaller it would have been letter mail. Funny how we could ship two suitcases through Deutschepost for less money and they were delivered in two days. My calendar is not guaranteed delivery before Christmas. That would have been another $4.

That’s this and that for today. Bundle up, it’s cold out there!

Munchen_41It’s October and Ottawans don’t seem to understand that Oktoberfest in Bavaria was over a few weeks ago. Instead, different breweries or business associations have been trying to convince Ottawa’s residents that they have the best Oktoberfest.

This past weekend, NosyNeighbour and I took part in two events: the Byward Market “Oktoberfest” and the Parkdale Market’s Brewery Market (the last one of the season). Ironically, we walked to the Byward Market on Saturday, but ended up cycling the much shorter distance to the Parkdale Market. Read the rest of this entry »

Let me begin with: I love Canadian football. Not 4-down American football, but good old 3-down Canadian football, where if you miss a field goal but get it through the endzone, you still get a point. It’s an exciting game where a team can come back from a 20-point deficit with 2 minutes on the clock.

I was a season ticket holder for the Renegades. A Southsider, because the NORTH SIDE SUCKS! I sat in a great section, where I got to know my season ticket neighbours: Narcisse, Narcisse’s friend, Narcisse’s other friend and quatrevingt dix sept est, to name a few. I survived Mardi Gras beads and the last Grey Cup in Ottawa. Read the rest of this entry »

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. It made me think about what I’d like to do with this blog. 2013 will bring a new focus to my life. Work is history and I’ll a part time student for two years before officially retiring. All that before I turn 50!

Over the next few weeks I’ll mull over the goal for this blog and hopefully bring you the readers something interesting to read.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 23,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

This morning I rode Clara along a mostly empty path. Maybe it’s because it’s Friday. It certainly wasn’t because of bad weather or obstacles on the path. In fact, I didn’t see a single person from Parkdale until I got to the War Museum, and then it was only a solitary pedestrian. What happened to all those spandex guys?

It didn’t mean I didn’t have some excitement though. As I pedalled through Tunney’s Pasture a guy in a white pickup truck scared the shit out of me. I had crossed at Ross and was heading north to the back of the Pasture, where I turn right and head to Parkdale to get onto the path.  As I approached Sorrel Driveway, which is really part of the parking lot on my right, I noticed a white pickup truck driving pretty fast. I checked my sideview mirror and a car was coming up behind me. I had my flashing headlight on, reflective straps on my ankles and lots of strips on my bike. I was pretty sure I was visible.

He comes to a rolling stop about six inches from me. I could see his face. So I gave him the WTF expression. Bad memories of being hit eight years ago flooded through me. I waited for the hyperventilating to kick in. Thankfully, time does heal all wounds and I was able to keep going. And my anger fueled me to the path. What a jerk! I don’t even think he ever came to a full stop.

From there, I was hoping to see the older lady with the leather bomber jacket. I haven’t seen her in a few days. But nope, there was nobody. Usually when I merge onto the river pathway, I have to speed up or slow down to avoid another cyclist. But nobody until I saw the pedestrian by the War Museum.

I wonder what the ride home will be like? Dry, I hope.

 

 

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