Sunday, January 20, 2013


We're a few weeks into 2013, and it's already shaping up to be a year of change and surprises. A lack of surprises would be surprising itself at this point of course, which makes surprise entirely predictable in my life. Predictable surprises. Hmm.

I've been enjoying quite a bit of work at Our Community Bikes the past few weeks and have applied myself to some productive sorting and purging of old junk, which leads to the discovery of old treasures. The main problem I face with this task is resisting buying all the old treasures. Luckily I don't have a disposable income since spending it all (see below for details on that), so that problem rather solves itself most of the time. Kermit has been riding strong, though needed a rear-wheel and drive train implant after I wore out the rear rim and chain. Winter isn't kind to bikes but luckily all of this was quite cheap to do, thanks to me being a bike mechanic. I feel justified in calling myself that these days. 

Though I'm enjoying my current bike-fixing employment, the threat of a steady job looms ever closer. I've had a few false-starts with that lately and sunk a huge amount of time and effort into job research, applications, and interviews. I do at least now have a clearer idea of what I'm trying to achieve with my work and life, though quite how I'm going to get there remains predictably - a mystery. This week I'm off out-of-town for more interviews, which hopefully will lead to me inching, err, an inch closer to where I want to be. No doubt when I arrive where I want to be, I'll think of some other place that I want to go next. 

Speaking of inching, we had a fun day out in the sunshine at Mount Baker on Saturday. Paul, Kala, Brad, Lina, and I went in search of some decent snow to ski on (with slight success) and ended up navigating our way around Mount Herman.

Me, inching toward a place I wanted to be.
Paul and I reaching where we wanted to be, shortly before deciding to go somewhere else.

Paul and I somewhere else (I think I may have exhausted that theme now). 

An aerial photograph of the blue line we spray-painted around Mount Herman

Now, as for that disposed-of income I mentioned. Lina and I lived in China for a year. Whilst we didn't exactly earn a fortune there, we spent incredibly little (due to the lack of coffee, cheese, and bicycle parts for me to spend it on). When we returned to Canada, we avoided drowning in our vast accumulated wealth (?) by going on a couple of very fun trips, renovating the apartment, and then both managing to both get jobs which we really enjoyed and of course paid appropriately badly. Despite all of this, some savings persisted... which were put aside for something which I've been dreading. Buying a car. We had a car already, which was the source of my dread in buying another one. The old Subaru and I got off to a pretty terrible start with blown head gaskets and spewing fluids, but we worked through that and have been quite a few thousand kilometers south, north, and east together. But change is inevitable, and we had to face the reality that an automatic would mean Lina and I could share driving and the Subaru could move onto some new owners.

Months of searching the internet for the "one car to rule them all" which is simultaneously big, small, automatic, standard, efficient, tenacious, and powerful revealed that this machine does not exist. No surprise there (for once). We decided that the best compromise was to buy a large rectangular object with four wheels, made by the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer. These important criteria gave the Honda Element as our only option. I test-drove a few, which were all either junk or too expensive... until we found a blue one being sold by a man with a dragster in his garage, in Mission. One rainy evening I got the train out to Mission with my licence plates in my bag, rode up the hill, and drove home in our new vehicle - the Blue Elephant. My old Subaru  will be setting up home further north in BC, I hope it's happy and behaves for its new owners. I also hope the Elephant behaves for us...

The Blue Elephant parked on some snow, wearing its new winter boots.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New year dog-party

We saw-in the new year in Maple Falls, Washington. Whilst Maple Falls is nice, the real draw was Mount Baker and the park-and-play backcountry skiing available down there. It's almost like drive-though Wendy's, but for mountains. We took advantage of the stable snow, good visibility and massive amount accumulated festive season calories to do a circuit around Table Mountain with some excellent skiing on the way.

What goes around? We did.
Lina, circumnavigating some American snow
Other than gobbling yet more lovely food, which I seriously need a break from now, and skiing around mountains we had a fine number of four-legged friends to play with. Our new-years day ski was a genuine dog-party.
The small white one
...and the big black one two more furry friends (who were interested in Lina's lunch)
How many dogs can you find in the picture?
And finally, here's a couple of things which slipped through the (inter)net. Can you see what I did there? It's a joke. Like, "slipped through the net", but on the.... oh, never mind.

Our new plant apparently likes 2013. Thanks Marc and Nikki!