Au Lecteur

If I was a morning person

Posted in Quirks by aulecteur on August 7, 2014

I would wake up at 5am. I would go out for a nice long bike ride. Maybe I would stop somewhere and read a chapter of my book. Or maybe I would read a chapter of my book once I returned from my bike ride, after a nice stretch and maybe a few sun salutations. And if I couldn’t bike, say it’s raining or winter, I would do a lot of sun salutations. I would wake slowly and do a gentle yoga routine while my cat sleeps on top of the back cushion of the couch, eventually waking up and walking around my upward dog.

Next I would jump in the shower for a quick rinse. Maybe I have to wash my hair, which will take more time, but it’s only about 6am now. Tons of time. While my hair dries, I make coffee and a bite to eat. Probably toast, maybe eggs. I have no idea actually. What do people eat for breakfast during the week that isn’t just coffee and and eventually half of their lunch around 10am?

I’d eat my breakfast and sip my coffee while reading the latest book I’m into. Or maybe I’ll find a good reliable news source to wade into or I’ll just watch an episode of something on Netflix – though I would rather not as it’s not a very good habit apparently, to zone out into TV first thing in the morning. I would be much better off engaging my brain with the written word. Or by writing words.

It’s worth noting that I’m blogging at work. It’s 9:30am and I got the itch to write about what I would do if I was a morning person. It’s entirely possible that if I was a morning person, I might also be a writer. Or at least a more consistent blogger.

If I was a morning person I would write morning pages – from Julie Cameron’s book The Artists Way. I actually forgot about that. I learned of morning pages a year or two ago. I tried it but three hand-written pages is a lot more than you think. My hand hurt after the first half page. But don’t type your morning pages. That’s not the point. The point is to empty your brain onto the pages. Do the brain dump in the morning and clear the way for productive creative thinking all day long.

If I was a morning person, I would be tired.

Can’t I do all this morning stuff at night? I really am more of a night owl. I would exercise and eat and write in the evening. And I do. Well, the eat part. But no, no that’s the thing. I don’t exercise at night. I don’t write at night. By the time I get home from work it’s the last thing I want to do (“it” being anything productive).  Mark Twain said to eat the frog. Exercise and consciousness are my frogs.

If I was a morning person.

MS Bike Tour: 2006-2008 and back for 2012!

Posted in Cycling by aulecteur on July 17, 2012

Did I know back in 2006 when I was working at Westboro Flooring and Decor and was asked to join the participating staff team that it would spark a passion for charity bike riding?

The Westboro Team in 2006

No. No, I did not.

Since 2006, I’ve cycled for MS three times, the CN Cycle for CHEO once, and traveled by bike 400km across Vietnam for CARE Canada.

My donor base is primarily comprised of my close friends and family, all of whom constantly surprise me with their generosity year after year. You all must have great fundraising fatigue after years of receiving my begging emails, but you keep on digging deep to support causes I believe in, and for that I can’t thank you enough.

I hope you’ll consider donating again this year. You’ll get a double hit of satisfaction knowing you have put your money towards a very worthy cause, and you will have made Kitten very happy.

(I’m Kitten.)

And, of course, if kittens could feel happiness, they would be ecstatic.

26 days and counting!

Click here to donate!

Ride Everyday

Posted in Cycling by aulecteur on June 21, 2012

We live in Heaven

Posted in Cycling, Quirks by aulecteur on June 11, 2012

It’s a million degrees today in Ottawa. Not a big deal when you spend 8 hours in a freezing cold office building.

My boss had to leave early today to run errands and said I could go early too if I wanted. Of course I wanted but did I want to leave the cold comforts of central air for an expedited return to the sweatbox that is my apartment?

Not really but of course I did.

On my way out of the office, I stopped by to say good night to a favourite colleague who had just returned from three weeks of vacation in Morocco and Paris and is off for business travel tomorrow. I told him my dilemma of choosing between leaving the AC for a sweatbox or not. It was a no-brainer for him, saying “Oh, it’s not so hot today, it’s a dry heat. Enjoy yourself. We live in Heaven.”

It’s not hard to find lessons that lead you down the right path, you just have to be open to receiving them. Sometimes it just takes talking to someone a little less pessimistic than you and being willing to change your mind.

I walked home jangling to the new Edward Sharpe, soaking in the sunshine, and soaking through my shirt. Drenched with sweat anyway I figured I might as well make it count and left again for my first bike ride since my bike got benched by a broken axle six weeks ago (admittedly laziness left it broken that long).

I had forgotten that the best thing about a blistering hot day is the wind you get picking up speed on your bike. And those who know me know I like to ride fast – feels like flying!

So here I am, face flush, skin coated with dirt kicked up from the road, parked in the shade on a grassy knoll. We really do live in Heaven.

20120611-175721.jpg
This is my happy face.

What are YOU looking at?

Posted in Feministing by aulecteur on April 21, 2012

I rode my bike to work again today. It’s been working out pretty well. It’s not hot yet so I can bike in my work clothes and long coat – tres chic. I’m usually wearing a skirt – with leggings and a long coat, hakuna mattata.

Today, my skirt was a little too restrictive to allow for the full range of motion required to peddle a bike, so I had to hike it up. (Making me the girl with a short skirt with a lonnnnng jacket. na na na na na na). Anyway, all this got me thinking about that Globe and Mail article from last month called “Why men can’t – and shouldn’t – stop staring at women.” One day, Ian Browne, a middle-aged, male features writer, needed to write something for his column. Instead of trying a little harder that day, he wasted his word count on perving out about girls bums, particularly a 20-something riding a bike in a miniskirt. He used anecdotal evidence from his own pervings and the misguided pervings of others to reason away the objectification, and disembodiment of women.

Disembody: (v.) Separate or free (something) from its concrete form.

Two weeks later, Margaret Wente, another middle-aged columnist with the Globe and Mail decided to chime in from her perspective and in defence of Browne. She said he was brave to speak up about the harmless male gaze. She extolled the erotic power of a hot 20 year old girl. She said she missed being ogled now that she’s old, wrinkled, saggy, and unlovable. Poooor Margaret Wente. You got old and ugly and the world stopped loving you.

Wente’s defence of Browne relies on the ageism argument. She completely misses the point that 1. the male gaze should not be the source of a woman’s identity and self-perception;  2. why does perception of beauty count first? The point is to embrace your value as a person, a whole person not just body parts and male wish fulfillment. The point is to not feel dejected because you no longer fit the socially constructed ideal of beauty.

Margaret should talk to Ashley Judd who speaks so well about this issue of internalizing patriarchal attitudes about what a woman should be. The message we should be telling women and girls is to value themselves outside the looking glass and that it’s not okay to reduce a woman to a hit list of disembodied parts.

If you still don’t see the point, read this amazing response, laden with sarcastic hypocrisy, to Browne’s article by Jezebel contributor Lindy West, “The Top 29 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Creepily Stare at Women’s Butts.”

1000km Cycle Challenge – Week one off to a good start

Posted in Cycling by aulecteur on April 18, 2012

When my friend Joel posted on his Facebook that he challenged himself to run 1000km this year, I thought, what the hell and challenged myself to do the same, but cycling. Read about it here.

The challenge began mid-April and if it wasn’t for my cycling sponsors I probably would have lapsed on that start date. I find I spent a lot of time thinking about doing stuff but put off actually doing stuff. Anyway.

Here’s a run down of April so far: (click the links to view the route on MapMyRide)

April 14: 16km – Got together for our first group ride around the basic loop + the museum section. It’s a loop around the river along the bike paths on either side between Champlain and Portage Bridge. When we feel like it we’ll add the loop behind the Civilization Museum, cross the Alexandria Bridge and back behind Parliament Hill.

20120418-225841.jpg

We saw a beaver! I don't think I've ever seen a beaver upclose before. He was munchin' away on some wood. Then he lumbered away.

April 15: 24km – We had tickets to see Kid Koala’s Space Cadet Headphone Concert Tour at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. It was a concert of the soundtrack to the kid’s book he drew. There were lots of kids there and they participated in making music on stage, and everybody sat on the floor leaning on blow up bolsters. It was cozy. The ride out to the Aviation Museum along the Rockcliffe Parkway is beautiful! Can’t wait to do it again!

The Kid Koala show was very entertaining. It was a great atmosphere with all the kids and interaction. The music was great too!

April 16-18: 36km – I started biking to work this week. It’s still cool enough to bike in my work clothes. It’s so fun to cycle in my skirt and long coat. I feel so urban chic cyclist. Except I definitely don’t ride like it’s Sunday morning. I like to go fast! This 36km includes 12km worth of the basic loop.

Tally: 76 of 1000

That’s a good first week (or 5 days). Especially considering I only need to bike a minimum of 40km per week to make the goal. At this rate I could easily bump the goal up to 2000km. We’ll see!

The 1000km Cycle Challenge

Posted in Cycling by aulecteur on March 27, 2012

Last year I cycled well over 1000km. On average, my cycling season is about May to mid-September. Let’s say it’s a 6-month season. In 2011, I signed up for the Cycle for CARE Vietnam fundraiser. It was a cycling trip across Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi to raise money and awareness for CARE Canada and the work they do internationally to empower women and girls and end poverty. It was to be 400km.

So, the kilometers in Vietnam, plus all of the training we did to prepare and general bike commuting – I definitely rode over 1000km last season.

The Math

350km in Vietnam (this is probably closer to what we actually ended up riding. I’ll update when I check my ride log)

+ 120km to the trailer (would have been 240km if my tire hadn’t exploded and kept me from riding back. phooey)

+ 200km to Carleton Place (100km roundtrip x 2)

+ 120km to Stittsville (60km roundtrip x 2)

+ 320km (8km everyday I rode my bike to work – conservative estimate: 40 days)

+ 100km general commuting and non-distance riding estimate

1,210km TOTAL

Followed by Team Tiger as we cycle across Vietnam!

I don’t think any of my numbers above are exaggerated. 1000km in a season is totally doable.

How I Will Ride 1000km this Cycling Season

I’ll get a new bike computer to track my kilometers. The challenge will begin mid-April.

I’ll enlist fellow cyclists to share my challenge and ride some of these 1000 clicks together.

I reserve the right to modify this challenge upwards in kilometers at any point, but not downwards.

1000km / 26 weeks = 38.4km per week

Bring it on.