Sunday, June 14, 2009

I want to ride my bi-CYCLE...

This weekend AGF's parent's were in town to celebrate AGF's birthday. which was on Friday (happy birthday baby!!). We had the chance to get together, eat multiple high-calorie meals, and most of all, cruise yard sales in their time here. AGF was able to snag a nice set of glasses (drinking, not viewing) and a piece of fabric which now serves as a curtain in her bedroom. AGF's mom was able to get some fabric and a blue-and-white Delft saucer for only .50 cents. AGF's dad viewed the enterprise with his traditional wit and the occasional "hah".

Now to give a bit of background, I have been keeping an eye out for a really good second-hand bicycle for a while now, in an attempt to increase my level of physical fitness and stay alive as long as possible to hang out with AGF. I've occasionally haunted the local Value Village and Sally Ann stores, but never quite found something I would feel good about buying. This weekend, however, we found the garage sale of my dreams!

I was ablt to pick up, for what seemed to be the good proce of $50.00, an almost-new 12-speed bike. It has the brand name "McInley", for whatever that means. All I know is I finally have a bike after a gap of at least 30 years!.

Today I took my first bike ride down a residential street that is closed to vehicle traffic on Sundays. I have to say, my first ride alone was worth the $50.00 I spent on the bike! This has been a late spring, so the lilac bushes are still in full bloom. Racing down the street (well, pedalling slowly, but to me it was racing), smelling newly cut grass and lilacs, and feeling the sun on my back, made me a kid again. Notice, I didn't say I felt like a kid...I honestly thought to myself, "I am a kid again!"

To anyone who has considered getting a bike and starting to pedal around again, I say, don't wait a minute longer! As I write this it is just after 10:30 at night. The sun has just gone down a short while ago, and I'm feeling muscles in my thighs I forgot were there. Also, the area of my physicality colloquially known as my "ass" appears to be protesting each time I pass by the seat of the bicycle, which is currently resting in my first-floor hallway (the bicycle, not my "bum"). Nevertheless, I don't regret a minute of it. My "ass", scientifically known as my gluteals, has a week before the next Sunday ride; plenty of time to forget what I put it through today. Besides, I've spent years watching out for it, covering it, avoiding kickers, kissers and breakers. The least it can do is make peace with Mr. Saddle. Perhaps a long soak will help....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ruminations in a bead store

Weekends with AGF (awesome girl friend) are often gloriously spent hanging out on the sofa, watching movies, reading books or playing The Sims. As a treat, we occasionally leave the house and make an expedition to either an uber-cool second hand store at the top of my street (the "Helping Hand", where I recently purchased an awesome crock pot for $8.00!!) or to a craft store so AGF can resupply her hobby/obsession....beading.

I never knew much about the beading universe before AGF started her hobby, but now I think I am at least passingly conversant. Mention "swarofski" or "jump rings", and I no longer have an expression like a confused dachshund pondering a rubber pork chop. I have to admit, while I am impressed by the variety of shapes, colours and sizes of beads available in these stores, watching AGF coo over the latest bead discovery has become one of the greatest joys in my life, and is a major motivator to join her on these expeditions.

One store we frequent here in town is an out-of-the-way store located in a somewhat industrial area on the edge of downtown. The store is a one-storey brick affair, with no discernable windows and just a small square sign indicating it's actually a business. Now while many stores try to be either "craft" or "hobby" stores, this place is seriously about beads, and all things beading. It seems to service the traditional aboriginal market, as they sell items like tinkling cones, feathers, leather, etc. common to native ceremonial costumes. Needless to say, their bead selection is dizzying, and it's proprietors are frighteningly knowledgable about beading.

To add to the fun, each trip ends up becoming a mind-warping experience, thanks to the fanciful ruminations of one of it's owners. There's a man and a woman who work at and seem to own the store. Inevitabley, while the woman serves AGF in her shopping, the man seems to have decided I am some sort of kindred spirit, and starts talking at me about the strangest things. Topics he has soliliquized on include: coal mining in Manitoba; toxic spills in a river near Detroit (it melted a bridge!!), mysterious buried railroad tracks in Saskatchewan (up to 15 feet deep!), windshield washer fluid that melts windshields, the appalling lack of Chili in Regina after 6pm, and the challenges of driving trucks across rock and muskeg north of the tree line.

Bead guy also seems to take some perverse pleasure in trapping us in the snare of his conversation just as we're leaving the store. The last three times we were there, AGF and I would be literally 1 foot away from the door, when he would start another obtuse ramble about mysterious goings-on in the past, present or possibly the future. Often he wouldn't even be looking at us as he waxed poetic about the cost of heating his building or the odd disappearance of wealthy families from the city, he'd just gaze off into the distance.

Of course, while all this is going on, the woman (his spouse? partner? sister? doctor? we have no idea) take the opportunity to earn what is probably a well-deserved breather, and surf the net for more vital bead updates.

Actually, we're starting to look forward to these trips. it seems bead guy never runs out of mysteries to ponder, and so far we never run out of energy trying to understand what he is talking about.

I just noticed. The word "beading" becomes "beheading" when you add "He". Maybe I'll ask bead guy about this the next time we're in the store.