Had a great Facebook reunion yesterday!

 

I had a great day with Tracy wandering about Kensington Market yesterday. We managed a quick catch up on 20 years of missed experiences, had lunch, pie, and took photos of a car filled with plants and dirt and a couple of cats. We both posted photos to our Facebook pages and the conclusion I’ve come up with is we are still the same nutjobs we were in grade 8. Happy day!

 

It was a gorgeous day and Kensington Market had loads of people shopping and sightseeing. We visited a bike store (because I have a bike addiction), store that sold hats and purses (because Tracy has a purse addiction), Courage My Love to try on my hats and 1940s style gloves (and I tried on a lucha libre wrestling mask. It was surprisingly comfortable), a chocolate store (both of us are addicted) and then we settled with a couple of slices of pie on the patio of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.

 

A really good use for a car

A really good use for a car

 

Bubbles! Gotta love bubbles!

Bubbles! Gotta love bubbles!

 

 

I had the chocolate pecan pie, Tracy had the mango cheesecake.

I had the chocolate pecan pie, Tracy had the mango cheesecake.

 

The pies never had a chance.

The pies never had a chance.

 

Cats are great sunworshippers. I can watch them for hours.

Cats are great sunworshippers. I can watch them for hours.

 

 

 

 

Another sunworshipper

Another sunworshipper

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My tshirt is healed!

 

My favourite tshirt is ready for another bike ride.

My favourite tshirt is ready for another bike ride.

Thanks to modern laundry technology (laundry spray) my favourite tshirt is Powerade stain free and ready to wear on my next bike ride (today!).

I am a happy happy woman.

NRG Bars Remix

Yesterday I rode my bike 36.5 km. What a painful ride! It’s definitely not the longest bike ride I’ve ever had, but it was the toughest. And I have no clue why. Okay, maybe I do. Probably the last two lazy ride weeks have not helped my endurance. Most of the rides the last couple of weeks have been short, maybe 8 or 12 km longs. Far short of the 25-30 km a day goal I set for myself a few months ago. The rides have also been on familiar and comfortable terrain — the grocery store, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the Beltline. None are too challenging and they are all very familiar routes. I know exactly when to push myself and when I can coast. And I have to admit I’ve done a lot more coasting recently. I can’t even blame the hot humid weather because there hasn’t been much of it. Fresh rainy mornings, overcast mild afternoons, and few sunny and hot sticky days. Not stressful, not straining.

Well, enough of that! How am I going to complete a metric century this season with that kind of lacklustre performance? Foot, meet backside. Alright, I’ve given myself a whoomp on the butt. Time to push myself forward on the training path.

To help encourage and feed my enthusiasm on my bike, I’m trying a new energy bar recipe I found in issue 34 of Momentum Magazine. I’ve adjusted it to suit my sweet tooth.

 

NRG Bars Remix

NRG Bars Remix

I used:

4 1/2 cups Kashi Go Lean! Crunch cereal 

3 cups sesame seeds

1 cup medium shred unsweetened coconut

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cups of roasted almonds, lightly crushed

1 heaping tablespoon finely ground coffee beans

1 cup crunchy natural peanut butter

2 cans (600ml) of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat your oven at 300 F

Mix the the dry ingredients except for the coffee beans in a large mixing bowl.

In another mixing bowl carefully combine the peanut butter and 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, then add the ground coffee beans.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine completely. This will be sticky and the sesame seeds have a tendency to fall to the bottom of the bowl so definitely keep stirring from the bottom to the top. Use to spoons if you have to. 

On a 11X17 inch pain place a sheet of parchment paper. Butter or spray the parchment. Then press the mixture onto the pan. It’s very sticky so I spooned the mix first onto the parchment then pressed it down, evening out the mixture on the pan.

Place in 300 F oven and leave it for 20 minutes.

Take out of oven. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. I wrapped mine in clingwrap because that’s what I had in the cupboard. It made 30 generous sized squares. 

The total cost was approximately $15.00. 

These are tasty! Sweet, chewy, with a nutty chocolate burst of flavour. Dang, they are yummy. The next batch I’ll make I’m going to up the coffee beans amount. I’m thinking 2 tablespoons. I’ll also add a scoop of chocolate protein powder. I wonder if I can substitute something for the second can of sweetened condensed milk? More research!

I hope you’ll give these a try. You can use lots of different ingredients in exchange of the coconut, almonds, and chocolate. I’m not a big fan of dried fruit, but the original recipe called for banana chips and raisins. I bet dried apples, cranberries, nutmeg, dried apricots, and even trying flavoured coffee beans like hazlenut would make tasty energy bars. If you are allergic to peanuts try sunflower seed butter if you can. And switch the Kashi Go Lean cereal for granola or toasted oatmeal flakes. It’s an easy recipe to personalize.

I have absolutely no idea what the calorie count is or have any nutritional information about the recipe. It won’t trim your waistline on it’s own, that’s for sure. But I’m hoping it’ll give me that little bit of oomph in the energy department when I am approaching kilometre 70 of my metric century!

Wrecked a favourite tshirt, saw a hawk

I guess that makes today a Good/Bad Day.

So I wrecked my favourite tshirt before I left for my bike ride. It’s my much beloved, much worn Mystery Science Theater 3000 tee I ordered from MST3K years ago. God, it’s such a soft loose comfy tee! It’s a shirt I love wearing whenever I go on a bike ride. Oh sure I have a couple of cycling shirts — space age sweat sucking material in an eye straining pattern. Great stuff. But my heart belongs to this humble tee. A good reason I attribute to the genius that was the tv show Mystery Science Theater 3000. One of the absolute best tv shows ever made! If you’ve never seen it, then get yourself down to your local video store and buy or rent an epsiode. Your life will change. First off, your life will no longer suck. Secondly, you’ll laugh and that is always good for your heart and spirit. Thirdly, there are loads of episodes available and you’ll never be sad again.

 

My poor beloved wrecked tshirt! I cry many tears! I hope I can wash you clean!

My poor beloved wrecked tshirt! I cry many tears! I hope I can wash you clean!

Stupid me! I poured 1/4 bottle of fruit punch Powerade all over it. I sprayed on some laundry de-stain stuff on it. I hope it washes out!

Earlier this week I saw a hawk sitting ever so casually on top of a tombstone in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Just sitting, enjoying the light  breeze. Probably planning to dive bomb a squirrel or a robin once he felt a little hungry. All I had on me to take a photo was my crummy cell phone! Ack! Ack! Lousy planning on my part. 

I went back to the cemetery to ride around the paths for an hour or so before supper. This time I brought by DSLR camera and I kept a look out for another hawk. Here is the one hawk I saw. I only managed to take a single photo because it was frightened off by a car starting up nearby.

 

Look! A hawk! W00T! Cool!

Look! A hawk! W00T! Cool!

As a bonus photo, two weeks ago I rode along the Don River Trail (a-flipping-mazing trail! Asphalt, no traffic, ok some freaky scary bridges. Try it!) and I saw a bunny rabbit. 

 

I saw this bunny 1 km south of the Pottery Road crossing.

I saw this bunny 1 km south of the Pottery Road crossing.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s ride. I’m not sure exactly where I am riding. I thought of the Beaches but there is a jazz festival on and the place will be packed. I may have to give the Beaches a pass for a couple of days. 

Wish me luck with laundry on Monday!

Riding your bike from Eglinton Avenue West and the Allen Expressway to Davenport and Dupont – the park route

It’s a quiet ride. The trail starts at the end of the Beltline Trail, south of Eglinton West station and meanders through parks and playing fields until it reaches the rear of St. Clair West station at Heath Street. Just think, approximately 30 years ago the city planned on carving up all of the neighbourhoods south of the Allen Expressway into downtown Toronto. We almost lost these homes, parks, and trails to a highway.

My bike near Glen Cedar Road bridge

Glen Cedar Road trestle graffit

Graffiti on the Glen Cedar Road bridge trestle - close up

 

If I am feeling adventurous I will continue to Wells Hill Avenue and St. Clair where the trail continues south east through Sir Winston Churchill Park. This leg is a bit tricky since the trail is narrow, steep and rutted for the first 100 metres or so. Once that part clears the path takes you under Spadina road and the trail changes from gravel to dirt to a weird concrete lattice to sand then back to gravel. The sand and gravel makes the ride soft and sludgy because it likes to grab your wheels and turn you about. The best thing to do is spin in an easy gear and be brave.  

Crazy concrete on trail to Sir Winston Churchill Park

Follow the trail up and then right and then down though the Roycroft Park Marshes. There are sunny hills, park benches, and shady woods right up till the exit at Boulton Drive. 

Boulton Drive has it’s own bike lane and goes down hill all the way to Davenport and Dupont Roads.

A totally fun ride that is hidden in the parks under Toronto’s busiest roads. 

Next trip: The Toronto Islands!

Catching up on my Fish-eye Lomo photos

In my quest to find ever new and exciting bike rides through Toronto, I found a challenging one you can find starting at Moore Street near Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It isn’t long, maybe 2 or 3 km to South Drive and Glen Road in Rosedale. But the trail at the start is steep and rutted, a little too steep and rutted for me and I walked 100 metres or so until the trail evened out. The last half kilometre is a doozy. I walked up a seriously rutted trail that I couldn’t possibly ride up. And I was eaten by mosquitoes. They love me. 

After a simply terrifying ride thorough the Moore Park Ravine, I found the Don Valley Brick Works Park. I’d heard of it, but never visited. 

(Okay, maybe the ride was terrifying only to me. I passed by a number of walkers and runners who looked perfectly at ease as they made their way through the ravine. But, in my defense, I’ve never ridden through the ravine before, and it was the day after the Don River and it’s creek brothers flooded portions of the valley and I’m not used to riding on slick elevated trails with a steep drop further down the valley. And I’m a sissy. There! I wrote it! I was terrified. Simply sick to my stomach as I rode cautiously through the valley. Everyone else was fine. I wasn’t. Sheesh.)

Don Valley Brick Works Park in Toronto

Brickworks building from the top a corrugated metal staircase.

Bit of river, bit of greenery, bit of blue sky.

I like the way the sunshine bounced off the lens. I have to remember that the fish-eye lomo camera takes better pictures the closer you get to the subject. Intrude, my friend, intrude.

After I took these photos, I continued along the trail on my bike. The trail is beautiful! Incredibly it’s smack in the centre of the city and you rarely feel like you are near a major highway. I felt fortunate to see a couple of finches, butterflies, a chipmunk, as well as hear some mysterious scrabbling in the bushes (I didn’t dwell, I sped up a little). 

Along side Bayview Avenue, and in the distance is the Don Valley Parkway

In the distance is the Don Valley Parkway.

I had a few exposures left on my roll and I knew I had to take a picture of a house on Shaftesbury Avenue that has a Tin Man and family sculpture on the attic balcony. Once again the lesson learned is get as close as you can to your subject with your fish-eye lomo camera. I may need to scratch that sentence on the back of my camera…

Tin Man family on balcony.

And a couple of shots of wildflowers growing on the side of the road:

Now I have to put calamine lotion on my bug bites and eat supper. I am starving! 

 

How to upload photos from a lomo camera — as asked by Googlers

I noticed “how to upload photos from a lomo camera” was listed several times as search engine terms on my blog stats page.

So, here it is!

It was incredibly easy. When I dropped the film off at the developers, I asked that the photos be saved on a CD. When I brought home my lomo photos and CD (and it felt just like Christmas, let me tell ya), I slid the CD into my laptop and imported them straight into iPhoto (yes, I am a Apple Addict). Then uploaded them to Flickr and here. 

Yes, it was that easy!

For non-Apple people I imagine it is very similar. Just slide in the disk and follow the directions to your photo application.

From now on I am not having the photos printed. I’ll get them burned to a disk. Less waste, fewer boxes of photos hanging around, and the CDs are thin and easy to store. I’ll only print off favourites.

Fish eye in the cemetary

Next week in Lomo Land: I’m almost done not only a roll of Fish-eye lens photos, but also the first roll of Oktomat film! This is the most thrilling part of Lomography — what weird, wild and original photos did I make. Can’t wait!!

Technology Lust: Oh, if this were a real cellphone!

  
(Thank you, Xavier, for the youtube link!)

I would buy this in a heart beat. C’mon, it’s a toaster, a heater, a defibrillator, an iron, blow dryer, shaver, and AND it has a self destruct mode. Sounds wonderful!Much better than my current cell. Stupid thing. I can’t hear it ring (yes, the volume is on loud), the screen flashes on and off whenever I press any button, the camera takes horrible pictures, and I can’t get rid of the installed pictures and sound files because they are locked. At least it has Bluetooth. I use the Bluetooth to upload ridiculous candid recordings of my friends as my ringtone (Hi Jane, do you forgive me yet?).

Craptastic Cellphone
My craptastic cellphone

I’m waiting until my contract ends, then I will pick out a better cell. Maybe with the self destruct mode…