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2006-08-28 - 8:28 a.m.

...Penguins on the telly and Raccoons on the Roof....

Yesterday was another supremely gorgeous day in Van. Cloudless skies, low humidity, and slightly-too-warm temperatures. K finally cajoled me into getting back onto my bicycle with him, and it was a blast!

K is currently watching our friend Bandy's cats down in Fairview (Bandy is in Australia at a conference at the moment), and K's goal was to bicycle there and back every evening...and to get me to come with him. Now, I have a high holy respect for the momentum of the gigantic steel automobile. READ: I'm terrified of them while on a bicycle.

It didn't help that last weekend, we saw a Mercedes-Benz race through a red light in front of us and slam into a cyclist down the road from where we live. Fortunately the cyclist - who had the right-of-way - had stopped. Because the car didn't even swerve as he slammed directly into the front wheel of the cyclist. The cyclist - and cycle - did a front flip before landing on the pavement. We watched in horror as this unfolded in front of us, certain that the young man on the bicycle was going to die. And if he had moved another foot forward, he would have surely died. After hearing the dreadful THUD that accompanies these events we watched the cyclist mechanically get to his feet and walk with a sickly smile - a smile of shock - to the curve. He was okay, but he would certainly be trembling and sweating within minutes.

Anyway, watching this event delayed my getting onto a bicycle by a week, but I finally did, yesterday. The movers have broken my front wheel guard, and so my bicycle had a constant loud rattle throughout our journey. But in this instance I viewed it as a sound alarm - a noise that made my presence known as I went through the streets. (my bell is broken, too).

I discovered that in some ways, it is easier to cycle than to drive in Vancouver. The cycle routes are all beautifully marked, and are kept to low-traffic streets. The traffic is kept slow and to low density by speed bumps, islands, and dead ends. Our route down to Bandy's was interrupted somewhat by the construction of Olympic Village...but we found a gorgeous way home, through streets lined with Heritage houses and peaking views of the mountains. It was wonderful. And we are both still alive. Now I am riproarin' to go once again before the reputed rains begin!


In other excitement, we had a brief encounter with the wilderness of Van last night. Since it was such a warm day, the top floor had gotten a bit toasty, and so I decided to air it out by leaving the door to the top deck open. Within minutes I heard scurrying, scuffling, and scraping, and assumed that Mizzy and Lyra were excitedly exploring a new dimension to the great outdoors. After a few minutes, however, I realized that this scurrying sounded a bit strange...I went to the door and walked out to bring Mizzy in - and found myself face-to-face with a raccoon. And we were both startled. I came in and called down the stairs, to make sure that Mizzy and Lyra were inside. They were. And in fact, Lyra was frozen into stone with fear at the bottom of the stairs. (Nonchalant Mizzy was asleep on a chair). Our second peak with the flashlight confirmed Rocky's status, and that s/he had climbed to the top of the roof, looking down at us through the (open) skylight. Poor Lyra wound up cowering for hours under the bed - which makes me wonder if she has encountered a raccoon before...

Anyway, enough for now. I've surely made myself late for my self-imposed schedule and now I am off to the office to sit in my pile of boxes and work on administrative nonsense.

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