June 19th, 2005

happy mannequin, happy

Two years of nyxieness

Last night, nyxie and I celebrated two years together over dinner at Juniper. On one hand it's hard to believe it's only been two years — it feels like we've just always been together. On the other hand, yay, two years! There were times when I wasn't sure how things were going to end up, but now I know I've found someone I can spend the rest of my life with. We fit together so well. Things just feel right. I'm a very happy mendel.

Juniper was great. It was our first time eating there, and it's a little restaurant in our neighbourhood so it's been on our list to try for a while. It has a great wine list which has won Wine Spectator awards for the last few years. We had a half-bottle of Kenwood's 2003 Russian River Pinot Noir full of berry and plum but still light enough to accompany a summery meal: scallops in a mango–star-anise glaze and tuna steak with soba noodles, mango salsa and mint pesto for me, and a baby-greens salad and the tuna for nyxie. Everything was delicious, although there was a bit too much going on in the tuna for me; the mint pesto didn't really fit with anything else and leaving it out probably would have made the whole thing seem a bit more composed. Dessert was lemon cake with blueberry and raspberry sauce for me, and vanilla-bean creme brulee for nyxie. Definitely one of the nicer restaurants in Ottawa (especially with that wine list — note that the list and menu on their website is out of date) but I still prefer the menu at the Urban Pear where we traditionally went to celebrate big events.

I think I'm still full.
  • Current Mood
    loved loved
pinkie pie

I bet everyone else already knew this

I just realized that the name of "Silk" soymilk is not only short for Soy Milk but is also a pun on the French word for silk, "soie" (which is pronounced "swah" — rhymes with "roi" and "quoi" — but which would sound like "soy" with English pronunciation rules).
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    surprised surprised

Hitting the streets

I now own an insured, plated, roadworthy motorcycle! The previous owner dropped off the bike on Friday night, and since I managed to work out insurance Friday afternoon I was able to swing by Drivers and Licenses on Saturday to get the ownership changed over and pick up plates. One of the things D&L provides is a list of previous owners (and liens, if there had been any), and this bike sure got around! The clerk had to keep feeding more and more paper into the printer and was starting to wonder if something had gone wrong. "No, it's just the sort of motorcycle you only keep for a year."

I got out Saturday afternoon for about an hour's ride. Having not been on a bike since the course three weeks ago I wanted to take it easy, but there was something going on in the west end of our part of the neighbourhood around Churchill, and all of the exits from this area were a bit much for my first day out: the Lanark overpass over the transitway is closed, the Churchill exit is under construction and full of loose gravel, and Island Park is a pretty busy artery. So I just toodled around the neighbourhood a bit, and tried one run down Island Park, but after an hour or so I was tired of the same streets and a bit tense from having to relearn everything, so I called it quits for the day. It took me a little while to relax once I got home. I hadn't really felt like I exceeded any of my limits, but there was a lot of traffic out for some reason and that was my first time dealing with traffic, so even though there were no incidents I think it was just too much to process first time out.

Today went a lot better. I had a milestone forced on me: I had to get to a gas station! All of the nearby gas stations are on pretty major streets, so I had to leave this neighbourhood: I did a quick warmup ride around here and then headed down Island Park and Richmond to the Canadian Tire gas bar there. Island Park was pretty busy but I merged in fine; Richmond was stop and go, which took a bit of work but was manageable. I filled up and headed down Richmond, up McRae and back up to Scott, which becomes four-lane right past Island Park. I felt good, so I kept going east on Scott to Holland: first four-lane riding, first lane change, and then left across traffic into Tunney's Pasture.

Tunney's Pasture is a government office complex containing a dozen or so city blocks, and since it's a government office complex, it's completely deserted on weekends except for people learning to drive. It's got a great mix of one- and two-way streets, plus lots of parking lots to practice in, and a bit of traffic all aware of the number of learners. This picture gives you an idea of how much practice area Tunney's offers — picture that without all those cars. Once there, I spent a half hour in a parking lot working on slow-speed maneuvering and emergency stops, and things started to click again. From there I alternated parking-lot practice with cruising around the complex, and by the end things were feeling pretty good. At one point I'd taken a road that opens up onto Parkdale, and since part of the Ottawa River Parkway to the north is closed, Parkdale is the detour, so I got a bit of heavy traffic practice in as well, and pulled up at the corner of Scott and Parkdale beside another rider, and even then managed to pull away without making a fool of myself.

After another half hour of riding around at Tunney's I headed back to this neighbourhood to practice starting on an incline, since there's a stop sign at the top of a steep hill there. That's really the only time this weekend I made outright mistakes (stalled twice), and I managed to get away from the stop sign with a car waiting behind me, so even that's coming together. I thought about taking the Ottawa River Parkway back from Tunney's Pasture but decided that it was a bit quick and too busy for me on my second day out (it's signed 60, but everyone goes 80+), so that's my next milestone.

So far so good! I need to find more there-and-back rides from here to some other neighbourhood and back, to work on traffic more. This week's promising to be sunny and warm, so hopefully I'll get some good time in in the evenings. I need to get myself a mesh jacket, though — black cordura's proving to be a bit hot on the back!
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished