The basement remains a desolate shell.

All the stuff that was down there was put in storage somewhere. I haven’t asked for details because I don’t really care. The only thing I miss is my exercise bike.

I’m an avid exercise cyclist. I ride it every day without fail–sometimes twice a day.

My sailor is an avid regular cyclist.

Before he realized how uncoordinated and timid I am, he tried to share this healthy habit with me. He bought me a pretty teal mountain bike with a spiffy matching helmet. Our first and only ride was cut short because I spooked when a car overtook me. I walked my bike home in shame while he rode off into the sunshine alone.

A few years later we lived on a remote Army base in England. My sailor went away for a course and our Saturn broke down. (Yes, we were that family in Victoria who bought a Saturn.)

Trapped on the base with no other transportation, I dug out the bike and helmet and rode to the village for supplies. I felt strong, brave and free until my front wheel got tangled in some thick British vines and my bike and I parted ways. I went over the handlebars into a prickly bush. The bike skidded onto the road, narrowly missing an oncoming vehicle.

I haven’t been on a bike with wheels since, but I love the stationary variety. It’s so safe and stable and I’m unlikely to be hit by a car on it, which I feel is a bonus.

I can’t wait to get my exercise bike back. I feel sluggish and lazy without it.

Since it’s too miserable to do anything outside, I had to dream up something I could do inside without any equipment: slipper jogging!

I run laps around the house for half an hour before dinner–162 (yes I counted.)

I can’t wear my running shoes indoors because they’re gross and dirty from being worn, you know, outside, so I wear my fuzzy slippers. Although they give me traction (important on slippery hard wood floors), I doubt they’re engineered for proper running support. My calves and knees are aching, but I will not be deterred. Like the high school gym teacher of whom you were secretly frightened used to say: No pain. No gain!

Apparently I’m making huge gains.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

017I got an email from my friend N the other morning. N and I met in junior high when we were thrown together in home room class because we both had surnames beginning with S. (It’s interesting how something as random as shared initials can be responsible for a lifelong friendship.)

We don’t email as regularly as we used to, but we still keep in touch and we always get together when I’m in Powell River. It was a nice surprise to find her email in my inbox until I read the first line: “I had a dream about you last night (don’t worry–nothing bad!) and thought I’d check in with you.”

Oh my God! Not a dream! I hate it when people dream about me.

I worry about dreams because I know they can reveal the future. Don’t believe me? I once dreamed of walking through the forest and sure enough later that week I accompanied my boy’s Cub troop on a nature walk. . .in the forest.

But my uneasiness about being the subject of dreams goes deeper than that.

It goes back to my older brother who, if he’s to be believed, dreamed about me regularly. He shared his dreams in lurid details.

“You’re not planning to ride in a car anytime soon, are you?”

It was summertime. I was nineteen, working shifts at the local A&W and hanging out at the beach on my days off. Of course I was planning to ride in a car.


“It’s probably nothing, but I had a dream you were in an accident.”

“Oh. I’ll try to be extra careful.”

“Good, because it wasn’t just a little fender bender. You were thrown from the vehicle.” Pause for effect. “Your head was found several metres away from your body.”

I still get chills thinking about that conversation. I still get angry when I remember he told my superstitious mother, who spent the rest of the summer worrying about me every time I left the house.

She died of cancer a few years later.

Shortly after, his cancer dreams about me began.

It’s okay. N’s dream wasn’t anything bad–just an indication she’s been thinking about me. It’s nice to be in the thoughts of your friends. This should bring warm and fuzzy feelings, not dread and anxiety.

It does. . . until I get a Facebook message from M, another high school friend: “How are things? Had a dream last night where you featured, nothing odd, just saw your face!”

Rrroll Up the Rim

Things were much simpler when I was a kid.

The TV had twelve fuzzy channels. Anyone could operate it. Even me. Even me as a child.

In 2014 we enjoy digital sound and pictures so clear it’s like being inside the tube, except there isn’t a tube. It’s a magical flat screen that beams fantastical images accompanied by digital surround sound.

It’s supposed to be a huge improvement over the old poor quality sets, but it’s not. Instead of facilitating relaxation, the TV has caused numerous hissy fits when I want to catch the final reveal on What Not to Wear only to realize someone left the remote set to something other than TV. If there’s no one around to help me, I press buttons randomly, swear and toss the remote on the coffee table before grabbing a book. At least I can still open one of those without assistance.

Along with my beloved books, there are a few things that haven’t changed over the years.

The fridge still uses 1970’s technology. You plug it in once and that’s it. To use it, open the door and voila–cold food and snacks!

The dog is another fun retro addition to our home. She works in much the same way as childhood pets of years gone by–add kibbles, apply cuddles and walk daily. Anyone can operate the dog. Even me.

The Roll Up the Rim to Win contest at Tim Hortons is another of those familiar things I enjoy because I understand it. It never changes and the rules are pretty simple–buy coffee, drink coffee, roll up the rim on the cup and claim your prize if applicable.

I drink lots of coffee during Roll Up the Rim time at Tims. Who doesn’t like coffee, especially when it’s accompanied by the chance to win cool prizes like a donut or a Toyota?

Everything was good and I was happily rolling up my rims until I noticed something that changed everything on my third cup–a big blue arrow across from the yellow one.

This year’s cups have TWO spots to roll for prizes!

I might have thrown away two brand new Corollas!

I’d be tempted to just hibernate in my house until Roll Up the Rim to Win time is over if only I knew how to turn on the TV.