Introducing Beatrix

Today, Beatrix came out of the garden shed. As it is the 1st of March, I knew that if she didn’t make her debut today, she probably never would. With a quick trip up to the bicycle store around the corner, she got her tires pumped up and a two dog sized basket installed on the front freight rack. I should also mention that her front wheel is sporting a full collection of stars on the spokes. In a city where there are bicylces everywhere, it helps to be able to pick your bike out quickly.
Beatrix is a big hearty bike. She comes from the WorkCycles factory over in the Jordaan neighborhood. I ordered when we were here in April and they shipped her to me in Seattle. Well, now she’s back. I rode today to the Noordermarkt and back. Every Saturday, there is a direct farmers market there and you can find some really great things. Everything that is edible that is sold in the market is organic. I like it because it is just as interesting to walk by looking at everything as it is to get your groceries. For buying organic produce, you can’t beat the prices either. I used my new basket to carry all my groceries home and managed not to hit any bumps that would have caused the olive oil to go flying out.
I really liked being on the bike. I got a very different perspective than I normally do when I take the tram. I am not giving up the tram or the bus but I do think that I will bike to the train station instead of taking the bus. I had to get over my fear of throwing myself into the mix of people who seem like they were born on the back of a bike. And I always had another reason as to why not to get on the bike. So, today was a as much about ignoring the voices in my head talking about accidents, Insurance, getting your bike stolen, and so on as it was about just getting on and wobbling about a bit.
I wonder how long it will take before I develop Iron Butt? I am convinced that people who ride their bikes every day must have buns of steel. I can take the boys on the bike too. I just have to fasten their car safety belts to the bike. Tomorrow we are going to give that a try. I predict that George will be enthralled and Henry will be less than thrilled.
Right now I am waiting for AH to come and pick up all the excess beer and wine I had left over from last Saturday’s party. They said it would be between 7-9pm so here we are.
Last night I met up with Eliza, my fellow Dutch student. We are each going through an interesting phase with our Dutch language. She panics every time someone speaks Dutch to her, even when she knows what they are going to say like at AH. The cashier always asks if you would like the receipt. They never deviate. She can listen to Dutch in a meeting and be fine but the moment someone speaks it directly at her, it is panic city. Whereas I am now getting flustered every time I try to speak Dutch. No problem when someone speaks it to me but when I have to answer, I suddenly start stuttering and doubting everything I am saying. Eliza gets a second week of Dutch training so she is going back next week. I am slightly jealous and slightly glad it is not me!
However, my evaluation came today, regarding my progress as well as recommended next steps. I will take it into work on Monday and see if I can arrange to get another week covered later in the year.
I hope spring is on the way. I can hear my mom saying not to start mowing the grass too early. I don’t have any grass here so it doesn’t apply. I could also hear her saying that the heat goes off after the 15th of february when I turned it on slightly this morning. Most of all I could hear her making fun of me for not having Iron Bike Butt.

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