Friday, April 29, 2011

Space Dance

Finny at the Egg Hunt at Lighthouse Park, Point Roberts

 I found this poem on my blog reader at I love it. Perfect.

Someday We Won't Remember This

what do you really remember

about being this little kid
photographs and smells
and the stories
little myths
that the big ones tell us until they become
deep grooves across our cortex

but the tiny days of a 4 years old

there is a sadness in this age
if you think too long
about him not recalling
all this
and that
and this particular day in the Spring
of a year
when the stars all aligned
and we talked like people
in love
and in sync
yes you lived inside of me once
yes the world is so big
and inside of your eyes like fire
bursting out to me
I am warmed by this moment
music dumped into the background
I teach you about Lindsey Buckingham and we eat biscuits
and I am as important as Copernicus to you
I make sense of everything for you
I tell you that yes
we revolve around the sun

but only so many times

and we only remember

so many of them
Tea, hot cross buns and the Royal Wedding...

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

E-Launch time

I was very proud of Les and grateful to all the friends and family that came out to show their support at her first book launch last week.   It meant a lot to Les to have so many people take time out of their busy schedules on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.....thanks.  

E-Winter camping in April

My captain at Hall 3 this year, Mark Creer, generously offered to take Les and me camping up at Cypress and supply the equipment we were missing.....pretty much everything.  I'd like to take the kids next year and we thought it would be smart to have a trial run first.   Because we were both working during the day, we didn't exactly get off early. 

A 7pm start didn't matter this late in the Spring

the hike only took about15 minutes
and the building about 2 1/2 hours

Les, our block placer, was trapped inside...... 

until I dug her a tunnel out.

one light lit up the whole igloo

we actually slept reasonably well

and woke up to a beautiful day

Friday, April 22, 2011

Winter camping

Here is the igloo we built. There is no flash used in this is glowing.

Time for tea and hot chocolate and then to bed in the glow dome....

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nature girl and her small companion go nuts for the nature at Jericho. We have been on the bridge overlooking the beaver dam for forty minutes and counting...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

E- Delta basketball

I played my first ever wheelchair basketball game this week with 6 other guys from my department.  We weren't a great team but weren't the worst either.....which apparently is a big step up from previous years.   It was a fun day but one which I have paid for since.  My fingertips have been bleeding for days on two fingers and peeling on a few others.  Apparently I have some very wussy hands.  

Luckily I got to feel a little more basketball success when I played with my men's league team in the final of the Delta League.   It was great to be back playing in a meaningful (I use that word very loosely..... but at least the teams care enough to be playing hard on defense) game for the first time in a long time.   Despite some controversy about whether I had played enough regular season games, I was allowed to play in the finals.  We won by about 10 points against the Meralomas and I played pretty well.  Despite getting hit a couple of times and sprinting faster than I have for since my surgeries, my body felt good.....and wasn't even too bad the next day. 
Lukey's first self portrait

I got up a little earlier than everyone else this morning. I was in the bathroom with the door closed, when all of a sudden a little voice on the other side said: "Mummy, you are lucky because you know how to drive a car, and you know how to snap your fingers and you get love from us."

Thanks Lukey. It is always good to start the morning feeling lucky.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

E- Vancouver Kids

I'd like to extend a big congratulations to Les for the publishing of her novel Vancouver Kids as well as an invitation to anyone who wants to join her in recognizing this achievement on Saturday April 16th at 3pm at Kids Books in Vancouver.

As much of an accomplishment as it is to write this book (it's really good, you should read it even if you don't have kids),  I am even more proud of Les for the way she did it.   She was only given a couple of months to research and write 25 stories, while still doing all of her regular work and family duties.  Somehow she managed to not only get everything done, but also managed to stay her regular happy, easy going self throughout the process.  She dealt with all the setbacks and speed bumps along the way with a positive attitude and never got too wrapped up in what wasn't working.   She really created something special and we are really proud of her.

I reached a much smaller milestone of my own yesterday, one that I didn't expect to reach this quickly.   For the first time since my surgery, in fact for the first time in 5 years, I dunked the basketball yesterday.  I was in too much pain before the operation, and too weak, stiff and sore afterwards to want to even try dunking the ball.  However, I am feeling better all the time and my body is starting to feel like I can push it a little.  And while dunk is more of a "barely get it over the rim" variety than it is a Blake Griffin throw down, it still feels like an accomplishment to be back where I am physically less than 1 year post surgery.

Today also marked my return to more competitive hockey when I played in The Spud Cup, our department's annual hockey tournament.  My team played 5 shortened games and there was a ton of skating.   Despite winning our first 4 games and being up 2-0 in the final, we managed to find a way to lose 3-2 in the last few minutes of play.  However, I couldn't help but feel like a winner after having a great time, getting tons of exercise and then sitting down for burgers and beers with 30 friends after.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A wall of my books at Vancouver Kidsbooks

...all this in anticipation of saturday's launch at 3pm.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who needs lessons...?

I do. In how to properly (and in a timely fashion) dress a little hockey player.

Today was Lukey's first hockey lesson. We have jumped the gun a little and put him into the first hockey skills lessons available, which are intended for kids born in 2005. Not kids born at the end of 2006 like he was. Even though he is at least a year younger than everyone out there, he was game to give it a go. So why not?

Eric was away, so I was on deck to shop for all the extra gear Lukey needed. I thought, "whatever, no big deal..." and set aside about half an hour to run into Cheapskates and snag the stuff.


It isn't easy to track down the 1,241 items that are "standard" equipment for hockey. Especially in XSmall. Three different hockey stores and over $150 later, we had...a new helmet and full-face cage, a pair of very mysterious protective cup shorts that had Lukey and I in hysterics in the changeroom, complete with a strange velcro garter belt system for socks, two miniature and very stiff gloves, shoulder pads that make him look like a buffed up gladiator, shin pads, stripey socks, elbow pads...argh. And the u-haul to transport them. Just kidding. He doesn't need a u-haul. He has me: sherpa-mother.

That was yesterday. So today, we headed to the rink at about 3:30 for his 4:15 lesson. I wanted to leave lots of time to get him dressed.

Yeah, good thing too. It took forever. I am thankful for two things:

1. We were alone in the change room, so no one had to witness me LOOK ON THE INTERNET for instructions on how to attach his socks to those velcro flaps.

2. Lukey has a great sense of humour and we laughed and laughed. When I had to shove his sleeves up his arms, virtually cutting off his circulation, to get on the elbow pads I'd forgotten about until the end, we were both laughing so hard that anyone in the area would have assumed we were deranged. Oh, and when his little jock strap was free floating around his knee caps and he said, "Mumma, this can't be right..." and we realized that there were leg was funny.

It took a full half an hour to get him geared up. I still wasn't sure I had it right. I think they should offer parents lessons too.

Luckily, it was worth it. I was so proud of his attitude. He was the smallest, youngest and certainly the least experienced player out there, but there was no stopping him. No one took the time to explain the drills to him or outline the rules to British Bulldog (?!). They just threw him in with the rest of the kids, who have already had a year of hockey.

In the first five minutes, he fell pretty hard. I had to stand on the sidelines as all the equipment we had spent half an hour strapping onto him prevented him from getting himself up. He was so bulky in all that armour that his joints weren't working the way he expected. He tried a dozen different ways to get up, with dogged persistence and no tears or outward signs of frustration. I used all my willpower to stop myself from stumbling out onto the ice in my clogs to help him.

An instructor finally heaved him back up onto his skates. Thank goodness, because I was weakening over there in the bleachers.

He can learn the hockey skills. He'll know all those drills and he'll understand British Bulldog. That just takes time and repetition. What he can't learn is a positivity and determination. What he needed most today wasn't elbow pads or a jock strap (although they are helpful...). He needed something he already had, without all that junk strapped to him: a great, open attitude.

Maybe no one else noticed that tiny guy working his heart out to keep up with the big kids, but I did. And I'll never forget it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

E- seeking shade from a cactus

Not yet ready to give up my love of tropical climates, I split off with Les after the Houston leg of our trip  when she flew to Seattle and I flew to Phoenix.  I have a few real estate and basketball projects to take care of down here, so I arranged to stay with my friend Ed for most of the week.

I'm not sure whether I've just been lucky on my trips to Phoenix or this is really proof of global warming but we had another record setting heat wave come as soon as I arrived....the hottest April 1st on record at 97 degrees.   The only time I have been bothered by the heat is when we were out in Ed's convertible for too long without any shade or water and had to make an emergency pit stop in at 7/11.

Ed and I have spent a couple of days looking at houses down here, and incredibly it seems like they are even cheaper than before.  Down here there's a lot of talk of the double dip in housing and questions about whether that means there will be another double dip in the economy.  It seems so hard to relate to what's happening in Vancouver.   The houses we are looking at are mostly in 5-10 year old developments that are very well maintained, have nice parks and new schools and municipal buildings.  A typical 4 bedroom, 1,600-1,800 sqft home will sell for under $75,000......not really Vancouver pricing. 

I went to a couple of Phoenix Suns games, only one of which did Nash play in.  I was hoping to see him play in both and maybe get a chance to talk to him, so it was a bit disappointing turn of events.  The rest of the trip however has been great.  I have caught up on some projects I have been working on, done some reading and really gotten back immersed in the Phoenix real estate market.

Ed took me out today for my first round of golf in 4 years.  Strangely enough I started really well.....and then went downhill quite quickly.  It was fun getting out on the course but I had the inevitable feeling like I needed to get out of the sun by the 15th hole.  We started playing around 1pm and by about 5 I had the saturated feeling where I knew I would burn with any more time in the sun.  With the back of my legs burning, I had to pull my socks up high, shorts down low and look for shade wherever I could find it.  I'm pretty sure the Arizona natives got a pretty good chuckle out of the whole thing.

E- Manning up

A big thanks to my mom and sister who were with our kids for most of the time Les and I were in Mexico.  My mom organized a skiing, skating, and tubing  holiday at Manning Park and it sounds like they had a great time......and from the looks of it had great conditions.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

E- Cervezas in the sun

Having a week in Mexico at the end of the winter was a great treat to look forward to through all the rainy season and it didn't disappoint.  However, it didn't seem that way at first as we arrived in Cancun almost 24 hours after Les picked me up at work on Monday March 21st.   As we drove the 45 minutes south from the airport to Playa del Carmen, the driver had the air conditioning cranked even though it was pouring rain outside......and Mexico was feeling eerily similar to the Vancouver we just left.

View Yucatan in a larger map

The rain had stopped by the time we got to the Blue Bay Esmeralda and the wave of heat hit us as we slid open the van door.  Now this was better.  We were given our first of many fruity drinks and rides in the limousine of golf carts that constantly shuttle the lazy tourists around the resort.  With absolutely everything taken care of for the guests, a little exercise from walking the resort would probably be a good thing.....and yet we always hopped on the shuttle when we could.

After all the whole experience is about embracing your inner pig.  Eat and drink as much as you can, rest a bit, and then do it again.  Sleep until whenever you want, leave your space as dirty as you want (it's someone else's job to clean up after you), soak up way more sun than could possibly be good for your pasty white off your now pink-tinged skin by rolling around in the pool and then hit the free mini bar in your room to recover.  It's horrible if you stop and think about what the Mexican's who watch this 365 days a year must think of us......but really delightful to indulge oneself like this for a week each year.

Les and I have took a couple of similar vacations while living in Europe.  Once we went for two weeks to an all inclusive place in Turkey at the end of my basketball season, and the other time was for one week in Kenya in the middle of the year.  They were both great trips but on neither one did we feel quite as indulged as this.  I'm not sure if it's because those resorts were catering to Europeans or it was some other reason, but living it up on the Yucatan Peninsula was unlike anything we had experienced before.

Probably part of the reason this trip was different for us was the fact that we had so many friends there are the same time.  There were about 45 people who made the trip to Mexico for Steve and Kathy's wedding, and the majority were friends we have known for many years.  It was a bit like having a small high school reunion at an all inclusive resort....something I am now in favour of for our rapidly approaching 20 year high school graduation date.

The first night Les and I spent by ourselves, eating at the Steak and Seafood restaurant, having some drinks at the ocean side swing bar (cool idea but not comfortable because if you actually swing your knees smack against the bar) and lying in hammocks at the neighbouring resort.  Eventually we met up with the rest of the wedding party and stayed up until 4am....24 hours after we started the day in our Seattle hotel room.

From this point on, the week was pretty much the same every day except for variety thrown in by the wedding planners.  A late wake up was followed by a good buffet breakfast, with make your own omelets and fresh squeezed juice smoothies being the highlights.  Next straight to the beach, where everyone wanted to find a little shade, except for Les who made sure to bring it with her.  The rest of the sunlit hours were spend either at the beach, or as you can see in the picture above, at one of the abundance of poolside lounges.  Waiters would come by all day long serving us Pina Coladas, Blue Hawaii's, Mango Tangos, Margaritas, Cervezas and the occasional aqua, especially after they figured out that most of our group heeded the advice to bring down a fistful of $1 US bills for tips.

At night we would head for either head for the buffet or to one the reservation restaurants for French, Italian, Asian or Mexican food.   We had some really nice meals over our stay, both for the food and the chance to sit down with friends we hadn't seen much of in years.  It's a real treat to be able to sit down in a bigger group and order as much as anyone wants of anything on the menu without having to worry about having to split the bill at the end.

The first wedding event, a mini bash style Olympics, was started in typical Steve fashion with some highly questionable humour.......with the only real question being "how did that ever look funny to Steve as he typed out his 8 pages of script that he read from".   Pete gamely went along for the ride, obviously feeling like his role as groomsman was more important than his reputation as having a pretty good sense of humour.  However, the crowd was understandably kind to Steve and pretty well behaved other than his Mom.

The Olympics featured contestants from preteens to octogenarians.  My team featured two of the latter, which I use to excuse our last place finish in the event.....which was hard to believe featuring our fantastic limerick of a cheer.

Les and I came second in the Newly Wed Game the next night, and most importantly managed to escape without a fight.  The same can probably not be said of the couple who had some of my favorite answers.

What celebrity does your wife most resemble?  His answer "Ting Tong", a large, transvestite....just click the link if you want to see why it was so funny.

What would your wife never win a contest for?  His answer "sobriety".

How would your wife describe your last girlfriend?  Her answer "bitch".  His answer "really hot".

While the game was good for some laughs and hopefully didn't do any long term relationship damage, the wedding itself was fantastic.  With a beautiful back drop of the Caribbean Sea, warm weather mitigated by a breeze and most of their close friends and family by, it was an ideal situation for Steve and Kathy to get married.  From the ceremony at 3pm until Les and I stumbled back to bed around 4am, the evening was just perfect.  For about 90 minutes after the ceremony, all the guest had drinks on the beach and took turns participating in the wedding pictures.  Later Patricia Hall helped me with the MC duties and the speeches and dancing that seemed to go without a hitch.  Nobody had to worry about driving or getting up the next morning (except Jay who had a 24 flight back to Australia) so the party was able to continue on at the beach bar into the early hours of the morning.

I am a little shaggy...

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Poster with my book on the ferry!

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