Saturday, July 30, 2011

E- Watch out Seagulls

We had another fire last night and although it wasn't huge, it was going well enough to get the adrenalin pumping at 3am.  After getting the fire out and ripping down drywall and going through all burned contents to make sure we wouldn't get a re-ignition (nothing looks worse than the flames starting up again after all the fire trucks have pulled out), most of the guys had worked pretty hard for the better part of an hour.  

Part of our regular routine at fires now is to get checked out by the paramedics after prolonged periods on air in a burning building.  Seeing the results of this, where everybody had higher heart rate and blood pressure than expected, put into perspective why the biggest killer of fire fighters is heart attacks.  For the most part, our guys are really fit and take care of their health.  However, it is pretty easy to see that going from dead asleep to working full out in less than 5 minutes is hard on the heart for anybody.  Throw on many years of questionable diet, lack of sleep and being out of shape and you have a pretty good recipe for a heart attack.  

I decided to test the strength of my heart today in a better but equally dangerous way today with a flight on a trike.  I really didn't know much about them but thought that they sounded like fun, so I headed out to a small grass strip in Surrey after work this morning to meet my instructor.  Mikhael, a friendly but not totally trust inspiring Russian who came to Canada 10 years ago, took me up for a 1/2 hour flight over White Rock and Boundary Bay.  He started by telling me that trikes are basically hang gliders with engines attached to them and that they have a lot less control than conventional planes like ultra lights which uses ailerons to steer.    They can fly up to 15,000 feet,  cruise at about 70 km/hr and only use between 7 and 10 litres per hour.  

Within 5 minutes of meeting we taxing down a bumpy grass field and going over the controls, the opposite of everything I have previously learned flying.  Push left to go right, pull back to go down and don't worry too much about bumping all over the place.....the trike has a bit of a mind of it's own.  

Our take off speed of 60 km/hr feels really slow in a car on a smooth road but feels really fast rolling along a bumpy field in a totally open cockpit with only a few inches of steel in front of you.  We climbed surprisingly quickly to 4000 feet and had a spectacular view on this cloudless day.  We flew over Whiterock at altitude and then practiced some diving steep turns over the mud flats of Boundary Bay.  Probably the biggest thrill of the ride was doing this spiral drop from 4000 feet to about 10 feet in less than a minute and then skimming along the bay and some farmer's fields for a couple of kilometres.  I'm pretty sure the birds were less thrilled than I was as we flew through the middle of their flock and they narrowly avoided our churning blades......not exactly a scene from "Fly Away Home".    Anybody who wants to terrorize birds like this can get a brand new trike of their own for about $25,000. 

I meant to record the flight on my iPhone but had my battery die as we were taking off.  Instead I had to settle for this picture from my laptop of a similar trike to the one I flew today.  For anybody interested in trying out a flight they can go to BC Air Trike at Open Skies Aviation in Surrey, just before Crescent Beach.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet girl reading

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finny wears diamonds for dinner

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Hornby or Bust

So, it was Bust, actually.

Last Thursday, we packed ourselves up (another marathon session that lasted multiple hours over what we predicted) for a five night trip up to Hornby Island. We planned to motor to Nanaimo on Day 1, then off to Tribune Bay to meet friends who'd rented a cabin there.

We got into Nanaimo late, almost 9:30 pm. We pulled into the Nanaimo Yacht Club for a night of reciprocal moorage, then planned an early morning start to make our way to Hornby. When Eric awoke to start our journey the next day, he checked the engine and saw one of the most dreaded things a boat owner can see: water collected in the primary filter of the fuel tank. 

We knew this was a dreaded outcome because we'd already experienced it once up in Desolation Sound last summer. It involved many hours spent by Eric manually pumping out all our diesel, which is a messy and time consuming task. If the water gets into your stops running. That was something we wanted to avoid. It seemed unwise to head farther from civilization just in case it did happen.

Voila. Weekend in Nanaimo. Unplanned, but serendipitous. It was Bathtub Race weekend and the city was alive with street fairs, outdoor concerts, fireworks and of course, the bathtub race itself.

We moored up on (what we would soon learn was a total party dock) at Newcastle Island, just across the bay from Nanaimo. The kids jumped into bathing suits and dove in for a swim.

Well, actually, the girls swam (see them in the background below?) while Lukey did stuff with sticks.

We sat in the sunshine in the gorgeous park on Newcastle and had snacks and read while the kids warmed up from the cold ocean. The last time I was on Newcastle was during a school sailing trip in 1990. Twenty one years later and I was doing the chaperoning. Strange time warp.

Molly found a stump to sit on in the middle of a field. I thought she looked like the mermaid on the rock in Stanley Park, minus the water.

We enjoyed two nights on Newcastle. Bizarrely, we ran into someone we went to high school with tied up a few boats over from us. She is now a Nanaimo dentist. We watched the fireworks from her boat with her husband and two kids. Suddenly, we were immersed in what we learned was the biggest party weekend of the year for Nanaimo-ites. A few Palms Bays and Coronas on their boat and we were a part of the Island scene. Just another Nanaimo family out for the bathtub races.

The picture below is Molly and Finny jumping off the roof of the boat. We were anchored in Departure Bay at the finish line for the race. We could see the tubs come bolting into the beach, then watch as their drivers stumbled up the shore to ring the finish bell. Those things really fly. They are less bathtubs, more thin strips of fibreglass that plane across the water while their occupants huddle against the wind and waves. I admit, I pictured a more romantic image of actual tubs with faucets and bumbling drivers frantically bailing out as their baths sink into the harbour. This was all business. It was more like the boat races I remember seeing as a kid in Florida.

We left Nanaimo on Sunday afternoon and motored to Thetis Island. It was a hot ride and as soon as we spotted this sheltered cove, the kids begged to jump in. It looked so nice, Eric and I joined them. I can't even remember the last time I swam in the ocean in B.C. (it might have been that sailing trip in, not really, but close). I choose a good time to break my streak because it was unbelievably warm.

Eric took the kids to the far shore in the dinghy, then swam back with them while Lukey and I manned the dinghy to make sure no one drowned (full disclosure: I was mostly watching out for Eric...he's not the strongest swimmer).

We dried off and motored into Telegraph Cove where we had pizza and cooked dinner at the marina. I learned later that this particular spot is famous for ice cream sundaes...which we missed. We'll just have to make another trip to sample those.

After three failed attempts at anchoring, we moved out of the Cove and managed to stick off the eastern shore for a wavy night. The sunset was spectacular. You can see it in the background of this shot of Finny.

We got up this morning and shot into Chemainus for breakfast. I think they went to the Leavenworth, Washington school of downtown revitalization. Pick a theme (in this case, it's murals) and go to town. We actually had to pay to tie up at the municipal dock for a couple of hours. The place was crawling with tourists on a Monday.

Tonight we are tied up at Poet's Cove on Pender Island. It is a dream destination for a boating family. We spent three hours this evening in the heated (seriously, we guess it was around 80 degrees) pool. It is an absolutely fantastic location. I even ordered fish and chips for dinner from the bistro for a treat. It was supposed to be my treat, because no one else in my family likes fish and chips. Except that as soon as it arrived, the two pickiest kids were all about it. They were diving in like it was their favourite thing in the world. They polished off most of it, meanwhile I know for 100% certain that I were ever to MAKE fish for them there's no way they would ever permit the tiniest crumb to pass their disgusted little lips. Geez.

Here's a great shot I got of my two captains while we were at sea this afternoon. Back to reality tomorrow.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nanaimo Marine Bathtub Race weekend

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stolen picture

The girls would never have let me take this picture, which is why I took it from inside the house to conceal myself. Finny is teaching Molly how to do a cartwheel.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ready for a rainy day

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Hockey night in Point Roberts

We are outside playing hockey in the driveway. The kids take turns versus Eric. They shoot on the full-size goal and he shoots on...a watering can.

I was taking pictures for the blog, but we couldn't stop laughing because every action shot of Molly looks like these:

She is giving it her all, but you can see that in each picture, the ball is...not where it should be.

I am publishing these pictures with Molly's permission. After all, she had a great game. She lost 8-10 against her dad.

I have the cheap seats on the stairs, but the kids set up box seats on the porch. Deluxe.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is our summer too fast paced?

Lukey, asleep in the grocery cart this afternoon.

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Tightrope walking

First day of Kid's Camp

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Monday, July 4, 2011

E- Year end basketball video

I always knew that I wanted to continue to be involved with basketball when I quit playing but it took me a few years to get the right situation given my family and work obligations.  I am very happy with the way things have now worked out at the Arbutus Club and hopeful that I can really help some kids develop over the next ten years.  

I, along with John Dumont, coached about 100 kids starting in September 2010 and finishing at the end of June 2011.   We really focused on the fundamentals and threw in some conditioning and agility work.  The kids responded well and did everything we asked of them, over a period of many months.  We wanted to celebrate this commitment and dedication with a party at the end of the year.

The party wasn't all fun and games though......we made them compete at the drills we had done all year long in order to win prizes.

We had Howard Kelsey, a friend and executive vice president of Basketball Canada help out and give a motivational speech to our group.

Just before pizza, prizes and report cards were presented, I showed the class the movie I had made of their year with our basketball program.  Although it took me more time than I originally thought, I enjoyed making the movie and was really happy to see how much the kids liked it.

Here is the movie.  If you watch it I am sure you will see why I liked this group so much and was really proud of their development during our time together.
Tip of the Day:
When avoiding the flaming projectile that is your son's roasting marshmallow, don't retreat so far backwards that your momentum carries you down a very steep slope covered in carnivorous blackberry bushes.

Oh, and bonus tip? Don't marry the guy who takes the time to photograph your misfortune before getting you out of it.

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Letter to the editor

After a full day of snacking, post-parade candy, sandwiches and constant grazing, Molly asked me what was for dinner. When I informed her that she'd already had it, she pitched a fit. Apparently, dinner has to be HOT or it doesn't count.

After not responding to her liking, the note below was ambush TAPED TO MY FOREHEAD from behind:

It looks like a day of non-stop play on the beach in the sunshine makes Molly inexplicably grumpy.

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Fourth of July parade in Point Roberts

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

What's the opposite of organic?

To counteract my smug breakfast, I present Finny and her EasyBake cake. Made with cake mix and chocolate milk. And no, it wasn't organic milk.

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CSA breakfast

Thanks to my box of herbs and veggies yesterday, I felt very smug as I cooked up delicious organic mushroom, cheese and chive omelets for the kids this morning.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

We have signed up for weekly boxes of locally grown produce for the summer. Today was our first week. It felt like vegetable Christmas.

It was a pleasure to walk up to the man who has grown our food, shake his hand and hear him describe our bounty with the same love that I use to talk about my kids.

Hooray, Sagewood Farm and hooray, Tom!

Here is what we got in our beautiful cedar box:

Bundled up in there is:
Heirloom tomatoes
Baby potatoes
Mustard greens
Snap peas
Red lettuce
Green lettuce

The snap peas barely made it home.

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