Showing posts from 2010

How Much More Macho Is There?

This Saturday, I'm doing something hard.   I'm gonna ride up a mountain, over and over, in the mud and sometimes the dark, over stumps and roots and rocks and logs, through trees and across streams, with bear warnings clearly posted at the entrance to the area where the race is taking place. I'm going to sweat, and swear, and grind, and groan, and chug uphill until my calves and quads scream. I'll likely wipe out, over and over, bruising and scraping and possibly cutting up legs and arms. It's a world-class, 24-hour-long event with over 10,000 competitors (87% of which are testosterone-charged young men).  There are five of us on our team, taking turns riding, getting almost enough sleep, pushing through fatigue to do our best, and the one thing that is inspiring us to give it our all - our reason for this sacrifice is summed up in our team moniker.  The Five Cupcakes .


The Cosmos must have a more-important-than-usual message for me right now. This past week has seen me meeting three very unique characters. First, I met a 91 year old man who, within 15 minutes of meeting me, revealed that: he had been raised in an orphanage for the first five years of his life he had been a soldier in WWII as a Nazi under Hitler he was now a proud Canadian he has donated blood over 50 times he is a practicing cross-dresser and transvestite has a book about his life written by a Calgary ghost writer. He turned out to be one of the most interesting, lively, young-beyond-his-years and genuinely happy people I have met in a long time. Secondly, I met a woman in her late forties/early fifties of great material wealth, but who was living in such paranoia and exuding anxiety to such a degree that everyone around her (including several house staff that she has at her beck and call for much of the day) was living in a state of fear. Lastly, this evening, I spent some on


I had the greatest time this weekend, hanging out with my mom's family and Banana. We went to Langley, BC, for semi-decadal (that's every fifth year) Key Family picnic . Five years is enough time for family members to change and gather some stories to keep you entertained. I had found I had graduated from 'active parenting' (cutting meat, slathering my child with sunscreen, keeping her entertained/out of harm's way) to the Elders' Circle that sips the beverage of their choice, feet in the kiddie pool and watches with bemusement as the Active Parents do their thing. I was also very proud of my daughter as she mingled with her kin, finding them all to be funny, witty and entertaining (which they are, in their own ways). I was happy to spend some time with my cousin and her new baby. I am fully aware of how much energy it takes to be the parent of a toddler and am soooo glad that it is her and Tom that are starting on that journey and not me. I'm watc

Coming To Visit?

Kate's mum (really, that's how she spells it) is on her way from Australia for a visit. Problem is, she landed in Vancouver five days ago where she met up with MY mom and is having a marvelous time, touring Vancouver Island. The two of them (three, actually - our thirteen-year-old niece is along with Nonna for the ride) are staying Bed and Breakfasts, visiting Saltspring Island, shopping, sightseeing and meeting all my relatives. Kate and I are both happy that our mothers are getting along, but ... doesn't Nancy miss and want to see US ?????

The Pitter Patter of ...

We've decided to take in a stray. The lovely Autumn, a friend of Banana's, is coming to live with us. She and Banana have been pals for the past few years and have great plans of eventually exploring the big, bad world together. Circumstances have arisen that have lead to smaller steps towards their eventual independence. Autumn's parents (dad and step-mom) had been making plans to live and work around the world as soon as Autumn finished school. Autumn's dad (being a Sommelier ) has landed a job in the wine-making region of BC, starting pretty much now. His wife (as is custom) is tagging along for the season, and they both have plans to scoot to more interesting parts of the world (namely China) when the weather in the Okanagan cools down. Autumn wasn't ready to pack up and leave Calgary just yet, with a bosom buddy and a boyfriend in town. When word of her wanting to stay first emerged last fall, we offered up some space in our house. As the time got c


Although we bought this house with the intention of not doing any renovation projects, a few small ones have popped up. The most recent one is a refit of Kate's closet. After an abortive attempt to recess a set of drawers into the back of what looked like a false back ("Oh, hello structural roof support beam. I guess I shouldn't take the Sawz-all to you."), we had to re-drywall and revise our plan. And by "we" Of course I mean the royal We . Now I'm looking at a day and a half's work, *if* I don't run into any more surprises and if my luck that is masquerading as skill holds out. Whenever I start renovations, I always feel like a cork inspector at a leaky dyke.

Family Time

When I first heard of the upcoming family reunion in Langley this July, I quickly dismissed it as an event too inconvenient to attend. We are going to have houseguests during the weekend it is scheduled, it would be a lot of miles to put on the van and I can't just pick up and leave for the four days (two bouts of day-and-a-half drives) that would be required. That was my rationale. Lately, I've had little tugs at my heartstrings. I have a new second cousin who has turned a year old and I have not yet looked at him in person. I'm seeing e-mails from aunts and second cousins that I haven't seen for what seems like ages. I have an overwhelming urge to play cribbage (OK, I'm just making that one up). Anyways, I've decided to fly out, despite the houseguests. Kate is staying put, out of politeness, but I'm going. And in a last-minute decision, Brianna is coming with me. Isn't that nice?

El Presidente

Once again, I've decided to take on the role of President of the condo board where my parents live. Last year was my first try at this impressive-sounding (but thankless) position. Our condo board (as it exists) is what is called "self-managed." This means it has farmed out the tasks of bookkeeping, groundskeeping, errand-running and common area cleaning to different parties (all of whom need to be poked and prodded to keep in motion), with the frustrating tasks of condo fee processing left to whomever is on the board. When I signed up last year, I was keen to learn all about 'managing' a condo, and what an experience it has been. Two other condo owners volunteered to be on the board (with me as president), then promptly disappeared when it was time to do any work. These two both moved out of town and rented out their units, leaving me to deal with little problems like: water pipes leaking between two condos and causing water damage that has to be fixed.


Looks like I'll have some company at Wasa Lake Triathlon this year. My lovely wife and three of her craziest friends have signed up to do the sprint distance with me. After all, how hard could it be? (har har har)

Next Plane to AUS ...

... that has us on it will be in December. We're going for Christmas and New Years. That means that we'll be in Canada for summer for a change. Whoo hoo!

Thank Yous

I'm trying to instill in Banana the importance of "Thank You" wishes. Although, ideally, we give gifts without expectations, the truth is we all want to have a little feedback on the effort made. Banana just had her 18th birthday, which included some big efforts and nice gestures from those who love her. A smattering of gifts was also included - some from her new Aussie relatives that are far away and have no idea how she received her gifts. I've been after her for a week now to acknowledge those gifts. Thank you cards have been put in front of her, along with stamps and addresses, but to no avail. I'm quite disappointed in her.