Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Bud Discovery

I've worked with Bud Mortenson for four years, and never realized that he had a site. Some really funny stuff in there -- he's got an honest, folksy style that makes me smile. I love this article about a mellow afternoon with his sons. And some of it is belly-laugh hilarious.

Monday, September 29, 2003


The cool thing about our digital camera is that we actually use it. No lenses to lug around, it's less conspicuous than the old Minolta tank, and we take way more pictures because you just delete the ones that suck. I love getting great pictures with my manual camera, maybe because it's so difficult and I really have to work at it, but I've also found it frustrating at times. The digital may not have the same quality, but seems to make up for it in fun. I love this photo of Ivy spinning around at the playground tonight -- usually blurry is bad, but this one just captures her energy.

Sunday, September 28, 2003


At this time of year, you feel like summer could disappear any time. So I went for an excellent ride on the trails in Jack Seaton Park and we were back at the beach again this afternoon. Although that may seem obsessive, it's really the most fun place to be with Ivy, and she was in her glory when my mom showed up. I think the photo shows how they're getting along these days -- Ivy's helping Grandma put on her sunglasses. Then we went up to Viewcrest for a feast...life is good.


We were back at the beach yesterday afternoon. I can't explain why, but the water just sparkles at this time of year. Tannis got this great shot with our new camera -- it would be very hard to replicate that shot with my beloved old manual Minolta. Anyway, it was glorious, and we wished we had gone earlier. Ivy splashed, and I even went for a short swim after walking for hundreds of meters to get to water that was deep enough.

We hit the bird sanctary behind the hospital for a nice walk in the morning and dropped off my creaky old bike for repairs. They didn't have the new Sasquatch in yet, or I probably would have walked out with one. In the evening Pappy came over and ordered pizza, telling us all about his recent Europe trip and impending move to Ontario -- he's pretty hardcore for a 74-year-old dude.

Friday, September 26, 2003


Ivy and I were playing some old Colecovision games tonight, and the hands-down best game in the bunch is Q*Bert. I picked up Zaxxon (well-known, but truly awful game), Galaxian (classic, but you can only shoot every few seconds), Donkey Kong (of course), Donkey Kong Junior (very slick for an ancient game), Mr. Do (cheesy Dig-Dug ripoff) and a pile of other amazingly crappy games for pure nostalgia, but Q*Bert seriously kicks them all. Not with great graphics or top-quality production -- the game is still great because of the simple premise and consistent gameplay...and you start to really care about the little fuzzy guy after a while.


We're enjoying a bit of late summer weather in Kelowna. I detoured through Mission Creek Park on my ride home from work -- the yellow leaves and smell in the air reminded me of my late-September Rossland biking trips with Angelo and Trev. I spent some time watching the orange salmon swimming upstream and had a near run-in with a bear before heading back out to the road.

After raising our cholesterol with 1950s-style burgers, fries and milkshakes at our local Triple O's, we hit the beach for a couple of hours. Beautiful clean water to splash in with Ivy, no people or tourists (technically they're people too, I realize), and warm sunshine to lounge in...perfect way to start the weekend.


My extended Hildebrand family is having a big gathering next year, and they've already distributed invitations. They're a pretty keen bunch, and I have many fond memories of New Year's parties in the Whiteshell, when it was so cold the snow crunched like styrofoam under your moon boots, playing broomball with the Reimer boys, building jumps at the bottom of the tobaggan slide and singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight with a hundred kin in perfect multi-part harmony. The Hildebrands tend to be warm, sensitive folk with a great sense of humour and zest for life.

Someone in the family sent around a link to this photo of the ship my Great Grandma and Grandpa Hildebrand arrived on in 1927 when they were about my age. I guess they already had five kids by then (and no money), arriving first in Saint John, and then heading halfway across the continent before finally landing on the muddy banks of the Red River south of Winnipeg. Tannis and I have visited the monument showing the landing spot, but for whatever reason, this photo of an anonymous-looking ship just fascinates me. I'll probably eventually be one of those too-serious geneologist types when I get older.

School Ghoul

Neil's drawing just keeps going to the next level. Not that his stuff from my first contact with him in 1999 was bad, but the new stuff just rocks....even the roughs. Nice to see his new Art Blog, too. Pretty cool to work with talented folks like this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Ivy Quote

My parents were driving Ivy back from Kelowna Land and Orchard on the weekend, and Dad yawned. Ivy noticed from the back seat and piped up: "Your bed is at home, Grandpa." They laughed, and then after a moment of quiet, she added, "We'll get there when we get there". Isn't that almost Zen-like for a two-year-old?

Norco 2004

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Norco bikes. I guess it's because they were omnipresent in my childhood and my first "real" mountain bike was a Norco Bigfoot, bought from Paul Dyck for about $200 in 1989. Granted, it had a rigid fork and crummy cantilever brakes, but it actually shifted, the rims didn't bend automatically, and the geometry was decent. This week Norco released their 2004 mountain bike lineup, and there are some interesting models. The Sasquatch has a five-inch travel fork and real disk brakes...seriously beefy bike with an ugly paint job that I kinda like. They've also got a "normal" bike that looks decent -- the Charger is stronger than a cross-country bike and lighter than the overweight dirt-jumpers like the Sasquatch. Doesn't seem very cool, and the fork looks wimpy...but the price is nice, and I'm sure it would work great.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Mellow Saturday

After breakfast at The Jammery for the best french toast in town, we stopped at Mill Creek Park. It's one of our favourite little parks -- there's not much to it, really...just a really nice walk along a bubbling creek with a nice waterfall about 10 minutes in. There's a boardwalk over a boggy section that twists and turns a bit. After running back and forth a couple of times, Ivy stopped and announced:
"Phew! That was a lot of jogging on the curvy bridge. We were racing like nutso!"
A classic Ivy quote -- she's often constructing the narrative of her life, or asking us to tell her a story about what's going on.

Our good friend and midwife Barb came over for lunch and to give Tannis a prenatal checkup. The baby could come any time, and we've decided to have the birth at our place. Ivy was born at my mom's, but we thought it might be cool to do it here this time.

On a sombre note, our family lost a friend this week...our old beige couch. It was one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture I've experienced, especially for lying and reading on, but the crib is coming back in and something had to go. Nick was kind enough to give it a good home.

Friday, September 19, 2003


We bought a digital camera this week, so expect to see more flash-filled snapshots of kids and pets here. OK, no pets. But probably lots of kids.

It's a Canon A60. Against the advice of the "buy more than you need" folks, it's a simple 2-megapixel camera with some cool features, and it takes awesome photos so far. I've been watching it for months, and it went on sale like crazy.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Good Times

Marj sent a couple of photos from the wedding on the weekend. I especially liked this one:

Jer Plett...............Me.....................Myron
It would have been nice if the groom was in it, of course. But I think we were laughing at his speech when this was taken. I tried to crop out all of the empty bottles in front of me so my mom doesn't fear for my liver, but they're still there for posterity. We had a lot of fun at the head table. Jer is one of those old friends who I don't see often, but it takes us about 30 seconds to hit our stride. And hanging out with Myron in Winnipeg was excellent, even though he lives here in the valley and we can see each other whenever.

After we finally stumbled out of the hotel at two in the morning -- Trev and I announcing proudly that we were the last ones standing -- I ended up in a cab with some of my best friends. We ordered pizza, and Greg and Esther stuck with us till about 3:30. We laughed exceptionally hard at the notes and quotes I had taken throughout the night (they didn't seem as funny in the morning, of course). Angelo and I kept going till the bitter end, finally admitting defeat and sleeping at four.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

An Ivy Moment

I always feel like I should write more about Ivy -- she's so funny and busy these days. Today when I got home on my bike she asked me, "how are you doing, Daddy Rabbit?"

Me: "Great, Ivy Rabbit. Thanks for asking -- how are you doing?"

Ivy: "Umm...kind of fantastic."

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Vacation Report II

Made it home from the prairies safe and sound, if a bit exhausted and queasy. There's nothing like partying till 4:00am with friends to make you feel old the next morning.

Plett's wedding day was quite a mellow affair, actually. Nice breakfast on the 12th floor at the Radisson, overlooking the city, which is unbelievably green -- it always surprises me to see the number of trees in Winnipeg. Ryan hadn't slept much the night before, but he was calm and relatively relaxed. When he headed out for the first round of photos, the groomsmen went for lunch -- Brent and I had just eaten breakfast, but we went back to the restaurant again to hang out. Lots of laughs and then of course we stayed too late and had to rush to get our tuxes on in time.

The wedding itself was uneventful, which is usually good for weddings, right? Everything was "just so" in the church, with carefully orchestrated music, singing and ceremony. I got teary watching Heather come down the aisle with her dad. I've seen dozens of weddings without getting emotional, but this was the first one I've attended since having Ivy -- bit of a mind-bender to imagine myself walking her down the aisle some day.

Back at the hotel, Myron managed to finagle a bucket of beer for us, so we got to unwind before our head-table duty. Tons of old friends and familiar faces in the crowd -- I knew I wouldn't be able to see everyone. The rest of the evening was a blur of laughter, interrupted conversations and the vague sense that it would all be over too quickly. I got somewhat sick of talking about the Kelowna fires and explaining that Tannis was too pregnant to fly.

I enjoyed quick exchanges with Marj, Ken, Dustin, Sophie, Benjamin, Tracey, Bruce, Marsh (who left way too early), Jim, Jon, Jude, Kev Dueck, Josh Plett, Lorne Reimer, Ryan F, Leanne, Frank and Jeanne and others I'm unfortunately forgetting now. The Loewen sisters were in fine form, nearly omnipresent around the bar. I missed talking with lots of good people: Ang, Will, Shannon, Chris and others I hardly even saw, but it's impossible to find everyone at the right time. Spent more time with my head-table partners Myron and Jer, who had me howling most of the evening, and got to hang out a fair bit with Esther, Trev, Tanya, Angelo, Steve, and Greg. Of course I don't really trust my memory for the details...the beverages were flowing freely all night.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Vacation Report

Well, I'm two days into my latest quick excursion to Winnipeg. As I had hoped, I managed to make it out to Milt's for some motocross action. Larry warned me as I left that I'll be in Plett's wedding pictures tomorrow, so I shouldn't crash...or at least not on my face. Good advice. The prairie landscape was stunning on the drive out of the city -- clear fall sky in the west, dark thunderclouds past in the east, golden stubble and hawks sitting on bales of hay, smoke drifting from field fires.

Milt and I rode for an hour and a half or so...basically until it was too dark to see anything. He had tilled the track so it was soft and loamy, perfect for the berms and not as rough as it's been sometimes. Ridiculous amounts of fun -- I was grinning like a little kid again. Enjoyed wonderful food and cold Coronas with Carla later on, then talked till 1:30am.

Today I spent the day with Plett (the groom), picking up tuxes, delivering an insanely huge load of alcohol to the Radisson, hanging out and catching up. Met some great old friends at the rehearsal and drank with a smaller crew at a lounge on Pembina later on. Tomorrow's the big wedding day...should be a raging party.

Monday, September 08, 2003


My name is Jeremy, and I'm addicted to spudnuts. Every Saturday morning between about 10:30 and noon, Pioneer Market makes these doughnuts to die for. They're called spudnuts because they blend mashed potatoes into the dough, which sounds a bit gross until you experience the taste sensation. They're just absolutely obscene, containing enough fat and sugar to make me dizzy for at least 10 minutes after I finish one...longer if I have two. My enjoyment of these things is an extension of my New Year's resolution this year, summed up in one simple maxim: no more guilt about food. We've been enjoying The Market this fall as the perfect Saturday morning outing. Awesome fruits and veggies (sunrise apples, peaches, fresh peppers, garden carrots...mmm), fresh multigrain bread, great service, and they've got a little museum upstairs with photos and artifacts from Kelowna's history.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Ivy News

Ivy had a pretty cool breakthrough last week: she learned to use the mouse. It's amazing to watch her make choices in a game where she creates her own story. That kind of creativity is so cool to see in someone who is years away from reading and writing.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Your Stuff

CBCRadio3 had a great feature on the stuff people leave behind in self-storage containers. I guess they get behind on their rent and at some point just abandon the goodies they've carefully stored there. One container had eight pianos in it, in various states of disrepair. The company eventually auctioned them off to a guy for $300.

With the recent evacuations in Kelowna, people often had an hour or less to collect their important stuff. The official suggestion was to bring "medications, glasses, valuable papers and keepsakes such as photographs". It's a fascinating exercise to find out what's really important to you. When the evacuation line approached our home, we quickly threw together a box of precious things, then stood back and said, "that's it?!" It's surprising how little stuff we have that has real value to us.

Everyone I talked to collected all their photos when they were evacuated. Isn't that fascinating, in a way? A century ago, an evacuating family wouldn't have had any photos to guard...or maybe one or two grainy portraits at best. But our box was mostly photos and negatives. Leaving them behind would have been like throwing out our entire memory bank. I'm convinced that our dependence on photos and video has eroded our ability to remember things. I have a hard time separating actual memories of past events from the photos taken at them.

This reminds me of an Amish-like Mennonite sect near my hometown called Holdemans -- no TVs, radios, computers, fancy car hubcaps or cameras allowed. They weren't supposed to pose for pictures, either, but some didn't object if they were "accidentally" included in a photo taken by an outsider. I remember several sad stories of Holdeman families going around to their non-Holdeman neighbours or co-workers after one of their loved ones had died, asking surreptitiously if they had any photos of the deceased...apparently they were starting to forget what the person looked like, which was understandably quite distressing.

Damaged Goods

I rode up to Mom's after work -- riding down the Greenway always clears my head...if it had burned, it would have been even more depressing than the fact that the KVR trestles in Myra Canyon are currently on fire. It sounds like number four is one of the five that have already been destroyed. Irreplaceable treasures, I'm afraid, and everyone was bummed about it today.

I pedalled up the hill after supper to scout out my old trails behind Kettle Valley and Belcarra. It's bizarre in Belcarra Estates because very few of the houses along the forest edge burned, but several individual houses were lost inside the development. I saw John's folks' place, which was apparently the only house to sustain major damage but not burn to the ground. Apparently their lower floor is mostly fine...small blessing, I suppose. Dunlop Canyon runs behind the development -- it was a favourite riding spot of mine because I could just spin over there from Mom's any time. A beautiful little creek at the bottom and trails criss-crossing the slopes. Now it just looks like a black hole, and won't be good for riding for many years. Some of the upper slopes still look ok, though, so it wasn't all despair.

On the way back, I swung past the spot where the epic Kettle Valley playground stood. Like many new parents, we've become minor playground connoisseurs, and The Castle was the pinnacle of play-structure achievement. I can't find a photo of it, but it was a gorgeous, sprawling fenced area with spires and stairs and stations of all sorts...done in a style like this. Sad to lose one of Ivy's favourite spots.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

So Close

I just got some photos back from the day Mom and Dad got back into their house after the fire. This is the view from the back yard, looking over the house toward the lake -- it's basically unchanged, since nothing below them burned.

This one shows the dividing line on the east side of their lot. All the trees and stuff on the ground in empty lot beside them (and the house on the other side of the empty lot) burned entirely. The flames just stopped at the side of their house and where their green grass started.

From the roof of their house looking away from the lake (south), you can see the row of houses missing directly behind their rock garden. All that's left is concrete foundations and rubble.

The vertical line in the middle is the chain link fence separates their backyard from the yard behind them (south) that burned. Green on the left, with their garage visible...and mostly black on the right, with a ladder still leaning up against a heat-scarred cherry tree.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

On the Road(bike)

The recent flaming demise of Kelowna's best mountain biking areas has me rethinking my desire to spend $2300 on a full-suspension freeride bike like the beloved 2004 Kona Coiler. With a baby on the way and fewer trails to ride, it just seems more difficult for me to justify. The 2004 Stuff hardtail is really sweet, and would save me about a thousand bucks.

I still ride to work every day and prefer pedalling to driving, but I'm just not a roadie, so I started looking at two interesting new Konas for the road that could also survive the odd jaunt through the park: the Smoke, a military-looking rigid mountain bike with fenders and slicks for $450, and the Dew, which is a weird cross between a mountain bike and a road bike for about $500. Angelo sort of scoffed when I ran those options by him, claiming that he could build me something just as cool from pawn-shop parts for a hundred bucks. Might just have to take him up on that one.

Monday, September 01, 2003


This weekend felt quite surreal. On Saturday night we had a send-off party for Ryan at Mom and Dad's. Sad to see him go, knowing that it will be months between visits now. Made me realize that I've taken it for granted having him living so close for the last few years. We did a quick walk around the Okaview/Viewcrest neighbourhood...in a 15-minute loop from Mom's, we passed more than 50 burned homes. Much of it looked like a war zone, and the smoke was still thick from the fires burning above Crawford.

We decided to get out of town for a couple of days -- went to visit Angelo and Esther in Chilliwack. It was pretty nice to get out of the smokey valley and out onto the open road. We hadn't taken Ivy on a roadtrip in her two short years, so it was overdue...and she was a trooper. Angelo and I did some fantastic mountain biking in Ledgeview last night -- a really nasty climb that took us to a lookout with Mt.Baker's glaciers looming above us and a clear view down the valley to the ocean, then some of the sweetest singletrack all the way around the mountain on Mixed Bag, Amy Fisher and others. Some ugly dry skidders, but most of it had perfect berms, jumps and logs. The riding around Kelowna has obviously been a problem lately, so it was extra-sweet to be riding again.