Tuesday, December 27, 2005

2005 Christmas

I'm too lazy to upload photos right now, so you'll have to wait for those riveting Christmas images. Nothing really incredible happened over the holidays -- prepare for another one of these boring chronology posts.

I was really glad to have taken Thursday and Friday off for no other reason than it wasn't work. I played hockey, worked on a fun design project and kicked around. Lorne and Nada had us over for an excellent feast 'n wine party to kick off Christmas on Friday night. Saturday night we did our little family's presents. Like other years, I had a hard time relaxing for that all-important evening -- I have no idea why it stresses me out and makes me feel anxious and strained. It should be the easiest time to just mellow out and enjoy each other's company, but there I was, fussing over photos and videos and feeling apparently grouchy and confused. The elusive antidote was a frosty mug of Kold and watching the last two periods of the Canucks game with Tan while the kids entertained themselves with new goodies.

Well, three of us ended up spending most of Christmas Day with a stomach flu. Not exactly what we had in mind for the festive holiday season. Ella appears to have avoided it altogether, my bout only lasted four hours and we still managed to have a pleasant and relaxing day at my folks' place, so all was not lost. We decided to skip the planned sleepover in order to get our sick selves into our own beds, which didn't devastate Ivy as much as we had feared it might.

I felt great on Boxing Day, and the warm weather had recently reintroduced my mountain biking season in full force, so I did a two-and-a-half-hour epic ride in the afternoon. That Rebellion trail has really captured my imagination, so I defied all logic, amount of available daylight and my lack of fitness to attempt to ride it from my house (as opposed to driving in the car to Penticton first). Ten minutes on the road around Giant's Head to the big train trestle over Trout Creek Canyon, a gorgeous five-minute section of old railbed overlooking the lake, 45 minutes of intense climbing up to the saddle below Mt. Nkwala, then another half hour of grunting up to the top of Nkwala's sister peak in bizarre blowing fog.

Apparently I missed a peak party up there by an hour or so, complete with bonfire and some of the gang who introduced me to that area, but I only found that out today. Anyway, by the time I had descended wonderful (and seemingly endless) swooping singletrack, found my way back to the trestle through gathering dusk (and more coyotes), then shlepped my pig of a bike along the road home, I was entirely spent and oh so happy. It's unbelievable how much ground you can cover on a bicycle -- this photo shows my starting point on the far side of Giant's Head and the ridge I made it up to before returning (photo swiped from a hiker's detailed account and pictures of a similar route).

That night, Ryan and I took in a World Junior pre-tournament hockey game between Russia and Sweden, enjoying a peek at the serious skills of projected NHL star Evgeni Malkin. A pub stop at the Eldorado to catch the last bit of the Canucks game and a couple of cold ones on the way up to Mom and Dad's completed an outstanding day for me, almost helping me forget that I had to be in the office in Kelowna at 6:30 for a meeting in the middle of my vacation.

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