Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cardio Boy

I've been on a tear with the exercise this week. Can't believe I didn't have the camera along for more of it:
  • Wednesday: the backyard ride to the top of Giant's Head; a half-hour of vertical punishment on the way up, then ten minutes of speed and adrenaline on the way down. I found that some friendly trail gnomes had groomed a short section of singletrack to perfection.
  • Thursday: rode to the Trans-Canada trail and did a 45 minute loop on Conkle Mountain -- this was the first time back there since the bear incident and the only animals I saw were birds and deer. Found a few new trails on the way down through the meadows and befriended the sagebrush.
  • Friday: noon-hour hockey with Ryan here in Summerland. I'm in ok shape from riding, but hockey is still an incredible workout -- great fun with to play with Ryan, too.
  • Saturday: The last Penticton farmer's market of the year was a real treat -- we picked up all kinds of fall goodies. Later, while waiting for my amazing lunch at Isshin Japanese Deli, I walked over to the Freedom Bike Shop and ran into Vance, a guy I play hockey with sometimes. He invited me to join him on an afternoon ride in an area he's been working on lately, so we arranged to meet in an hour.

    Wow, what a ride it was, with a group of other keeners defying ugly weather. Sun, rain, and wind, badgered us on an interminably long climb, followed by perfect flowing singletrack painstakingly sidecut into rugged cliffs, with jumps, doable drops and huge natural berms that went on and on...truly one of the most fun rides I've done in the valley. I came back soaking wet and smiling ear to ear.
  • This morning my folks came down from Kelowna and we did a great hike up Rattlesnake Mountain with the girls. Ella lounged and slept in the backpack, which made it a workout for me (all my legs could take), and Ivy walked most of the way. We saw a bunch of deer up close and had a picnic snack overlooking the lake, then all headed down to the water's edge for lunch at Shaughnessy's Cove. Deluxe!
Update: New photos from Sunday's hike added above.

Best Word Book Ever

This is how much Ella loves our big Richard Scarry book, and Ivy loved it equally at the same age. Thanks to Greg and Sophie for one of the most-used gifts in our home. I love this photo for a few other details, too -- the library stamps on her hand, the soother delicately held like a cigarette (she is as addicted, with another soother clutched in the hand under the book) and the sleeping reminder of how innocent and cute she is. When Ivy was a newborn, I told Doug that I was finding the ups and downs of parenting hard to take, and his main piece of advice was to watch your baby sleeping.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Autumn Goodness

You've gotta like fall. Never too hot, never too cold, beautiful light and colourful leaves and transitions of all kinds. One of Ivy's friends had a birthday party at Sunoka beach on the weekend -- an epic spot this time of year. We went back with Barb the next day, sipping wine and gazing over the lake in the afternoon sunshine. She even swam, but it's wicked cold already.

Staying inside seems nicer and cozier these days; reading, writing and sitting around the fireplace.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Independent America

I've been meaning to post about the premiere of Independent America, a documentary about a local couple who made a 55-day trip through the U.S. without relying on interstate highways, corporate chain restaurants, motels or stores. Following along on their blog was great, but we're looking forward to being there tomorrow night to see the finished film.

Update: What fun! Tannis and I started the evening with drinks and good grub on the patio at The Eldorado, watching the sun light up the flaming yellow poplars at Gyro Beach, then seeing the entire horizon turn pink and purple as it set across the lake. The only lament was that we hadn't been there together since the day before Ivy was born, but it will always be a special spot for us -- we spent our wedding night there almost ten years ago.

Anyway, enough reminiscing. The documentary was excellent and Barb met us there, which was an unexpected treat. It was weird to have so much prior knowledge of the project -- by following their trip blog and watching clips from the road, I had already seen and heard a fair bit of the content. It certainly didn't ruin it, but made for a different viewing experience. The film-making couple were funny and engaging, making for a very cool local event.

The footage of dead downtowns was most striking to me. They did such a whirlwind trip, covering so much distance in such little time that you start to get that road trip feeling of blurring along the road and losing track of where you are. This helps convey a sense of the homogenization of places across the continent, where the outskirts of every town and city all look pretty much the same. The flipside of that approach is that you get little hints and surface views of interesting places, stories and people that leave you wishing they could have stayed and dug deeper into several of them. But that would have been a really different kind of film, I suppose.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


The current soundtrack to my workday is a mix of interesting instrumentals. If I'm doing creative stuff or work requiring thinking, instrumental music just seems to work better, and I'm really liking this eclectic collection. It's just over an hour with some wonderful sounds.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


My favourite parenting quote of the week (by me, Tannis): "If I can't hear it, it isn't happening."

Fully Completely

This morning was the purest gloom. Waking up in the dark, driving down a black highway in pouring rain, then noticing only the dimmest charcoal grey as the sun attempted to rise somewhere above the murk...only one of the best roadtrip albums ever got me to work in one piece.

Mercer for Prime Minister

Seriously, Rick Mercer could run in the next election as an independent and easily form the government on his own. Check out his excellent account of travelling in Afghanistan.

Monday, October 17, 2005

St. Pierre Morning

J and Karen and the kids came out to Summerland Saturday morning for pancakes and controlled chaos with our clan. The weather was bizarre, but as we went up Giant's Head for our walk, we popped up above the fog into brilliant sunshine. Good times were had by all, except maybe Ella, who started out in a total funk. A few shots:J also posted about the visit and added some great photos of his own.

Happy Birthday Ella Pearl

So I've got a beautiful little two-year-old daughter this week -- you'd think that wouldn't bend my mind, considering her gradual progression to this point. I guess I've been thinking of her as two for a while already, especially since she was potty trained, started talking full time and engaged in regular full-on-rager tantrums. Anyway, we ended up having a series of small parties for her, starting with Larry and Pearl's in MB, then a cake at the Duecks' place, and finally blowing out the candles and licking the icing at home with my folks here yesterday. Happy birthday, lovely one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Da Girls

A bunch of photos for those fans of our daughters out there: Ella -- 1, 2, and 3. Ivy looking radiant, and getting ready for winter, and an example of how she's writing without any help ("MOME HAPE VALINTINS DAA"="Mommy, happy Valentine's Day"). On the plane between Winnipeg and Calgary, Ivy leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, "I know you try your best to be a good Daddy." Thanks, Ivy.

More MB Photos

Steve says it's ok to post some photos of him too, so I added a few more from the pub night.

Tosh Weekend

Our friends from Scotland (currently staying in Vancouver) Dave and Meri came up and joined us for the weekend before we headed out to Manitoba. Meri wrote a bit about it on her blog already, but I wanted to post a few photos:
  • One of the highlights was probably sharing a bottle of pinot blanc on the wonderful patio at Greata Ranch. Later when we stopped by Shaughnessy's Pub for a pint, we saw one of the most brilliant rainbows I've ever witnessed plunging straight into the lake about halfway to Naramata (sadly, no camera).
  • Ivy and her buddy created this amazing crafty castle. The girls adored Meri again and weren't scared of Dave.
  • The weather was mediocre, but we wandered around at the beach anyway, walking the trails, and skipping stones. Ivy found this cool bug.
They took us out to Cozy Bay for fish 'n chips, and we hit Dirty Laundry with them -- it was just about overrun by people doing the wine festival tour, which is why we ended up at Greata. Overall, a great visit, and the perfect way to start off my week of holidays.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Wedding Bells

Greg and Sophie's wedding was the impetus for our quick trip to Winnipeg, and it was excellent. Some weddings just have a great, mellow vibe that makes you feel good about the couple -- this was one of those. Good food, good friends, and six wonderful, blurry hours at the King's Head later. I took a bunch of photos at the pub -- I posted most of them on Flickr, but here are links to a few:
We stayed downtown that night and walked over to the Don Deli for breakfast with Angelo, Esther, Greg and Sophie, all feeling pretty good considering the late night and copious beer consumption.

Update: Heather posted some great photos from the proceedings as well. I particularly liked this one from the pub and the group shot after the wedding.


We thought that a few of us should get together the Thursday before the wedding, and Greg decided on Burke's in Morris -- this guy is one of the most nostalgic people I know. He picked us up in his rented gangster-mobile and Faith No More's Angel Dust provided the soundtrack. I will admit that at least two gravy-slathered Burkie Burgers were consumed at our table.

I asked what beers they had on tap and the waitress said "Umm...Lab Lite, and I think Labatt's Lite." Hmm, ok...I guess I'll have the Lab Lite. Greg ordered the Labatt's Lite so we could find out what the difference was. All the while, Paul Wiens was sitting a few tables over and I couldn't help but feel caught in a warp in the time-space continuum.

Back to Plett's later, where Steve joined the crew for some cold ones and laughs. Steve and I engaged in our usual pop-culture clash, nearly trading blows over the relative merits of Bjork, The Fisher King, Frank Black, and old Metallica, then disagreeing about the violent details of encounters from our ancient past. I had my best sleep of the trip that night -- Hostess Heather had everything set up just right and nobody woke me up in the morning (bliss).

Other Trip Highlights

The wedding was the big event, but we did manage to squeeze in some other stuff.
  • I kept Milt and Carla up till 2am the last night and we nearly solved the world's problems in five hours of conversation that felt like about 20 minutes.
  • Pizza night at Chad and Crystal's was great -- the girls are in heaven at their place and Ivy got to experience her much-anticipated sleepover with beloved cousins Marissa and Tyra.
  • Larry and Pearl's place was full up, but we got along and feasted together. Ivy and Ella loved hanging out with their grandparents, of course. It was weird to see Mark out there and not spend much time together -- we're spoiled by having him all to ourselves in BC.
  • Wednesday night I got to lie on the couch and watch the Canucks game...nice way to recover from a crummy flight into a blizzard.
  • I had a great visit with my grandparents and aunt Carol.
  • Five nights is too short a trip to see everyone, but it is less exhausting than the usual 10-day whirlwind we've done in previous years.