Saturday, December 25, 2004

White Christmas

For days I've been telling people that I didn't think we'd have a white Christmas. Yesterday afternoon, I was bombing down Giant's Head on my bike with no snow in sight. But this morning, we woke up to a pretty blanket of snow, just in time.

Merry Christmas to all four of my loyal readers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Echo Post

I love it when Tannis writes about something before me so I can just link to it instead of writing. We went to a fantastic party in town this week. I'm fairly antisocial and didn't know anyone there, so I dreaded going and had to kinda force myself. But the people were wonderful, the food and beverages were superb, and the huge gang of toddlers didn't damage much.

The weird warm weather continues. I've been riding pretty much every day, which is awesome. It's not looking like a white Christmas in the Okanagan. My grandparents arrive from the prairies this week to hang out with the family over the holidays -- should be a treat. We're not planning to do much next week except take it easy.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Not Over till it's Over

So last week I was writing off my mountain biking season, and now it's back on. After a few days of warm weather, south-facing Rattlesnake Mountain is basically free of snow, and even our backyard mountain (north-facing) is rideable again. I just got back from going to the top of Giant's Head, feeling almost guilty for having that much fun riding on Dec. 18th. The steam train greeted me with a few whistle blasts, so I watched it for a while from the first cliff lookout -- they did a Christmas run with Santa on board this weekend.

There was some snow at the top, but the singletrack was mostly damp and tacky. The jumps at the bottom (2.6MB avi video) were in great shape, so I'll probably do that a few more times until we get some snow cover. Who would have thought that I'd be snowboarding, playing hockey and mountain biking in the same week?

Sunday, December 12, 2004


I've just switched this site over from my old address. Welcome to the new and improved (ok, maybe just new) Headspacej. The main improvement is that you can leave comments now, which I encourage you to do. It's always nice to know if someone's out there...

Winter Weekend

First of all for those of you who couldn't care less about my boring life and only visit to see the photos of the girls (80% of my tiny audience), here are a couple of new ones:So it's finally winter and I've written off my mountain biking season, although I did manage to squeeze in a couple more rides in December. Today I noticed that the snow has mostly disappeared from the lower parts of the Rattlesnake area, so I might get one or two more in before Christmas if the weather cooperates. That said, I'm embracing winter these days.

Mid-week, I had a nasty sore throat that felt like it would turn into a brutal cold, but by Friday it was feeling quite a bit better. Good enough that Ryan convinced me to join him at Big White for the opening day of the Powder Chair, our snowboarding mecca. Like last year's identical mission, the Gem Lake chair was closed when we arrived, so we had to ride the Ridge until they finally opened the Powder Chair at about 10:30am. Riding up the chairlift, we could already see that we were going to get the goods. We hauled down Shaky Knees in about 90 seconds, just flying through the powder and barely turning on our first run.

A lot of other people were enjoying the area too, so the runs were tracked up immediately and we headed into the trees. We usually pause to rest and gear up at the top of our secret glade, laughing at our good fortune and admiring the view...then dive into the powder for a couple of minutes of high-speed action before riding up for another loop. We don't get tired of it, even though we've basically been riding the same five acres of trees for eight seasons. I took a couple of very short videos that don't capture much except the tiniest essence of what it looks like in there in motion:
  • Ryan close up (1MB avi), which gives the lay of the land and shows the powder a bit
  • Five seconds of shaky footage taken as I'm trying to follow Ryan (2MB avi) through a fairly open section. This is not quality cinema, I realize, but I love the snow-packed trees and the video-game sensation it provides.
I played hockey last week for the first time in years -- I tried out the noon-hour drop-in at the Summerland Arena and had a total blast. It was way more fun than I expected, so I'll probably try to play at least once a week while there's snow around. Tannis and I also finally finished overhauling the web site for her work, and I think the results are satisfactory. It's not flashy or particularly slick, but I think it's well organized and informative, which were the main goals. Oh yeah, and I finished my last course in my masters program last week (still a thesis to do)...and celebrated by plowing through the first three Harry Potter books as total escapism.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy Birthday Tannis

My sweetheart turned 30 on the weekend, so we had a great party here in Summerland. She has been thinking about the absurdity of the fact that most of our food travels an average of 2400 kilometers before we eat it, so we aimed to create a wonderful meal with as many local flavours as possible. The menu:

AppetizersMain Dishes
  • Pork Tenderloin from Summerland (organic) roasted with local apples (recipe)
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes using BC red potatoes
  • Local Organic Carrots baked with cheese
BeveragesWe also had some great homemade goodies like quesadillas from Alison (who was born on the same day as Tannis, so they celebrated their 30th together) and birthday cake from my mom. My folks also helped with the kids and did most of the clean-up afterwards, which was a wonderful gift.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Hockey Missed

Call me a hoser, but I'm missing the NHL this week. Check out his photo of Mark Messier celebrating an Oilers' cup win 20 years ago. Granted, as an 11-year-old in Manitoba, we hated the Oilers for sweeping our Jets out of the playoffs in the second round (or any round they met the Jets in those years), after Hawerchuck's 50-goal season and Paul Maclean going over 100 points. Those guys were legitimate heroes, but Edmonton's heroes were always a step ahead. I like Chris's take on the grand narrative:
"I just love the emerging story of a season of hockey...all these guys trying to figure out how to get the Cup. It's like a hero's journey that starts every October."
Myron and I almost got into a game in Summerland last night, but the team ended up having too many players, so we went and shot pool at the legion instead. We've been laughing at ourselves, trying to imagine what our reactions would have been if someone had told us in Grade 10 that we'd be living in the same small mountain town a thousand miles away from the small prairie town we grew up in. And then projecting out into the future and wondering if we'll two old codgers shooting pool and drinking Molson Canadian at the legion a few decades from now.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Rare Photo

Like many people who like taking photographs, I have very few good pictures of myself. When you're the one who tends to pick up the camera, you're not often in front of the lens. Anyway, our dear friend Marj (who happens to be a wonderful photographer) sent this photo of me and Ella from when we were at the Hildebrand Hoot in Manitoba earlier in fall. Ella was kind enough to cover her face with mud, so as to not steal the photo with her cuteness -- I shudder to think of how much sand she consumed this summer. She did ramp up the cuteness for this one, though.