Friday, December 5, 2014

Last Cold Christmas?

It's 5:10 pm and it's dark already.  By early December we've already seen -22 celcius and had 40+ cms of snow ... and that's just in Calgary.  I'm comfortably sitting on the sofa beside Kate, the fire giving off a gentle warmth beside us.  Christmas carols are wafting through the house and I'm realizing that this could be my last Christmas in the cold (for a while, anyhow).

Big changes are afoot - we are planning to rent out our home in Hillhurst, put GeekandCo on ice and do some traveling.  This would mean that next Christmas (and possibly, most future Christmases) will be spent in Australia or elsewhere in the world.

There's lots to be done before this happens, but it is very exciting.  I've traveled before, but never with such purposeful open-endedness.  Initially, we are headed for Turkey and Greece; then, a stop in France to visit an ex-roommate (and her family); then back to Calgary for a fun-filled (but potentially homeless) summer; then as the weather starts to turn colder - roughly, November - we are off to AUS for five months, arriving back in Canada just in time to catch the tail-end of ski season.

As much as I love Canada, from November to February the weather can be a bit heinous. Having the option to be a super-long-distance snowbird is quite a treat.

Outdoor Activites

Cross-Country Snowbarding
Alright, time to come back to Canada, Tom East and Sam East. We have a new activity for you.

Karen Stevens should be able to take you out to all the good flat spots. She'll make sure you don't get scootch leg, too.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Looking back through some of my Facebook posts, I notice more than a few bear pictures.  It's not that I am constantly driving by / bumping into bears and only bears.  I just find them fun to show off - especially to my Aussie relatives.

Grizzly near Banff

Black Bear on the way to the 'Loo at Rampart Creek Hostel

Black Bear along Bow Valley Parkway
It seems that I'm often coming across them while cycling, providing me with a good way to put distance between myself and the bruin if need be. 

I certainly know enough not to climb a tree.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Last Time 'Round the Forties

Once again I've made it to my birthday. It has been another action-packed year. Last year saw some big events, including:
  • visiting France to meet the Bouviers (Florence, Christophe, Thibaud and cute, little Lou), staying in Bischoffsheim and making plans to come back and stay for a few months
  • finally getting a decent chance to wander around Paris
  • missing out on Calgary's big flood (and having our home emerge without damage)
  • becoming true empty nesters.  Banana and McMonk are now full-fledged adults (McMonk entered her twenties this year) and it's unlikely that they will be permanently living with us anymore
  • reconnecting with my cousin, Heather, and her husband Charlie by visiting them in Phoenix  
  • having an awesome downhill ski year, destroying a perfectly good pair of skis (through arduous use)
  • reconnecting with my niece, Kristin and grand-niece, Alena through regular swim dates
  • getting my dad moved into an assisted living lodge
This coming year is a year of preparation for The Big Break.  I'm reluctant to call it retirement, as Kate and I likely return to work - this is more aptly a walkabout.  The work that we do (in between our adventures) can be focused on jobs that we love and/or needs to be done.  Volunteer work readily springs to mind (maybe bike repair at Good Life or MEC).  A sailing trip is still in the works, but will be a few years away yet.  We have some land-based adventures to have first (including six months in Australia).

I am also looking forward to these events next year:
  • watching Kate end her job at the end of this month
  • host a bevvy of Aussie guests (including Hilary, Nadia, Graham and Gabby) here in Calgary this summer
  • prepare our Broadview home to be rented out
  • put Geek and Co on ice in order to go off on adventures
  • lots of time on my bike
  • Folk Fest for the sixth year
  • trips to Alaska with Graham and Gabby; Los Angeles-Phoenix-Las Vegas with Nancy and Eliza; Galipoli and some sailing in the Mediterranean with Kate
I've undergone some health changes this year, too.  I now find it easier to read with reading glasses than to read without them. I'm now rocking the Eugene Levy look, though.

Life is very exciting and holds lots of promise. I don't mind trading youth for wisdom ... especially when the wisdom comes from great adventures.

Oh, the stories I'll be able to tell at the old folks' home ....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Need to Travel

What a marvellous message. Once your kids become teenagers, chances are you are not going to kill them with negligence (i.e. they are smart enough to make their own ay home from school). You can stop scaring them with cautionary tales and let them read this.

… and when they finish Grade 12, encourage them to TRAVEL (not just vacation), and (if you can) offer to buy them a plane ticket in any direction.

Thanks for the link, Dean Stanton.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ice Canal

Sunny-day, homebound, winter fun in Canada - getting the ice chipper out and creating your own 40 metre long, ice-Panama Canal to encourage drainage. I know winter is far from over, but if the storm drains are free and a path is available, the chinooks can help get rid of quite bit of ice in the alleyway.

Besides, I have a Civil Engineer on staff.