Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Singalong

A little entertainment until I get something more meaty posted.
We were surprised and entertained last night to discover that Jake has some musical talent. He has never done anything like this before!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thrifty Thursday

Thought I would show you some of my thrifty bargains from last weeks storewide half price sale at my favourite thrift store.

Avia long sleeved top with half zip $2.25 and Eddie Bauer goose down vest $2.50

Saucony running jacket, $2.50 and Gap running leggings $2.  Running type hat, $1.25

On a different day I got these leather Keds for 50 cents.

Jake got a new protective cover for his chair for $1.50

Looks like I had better continue on with the running through the Fall and Winter season. No excuses that I have nothing to wear!

Monday, March 21, 2016


Meredith and I have been meeting three times a week to run.  We are running in the 10k Sun Run on April 17th.  I have run it twice before, and Meredith has run it three times.  Our best time was just under 63 minutes.  So this year the goal is to run it under 60 minutes.  Seems like an easy goal, or at least it did at the start of our training.  We started following one training plan, and then switched over a couple of weeks ago, because the original one wasn't increasing the minutes of running per week enough.  So now we have 30 training runs under our belt, and 11 more to go before the big day.  Because Meredith works a regular daytime job, we would have to meet after she was off work for two of the days, so many of the runs were done or at least finished in the dark, and it seemed like more often than not it was raining as well.  It has been a wet winter.  We do one weekend daytime run.  We try to vary locations, and prefer not to run alongside busy roads.  Our training sessions start out with 5 minutes of walking, then an intervals of running with one minute of walking in between, and then a cool down walk at the end.
Usually I take Luna.  She is attached by leash to a belt around my waist, and she runs out in front of me, or maybe slightly off to the left.  Generally it works well, with one exception.  Two weeks ago we ran in my neighbourhood.  We were just about finished, it was a matter of a second or two before the timer went for our  five minute cool down walk.  I glanced at Meredith, and Luna chose that instant to cross right in front of me, and down I went.  The heels of my hands sort of took my weight (and I'm thankful I didn't break a wrist), and then I collapsed onto Luna and tried to embed my right elbow and knee into the pavement. We were close to home which was kind of nice since there was a bit of blood dripping.  It seems to have healed up okay, the scabs are just about ready to start falling off.  My right shoulder took a hit too, and I didn't need that, because I have a few falls that have already been hard on that shoulder. Sometimes it's hard to lay on that side in bed.

Here's a few pictures from some of our runs.  I kind of suck at taking decent pictures with my phone while running.  There were lots of ducks and geese on this section.  The gander that is just about to take flight here was stood in the middle of the trail honking and challenging us as we were running up.  Thankfully he 'chickened' out as we got closer.  They can be quite aggressive when you get close to their nests, but they probably aren't nesting quite yet.

Doing our stretches at the end of the run.  Sometimes it is so wet that we just hop in our cars and say we will do our stretches at home, and promptly forget.  This was at the start/end of the Discovery Trail and there was a gazebo thing that kept the rain off us. Klutzy Luna walked further along this wall to where a post came out of it, and promptly fell off.

On Wednesday of this week we had a long run, 55 minutes running time, broken into 10/15/20/10 minute segments.  Our first one that we could take advantage of DST, and an actual sunny day! We parked at the dyke along the Fraser River and then ran uphill to Douglas Taylor Park, and back. It worked out well that the 20 minute segment was mostly downhill.  The sun was just setting as we were finishing off. Looking to the southwest at the last of the sun on Mt. Baker in Washington state.  That was a tough run.

On Friday (Meredith had taken that day off, it was a slow week at work due to Spring Break) we ran the 'easy' run of the week.  It was 6 intervals of 5 minute runs.  I said since it is our last 'easy' run for a few weeks, lets add a little spice to it and do some trail running in Downes Bowl. There was a nice cool breeze blowing that day, and it was sunny!, but down in the Bowl, which is quite protected, the air was still, and very soon we were quite HOT. The hills were hard work, and halfway through we said enough of that and headed out and up onto the flatter ground where there was a breeze.

In the bottom in a swampy area. A nice boardwalk to run on.

The end of the boardwalk 

And back up the hill we go, we went up and down a few times.

The next couple of weeks we do some long runs, and the easiest one is 4 intervals of 10 minutes running.  The hardest is an hour with just a one minute break in the middle. You'd think by this point that a run of 5 minute intervals would seem so easy, but really it doesn't. I'm waiting for that feeling of having wings on my feet.  
I think I will be waiting a long time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Door Closes, Others Open.

My sister Cathy flew out from Ontario at the beginning of the month, and stayed for ten days.  She was glad to leave the cold and snow of her part of the country behind, and come out to milder albeit wetter weather on the west coast.  She has lucked out with the weather on most of her trips here, but this one was not one of them.  We are pretty sure it rained everyday at some point while she was here.

  She came out to help me with some of our mum's stuff.  We went through what she had had in her room at the care home, her clothes, etc.  There was a great pile of photo albums, and papers that no longer needed to be kept.  We had fun looking through old photos and clippings, and one evening when Meredith was over we set up the old Kodak projector with it's round slide carousels and had a slide show. There are very few candid shots our mum, but a multitude of her posing in a scenic spot, more often than not in a bathing suit it seemed.  She enjoyed having her picture taken, and had a certain stance, slightly turned to the camera, with the closest leg slightly forward and the knee bent.  We kept what photos we liked or had some significance to us.

Both our parents chose to be cremated.  We went out in my dad's sailboat to spread his ashes in the ocean, thirty years ago. The sailboat is long gone.  While Cathy was here, we took our mum's ashes and took a long walk to a deserted stretch of the beach.  We started out walking together, but were lost in our own thoughts, and soon separated. 

The tide was receding slowly down the rocky beach, and the stones were still wet and shiny. We started collecting a few of the prettiest ones. We eventually stopped when we felt we were in a private spot, where the houses on the cliff were mostly hidden.  The ocean and sky were rather stormy looking, it was late afternoon. I wished I had thought to take a camera, but I hadn't.
 Our mother's ashes were released to the ocean. We threw our pretty rocks out into the water.

 Not far out the tip of a large rock was just poking above the waves. Behind it a little Bufflehead duck kept appearing. 'there's Mum' Cathy said. We shared tears and hugs and stood watching the waves until we were chilled right through. It was time to head back to the car.

My mother had kept in touch with a friend who lived across the road from us in England.  That friend Joan had two girls that were slightly older than Cathy and I, but we played together. Joan and my mum had kept in touch for more than 50 years.  We did visit them when we went back on holiday in 1969. Their letters had dwindled down to one a year at Christmas time.  My mum was struggling to write a letter in the New Year of 2015, as that was shortly after she had broken her hip.  I added a page of my own to the envelope going to Joan, explaining how things were with my mum.  This past Christmas, Joan's card was returned for some reason, so she wrote to me.  In the meantime my mum passed away.  Joan and I have exchanged a few letters, and Joan has an email address!  Her eldest daughter contacted me through Facebook, so we have been in touch as well.  I've also reconnected with a cousin through Facebook.  Cathy and I only have our own immediate families in Canada, and very little elsewhere, so to reconnect with friends and family back in England is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

One Windy Day

Image result for windy day free clipart
We had one heck of a storm come through on Thursday. Very high wind gusts in the early morning. I was laid in bed listening to the wind roar, and all of a sudden there was a loud crash close by.  I figured a large branch had come off the evergreen nearest the northwest corner of the house. That's a tree I don't worry too much about in a wind, because our strong winds almost always come from a southwest or southeast direction, and if that tree was going to go over it would fall away from the house.  Good thing, since our bedroom is at that corner.  Nothing big I could see in that direction, but when I looked to the southwest, there was a massive branch off the maple tree by the gate, resting on the power lines and a hedging cedar along the driveway.  

A couple of other things had sustained damage too.  This was a market tent that I had left up over the potting bench. The leg at the back left was still in it's original spot, but the tent had pivoted on that leg about 180 degrees, and there were all sorts of broken trusses.  I'm not sure if I can make it usable again.  So bizarre, because the last big storm we had in the summer, that tent never moved. I had a roll of bags hanging under it, and that had unrolled to make a long garland waving in the wind.

And the Costco canopy that we had over our old 5th wheel trailer hadn't moved then either, but this time it was toast. Stuff around it had crashed over, and the roof tarps all ripped, and the frame had come apart in many places.  I think the frame is salvageable, but the top certainly isn't.

So the first thing to do was to get the branch off the power line before it broke it. Larry was going to go up the ladder with the chainsaw, but it is really hard to maintain your balance while maneuvering the saw.  Since the branches were relatively thin(ish), and he is still supposed to be staying quiet after the eye surgery, I went up there with the loppers and the pruning saw and was able to cut the branches back from the line.

Somewhere along the way, my sister visiting from Ontario was rudely awakened by the sound of the chainsaw and thought she must have really overslept that morning, and then was shocked to see it was only just after 7am.  Our power was still on at this point, but she saw something weird happen with the clock radio in her room, and then there was a poof and a spark and a burning smell and the clock radio died.  Shortly after that the power to the whole house went out. 

The wind was still gusting wildly, so while Larry sawed, I watched to make sure nothing was going to fall on him, and he didn't saw while I was pruning, because I wanted to be able to hear the crack if another branch decided to come down.

Then we had a disagreement discussion as how/where to place the tractor to take the weight of the branch, and not manage to break the Shaw line (our internet) that had been partially ripped from the wire along the road, and was hanging low over the driveway.  

Concentrating on getting the tractor in the right position.  Looks like the front tire needs a little air!

We eventually decided to do it my way agreed and Larry got to work with the saw.

Cathy help to pick up wood and load it in the tractor bucket.  I split some of the smaller stuff, but the bigger rounds need to dry a bit first.

I checked with the neighbours, and their power was out too, so I knew the branch on our line wasn't the main problem.

The power came on that evening, about 11.5 hours later.  But things were kind of weird.  Some lights were really orange coloured. Some lights were extra bright.  Some lights blew out.  The surge protector on the computer just kept beeping and wouldn't let the computer be turned on.  We invited ourselves over to Meredith's for supper, and left most of the lights off when we went out. (In hindsight we should have stayed home, or turned all the power off).  When we got home, things were still weird.  A bit scary in fact.  We turned the main breakers off overnight.  In the morning things were still the same.  I got on the phone to BC Hydro, and of course because there were power outages everywhere, the wait to actually speak to someone was about 40 minutes.  She told me to go and turn all the individual breakers off, and then turn them back on, one by one.  If that didn't work, to call back.  It didn't work, so we left Larry holding the phone while we went with the dogs round the bush.  Not much damage out there, but another half of the maple tree that had come down with the summer storm, was now on the ground as well.  When we got back Larry said our problem was reported, and now we just had to wait for a crew to show up.  When we were out driving, there were crews still working all over the place.  Early this morning, while it was still pitch black,  I was woken by voices.  They were just down the road from us, but I couldn't see anything.  Shortly after diesel trucks started up and pulled out, and I looked out of the window again and they looked like electrical type trucks, but I didn't think they had done anything to help us. (Surely I would have heard them if they had been working at the bottom of our driveway. The bedroom window is wide open at night)  This morning Larry noticed that a small branch that had been hanging on our power line was gone, and when we walked to the bottom of  the driveway to look there were a few tire tracks in the shoulder.  What a wonderful feeling when we came back in and turned on a few breakers to see what would happen, and everything seemed to work.  The freezers all started up again, what a relief because when we had turned on those breakers yesterday to try get them to run for a bit, nothing had happened.  There are a few bulbs to replace, but otherwise it all seems good.

My sister pointed out that the last time she was here, we had the massive storm when our power was out for 30+ hours in total. Her last two visits here have coincided with the last two big storms we have had.  They say things come in threes, and Cathy is coming back in the summer.....