December 10 What do we do when the weather turns REALLY FREAKING COLD? We hide in the house, stay in our pajamas until well after noon, play a lot of video games, do a few chores, poke at some of the leftover renovation tasks, paint a bit, read a bit, work on a jigsaw puzzle while we listen to the radio and drink hot coffee, and then curl up on the couch and fall asleep watching holiday movies. The thermometer dropped into the nearly minus thirty range, and the windchill made it essentially unbearable to even step outside to grab the newspaper. Tomorrow is supposed to be even worse: it makes me glad that I’m no longer training for a race… I might just sleep in.
The crew was meeting up at 10 o’clock for an eighteen klick adventure, so naturally…
Well, actually, I ran solo at nine.
My grandmother is turning 95 soon. Yeah, really. That’s possible. And also… that’s one-eighth of my genetics there, so yeah… fingers crossed I guess. Because life is busy in a few weeks on the real date we had a bit of an early birthday celebration for her. Steak. Cake. Balloons. A bunch of toddlers running about creating havoc. My house was a little busy at about the same time the eighteen klickers were likely rounding the last stretch and sprinting back to their cars.
So, yeah. I skipped that. Sorta. I ran early, in the cold, fast to get it done and because I’m already used to the warmer weather.
And because my grandma only turns 95 once. (Or, maybe twice… it wasn’t her REAL birthday, after all.)
I’m trying to start April off right.
The last few months have been a little weak on the running side. Yeah, I did that race in February, but other than that I’ve been sick, holiday’d and then been doing what feels like a lot of feet dragging.
April? Kick things back up. Get the old cardio on track and rebuild what withered over winter. The cold, cough, and flu are pretty much completely gone (*touch electronic wood?) and it’s time to start thinking about summer and beyond.
With that in mind, I trekked out on a 10 klick jaunt at a steady pace today. Nothing strange. Nothing special. Just a good solid run on a Saturday morning amidst the many other people enjoying what seems to be an early spring.
If I was a car, I would have had the windows rolled and the tunes cranked up. It wouldn’t have been much to turn heads, I admit, but I was enjoying it.
It seems like spring. I wore shorts for an eight klick run and I only had to leap over a few stray puddles. No snow. No ice. No blisteringly cold wind. It’s March. It doesn’t feel quite right, but I’ll take it.
I saw lots of birds in Maui, but I missed my magpies.
There is a stretch of trail along which I frequent, between the lake and the spray park for those who know my regular haunts, where I always –always– see magpies. It can be thirty below, and I’ll catch a glimpse of one in the trees. It can be thirty above, and there will be my little black and white pals poking for bugs in the sun baked soil. Always.
I pushed it today. I wanted to keep my pace below 6 min/km and didn’t even look at my average pace until I got home. And when I did look: fast. Thought while there was nothing magical about my 5:39 average today, it’s been a while –thank you injuries, thank you bronchitis, thank you winter– since I’ve seen anything longer than a couple klicks –or my typically fast January First run– with anything approaching that. So that felt good. It’s a confidence booster, for sure.
The first run of May and I turned it into an impromptu adventure.
The wind was blowing across the long, true stretch of path and I was plodding along at a respectable clip chopping through the crisp air and attempting to tune out the reality of the worldly frustrations that populating my days. Nothing but work and politics gushing through my mind, and not even some thrashing running tunes could edge out the bleed of societal angst. I try not to take this stuff personally, but I do. So I run.
I had trekked about four klicks from home and was contemplating the pros and cons of either turning around and going back or making a big loop out of it. Pretty soon it wasn’t going to matter either way. My anticipated casual five klicks has already turned into a speed (at least) ten.
I slowed a bit, and down into ne’er before noticed scrub path I lurched a few tentative steps before launching headlong into a sod-it-all-whatever trail run.
Down along a rough grassy footpath I went. Down into the wilderness hidden in the shadow of a blossoming suburb. Down into the trees. Down to the edge of the nearby stream, where I honestly stood, stopping the increment of my watch, while I contemplated, calculated, weighed and wondered if I should leap onto the wobbly rocks and bits of wood that had been constructed by past explorers as a kind of makeshift bridge. I would have certainly got my feet a bit wet, but the risk of actually falling in was far less than certain. My biggest concern was not the water, it was rather of turning my ten klick run into a twenty klick wandering adventure.
I consulted Google maps on my phone, noted that through the trees and up the hill was civilization, but not an ideal location to emerge for a speedy return to home, and instead back-tracked up the hill and back home.
Politics (mostly) forgotten. Sunshine achieved.
#100happydays #dailyhappy (10/100) …being woken up on a Saturday morning to a pancake breakfast and discovering it was the six-year-old who did the cooking.
“Daddy.” She whispers sharply into my ear, simultaneously nudging my shoulder and jostling the pillow. “I’m hungry.”
I’m (mostly) still sleeping, but the persistence in her voice tells me that this is not the first time she has asked. It’s shortly after six on a Saturday morning, the only day of the week when stealing a few extra winks is even remotely possible. Except it never is. “Go get a snack.” I deflect, hoping she’ll scurry towards the kitchen and find herself some dry cereal or something.
“Daddy.” She repeats. “I want pancakes. It’s Saturday.”
For three years, with only the rarest of exceptions, Saturday morning is pancake day. We get up. I make coffee. We assemble the ingredients while the cast iron pan warms on the stove. And by the time seven-thirty rolls around it is time to wake up mom and call her down for breakfast.
But it is 6:12,at least according to the glowing green numbers displayed on the alarm clock beside my bed. It is not 7:30. “Go back to bed.” I insist in the best dad-voice I can muster less than a minute after being woken from a rather peaceful slumber.
“I’m hungry.” She repeats.
“Then go make the batter yourself and call me when you are ready to cook them.” I suggest with only the faintest glimmer of a hope that my ploy for a few extra Zs will work.
But… footsteps, no reply, and for an imperceptibly short moment I drift back into the semi-consciousness of a desperate sleep-in.
When the muffled clangs and clatters filtering through the floor finally rouse me once again, I stumble downstairs to three sights: a somewhat messy kitchen, a nearly-ready-to-cook bowl of pancake batter, and a grinning six-year-old.
fostering independence, rule 006
opportunities are cooking everywhere: so sometimes just stay in bed
What’s a mixing bowl worth? Or a carton of spilled milk? She’d seen me mix the ingredients for pancakes so often that the recipe was grilled into her memory. The final batter was a bit runny, but in the end nothing broke. Very little spilled. And the beaming pride that bubbled even more than the hot flapjacks on the grill was worth the mess.
I could have been there to fully supervise and perhaps there may have been one or two fewer bits of eggshell in the batter, but there is learning to be had in taking risks. Just sometimes those risks involve sitting still and letting your daughter take over the tradition, even when breakfast is on the line.
I’m always working on some kind of little side project. It’s my compulsion. My writing and photography. Random coding projects. This blog. This month with the photo (un)project. And this post itself is even a kind of meta-project. Many of my little projects are creative endeavors ranging from those that are vague, floating ideas existing solely in my brain to those with more structure, for which a bunch of work has been done — but forever in progress. None have much hope for any real monetization as they mostly exist for my own use or amusement — and so I don’t mind sharing the details for readers to enjoy. They just are. They just exist. Fun. So, sharing those details? That’s what I’m going to do here.
Why, you ask? Well, it goes something like this…
In Decembers (since 2005) I spend a large chunk of time composing a large retrospective post for a grand New Years reveal, a glimpse back on my personal year and what I think I’ve accomplished. I’ve always enjoyed this, despite the work involved. And more a than anything I enjoy reading back over them years later and seeing how things have changed… ideas have changed… opinions… worries… woes… everything, really.
In Junes (since only this year, but it was such an awesome exercise and success I’m going to continue next year) I answer an introspective list of vague questions about my life, my universe, and my everythings, a new post each day which highlights the answer in whatever way I see fit to answer on that particular day. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this when I set upon it in a few months back, but I found it absolutely inspiring and was able to write some posts that turned out way more awesome than I’d ever have hoped, and still are now probably responsible for the new shape and feel of this blog since relaunch. Thus, repeat due next year.
But great as these things are, they only occupy a small fraction of my time and efforts here… which is a little sad. (And not that sarcastic-kind-of-sad either… more, frowny-face sad.)
As a consequence, I started looking towards some new ideas for a blog project I could do in between June and December — settling on trying for quarterly projects of this type — and (as September is quickly approaching) set my mind to something unique and equally self-inspiring as the other two months, but in September and March.
What I settled on (for September, at least) is The September Saturdays Stockpile of Silly Schemes, the idea being that, as the snowy winter approaches here in Canada, and I settle back into my frosty hibernation mode, burrowed indoors with plenty of cold nights to cuddle up with a blanket and a computer, my mind turns back to those little side projects I alluded to above: those creative endeavors that seem to change quite frequently, and for which I often make very little record.
This is going to be my record. One project per week with a post published on each Saturday of the month.
The September Saturdays Stockpile of Silly Schemes seeks to detail the spark, struggle, and stress of those projects. In each Saturday post I hope to reveal a bit of the speculation, study, and strategy behind one particular project, summarized in a week of thought but a single post. And in concluding each post, I hope to give you, my readers, a sense of the shape, status, and steering that I strive to send myself to some sense of success for those efforts.
(How’s that for some alliteration-laden descriptions?)
So, not quick daily posts. Not a big long post summarizing everything. But somewhere in between: a weekly post about what I’m working, why, and where I expect it to go… if anywhere. Watch for it here in a couple more weeks.
Saturday. Sitting on the front porch in my plastic Adirondack chair. Sparkle curled up in her bed (too much of a wimp to lay in the grass, of course.) The sun beats through the light smoky haze drifting in from some Northerly forest fire. The cars grind past, one every couple of minutes, beating their way to somewhere, who can say.
Saturday morning have become my free time. Claire has been taking a dance class. Karin takes her to the studio where she’s been a regular for a number of years now. Its been Claire’s first year. It’s a mommy-daughter thing. It suits me just fine to have a solid ninety minutes to myself every Saturday morning. Sometimes I do something productive. This morning I played Minecraft for half an hour, had a long shower, and now, sitting here, outside, sunning and writing.
Of course, having written that elusive post yesterday morning whilst sitting in Ikea — the lament to the mobile blog — I felt I should at least conclude the story. The rundown:
- we followed up Ikea with a trip to the greenhouse where I bought some fiddleheads-slash-ferns;
- we returned to the rec centre for a good forty-five minute play on the indoor playground;
- me made grilled cheese for lunch;
- I read in the hammock while Claire napped;
- we visited the library for some new books;
- we descended on Cobb’s (the bread store) for Claire’s favorite snack: chocolate chip scones; and then
- we came home.
…and then: *blink*…
Just like that they come home from the dancing class. And I’m stealing a moment — loading up the laptop, priming the wifi, tapping out conclusions — between errands, trips, hastily-tossed-together weekend plans to finish the last line in a blog post no one even knows I’m writing… no one, but me.
Is there really a difference between a stolen moment mobile… and a restful Saturday morning post?
Karin and I ordered “The Golden Compass” from the local Video-On-Demand service this weekend as we found ourselves sitting at home on a Saturday night with not much else to do. Since reading the book a couple months back I’d been anxiously looking forward to seeing the film adaptation, especially in consideration of its (a) Steampunkish aesthetic and (b) media controversy. I gobbled the book in a few days of dedicated reading, but (not wanting to fall back into my habit of acquiring plastic media discs en masse) needed to wait a month or so until the title showed up via my video distribution channels.
Karin found it. We ordered it. And we settled in to watch it.
About a third of the way into the flick, Karin looks at me and asks: “Is the book this choppy, too?” And that basically sums up my primary complaint about the adaptation. The book is a sprawling story of fantastic imagination, an instant classic that builds from humble origins and drives you forward through the plot with full intentions to uncover the layers of mystery and delicately shaded moralities of the characters.
On the other hand, the movie version — while very pretty, colorful, and full of marvelous effects — fairly starts with “the butler did it” and forgetting the mystery and delicate layering, proceeds to paint a picture of black and white morality whilst shuffling characters and plot bits into a confusing mishmash of an epic but uninteresting rescue story where only the ‘bad guys’ get hurt and everyone else lives happily ever after.
I’m glad I didn’t buy the DVD. And if you are one of those poor folks who watched the movie instead of reading the book, forget everything you saw and pick up the dead-tree version soon.
It looks like a nice day already. I think I might like to go somewhere interesting today. [insert contented sigh here] I think I hear the world calling.
“Yeah… uh… sorry to… uh… call so early, man, but I’ve… uh… been waiting here for a while… uh… now… and… uh…”
“Who is this?”
“Dude! It’s the… uh…. world. You said to like… uh… call you.”
“Just a second. Let me get my pants.”
It’s time for another installment of “Our Weekend” starring Brad and Karin.
Friday: After an extra long day of work, we wandered up to Starbucks at Kensington for a pair of lattes. I brought my book along, and we slouched in the comfy chairs as we each breezed through our respective chapters.
Saturday: Crawling out of bed at a pathetic nine-ish, we went for a bit of a run around the neighborhood. Karin did some housecleaning, while I went to get some groceries. Tobi stopped by for a bit, took Karin shopping, and then we all watched “The Butterfly Effect” at Silvercity before coming home and making homemade pasta with a heavy seafood sauce and eventually dropping by Dairy Queen for a ice treat.
Sunday: Even more laziness ensued as I found myself leaving the apartment once, and then only to trot over to the mall to pick up a new transit pass. The rest of the day was a mixture of dishes, trying to diagnose why the oven didn’t seem to be working, and barbecuing steaks in the single digit weather.
And now I’m tired. I only figured I should write to huh-zah the fact that Amazon sent me friendly note to let me know that they have shipped my copy of Red Dwarf seasons 3 and 4, and also to start the next topic for this week’s photo quest. I figured we’d go for something a bit bigger this week. Send me a picture of a scape — you know, like a cityscape, landscape, whatever. Same rules: to email@example.com