Saturday, June 27, 2015

24 is the number

No, not 2 dozen beer, though that would have tasted really good today. (hint.)

No, not a TV show.

Not a distance, or a time.

It seems lately the flyers are full of giant barbecues. Huge things, with a BTU rating about the same as the furnace in our house. Correspondingly expensive. Ours isn't big but get's the job done. While I was having a shady coffee this morning, I was wondering if Linda was suffering barbecue envy and was trying to encourage ours to grow.

The first lily is out. I just love this colour!

The trick to doing a long ride here is to hit the window between freezing cold and baking hot. By 8:30 today I realized I'd missed it. I still wanted to get a workout done, so running was it.

It was 24 when I started running today. At least that hot. 27 when I got back an hour later. For Calgary that is quite hot, and it's going to be hotter tomorrow. I think I will hide in the basement and do wine stuff. Mostly. The pool will feel good in the morning.

I used to turn into a puddle once the temperature got above 20 C. Then I started getting more active and gradually learned to enjoy getting sweaty. Not that there weren't some near breakdowns along the way.

Here's me fresh as a daisy at the start, and not quite so fresh afterward.

My thinking was in this heat if I did 8K I'd be pretty happy, and I sure hoped for at least 5. I turned the sound down on my phone so I wouldn't hear the pace numbers. I wanted to run what felt right. Like the swim yesterday I started tight, and gradually relaxed. By the time I was going past the Safeway on 24th, I was feeling relaxed and reasonably smooth. Going through Fish Creek was nice, but I gave myself permission to walk up the hill on the way out. Last time I could chug up the hill with my breathing pretty well at max, and recover at the top. My breathing was nearly there at the bottom of the hill, and it's in full sunlight with no breeze.

Once I was on top and heading home it was starting to fall apart. I was slowing down and I wasn't on top of my breathing anymore. At about 6.7 K I looked at my phone, and decided to call it at 7. There's no need to beat myself up on this. I'm not training for a run, and for me, there isn't much room between an easy run, a run that needs a bit of recovery, and a run that beats me up and leaves me bagged for a week. Even though I'm better in the heat, I still need to respect it. Today I landed just between those first two, which is perfect, but another K could well have put me deep into that third group.

The run ended up being 7K, 51:38. The first 4 K (1 up, 3 down) were great, running about a 7 min/K pace. Today that was just faster than a chatchatchat pace. Slowed down on 5, 6, and 7, and was breathing harder. I'm really pleased about it, and glad I wasn't going any further. I drank an entire bike water bottle during the run, and another within an hour of finishing. Glad I took it with me.

Since my run was mostly taking care of itself today, I was thinking about what condition my condition was in. (yes, for some of you that will cue a song in your head. Sorry about that.) Recently my low back has been feeling stiff and creaky. It comes and goes. Sitting too long doesn't help. Lately I've been standing at my work desk, and taking longer to warm up for workouts. It's been feeling like something in my hips or back would click if I could just stretch or twist right. I was almost there after my run. Rolling my butt over the softball helped, producing some interesting crunching noises, but no clicks.

Throughout my entire fitness odyssey I've had creaks and aches and pains, but once I got over the initial hump, running hasn't really hurt, unless I really pushed too hard. Biking has hurt, and I'm not talking about my crash. Several times various people have said take it easy on the run, but bike your brains out. I had to tell Dr Dale that running didn't hurt my knees, but biking did, and I don't think he believed me.

Lately I've been wondering how strong my butt is. Some of what I've been reading lately indicates that weak glutes are the root cause of lots of issues facing runners and bikers. There's lots of exercises I could do to help that, but I'm not really in a core workout kind of mind frame these days.

There's a very funny show called Coupling (the BBC version) in which one of the characters is obsessed with the size of her butt. She's convinced it grows whenever stops thinking about it. Many women seem worried about the size or shape of their butt, and the magazines are full of exercises to work on it. Which is an excuse to run a photo of a perky butt in booty shorts. Not so much for guys.

Plus there's the age thing. I know it's hard for some of you to believe, but I'm getting on a bit. Physically, anyways. (Mentally, I still wonder what I'm going to do when I grow up.) The research says it's harder to build and maintain muscle mass as you get older.  I'm certainly having trouble trying to get rid of the gut mass that I'd love to convert to muscle. One of the kindest things anyone ever said to me was that I did have a six pack, it was just insulated.

I was talking with one of my buddies about changing habits. Her husband has diabetes and has to check his blood sugar. For a while he was really good, and then he started slipping. Maintaining a habit is hard, especially when it's hard work. I enjoy getting out for a run, and even though intellectually I know doing the core work would help me run better, I blow hot and cold on it. I'll be good for a while, then it seems like something will come up. Again and again. Then I'm back to square one again. I've tried a planking streak several times, and I think the longest it's gone is a week or so. This is something that only takes me a minute, or 2 maximum, and I can't see to find time.

Don't get the idea I'm down on myself. Not at all. I know I'm in great shape for my age, and would like to be in yet better shape. Lots of the people about my age that I know can't do any of what I do. So I suppose if I compare myself to them, I look good. Once, however, I made the mistake of comparing my half iron times to my age group in Boulder 70.3. Holy crap. I'd be pack of the pack there. Even further back of the pack than I am here.

Then again, when I look at the two dominant mammals of the house, I'm doing it totally wrong.

Friday, June 26, 2015

An uninvited guest at Linda's buffet

Thursday, for a variety of reasons we went to Charbar in East Village. It's in the old Simmon's mattress factory building. It wasn't so long ago this building was fenced up, and the entire area was a no-man's-land where the homeless and the addicts fought for turf. It wasn't a place to be in broad daylight, and I can only imagine what night was like.

After decades of neglect the area is being spruced up. New buildings are going in. There is a young hip vibe happening. It's a nice place to be. The riverwalk is a wonderful place for a stroll. We were hoping for a table on the roof top patio, but it was all booked. We sneaked up their after dinner anyway, and it's really nice. There's a lovely view of downtown, and the river.

I'm not big on doing restaurant reviews, but here's a mini review. The food is all a la carte, and it's pretty good. The problem is that pretty good doesn't cut it for an expensive place. Once seated we waited for a while to get drinks, but after that everything else arrived in a quite reasonable time.

We talked about the niche they're trying to fill, and we aren't sure if they nailed it. For a dinner out, it doesn't quite work. For drinks with buddies, I'm not sure it works, since the munchies are decidedly non traditional. I'm sure there is a niche that doesn't mind dropping lots of money, but I don't know if enough of them will find their way there.

We likely won't be back. Not that we are unhappy, it's just that there are many other places to try, and some old favourites we haven't been to in a while. We got out of the habit of eating out when I wasn't working for a year, and Linda is a better cook than what the food indicates for many restaurants. And nobody does rack of lamb like I do.

The big thing is that when we (mainly Linda) cook, we know what's been done to it, how it's been stored, where and when it was purchased. There are many food safety regulations, and it's depressing reading how many places are written up for various violations. We can make it exactly the way we like, for the time we want, and in the quantities we want. I would be surprised to learn there is a restaurant patio with a garden as nice as ours. Doing dishes after is a small price to pay.

I did get a really good picture of Linda there, though, so there is that.

Here's the uninvited breakfast guest. Not shy at all about strolling up for a mouthful. It wasn't afraid of me, though it was wary. I didn't want to startle it onto the street where there were a few cars, and just our luck it would choose that moment to bolt.

 Later in the day my neighbour texted me that it was snoozing over by the skateboard park. Here's the actual bit of breakfast.

Swim warm up took a long time. A really long time in the dive tank, slowly working it, and undoing the creakiness. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure feeling beat up. Then one of the swim teams left and we got into the 25 m pool. I banged out a 18:10 1000m so I'm really pleased about that. Fastest in a long time. Considering I could barely walk getting into the building, I was happy with the race pace flip turns. Well, all but a couple of them.

And then TEDxYYC. I'm glad I went. Most of the talks were good, though I should have worn my ear glasses. I found it very hard to make out the person talking about printing 3D food. I was fascinated by the guy who had a brain tumor the size of an apple, discovered accidentally. There was a 30 second time lapse video of the tumor being removed. His talk props were a 3D skull made to be a model of his, with a flap showing where they cut his skull open, and a bright red blob of something to represent the tumor. He called for more open medical data, and got the only standing ovation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tough love from the lane ropes

I suppose they're not really ropes anymore. These are hard plastic disks to break up waves, mounted on a wire, strung between the ends of the pool. The idea is to mark out lanes so we can swim in an orderly fashion. At least I didn't leave any blood behind in the water, but I think it was a near thing.

Monday swim was good. 250 or 300 m warmup, then 10 x 100 on 2 min, all in 1:50 or so, (long course). Then 3 x 100 hard, aiming for 90 seconds, and not quite making it, but with a bit more rest. Some cool down.

Today I watched fast Ed in the next lane. Zoom. I started good, and then settled into a struggle to keep form. The water feel kept coming and going over the first 1500 m, and was totally gone for the last 500 m. Barely did it under 40 min, long course. At first I was dodging a breast stroker, but there was lots of room to pass.

The hard part was I kept drifting into the lane rope, and my wrist was getting bashed up. Of course this interrupted my stroke, but I can't solely blame the lane marker. My swim felt clunky and weak. At one point my kick just stopped for no apparent reason.

The ultimate privation was having to make do with the small hot tub because they were cleaning the big one. The swim team was pretty cranky about that. It is very interesting listening to kids in high school talk about their lives. One of them was talking about transitioning his grandparents from cable to getting TV over the internet. It was a bit of a shock when he mentioned their ages (barely older than me) and being totally clueless about technology. They asked, he said, and I'm not sure I believe him, to hook up their old VCR so they could record stuff and watch it later.

Tonight I was all geared up to go for a run as I left work. Somewhere during the drive home the desire just ebbed out of me. By the time we got home I wanted a nap. I think I'm going to read a bit and go to bed.

Here's the white peony opened up a bit more, with the image tweaked in Snapseed. Photos of flowers is one of the times I wish I had a real camera with a good lens.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A quiet summer evening

I'm writing this after a wonderful dinner of BBQ salmon w herbs and a sauce made with fresh organic  bruschetta left over from yesterday, complete with a nice salad, a deep amber Pinot Grigio, and I LOVE ROCKY ROAD ice cream. (Yes that is sung to Weird Al.) Eaten in the back patio, looking at garden with lots of blooms. The cats are on their harnesses strolling around with their little sniffers going full speed.

The temperature is perfect for sitting and finishing the last of my wine. I can hear the traffic out front of course; there's a lot of it because of a kid's soccer game, but right now it's somehow distant. There is a faint sound of jet planes. The only thing that would make it better is the sound of a big old radial engine aircraft droning along. That's something I remember from childhood and it's one of the things that means summer to me.

It's been a busy month at work as the project team winds down. Penn West has most of next week off, what with the stat and the office closed the next two days. Most people are taking off the Monday and Tuesday as well. I'll go into the office Monday since I'll be downtown to swim anyways, and I'll be leaving early Tuesday. Lots of people are out in the field this week, so right now it's sort of a peaceful interlude, like taking a deep breath before diving into the temporary madness that is Stampede. The tourists are already invading.

So I'm glad to sit and write quietly. Now I can hear bees buzzing as they work on the flowers. That's a very soothing sound. Celina doesn't yet realize she is tangled, and so is sitting there peacefully. The white peony has begun to bloom. I need more time like this.

Just lately it seems like things have been moving faster and faster. Every 5 minutes I'm plugging something into my phone calendar, and if I ever lose it I'm doomed. Usually that's a sign for me that I need to take some time off, unplug, and relax a bit. Maybe the extra days off next week will help, but Stampede isn't exactly relaxing time. I think back to the various forms of foolishness I've witnessed over the years (none of it in a mirror), and wonder what it will be this year. I'm sure it will be something. Maybe I need to spend more time sniffing the peonies.

Activity stuff:

  • Did I mention I won TEDx YYC tickets from the famous Neil Zellor? That's where I'll be Friday afternoon. Let me know if you're going too and I'll look for you. 
  • We are already starting to plan out Beakerhead activities. I might need to take that week off. 
  • Global Fest. Anybody want to join us?
  • There's Illuminasia at the zoo. Anybody to see that?
  • We haven't been to BBQ on the Bow in years, and want to do that again.
  • There's the Slow Food Festival, again, it's been years.
No doubt there is more. All I need to do is survive my 70.3 swim. This is my only race so far this year, and I'm not feeling any pressure to sign up for more. I have the best race buddy ever, and it's  going to be awesome.

We were all distracted in the office today for a little while. First there was the roar of motorcycles. About a dozen of them zoomed down 9th ave, then a motorcade of 7 cars, with some following police cars. Then a little later they zoomed up 1st street and swooped in to double park in front of the Palliser Hotel. We were all wondering who was going to get out, or get in. But no, it was just motorcade practice for the police. Either it's been a slow week, or important guests will be coming soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Days of wine and lilies

Hmmm, doesn't quite scan. Oh well.

A busy wine weekend, bottling 2 reds, racking and stabilizing another, and starting a white. Some of it with Curtis supervising.

The Volcanic red was 30 bottles and a slurp from the siphon, just enough to know it's really good. A little sweet, a little fruity, a little tart. Can't wait for my first glass. Normally after bottling there is a partial bottle left and we try that with whatever is on the menu that day. Linda gave me the sad big-eyed look when I told her there wasn't any left over.

Then 29 bottles and several slurps for Linda of the Super Tuscan. I'm a big fan of the Super Tuscan. What am I saying? I'm a big fan of a lot of Italian, Spanish, and South American reds. No, I didn't step on Curtis throughout the process. Later he took a more dominating position on the sink.

Linda has been hard at it, trying to get the last of her lilies and other plants into the garden. She has had them in temporary pots. The main beds need to be amended and have lots more soil added. She has used up a whole big bag of garden soil compost mix, and we've ordered another. A big bag is a hair over .75 cubic meter. Seems an odd size to sell.

Here's an assortment of various garden shots.

Linda did this bit the other day. The day lilies look a little sad, but they'll perk up.

The flowers in the back garden look very happy, and well they should be!

Last year the day lilies in these front beds looked much the same as the scraggly transplants.

The mint is happy and attracts lots of bees. To the right is the latest bit of soil amending.

The red and white peonies are about to bloom.

The temporary pots with just a few lilies left.

One of the big ceramic pots in the front patio.

Another view of the recently amended soil with a few plants so far, and I think more going in there.

Another view of the front after more soil amending.

Don't ask me what they all are. I love lilies and can recognize them 4 times out of 5. The peonies I know because there's two, and they've been there a long time. Other than that, I don't know. You'll have to ask Linda.

And lastly, one of Celina writhing in a patch of sunlight.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A mind full run

Such a lovely day for a run. Not too hot, not too cold, just a light breeze, clear deep blue sky.

What with one thing or another I haven't run up towards the reservoir for a long time. After the presentation about the ring road I knew I had to get up that way again before construction. Today was the day. I had lots of things going through my mind, but it was in a relaxing, thoughtful way, not a frantic one thing after another.

My pacing helped. I was determined to keep it nice and easy, so I slowed down when I could feel myself breathing harder. So, 10K, 1:11, pacing very steady, up to the reservoir and back. My legs felt pretty happy about the run, no niggles, good turnover.

I started out thinking about the changes that will happen. Right now it's a wide open green space between the back fences of homes and a fence line that marks the start of the Tsuu T'ina land. The pathway runs near the fences and the rest is a grassy area with lots of paths, and a bit of a pond in one place. There's always a zillion dogs there, running and playing, doing doggy-human things.

The land swap means the actual roadway will still leave some green space between the homes and the road, less near Anderson, and much more near 90th Ave. Now as you run along all you can hear is the sounds you make yourself, other walkers, runners, cyclists, and dog walkers. Maybe a lawn mower. You'd have to listen carefully to hear the hum of the city. Soon it will be construction noise, and then traffic noise. Sigh.

It was so nice to run along and enjoy seeing the various greens. Grass, domestic and wild. Various kinds of trees. I didn't actually run right to the water; I turned left and ran towards Weaselhead, then came back along the short cut path.

The other bit of thinking was a new scene that's been going through my mind. I started wondering when it happens in relation to other events in my novel universe, who she was with, and what happenes next. It starts with Elbow Drive.

Calgary's Elbow Drive is interesting. From downtown, it winds along the Elbow river. (You are shocked and surprised, I can tell.) Expensive homes on the right. Then the river goes away, and you see more classy expensive homes on both sides. Stanley Park. Just before 50th Ave is an old fashioned shopping district. Mostly independent shops, such as Village Ice Cream, Owl's nest books, and a nice small chain grocery store and deli. This is the original Sunterra market. The only real blight is a Starbucks, but that's just me.

Heading south more, still some nice big (huge!) lots on the right with expensive homes slowly being broken into multiple residential buildings. They back onto a super-ritzy golf club. One the left is an actual affordable neighbourhood for people like us. Over Glenmore trail, and the homes get younger. Still nice homes, built for bigger families. A strip mall across from a school. Then it turns into a suburban road, access to various subdivisions of more modern housing. Much less classy. Past Southland with a big shopping centre. Past Anderson and housing that's almost low rent. If you stay on the road you end up in a parking lot and bus turnaround right in Fish Creek park.

My scene is Elbow drive in a slightly sideways world. A street of classy homes, old, old wealth, with  a sleepier version of our Elbow River. Distinguished immaculate landscaping that speaks of constant professional care. No weekend weed and feed lawn care here. The road isn't a dead end, but leads to the same park, only this is almost a private enclave. There's no gates, no obvious security guards, and no signs, but driving down the road just isn't done unless you live there, or are an invited guest. The people that live here like their privacy as they go about their business of running things. Various corporations, the city, province, and country. Other, perhaps less savoury enterprises that are even more private.

What does my protagonist discover? I had a wonderful time thinking about this as I ran. Several ideas came to me, and I happily explored them. Yes, I've made notes. This might be the beginning of NaNoWriMo planning.

In another blog I've mused about last times. Often we don't know when the last time for something is. I'm pretty sure I'll run this path again before the construction starts, but one of my thoughts is that life is uncertain. I was trying to see it with new eyes, simultaneously looking at it as if it was the first time, and treating it as if it were the last time.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A quickie

  • 15x100 long course on 2 min, most about 1:50. Felt great!
  • ran 3K 19:21. My legs really wanted to run, but my lungs weren't so keen. Felt good!
  • Yoga really took it out of me, even though it was last class so our choice.
  •  BBQ rather than run. Saw the big clouds and was intimidated, then it was nice out.
  • Swam, stroke improvement in the dive tank, working on water feel.
 Lots to do this weekend. Then another week and the month will be over. The end of June already, how can that be? Only a month till race day. My swim is not as strong as I'd like it to be.

Monday, June 15, 2015

TRC, part 1

In order for me to find out what I think of a complicated issue, I have to write it out. Sometimes I've surprised myself. Some of this is tough and complicated and nuanced, but stick with me and I'll play you out with music.

A couple weeks ago Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released it's final report, after years of testimony. I've heard some of the stories on radio and they're heart breaking. I've skimmed through the report, and it's tough reading. Not that it's buried in typical committee-ese, no. On that front it's well done. But wow, it's hard to read the details of what was done. Necessary, but hard. I'll be slugging through it.

The issue has been bouncing around in my head for a bit, and a tweet today twigged me to write, and not just 140 characters minus addressing.

So I will. First off, I've no objection at all to a discussion about renaming the bridge. Just so that's clear.

Let's start by wondering a month ago, how many Calgarians including those of native heritage knew that the Langevin Bridge was named after Sir Hector Langevin, one of the father's of Confederation? Not me, it's just a name. Not you either, I'm pretty sure. Ok, Harry the Historian did. Maybe some history buffs too.

Now the harder question, how many knew he was instrumental in setting up the residential school system? Quoting from the report, Langevin argued "...if you wish to educate these children you must separate them from their parents during the time that they are being educated. If you leave them in the family they may know how to read and write, but they still remain savages, whereas by separating them in the way proposed, they acquire the habits and tastes—it is to be hoped only the good tastes—of civilized people."

By today's standards that's a horrible racist thing to say. By the standards of his day, the 1880's, that was run of the mill talk for Victorian England and their Empire builders. Many of them honestly believed they were doing Native peoples a favour by educating them and introducing them to Christianity. We see now the results of their works, and have to clean up after them.

Historians argue about how to judge the actions and motivations of historical figures. Do we recognize them for the good they did (by today's standards) and overlook their baggage? Do we judge that baggage by today's standards, or in the context of their time? Does it count if they carry less baggage than their contemporaries? Is a little bit of baggage ok if you did great things? What about more baggage, and semi-great things? Where's the line?

As for Mayor Nenshi wanting a meaningful symbol of reconciliation, this is complicated. I can appreciate that he wants to do something, and wants to prod the City into doing something. My problem with symbols is that all too often they are an empty substitute for something actual. Look at the many solemn treaties that were signed, actual legal documents all of them, and how they were ignored.

Let's imagine for the sake of discussion that Calgary opens talks with the various nearby Native groups. Let's further imagine the talks are fruitful, there is a proposal for a change, and it sails through whatever process the City has to go through to change the name of the bridge. (It only took most of a human lifetime to sort out a roadway, but let's be optimistic.) There is a renaming ceremony with all the appropriate people involved. Yay us!

What then? If there are other named structures with names discovered to be offensive, we will have a dandy process for consultation and changing it. But the name change itself is essentially meaningless.  Some people will still call it the Langevin bridge out of habit or bloody-mindedness. Some will make a point of using the new name, appreciating the symbolism. Many, I suspect, will use the name with no further awareness beyond, "oh yeah, something Native," exactly the way they describe traffic on Deerfoot Trail.

At best it's a start. In that sense, I agree you have to start somewhere. They say when you're stuck in a pit, the way to start is to stop digging. Fair enough, but we're talking an awfully deep pit here. It's going to take more than renaming a bridge to rebuild trust.

At worst, well, I'd rather not go there. I'd like to believe that things can't get worse.

There was a newspaper cartoon from many years ago. I believe it was Rodewalt, but I'm not sure. The occasion was handing back land to the Tsuu T'ina nation, that had been used by the military for training purposes . The cartoon shows a frowning chief in ceremonial headdress looking out over a war torn landscape. An enlisted man is saluting, saying "General, sir, the chief here says we aren't gonna get our damage deposit back."

I've said this before, but to me the key to the whole issue is how to move forward in such a way that we aren't just doing it to Natives all over again. The report is full of what Canada and Canadians should do. How do we make amends without burying them in paternalism? How do we get to a point where it isn't "us" doing something for or to "them", but rather us all doing something for all of ourselves?

I'm a business process analyst. I build maps, processes, and look for gaps. We are here, in this situation, call it "as-is". We want to be over there, in a situation described this way, call it "to-be". There is a new technology with these features, to be used in the new process like this. We start this way, then do these steps. Training. Change management. Milestones.

Maybe it's in part of the report I haven't read thoroughly yet. I want to see practical steps that leads to Native kids educated in their own culture, and learning the skills necessary to get along in the modern world. I want to see the number of Native people in jails and homeless shelters be in proportion to their proportion of the overall population. (That's while such places still exist, I'd love to see homeless shelters as they exist today be shut down for lack of homeless people.) I want to see a Canada that fully and wonderfully reflects our unique founding heritage, Native, French, and English.

Maybe it's a failure of imagination on my part that I can't see how to get there. Maybe Nenshi is right, going through a process to rename a bridge is a first step, leading to a better place. Maybe inviting the Federal MP's to the ceremony will light a fire under their butts and get them doing something productive, rather than the shameful silence Harper has imposed on them.

I said I'll play you out with music. This is my favourite version of Oh Canada. Sung by Asani.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I took apart a printer cassette player combo

Good thing I didn't have to put it back together again.

That was the best part of the week, after a so-so swim on Monday, and a good run on Tuesday. Bailed on Wed morning swim, got pummeled in a massage, and just scrapped through yoga. It was a very tough work week for a lot of reasons. Considering I'm often not in the office at all on Friday afternoons, and out by 3 when I am, you'll know it was bad when I tell you I was still there at 5 pm. Yes, I had a big glass of wine waiting for me at home.

But Thursday was fun. We went to the adults only night at Spark, the local science centre, and had an excellent time! For locals, this is well worth doing, if you haven't. There are lots of hands on displays, and it was great to see adults wandering around playing with stuff. There was a table full of electronic stuff that you could take apart, or you could build something.

I was looking at what I eventually figured out to be a combination half size printer, and cassette tape player (do I have to explain what they are?). When I couldn't figure out how to take it apart in a few seconds, I got intrigued. A staff person told me it had been sitting there a couple of days with nobody getting into it. Yes, they supply tools. Once I got the cover off it was mostly straightforward. I got a whole new appreciation for how stuff is put together, and how it was designed in the first place. Here it is in progressive stages of dismemberment.

And Linda, cuddling one of the steel dinosaurs. The display is extremely well done! Even though you know they aren't bones done in plaster or whatever painted to look real, but rather scrap steel, they looked appropriate. Not real, but realistic. The various claws and teeth looked particularly efficient. Even better, you could pull on cables for some of them and make them move. Fascinating.

Lately I've become interested in crows and ravens. They are extremely smart birds, and there was a huge crow model as well. I suppose model isn't the right word, given it was about 10x bigger than any crow. Something like this would make a great prop in a horror movie. Zombie Crows. I should write out a script and become a millionaire.

Friday I was in the dive tank for stroke improvement, watching Talisman getting set up for a swim meet. I love seeing kids so active, and going through the various drills beforehand. I even picked a quarter off the bottom of the dive tank. Rich!

Saturday Sophia, Michelle, and I were out for a short easy run in Fish Creek. Longish walk to warm up, I ran a hair under 5 K in 40 minutes at a nice chatchatchat pace. Here's the semi-obligatory shoe selfie.

Fish Creek was as lovely as ever!

Afterward they came over to our place and tried the Death Wish coffee, and liked it. See my review from last weekend here. It was lovely to sit, sip, and chat more.

And back to work tomorrow, yes, Sunday. I just hope the testing goes quickly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Good click, bad click

I was getting changed for a run after getting home from an open house about upcoming construction. There I was swinging my right leg gently back and forth, and I got a quiet, but distinct good click from my back. Then as I was limbering up my knees doing a squat, there was a click out of my left knee. Standing up it felt like a very bad click. My first couple of steps were very wonky as I walked around the house.

It settled down, and after a few more niggles and a bit of complaining I headed out, first walking, then running easy. I was getting some odd sensations in my quads, but nothing bad, and no further complaints from my knee.

30 minutes, 4.35 K. I never felt really smooth, but chugged along, gradually speeding up. At 3 K I picked up the pace a bit, but that only lasted 250 m or so. Overall it felt pretty good.

There is a lot of construction happening in our area over the next several years. The upshot is that if you like running or biking along the 37 St path between the reservoir and Fish Creek, or in the Weaselhead, you'd better get your fill this year. A freeway is going to go in starting 2016 sometime.

The only surprise about this is that its happening, but the theory has been there since the mid 60's. Discussion has happened in fits and starts, but mostly waiting, until very recently. Then the province and the Tsuu T'ina cut a deal on a land swap to clear the path.

We went to the open house to see information about a pedestrian bridge over Anderson Road. This is the first we've heard of it. The last plans I saw had the bike path integrated with the various fly over lanes somehow. The location is marked on one of the maps below. It's quite a nice bridge, and will be better than the current level crossing. It should be done by the end of 2016. Me and some run buddies might have to do some planning and checking before heading out starting the end of this summer.

There was also lots of information about the ring road. Here's some photos on the parts nearest us, but there's a lot more to the project. I was going to comment on them, but then I realized if you live here, you know the area. And if you don't live here, my telling you about it isn't going to help.

The bridge being put across Anderson looks quite nice. I voted to paint it plaid, but I don't think that went over very well. I think our house looks quite handsome in this photo.

This one is the one that worries me the most. Just where the red line crosses 22X in the lower centre part of the photo is exactly where a zillion bike riders park and want to start their trip down Road to Nepal, or out 22X. The old 37 St is going to be closed. This is good in one sense, since it's the scariest piece of road I bike on. But after all this is done, it's going to be very difficult to ride from our house down to a part of 22X that isn't a superhighway. In fact, I think it's going to be impossible.

The only upside for all this is that our commute downtown isn't going to be impacted.

Monday, June 8, 2015

You might be mistaken

If you've read the last couple blog posts, they've been topical. Coffee and wine. No politics recently, though there's been rumblings. You might think that's all that's going on.

But no. Saturday I was out for the nicest ride in years! In bullet points just for variety:

  • 48 K in just over 2 hours nice and easy.
  • Mostly out and back on 22X.
  • Perfect day for a ride.
  • My bike fit is feeling good.
  • Felt strong and smooth.
  • My legs ended the ride feeling better than the start.
  • My low back and hips were feeling it a bit, but no worse than the start.
  • Great company!
  • Nailed nutrition and hydration.

Sunday I was out for a great run! More bullet points:
  • 8 K, 58 minutes.
  • Trying to run relaxed and easy, long slow pace.
  • Even on the way back, up hill, I was just a little faster than chatchatchat pace.
  • Farthest I've run at once since mid February.
  • Warmest run in a long time, dare I say, hot even. 
  • I was getting pretty warm at the end, and I felt the very beginnings of that hot feeling rising up from my chest, neck into my face.
  • My legs felt really good throughout, only a few tiny niggles.
  • I love to run down in Fish Creek!
  • Nice walk to warm up and cool down, such as it is.

Monday I was in the pool, and not so much to say about that. I had a whole 50 m lane to myself, and once Katie left, I had the whole pool to myself. However I couldn't really enjoy it. The water feel was very elusive, so much so that I was swimming very slowly, and breathing way too hard for that pace. In the end I took it for what it was, and didn't push too hard. It was really hot last night and I didn't sleep all that well, so I'm going to blame that.

Saturday was a busy day puttering around, and other than the run and a few little things, Sunday was a peaceful quiet day, trying to to move too much during the heat of the day. This summer thing is lovely, and I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

I've been getting some amazing readership numbers. Blogger is telling me page view numbers I don't believe. Is anyone else getting these huge spikes?

I've had a couple ideas for my novels, but nothing had really quite worked out yet. I've got a great scene in my head. I love it, but I'm not sure where it's going. Maybe like so much of my writing I have to start writing it down, and let my characters discover what happens next. Maybe then I'll know where it goes. My mild fear is that it doesn't fit into anything that I have on the go now, and it's the start of a new novel.

While I was working on that, there were cats. Curtis's paw is looking much better, and such a good kitty, he eats the pills out of my hand. He thinks they are treat crunchies.

And dessert! Raspberry Cardamom ice cream with organic strawberries. Plus wine, of course.