Thursday, July 31, 2014

E- Basketball in July

I'm glad that basketball is a winter sport. There's so much else to do in the summer that I often take a break for a few months. However, with the success of our camps, it's been hard not to spend more time in the I've stopped fighting it and started to embrace it.

We've got 3 weeks of camp this summer and all of them have been sold out. They're fun, and we've got great coaches, so it's not a big surprise but I really appreciate it.

One of my favourite things about camp is that we have more time (3 1/2 hours each day) to compete and play games we don't have time for during the year. Our shooting ladders bring out some epic competitions, as was evidenced by Finny and Ty this year. Cooper and Maia are battling it out in the dribble knockout final.

And Lucas was almost always a finalist in his age's dribble knockout game and on top of the shooting ladder. It was a special week for him because 7 other kids from his hockey team were at camp and he was the top dog on the court. Here he's battling against Sam.

Having Joey in town and staying with us for 3 weeks was as good a reason as any to play some basketball. In men's league the 2 of us subbed for Temo's squad and beat the first place team by 20. 

With the help of Navi, we put together a team for the Dolphin. With a mix of young(ish) and old, inside and outside play, we had a pretty nice squad. We managed to come together when we needed to secure a win over UBC in the semi-finals and the University of the Fraser Valley in the finals. 

It was a fun weekend which we managed to survive without a major incident, despite the fact that i was in the hospital twice on Sunday. After 48 hours of crippling vertigo, Les finally agreed to get it checked out...which did nothing for her. Joey had a freak accident where he tore the skin on his finger enough to require a couple of stitches. I have multiple scabs and bruises from falling and taking charges on the pavement...but this championship trophy makes it all worthwhile.

E- Whistler

Our weekend started with a fantastic 70th birthday dinner for Judy at the Pier restaurant in the Point Roberts marina. It was the perfect temperature, beautiful view and good food.

The next morning we dropped off Joey at the airport (our second extended visitor in the last 3 months) and headed up to Whistler to see the Ironman race.

It was hot, really hot, and the valley was full of people everywhere. There were over 2200 participants in the race, and many more around supporting them. Between the bike and the run portions, it was close to impossible to get around the village while biking...and even harder while driving.

Luckily for us, aunt Pat and uncle Geoff had a base for us to park and unload our bikes and room for us to stay. It was great to catch up with them after many years and reconnect with Whistler. Our whole family figured that it is even better in the summer than it is in the winter.

The best part is the bike trails that wind all over the valley. Our kids are the perfect age for exploring...but still need too many reminders to stay on the "right" side of the path.

The Ironman is a huge ordeal. Lukey is standing in front of the bike/run transition. It is an amazing organizational feat to have so many people go through so seamlessly...dumping their bikes and getting their running gear.

It took us a couple of hours to wind our way through the village and paths filled with marathoners, but we eventually made it for a swim at Lost Lake.

After some Splitz Burgers, we headed to the finish line to watch the drama of contestants sprinting the last hundred meters of a very long day. We stayed until about 10:30pm...which felt like a long day until we realized that these contestants had started racing 2 hours before we woke up and hadn't stopped once that whole time!

We woke up to another glorious day and headed out on the bikes again. This time we rode along the river of Golden Dreams to Meadow Park for fun at the water park and the least healthy snack imaginable: ice cream treats, pop and Doritos. Oh well, it's summer.

We managed to get 2 more stops for swims on the day. The first was here at Rainbow Park on Alta Lake.

The second was at Brohm I've driven by hundreds of times but never stopped at. We took our last dip of the day as the sun was setting. A perfect end to a short vacation.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beach Days

One of the nicest parts of summer is the long afternoons and evenings spent at my parents' place at the beach. Through pure happy serendipity, the other grandchildren of the beach cabins are a natural tribe for our kids. The hours pass as the kids wander freely up and down the beach and in and out of the cabins. It is an "old school" summertime.  

Since we still have some parental obligations, swims are supervised. Or maybe we just wanted to get some great pictures in the dusky light. 

These shots were taken at around 8:30 or 9 in the evening. You couldn't have paid me to swim. But there was no dissuading these guys. It was their third swim of the say. They were really squeezing the best they could out of the sunshine.

When I was their age, I was in and out of lakes. Fresh water...and even though I thought it was freezing cold, I am sure it was warmer than the Pacific. I have to hand it to them. It seems pretty hard core to me.

There is a magic that comes in clumps of kids that roam free. All ages and genders. An amorphous group that moves as one, somehow without words or (much) strife. Time slows down and speeds up. It is agony tearing them away each night, after a driftwood fire and s'mores, or after a late night play. The days of summer seem to last forever. Until they are gone.

Childhood is really just a blip. In hindsight, it lasts for such a short time. But it forms so much of ourselves. Long tendrils of childhood that float through the ocean of a life.

Hmmm, maybe it was the zen-like pose on the beach that has caused me to wax philosophic on the impermanence of the human condition.

Lukey loves Scout. I am not convinced that she loves him back quite as much...but she doesn't bolt when he approaches, so he takes that as a tacit approval of constant cuddles.

And about three minutes after they were out of the water, still towelling off on the sand, the sun was gone on another day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another day, another boat trip

Two years ago, the kids and I joined my dad at the Albin weekend (it's for people who own Albin boats, like ours) in Anacortes. This year it was planned for Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Since we love Roche Harbor, we figured it was a good time to hit the Albin weekend again. 

So, more packing, more laundry and more bins full of stuff to go in or out of the house. While I maniacally crammed things together to go, the rest of the family looked like this:

Meanwhile, outside there was major action: replacing the electrical pole that more or less fell on the house in the Spring. It involved removing a fence panel so the bobcat could come in and destroy our lawn and rip out our trees and bushes...oh, and replace the electrical pole.

We waited for Eric to get home from work, pushed the limits of how late we could reasonable leave, and finally we were off to Roche. We pretty much pulled into our slip just as the last of the sunlight left the sky. Either we were brilliant and timed it perfectly or else were really stupid and we got lucky.

Roche Harbor is pretty much paradise for boaters. There's tons to get out and see, lovely restaurants, great pool, quaint little stores and even two big bocce pitches.

Never let it be said that my family isn't competitive. Or at least, some of them are. Here is Finny making the case for HER ball being closest...looks pretty even to me.

Molly and I walked away. The rest kept playing.

We took a spooky walk to the McMillan family mausoleum. And along the way, we stopped to scope out the awesome little scooters they have for rent...they were crazy expensive and no doubt dangerous, but wouldn't that be a fun couple of hours tearing around on those things?

Molly got this great shot of a bee...

And then we finally reached the mausoleum. Molly was not a fan. She was freaked right out, actually. You can tell by her face in the picture below:

On the way back to the boat, we stopped at the sculpture garden, which was much more her cop of tea.

The garden was full of little details, including this sweet little hummingbird on the garden gate:

I snapped this picture of our little boat en route to the dock. It looks pretty good from this distance...

The heat was incredible. The last Albin weekend we had, we were ensconced in unbelievable rain. This time couldn't have been more beautiful. We spent lots of time reading and relaxing while the kids (especially Lukey) tried their luck at catching little fish. We also discovered a great evening pastime: shrimping on the pilings with a flashlight. When you shine a flashlight down into the ocean beside the dock pilings, you can spot dozens of little pink/yellow eyes staring up at you. Shrimp! A quick hand nets them. Then you spend a couple of minutes marvelling at their crazy, see-through little bodies and then back they go. It was fun.

The World Cup was on, so the kids were in soccer mode. We had a few games on the little nets set up in the field next to the pool.

Just like the real World Cup, our games seemed to always come down to shoot outs.

There was some controversy about where the kicks should start and how many legs the goalie could stand on (apparently only one...?!?!).

We watched the final game in the pub just before we left. Each of us picked a team at the start of the round robin (Eric had the Netherlands, Finny was Brazil, Molly was Germany, Lukey took Spain...then Mexico, then Costa Rica, then Belgium, then France and I had Argentina). So...the finals came down to me versus Molly and she came out on top. The prize is a big dinner from the winning country. I still haven't made Molly's victory dinner, but there will be schnitzel in our future...

We also logged some time by the pool, even though one half of the pool was closed due to a vomiting issue...

While they played, I read.

Roche Harbor doesn't disappoint.

Canada Day 2014 --- Wallace Island with the Warringtons, Part II

We decided to throwing ourselves fully into summer at the Point. A great idea, but an organizational achievement...and anyone who knows me, knows that organizational feats are not exactly my forte. Nevertheless, I found myself packing up everything we had so recently unpacked, separating everything into piles for the summer, for the boat trip and for storage. Phew. 

We got a late start on our Canada Day trip with Eric's mom, shooting off to meet the Warringtons a full 24 hours later than we thought. Better late than never, though. A true axiom in this case, since any amount of time we can snatch out on the boat with great friends, sunshine and the wilderness is time well spent. 

We weren't even finished rafting up with PAWS before the kids had pried the dinghy off the back of the boat and Finny was swimming. 

Finny and I are born on opposite sides of the calendar...she's a summer solstice baby and I am a winter solstice baby. That puts us naturally on opposite sides of lots of things and one of the most stark is Finny's love of cold water and my natural abhorrence of chilly swimming. This little girl hops into all water. I watch and shiver.

Not to be outdone, most of the kids ended up taking up the challenge and going for a sunset dip. Brrr is all I have to say about that.

Molly is smiling in this picture, but she said it was freezing!

Her mouth is smiling, but her eyes are begging to get out of the water. That's my girl!

The only cold liquid I participated in was a chilled beer.

The kids all have so much fun together. It is literally the easiest way to pass the time. One might be forgiven for thinking that eight kids increases the workload, but it really doesn't. They break off into clumps and disappear.

Finny performed her first flips of the season, first with a lifejacket, then without. She is fearless. I am not. I hold my breath each and every time.

And, just like last year, Canada was spent in and out of the water with flags and without.

And, again, just like last year, I was shamed/pressured into swimming. I remembered it as freezing cold. It didn't disappoint. Maybe even colder than I remembered.

It actually knocks the breath right out of you. I look mad in that picture below:

But you can't stay mad for long when you have great company and great weather. It's just about the best way to start the summer.

Interesting side note to the picture below. We wanted to get a nice picture of our whole family, so we gathered the troops around the Canada flag. Except, one troop went AWOL. We could not convince Lukey to get in the picture. Period. We tried calling, cajoling and good old shouting, but the little guy went down below in the boat and wouldn't come out. Who knows why. So, ALMOST the whole family with the flag.

Is there anything more Canadian, more summer or more fun than jumping into the ocean with a flag? No. There isn't.

We flipped for Canada Day (haha).

And a final sidenote: we managed to go through Active Pass at the worst possible time on our way to Wallace. We were in such a rush to leave and we didn't check the tide tables. We were mid-way through the pass when we noticed that we weren't moving. Or, if we were moving, it was backwards... So we gunned the engine a bit and managed to get going again. We had a bit of fun watching a much more powerful boat get stuck going up the middle of the pass. When we got to Wallace, Simon checked the tides and we went through at the absolute height of going against the tide. The good news is: on the way back we were with the tide. We hit a record 11.4 knots/hr. What a difference it makes going WITH the flow instead of AGAINST it. There's your metaphor for life for the day...

We stopped in at Miner's Bay on the way home for ice cream. It was a quick 24 hour trip, but there was lots of fun to be had...