Thursday, December 25, 2014

All I Want For Christmas

I know what you're thinking. He's going to wish for some old Italian bike with a classic steel frame and parts you've never heard of. Sorry, not this time.

Watching someone else's grandkids squealing as Santa appears out the living room window was hard. It was supposed to be me in that suit but the fit was just too tight and we had to call in a quick substitute. I'm not sure it would have been any easier behind the fake beard. All night long my thoughts were of what Cullen would be doing if he were there. Running endlessly around the island chasing cousins, giggling until they all ended in a pile. Shyly taking his present from Santa but not quite trusting him. Or sneaking one more cookie while everybody was watching.

I just have to keep reminding myself that it is what it is. They are out there because that's where the work is and their lives are so much better for it.

Yeah, but it still sucks sometimes. Merry Christmas.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, December 22, 2014

Northwood Christmas

The last weekend before Christmas saw most teams missing players and in Brandyn's case it provided a dream come true. Don't ask me why but he wants to be a goalie. He came close to quitting hockey if he couldn't be a goalie but we came to a compromise where he practices with the goalies in the hopes of being prepared to take on the loneliest position in hockey next season.

With far less practice than even he knew he needs, he got his chance to play a game as the team's goalie was away for the holidays. He ended up with 20 saves in 23 shots and a tie, but really wasn't challenged by the older lines. Two breakaways against the older kids saw a nice pad save and a missed call by the ref as the clank off the back part of the net was misread by the ref and not counted. Well they say you have to be lucky to be good...

Sunday saw our annual Christmas party complete with a visit from Santa and Wolfie, the LU Thunderwolves mascot who is always a hit with the kids. A parent donated an iPad to our Shelter House food drive and along with a huge pile of food we collected $225 which will be donated as well. Lots of new people expressed their happiness with the league as we skated and chatted. We've got a few more weekends of regular season games and then the playoffs will kick off in late January. Fore the next few weeks I'm going to enjoy a break from the rink.
lining up to meet Santa

Wolfie might need a new tail

showing off my Hero of Play Team Canada jersey

Friday, December 19, 2014

Year End

As the end of another year approaches with blinding speed, I am trying to get back to actually writing something. Anything. It has been so long and I find I miss it more and more, so beware this will be a lengthy post.

Biking is more or less relegated to the indoor variety. I was trying to continue commuting but the weather actually got too mild. Wet pavement is tough on the studs and they do nothing in slush. Snow takes about four days to be cleared from the bike paths so walking has become my mode of transportation. I really don't mind. I can still ride the trainer and have done so a few times a week. The Sekine MR300 frame I picked up for the 105 parts works perfectly and it's semi-permanently setup in a small bedroom complete with a fan and speakers. Facing the chilly start to a ride in shorts in the basement was a hindrance last year but the bedroom is nice and cozy. Netflix helps pass the time.

On the hockey front, I am enjoying my new role as statistician for Lakehead Minor. No more voting pressures and I still feel I'm contributing. I have learned a lot about spreadsheets from keeping the Novice player stats. As for Northwood our first year with an executive has been challenging. It is far more difficult than I ever imagined. Knowing when to jump in and help or step back and allow people to make rookie mistakes, and there have been a number of those, has caused much stress. The 112 kids are having fun by all reports so despite what's going on in the background, the main priority is being taken care of. One more set of games, $7000 worth of fudge to distribute, a Christmas party and then a nice long break that I am looking forward to. My return to coaching has not been the enjoyable experience I remember. Most of the kids refuse to listen to anything and only working one on one with the youngest players has provided any feeling of accomplishment.

I'm on the down slope of the weight roller coaster currently. The new year can't come fast enough for that battle. A combination of weather (again) and a return of pirifomis syndrome, the literal pain in the ass that feels like sciatica, curtailed a lot of the riding I would normally have done this year. I surpassed 5200 km in 2013 and only managed 3800 this year. I have already started planning some long rides for next year so once the holidays are over the roller coaster will start another trip up the long climb to lose weight.

While I did not relish going to the basement in shorts to ride a bike, I do love going down there into my little garage full of bikes. I have rigged up a stand that hangs from the rafters, assembled my tools and fixed a few lights. There are not many repairs or adjustments I can't take on and the lack of a specialty tool or two is the only hurdle I can't get over. I can always borrow something from Petries or just take the stubborn part there to use the tool that is not needed often enough to own. An hour working on one of my bikes passes the time like nothing else, other than maybe riding them. Put on some jazz, brew a cup of coffee and then just tinker for a bit and the afternoon is gone. When hockey induced stress is high, I grab an allen key and search for a bike that needs some attention. It's cheap therapy and I'm running out of things to fix so feel free to drop your bike for a tuneup.

In a few days AJ and Jess will be in town for the holidays. It has been quiet around the house since they moved, not that they were noisy by any stretch, it is just noticeable that Sal and I are on our own for the most part. The 'quiet' is interrupted briefly each week by Brandyn. He's not a loud kid either but having him around breaks things up for everybody. Unbelievably his teenage years are getting closer and some of the attitude that comes with those years seems to arrived a little prematurely. Still not a bad kid, just trying at times. Cullen and Campbell are distant but the magic of facetime keeps them almost close. We see them a few times very week so at least when we do get to Calgary they will know our faces. It gets harder to be this far away as time goes by, especially at this time of year. What I wouldn't give to be able to be sitting in Calgary one morning next week.

What I'm into currently
Beer: Sleeping Giant Brewery's Coffee Vanilla Porter
Bikes: Any and all, but mostly my 1988 Marinoni
Books: Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, Lee Childs Reacher series
Coffee: Kicking Horse Coffee's 454 Horsepower, fresh ground and brewed in the Aerospress
Music: Rdio online streaming lets me listen to almost anything anytime anywhere