On Turning 4

zacharie 4th birthday

20110529 vancouver weekend - 45

You are the craziest, silliest person I have ever met. The most inspirational energy I have ever come into contact with.

You won’t eat pasta that has touched the smallest spec of sauce, but will jump up on a stool to stir the batter for anything that goes into the oven.

You love treasure hunting, Diego, movies, iPads, playing soccer, digging in the garden and your baby brother. Watching the way you take The Chooch under your wing protecting him from all harm and smothering him in hugs gives me hope for the future. You are very very caring and empathetic.

Whenever we’re out you’re always worried for the well being of others and will stop any other child to tell them what’s up. You will tell anyone who stops to give you a smile a story and share with them the adventures of your day.

You’re taking tumbles, art class, soccer and swimming lessons this spring and love all of them.

You love playing road hockey and insist “I’m Daniel, you’re ‘Berto” to me, but as the Vancouver Canucks are on the edge of the Stanley Cup Final, you still won’t sit and watch the games with me. You get upset if anyone stops a kick or shot you’ve fired at the net. You tell stories of visiting other planets and if something is going to take an amount of time it always takes “25 seconds.”

You are my chicken man, my nugget, my nugnut, my Z.

Let’s be real, Zacharie, you were a surprise for your mom and I. We didn’t plan for you, you chose us and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Birthday.

Transit and Jann Arden Celebrate Calgary

Calgary skyline from spruce cliffs

We had a mini family reunion in Vancouver this weekend for my mom’s 65th birthday. My brother from Seattle, my sister from Toronto/Montreal/Paris and me from Calgary.

I grew up in Vancouver and BC, but I’ve lived in Calgary for a year and a half now and a few things happened this weekend to underline where my new home is.

While watching the Whitecaps v Red Bulls game at Empire Field, the guy next to me asked me about my iPhone and what my plan was like. I told him then said “but I’m from Calgary” so my plan would be different. (Until recently, I’d always hesitated when responding to the question “where are you from?”)

As the WestJet flight landed and the attendant came on and said “..if Calgary is your home, welcome home..”

And I thought, yup – I’m home. Then this morning I caught this great track Calgary (We Are Not All Cowboys) from Transit featuring Jann Arden landed in my inbox with a lyric that has stayed with me:

Everywhere I go, these people they ask me
Where is your home now?
And I tell them it’s Calgary.

With the Lilac Festival in the books, summer/spring can now start.

It’s good to be home.

Justin Bieber is Bald

lance at le tour

Pete Rose bet on baseball. Milli Vanilli lip synched. Lance Armstrong took drugs.

I’d like to play the Sesame Street game “one of these things just doesnt belong here,” but 2 more arrows have landed in Lance’s back this past few weeks and they are crushing.

George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton were his most loyal of soldiers. Hamilton through the early days of the Blue Train and Hincapie for each of Armstrong’s 7 Tour de France wins. Now with these domestiques testifying before a grand jury looking into Armstrong’s past that they witnessed him take performance enhancing drugs, the jig is just about up.

Hamilton’s interview on 60 Minutes left me speechless. His nervousness to give answers and his embarrassment at the words he was speaking was deafening. This was the truth.

The usual denial from Armstrong came, as did a bolstering of his legal team.

I’m not one for idol worship, but I do have sports heroes. I wrote a post a few years ago (since lost in a site crash) called I Am Lance.

In it I wrote about how when I was a young goalie I would skate from board to board along the goal line at whistles like Richard Brodeur. I wrote about how I would skip and limp around the school at lunch time as if I was Terry Fox. I wrote about how, when faced with a tough training run I would mutter to myself “no gifts” and visualize Lance’s ascending L’Alpe D’Huez to complete my challenge.

Lance Armstrong was the closest thing I had to an idol.

Now this.

I can’t describe how the news hit me other than to say it would be like a 13 year old girl discovering that Justin Bieber is actually bald – the hair nothing but a wig. The one thing that gave him magical Samson-esque powers of persuasion nothing but a lie.

The thing that inspired me about Armstrong was his take no prisoners approach on the course. His huge comeback from insurmountable odds to dominate his sport and his endless commitment to give back were things I would often think about.

I took time out from a honeymoon in 2005 to watch the start of a TdF stage in Troyes, France (that’s the pic I took at the head of this article). An entire day on the train and waiting in the town for a 4 second glimpse of Armstrong leading the peleton out of town.

I wear yellow, a lot of yellow. Sure it helps that my name is Buzz and I have an affinity for wearing black and yellow as “my colours,” but I’m also a huge supporter of Armstrong’s Wear Yellow initiative.

Wristbands. Shoes, Jackets. T shirts. Hats. Gym bags. Jerseys. I have them all.

Now what do I do?

The fact that Armstrong took drugs doesn’t change the fact he faced cancer and beat it back. The fact that Armstrong took drugs doesn’t change the fact he’s the greatest advocate for the fight against cancer since Terry Fox.

Despite the tightening noose of the allegations, Armstrong’s businesses have never been stronger.

The fact that Armstrong took drugs does change the essence of his brand. The reason he’s famous. The reason I would get up in the pre-dawn hours each July to watch Le Tour. The reason I replay this video in my head when I’m hitting a wall.

It does, however, change a lot of things for people like me. The video in the middle of the article is from an Armstrong ride in Vancouver a few years ago. I raised nearly $2000 for that ride. I was contemplating joining Armstrong’s upcoming LinkPink 2011 in Calgary. Now I won’t.

I will, however, keep raising money for Team Diabetes and my push to complete the Cayman Islands Marathon. Insulin is a drug I can get behind.

Direct Energy Nest

Be A Sports Fan First – It’s Okay To Cheer For The Canucks If You Don’t Live in Vancouver

bulkley river 6

I vividly remember where I was on June 19, 2006. I went on a fishing trip with my dad to Northern BC and was relieved when the tiny cabin we had reserved on the shores of Babine Lake had satelite tv.

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final was the same night we were due to arrive. I’m a big Canucks fan but Vancouver wasn’t playing in the 2006 Final, in fact they didn’t even make the playoffs that year. I was excited to settle in front of a tiny tv screen with sketchy reception to cheer for the Edmonton Oilers and Hurricanes.

Yes, a Vancouver Canucks fan was cheering for the Edmonton Oilers. The same team that had pasted my beloved black and orange for most of the 80s, a hated Smythe Division rival had my attention.

2 years earlier I had done the same thing for the Calgary Flames. Perhaps my fascination with the Red Mile celebrations after each win had something to do with it – but I had no problem cheering for the Canadian team in the equation. Habs in 1993, Senators in 2007 and, if the Leafs ever make it back and the Canucks aren’t there, I might just cheer for them too.

You see, I’m a sports fan first. I can sit and watch the World Series of Darts, Poker, Bowling, Curling, Chess or Ballroom Dancing. If there’s competition of the highest level with a compelling storyline, I’m committed. I’m engaged. I’m on the edge of my seat cheering for Karl from Dublin to hit a triple 20 to take the title.

Linden autographed jerseyI’m now a Canucks fan living in Calgary, and while there are many people from Vancouver living here there is still a strong contingent that treat the Flames/Canucks rivalry with the seriousness reserved for Yankees/Red Sox, Red Skins/Cowboys or Israel/Palestine – I don’t.

The first thing I did when I moved to Calgary was buy a Flames jersey. Before I had an apartment, a house, or a paystub from my new job, I bought the colours of the home town team to fly.

Why? Because I’m a sports fan first.

I appreciate the word fan comes from fanatic, but I can’t swear that kind of a blood allegiance to one logo over another.

So when I fly my blue and green car flag, toss on my autographed Trevor Linden jersey for good luck and boast a little bit about my team making it to the last series of the season, temper the catcalls coming back and enjoy the only true ‘reality show’ on television – sport.

“The Vancouver Canucks Are Going To The Stanley Cup Finals!”

17 years later and I still get chills watching that goal and hearing Jim Robson‘s call.

“Greg Adams! Greg Adams!”

I get chills because I was there with my brother. Some 30 rows over Felix Potvin‘s left shoulder, I felt like Adams was rushing in to cheer with my brother and I – we were so close to the action.

“The Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley! Cup! Finals!” exclaimed Robson with a mix of disbelief and pride.

In the spring of 1994 I went to 3 of Vancouver’s playoff games. In the pre-internet era, the tickets were easier to come by. The Canucks weren’t a Team of Destiny then, if they were to go all the way they would need some help and good luck to get there so when my brother and I “gambled” and bought tickets to three of four rounds early in the run, we were in the minority of believers.

We watched the Canucks and Flames. Skipped the Dallas round and then had tickets to the Leafs clincher and Game 4 of the Finals.

The environment in a Stanley Cup final game is immeasurable. A flag was unfurled covering an entire section of the Pacific Coliseum during the national anthem. I lost my voice before the first puck was dropped.

And then came Pavel Bure‘s penalty shot.

In 1994 I was there. Where will you be tonight?

A Tale of Three Cities: Calgary, Alberta. Calgary, Scotland. Calgary, Texas.

20101106 calgary skyline - 07

Calgary, Alberta. Home to the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Calgary Stampeders, the Calgary Flames and The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth – the Calgary Stampede.

But this is not the only Calgary on the planet. There’s a Calgary in Scotland and another in Texas.

It makes sense there would be a Calgary in the UK – that’s where many of Canada’s place names came from. Calgary is actually Calgarraidh if you were to spell it in the native gaelic and is home to Calgary Castle and one of the best sand beaches in all of Scotland .

Calgary Bay, Mull

The name comes from the Gaelic, Cala ghearraidh, meaning Beach of the meadow (pasture). “Cala” is the word specifically used for a hard, sandy beach suitable calgary, mull, scotlandfor landing a boat, which relates plausibly to the location. A small stone pier, originally built to allow “puffers” (small steam driven cargo boats) to deliver coal to the Mornish Estate, was also used to take sheep to and from grazing on the Treshnish Isles and gives a further possible reason for the name of the bay.

Calgary village is a small community of houses close by the bay, and tourist accommodation is available. Just up the hill from the bay the deserted village of Inivea remains as roofless stone ruins, an atmospheric relic of the Highland clearances.

While Calgary, Scotland seems worthy of a weekend escape if you’re ever in Northwest Scotland, Calgary, Texas is nothing but a speck of dirt in San Augustine County.

View Larger Map

The nearest point of interest is the Whitton Cemetery, a plot with 6 family members resting in peace.

Other than that, Calgary, Texas is merely marked by the intersection of N Farm to Market Road and CR 120.

Calgary, Texas is basically a ghost town. The nearest body of water is Bland Lake, which pretty much sums the place up.

A Day Out With Thomas The Train at Calgary’s Heritage Park

20110515 thomas - 26

Every year, just before the official season opening for Heritage Park, Thomas the Train comes by for a visit. Over 2 weekends in May “A Day Out With Thomas” is celebrated as kids clamour around the park taking train rides, playing with train sets, getting their faces painted and posing for pictures with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt.

The rides with Thomas were fun, the posing for pictures was great but what really made the Day Out With Thomas at Heritage Park was the staff. The engineers and hosts were really enjoying themselves and took time to make sure every kid felt like an extra special Junior Conductor – it was perfect.

20110515 thomas - 25 20110515 thomas - 24 20110515 thomas - 07 20110515 thomas - 02 20110515 thomas - 18 20110515 thomas - 11

There are actually 7 Thomas engines that roll around North America to special events in different regions. The engine isn’t “really” an engine, he’s more of a prop pushed around by a real engine in behind. Still the detailed in the model, the bright colours and the smoke puffing from the stack make every child believe.

Heritage Park opens for the season next weekend, Thomas will no doubt be back next year.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...