Goodbye Calgary Hello Seattle

Sunday afternoon I boarded a plane bound for Seattle.  It was difficult to leave, reflecting on some of the great memories I made as well as some of the wonderful people I was able to reconnect with and new ones I've met.  Calgary is an interesting city, to say the least, just not a city for me at the moment.  I'm sure my journey will take me back to Calgary but as for when I just can't say.  

The universe reaffirmed my decision.  For starters, my bag weighed 68 pounds, 18 pounds over the weight limit and therefore I was expecting to be charged an additional $50.  I got to the counter, told the woman my bag was well over, put it on the scale for her, she looked at the weight, looked at me, smiled, and charged the regular fee.  Sweet.  Second, complimentary wine on the flight.  Not such a big deal but a little reassurance goes a long way.  I really feel good about making this decision and moving forward with my life, or laterally, or some direction other than the one I was currently headed.  

There are a few pictures from Calgary and the rest are of Momo, Joel, and their new son, whom I'll refer to as MJ.  I feel very fortunate to have people like Joel and Momo who willingly take me into their home.  Not but a year ago I called Joel the day before Thanksgiving, explained my situation, and without hesitation he told me to fly in to Portland and he could pick me up.  It was a 3 minute conversation and although it was a big deal, he didn't make it into one.  I also feel honored to have been bestowed uncle status.  Again, very blessed to have great friends and family in my life and I'm extremely happy for Momo and Joel and their new son!  

(The final hold out)

 (My final sunset in Calgary)

(The Friedrick Clan)

 (Momo and MJ)

 (One of my favorite parts about coming to Seattle and staying with Joel and Momo is the Asian influence.  I've been here 2 nights and had Japanese food 3 times already in addition to kimchi and Makguli)

 (I think it's the first time I've had Korean Rice Wine since last year)

(Oh yeah, hanging with MJ)

 (Another one a little closer.  Big doings in my life, I changed a diaper with the help of Momo.)

(Momo, myself, MJ, and Buddy the Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix of a dog all went)

(Momo asked if I could take MJ because the baby holder doesn't sit very well on her.  I did and we finished the walk.  I love his eyes in this photo.)

 (Here's buddy looking for something in the grass)

(Buddy has not gotten the attention he needs from Joel or Momo lately due to the little one.  So, we've become pals as of late.  He jumps up and will sit between my legs, take naps with me, and we usual go for a walk.  Buddy and I are buddies.)

(MJ checking Buddy out)


Book Signing and Sushi

This past Thursday Bob had a book signing at the Indigo Spirit on Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary.  I accompanied him on the trip and gave him a hand setting up.  He said he ended up selling about 20 books - sweet!  I'm still looking for an autograph copy myself.  If you haven't read it, take the time.  The story is an easy read about extraordinary circumstances - the 1986 Swift Current Bus Accident and aftermath.  The book is called:  Sudden Death:  The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos.  If you are in to sports or enjoy a heart wrenching story with a happy ending, pick one up.  

Shereen met me at the book signing and we had planned some exploring.  However, due to time constraints we decided to do lunch instead, Japanese style.  We ordered a ramen and sushi to share.  My favorite was the tempura salmon roll - delicious, a bit crunchy, warm, and tasty.  Not sure what else you could ask out of food.  Then we made our way to a Tim Hortons, grabbed a coffee and a tea and worked on a crossword.  After that, I was off to the rink.  For those of you who do not know, Shereen and I have mutually decided to walk our own paths.  Which, leads me to the personal update...

I'm west bound and down - going to stop in Seattle for a bit and spend Thanksgiving with the Friedrick clan.  This will be my 2nd year in a row - starting to become a bit of a tradition.  After that I'll head back home for a month or two and then I'm off again.  Where?  Not quite sure yet.  I'd like to give back so I'm thinking about doing some volunteer work in South America.  There are also quite a few other places in the world you can teach English.  I'm a bit sad but know the time has come for me to move on from Calgary, at least for now.  A Ramblin' Man can't be tied down for too long.  When I figure something out, I'll be sure to let you know.  I am excited...  

 (Bob after we got all set up inside the Indigo Spirit on Stephen Avenue)

(A little closer)

 (You can see the book, Sudden Death, as well as a few of the other programs Bob currently offers)

 (Asked Shereen to take one of myself and Bob)

('Tree Sculptures,' you might remember these from before)

 (Canadian Pacific Train #29)

 (A little closer)

(Shereen was saying this statue was from Norway)

(Time for some sushi from Shikiji)

 (Shereen was checking out the guys next to us because she thought I wasn't taking a picture of her)


(Time for a haircut - looking like a gomer...  Shereen wanted to get a shot of me picking up the sushi althought I'm not quite sure why)

(Time for jump shots)

(I told her how week her jumping skills were so she wanted a round 2.  As you can tell, not much difference.)

(And my jump shot)


Vernon Vipers and Vernon, B.C.

I was fortunate enough to make the trip out to Vernon, British Columbia, a few weeks ago.  Bob had a speaking engagement/team building workshop with the boys of the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL.  They are hosting the RBC Cup this year and their coach figured a little mental strength training and awareness could go a long way.  Bob did a session earlier in the year with the leadership group and the coach was interested in having him back for the whole team.  

The mindset and mentality of the team was completely different.  They expect to win and the attitude is top down.  It was rather interesting to see, to say the least.  Unfortunately, I was unable to see a whole lot of Vernon.  We got in late Friday night, went to the game, team dinner afterwards and Saturday it was raining.  Bob worked with the boys from 3 pm until about 9 pm and then we left early Sunday morning.  I forgot my camera in the car for the game so the first few pictures are from the internet.  The rest are from the drive.  Alas, here are a few of the photos.  A more personal update to come, hopefully soon...

(Vernon Vipers logo)


(Inside the rink - the game we were at had about 1,400 people and was a lot of fun)

 (A picture of the boys)

(Trip out - first stop - Roger's Pass)

(There was an informational center, but sadly it was closed for the season)

(Roger's pass was discovered as the Canadian Railroad was trying to find a way out west)

 (Can't remember why these were donated, but I did read somewhere they use 50 mm Howitzers to set off avalanches)

 (Interesting woman who did a bit of hiking in her day)

 (Roger's Pass Rest Stop - designed specifically for avalanches)

(The terrain in and around the pass was pretty steep, as you can tell.  Roger's Pass is one of the flattest areas which is why the buildings were built there.) 

 (A different landscape)

 (And yet another one - beautiful drive, even with the snow and being socked in)

(And so the excitement begins...)

(I went in to use the restroom, came out and started washing the windows.  Saw there was a spot inside and went to open the door.  I asked Bob if he locked it and he said no...  Well, long story short, it was locked and the keys as well as his phone was locked inside.  So, we grabbed a bit to eat as we waited for the Emergency Heavy Rescue Unit.  Fun times and a great memory...)

(Bob signing away $120 for about 5 minutes worth of work.  I am in the wrong field...)

(And the journey continues...  This is closer to Canmore)

(Yep, can't beat the scenery, that's for sure)

 (Awe inspiring)