Holidays are over… back to work

I’ve been off for the last couple of weeks and it’s been great. Unfortunately tomorrow I head back to work and officially start 2013.

I had a great holiday and managed to pack a lot in over the break. We went up to visit with my parents and close family friends for Christmas then Tracy and I headed over to Vancouver for a little getaway. We got a visit in with all the family in bits and pieces and I got to touch base with some old friends. Of course there was some climbing here and there and our crew is anxiously looking forward to the the 2013 climbing season coming up in the next few months.

Our visit up island was great. We spent Christmas Eve/Day at Mom and Dads eating and visiting. Tracy and I helped around the kitchen getting food and things together while mom rested (as much as she ever does) and then we were off to the Jangula’s house for dinner which was fantastic. It was great to see everyone and spend the night chatting and catching up. On Boxing Day we headed home and got ready for our trip to Vancouver the next day.

Our trip over to the mainland was great. We stayed right downtown on Robson where we were within walking distance to almost everything we wanted and used transit for anything else. Our hotel, The Listel, was nice and small with great style. The staff were fantastic and really helpful from the time we checked in until we left. Tracy had gone with shopping in mind so our days were pretty busy going from shop to shop, while I had no real plan except to do some wandering and take some pics. The weather was pretty much crap (I know, I was surprised too…) so I didn’t shoot very much at all but it was great just to be out and about really. I did manage to get a great deal on a new TV to replace our old one, which Sony had given us money for, so the new one didn’t cost us very much at all.

New Years Eve was a quiet affair. During the day we made a nice Guiness beef stew for dinner and then we stayed in and watched movies on the new TV for the night.

The rest of the week was spent getting some old tasks off the list which were constantly being put in the ‘later’ category; exciting stuff like ‘clean out the spare room closet’ and ‘finish processing Nova Scotia photos’. All of which are done and I’m happy to have off the list now. So my little stay-cation was been very productive.

Well thats about it for me here. I’ll be posting my Nova Scotia photos later on this week. I’ve got them all ready to go I just need to write a little about them.

Hope you are doing well and that we get to chat soon.

Cheers!

(As usual here is a gallery of the photos but those pictures won’t print well, so here is a link to the printable copies for your own records.)

Christmas 2012 (gallery, slideshow):

My niece Kathryn. Just starting to eat solid food… most of it did make it in :)Darryl and KathrineMarilyn and Kathyn.Dinner was had.Kathryn and TracyCatatonic dogMom in her recovery workshopI've grown up eating chocolate from here.Mom and Dad's Christmas decorations looked great this year with the snowChristmas eveIngredients for a successful Christmas eveChristmas morning.Dad helping out in the kitchenMr. J and DadTodd and MomPicture before dinnerIts not a celebration until you light something on fire.

 

Layoffs…

So for the first time in living memory (some people say 30 years) the university has started a very large round of layoffs. I had heard people from other departments talking about the possibility or even that they were told layoffs were coming, however our group was assured in August that no layoffs were coming our way.

Well that was an outright lie; in my department of about 150 we had six positions cut. The cuts came out of the blue on Monday and Tuesday and the really strange part is that not one of them were expected. They seemingly cut at random instead of by our contract which stipulates the lowest seniority goes first. They laid off three people in my area all with over 17 years of experience and no where near retirement. It was a complete shock to everyone and made for a very stressful week with every conversation either starting or ending with talk about the shakeup.

When layoffs were first discussed I started sweating. I have the lowest seniority in the sub department I work with and have been thinking for the last couple of months I’d be laid off if any were handed out. I guess I was preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. I started looking actively for work to hopefully transition to something before the severance ran out. Wow, am I glad I don’t have to worry about that in the near term but it’s been widely accepted that we are going to have another round of layoffs next year again, so it’s time to sharpen the old resume and keep my ear to the ground so that I’m not caught without a plan if the layoff stick comes swinging my way.

In other, much happier news, last weekend Tracy and I were invited to the Lt. Governor General’s House for a work event with her office. I’d never been to the property before but had heard nice things and it was phenomenal to say the least. We had a three course sit down dinner which was so good and definitely the best banquet food I’d ever had. The service was fantastic and there was an open bar… not too shabby at all. The function was an annual awards banquet to recognize the incredibly hard work that the people around the office do all year.

Unfortunately I haven’t been shooting in a while because of this stupid arm injury; it hurts to hold my camera for any prolonged period of time so lately it’s just been sitting in the bag waiting to be used. The arm is coming along nicely and I hope to fully recovered by Christmas. I’m making really good progress on rebuilding the strength and mobility but these things take time and I can’t rush it.

I do have some shots from last month when I managed to get out a couple of times.

Hope things are well on your end and we get to catch up soon.

Monthly Roll – Sept 19 – Oct 20 – 2012 (Gallery, Slideshow):

Dan at the clay pigeonPigs Ear - Clay Pidgeon - So good would recommend.Chicken Wings - Clay Pidgeon - not shy about portionsTrail Head for Paradise Meadows in Comox Valley - Took a hike before Thanksgiving dinnerDinner at Al'sCurry beef shortribs and curried veg - Al makes a mean curryMarie and Tracy - JamBacon wrapped turkey - tried it for the first time and it was awesomeLeafSeemed like overnight this tree turned redMeadow near entrance of universityGorgeous tree starting to get ready for winterLeavesPiece of Dave's work - Jay-ZAnother of Dave's works - I think its Lauryn HIll of Fugees fame but I'm not 100%

 

Squamish Climbing Trip 2012

I was lucky enough to go with a group of friends up to Squamish in September and explore the area a little bit. We had a great time up there, but how could you not; from our campsite there was world class climbing only 10 minutes away by car. At first when we got there I was looking around thinking it was a gorgeous area, then quickly realized that all the rock walls I could see had routes on them and basically it was climbing as far as the eye could see. So not only is the scenery spectacular but the area is like a giant outdoor climbing gym. You could easily spend a year of your life exploring and not get to everything you can see.

We arrived on Friday evening and started out on Saturday morning to find a wall in Murrin Park that was a great learning ground for learning (in my case) or refreshing your trad gear placing skills. We spend most of Saturday on Sugarloaf where I learned how to place gear on my first route (a 5.4 so not overly challenging). From there we hiked in a bit to a wall called Up in the Firs. There were only a few routes on the wall we ended up at and which was where I lead my first route that really sounded the panic alarms.

The route was called Chokin’ a Grogan and was super thin on protection – only 4 bolts on a 20 meter route. I managed to climb the entire thing but it was mind bending. The entire time I felt as though I was going to slide down on my face because I couldn’t get a decent toe hold, and on the right side was a sheer drop of about 25 metres. I felt as though up to that point had climbed more challenging stuff, but this one in particular just got in my head and I couldn’t calm down. The whole experience rattled me but I collected myself and kept climbing with no other problems for the weekend.  Good learning experience though, don’t climb it if you aren’t sure.

On Sunday we split into two groups with Al and Sven heading up a multi-pitch route on the Apron of the Chief and April, Carrie, and I headed to a wall called Burger and Fries in the Smoke Bluffs which over look Squamish. The wall was 25 meters and little slabby with some nice cracks. We had a great time out there with no shortage of climbing for the day in the beautiful sun. The wall offered great views of Squamish as well which is always a bonus.

On Monday Al, April, and I were by ourselves and headed up to Area 44 for the day before heading to the ferry. Area 44 was developed by two guys over a couple years and they didn’t tell anyone about it until it was finished, hence the secret codename that stuck after it was revealed to the community.

No real news to report on this end right now. Things are going along quite well with a pretty quiet schedule these days. Hope you are doing well and we’ll catch up soon.

Cheers!

Squamish, Sept 2012 (Gallery, Slideshow):

Base CampApril on The Mechanic (5.7) in Murrin ParkSafety First - my anchor while shooting at the top of the routesAl placing cam on Flat Battery (5.4) in Murrin ParkApril waiting for a turn at the bottom of Sugarloaf in Murrin ParkSven working up Flat Battery (5.4) in Murrin Park (2)Sven placing a camSome of the gear needed for trad climbingPlacing a nutClipping into safetyCarrie looking up Chokin' a Grogan (5.7) In Murrin ParkAl on Nostalgia Ain't What it Used to Be (5.8) and Carrie on Chokin' a Grogan (5.7) in Murrin ParkHowe Sound from lookout on the way to Up in the Firs in Murrin ParkApril and Carrie on Wise Crack (5.7) in Smoke Bluffs parkSquamish from top of Burger and Fries in Smoke Bluffs parkFound this on the back of a garbage can… I think I saw this in Seattle as wellA view of Smoke Bluffs and the Chief in SquamishWe had a lot of extra firewood at the end of the weekend…Tantalus Mountain Range seen from Area 44 north of SquamishAl rapping down Nuts and Rasins (5.7) in Area 44Preview wall in Area 44Newer areas always have a higher chance of falling stuff - Helmet is a good investmentLot of work went into developing Area 44 - Great climbing with a great view

Nice Little Sunday

Hope you are enjoying the weekend. Not great outdoors weather but it’s been nice and relaxing and good to get some project things taken care of.

Taking two weeks off from the gym has been good for my body. I think, maybe, I was pushing a little harder than I should have been and ignoring a few minor issues which have completely cleared up. Being at home every night for two weeks made me realize how much I enjoy my gym tim. I love getting to play some games or work on computer/photo stuff once in a while but I really need more to do so that I don’t get bored (which happens way too easily). I haven’t been riding my bike either because I’ve been trying to really rest, and holding the handle bars was aggravating my forearm… but I’m hoping to be back on the road next week. Getting old sucks.

Last week was our wedding anniversary; can’t believe it’s already been nine years. We weren’t able to get out on our actual day for dinner but we did get out last night for a wonderful meal at a favorite restaurant called, The Black Hat. Tracy had a dish comprised of lamb confit and I had  their special which was seared pork belly, seared scallops and a green pea risotto. Both times we’ve been it’s been fantastic. The menu changes regularly and it’s usually got some great surprises on it. I’d highly recommend a visit.

For pictures this week, I’ve gotten through my photos from the September long weekend where a group of us made a couple day trips. The first day we all went to Mt. Wells park just outside of Victoria and on the Monday we drove up to Nanaimo for the day were we climbed a place called the Lantzville Steppes and then in the South Nanaimio River area.

Wells is a great little crag with some lead opportunities and a couple of trad routes too. It’s only about a 10 minute hike in from the parking area and then you are climbing so its always a relaxing way to spend a day or afternoon. Th Lantzville Steppes was a much more involved approach than we realized and it took us almost two hours of hiking to get to where we wanted to climb. That cut seriously into the day and we realized that the “shortcut” was not short at all and kind of sucked. Next time I go up that way, we’ll take the long route which was much easier to navigate and faster to get to the final destination. The third area was called Dark Side on the Nanaimo River and was great. It reminded me of a scene out of Fern Gully. The crags were actually up the sides of a chasm which you hike down into from the parking area. We didn’t have a ton of time at the river so I really want to go back next season and play around in there some more.

Hope things are well on your end and have a great week!

Piper, out climbing mascot for the day at WellsSven belayingCarrieAl on leadApril, Al, Carrie at Lantzville SteppesView from our crag at Lantzville SteppesCarrie on an arretAll on aretEntrance to Dark Side in NanaimoBlocked entrance to Dark Side - you can duck under the boulders to get pastDark Side trailThe climbers in the area put a lot of work in keeping this accessiblePretty fun 5.8 which starts like a chimneySome developing routes which should be done for next yearI left my camera unattended and it was used against meAl after getting out of the chimney

Forced Rest

I’ve been on a bit of a break from the gym for the last week. Turns out that you can’t ignore tendon issues for too long before they stop being a minor annoyance and become a constant pain. I’m definitely recovering but it’s going to be a few more days before climbing can happen again. Back in August I took a weird fall and caught all my weight on my right arm while pinching a hold. Basically I pulled the muscles in my arm and pulled the outside tendon near my elbow. I thought I could work through it but as it turns out that isn’t the case, so now I’m just taking it easy and letting things heal. I’m also doing some physio which is aimed at strengthening the muscles around the tendon so that it doesn’t have to work so hard.

I’m making slow and steady progress on the photo collection; there are still a few sessions to edit and I need to figure out a way to put our trip to Nova Scotia together so it’s not overwhelming to look through. Right now I have reduced the whole trip of 1200 plus pictures to 300 or so. That’s still too many for casual viewing so I’m going to keep working with them and get that number down to something more reasonable.

The last few weeks have been pretty good here. Tracy is now in the thick of working full time and studying with her remaining waking hours. This will be a slog for the next while but I have all the confidence in the world that she is going to come out on the other side just fine. I’ll be taking over most of our day to day stuff so that she can concentrate and maybe even get some sleep here and there. It’s going to be difficult for a bit but worth it, I’m sure.

Way back in August when we got home from Nova Scotia, we attended our good friends Dave and Kristen’s wedding. We had a great time and it was a perfect day for a wedding. As I was in the wedding party I didn’t spend a lot of time shooting but I managed to get a couple of pictures.

Next week I’ll have a pile of photos from various climbing adventures.

Hope you have a good week!

 

Climbing, climbing, climbing…

Since I began climbing, I’ve been had a hard time getting around to working on the blog or processing the photos that I’ve been taking. I’ve got my huge photo project from our trip back east which is coming along but there is still a bunch of work to do before the pictures will be ready to post… slowly but surely. Then I’ve got some rolls from various climbing adventures which I’m also working through.

I find it hard to sit down and just work on the same chunk of pictures; I end up all over the collection, working on the new pics as well as looking through and touching up some of my old stuff too. At this pace it looks like I’ll have a few things to post soon, but I’m just not sure when… I’m actually enjoying just processing right now, so it’s not a bad thing :)

September has just flown by here. I can’t believe that thanksgiving is only a week and a half away.

Tracy started at her new job at the beginning of September and is loving it. The pace is quick and the people are great. She’s been given her first big assignment working with a team and a deadline and seems excited about the work. Her office is very social as well. Between afterwork drinks and a recent golf tournament she’s done more with her office in the month than I have with mine since I started two years ago.

I’ve been lucky to get out and enjoy the awesome end of our Summer weather. I’ve been on a couple of climbing excursions so far and might get another one or two in before the weather really turns. On the Labour Day long weekend we got up to Nanaimo and into the hills on the north end (called Lantzville Steppes). Really great location for climbing but it was a bit of a bear to get into… the “shortcut” turned into a much longer route than anticipated.. more about that later.

The week before last I went with a crew to Squamish for an extended long weekend. What an amazing location for climbing! I can see why they call it the best climbing destination in Canada (based on my very limited experience so far… ). The area has so many developed locations for climbing that its literally only a five minute drive from our campground to some of the best crags I’ve seen. We had such a good time exploring different areas and I even tried my hand at some trad (placing your own protection). I’ll post pics and story about that trip soon too.

That about sums up the month so far. I hope things are good on your end and I’m looking forward to getting some new pics posted.

Cheers!

Website troubles

So last week I sat down and started working through the roughly 1500 photos I’ve kept from various occasions over the last couple of months. I got through a few events and started trying to upload the photos to my website. Well that didn’t go very well, hence the delay on actually posting anything again for a bit here. The problem was fixable so I got things working, but it was a pretty obscure problem that I haven’t had to deal with in a while.

However, I’ve got some good stuff finished and posted to the gallery.  This is family stuff that I attended in July and August. First was Mom’s 60th birthday on the 21st of July. It’s rare for us to get together actually “on” somesones birthday and this year we managed to get the entire immediate family together for an entire day, making this an ultra rare event. It happened during an on-call shift for me at work so Tracy and I could only head up for the day but it was a great day. We got to have lunch before the birthday party and just spend some time together in the afternoon. We had fun at the party with really good food and a lot of family friends we don’t get to see all that often. The day flew by all to quickly though as it always seems to.

Then, in the beginning of August we were at Al and Marylin’s for a family BBQ and baby shower for Kelly, Daryl, and the new arrival, Katherine. We had a really nice afternoon and I got to meet a lot of Tracy’s side that I’ve either never met, or spent real time with recently. It was fun getting to know everyone a little better and hear some old stories from when Tracy and Kelly were little. Hopefully we’ll all get together again before too long.

The gallery links, below, will take you to a full set of pictures which can be downloaded and saved to your computer. You can then print them if you want. If there are any issues with printing them, let me know and I’ll forward you copies another way. If you have any questions just send a note and I can give you a hand.

Next posting will hopefully be about the big trip back east to Nova Scotia.. still a lot of work in organizing and such but I’m getting there.

Cheers!

Mom’s Birthday – July 21 – 2012 (gallery, slideshow):

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Both BBQ – August 4 – 2012 (gallery, slideshow):

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So I lied… still no substantial post

I guess I’m just not good at estimating how much time I don’t have right now. Things are pretty busy (all self imposed mind you) but having a ball.

Planning on an epic picture editing session tonight and blog posting … we’ll see if that happens!

Hope things are running smoothly on your end.

Cheers!

Quick Update

Last post was a few weeks ago now… feeling a little guilty but it’s because we have been out and about. I’ll have a long post here next week with lots of pictures and updates.

Hope that things are going well with everyone and I’ll talk to you soon.

Cheers!

Too busy for words…

Or at least for pictures this week…

Last weekend was my Mom’s birthday, I took a lead climbing course and we went to Batman on Monday.

My Mom turned 6o this past weekend and to celebrate we went up to Cumberland to spend the day with Mom as well as my sister and brother-in-law but because I was on-call for work I could only stay for the day. It turned out that I couldn’t get someone to cover both days of the weekend for me but I at least got to have a good visit on one of the days. It was awesome to get to visit with some of our family friends we don’t get to see nearly enough so the 6 hours of driving was worth it for sure. Mom had a great time and we surprised here with a new lens for her camera which she has been coveting for some time now. There was so much good food that I was stuffed at the end of the night. We all contributed to a southern themed spread which was awesome and everyone loved it. My sister deserves the credit for most of the organization and invites along with Dad who did a lot of running around for things. I also managed to get a good family portrait, which is something quite rare for us as we live in three different corners of the province.

On Sunday, I enrolled in a “learn to lead” climbing course which was a really awesome but terrifying experience all at the same time. The gym I took this at wasn’t my normal facility and it’s routes are two to three times as tall as my gym. So, my fear of heights was challenged at the same time as trying out a new type of climbing. Here is a link to see basically what I was doing: YouTube. The climbing part isn’t the scary part… the part where they tell you to let go of the wall and fall is the terrifying part… like really terrifying. I guess you get used to it, but man, it was hard. My hands really didn’t want to let go, but in order to pass the course you have to take two falls, so I did my best and let go. Did I mention terrifying? Our instructor said he’s had people say the weren’t going to let go, to which he replied “well I guess we’ll see how long you can hold on for then… everyone falls eventually”; thankfully that wasn’t me.

On Monday we went to see the new Batman movie and it was really good. Normally I’m good for a movie theatre experience about once or twice a year because, well, I don’t really like the movie theatre experience. The viewing experience is fine, but when you add people to the mix you get talking, cell phones, people in your way… This time it was totally different though because we went to the new IMAX theatre which was way better. They have installed leather reclining seats, there is enough space between you and the next row that you don’t have to stand every time someone needs in or out, and because of all the extra padding in the seats it really muffles the sounds of all the people around so it feels like a semi-private viewing. Also, because you have paid an extra 5 for the larger screen there are no commercials. Now it was 19 dollars per seat but you get to choose your seat online when you are paying so you don’t have to show up 40 minutes early to get a good seat. Worth doing, even though for our date to the movies it was 60 bucks with popcorn and pop… ouch. However, I am likely more inclined to see more movies this way, so I guess it’s a win?

Well thats about all I’ve got for now. I’m hoping to get through some pictures here when I’ve got some time but thats looking later and later into the future at this point. Oh well, I’m happy to busy instead of bored and I’ll have plenty of time in the fall to work through the photos.

For now here are a few of my niece, Katherine.

Hope things are great with you and we talk soon!

Katherine – less than 10 days old (slideshow, gallery):

katherine-1.jpgkatherine-2.jpgkatherine-3.jpgkatherine-4.jpgkatherine-5.jpgkatherine-6.jpg