Sunday, January 15, 2017

More Hockey?

As if I needed more hockey in my life, I just learned that one of the local rinks has adult learn to play in the morning, at the same time as when I'm in the big city while A is at school. The timing is perfect for me if I was interested because she's in school for most of the early part of the day. I could easily slip over there, play some hockey, and then go and pick her up. What makes this potentially appealing is that I think the level of play might be more along the lines of how I play, and the person who runs the rink is apparently out there giving pointers and tips. I'm not even sure what the format is but I get a sense they play a game. Said person is also the high school hockey coach, so he definitely knows what he's talking about.

If anyone could use some coaching and practice on the ice, it's yours truly. The question is, will I be able to motivate enough to show up and play? I like the idea of it, but you never know how these sort of things work out. If it did, I could potentially be playing hockey 4 days a week. Is that crazy, or what?

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Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mike Boon for the pic.

Over-scheduled?

FYI, 5 days now without FB.

We are quickly becoming one of those over-scheduled families with too many things going on, and I have to confess, I'm a big part of the problem. I thought with all the hockey drama that maybe it was time to expend some energy pursuing some of the other things we enjoy in life, so I enrolled N in a ski instructor apprentice program over at one of the ski hills. Of course, that doesn't mean that hockey has suddenly come to halt, it hasn't, along with all the other crazy stuff going on in our lives.

On ski apprentice day, we happen to have a lot going on, and it just so happens to be the day that I have adult hockey, as well. So this past week was particularly grueling because I was taking A to the hill, as well, to do some boarding, which turned out to be prescient because the weather got really crappy and the skiing has suffered accordingly. The day we went happened to be the best day that week, and henceforth.

Either way, I took A to school with all our ski gear in the back. Mom brought N with her and we met up for lunch, after which we skied a half-day until it was time for us to do the after ski program, which starts, uh, after school. A was able to keep boarding on her own while N went with the ski instructors and I volunteered. After it was all done, we packed up the car, stopped in the big city to pick up some supper, then headed back home. We unloaded the ski gear and loaded up the hockey gear for both N and I, then headed to the arena. N had practice and afterward mom picked him while I went and got ready for my game. I played and then got home around 9:30, and believe me, I was beat. I still had to eat some supper, as well, so I chowed down a bit and watched a movie with mom, but I was pretty much done for the night and climbed into bed.

I'm not sure how we're going to navigate these Wednesdays, but something tells me I need to come up with a different plan. We'll see where this goes.

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Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Aprilia Dwi Lestari for the pic.

Friday, January 13, 2017

3 Days

Three days without FB. Feeling good, thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Re-Connecting

This is a strange turn of events but I have recently been talking more to my mom and if you can believe this, am traveling out to see her. I have had a turbulent relationship with my mom, and for that matter with my whole family, but I do think it's pretty sad when family members don't get along. This is especially true because my mom is getting old and has health problems. Now don't get me wrong, my mom is a difficult person who has alienated every single person in her social circle, including her family, and throughout it all she will never, EVER even consider the fact that she has some role in this dynamic. It is always "I didn't do anything wrong," even though the reality is that in any conflict everyone has to have some blood on their hands, especially if you're such a difficult person. How can someone not see this?

Whatever be the case, I have kept in touch with my mom but have kept her at arm's length. Living 3000 miles away helps, and the fact that she would never consider visiting Vermont, which she genuinely considers to be a hillbilly state. I let her know how the kids are doing and send her cards, letters, and pictures throughout the year, but we don't visit her that often.

My brother, on the other hand, has been a very dedicated son for the past several years. I won't go into the specifics or the sordid past (and believe me, it's sordid), but recently he has been a presence in her life. He lives in Cali so it's easier for him, though I'm sure he takes his share of abuse when he's down there. Now for whatever reason there seems to be a rift. I called my mom at Christmas to say happy holidays and that's when I learned that this was going on. Apparently they had a big falling out and things have not been mended. I'm not sure what exactly happened because everyone's got a different story, and believe me when I tell you that when you're talking to my family, you almost never get the whole story, or for that matter, the complete truth. I really don't know who to believe, it's always the "other person's" fault.

I called my brother to get his version and sure enough neither of them will budge. My mom does have some health problems, and there is all sorts of drama surrounding her life. She asked if I would come out and I said yes. The truth is she wanted my brother and I to come out for the past couple of years so we could all be together, and I, being the bad son, dropped the ball every time. I understand they are both mad at me, so I need to make a little more effort to team player. That's why I'm flying out.

There is never an ideal time to fly out to LA because it costs money and time, neither of which I have much of. Then again, I also think I've been too much of a flake to put this off, so I'm going. I'm not looking forward to any potential fireworks between me and my mom, which always seems to be a part of our interactions, but I'd also like for all three of us to get along. I've been harboring bitterness and resentment for decades, maybe it's time to let it all go and get over it.

I guess this is the first step. We'll see how it goes.

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Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Split Shire for the pic.

The Bell Centre

Just a quick note about our trip to Montreal, we got to finally go inside of the famous Bell Center, which was actually more famous as the Forum when the Canadiens were completely dominating hockey, but as it got older even the Forum was not immune to progress. They tore it down and replaced it with the Bell Center, so it was a close to legend as we were going to get.

The reason we were there was because the guys needed something to do while the girls were off at the art museum. I like art museums but N was not as thrilled, so as we looked for other options, the World Junior Hockey Championships came up. Junior teams from all over the world were there to compete, and at our desired time slot was Sweden vs the Czech Republic, both solid hockey countries. We looked for tickets online but they seemed to be in demand and really expensive. We decided to walk to the arena and see for ourselves, and sure enough they had plenty of tickets available. We paid $33 Canadian, which worked out to about $25 US. If you charge things you really benefit from the exchange rate. It was also a good lesson in not believing everything you learn online and making sure for yourself because the internet made it seem like tickets were outrageously expensive and impossible to get.

Anyway, the Bell Center was cool, and it's always fun to get the live hockey experience, or any live sporting event for that matter. I know it's nice to sit at home and watch the big game on TV, where we can sit in their underwear and eat potato chips and see instant replay. But it really makes a difference seeing it live. Plus it gets you out of the house and off your big butt. The arena was probably only about 2/3 full, so there were plenty of seats. In fact, we didn't even bother sitting in our assigned seats because so many were available, we just grabbed the first ones we could find. It was also fun because the fans from the host countries get into it and like to rib each other. Plus, they tend to paint themselves in the colors of their country, which makes it fun to see.

The game was fun, too. These guys are the real deal, and the quality of play was high. I thought they seemed slower than a Dartmouth game, but N pointed out that they were more skilled and polished. It takes a real hockey player to see this. We also got to eat nachos and hot dogs, which were a little pricey but less so with the exchange rate. We were rooting for Sweden and they won, 5-2... or maybe it was 5-3. I can't remember, it was so long ago.

After the game we braved the arctic tundra and walked back to our hotel. I'm glad I was with N because I had no clue how to get there. We warmed up and chilled in the room until the girls returned, and then it was time to ring in the new year.

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Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kwong Yee Cheng for the pic.

2 Days w/out FB

I don't know about you, but I tend to check FB fairly frequently. Whenever I get back on my computer and check my email or do some work, I go to FB and do a quick browse, and without fail I come away from it with a poor POV of humanity. There is a huge entertainment component to FB, not unlike channel surfing on a TV - you're just looking for something to capture your attention, and in all fairness, there is plenty. Like TV or smart phones (which I don't own), it can be addicting and can easily suck you in. I've found, however, that I have a limited amount of patience for FB, and don't spend long periods on it. I check it fairly frequently, but only in short bursts, maybe 10-15 minutes at the most. Even in that short time, however, I find plenty of annoying stuff.

There are a couple of things, however, that I find distasteful. One of them is the constant showcasing of people's lives, or should I say bragging? And it almost always involves how awesome their kids are. In all fairness, some of their kids are pretty awesome, but I won't get into that. People are often shameless when it comes to even the smallest things in their kid's life, and like all social media shortcomings, showcasing the highlights ignores the other 99% of their lives that aren't so glamorous. Not even close.

The other thing that I really find hard to stomach are the news stories and highly opinionated posts that people dump onto you. This became glaringly apparent during the presidential run, but it doesn't take an election to get the extremist, close minded, and even lunatic fringe to plaster their opinions on the airwaves. I find myself reading it and just scratching my head wondering what planet do these people live on?

While I read the posts on FB, I rarely write or post stuff anymore, save for the occasional birthday greeting, or if my daughter or wife wants me to promote something. I generally just read and stew.

Which got me to thinking, why do I bother? If I find FB stuff so offensive, why do I keep coming back for more then whine about it? Maybe for the same reason I work at jobs surrounded by people I can't stand or develop acquaintances with toxic people. It doesn't make sense, it just happens.

Well, I decided that rather than gripe and moan about it, I'm just going to go without. Today is currently day 2 without looking at FB. This may not seem like a lot, but if you're a FB junkie, it is. And I'm not even that much of a FB junkie. For the record, I know plenty of people who say they hate FB and yet post stuff all the time, so their actions speak louder than their words.

I'm going to try to let my actions speak for themselves, or should I say, my un-actions?

We'll see how long this lasts. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mariana Moyses for the pic.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Life of a Volunteer

I signed N up to do some apprentice ski instructing over at the ski hill, though I kind of set it up first and then told him what I had gotten him into. Sometimes you just have to do things this way with kids, otherwise they just decline all options that come their way. The instructor apprenticeship is part of the "bigger" big city ski program that introduces big city kids to the sport. They also have a racing program, Nordic program, and freestyle program. I thought N might like the freestyle stuff but he said no thank you. Maybe I should have just enrolled him in that, anyway.

Either way, the program is not expensive, but it doesn't cost nothing, either. This got me to thinking that it's kind of odd that they make you pay to have your kid volunteer. On top of that, if it's your child's first year with the program (it is), one parent is required to volunteer - guess who gets to do that. I guess for N it's not all volunteering because they are training him in the ways of being an instructor. I think he'll oversee little kids, which doesn't seem to intimidate him, unlike his cowardly dad. He'll also be working with a bunch of kids from the school, so hopefully he'll be surrounded by and endless number of hot ski babes. That of course is not the reason we're doing this, but it doesn't hurt, does it?

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We'll see how this one goes. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Thomas Doggett-Williams for the pic.