Getting started

Don't expect words of wisdom or earth shattering revelations, just my thoughts and observations about living in Ottawa, being a public servant and trying to live life every day to its fullest

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Winter 2012

For those of you who might actually read this, you will notice that I have not written often over the last few months. The reason was WINTER. Those magical weeks when the world is frozen and white, when I live on the edge and my weekends are spent waking up early and exploring mountains on my snowboard. I love winter and I am sad to say good-bye to what was a pretty good ten weeks.

Three years ago I tried an alpine snowboard and haven't stop smiling since. Alpine boards very different from the regular snowboards you see on the hill; they are stiffer, narrower, and designed for speed and carving. I love carving. OK, a clarification - I love trying to carve. I am getting better and more consistent, but after a week in Vermont watching really good carvers I remember how much I have to learn.

Apart from evenings at my local hill, my trips this winter included a jaunt down to White Face (Lake Placid), a day trip to Mt. Blanc in Quebec, four days in Vermont for the Eastern Carving Expression Sessions, a day trip to Mt. Tremblant, a few days at a nice little bump close to my parents place and several early mornings at Calabogie.

The hours spent on my board I feel alive. Everything else in the world disappears and I am on the mountain just loving life. It is hard to describe the peace I feel while out there or the magic in turning around and seeing 20+ good carvers coming down a mountain - it is like watching ballet on snow. There is a certain satisfaction that comes over me after 8 hours riding hard and not stopping for anything other than an ice-tea (consumed on a chair lift), in falling in love after two turns on a hill while demoing a board, a board that I tried two years ago and kicked my ass! Or suddenly realizing that your warm-up run is a Black Diamond, under the gondola. I dance at the bottom of runs while still locked into my bindings because I am completely content, and have to check myself halfway down a run because I am laughing from sheer joy.

So today I will leave you with some video of me (I know; narcissistic). This is an opportunity for me to share with you what I actually spend so much time doing. This is the first run of the day at Mt, Blanc, I am really not that great here. This video is of the whole group at Mt. Blanc which shows what really good carvers can do. Eight minutes from my last day out this season -Tremblant (this one is tricky because both Ryan and I are wearing blue pants). And if you are into something really long; here is 18 minutes from a day at Calabogie after a big snow storm, so conditions were really not that great and there is some good video of my friend Chris bailing under the chair lift.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My toaster and other miscellaneous appliances

So while 2012 has rocked (so far) and I am loving every minute of it, I have had no luck with my appliances! I suppose you can’t have it all … and if a plague of dead appliances is the price I have to pay for a stellar year, I am willing to sacrifice the fridge as well. I would also up the dishwasher, but it is more of a glorified drying rack for pots, so really it isn’t much of an offering.

It all started on January 2nd when my toaster caught on fire. It wasn't a big fire, just a small one with lots of smoke and a ruined breakfast. The toaster is now in a snow bank on my deck where I threw it to stop it smoking. I followed its progress for a few days as it was covered by snow, uncovered by rain and then ransacked by some hungry critters. It is now under about a foot of snow and its exact location is marked by my Christmas Tree.

I have since also lost the functionality of my dryer and oven, and I am pretty sure the washing machine is going to die soon. The dryer heats, but does not tumble, which in my humble opinion is a fire hazard, the oven doesn’t heat which makes it even less useful than the dryer. The washing machine has not died yet, but I can hear the agitator straining against every load I put in and I had to wash my snowboarding socks three times … last month there was an incident with laundry detergent as well. The less said the better!

As appliances go, I am not a heavy user. The fridge is useful when I actually buy groceries or binge at the farmers market, but is usually masquerading as a frat-fridge with condiments, alcohol and bacon. The dryer is rarely used as I prefer the smell of air dried clothes. The dish washer is used to store pots and the cutting board. The only things I use regularly are the washing machine and the stove/oven. I really like clean clothes and to bake.

I do not plan on replacing the toaster but I have had plenty of offers from friends for their spare toasters (who has more than one toaster?). I don't need a toaster - I am doing very well without one and I figured the oven is just as effective at doing what most of what I need, well, until that died. I also do not plan on replacing the dryer. I am not sure the point of purchasing expensive appliances I do not plan on using often when I could spend the money on snowboards!

I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon appliance shopping. I have never really been big-ticket shopping like this before and at first the thought horrified me, but it wasn’t bad and I learned a lot. It was also an interesting experience because sales men all come with assumptions on what you need and why. First; all my appliances are condo size (24inches wide) so my options are very limited. Second; you can find small sizes on manufactures websites, but not distributors websites so you actually have to go in and talk to sales people to see what they carry. Third; everything is listed on the manufactures websites, so when sales people figure out what they carry, they just go back to the manufactures websites to get the specifications and actual model number, and then look up the price in their system. Lastly; Sales people can not understand why I do not want a larger sized appliance! Um - it will not fit into my house. I feel like I am at McDonalds - everyone wants to super-size my appliance needs.

This time next month I should have a new oven - the washing machine will not ship until mid-April, and will be baking again. And by mid-summer, I will have a new snowboard as well! OK, so maybe I can have it all, a fabulous year, new appliances and a pretty Donek 163 Free-Carve snowboard!