Saturday, March 29, 2008

Family on the Road

In celebration of spring, Ryan (with Julie), Aimee (with Josh) and I (with Al) journeyed away from home this weekend. (See Ryan's posting on Lincoln City.) Aimee is in Seattle.

My journey was a day trip to Cranbrook, which is located 3 hours from my home. What is in Cranbrook? Clothing. Having maximized my experience of winter, it is time for something new. I invited Al along for the adventure; that is how I posed it to him. One has to be clear when they put adventure out there.

When we woke up this morning, snow was falling. Not a good sign at lake level when one is planning on climbing a mountain. If it is snowing down here, there is no doubt it will be snowing at the top, and probably more.

Kootenay Pass is the highest pass along Highway 3. The ascent and descent are both lengthy. Snow fell the entire way up and down; we wondered if the snow plows had been put away for the season.

After shopping and a lovely meal in Cranbrook, we left early, planning to drive while there was light in the sky. Shortly after leaving Cranbrook, the sun peaked out from the clouds:

The snow followed us most of this day. We had brief periods of time when the road was dry, such as when we left Creston and headed into the mountains:

Does that look like suspicious clouds?

We begin our ascent, and I see new sign colours. They are fluorescent green.

The ascent continues, and so continues the snow:

And then, we begin descending:

I have much gratitude for Al, who drove the entire journey, and was willing to expand his definition of adventure.

If you ever want to feel grateful for the weather you are experiencing, have a glance at this site: Kootenay Pass

Welcome to spring!

Lincoln City, Oregon

Lincoln City is a smallish costal town in Oregon. Solidly in the tsunami danger zone, the town features amenities such as an Indian Casino, a Outlet Mall, a Birkenstock store and about 10 kite stores. In addition to the danger from massive 30 meter waves, there is some of the world's best kite flying due to the nonstop northern pacific winds. These winds contribute to the non-stop surf which is responsible for the awesome beach lines.

Lincoln City as an interesting street system. The main street is Highway 101 - the Oregon North Coast Highway. Cross streets are numbered, and parallel streets have named. The names are: Neptune, Oar, Keel, Mast, Lee, Jetty and Inlet.

The coastline is endlessly rugged, wit excellent picture opportunities:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Cities

Easter weekend. This usually marks my first long car journey out of the Kootenays and I travel West to the Cities. Depending on whether I travel via Canada or the US, that determines how many cities I will get to visit. This trip it is Spokane, Seattle, and Vancouver.

I travelled on Thursday night after work, and having picked up Julia, to Spokane. I wanted to capture the winter that was departing, on the journey so here was the scene at the border:

When I woke up the next morning in Spokane, I was dismayed to see what was happening:

since it was still happening. I was thinking about the mountain pass and then a happy thought that my winter tires were still beneath me. Once I hauled the luggage down to the car, and remembered on the third trip that I forgot Julia's papers each time, my hems of my pants were soaked, and there was some dampness in my shoes as well. I had brought one pair of shoes. I pack in a wild way sometimes, and this was one of those times. It was quite cold when I woke up in Spokane and I had only brought spring jackets as I was quite ready to give up my winter wear. Once I was in the car, I blasted the heat.

Twenty miles (those Americans haven't got into metric yet) outside of Spokane, the clouds lifted and I had sun most of the way. I am glad I remembered to pack the sun glasses. Well, in the mountain pass, I found some more snow falling from the sky, but it did not stick to the road.

And after the mountains, it was a lovely day:

Today, Ryan and I are off to Vancouver, after our adventure day yesterday - well, that is for another post. In the meantime, it is time for the Easter Bunny.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

While I'm Gone

Over the winter when I have come home after my day's work, I began to notice that some things in the house are not quite the same. At first it was nothing major - books or various items were slightly ajar. Or perhaps there was a crease in the bed that had not been there when I made. Or the carpet beside my bed ruffled, and not lying as flat as when I left.

Nothing too extreme.

The only moving object in the house when I'm gone is Julia. I could not even imagine that it was her because this is the way I left her in the morning and this is the way I found her when I came home:

As you can see, Julia has a new bed. She has adapted quite well to lying in a rectangle shape rather than a circle. And the bed that Danica knit for her fits quite well inside the basket; it too has shape shifted from a circle. At first Julia didn't like the new sleeping area, and spent her time sitting beside it. I had a little conversation with her about the investment, and then she decided not to waste hard-earned money.

She appears to be spending a good deal of time in her new bed. Well, except for the running around the apartment during the middle of the night. We still haven't come to an agreement on that one.

But now I am wondering if the day time scene is a ploy.

I have more evidence.

Besides the shifts of items in my house, I noticed other things. When I was washing the table one day, I moved to the other side where the light reflected. On the shiny surface, I saw a perfect cat-size paw print. That was definitely an agreement that we worked through... allegedly. Since she doesn't climb on the table when I am home, it must have happened when I was gone. Then I started putting all the pieces together. The sleeping pose... was staged.

But then, there was a shift. I noticed that she wasn't trying quite so hard.

One day, I came home a bit early and happened upon this:

the new ribbon I had brought home the day before. Every single bit of it. Nothing left for the present. Nada. And does this look like a cat who is sorry? Exactly my point.

I have other suspicions. Anybody got a hidden camera?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Big Lipsynch Contest

2008 is the 13th year of the Big Lipsynch Contest. Each year we have seen a multitude of talents don their costumes, personas, and bravery to get up in front of 400 people, and belt out their songs, metaphorically speaking.

Last night I travelled down the hill to the Capitol Theatre, the venue that hosts this phenomenon.

This event has become a yearly tradition for our small community, though we weren't thinking of it as tradition back then. Was it 13 years ago that Sarah and her friend, entertained us for weeks ahead with their interpretation of Hairspray, and then won first prize? Was it nearly a decade ago, that Aimee found her own courage to be on stage by herself, in flannel pyjamas and fluffy rabbit feet and showed us exactly how it felt to have the Menstrual Blues?

Over the years, some things have not changed:
- The audience is packed with fans. Fans that shout and yell and cheer for their sons, daughters, friends, and schoolmates. The audience knows exactly how to do a drum roll with their feet in anticipation of the announcing of the winners. The audience is LOUD.
- The house is packed. Parents are great fans.
- There is always a smattering of performances to music from artists like Avril Lavigne, who are not as nearly interesting as what my friend says, "the old stuff." Where is Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley she laments. There is a collective groan when we hear the first notes, and it is "one of those."
- The performances that have us dancing in our seats and bursting with laughter, far outnumber the groaners.
- Norma, who is the producer and director, knows how to lipsynch - Inevitably she has us howling with her antics.

This is really a community event. Every person who enters the contest wins a prize, and the winners (top 3 in 3 categories) get gift certificates, and products from many businesses in town. And each of those winners gets money too! The top one in each category gets $150. That has certainly unfolded over the years; the event's publicists are good at what they do.

There are always performances where you can see budding talent. One of them last night was a 6-year-old who the emcee said had taken a lot of "cute pills." An adult performed to If I Were a Rich Man; the audience exploded in applause when he was done, and many gave him a standing ovation. The Eco-Society lipsynched a song called Garbage.

Lipsynch entertainment takes many forms. One tradition is a man adopting a woman's persona. Last night we got to see Cher. Men who dress up as women, have amazing LEGS! Everything about them is engaging such as the ability to walk in stilettos with limited experience, and also looking gorgeous in a that-must-have-taken-a-long-time kinda way.

Well, the Lipsynch is done for another year. There was a smattering of "we should do that next year," conversations as we left the building. I wonder how many talents have budded on this stage, and bloomed out there in the world. As for me, after 13 years, I am one of those FANS!