My mom has this photo posted up in her walk-in closet, of all places. I saw it when I was checking all the windows in her house while she was away in Palm Springs. I’m about 3 and my sister is about six months old here.
Several years ago I cracked my tailbone. That makes sitting on a bike seat hurt.
Last winter I decided I needed some kind of exercise to do over the summer during non-snowboarding season, and I really liked biking when I was younger, so I started looking into recumbent bikes. I figured one of those would let me ride without tailbone pain. I eventually decided on a recumbent trike from Terratrike and I bought one at Bentley Cycle in the spring. I had grand plans to do a lot of bike commuting to work.
The summer was very busy for us with two kids swimming in different competitive programs, so I only managed to cycle to work a few times prior to August.
Last week, however, I decided to try to go a whole week on human power for my work commute. I enjoyed it tremendously, and although our family’s schedule won’t allow me to bike every day in September, I am going to do as much as I can.
I learned a few things:
- Drivers are weirded out by recumbent trikes and generally give them lots of room.
- You have to pick a route that doesn’t require a lot of curb-hopping if you ride a recumbent trike.
- I have to bring more food when I ride to work, or I die on the way home.
- Recumbents are awesome for commuting and you don’t get sore at all.
- I’m not as unfit as I thought I was, just fat.
I had a lot of fun this summer working my way up to being able to handle five days in a row of a 46 km round-trip commute, but it wasn’t as tough as I expected. On a recumbent, it’s like nothing to ride for a couple of hours, and it’s surprisingly fast, especially downhill.
On my commute, at first I had a tendency to want to go as fast as possible, but I discovered that if I just went steadily, and concentrated on a smooth cadence, my times didn’t change much and I got much less tired by the end. I was also less stressed getting home from work than after driving. It takes a bit longer to bike, but is much less frustrating.
It would sure be nice though if there were some better bike routes between Edmonton and St. Albert.
I have noticed as I get older, a propensity for growing bristly, unruly, long greying eyebrow hairs. While normally this isn’t particularly noticeable (by me at least,) today I had an experience that made my crazy brows all too apparent to me.
I was swimming at lunch time at NAIT, and I kept seeing a hair or thread flapping in front of the left eye of my goggles while I swam. After cleaning the goggles every time I stopped for half an hour and being unable to get rid of whatever it was, I came to a startling and sad realization… that the thread was a mad scientist eyebrow hair, and it was quite attached.
I’ve plucked it.
This past weekend was my 40th birthday party. Lots of my friends and family were over, and much beer was consumed. Much beer remains however, because despite the great quantity and variety that I bought in preparation for the party, lots of people also brought beer. My daughter informed me this evening that there are 73 bottles, six cans, and a bubba-keg of Heineken left. I’m going to have to have another party to get rid of the rest.
Anyways, it was great fun, and I really enjoyed getting together with friends old and new. Today I keep finding all the name tags that Jenn made up for everyone that say “Hi I’m with Old Fart” stuck in various hidden places around my house. Thanks guys!
Here’s the party, in 3 minutes. Surprise you guys, you were on candid camera.
I have a large milestone birthday coming up. I’ve asked people not to bring gifts to my birthday party. I just want to get a bunch of my friends together and socialize (and drink beer, of course) especially in light of recent events.
I’ve been living through some tough incidents this past year. On April 23 2007 my dad died. We’re still feeling the effects of it, but now at least we’re past the series of firsts without dad (first mothers day, first birthdays, first Christmas) and we know what to expect.
We visited my dad’s grave on the 23rd. We removed the foot of snow from his memorial, and Mack and Emily each left a letter to dad telling him about the great things they did in the last year. I think it was therapeutic for them. I have this blog, which is my therapy, I guess.
I had a tough time dealing with my dad being gone, and so far it’s only gotten a bit easier. The toughest part for me is being at the pool a lot. My dad was always there at the pool when I swam, and now that my kids swim so much and play water polo, I’m at the pool all the time for them. When my dad was still alive, he was always there watching my kids too. I still walk into the pool and look across to the stands trying to pick him out.
Anyways, another swimming season is about to start, and in many ways I’m looking forward to being at the pool for my kids. I know my dad’s memory will be there too, but I’m trying to turn that into something positive in my mind.
In the past year, three men who influenced my life in significant ways have passed away. A year ago my father, who taught me everything important about family and helped me determine my values, passed away from illness. He taught and motivated me to become the man I am today.
In October, Allen Williams died in a plane crash. He was the father of one of my closest childhood friends, and the person who introduced me to the profession of engineering. He influenced my choice of education and his company was my first employer.
A little over two weeks ago, Reagan Williams, Allen’s son, also died in a plane crash in an astronomically unlikely duplicate of his father’s accident. Reagan was one of my closest childhood friends, from age 10 onwards. We swam together on the Olympian Swim Club and afterwards on Keyano Swim Club and then U of A Varsity Swimming. We experienced many rites of passage together, including sibling rivalries, first girlfriends, first breakups, swimming milestones like making nationals, winning national medals, breaking records together on relays, going to university in the same field of study, summer jobs, partying, and all the stuff that you share growing up. We also occasionally fought like brothers (but not as much as he did with is actual brother Sheldon). Even when I went to work in Calgary and we didn’t see much of each other for a few years, we still kept in touch and got together when we could. Whenever we reconnected it always felt to me like we had just spoken yesterday. I was proud to have Reagan as one of my groomsmen at Jenn and my wedding, along with Mark and Dean, the other two of my closest buds. For years I’ve thought of Reagan as family.
He was the most fun-loving and funny people I’ve known in my life so far, and he excelled at living life. He was a big goof as a kid, and I never lost that mental image of him even to this day, despite his lovely wife, committed fatherhood, respectable suits, and his influential nature in his business. He helped make many events in my youth fun and memorable, and always played the largest role in all our mutual adventures.
During the past couple of weeks while coming to grips with Reagan’s accident, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many of Reagan’s (and my) early friends, and also with ones he made more recently in his life. A common thread in our conversations was that it really seemed like Reagan was the glue that held so many of us together. With him gone, it will take a herculean effort to maintain all the personal connections that he was at the center of, and no single person will be able to pull that off. I intend to do as much as I can to make sure that I stay connected to all those friends.
During a chat with Tanja (Oswald) Nelson on Facebook (who was my first girlfriend many years ago and best friends with Reagan’s first girlfriend Jill (Hayden) Jackson), I said this about Reagan, and it really expresses what I and many others feel about him: Everyone who met him thought of him as a friend. I think nobody but his wife Mandy could claim to be his best friend, but many people would say he was the best kind of friend. I feel privileged to have known him and I hope to stay in touch with Mandy and see Reagan’s kids grow up. I would appreciate the opportunity to help in some small way to let their boys know what a great person their father was.
In response to Mandy’s request for stories about Reagan, here’s a funny story that occurs to me…
When Reagan and I were about 12, I went to his house after a Saturday swim practice. After we stuffed ourselves on a whole box of Golden Grahams, Reagan’s dad took us with him to the office for a while so he could finish up some work. Reagan and I played Flight Simulator (he was a pilot-to-be even then) on the only computer in the office (this was about 1980). Then we decided to take a break and get a snack.
A. D. Williams Engineering had a little kitchen in the office, so we went and grabbed a soda and a chocolate bar each. I unwrapped mine, and set it on the counter while I chewed on the first piece. A wriggling movement on the chocolate bar attracted my attention, and I was disgusted to see that it was riddled through with maggots. I sputtered and spat out the chocolate in my mouth onto the floor. Reagan, surprised by my actions, smacked me and said “what are you doing, you idiot?”
Later he told me that he had written a letter to the chocolate bar company, and sent in the maggoty chocolate bar. They had sent him a whole box of chocolate bars, all of which he had managed to devour before letting me know about them.
After writing this five months ago, I can’t believe what’s happened today. My friend Reagan Williams, who I’ve known since I was 10 years old, and who was one of the three awesome guys who stood up for me as groomsmen at my wedding, died today in a plane crash, in a terrible echo of his own father’s death in October. He was so deeply involved in the lives of so many people, I can’t begin to imagine the impact that this tragedy will have. I’m just sick, as I’m sure everyone who knew him is today.
My chest aches for the pain his family is going to have to go through.