merry christmas from lethbridge!

we have escaped chilliwack's brutal 3 degrees and sunny in favour of the more seasonal -11 and snowing of lethbridge. here in southern alberta we have enjoyed the hospitality of both kylie's mom and my parents and done all the things we like doing at christmas (although kylie has unfortunately missed out on the more athletic endeavours).

first up was a family xc skiing trip to cameron lake. i don't need to spend much time on this as it has been well documented by julie.

she did however miss the cattle drive we encountered around Mountain View, on the way out AND back. memories of africa and SE asia.

an impromptu christmas gathering spawned organically in my parents' kitchen involving the likes of chris, katherine, fraser, kevin, joanna, lisa and shareen.
my mom was overjoyed to come home from shopping and encounter a party in her kitchen. we overheard her telling her sister on the phone how much fun it was. it's wonderful to have a mom who is so flexible!

that evening entailed a christmas party with kylie's dad greg and her brother brad (a professor at the college... honestly).
the turkey loaf was glistening and the conversation was scintillating.

with all the snow falling, fraser and i had to get out to castle mountain for our first DH day in 2 years. the snow was perfect and the lift lines were nonexistent. on dec. 22nd! the joys of a local hill. castle offers steep bowls, tonnes of tight tree skiing and almost no green runs. kylie made me buy a helmet, but no one was hurt. i was amazed to see well over half of the people on the hill wearing helmets, kids and adults alike. what a cultural shift.

fraser did use his helmet as a contact surface with the snow on two occasions but kept his neck and brain intact.

finally yesterday we made gingerbread houses and did some caroling.
julie showcased her proprioceptive persistence to create this decadent dollop of dental destruction.

family friends amy and jen came over to contribute to our cul de sac. gingerbread houses not being a big deal in china, they had never made one before. we were impressed with their performance (i think they were happy as well).

i think julie is the reason there is a national shortage of these mitts.
merry christmas everyone!


long live the moustache

well, we went ahead and bought a brand new family car. looking for efficiency over efficacy led us to this little intellectual vehicle.

actually, it is truly the property of our buddy jarrid. handover of the vehicle involved a trip to vancouver, chilliwack and on to kelowna. dont worry, we didnt buy a smartcar.
at island 22, the ice permeating the eroded sand created a sort of natural sub zero concrete. it was unnaturally strong.

that reminds me, it has been absolutely gorgeous here over the past 10 days. -2 and sunny and i have been biking 5 times. vedder is clear of snow, but there is a strange natural phenomenom going on that i cannot explain.

in some areas of the trail there is a crystalline ice structure just below the surface. on top all you see is the familiar packed dirt of your favourite trail, but if an object of significant weight rolls over it, the surface buckles and the underpinnings of the trail are revealed to be scintillating ice crystals arranged in organic rows. the dirt is all gone and only water remains, or perhaps some substance that is not apparent to the naked eye.

has a stream of runoff removed all the dirt from right under the trail, leaving only ice? that is my best guess. i wish i had a picture.

yesterday we had our friends masako and shandalin over for lunch, after which we ventured to island 22 to catch snowflakes. masako made us a wonderful japanese veggie and bacon and cheese dish and shandalin contributed some crispy christmas baking.

and finally a brief discussion of my moustache. i love it. i'm not going to shave it. i recognize that it looks a bit silly and i dont care. it was originally grown for movember, although i succeeded in raising very little awareness. it was then kept into december b/c it was so fun to aggravate kylie and the ER nurses. now things have changed. new emotions have arisen. i wake up in the morning and gaze at the splendour of my upper lip and think "what a great moustache!" as you can see in this picture i have started working on the side bars angling in towards the chin. i derive joy from watching it fill in.
the other day as i was heading out for a bike ride i put on my toque b/c it was cold, and donned my sunglasses b/c it was sunny. i got some funny looks when i stopped for a new allen wrench set and it wasnt until i glanced into a mirror and realized that the whole ensemble looked a bit thuggish. my Rage hoodie only added to the look, while the puffin on my toque added a note of whimsy.
i took off my sunglasses, but that is my only concession to current fashion. what a great look to be incognito in a small town.



week in review

this week kylie and i continued on the project she started with her mom and painted our old office/new bedroom.
we are happy with the colour and the feel of the room. i remember learning in psych 1000 that the best colour for a baby room is yellow, and laughing at the thought of painting any room such an odd colour. we've come a long way... baby.

after a miserably rainy 2 weeks the sun has returned to the fraser valley. on the first fully sunny day we ventured to our favourite beach to double our vitamin D dose using the reflective properties of the fraser river.
kylie is pretty quick on the trigger and captured niko in a number of athletic and akimbo poses.

blue skies after rain means the mountains have regained their picturesque snowcapped glory.
we were able to enjoy views of these peaks while bathing niko. here is niko repulsing my attempt at a second scrubdown.

in musical news, after some time primarily immersed in the soft sounds of ann vriend and jose gonzalez and the harder vibes of matt good and the dandy warhols i have recently returned to hip hop and techno to feed my inner metronome.

i found "kings of salone" from sierra leone a few days ago and this song powered me up vedder mountain yesterday (swollen members narrated the downhill after a conversation with our friend dan about their street cred in the US):

you can download the whole mixtape here.

if i am going to touch on the subject of african rap, then i have to share with you the song that dominated the auralscape of east africa while we were there in 2007. a tanzanian rap with a chorus that loosely translates as "what's up? - it's all good" and acts as an easy primer for swahili slang greetings.

being able to sing the chorus of this song went a long way towards establishing street cred with the locals. greeting any young person on the street in zanzibar would quickly lead to an exchange such as:

happo vipi?
happo sawa

mambo vipi?
mambo poa

habari yako?
sawa sawa, na wewe?
mzuri sana bwana

if i could successfully navigate this far into the conversation in the correct order the young person with whom i was conversing would almost invariably start laughing and say:
chizi chizi kama ndizi

which translates loosely as "crazy crazy like a banana"

at this point i would be out of my language depth and we would both start laughing... i love swahili and i enjoy the laid back drawn out friendly greetings. typing this out has made me miss africa (dont tell kylie).

finally an interesting factoid from the world of tiger woods. i hesitate to wade into the media bonanza surrounding his trumpeted fall from grace, however i found this point illustrative of both the degree of tiger's saturation of mass media and the vocabulary of the majority media consumer. yesterday woods released his reactive media statement, the first line of which reads "I have let my family down and i regret those transgressions with all of my heart". the number one google search yesterday was for the definition of "transgression".