Thinking Out Loud Thursday #6


Another Thinking Out Loud Thursday – linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons.

#1 — Effort v1

Each Thursday I read Rebecca’s TOLT posts and I think. “How does she find time to do that EVERY week?” Of course, like exercise, it just has to happen. So today I took a few minutes for myself and wrote this and one other blog post. I really must try to do this more often because (1) I enjoy the writing process and (2) it is good for me to exercise my brain in a different way.

#2 — Effort v2

Much of this year has been whipping by, and November was no exception. With the days getting shorter and colder, I did not get out to run at all even though I said I would.  On the weekend, however, my brother-in-law and exercise mentor reminded my that this is our off-season. Not sit on your butt and do nothing season, but off-season when we do other things for exercise. Sure I am not running outside, but I do skate 2 or 3 times a week as a ringette and hockey coach. I walk the dog daily. I walk all over my school daily. But still I need to do more.  So not that December is upon us, I am heading back to the workout spoace in my basement and revving up the SWORKIT app for some stretching and HIIT workouts. at the very least I will be more relaxed and will have a fighting chance at staving off the holiday eating.  Also, today I started Jayme Rae‘s #24DAYSOFPLANKMAS challenge.


I managed 50 seconds of plant work today to get things started. Yay me!

#3 — Family

Recent events have reminded me yet again the importance of family. Lots of hugs for my wife and kids these days.

BBQ Easter Weekend

My wife likes to point out, rightly so, that I don’t do much of the cooking. That said, when I do cook it’s pretty good but it usually involves the BBQ, regardless of the season or the weather. This weekend, being Easter and a four day weekend, I spent a fair bit of time on the BBQ. Sure I could have been running, especially Sunday when it was unseasonably warm in Ottawa, but instead I helped out with the family meals in my favourite way.

It started out simply enough with lunchtime hot dogs and buns at my mother-in-law’s, but that was just the primer for dinner. In the morning I had prepared the run spices for our dinner — beer can chicken. In the afternoon, I prepped the cans of Goose Island IPA, and set up the three chickens. FYI, Costco often has the three packs of chicken on sale so it’s how I often shop.

The three birds were the centre piece for dinner that also had a wonderful spinach salad, potatoes, and green beans. It was a wonderful dinner enjoyed by the entire family of 13!

Of course even with so many people, three birds does leave some leftovers. My lovely wife thought Saturday was the perfect day to try quesadillas on the grill. She adapted a receipt from Looney Spoons and I was back at the grill. While I used my cast iron skillet, next time I will probably just use the grills.


It was a great recipe, and a definite make again. Of course, later that day I discovered a quesadilla recipe in one of my Weber Grilling cookbooks with a few cooking tips. They will come in handy next time.

A well used and loved cookbook


My most often used Weber cookbook.

Easter Sunday was the big cooking day. In addition to my regular BBQ bacon for breakfast (the neighbours must love me!), it was also the big family dinner. Because my wife always takes care of the cooking at these big events, which isn’t even close to fair, I offered to cook whatever she brought home. Of course knowing it was Easter and my family has certain expectations, I was pretty confident a turkey would be involved. For Christmas my parents gave me a rotisserie for my Weber; I had only used it once before when I cooked a pork loin roast, so I figured why not try a turkey. While my kids kept teasing me about ruining a nice family dinner, and referring to the bird is Butch, I hoped to be more successful than Stuart McClean’s Dave and his Christmas Turkey.

My wife is a very smart woman, and she knows I can’t tell time to save my life. She told me to have dinner ready for 5:00 which meant I had to have the turkey on the BBQ at about 2:30 so it would have enough time to cook. You would think that after 22 years of marriage I would know she had given me a false time, a buffer for success, but I don’t think it really registered. I do, however, know it takes time to prep a meal, especially the first time you try it. Sure enough I started prepping the turkey at 1:30, getting it ready for cooking and getting it secured on the spit. Starting early paid off, though as I had the bird on the BBQ on time.

Not surprisingly, I had a few issues. First the BBQ wasn’t firing properly and was not getting hot enough. Then I had an issue with my trussing job which took two attempts to fix. That was compounded by a problem with the tines slipping.  Once all of these issues were resolved, I was cooking with fire (pun intended). And it was 3:00. When I mentioned to my wife that I was worried because of the lost 30 minutes, she let me know that perhaps she had built a the buffer — we were exactly on time.

Dinner was a big success. The turkey and stuffing turned out great. My mother brought a ham. We had mashed potatoes, bacon beans (another Looney Spoons recipe), heritage vegetables, and candy cane baby beets. All of this was served with a healthy side of laughter and cheer.

What are your favourite BBQ recipes? Do you BBQ all year or are you a fair weather BBQ’er?

Finding the fun in sports

After a lengthy ringette season that began the first week  of September and ended with a Silver medal in her division at the Provincial Championship in the middle of April, our daughter went straight into three weeks of tryouts for next season. She had exactly 48 hours without ringette before she was back on the ice. Not surprisingly she (and my wife and I if we’re honest) suffered from sport fatigue.  Unfortunately, tryouts didn’t go as she had hoped.  After playing as a competitive goalie for the last two seasons, she will be playing at the rec level next year. While there was some disappointment at the time, she took the news very well.  But it was very clear that she DID NOT WANT TO PLAY THIS SUMMER.  We understood that emotion, and we were happy that she was finding fun in another sport — field hockey — for the summer.  Last night, however, she was back on the ice in the 4-on-4 summer league as a back-up goalie.  She played very well, and she was clearly enjoying herself.  After the game she was smiling and she said she really had fun.  My wife asked her about one thing she enjoyed. Although there were lots of things she said she liked about last night’s game, after a lot of thought our daughter said she liked that she stopped every shot but two.  That was a great answer for her to give because it was something specific about her play.  She handled some really tough shots, she played her position well, and she enjoyed herself.  She was happy to be back at the rink, she had fun in her position, and she enjoyed being with her teammates.  After a very long season, it was clear all of the girls were having fun out there playing a sport they love. And that is all any coach and parent can ask/hope for.

Photo101: Water & Bliss

Water is life. Seems like a pretty simple concept. Not surprisingly, many of the memories and photographs my family have involve and cherish water.  There was a time I thought that because my wife came from the West Coast, we placed more value on water-ish things.  But then I remembered some of the things I did growing up in land-locked Ontario.  Water was ever present.  There were the cottages my grandparents owned along the Ottawa River, learning to sail at my aunt and uncle’s cottage in the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River, playing in a river with my best friend John and then the two of us almost getting swept away (best photo I wish I had — John’s dad took a great shot of us that exists for me now only in my memory), earning my swimming bracelet at camp, playing in the ocean and on the beaches of Barbados, having a swimming pool in high school and a hot tub in university.  That’s a lot of water, and it doesn’t even include snow, which we get a lot of in Ottawa.  Not bad for a kid who grew up in Ontario.

When I met my wife and she explained the wonders of BC to me, I didn’t really get it. I should have known, really, the significance of water since the month after we started dating we took a trip to Biddeford Pool, Maine.  There isn’t much to do there except sit by the ocean and listen to the waves.   But I didn’t clue in.  So what, I thought, you lived in a city that was on the water and close to mountains.  Sure you still thought of Vancouver as home even though you hadn’t lived there for 8 years.  Big deal.  Turns out I was wrong.  It was and is a big deal.  We take our kids there every other year, more often if we can manage it, because there is something amazing about being on the water.  Our first stop is inevitably the beach at Spanish Banks. We stay with family who live near the Fraser River, and we rent cottages on the Gulf Islands.  The years we do not go west, my wife always find a way for us to spend time on the water, whether it be visiting friends at their cottages or renting our own in Western Quebec or in Maine.  We love those trips because we see family and we re-energize even though we’re always doing something.

So with all this thinking about water, and trying to always capture a new photo for this experiment I’ve undertaken, I made a point of stopping at Hog’s Back Falls on my way home from work.  I have visited this place many times in my life because of the magnificence and power of the water moving over the falls.  I often wonder how many people who drive over the bridge ever stop to see the falls.  If they have any idea of what goes on just below their cars.

Here is a series of shots from the east side of he Hogs Back Falls taken with my Nexus 7 tablet.

Hogs Back Falls 2

Hogs Back Falls cascading down the rock chute

Hogs Back Falls

Hogs Back Falls and the upper and lower runoffs to the Rideau River

Water Cuts Rock

Hogs Back Falls and the passage of time

Google created Awesome Photo

Google created Awesome Photo

So that’s what I came up with today.  But because I’m also trying to cover my Blogging101 task for the day, I’m going to throw in a couple of other things.

First are some summer holiday shots from Saturna Island, BC, our Gulf Island get away, taken this summer during the super moon; you can really see the impact of the full moon on the tides:

The low tide during the Super Moon of July 2014

The low tide during the Super Moon of July 2014

East Point Beach at High Tide

Of course a blog about water needs to have a picture from the Georgia Aquarium:

And to wrap it all up, I have to turn to music.  I often have a soundtrack that runs through my head, and no post about water would be complete without the Rev. Al Green in this “Soul Train” clip from 1975:

Al Green “Take Me To The River”, Soul Train circa 1975

Thanks for wading through to the end of this post.

Today I walked and that’s okay

According to my training plan, today I was supposed to run 4km. I didn’t get to that, though, because we’re on vacation and we went for a walk. As a family we walked about 7 km today, and 6 km were on a beach. Instead of running, I pushed my 16 year old son in a rugged beach worthy wheelchair on the sand right next to the ocean. Our whole family spent the whole day together on the beach laughing, enjoying the fresh air, and having a fantastic time. The other 1km was spent pushing him in his regular chair which is not at all beach worthy. Thanks to Parks Canada for making sure there was a beach chair available for my son in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve near Tofino, BC. The wall wasn’t part of the training plan, but I wouldn’t have changed for it for anything.