At the West Edmonton Mall

Tomorrow, I will be meeting with Millar Western Forest Products in Edmonton. I have come to Edmonton a number of times for work, but it’s always downtown. This meeting is in west Edmonton, and I have a rental car. So this evening I went over to the West Edmonton Mall for the first time since Labour Day, 1998.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t maintaining this blog back then, so I can’t link to it! πŸ™‚

I didn’t have much of an agenda, other than to find some dinner and to scope out the water park. When I found it, I FaceTimed with Miranda and Ian to show it to them. I also took this picture.

Pirate lagoon

I am seriously considering bringing the family here in January as a “vacation”. Between the water park and Galaxyland, I’m sure it would be fun. Lots of hotels in the area.

Weather, if you’re going to be this nice…

… I’m going riding. I needed to go out to the mall to do some targeted Christmas shopping, but I really didn’t feel like fighting for a parking space. I asked Tammy if she would just drop me off, and she suggested that I ride my bike.

So I did. I had to dismount three times due to compacted snow that had turned into ice, but other than that it was clear sailing. I was a little nervous about the cars in the mall parking lot, but I escaped unscathed.

Club ride tomorrow. December 10th…


The nice weather keeps me rolling. Seven of us made the Sunday Bow Cyclist ride on the 10th, and it was gorgeous.

Yours truly

I’m not going to be over the top and claim it’s summer-like, but considering it really should be snowy and icy, this seems like a gift.

And today (the 11th) I rode to work. In the dark coming and going, but I have lights. Based on the forecast, I should be able to tomorrow as well. After that, I have to travel for work on Wednesday and Thursday. Who knows what Friday will bring?


December 12th: rode to work. 10 degrees in the morning.

Christmas Party in Gasoline Alley

Tonight was the Esri Canada Christmas Party. It was held at Gasoline Alley, a museum at Heritage Park. It was dinner and drinks, with some prizes and a jazz combo playing Christmas songs.

Tammy and I at the party

There was a contest for “original” Christmas sweaters. Tammy and I participated in the pageant. I made it to the short list, but lost out to Mark, who did a “strip dance”, because he had a Christmas shirt on under his Superman Christmas sweater.

Tammy answered a trivia question that got our table up to the buffet line second: who was the founding member of the rat pack who was born in 1899? Everybody was guessing the obvious ones, and when the host hinted that he was married to Lauren Bacall, Tammy got it right away. πŸ™‚

Here’s a few more pictures:

Gasoline Alley: it’s not just a clever name

Dad will identify the car in 3… 2… 1…

The event

Hooter on Our Lamppost

I was sitting in the bonus room reading CNN when I heard this deep hooting sound. For a few calls I thought it was some kids goofing around, so after the third round I opened the window to hear its direction and discovered it was perched on top of the lamppost out front of our house. It was dark, but you could see its outline. It was a great horned owl, Alberta’s provincial bird. Β At first I thought it was a cat because of its “horns”. It was so exciting. Almost as exciting as the partridge we had about a week ago. It was calling and another was answering. Simon managed to get a pretty decent shot of it considering the lighting.


…and here’s one of the partridge … 🀣

Christmas Tree Up, Ikea for Miranda, Fat Biking

It’s been an action-packed weekend. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, given I have a lot on my plate at work this week, but it happened.

I guess things kicked off Friday night with the Bow Cyclist Christmas party, which Tara hosted at her house. The turnout was good. It was potluck, and Tammy made meatballs and rice and candy cane fudge. I had a good time. Tara and Ryan’s house is very nice. They just moved back from Houston, and renovated 95% of it.

Saturday was piano lessons, and Tammy made french toast brunch, but then it was time to put up the Christmas tree. It didn’t take too long. Many hands make light work.

Miranda putting on the garland

The sour note on the day was that Squeak was acting strangely. Tammy was worried that there was something hurting her in her mouth, so she and Ian took the cat to the vet in Royal Oak, while Miranda and I drove to Ikea.

Since we finished her room in August, she has been moving the furniture around, trying to find how she likes it. She had been pestering me for shelves, but I wasn’t going to build/install any until she finished moving the room around. We’d finally decided on what to do, with a new desk and some shelves.

The vet gave us some medicine for Squeak, but she was still not doing well today, so Tammy took her back to the same vet (and transferred over to it: she really likes this one). The blood test results will be back soon.

At the party on Friday night, I wished Kurt a happy birthday, since I wasn’t going to see him today (Sunday). There was a fat bike ride scheduled, but I hadn’t signed up. There were demo bikes, but they were spoken for already. When he heard that, he immediately set about texting Bob at the shop to see if there were available rental bikes. There were, so I was supposed to show up at 8:30 this morning at the shop, which I did.

We went for a 15 km ride in West Bragg Creek, but man, talk about a misleading statistic. That was 15 km that felt like 100.

On the trail

Even though all the bikes had studded tires, the ice was treacherous. Tommy and Kim were the only two who actually wiped out, but it always seemed like disaster was around the corner. I escaped unscathed, but I am very tired now. πŸ™‚

We’ll post updates on Squeak.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Draws to a Close

Tammy and I have both won NaNoWriMo for our tenth years.

I spent the month writing a third book in a trilogy that I started in 2014. I am not finished, but I expect to finish it in Camp NaNoWriMo 2018. My Selectric ribbon died 3/4 of the way down my last page for this year, and I didn’t have a spare, so I fed the page into my Underwood and finished it there.

Tammy only gave me the vaguest outline of what she was writing this year. I do hope that her gaggle of women on a bicycle tour made it to their destination…

Ten years. Man. I still remember our conversations back in 2008, when I mentioned Nano to Tammy for the first time, having read about it on They’d reviewed Scrivener, an application that was tailor-made for novel writing (and we now own: Tammy uses it to write her novels, and I use it to edit). Days before November started, and it was like we were each double-dog-daring the other to commit to it.

So glad we did.



Happy 19th Birthday Squeak

Today is Squeak’s 19th birthday. Tammy made “moon pies” for her birthday cake, which are chocolate cake with marshmallow filling. They are dark with white, just like Squeaker.

Hard to believe that she’s that old. But then, it has been a very long time since the night that we found her in the hall of our apartment on 15th Avenue.

The arrival of Squeak. Nochie investigating. Simon failing as underwear model.

Also, we have had the “return of the Roomba”. A long time ago, we had a very successful experiment with the iRobot autonomous vacuums. Unfortunately, their battery packs wore out and we couldn’t find any in the local stores. I wanted to get rid of them if they weren’t going to be used, but Tammy insisted on keeping them. Just recently, I went shopping on Amazon recently and found new, higher-capacity battery packs at a reasonable cost so ordered them. Our house now has the sound of vacuum robots again. Ian isn’t nearly so afraid of them as he was back then.

Roomba cleaning the kitchen floor



Kurt’s Rollers

On Wednesday night, the Bow Cyclist Club had our first Zwift ride at the shop for winter 2017. It was a good time, with five riders in the shop and Brett joining us online. We’ll do it again next Wednesday, too. But I also picked up a set of cycling rollers to borrow.

It started with Kurt posting a workout on Strava. He has a daughter who swims competitively, and he had taken his rollers to the swimming pool to work out while his daughter was in the pool at 5:30 am.

Kurt’s Rollers

I thought it was a neat picture and a great idea to get a workout like that. Rollers are good for taking with you, because they are lightweight and don’t require power. I commented on the post, and Kurt replied.

Simon: Are those the Tacx Galaxia rollers?
Kurt: Yup
Kurt: Wanna try em?
Simon: I’d be interested, yes. I have used a set of Kreitler rollers before, but I would like to see the difference.
Kurt: Let me know bro. Offer stands

That then led to emails, and I picked the rollers up Wednesday. Last night, I gave them a shot. I had borrowed a set from Brian a couple of years ago. They were designed differently and a real challenge. These have conical section rollers and the ability to rock forward and backward.

I was successful… with only one crash. No injury.

I had fun and I’ll give them a good trial this week. I’ll give them back at the next Zwift ride on Wednesday next week.

The Birds…….(dramatic music ensuing)

They seem to do this every year around here. Hundreds of crows migrating but taking a pitstop in Westhills.

I feel like I’m starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds movie. I have video but it’s too big for this site apparently. Posted on Facebook instead.

Simon steps in and… voila!  😎

Zwift Onboarding Night

This evening, I went down to Bow Cycle to give a presentation. Last year, we ran a couple of Zwift group rides at the shop and we want to do the same this winter. But tonight was the orientation night, where people could ask questions and I demoed how to get going with Zwift.

It was a good crowd (about 12). Mark had the projector set up and I brought my bike and my iPad and spoke for about an hour. Well, sometimes I had trouble speaking, when I showed how it was tough to go up hills. πŸ™‚

It was well-received. I think we will have our first Zwift night next week. I don’t know if anyone took any pictures tonight.

Updated – Tara took some pics and posted them to Facebook!

Me, Kim, Alice, Hannah… Mark’s arm πŸ™‚

Kim, Allison, Allan, Kim, Paul, Adam, me, Hannah