My First “First Class” Flight

Okay, it might not have been out of the golden age of air travel, but I have to say that being upgraded to Premium at Westjet was a significantly different experience on the way to Toronto today. It started when I accumulated enough Rewards Points to get to the Silver level at Westjet. Flying in and out of Victoria and Calgary over the last 15 years has always meant better routes with Westjet than Air Canada, so I’ve been slowly racking them up. Then, when I went to check in on Monday morning, I found that my seats for YYC-YYZ and YYZ to YHZ were 1-C and 1-F, respectively. At first, I thought I’d screwed up when I booked the flight and gotten a business-class ticket by mistake. But I ruled that out and then later found the emails from Westjet in my inbox informing me of the upgrades.

I was psyched to get the elbow and legroom, but the benefits were numerous:

  • First on and first off the plane (literally the first off),
  • Bottled water
  • Breakfast (a cheddar and bacon wrap)
  • Banana bread
  • OJ (full tin, served in an actual glass
  • Hot towel (offered, but not taken)
  • The guy across the aisle was having Bailey’s and coffee, so there was more I could have enjoyed, apparently.

In other news, I managed to finally watch the last 15 minutes of Tag, and then I watched The Meg and then the first half of Ready Player One. I expect to be able to watch the second half on my flight to Halifax. I also had plenty of room to have my iPad/Brydge keyboard on my lap, and got an important document and message off to Jacob before my fight left.

I hope I get upgraded on the way home, but I won’t hold my breath.

Where’d the Power Go?

Today started well. We got up early and were out the door to go skiing. It was -17 in Calgary, but there was a warm front moving in. The traffic moved well and the highway was bare. At the mountain it was hard-packed, groomed snow with a light snow falling and about -2. Perfect.

Ian and I got seven runs in, including going up the Silver chair. Tammy and Miranda managed five.

Ian near the top

We got coffees and hot chocolates and were on our way home by 11. Then, when I was pulling onto Highway 40, suddenly the Golf’s engine lost power. Like hitting the rev limiter, but I didn’t. I pulled over and restarted the car. The check engine light was on and the car was barely making enough power to get up to highway speed.

Gentle hills were a challenge and on the steeper ones it slowed down to about 30 km/h. The Golf had turned into a Rolls-Canardly: Rolls down one hill canardly get up the next.

We limped back to Calgary. Tammy has dropped the Golf off at Knibbe Automotive, but they won’t open until Monday.

Is the Golf’s ninth life up?

A Shift Back To Winter

Since the bit of snow that we got on Christmas Day, the weather in Calgary has been unseasonably warm and dry. Even our street, which often has hard-packed ice that lingers well into the spring, was clear. It got to the point where we all went for bike rides on Sunday the 13th. I went for a 47-km solo ride, and Tammy and the kids rode 10 km to the library and back.

Yours truly enjoying a mid-winter ride

But this week, the temperatures dove down under freezing and it snowed yesterday. Before the snow was an ice fog, which always leaves the trees in a beautiful state.

Ice crystals on tree branches

Today it’s -17 out there. It’s supposed to be back above zero tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see. I’m off to Halifax next week. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with my air travel.

Miranda’s class went to Bowness High School for a field trip yesterday. She has put her application in to Sir Winston Churchill High School for the International Baccalaureate program for next year, but if that doesn’t pan out, she will attend Bowness. She was impressed by the various programs there, so it’s good that she is excited about Plan B.

In other news, I have jumped back into writing/editing mode. I have three novels that make up a long story, which I started in November 2015 with All Too Human, then followed up in 2016 with Outpost Tyranny and I partly completed between 2017 and 2018 with Who Writes the History Books. WWTHB is probably about 30,000 words from completion, but I decided to go back and revisit everything up to now to ensure continuity and to fix any outstanding edits. I am enjoying that process, and what I’ve done is created a PDF copy of the novels, and I am using the PDF Viewer app on my iPad with the Apple Pencil to make red-pen markup that I will incorporate later. It’s allowing me to scribble quick notes instead of worrying about getting everything perfect. Once I get to where I left off in 2018, I think I will be ready to push through the last part of the book.

This is exciting for me, because it’s been a long time coming, and I can envision the end.


Survived Week 1

It never fails to amaze me how tough the first week of work is after a short, 2-week break. Last week was the first week of our Winter 2019 term and we all we dragging by Wednesday. Admittedly I had agreed to sub for a daytime teacher, so I was doing double shifts (9.30-2.30, 6.30-9.00) Monday-Wednesday. Plus I’m now back to 4 eves a week, but I couldn’t believe the fatigue by 10pm. I also squeezed in either a bike ride or tread milling to keep up the battle of the bulge. I hope the week is better. I only have my evening classes. We’ll see come Thursday at 10pm.

Ian the Movie Maker

We left Ian alone for a few hours today, and the next thing you know, he’s creating little movies with the iPad. The first one is a little story about two boys and one of them is mean and the other gets revenge.

The second one is just a little experiment with special effects:

Pretty darn cool, if you ask me. 🎥


This morning, I was talking to Ian about forced perspective, which is a very old technique to make things look at different scales. We tried some still photos, and then we put together this short clip, Climbing into the Purdy’s Bag. Enjoy.


Kids’ Growth

I’m only a week late, but I remembered to measure the kids today.

I think it’s safe to say Miranda is about as tall as she’ll get, while Ian is just starting into his growth spurt.

Not Fair

I have two full weeks off. And what happens? I get sick twice and hurt my back.

I can’t complain about Dad’s visit: I was feeling well (except for my back) for all of it, but then he wasn’t feeling well for the last day of his visit. We managed to get one day of skiing in, but now I’m suffering with laryngitis.

I suppose I’ve had a pretty good run of good health in the last few years. Since the kids have grown out of the “picking things up off the floor and putting them in their mouths” phase, it’s been better.

First Ski Trip of the ’18/’19 Season

Considering Nakiska has been open for a while, the weather and my health have been getting in the way of us heading to the mountains. But no more: the kids had their eye exams this morning and we went straight from there to the ski hill. It was sunny and windy in Calgary, but cloudy and snowing lightly at the hill. There were a couple of inches of powder and it was about 1 degree. With the fresh snow on the trees, it was very picturesque.

A winter wonderland

I have been trying to shake a sore throat (combined with a headache) since the second of January. When I woke up this morning, I thought I would only be the chauffeur on this trip, but I felt better by the time we got there. Ian and I managed to get in six runs off the Bronze chair before Tammy called it quits.


Miranda’s 15th

Today is Miranda’s 15th birthday. Technically we could have started celebrating right after midnight, but the majority of us were tired and went to bed shortly after 12.
The big plan for today, at her request, was to watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back. The plan was to start around 7 (I am not sure of the actual start time), so they were hunkered down in the bonus room when I got up at 8. There were a few short breaks for meals and birthday wishes, but most of the time they were in there. Simon even did two bouts of cycling while watching. There was a bigger break around 8.30-9 when Miranda opened her cards and gifts. The big combo gift from us was two additional piercings in each ear and pair of real earrings (garnet studs in silver). I spent most of the time preparing the cake, making chowder for lunch, going for a walk with Ian, and getting supper (which was our usual Love Boat Deluxe from Sakana Grill). Ian split his time between making videos from clips in which he acted both parts and practicing magic. Now that supper and cake are finished, they are back at it. I am not sure how much is left, but maybe by 9 they will have watched it all.
It was quite a sunny, balmy day of +4; my sweatpants and ski jacket were overkill on the walk.

Happy Birthday Miranda!  Here’s to many, many more. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜