Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ride time

Time this morning for a ride up McCulloch Peak, just up the road from Ciel's place. I need to ride more!
- mark.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We've been busy...

In with the new, out with the old

We put french doors to replace the sliders which were very hard to slide
Very fun to replace the microwave and the "drop down" range
Luckily the guys that helped us put in the doors, had a router to cut out the  space for the new range.
The drop down ranges cost $1400 + so we decided to go with a stand-up

It's really difficult to get work done when the dogs force  me to give lap time.  My main job!

The end product with new fancy fridge with ICE machine and dishwasher hiding to the left of the pic.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

House Prepping

View of the backyard
Yep, getting ready for the big sale
backyard daffys
We got the hot tub warming up  #1 priority

Sunny today and then we're going to get some work done!

Patchy Fog
Hi 80 °F
Mostly Clear
Lo 51 °F
Slight Chance Thunderstorms Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Slight Chc
Hi 78 °F

Chance Thunderstorms Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Lo 50 °F
Chance Rain Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Hi 68 °F

Slight Chance Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Slight Chc
Lo 48 °F
Chance Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Hi 70 °F

Rain Likely
Lo 46 °F
Rain Likely
Hi 61 °F

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Flowers and Enchiladas

It was a beautiful day at Becky's house. Too bad we weren't here for it because she laid in the sun after working hard. The enchiladas were really great and the flower bouquet was sooo Corvallis. Is it close to 80s today? All of Corvallis is mowing their lawn and getting a sunburn. We worked up at the house today and are relaxing now with good friends and good ice cream (and chocolate syrup).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back in the USSA

Being in a relationship with someone in a different country has its challenges, especially when that country is the USA. I can't legally live or work in the USA, and until she gets a work permit or a permanent resident card, Ciel can't live or work in Canada. That means lots of border crossings for both of us as we travel back and forth together (and sometimes separately). Sometimes it's easy, we just tell them where we're going, what we'll be doing, and when we'll return, but at other times (like most crossings recently), it's not so easy.

Yesterday, Ciel drove down from Salmon Arm to North Bend to visit with her mom before her mom goes away on another trip. I had a few more things to finish up before I left, so I drove down today. I packed the car with the usual stuff (bike, helmet, bike shoes, a couple of ground pads and sleeping bags, binoculars and telescope to view the annular eclipse), as well as a select kit of electronic components so I could build an amplifier for my amateur radios (techy geeks: class E/F HF PA). I got to the border booth and handed over my passport and answered the usual questions (destination, purpose of trip, return date), then waited as the guy looked through all the stuff in the back. He closed the hatchback and I thought I was almost done, but then he stuck a post-it note on the front of my car and directed me to the "secondary inspection" area.

This was the start of a very long and frustrating wait. At least I wasn't trying to board an airplane with extra batteries for a DVD player or a radio in an Altoids tin. The bin of electronic components did arouse much suspicion, though. I got out of the car and was directed into the office where I had to empty my pockets (wallet, cellphone, gas receipt, car keys, etc.) and fill out a long form detailing nearly my entire life history. The agent asked repeatedly what I was doing with all those parts, and I tried explaining what an RF amplifier is and how I simulate and prototype them with the components, but I kept getting interrupted by the question "so what do you do with them?" - which I found a bit exasperating. Then after a round of questioning, the agent would go into a back room and leave me waiting on the one uncomfortable chair with nothing to do or read (surely a tactic to unnerve me).

Eventually he came out and told me that he could not let me across the border with the parts and equipment I was carrying, and that I would have to return to Canada. He told me he thought I was going to work in the USA and asked "does that make sense to you?", and I replied "No, to be perfectly honest, it doesn't". SO... I had to talk to his supervisor, a very military-looking (and acting) man who asked me again what I do with all these parts, and accused me of lying and planning to sneak in for work...but eventually he agreed to let me in. But he made it clear that I was never again going to be allowed to enter the country if I had electronic parts, tools, or equipment in my possession.

I better not tell them that the only thing I really need to work as an electronics designer is my brain, or next time I won't be able to cross the border with it!


Monday, April 16, 2012

in support of bike peace

We didn't see anything like this in New Zealand, but I've often wondered riding the trails with Mark how it works when you get a bunch of testosterone juiced males together riding with one another - HOW do they pass one another?

Here's to a peaceful bike season!

A Korean Accent

I went to Vernon and talked to a guy from Denmark for a while, so now I have a Korean accent.
It's made by Hyundai.
edit: Ciel wants everyone to know that she still speaks 'merrican. She even talked to the Danish car salesman longer than I did. Why a Danish guy is in Canada selling Japanese and Korean cars to a Kiwi-Canadian and an American, I don't know. It does sound very international though.
And I guess I should explain that the 4runner is still going strong, but would cost too much to fix up to pass the BC out-of-province inspection (silly rules...there are plenty of trucks registered in B.C. with more rust than mine, it's just that they've been here all along). Anyone want to buy a great used 4runner? It's only got a bit more than 1.1 light-seconds on the odometer.
And the new car will get much better gas mileage. (Ok, it's not really new, but pretty close...a 2010 model with 34Mm on it - that's 34,000km for those unfamiliar with SI unit prefixes. Luckily it cost much less than a brand new one would have.) Considering that I've probably spent over 3 times as much on gas for the 4runner as I spent on the purchase of the vehicle, this should be a cheaper vehicle in the long run. (and Ciel says much better for the planet with less CO2 emissions!)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Picture perfect

Here are two views of the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.  This is where we were travelling earlier in the winter.  We hiked to get both of these views, one in Mt Aoraki National Park and the other in Aspiring.  I don't think if I hadn't broken my collarbone, we probably would have made it to either place because we would have been so busy cycling 100km a day.  So in retrospect, although it hurt to get hurt, thanks to loving family friends and spending money for gasoline we were able to go to these two beautiful places.  

So flash forward to current.  We are still living in picture postcards!

We've been with Mark's parents in Salmon Arm watching spring arrive. Today I watched snow geese fly behind these trees.  We've seen the swallows arrive, the grass green and ball players out in the baseball fields.  And yes, it's the Stanley Cup playoffs, a sure indicator of Canadian spring.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Somebody got lucky

This could have been really bad. Amazing video footage of someone almost losing it.  I had a close call like this once on a bridge with black ice over a river.  I had studded tires on my vehicle and I was able to ""thread the needle"" out of pure luck and avoid collision.  I was getting ready to apply for social work school on that day, headed to a ski hill, working on my application with my passenger.

A family friend from New Zealand wasn't so fortunate and our families are in mourning.  Granted, not snow since it's warm there, but heavy rain and snotty roads and a working man who drove truck and couldn't choose the conditions to drive when he was working.  So sorry - RIP and you are all in our thoughts and sending comfort your way across the big Pacific.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Extremely Lucky Driver Stays Calm' >Video: Extremely Lucky Driver Stays Calm</a>

 “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” –Marcus Aurelius


 “The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — Stanley Kubrick

We love you Bree Family!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tax season

I know that I have to still do my taxes, in fact I get to do US and Canadian since I've earned money in the great Canadian North.  The Obama administration is making good use of the season to promote a new piece of legislation proposed to help the wealthy people living in the United States pay their fair share.  Check it out!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Practice perspective

We are in the "in-betweens".  Being back from travelling and spending the winter free skiing, has kinda left me being in limbo and dealing with uncertainty.  This is the result of the choices that we have chosen to be where we are today.  Talk about privilege not having to work for the time we've had off to play and focus on travel, skiing and visiting with family and friends.

No doubt there will continue to be a lot of work ahead to keep the trudge going.  But we get to do so with the ability to focus.  There are many opportunities to cultivate more awareness on what Mark and I really want in life.  For example, when we found out that we're going to have to get another car because we can't license the one we have in British Columbia, we learned to refocus our perspective.  Yes, we would like to live lives that require less consumption of CO2 and are now welcoming we can find a car that's much more fuel efficient.  But it took some patience to get to that.

I'm certain that the time we are spending now in the "in-betweens" will become a gift for our future lives.  We are working hard to spend the time rightly.
Facebook page

It's called GRATITUDE

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring dog

Spring is here and the sun is out.  We made a long bike ride up as high as the snow would allow us to go, and rode back along the lake with the dried up reeds bordering the trail.  Red wing blackbirds, Bald Eagle, American Wigeon, and Carp jumping in the lake accompanied us back home.

The motorhomes are coming back from being down south.

If you're feeling like you have the energy, this link will take you to see Eddie playing ball -

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kitty Cats

Cat's meow
We got to visit John and Norma on our way through to visit the parents and got to play with their kitty cats.

Oh yeah, and the dogs were jealous.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last southern sunrise for a while

I have to say, I'm looking forward to it
No freezing levels
Canadian Tire money
Vehicle inspection
Loonies and Toonies
$1 for grocery store cart
Maple leaf
Red and white
Queen envy
Color money
Coffee Crisps
Petro points
High priced cheese and milk
Rick Mercer

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Skiing Fool

The ski report looked warm but it was actually cold and soft.

No Sunday lift line either

Heading out to the springtime however... bike season coming up soon.

And we're bringing our skis with us...