Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Hello

Every year, usually two weeks before Christmas, I gather up my energies and begin designing our Holiday Hello.  We began this tradition in 2006 as our Christmas card to friends and family near and far.

For you, it is a snapshot of our lives: what we did, what we're doing, and a slight sprinkle of what we're going to do.  For us, it has become a chronicle of sorts, a 4-page history of our year.

As I begin to put together the Holiday Hello, I search for appropriate pictures to include; I never feel like I have enough.  Do you ever feel that way?  Sure, we have large clusters of pictures around significant events like birthdays, summer vacation and trips, but we have a dearth of images from regular life.  We hope you enjoy scanning the faces and the smiles.

What struck me the most was that 2011 was a year of travel.  We once again returned to beautiful Mexico, I attended a conference in Philadelphia, Heather spent time expanding her yoga horizons in California, the two of us joined Claude and Tiffany for an unforgettable weekend in New York City (which we LOVED!), and we did a grand driving tour in August going from the Crowsnest Pass through Montana and up into Saskatchewan.

As you look back at the covers of the Holiday Hello from the past few years you see the boys growing up.  Ben seemed to really sprout in 2011.  Dylan discovered the joy of reading and of having a peach fuzz mustache.  Ben is now older than Dylan was in 2006 when we started this annual tradition.

Heather is healthier than ever and I am a shadow of my former self.  Her business is prospering, my jobs still inspire and challenge.  Life is good.

Click here to read the 2011 Holiday Hello
From all of us to all of you, the best of the season, and our hopes that you have a prosperous, healthy and happy New Year.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hope soars

I had an overwhelming feeling of despair and despondency the day we found out the results of Dad's surgery.  It didn't hit immediately, but after about ten minutes of processing what we had just heard, wave after wave of grief started to slap up against my heart.

Two things happened that soothed my sadness.  First of all, Marcel sent an email that offered a bright ray of hope, saying that Dad has a better than average chance of beating the cancer as he has taken such extraordinary care of himself over his years.  (Marcel is my first cousin, a family physician from Ontario)  Secondly, I started to feel more optimistic when Dad emerged from the anesthetic fog, looking and sounding more like himself.

It ended up being the first time all my brothers and sisters had been together since the DorĂ© reunion in Vernon about 5 years ago.  It was an unfortunate circumstance for a long overdue get together, but it was still nice to catch-up, re-connect.

Lisa, Mom and Dad the day after the surgery
Being home for this important transition in Mom and Dad's life was important.  It felt right to drop everything on a dime and dash back to Kamsack.

I've been back in Fort McMurray for a full week now, after a 3250 kilometre round trip, enough time to catch up on over one thousand emails, phone messages and issues that never stop.  After several hours today of reviewing, filing and deleting, I should be caught up.

While Dad's health challenges absorbed much of November, the month was book-ended by two wonderful events.  Heather and I attended the annual Keyano College Foundation Gala to start things off, enjoying our community's most spectacular party with twelve hundred guests.  Frankly, I think Heather was perfectly radiant that evening, more stunning than ever.  Her health has been amazing in recent months as you can probably see from the glow of her cheeks.

Baby Giroux born on November 30, 2011
I was on my way to the annual Student Awards celebration at the college to close out the month as Claude and Tiffany made their way to the hospital in North Vancouver.  While I began announcing the names of the recipients, beautiful Baby Giroux (no name selected yet) popped into the world, a girl, as both Heather and I predicted quite assuredly just a few days earlier.  Mother and baby are doing well, with Tiffany's Mom up in support from northern California.

Sunrise on November 27, 2011
Winter has settled in Wood Buffalo after Chinook winds blew threw the province last week, even this far north.

Getting ready to turn on The Lights of Christmas to start the parade
Ben and I rode the municipal float in the annual Santa Claus Parade to officially kick-off the holiday season.  It was a mild evening in the great scheme of things, but sitting on a metal park bench on a flat bed with the cold wind blowing proved to be a chilling experience.  Ben was a trooper though, and after we got him into the warm environs of the car, his private parts thawed quickly.

Earlier this week it was great to see Ben win a Student of the Month award at his school.  When his name was called he jumped up and ran to the front to accept his certificate from the Principal and congratulations from his brother, who was in the receiving line in his role as Vice President of the Student Council of Dr. Clark School.  Dylan must be enjoying the responsibility because he's already starting to talk about running for President next year.

Heather came back from our Edmonton trip with her little car jammed with new shelving from IKEA for her yoga studio.  She has spent the better part of a week putting them all together and creating a vibrant and compelling display of her line of retail products.  Sales starting picking up almost immediately, as presentation is everything.  There is no question that she is maximizing the use of the limited amount of space that she has in the basement.  It looks very impressive.

I live a very transparent life as I'm sure you know.  To look back and recall the events of a certain month, all I really need to do is go to my blog website and read to remember.

With several of my Council colleagues at the KD Gala
The post that was the most read in November and the 6th most read of the past two years is Cameron's Story.  During the Kraft Dinner Gala in support of our Centre of Hope a few weeks ago, a homeless drug addict shared his story.  It's worth a read if you have a few minutes.

For Greg, Kristina, Maggie and others interested in drama I would suggest reading about our Legion Blues experience.  We enjoyed a most amazing live HOME theatre performance that we'll never forget.

With Kenny Shields at the pre-Gala reception
I wrote about meeting Kenny Shields, lead singer of Streetheart and the uncle of two boys that I babysat in Kamsack back in about 1982. The band was in Fort McMurray to perform at Gala.

Finally, I waxed eloquent about our former Farnsworth boat anchor, otherwise known as our 100-pound television that was replaced last week by a 42" flat screen early Christmas present.

Dad out for a walk the day after surgery
When you are staring up at a daunting mountain face, it is so easy to give up, to acquiesce to the fear, to stop the journey forward.  Dad came out of his surgery and instantly started to find his first foothold, starting to tackle his mountain.  When the nurses asked him to wiggle his feet, he wiggled his feet.  When they asked him to walk, he walked. When they told him that the cancer had spread to his liver, he wanted to get home to start reading up on the liver, and what he could do to get better.

I hate to use the word fighter, as I don't want characterize this journey as a battle, but Dad is giving it everything he's got.  Hope soars, courage reigns.

We are so grateful for all the prayers, kind wishes, and every form of connectivity offered, from phone calls and visits to Facebook posts and email messages.  I can't speak for Dad, but I sense that he has been uplifted by the outpouring of kindness and love.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Eve

Sunrise on Demers Drive on October 30, 2011
Procrastination is the mother of invention, at least that's what I'll keep telling myself as I avoid putting together a conference session I'm delivering on Thursday in Edmonton.  I tend to ruminate on these kind of things till the last possible moment, waiting for inspiration for strike.  This is the title of the subject of my presentation:

SOCIAL MEDIA AND POST-SECONDARIES – BE NOT AFRAID:  Traditional media usage is declining at an unparalleled rate as social media channels explode in terms of total participation and “hours tuned”. However, organizations of all kinds, including most post-secondary institutions, still focus the bulk of their time and financial resources on that ever-shrinking traditional piece of the media pie (some say traditional media has fallen to below 15%). Why do you need to hop on the social media fan bus? Because, as former Alberta Energy Minister Murray Smith sagely said: “if you want to go duck hunting, you need to go where the ducks are.” This session will illustrate the power and potential of building your social media presence, and provide a compelling argument why choosing not to do is no longer an option.

Sounds exciting, yes?

So as my brain simmers in the background, seeking a path to go down on this social media adventure, I'll write a Wood Buffalo Update.

I hopped on the scale this morning, as I've been doing quite regularly since August 27th when I started my Ideal Protein journey, thanks to the inspiration provided by Warren, Cindy and others.  What I saw surprised me, as I have dipped underneath the low water mark that I thought had been achieved 8 days ago.  Don't get me wrong, there's no complaint in my observation.  I'm in Phase 3 of the program, less than a week away from the finish line, eating a gargantuan breakfast on a daily basis, but not putting the weight back on.  Life is good.

What do I mean when I say "gargantuan" breakfast?  How does two eggs, three strips of bacon, half a grapefruit, and two toasts with butter sound?  Yummy!

Breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince. Supper as a pauper.  That's the long-term plan for me, with the exception of one day a week when it is "mandatory" to have whatever I like!  That delightful direction comes into play next Sunday.

My progression from plump to trim
While the east coast of the USA gets hammered by an early season snowstorm, we in the north have been spared from the dreaded white stuff.  The good weather is helping out all our friends who are trying to get as much road work in as possible before the finality of winter.  Our new 5-lane bridge opened up earlier this week, the largest in Alberta in terms of deck size.  Unfortunately, we won't feel the blessings of this new structure as concurrent with its opening came the closing of the two original bridges.  One will get resurfaced and the other will get a significant makeover.  It'll be a number of years before all 9 lanes of the three bridges are fully functional.

With Councillor Scott on the new bridge moments before it opened
We welcomed the new Premier to Fort McMurray on Thursday.  It was nice to meet her in person and spend time with many of her ministers.  It turns out that Alison Redford is a contemporary of Therese Koturbush, originally from Kamsack, my hometown - they are old friends from law school.

While I go from function to function in these heady days of autumn, Heather remains busy with the many prongs of her practise: yoga lessons, reiki, baby massage, therapeutic massage, yoga teacher training, craniosacral therapy (the newest offering) and probably more that I've forgotten.  Today she is teaching teachers.

Dylan is enjoying his first weeks as Vice President of Dr. Clark School's student council.  They had their first dance of the year which he described as being "crazy".  I'm not exactly sure what that means, but as long as the phone doesn't ring with a panicked principal on the other end, I won't worry about it.

Ben has enjoyed the first months of being in Cub Scouts.  Trying to fit things in has been challenge, but Leader Andrew Thorne has been enormously helpful in picking Ben up on those days that prove impossible to manage for Heather and I.  He is prodigiously working on his Artist badge and several others as he approaches his investiture this Thursday.  The Cub Scout promise, motto and law rolls out of his brain, across his tongue and out his mouth without hesitation.  We are proud of his efforts.

Tomorrow is Halloween.  Dylan will haunt the neighborhood with his 3D zombie outfit while Ben will scare the kiddies with his scream face.

We hope you have a spooky spectacular day tomorrow!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Sitting by the river yesterday, I could feel winter's grip off in this distance as the soft breeze cut through to the bones in my fingers, making them slightly numb. Fishing in the fall has a very different feel to it and is a rather solitary endeavor as I was the only one with a pole in my hand. It was sure beautiful though, with a bright blue sky,and the leaves of the forest turned to their late fall colours.

I snapped a picture of the eastern point of MacDonald Island, just across the channel from my favourite angling spot on the other side of the confluence of the Snye and Clearwater.

Later that evening, after having bought a couple of cheap stretched canvases from Walmart, both Ben and I decided to paint a picture. I chose to attempt a landscape of that picturesque scene. It turned out pretty good, good enough to give to Heather in thanksgiving for all she is and does. Of course, giving it to her in person was an impossibility, as she had just arrived in Revelstoke, on route to Vancouver with our friend Tiffany. So, I posted a picture of it to Facebook, which allowed her to see it right away. She liked it, she really, really liked it, as was once said on the famous television commercial for Life cereal.

As Heather is driving to the wet coast and Dylan is spending the weekend with his grandma Patsy, Ben and I are on our own. It's been great to spend time outside raking leaves and getting the yard ready for the winter. Although, it was baffling me why Ben was acting so skittish, absolutely petrified of the lone wasp meandering near the roof of the shed in the back. Unbeknownst to me, he was stung on the ear last weekend when Neil and Susan were in town, helping out with turning over the compost bins in the back.

The day before I had been focusing on the big bin where I compost grass clippings and leaves. It's a simple system that I built many years ago - dump the grass and leaves in all year and harvest the rich soil in the fall. I opened the front of the entrapment, unscrewing the one side and swinging it open thanks to the hinges I had put on the other. I began raking the top fresh layer to get at the rich black loam below when all of a sudden a wasp appeared, followed by another, then three, then too many to count. I backed off in hurry, realizing that I'd hit a nest.

By the following day, I had successfully extracted their honeycomb home, going at it late at night and early in the morning when it was cooler and the rascals were dormant. I thought I got them all, but obviously one decided to linger and give Ben an earful. Ouch!

It's been a busy stretch of time since the last Wood Buffalo Update, as it always tends to be in the first few months of the academic year. The evening following my last post I donned a tuxedo and assumed my role as a celebrity waiter for the annual Harvest of Hope fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.

This is an event where guests buy play money (for a charitable tax receipt) and tip their servers for doing all the things they should be doing and some things they really shouldn't. I kept it pretty much on the straight and narrow this year, but many of my colleagues got a little funky and raised a lot of money, over $270,000 by the end of the shenanigans.

To be honest, my focus was on the first ballot of the Alberta PC leadership vote, the results of which were trickling out at the same time. In between courses I was carefully watching Twitter for the latest news. The front runner, Gary Mar, didn't garner quite enough votes to take it on the first round which set up a second trip to the polls on October 1. This time, only the candidates with the three highest vote counts would be on the ballot.

I was at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention in the days leading up to the second vote, getting a chance to see two of the three finalists in action: Gary Mar and Doug Horner. Unfortunately, the third contender, Alison Redford, couldn't be there as her mother had tragically died and she needed to focus on the family.

It was closing in on 1 am on the night of the vote when I finally gave in to my fatigue and went to bed. At that point Gary Mar was up by almost 4,000 votes with only two polling stations left to report. As he didn't achieve the required 50% + 1 to win, and as it was a preferential vote (you had to pick both a first and second choice), the second choice of the third place candidate would be added to the final results.

In the end, and well after 2 am, it was announced that Alberta would have her first female Premier, barely creeping over the 50% mark on the strength of the supporters of third place finisher Doug Horner.

While I was sitting in the airport in Calgary waiting to catch my flight home following the convention, Dylan tried to call to let me know the results of a different election.  He was up against several candidates for the position of Vice President of the Student Council at Dr. Clark School. Unfortunately, I couldn't pick up as I was in the middle of something, so he sent me a text message with the news that he had won.

As I looked at the words, my eyes (and heart) swelled with pride. I called him back right away and loved hearing the excitement and exuberance in his voice. "A chip off the old block," wrote somebody on Facebook.

It's been a good stretch for Dylan as moves into his pubescent teenage years. He heralded the arrival of his first pimple a few weeks back, got elected to student government, and received excellent results from his recent gait analysis at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.

Beth Watkins called from the Syncrude Centre for Motion and Balance to give us the news.

"Dr. Dulai is really happy with how things are looking," she shared. "There are so many positive changes I can't begin to list them all."

As Dylan basks in success and manliness (that's a funny looking word), Heather is overflowing with health, happiness and inspiration. She enjoyed a transformative craniosacral therapy course in Edmonton last weekend, developing an additional discipline to add to her menu of wellness offerings. The Ananda Center for Balance is truly thriving offering services ranging from deep meditation to baby massage and many things in between. Heather is delighted in being able to do "her joy" for a living, making it feel more like an avocation.

Ben, apart from battling the bees, is doing great. He continues to spontaneously create, spending hours focused on delivering a particular idea in his head to paper. This homemade guitar was a collaborative effort.

As a creature who operates in phases, his bent of late is on All-Hallows-Even - as it was originally called - or, Halloween for the masses. We have made several trips to the ghoulish emporium in the mall run by Bill and Suzanne Rockwell to select his accouterments for October 31st. He is going as "Ghost Face" this year, a costume that comes complete a pump that will cause fake blood to ooze from the mask. Frightful!

I'm heading into Week 7 of my Ideal Protein life-change. As of Saturday I was down 23 pounds and feeling great.  Barb - my coach - is thrilled with the results and in fact, was rather perplexed that I had done so well in my fourth week.

"We've never had someone do so well in Week Four," she said. "For my own benefit, let's get you on the big scale to see what we see."

The "big scale" is one that customers pay extra to use. I chose to go with the no-cost normal weigh scale as I didn't feel the need to follow every nuance of my body changes. That said, she put me on it and discovered that no matter which way you are looking at it I was in the healthy range across the board.

After a month on the program, depending on the setting, my body was at the metabolic age of between a 29 and 36 year old. I don't know what any of these readings mean - she told me but I've since forgotten - but it's all good news.

The windows of the Escape are frosted over this morning as the sun creeps up on the day. An additional injection of cold will help the lingering leaves on the trees make their final descent to the forest floor, another step closer to the inevitable first snowfall just a few weeks away.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer's Passing

That the furnace turned on for the first time in months a couple of mornings ago suggests that summer has drifted into fall.  The temperature that night dipped down to -4 degrees, a sharp change from the +34 temperature that we were baking in just a few days earlier.  I fully expect that by the end of this weekend, the painted forest will appear with spectacular hues of orange, red and yellow.

First of all, let me apologize for not writing for nearly a month and a half.  There is quite a bit to catch up on and the most logical way to do that is to rewind the clock and work our way back to the present.

When we last checked in, Heather was preparing to head south to spend some time with her mom and dad, Dylan was hanging out with his mom, and Ben was knee deep in rehearsals for his theatrical debut at interPLAY.

The 21st edition of our annual visual and performing arts festival took place at Keyano College and King Street for the first time.  It was also the first time that I had absolutely no official connection to the event (other than being a doting parent and being lovingly referred to as interPLAY’s “Godfather”).  Surprisingly, it felt wonderful not knowing anything and being able to play the unfamiliar role of a regular patron.  Having both Dylan and Ben in tow, much of my attention was focused on keeping tabs on them and making sure they kept well fed and watered.

Dylan spent much of the time seeing plays, seven in total over three days.  He was very independent and kept me updated on his whereabouts by sending me text messages.  I was proud of his interest and the many observations he made about the performances.  Dylan also had the opportunity to meet wrestling icon Chris Jericho (shown above) who was at the festival playing with his band Fozzy.

Meanwhile, Ben did 6 performances of his show, playing the character of “Woods”, sidekick to the hero of the story.  In the weeks that have passed, I’ve enjoyed listening to him describe his theatrical adventures to a number of interested adults, most recently Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake.  He is very articulate and particularly proud of his theatre camp experience.

As the sky opened up and the rains fell on the final day of the festival, we said our goodbyes and started our journey south to Edmonton and on to Hillcrest in the Crownest Pass.

The time spent with Neil, Susan, Kathryn, Michael, Julia and Uncle Lowry in the south was wonderful.  Apart from fly fishing for the first time (thanks Michael), the best moment (among many) for me was watching the gallant foursome tackle the north peak of Turtle Mountain.  Michael, Kathryn, Heather and Ben set off early one morning, driving to Blairmore to come up the backside of the infamous mountain that fell back in 1903, burying much of the community of Frank.

I pulled out the binoculars about 11 am, the approximate time that they would theoretically be near the top.  Sure enough, there were several tiny specs at the summit with several more about a half hour later.  They made it to the top, triumphant and deeply satisfied, though tired and covered in dust.

We also enjoyed a wonderful day in Waterton National Park, exploring that Banff-esque community that is a summer haven for hikers and adventure seekers.  The Prince of Wales hotel is the iconic structure of Waterton, sitting regally on the top of a plateau with a stunning view of the lake.  That the property is supposedly haunted became an afterthought, as we took it all in.

One day during our time in the Crownest, Dylan wanted to get his hair cut. So, we made our way to John’s Barber Shop in downtown Blairmore.  It took three hours from start to finish, but it was time well spent, visiting with the locals and watching the care and attention demonstrated by this artisan who has styled with scissors and shaved with a straight blade razor since 1959.  The blog post John’s Barber Shop captures the magic of this unique afternoon.

The next leg of our holiday took us through the Chief Mountain border crossing and into Big Sky Country, the rugged and wondrous state of Montana. It was a perfectly sunny day as we negotiated the twisting turning mountain pass called the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park.  Open only a few months of the year, the 50-mile engineering marvel was still snowed in and closed to traffic just a month earlier.  Logan Pass can get up to 80 feet of snow over the course of a winter.  Can you imagine that?

I felt somewhat relieved as we made our way down the mountain, as it took a lot of concentration to traverse the tight curves and narrow passes. 

We stopped at the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery before completing our first day’s trip to Missoula.  Several people on Facebook had endorsed this quirky tourist trap as an essential stop. 

How many times we told the story of being in the titled house, I can’t begin to remember.  But it was the vortex pole trick that really blew my mind.

The guide had me stand up facing a pole that had a strip of Velcro running from top to bottom.  He instructed me to affix a dot in line with my eyes, which I did (just like what Ben is doing above).  Then he instructed me to go counter-clockwise around the pole.  When I returned to where I began, I was suddenly an inch or so shorter.  He then told me to go back clockwise, which I also did.  All of sudden, I was staring at my dot, back to my original height.

Heather did the same thing, but her height didn’t change one bit.  Go figure?  The guide explained that Heather was a “particle” and I was a “wave”, which is why we reacted differently in the heart of the vortex.

It was the simplest, old-school, low-stress roadside attraction that I’ve ever experienced.  I think it’s fair to say that we’d visit again in a heartbeat.

Overnight in Missoula, over the mountains to Helena, and onward we traveled to Billings, the largest city in the state.  We enjoyed an interesting dinner in a pub, the only eatery near the hotel, and had a delightful visit with a couple from Washington.  They were fascinated to hear about our healthcare system, and share horror stories of what they have to live with being in the States.  I wrote about it in the blog post titled Small Blessings.

From the hills of Billings we pierced the desolate plains and miles of empty pastureland.  We lunched that Sunday in a small roadside diner in Grass Range, enjoying unbelievably good chicken noodle soup, with noodles made from scratch.  Yummy!  

It was fascinating observing these two old-timers who came in for lunch.  They sat quietly, tables apart, not saying a word or acknowledging each other.  One was a slight man, dressed smartly, with sharp creases down his Sunday-best jeans, the other rougher, tall, with huge hands, reminiscent of President Lyndon Johnson.  Did they know each other?  Did they have history?  We’ll never know, but it was interesting to imagine.

As we crossed back into Canada, we raced three different storm cells that eventually riddled southern Saskatchewan with hail stones the size of golf balls.  It never did catch up to us as we overnighted in Swift Current before darting across the province to Kamsack.

It was so nice to spend time with mom and dad, and the rest of my family who still call Saskatchewan home.  Spending the afternoon at Madge Lake was like a trip back to my childhood, and in some ways, even beyond that, as an image of Charlie and Loraine at Ministik Beach back in the mid-1960’s is permanently planted in my mind.

We returned to the lake for a thrilling afternoon on the water and on the “big comfy couch” courtesy of Warren and Tori.  Dylan, Ben and I had a blast being towed around the bumpy lake, holding on for dear lives as we were thrown hither and thither.  It was so fun.

Some of the visit was spent talking with Warren about his amazing physical transformation.  He is in the best shape of his life thanks to an eating plan called Ideal Protein.  His ringing endorsement of its effectiveness inexplicably inspired me to start thinking about my own fitness journey.  Thought became action after I got back to work and saw my boss Cindy.

“You look absolutely fantastic,” I exclaimed.  “What have you been doing to lose weight?”

“I’ve been on something called Ideal Protein since the beginning of summer.”

My friend Angele, who works in the office adjacent to mine, had also lost a lot of weight over the summer.  I quickly found out she was also on the Ideal Protein program.

Prior to Warren sharing his wellness story, I had never heard of Ideal Protein.  After returning to work, everywhere I turned I was running into people who were either on the program now, or had been on the program previously.  It put me in mind of how Facebook entered (and took over) my life back in 2007 from out of nowhere.

Long story short, I started my Ideal Protein program on August 27th weighing in at 207 lbs.  After three weeks I have dropped 17 lbs and I’m feeling incredible.  I have more energy, I feel measurably lighter, my pants have become delightfully loose, and my suit jacket size has dropped from 44 (which has been my size for 10+ years) to 42.  Crazy!  Add to all that good news the fact that I got my hearing back the other day (thanks to Dr. Kudryk), and can probably tell that I’m in a very happy place.  You may want to read Drunk with Sound…again to get a sense of what it’s like to get your hearing back.

Home from the holidays we’ve quickly returned to familiar routines.  Heather is incredibly busy on multiple fronts, starting a yoga teacher training program, hosting a reiki workshop, and maintaining her busy schedule serving massage therapy and yoga clients.  She’s also exploring (very earnestly) the possibility of expanding her business.  I won’t say much more than that, as that is news for Heather to share when she is ready.

Dylan came home from the first day of school and said “I have something to tell you!”

My first thought was that he was going to tell us that he had a girlfriend, or some other such earth-shattering news.  My first thought was way off the mark.

“I’m running for Vice President of the student council,” he said, beaming proudly.  “Can you help me with my speech?”

A chip off the old block, Dylan is eager to jump into the world of leadership.  I’ve always been proud of him, but I was especially proud of his decision to put his name on the ballot.

Ben continues his artistic pursuits.  A gifted artist, Ben often drifts into a creative bliss, pulling ideas out of his mind and on to paper.  

I’ve rambled on and on and I sincerely apologize.  We’ve finally arrived back at the present, with me sitting in my study writing this, Dylan staying over at a friend’s place, Ben playing computer games in the other room, and Heather dashing out to run an errand.  Friday night in Fort McMurray.

For a complete pictorial tour of our summer travels, click here and enjoy.