February 28, 2012

Today I went out for dinner with my Grandma and Aunt in Vancouver at a great Italian place on Commercial.  This is my Dad’s mom and my dad’s sister.  (My grandpa I have spoken about before is my mom’s dad).
 
My Grandma was diagnosed with Lupus many years ago, and at first that seemed to only affect her with pesky rashes etc.  About 2 years ago, it started to attack her mobility, almost completely curtailing her ability to get around.  Until this time, she was still walking every morning down the New Westminster Quay to the market.  Grandma never learned to drive, and as a result uses transit or her feet to go where she wants to go.  Her condo is at the base of the New Westminster Skytrain (that’s a subway, Ontario people) station, so it has never been too difficult for her.
 
With drugs, a cane, a walker and a great rheumotologist, Grandma has regained her mobility but it has been a struggle for her.  She debates with herself about perhaps leaving her condo and moving to a retirement residence.  She doesn’t want to leave her beloved Frasier river, friends, and New Westminster and I suspect does not want to move into this seemingly final phase of her life.  Putting herself in the home with other people her age is like accepting old age and infirment and therefore, a restricted life.  Shouldn’t we all “Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light?”  Fight to live the longest life on our terms how and where we want to?  It is a difficult question, one that I am sure all children and parents try to balance.  Keep your loved ones safe, but also let them live their life.  How do you find this balance?  My three aunts (my dad’s 3 sisters), are of different opinions on what should be done, how it should be accomplished and how it should come about.   They are all right of course – because how can you be wrong when all you are trying to do is keep your mother’s best interest in your heart?
 
During my trip to Vancouver, I spent the afternoon with her.  We settled back into her condo and enjoyed ourselves just talking about things.  We discussed religion, death, funerals, ageing, and many other light subjects.     I reminded her that I am her favourite granddaughter, despite my cousin Alicia’s attempts at the title.  (I let her try, everyone gets the chance to compete.  I am the first born of the first born son, how can anyone else have a chance?  Alicia is competing using great Grandchildren – a cheap trick if you ask me).
 
She also asks about my grandpa too and enjoys hearing the stories about Retirement Residence living. My grandma always asks “How old is he now?”  And when I answer – this time saying “97 – 98 in June” – she always gasps in appreciation of his longevity.  Oh, My!  My goodness.  Wow.  98!!  That’s extraordinary! 
 
Really?  You’re NINETY-TWO Grandma!
 
February 28 Extra-Ordinary Event:  Realizing Perspective really does make all the difference.

February 27, 2012

Tonight was again spent with our friends Colin and Alison and their 3 kids – Selina, Mariella and Carson (6,4,2 I think).
 
Emile already has the two older ones screaming and bouncing off the walls before dinner even began.  Carson is a little too young yet to see what the big deal is about Emile, so he was eating his pre-dinner snack of apple slices quietly and carefully at the table.
 
He’s pretty young, so if he stretches he can touch the top of the kitchen counter.  While the adults were distracted by excited girls hanging on Emile, Carson slipped off his chair with his empty bowl and made his way to the kitchen.  He carefully reached up and put his empty bowl on the counter top above the dishwasher.  He rubbed his head – so cute – and then walked back to sit at the table with us again.
 
February 27th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary Event:  Seeing a two year old clear his place without even being prompted.

February 26, 2012

Yesterday we hit the town with Colin and Alison.  I have known Colin since grade school, and Alison his wife for 10 years.  They took us through a $2 Million Neighbourhood here in Vancouver.  It didn’t look like a $2M neighbourhood to me – in fact, I would think perhaps $600-700K, but apparently my real estate knowledge is definitely wired for Ontario.  The homes – although well kept from the looks of things – appeared modest to me, something that you would have after your starter home when you needed more space for the kids or hobbies or whatever, but not sprawling mansions with huge yards and waterfront views. 
 
I am not going to rail and rail on about real estate in Vancouver, but wow.
 
Anyways, we went out to dinner somewhere south of downtown.  I am not sure where, I can’t even remember the name of the place, and couldn’t find it again if I wanted to, but it was a sushi place.  I cannot in good conscience bring Emile to Vancouver without making sure he has some west coast sushi.  I turned my nose up at all of this raw fish, and instead ordered some really good teriyaki tofu which Colin turned his nose up at.  I suppose this is fair – although I can’t understand how you can like uncooked fish, but not beans.   Alison and Emile are much more easy going and enjoyed the sushi AND the tofu and just rolled their eyes at me and Colin: the picky eaters.  But then Colin regaled us with stories about eating pickled herring (which he was disappointed to find that his wife and kids will not eat), nor sardines.  But when he told us that he often lingers in the meat section coveting chicken hearts so he can make chicken heart soup, the rest of us quickly reclassified him from picky eater to just strange.  But he did assure us that Beef Tongue is not something he likes much.  Emile told the Balkenbrij food story – according to Emile it is Dutch meatloaf-ish dish made strictly from the animal leftover parts like brains, kidneys, hearts, etc – and how he would fake the flu to get out of eating it as a child.  Alison and I were properly repulsed, but Colin looked thoughtful. 
 
After dinner, we headed us to a landmark ice cream shop that has 218 flavours.  They quickly run from the mundane and have more interesting flavours like Basil & Pernod, Spicy Mango, Garlic, Maple Bacon and make other strange and bizarre flavours.  And they will let you sample as many as you like.  And we are lucky enough that we are heading back there tomorrow evening with my aunt and grandma – only 216 flavours left.
 
Emile summed it up best today, at lunch.  He said to me, “Did you hear what Colin said to me yesterday?”, when I indicated I had not, he said incredulously “He told Alison where the keys to his new motorcycle is in case I wanted to come over today to drive it around.  It speaks to how generous they are.  I didn’t let anyone ride my bike when I had it!”
 
And he is right, Colin and Alison are not just generous with their possessions, but in spirit as well.  There is never a trip to Vancouver that Colin hasn’t offered rides, or usually his extra car.  Alison always offers food and drink, and if I asked pretty much anything.  Alison doesn’t get upset when someone is late, she gets concerned that perhaps something has happened to them.  Colin twists his own schedule to co-ordinate with yours.  They are both the kind of people you want to have in your life – that make you feel good being with.
 
February 26th Extra-Ordinary Event:  Having Tofu and Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream with the people you aspire to be more like.

February 25, 2012

Vancouver is fickle in the winter.  Often, locals walk around smugly with winter sunshine warming their shoulders then followed soon after with bitter winds chasing up the streets looking to impale the first person it can find with icy tendrils.  
 
Yesterday morning was such a day.  I met my friend Gillian downtown at 9 am at our “usual” spot, and part of the usual spot process is to spend about 10-15 mins at what we both think is the usual spot while thinking ‘That’s strange, Susan/Gillian isn’t often late”.  While I stood near the Bay corner of Georgia and Granville, she stood at the Bay near the corner of Seymour and Granville.    I say stand near the corner because I was huddled in behind a pillar on the Bay building tucking my hands in my jacket and peering around the pillar to see if she had arrived.  She was doing the same thing except huddled in Granville Skytrain exit on Seymour.  Every now and then we would both take a run up to the corner to see if we had missed the other – apparently not at the same time.  Smart phone technology saved the day eventually.
 
Both of us stood near homeless men who – at least in my case – seemed much more prepared for the wailing winds.  He had a sleeping bag, tarp, and was snuggled against the Bay building and was sleeping the morning away as Vancouverites were just beginning the day.   I couldn’t see any part of his face or body, and as I stood there getting colder, I examined the scene.  I noticed people had started leaving some change for him – even a toonie and a loonie – and someone had left a Large (I guess now it is a Medium) Tim Horton’s coffee for him.  I hope it was still warm when he woke up.
 
February 25th Extra-Ordinary Event:  A faceless homeless man getting his caffeine fix just like the rest of us.

February 24, 2012

I have had several potential Mother-in-Laws. 
 
PMIL #1 was a nurse, and she really didn’t like my “heel walking”.  I guess the family had all learned to walk with their tiptoes all the time, whereas during normal waking hours, I walked normally, which was too loud.  Beyond that, I do not remember too much of a relationship with her.  Youth eventually ended that relationship as I suspect she knew it would. 
 
PMIL #2 thought I was too dependent on her son.  Maybe I was, who knows.  I was 22, so I think we are all fairly dependent on our friends and girl/boy friends.  She liked me, but really didn’t think that I was the one for her son.  Eventually, he thought that too and hooked himself up with a little cookie whom he was “teaching to sail”.  Actually, considering how I reacted to that, perhaps I was a little too dependent. . . hmmm.
 
PMIL #3 was a bit neurotic.  She also accused me of cheating at cards – jokingly in tone, but I think she really thought her son and I had a rigged system.  We didn’t really, but in euchre, you either get the cards and go for it or not.  No system.  She also thought I could be her girlfriend and told me a lot of personal things that I wouldn’t think you would tell your son’s girlfriend.   I think I dodged a bullet there.
 
PMIL #4 didn’t like me at first.  I know you’re thinking, of course she did, you were just paranoid.  You are wrong.  In fact, she told me she didn’t like me.  Actually screamed it at me one day.   Whoa.   Just 12 months later, she was telling me that her good china would be excellent for “an engagement party”  Winkity Wink wink.   Really?    
 
PMIL #5 is actually now MIL.  I do not remember meeting her really, she was just there ever since I can remember.  I guess that is because I can’t remember my life without Emile.  I have gone to their house for 11 years, and I am part of the family now  (whether they want me or not), so I can’t remember the actual first meeting.  I can tell you that knowing myself, I would have been exceptionally nervous, and unfailingly courteous.   But I have lucked out as far as MILs go.  She is juxtaposition of many things – tolerant, forgiving, giving, kind, inclusive, busy, hard-working and able to see people for the way they really are and love them anyways.   She shares many similar values with my mom and my husband takes after her.  So I have a lot to thank her for.
 
Today I went to the Home Show at BC Place in Vancouver with my Aunt (my dad’s sister).  She is 62.  I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you that, especially if when you see her you tell her she doesn’t look 62.  When she tried to get her senior discount admission to the home show, the kid made her show ID.  Not a bad start to the weekend.  The home show was ok – somewhat focused on the rich (major renovations) and the weak (head setted announcers showing you solutions for problems you didn’t even didn’t know you had).  Not much for the condo owner looking for small decorating ideas etc.  But it was fun, and lots of good walking. 
 
When I got home, Grandpa was pleased to see me, but concerned I was wet.  He had received an MBNA credit card application which he asked me to check out for him (yep, garbage) and a Ed-n-Me’s pizza menu (where we are all heading for dinner tomorrow, good info).  He paused and then remembered “I got a card!”  He pulled out the card, with words that wished him the best visit with his granddaughter from Henk and Toni (MIL).  He was so pleased to receive the card and so pleased to share it with me.
 
February 24th Extra-Ordinary Event:  Seeing the pleasure given by my thoughtful MIL with a simple act of kindness.

February 23, 2012

My trip to Paris is one of my favourites because of the food and the history echoed in the streets and buildings.  I loved the simplicity of the food or the complexity – never in between.  I loved the market stalls, the daily shopping and the street food.  I had several things on my list, but having a crêpe sucre was near the top.  After a long day of walking, we found a takeaway place that made crepes.  In my halting and pathetic junior high French, I ordered my crêpe and handed over my Euros.  With the arrogance and insouciance combination that only the French seem to have, my crêpe homme carelessly and precisely made my crêpe while shouting rapid French back and forth with someone else in the restaurant taking really no notice of me at all.  Then thrust it at me with no backward glance.
 
It was folded in half, then in thirds and then wrapped with parchment paper at the bottom to allow me to eat it.  The sugar was slightly dissolved in the butter, and it was delightfully warm, and buttery – what French food isn’t? – and the sugar crunched a little in my teeth.  What a fabulous and wonderful afternoon treat in the Paris sunshine overlooking the Seine.
 
Today, food is globalized.  I am not talking about the carbon footprint or the drive to eat what can grow locally, I mean, travelling is compromised by the sheer availability of foreign food.  Just pick-up any PC Insider’s Report to see special treats from around the globe.  Long gone are the days where you could only get Macaroons in Paris, Macadamia Nuts in Hawaii, Strop Waffles in Holland and Cock soup in Grenada.  When went travelling people would ask you to bring back some food type that just wasn’t available anywhere else.  But now, it’s everywhere. We all benefit from authentic, delicious and well prepared foreign foods and treats, but I try to limit my enjoyment of certain things to avoid overindulgence and disconnecting food from its origin.  I vow Macaroons will never be eaten by me again unless they were produced in Paris and I know the person who bought them while there.
 
That also was the crêpe for me.  It was the perfect crêpe that afternoon in Paris.  Why ruin that memory it with replicas in Canada? 
 
Yesterday, I found myself at the Paddlewheeler restaurant with my Grandma – nice enough place, forgettable food, great company.  After lunch we strolled through the market to pick up some items for my grandma.  She is over 90, yet stilled mocked my knitting skills.  Sigh.  The New Westminster Quay WAS once a wonderful market.  Individual stalls with family produced/raised/caught food.  Each lovingly done.  Similar to the hey day of Granville Island for those of you who know it.  But for whatever reason the market was shut down.  Of late, they have been rebuilding it one shop at a time.  They have a small premium grocery store – like a less commercialized Whole Foods, a bakery – maybe family made?, a flower shop, and the best place of all “The Great Wall Tea Shop”.  The great wall tea shop is this amazing place shop that features all of their teas in 10″ tins with magnetic bottoms.  Each top of the tin shows a difference bird’s eye picture of a cup or mug of tea.  These tins stick to the back wall of the shop, and pulled down when you order.  It goes from floor to ceiling and is so striking, but I digress.
 
Crepe des Amis was there too.  And for some reason, it struck me today – I wanted a crêpe.  But I’d have to settle for a crepe.  And seeing that they had one with butter, sugar and lemon zest, I could not resist.  There was no carefree and indifferent Frenchman behind the counter, but a petite teen-aged girl wearing a ridiculously stereotypical giant red chef’s hats and an apron with the company’s logo embroidered on it.  She was eager and attentive and quickly took my money, and then moved on to the crepe making.  Determined in her approach, she literally bit her tongue trying to use the squeegee just right to cook the crepe – checking ever so often to see if it was done.  This one too was folded in half, then thirds, and sprinkled with icing sugar.  Both her and the owner/manager said in unison “Bon Appetit!” which such enthusiasm I stepped back. 
 
I sat with Grandma and took a bite.  Half dissolved sugar, butter, and this time the wonderful acidity of lemon.  Made with whole wheat and all in all enjoyable.  I let Grandma have a bite – just one, mind – and happily finished the rest before we restarted our walk back to her place. 
 
It didn’t ruin my crêpe experience in Paris, it reminded me of it and made it better somehow because the experience itself as it was so different.
 
February 23rd Extra-Ordinary Event:  Eating my Canadian Crepe – a wholly difference experience from my French Crêpe.

February 22, 2012

I like traditions.  Connections.  Nostalgia.
 
I like to see the same Christmas ornaments hung on the tree, and taking the annual vacation to the same spot.  I like the seeing stores pass from father to child, eating Poulane bread in Paris made the way the monks have made it for hundreds of years and eating a White Spot burger with family members in BC. 
 
Traditions are connections to something.  My friend Nancy’s annual New Year’s Eve evening with friends connects her with her friends, the memories made over 12 years attending together and the relationships made at Queen’s University.  Annette’s are her recipes of course, so many named for friends and relatives that passed it along or made it first reminding her of meals shared by all of her families and what she has to share with others.   Emile’s annual fishing trip (although something of a past tradition) with the boys connects him with Celestica, the days of so much disposable income and few responsibilities for 5 young men.   My mom’s Christmas carolling candles that she sets up every year (without burning) takes her back to Christmases with her own mother before cancer changed that.  But those candles are also infused with all the Christmases she spent with my Dad, me and Todd and representative of the Christmases we will spend together again.  
 
These traditions represent and remind me of connections I have with family, friends, my country, society, and the world.   More than memories – feelings – of times past, when I was alive and when I was not.   I must note, that not all things “traditional” should be around.  Only traditions that make everyone affected feel happy or at least neutral.    If you pull out Christmas ornaments that your grandma made for you that you stored your damp basement and they got mouldy, then you should not hang on to them.  Sure, maybe tell her to crack out the crochet needles, but toss them.  Be sad, but be happy that the blackened stained furry snowflakes are no longer in your basement.  If you get married and the annual summer cottage vacation doesn’t work anymore, you’re going to have to compromise on how to hit the cottage with your family but still do something else some summers.   If you always make the same beef gravy that requires 4 days of simmering and stress, seriously, find a restaurant that will sell you small portions of it (and smuggle it in the back door if you have to).   Sometimes you’ve just got to move along, people.
 
Not sure what started this deep thought today . . .I was eating lunch with Grandpa at his residence today.  We talk often, but also sit in silence sometimes.  That’s okay.   The silence let me think of all the meals we’ve had together – alone, or extended family.  Most of them because of my parents’ tradition of bringing us to Vancouver at Christmas and the summer.    And the tradition of my grandpa and my uncle with family coming to Cranbrook each summer.  And one I have carried on sporadically returning when I can.
 
I remember the time Grandpa dined and dashed from a local White Spot. (Can you believe it?  We went back 3 hours later when he realized he hadn’t paid the bill.  The manager was astonished)!  How about that fancy BB Beltons dinner with the whole family once – my mom wore her white beaver fur coat, and my uncle told the waiter he didn’t wear socks because we couldn’t afford them after paying for the coat.  The Christmas dinner when the “Turkey Protesters” sent open letters to the major grocers claiming they had injected the birds with poison (these letters really arrived).  Despite doubts of how people could take a syringe of poison and inject a frozen turkey  (FROZEN!!!) with it,  Grandpa and I made an emergency run to IGA (who did not receive a poisoned turkey letter).  The man drove like a lunatic trying to get one of the last turkeys in town and frightened me to death.  He sent his soup back twice to have it heated up at Red Robin. (the third serving almost melted the spoon).  The time with all of us at the temporary White Spot at Expo 86 when my uncle sent back his mushroom burger after eating more than half of it to say it didn’t have a PATTY! (um, how do you not notice that?  The waiter was gobsmacked, my grandpa laughed for a week)  The many meals Grandpa spent with our delighted cat under his chair sharing his steak.  And who can forget when he swallowed the tab off a beer at lunch.  He framed it.  And, no I am not kidding on that one either. 
 
Tomorrow lunch with my grandma (Dad’s mom).  We’ll see what the day holds!
 
 February 22nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary Event:  Holding my traditions – and the feelings they recall and the future they imbue – close.

February 21, 2012

I got 3 hours sleep last night.  Or 4.  I know I saw the clock at 1:37 am and got up promptly at 5:30 am.   I was having weird dreams about Captain Hawkeye Pearce so I don’t think those count as REM sleep.

 I am here at the airport awaiting my flight.  Emile and I left Huntsville at 6 am so I could get to a meeting in Toronto at 9  am.  I do not like seeing that side of dawn. 

 There is a funny detached feeling I get when I have had such little sleep. It allows me to function despite my inability to remember basic facts like the day or what gate I am leaving from. But I can sit and read, do a crossword, and be calm despite my plane being a bit delayed. I have a slight glaze to my eye and conversations are a bit choppy. I am pretty agreeable too – if the Pita guy asks me if I want a smoothie combo with my pita, I agree. Problem is then I can’t make a decision and order something out of the ordinary. Like a immune booster which featured echinechia, bee pollen and other strange things. ( I already had a Perrier in hand too.)

 If I have had only 6 hours sleep watch out. I am crabby, cannot concentrate, and wish desperately for a bed. The magical properties that keep me functioning with 3 hours are not applied in this case. My food choices must be from the sin food groups – bad fat, sugar or refined carbohydrates. I eat and grumble, fall asleep drooling, and am too tired to do anything.

 It’s 5  am Vancouver time now because I went to bed at 8 pm. After the immediate tasks at hand were completed my magical “3 hours only” powers begin to dissipate.  I collapse instantly.

 February 21 Extra-ordinary Event: Keeping awake to 8 pm- it must have been the bee pollen.

February 20, 2012

I really don’t have much to say today –  I spent today getting ready for our trips.  I didn’t spend much time recognizing the extra-ordinaryness going on around me.    It takes practise, I will keep practising!
 
But I will share something with you that I think is extra-ordinary.
 
Another person showed up in the news today after having a face transplant 3 weeks ago.  He was horribly burned as a baby in a house fire and has not been able to ever lead a normal life since.  Can you imagine how you would have developed if the people you meet or interacted with were either scared or pitied you from the time you were a baby?  I find that surgeons can now help people with such disfiguring injuries absolutely mind blowing.  Every time that a story like this comes up in the news, I try to check the status of all the 20 face transplants completed to date – what do they look like, how have things improved, has their life improved?  I am fascinated by their journey, although so many of the patients limit their media exposure after their surgeries.  I can imagine after years of not being able to leave the house, that it must be so wonderful to NOT be studied, or observed, but to be one of the many people in the world going about their business.  They just want to be left alone to not be extra-ordinary.
 
I also find it amazing that the bone structure of the patient tends to override the features of the transplanted face.  That the patient will often start to look like their old selves – although still different – after a year or two.  
 
Isabelle Dinoire – the first partial face transplant face – said she initially felt disgusted having someone else’s body on hers but has learned to accept it.  She also started to sprout hairs on her chin which she does not like very much.  Really, does anyone? 
 
February 20 Extra-Ordinary Event:  Full Face Transplant.

February 19, 2012

Tiredness comes in all forms. Sick and tired. Emotionally wrung out. Mentally exhausted. I workout fatigue. Shock.
 
I am physically and emotionally tapped out tonight. This happens when you are a hero. When you put your own safety behind the lives of others. When your country calls. When the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. . . or one.
 
We got a lively call yesterday to invite us cross-country skiing. We hadn’t been since last year but it would be fun and promised a picnic lunch and a hot tub afterward.  A gorgeous day getting our exercise with friends and enjoying the beauty of Muskoka in the winter.
 
This morning dawned cold and sunny – a reverse omen of things to come. The sun was glinting off the snow and Emile and I fuelled ourselves with leftover pancakes and green monster smoothies. We pulled on our polar linings, mittens, toques, scarves and super warm socks. We prepared well for the day’s events. Or did we?
 
The day began at the rental shop and purchasing of passes and getting our skis. The first person we ran into was our massage therapist.  Yes, we are the kind of people who have a massage therapist. Yes. Why? Because when you get working notice of unemployment, you max out your benefits. Emile and I had $500 each to spend in 6 weeks on massages.  And spend it we did, we are regulars now.  And now another NEW start of benefits to spend in 4 months.  I am going to be so limber.  But I should have taken the sign – a raven so to speak.
 
As I left the rental centre, I looked at the trail status sign – everything was open, and most everything groomed.  As it was such a beautiful day and Family Day Long weekend, it was busy at Arrowhead.  It was nice to see so many people out snowshoeing, skiing and tobogganing.
 
Muskoka’s weather has been warm and cold as of late and this has resulted in a sheet of ice covering most areas and icy packed snow. While Emile and I readied ourselves at the rental shop, our friends waxed their skis and selected the trail we were going to handle.  Emile and I seem quite competent in everything we do, but let me assure you it is the attitude in some cases, not actual skill.  But Rob believed in us and selected Hardwood Hills, a moderate trail that was only 3 kms long, not hard, not easy, but moderate.  Only 3 kms long?   Easy!
 
Terror began right at the beginning with a “gentle” slope.  When you grew up on downhill skis – which are twice as wide as cross-country, and the technique is tremendously different – getting down a hill cross-country is different (and very tippy).   Let me tell you something about me downhill skiing – I NEVER fall.  I doesn’t matter what is happening, I will never fall.  I will twist my body in weird contortions, stop quickly, use my poles, – whatever it takes to stay upright and away from the cold and injury inducing ground.   As I do not know how to telemark, and my feet are wider than the skis, and I was terrified as I didn’t really know how to stop, I fell.  And I couldn’t get up.  How you get up on downhill skis is not how you get up in cross-country skis (apparently).  After a few minutes of graceful manoeuvres, I made it up again.  The worse part is this gentle slope was to get you to gain speed to make it up the hill next.   But in this case, we needed to use plain knee-pit grease to get ourselves up that hill.  I somehow managed to, but Emile eventually took off his skis and hiked up.  At the 200 meter mark, we both needed a rest.
 
And the trail continued like this, with marginal increases to our skills in the face of patient coaching from Rob and Nancy.  Emile ran me over one time, but other than that, I didn’t fall again.  Soon 3 kms were near and one last hill to go down.  We all stopped at the top and we each took turns going down – I suspect Rob and Nancy didn’t want to get run over.  I went third.  I took the hill as slow as I could, but despite my efforts, was clipping along at a very quick speed (at least in my perspective)  Near the end was a turn and as I clumsily rounded it, 8 skiers – including women and children – gathered at the bottom getting directions from Rob and Nancy.
 
We all ask ourselves how we would handle situations that require heroics.  Would cowardice rear its ugly head, would our actions be effective, would we panic?  I considered my options, trying the brakes, trying to turn into a little run away lane.  But with my normally unused cross-country muscles exhausted and my lack of skill, I simply could not steer well enough.  In desperation, I threw my body to the ground and came to a rest about 10 feet from the group.  They were saved.   I was broken. 
  
February 19th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary Event:  The tremendous bruise on my left thigh and buttock – a reminder of the hero I am.  And the people I saved.