The Daily EO: September 16th, 2012

Participating in the Terry Fox run is pretty easy when you are 2 people in your thirties.  You can start getting ready about 15 minutes ahead of time, and arrive about 5 minutes before it begins, run/walk/bike, and be done.  With a group of seven people – 3 of them people children under 10, things get more complicated.

By the time we left at 11:30 am with 3 bikers, 2 rollerbladers and 2 runners, we had already been at preparation for about an hours.  First there was snacks, then making sure the bikes were ready, then the appropriate attire/shoes discussions, then snacks again because both parents were asked, then finding money for the donation, then screaming, then crying when an accident happened, then peeing, then eating, than strapping on the roller blades, then searching for headphones and house keys.  Finally, we were ready to leave.

After all that, I could have just stayed home.

As Terry Fox was from Port Coquitlam, the close by Coquitlam run is pretty small, but very convenient for us.  We walked/cycled/bladed up to the park when the event was taking place.  Everyone got free lemonade.  Then everyone had to find the bathroom.

We managed to get ourselves registered, donate and everyone got Terry Fox ribbons.    We started out in the middle of the pack at the first turn a friendly policeman directed up right when we should have got left.  Alison – whose days of blading were sometime before – found her self barreling down a hill while her husband shouted stopping directions at her.    Her horrified children watched as she grabbed on to a rotund stranger and managed to slow down so when she did actually fall, it was  a minor scrap on one arm.

Emile wanted nothing of this chaos and left us well behind and we didn’t see him again for an hour as he decided to complete the 10 k route.

After her terrifying blaze of glory, Alison and the two younger children turned off at the 2K route, while I continued on with the oldest child on her bike.  I encouraged her, I coached her, I told her she was doing great and we both eventually managed to get up that first long hill in the blazing sunshine.  As I felt the strength wan in my legs, her Dad caught up to us on his blades and I found myself abandoned without a backward glance.  Children are so fickle.

I proudly ran my 5K with my ribbon flapping – only occasionally sticking to my sweaty skin.

September 16th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Seeing the next generation of children learning about Terry Fox – a man who had set out quietly but made a big noise.



The Daily EO: July 15th, 2012

(In Cranbrook, BC)

Last time I was home I told you about my parents house, decorating and building their home.  I didn’t ever mention the landscaping projects they undertook.  The entire yard had a plan, and all the gardens were trimmed with logs standing upright.   The average diameter of each log – depending on the area in the yard – was about 12″ and each was securely placed in position with at least 12″ underground.  Cedar and Juniper shrubs dotted the front yard and the gardens featured my mom’s favorite geraniums and marigolds.

Shrubs are attractive when they are small, contained and the roots haven’t yet gained the strength to break through concrete and sewer pipes.  Once they – sorry for the pun – lay down their roots, watch out.  That sucker is not coming out without a fight, and even when you manage to win the shrub battle, the roots remain to make gardening projects harder.   When I move into a new house – I tear out the shrubs and plant flowering bushes.   (ask anyone about having their house foundation/pipes damaged by invasive roots and you’ll maybe understand why I do).

Cranbrook gets a fair amount of precipitation and cold winters.   Pavement and outdoor landscaping features face harsh conditions.  Logs – even treated ones – are going to start to wear, crumble and eventually need replacing after 40 years.  But thanks to the asphalt flush against and the shrub roots, our logs grip the earth.

In addition to the other things she’s passed on to me, my mom has passed on an allergy to sulpha drugs and juniper shrubs.   While the yard is low on sulpha, it is ripe with juniper shrubs.  Wearing my brother’s gardening gloves, flip flops and no wedding rings, I pounded and shreded those half fossilized decorative logs with a crowbar.

As I sweated, broke out into a rash from Juniper, and worried about removing a toe with a misplaced swing, I considered the effort my parents must have put into planting these logs.  And I cursed them.

July 15th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:    While placing the logs, did my parents consider that 40 years later their children may be ripping out all of their work?