LOMAH - Land of Milk and Honey

Just living life here in the Promised Land, Southern Alberta. Where the Mountains meet the prairie in a stunning sunset, surrounded in fields of gold

Kayking - S Bend

An old picture, surfing the S Bend on the Red Deer River with Denali keeping a watchful eye. It was a perfect day, surrounded by perfect friends.

Family in Waterton

A summer hike with the family and Grandparents. It was a typical Waterton day with some wind and sun. Logan hiked the whole way in to Bertha Falls

Loves of my Life

The first two loves of my life together in one picture. I remember when they came into my life, making me whole.

Me in the Broken Group

I think this is my favourite picture from last year. We did a sea kayaking trip to the Broken Group and had 4 glorious days of sun. It was a capped off with the company of great friends.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

24th Annual Moonlight Run

Another March full moon was witness to a bunch of crazy runners heading off into the dark, snow-slicked coulees. It has been a beautiful week, full of sunshine (and wind). So nice to see the sun and feel warm in it. Today got cloudier and colder as night approached. As the 10kers lined up little flakes began to fall. As we lined up for the 6k, the flakes got bigger and more numerous. But it was relatively warm in the huddle.

The cannon sounded and we were off. Lots of little kids this time out - made me seriously think about bringing Logan next year. I think he could do it. And it would be fun to do with him. As always there were walkers in the pack near the front (grrrrr) but not many and I cleared most of them by McDonalds. Marco and the boys were standing in front of Wendys again, but I ran past them this year - missed 'em! Unbelievable. I heard Marco yell out to my mom behind me so I turned and saw Logan's green coat, but didn't run back - too crazy!

The hill down to the coulees was a bit slippery from all the snow, but I only saw one wipe out (not me) and he kinda rolled back onto his feet. It's a steep hill. The river bottom was aglow in all the orange tinged snowflakes - orange from the city lights. The transition from the road to the path was treacherous this year. I don't know if it was because I was closer to the front or if I was just being more aggressive, but I actually had to stop moving at one point to avoid trampling a young girl. I know, very responsible of me. There was a lot of "sorry" and "excuse me" as we weaved around each other and tried to avoid the walkers. But it is so beautiful down there, nice night for a run. My favorite part of this years run had to be the Taiko drums. They FILLED the river bottom with rhythm. It was magic and just the push I needed to get me up the hill.

The dreaded hill. I don't know if it has a name. It should. It should be something terrible like "salt on a paper cut", or "feeding Evan when he's sick". Love you Evan. I have run the entire thing once. And that time was not tonight. I actually made myself walk 2 lamppost lengths because I was worried I wouldn't have enough juice to make it. Eric caught up to me on the hill and tried to lean on me. Normally I'm all about supporting family, but that extra weight for about 5 seconds just about buckled my knees. We ran together for a bit and then he had to walk again for a bit and I found some reserves and shot towards the finish. Jaime and the girls were a very welcome sight (Kami - "Was that my Auntie?") and not much past them was Marco and my boys. SUCH a welcome sight. I don't know if you race, but having my family out there supporting me, smiling and waving...Knowing that they have been waiting almost an hour in the cold for a glimpse of their tired, wet mom/wife means the world to me. So here's to you support crew. You couldn't be cuter! Or more welcome.

Congrats to all my family that I raced with! So proud of your times and what you pushed through to get here tonight. Sore feet, crazy jobs, crazy kids/spouses (not you Marco), weather, all these things conspired against us - and we didn't let them defeat us. I finished in about 38:30ish (gun time. Pretty good for me. This was just the kick start I needed for my spring training. Good thing, I gotta a 12k coming up!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Road to Nowhere

I was listening to CBC Radio as they talked about this road in Nunavut that was called the Road to Nowhere, but in reality, for the Inuit, it was the Road to Everywhere.  Seemed fitting as I began my ski on a trail leading to a destination that that had yet to be decided.  But, I'm ahead of myself...

Dora had decided. to head to Calgary to get her hair done with her Mom.  So the two of them headed North with the two boys.  Bachelor Weekend!  I thought I would head to Whitefish to go skiing and stay at a hostel, but as it turned out, both hostels I found on the Internet no longer existed.  Bummer.  So sadly, I headed home to do some computer work.  On a sporadic thought, I looked up what movies were playing and invited a coworker out to the movies to see Battlefield:  LA.  It was a typical shoot-em up kinda flick, something Dora would have hated if I dragged her to it.  Man success... +1.

I headed home and thought to myself, what a waste to sit at home all weekend.  An then it hit me.  I should go camping.  Missed out last year, but managed a ski and camp the year before.  Rather than head back to Waterton, I thought I would try my luck in East Glacier, considering we now have property in that area.  I worked like a madman to clean the house, take back the recycling and get ready to go.  3AM, huh, guess it's time for bed.  With a late rise and a slow start I was out the door by with an early start of 2PM, just a quick errand, a blinker bulb for the truck.  An hour later!  I was on the road and headed south.  Passing through East Glacier around supper-time I skipped our regular stop at the Two Medicine Grill and headed for the Firebrand Pass.

I've driven by it for years, but never stopped, looked kinda like a dive.  I walked in and as I suspected, a busy bar and VLT stools.  I grab a table, a beverage and a menu.  When the waitress comes by I mention how I'm not sure and go with the safe choice, a burger.  "We have the best burgers!" she replies with confidence.  Sure I say to myself.  Having ordered a green chili and swiss burger I was pleasantly surprized when it arrives, looking delicious, but something wasn't quite right, couldn't place it.  I take a bite, looking at the burger and it hits me.  This patty isn't.... well the same everywhere.  It's thicker in the middle, kinda small, being more short and fat.  It's a homemade burger!  When I payed for my meal, I talked with the waitress, discovering that the patties here are never frozen, always fresh.  Perhaps the best burger I've had in years!

With my belly full, I continued on to Marias pass, where I packed up, put on my skiis and headed out.  By the time the 10min wait for trains was over, I crossed the tracks at the end of dusk.  With darkness approaching I put the headlamp on and ventured onto the dim trail below the forest canopy.  It is such a nice treat to enjoy the wilderness like this sometimes.  It was also a treat to be venturing on a trail that was unknown, especially after listening to that CBC story on the way down.  I continued for about 1.5hr and found a nice clear spot to setup camp.
It was nice to go tent this time as last time I went tarp and bivy.  The temperature was perfect as I curled up in my sleeping bag to read a book before heading to sleep.  Remind me to bring a pee bottle next time!  In the morning I arose to the call of nature and packed up.  I did sleep in a bit, so with a shorter day, decided to try and get above tree line for a good view.  About 40m back down the trail head was a sparsely forested region that headed uphill.  With the pack dropped I headed up, to see what I could fine.  Turns out it was a stream bed that continued easily to the tree-line.  Once there I started to traverse, gaining elevation as I went.
I was sitting below little dog mountain at this point, as I started my traverse.  It seemed like a reasonable idea to climb it in the winter, with the wind scouring the slopes and ridges.  As I continued, I noticed the debris field of an avalanche that had come down one of the gullies.
The debris and wind combination made for some interesting formations, thought I would take a picture of it.
After skirting the debris path, I decided that this wasn't high enough, so I took aim at the prominent ridge to the right of the summit ahead of me.  Considering I haven't done any scrambling in years, it was surprisingly easy to start my ascent.  My only regret was that I had slept in, hadn't packed any food or water and had left my puffy jacket in my pack at the trail head.  After an hour of climbing, I realized that I wasn't gonna reach the top.  I didn't have the gear or the time.
With too much ahead of me still and the rocky sections too, I decided to turn back.  The views were fantastic at this point with a clear vantage of the prairies and the Sweet Grass Hills and snow capped mountain in all other directions.  In my younger years, I think I would have been disappointed at not going for the top.  Now.... I'm looking forward to the opportunity to come back, better prepared, for the views and the challenge.
You can see my route here using google earth

Friday, March 11, 2011

House Plan

We got a final draft of our house plan today and we're pretty excited!  After two week of drafts going back and forth, we think we have it.  Three bedrooms, a mud room, nice open kitchen area and a breakfast nook.  Lot's of stuff and apparently a lot more room.  While we initially started out around 1400sq ft, this final draft is over 1600sq ft.  Bigger than we were looking for, but hard to squeeze our wish list into that size.  Funny how the next house is getting closer to the dream house.

Well I should note the disclaimer that this is our final draft.  If you out there in the land not LOMAH have any ideas, now is the time!  Looking forward to some creative input!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The snow on the front lawn melted in a day. We could sail to the mailbox, not because of the wind but the level of the water in the gutter. I got to wear a shell and light fleece for a jacket today. AND the sun was shining. The birds supplement my alarm clock now. There are rubber boots instead of winter boots in my front closet...

Could it be? Could this really be the start of a new season? I don't know about you, but I am


Too subtle?
I thought n0t.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hard Day

Today started out like any other this week. Get up, get ready, get the boys up and ready and out the door to dayhome. Except instead of going to work, I came back home and cleaned closets and did laundry for the morning. I know, exciting. My heart was only half in it though. My mind was in my childhood, reliving memories of Hazel. My Great-Aunt Hazel passed away last week. She was 83. She is my grandpa's younger sister. She was our family reunion organizer forever! And I think that's where most of my memories of her come from.

We used to camp out at Willow Creek campground. There was a park and a little beach, but my cousins and I spent most of the day in the creek by our trailers "fishing" for minows. Aunty Hazel was always good for sneaking us a pop or more bread crusts for bait. She was willing to look in our buckets at ALL the "fish" we caught and be amazed. There was always laughter coming from the camp kitchen where she, Uncle Stan and the rest of the crew hung out. And the candy toss on the last day, forget about it! She'd stand there and hoot at us kids all scrambling for the peanuts and suckers. Such great memories. I actually remember being a little afraid of her, she was just larger than life and I was well, not.

Her funeral was today. Got to see a lot of the old familiar faces; some faces have changed so much, some hardly at all. Aunty Hazel was always bigger than Uncle Stan, but today he seemed extra small without her there. They would've been married for 65 years at the end of the month. That's a lot of years of togetherness. So many great memories and secrets. I always wanted to ask her about growing up with the 5 brothers and 2 sisters that she had. I still have questions about Auntie Mary that now will never have answers. And that's okay I suppose. In the service today we were treated to some singing and piano by her ever talented granddaughters and daughter-in-law, Lori. Lori, I think, got to spend quite a bit of time with Aunty Hazel, trying to comfort her through the pain with songs. It was mentioned in the service today that even though she wasn't talking much in the last few days that she would sing to herself long after Lori had left. Aunty Hazel was so proud of her talented family.

I'm so proud of the women in my family. Tough as nails, a little spicy in the attitude department (but don't you dare spice their food!) and dedicated to their families. It's hard to lose another matriarch, but I'm so lucky to have been blessed with as many strong women as I have as role models. And my family is so lucky that they worked so hard to keep us all together.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Two feet meet two planks

During teachers convention, we took the family down to Whitefish for some skiing.  The Hironaka's were gracious enough to accommodate us and let us stay with them at the cabin.  With some great snow and a lot of enthusiasm,we headed to the hill.  One slight problem... we didn't book ahead for child care and it's presidents day weekend.  Not smart.

We get to the hill and realize that our skiing will be limited for obvious reasons.  Not a problem really as we had decided to introduce Logan to skiing this weekend.  The son #1 all decked out in ski gear we hit the magic carpet and off to our first intro lesson, french fries and pizza.  Oddly enough the kid could master french fries, but decided that pizza was boring!  Luckily, I was pretty fast on my feet.
Later that morning, I took the boys back to the cabin for some quiet time and a nap while Dora stayed behind to work on her Tele skiing.  Considering my lesson to her was 20 seconds of talking while I packed up the boys, she did amazing.  Luckily, my cousin knows more than me and helped her out later that week.

In the end we did 3 days of skiing, well 2 for me and I managed my first Black run on telemark skis down Ptarmigan bowl.  Again, my cousin was helpful in correcting my poor form and I ended up having a great run at the end of our 3rd day!  I will post a video of Logan skiing after I fix the shaky video or at least attempt to fix it.  I'll end with this picture, but honestly.... he was having a great time!