Note to send out to Dave & Nic, Heather Gibb, Grant & Alana.
Hmmm..do you realize that that email subject line left me humming Elvis tunes all day? Damn you, Liwiski! I had to change it to deflect the singing in the head back to you...
Hello everyone....how are things in balmy Manitoba? (Apparently 'Friendly Manitoba' doesn't apply anymore).
Everything is okay around here. Life seems to be getting busier and busier despite the attempts to 'simplify' things. I've been finding that even though I hoped my schedule would lighten up over the winter, it certainly hasn't so far. Work has been insane the past month or so -- the production environment freeze started on Monday (no new changes or applications can be deployed in production for a month or so so that infrastructure changes can be made -- mainframe moves, server reassignments, etc), so all the development teams have been scrambling to get everything done in time. Of course, as I'm in Support I'm on the receiving end of 'incomplete' applications and non-existent documentation, so I've had my work cut out for me getting up to speed on the new applications, scheduling deployments, bug fixes and enhancements, and helping out the dev teams work on production issues as well as doing my normal day-to-day stuff. Hopefully this will slow down over the next few weeks.
The racing season went very well. I ended up 21st overall in the Alberta Road Cup for Cat 1/2, which is a 'best-all-round' rider award based on road race points over the season. I thought that was pretty good considering I didn't even race my first Cat 1/2 race until the Canada Day Crit in Edmonton. Being a hammerhead and racing every race available certainly helps! My team, Synergy, ended up 5th overall in the team road points category and 1st overall in the team Journal Cup standings, which is the track award. Synergy is certainly the most prolific team on the velodrome tracks, and is also very active in the track organizational council (CBTL -- see below). As some of you may or may not know, I was hit by a car in May while on a team ride, which destroyed my beautiful bike, but luckily spared me from any permanent damage. The guy who hit me basically fled before the Calgary police got there and I've been having a hard time since then trying to get the police to do anything about it. I'm just now getting an insurance claim processed on my own house insurance policy. Whether or not they catch the guy, I've surrender to the fact that I'm just relieved to finally be getting this ordeal behind me. On the bright side, I'm looking forward to getting a brand new 2005 road bike and a new wheelset to replace what I lost. I love saving up for and shopping for bike goodies!
Now that it's off-season, I'm working out at a power lifting gym with seven of my other bike teammates, focusing on improving strength and sprinting power. We're getting subsidized quite generously through the team. Three of the guys that I went to Tucson with last year are coaches at this particular gym so we had the privilege of getting a specialized training plan and dedicated coaching for a really good price. It's a good environment to work out in since people definitely notice when you don't show up. I also hope that the discipline required for power lifting technique will help me out as well, if only to save myself from getting injured. So, we're doing that three days a week, Tuesday and Thursday after work and Saturdays in the late morning. I'm still running four days a week, M/W/F/Saturday mornings, and still curling on Saturday afternoons!
I'm still Treasurer for my bike team and webmaster for the Track (velodrome) organizing body. It's year-end right now and we've been scrambling to get financial reports and copies of all our cheques/receipts/expenses/income reconciled in order to maintain our society status and be able for charitable money (i.e. casinos) through the AGLC (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission). It's been a lot of work (yep...volunteering can be a bitch sometimes), but things should quiet down considerably after New Year's. I've also committed to building an online registration system that will tie into the CBTL website (http://www.cbtl.ca), so that will keep me busy going into January and February and March and April......
It's also Christmas party season, and we've had our share so far. I'm pretty sure by the time New Year's rolls around, I'll be ready for some R & R and ready to apply some focus to my training regimen, since I'll be sick of drinking beer....NOT!
Speaking of beer....Joe officially gave his notice at the bar (Swan's Pub) were he has bar-tended part-time for four years a few weeks ago and his last shift working there is on Saturday. It will definitely be great to have him around in the evenings. He has a very good chance of going full-time with Telus Mobility in January which will mean a guaranteed income and benefits, which will be awesome. He's come a very long way in the company in just a year, and I've been trying to convince him to stick it out. He's very good at what he does (Data/Network Analyst), but he is growing weary of dealing with clients all day. He's been talking less and less about finding something else though, so maybe that's a good thing? I'm really hoping that freeing up some of his time will allow him to pursue more healthy things in his life -- eating better, exercising more, reading, finding some hobbies/activities that he's interested in.
We have a new addition to the family as well. We got a new cat, a 4-month old male named Bandit. He's black & white and really cute and cuddly. He can also be quite a handful at times. We felt 2.5 year-old Gizmo was going through feline seasonal affective disorder (don't think there's such a thing but that's what we labelled it). He would sleep all the time and wouldn't even come downstairs to see us when we were home. He still does a lot of that -- he's really a sloth in a cat's body, but for the first few days when we brought Bandit home and he was in a felicidal stage, he would follow the kitten around like a shadow and take the odd swipe at him. Now they've really warmed up to each other and he treats Bandit more like a chew toy. How weird...
This was a good year for travelling. I went with four friends (several from my bike team) for self-organized training camp in Tucson, Arizona over the Easter weekend this year, putting on some mileage in anticipation of the racing season. We did 800km in six days in the wonderful Arizona heat. It was a wonderful trip that I'd like to do again. Joe and I went to Toronto for five days in July to see Madonna in concert with some friends from Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Joe and I decided to make a mini-holiday out of it and stayed with friends for a few days and the Royal York for a few others. It was an intense trip as we spent most of the time 'socializing'. The Madonna concert was the first of several big shows we got to see this year. We also got to see Sting & Annie Lennox in concert in Calgary and I went to Sarah Maclachlan with Reid Cummings here as well. All were very good.
In August I went back to Grandview for a week for my great-uncle and great-aunt's 50th wedding anniversary. I managed to get a few days of rest up at the lake with mom and dad. Four weeks later, I returned to Grandview again as Grandma Dalgleish was ill in the hospital and her condition was getting worse so the grandkids trekked home to see her one last time. I'm very glad I did, as she passed away two days after I left back to Calgary on September 28th, so I had to return to Grandview once again for the funeral the weekend following in early October.
Joe and his friend Nick flew out to Vancouver for a short three-day getaway in mid-October while I was up running in the Banff Ekiden Relay Race, a perennial fave of my running club. We sent three teams up this year, and had a best team finish of 21st. Eight of us spent the night in Banff in a huge condo with a common hot tub. Great fun.
Not sure what's going on for holidays next year. The bike group are still planning a training trip south sometime around Easter again. We had debated places like San Diego, Durango, Colorado or Taos, New Mexico for a change, but now everyone seems to be swinging back in opinion to heading back to Tucson again. It seems to be the one of only a few locales that are civilized, safe, and guaranteed to be hot and dry for our visit -- plus the cycling is phenomenal. Nicole Liwiski's parents lived in Tucson when we were there last year, but they've recently relocated to Newfoundland (Nic's dad accepted a position at the new Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Labrador). It's unfortunate they won't be there since they fed us (five famished cyclists) and their own guests an incredible Easter dinner when we were there last year!!! It's that darn Manitoba-native hospitality, I tells ya!
Joe and I were planning on heading to the east coast sometime in the summer/fall of 2005, but I don't think that plan's formulating fast enough. Joe hasn't been back to his PEI stomping grounds in over 10 years, but it may have to wait at least another year. Neither of us can commit the time nor the money. We're seriously considering buying a house this summer, so it's probably best to return to some twisted form of frugality. I still have the trip to Arizona and the World Master Games in Edmonton (both requiring a week of holidays) to contend with. Maybe if things work out we'll be able to head to a tropical locale early next winter or something.
I'm still hoping to get back to Manitoba sometime in the summer of 2005. Nothing planned yet, but I'm feeling guilty about not heading to Grandview for Xmas, even though I stated that I would start heading there in the summer when there's more to do and see than head there in December. I have to stick to my convictions....I'd still like for Joe to someday see where I came from...which would be a lot better sell in the summer, obviously, however I've been sensing a chilly reception to that idea if we ever did come to Grandview together. I'm pretty confused as to the perceptions and possible reactions my extended family has of this, since they appear to be okay with things on the surface and then act or talk differently otherwise. They've all met Joe on neutral territory, but impeding on their turf may cause a different reaction. I'm trying to remain very cautious, yet optimistic. Integrating into my extended family was the main reason why I came out to my family, after all. Sometimes I feel that after all of my analysis and perspective-taking, all my views of the situation have been completely off the mark. The big Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage constitutionality came out yesterday. Can you imagine if I had to send out wedding invitations someday? How GAY! LOL....I'd only get married for the gifts, naturally! Hey, if we're buying a house soon.....we definitely need some new stuff......hmmm?!?!?! ;-)
We're still seriously thinking about moving further west to Vancouver or Victoria someday, mostly for the lifestyle improvements we feel would result, however I've become very fond of the optimism and energy Calgary has and I foresee a bright future for this city - maybe. I'm happy with my job, my partner, my friends. I'm really getting tired of the conservative, money-centric (ie. whoring - the city would sell the Calgary Tower to China if they could make a buck out of the deal) attitudes in the municipal and provincial governments, the blatant rampant suburbanism and consumption here and lack of culture and traffic madness as a result, and particularly growing very tired of the Prairie climate. Some things to weigh out, I guess.
Anyways, enough about me. What are you guys doing for the holidays? Doing the Chyz thing, I presume? I have to tell you guys again how much fun I had visiting you in September. It was so much fun to play with the boys! They're growing so fast. I hope that I'll be able to do it again this summer as well. Time will tell...
I will REALLY try to call you guys before Christmas, however if that doesn't happen, of course I will make the annual call to Nic on our birthday. If I don't talk to you before Christmas, have a good one, say hi to the boys and the family, and I'll talk to you soon after.
Take care and talk soon
-----Original Message-----From: David and Nicole Liwiski [mailto:email@example.com]Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:40 PMTo: Reid DalgleishSubject: Viva Leishvegas!
How are things?
Working out hard as usual?
Uncle Greg is out visiting. Dwayne and Hazel have moved to the St. John's, NLFD. Dwayne has a job with the Voisey Bay mine out there. Greg will probably be living in Winnipeg.
Busy with the kiddos. A is playing hockey and Mark continues to grow. Things, in other words, are going fine in the Parkland.
Take care and keep us posted.