Julius III

Sometimes we hurt the ones we love. This point was brought home to me on Thursday afternoon. I finished my yoga routine and went downstairs to see stuffing everywhere, a torn up monkey, and wild dog. I grabbed Julius and surveyed the damage; he would definitely need surgery. I didn't have time for a surgical rotation that day, so I placed him in the ICU (laundry room) and cleaned up the stuffing.

Humu spent a couple of days looking around the house for her buddy, unaware of her strength and the injury her canine teeth can cause when in her mind, she's just playing. Finally today I had time to fix Julius. I grabbed my sewing kit, set up the OR on the couch, scrubbed in, and carried Julius carefully out of the ICU. His pressure was dangerously low, he'd lost a lot of stuffing. I went for the big gash right away and started stitching it up. He really needed a nose and throat specialist, as my repair was not going to be pretty.

Humu was watching intently from the gallery, eager to be reunited with her friend. Partway into the surgery, I realized there was a lot more damage than initially thought. He had smaller wounds all over and was in danger of losing an eye. I brought Jason in for a consult, and he agreed that the wounds were probably fatal. Time of death: 9:57 am.

Jason hummed Taps as I carried Julius into the morgue (laundry room again - it's a multi-purpose triage center). Humu wasn't sure what was going on as I closed the door behind me. But I had a secret up my sleeve, something that most surgeons don't have access to. A body double. We had another Julius tucked away in case of a fateful day like this. In fact, this was now Julius number 3. I emerged from the laundry room and Humu saw her buddy in my hand. I gave it over to her, she took him and carried him upstairs. She licked him all over and promptly fell asleep.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Tacos and Wine

My friend Tim (and his black lab Piper) came over for dinner last night. We have a tradition for dinner with Tim - fish tacos and wine. He has a source for the most incredibly fresh halibut and he and Jason are true fish taco enthusiasts (regular old bean tacos for me). We each try to find a wine that has some special significance as well, and last night's selections did not disappoint.

Tim brought a bottle of 2004 Burrowing Owl cabernet sauvignon that he had tucked away for several years. He had bought it with me in mind, waiting for a good reason to bring it out. Yay me for finishing Ironman Arizona to give him a good enough reason to open this one! You see, I love Burrowing Owl (probably Canada's best vineyard, and definitely has an international cult following), but I hardly ever buy any as their prices are a bit steep. I think I'll make this a tradition - I'll do an ironman and Tim can buy me a bottle of Burrowing Owl.

Jason preparing the tacos.

Our second bottle didn't quite rank up there on the deliciousness scale, but it took top spot for significance. We opened the bottle of La Crema chardonnay Jason received for winning his age group at Vineman 70.3 this year. We had to drink this one together since we all raced, then wine-toured the Sonoma region the next day.

We topped off the night with a dessert true to my prairie roots, which I knew Tim would appreciate since he also hailed from the Canadian grasslands. Saskatoon berry pie. Yum. We finished the wine and the pie while planning our next adventures.

Pie made with wild saskatoon berries. Delish!

12 Things You Didn't Know About Me

(in no particular order)

My biggest regret as a child was that I didn’t buy a Wonder Woman costume set with my allowance while on a family vacation to Orlando. I don’t really have any regrets as an adult. I recognize that there has been missed opportunities and choices made, both which have led down a particular path, but no real “regrets” as I have a pretty damn awesome life. Which I guess makes my biggest regret in life that I didn’t get that Wonder Woman set. What does that say about me?

I am a picky eater. Everyone knows that about me. But what you may not know is that I don’t like my food to touch. Jason bought me this really cool plate that has a bunch of dividers, so now I can eat without fear of one food touching another.

My desire to be a marine biologist came out of being a huge fan of the Jaws movies as a kid. Of course the original one was ground-breaking, but my favourite was Jaws 2. I even liked Jaws 3 (3D – back in the day when 3D effects were totally lame), but Jaws:The Revenge totally sucked.

I tend towards impatience. OK, you probably knew that about me.

I have swam in the Panama Canal. Not the whole length of it or anything like that, merely a leisurely swim for the novelty of it all. No one told me at the time though that it was populated with alligators. But no bites to report.

I haven’t eaten meat for somewhere close to 20 years (I’m not sure of the exact date I stopped). I don’t say I’m a “vegetarian” as I do eat green-listed seafood on occasion.

I survived a hurricane in 1988. Hurricane Gilbert to be exact, which up until 2005 was the most intense hurricane ever to hit the Atlantic. I was only 18, and my friend Shannon and I had just traveled to the Cayman Islands to spend a year there after graduating high school. I think I spent my third night there (or something like that) in a hurricane shelter. Great way to get to know the neighbours!

I played waterpolo in high school. I played for my high school team and for the Saskatchewan (where I grew up) provincial ‘B’ team. It was there I learned how relative life is. I was a pretty good player on my high school team, but relative to the other girls on the provincial team, I wasn’t.

If I could have plastic surgery, I’d get a nose job. Perhaps I’ll do that someday.

I like writing haikus. Them seem so peaceful and make me feel close to nature. They have such an ethereal characteristic that I like so much.

When I was a kid, I played a lot of Ms. Pac Man. I remember when my Dad brought home the original Pong game for our console tv. I remember the games for our Vic-20, then the Commodore-64, then the Atari. But my favourite was always to go down to the local arcade and play Ms. Pac Man. I still play it, but not as much as I used to.

I wish I was a potter. I would love to make bowls and stuff out of clay, sculpting the earth with my hands. Then I could paint them with some cool glazes. I have a vision of a little potting shed out in the back yard.

Snow Day

Wednesday morning we woke up at 5 and peered out the window. We don't normally wake up that early, but when we went to sleep on Tuesday night, snow was falling with a serious vengeance. When we opened the curtains at that early hour, we saw our entire neighbourhood covered under a thick white comforter, a comforter about 30cm thick! Keep in mind that although we're in Canada, this is the part of Canada where a thin little skiff of snow on the ground makes headlines.

Our view Wednesday morning.

I smiled, went back to bed, and waited for the phone call. You see, when the phone rings at 5:30 on a morning such as this, it means one thing. Snow day! Because snow is rare here, I'm pretty sure my town only has one snow plow. And when the roads aren't plowed, the streets aren't safe for kids to go to school. Sometimes the school year goes by without a snow day, but when Arctic air from the north is forecasted to meet moist air from the south, we all cross our fingers. And on Tuesday night, the approaching fronts delivered.

Jason was out of bed to shovel before it was light, as rain was on its way. Heavy, wet snow sucks to shovel so he wanted to get it done while it was still cold. Plus, he wanted to do an early morning snowshoe with the dog, on trails we usually mountain bike on. I stayed in bed. Warm, cozy, sweet bed.

Humu enjoying the snowshoe.

The warm, moist air was winning the war as the snow was melting fast. But the Arctic air won the battle as victory is measured by closing schools for the day. That was all the snow I needed, and I hoped for rain to return to wash it away quickly, so I could get back to running and riding unimpeded. It wouldn't take long to get that wish, as by the next day, our mild, wet weather had returned and the snow was making a hasty retreat.

Wednesday noon and melting fast.

By Friday afternoon, things were almost back to normal.

See you again snow, and thanks for the bonus day!


Check out this cool contest: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/01/garmin-forerunner-310xt-giveawayjanuary.html

Actually - never mind, because if you enter, that reduces my chances!


Jason put an idea in my head the other day, and funny how ideas grow and take hold. It began as an innocent conversation in the hot tub, when I confirmed to him that I did indeed want to do Ironman Arizona again next year (nothing like planning in advance, I know...).

His reply? "Good idea, but why not think of IM Florida? You've done Canada and Arizona, so you could add a third course. We like it in Florida." And left it at that.

I dismissed the idea out of hand - Florida is far away and Arizona is so easy to get to from here. But the idea starting simmering, bubbling below the surface of my mind until I found myself checking the IMFL website. Later I looked at Alaska Airline's route map. The idea is starting to percolate. Spreading, slowly, gradually...

2011, Here I Come!

2010 is now solidly behind me, and I am looking at 2011 and trying to decide what to do. Last year I was so focused, with a solid goal, and this year will be loosey-goosey, with no big event anchoring my plans. 2010 was such a fabulous year, and I have no doubt that 2011 will be as well.

I know for sure that I want to do another Ironman next year, probably Arizona again, so this year will really be rebuilding and working on my weaknesses. I have a glaring weakness - my run. Duh. Therefore I signed up for a run clinic starting in February, so I can push myself and improve. I'm looking forward to it! In the plans for this year, then, are some running races - 10k's, half marathons and the like. My good friend CoCo turns 40 this year (yay Corinne, welcome to the club!), and her birthday plans include an ultra-running relay in Whistler in November. She is a strong runner, so I have to get faster to not make a fool of myself on her team.

I also want to keep pushing myself on the bike. I made such a high improvement last year and I want to continue in that direction. One event I've always wanted to do is the Seattle to Portland ride, a two-day ride (about 170k each) in July. Friends of mine live at the halfway point, in Chehalis, so that also gives me a chance to visit some terrific people I hardly ever get to see. I've also signed up again for the Whistler Gran Fondo, to see if I can take 5 minutes off my time from last year and finish under 5 hours. And if I don't make my time goal, I still end up in Whistler so it's all good! And in the back of my head is the Cheakamus Challenge, a mountain bike marathon from Squamish to Whistler. I had a pretty tough day there several years ago, so it would be a great benchmark to see how my cycling has improved. In case you haven't noticed a bit of a theme here, I'll pretty much do any event that involves Whistler - I love it there!

For triathlon, I will do some local sprint races, and my big goal will be the Lake Stevens 70.3 in August. Nice location as it's an easy ferry ride from home, I've heard it's a pretty course, and I can pair it up with a shopping trip to Seattle afterwards for some fall clothes. What more do you need in a race?

One event that's on my life-list is the Alcatraz Swim. I'd really like to do that one this year, but it all depends on my friend Tim. It's been on his list for even longer, and there's no one that would be more enthusiastic about swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco. I HAVE to do that one with him! Problem is, he has a 6-week stint in Belize for work in late spring, so he's undecided on whether he can do it this year. I will be encouraging him pretty vigorously, as I say the time is now for this one.

So... 2011 is looking like a mix of running, cycling, triathlon, and swimming... sticking to the west coast and enjoying every moment once again. I hope to see you on the roads and trails!


Marty is my good friend Wendy’s dog. But “dog” doesn’t describe him, Marty is so much more than just a dog. He is an athlete, a comedian, a friend, a companion, a celebrity… Marty is also a little bit a part of our family here, too. The sad news is that he has bone cancer, and won’t be around much longer. Although we got this news last night, it’s been brewing for a while and wasn’t completely unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any easier for Norm & Wendy. After getting Wendy’s email we’ve been dreading, Jason and I (and Humu of course!) sat around last night reliving some great Marty memories.

Most importantly to us, Marty is Humu’s mentor. As much as a dog can be a mentor to other dogs, anyway. Humu has known Marty all her life, in fact I remember puppy Humu scurrying around under Marty’s patient feet (literally, she would run right underneath his belly). Right away Marty started teaching her important dog lessons, such as: there’s a magical porcelain water bowl in the bathroom that is always filled with fresh water; always bark loudly to welcome people; run as hard and fast as you can in the woods; and make sure to look completely innocent whenever you’ve broken a human rule. Humu took immediately to Marty’s lessons and counseling.

Marty always plays it pretty cool with Humu, but if they are left alone, we always find them cuddling upon our return. The odd time we didn’t find them snuggled up together usually meant we were returning to the scene of a disaster. When Humu was very young, we left the dogs at our house together while we went to see a movie with Norm & Wendy. I’m not sure who came in the house first, but I think it was Norm who opened the door when we came home and all I heard was: “What the hell happened?”…. we came inside to see the entire main floor of the house covered in about an inch of fluff. Marty had taught Humu another important dog lesson: shredding throw pillows is really fun! Humu soaked this lesson up like a sponge, and we went through a lot of throw cushions before we could train that lesson out of her.

Humu and Marty caught cuddling on the couch. Humu always had to be on top of him.

Another movie, another evening the dogs left alone together, but this time at Norm’s house. Another “What the hell happened?”… this time the dogs had ripped into a box of race nutrition products, and were lying on the floor, practically comatose, with Gu’s and other gels smeared all over themselves, the rug, the floor, PowerBar wrappers scattered around the living room; it was a crime scene with evidence everywhere and the two perps still there, too tired and full to move. Both dogs did a lot of puking and crapping wrappers for about a week.

Some of my favourite Marty features are his ability to spoons and his thunderous bark. Whenever I’ve spent the night at Marty’s house, he’s always obliged by spoonsing me the entire night. Nothing keeps you warm like a dog cozied up beside you. Marty also taught Humu that to sleep properly, a dog must be tucked in. The one lesson that Humu could never quite master is how to tuck herself in, so in the middle of the night she wakes either Jason or I up to pull the blanket over her if she gets untucked. Marty – we need you back here to finish that lesson!

Dog sleepover.

Marty is the easiest dog to find in a crowd – just listen for the bark. My friend Janet and I were downtown Victoria one afternoon watching a criterium, and sure enough we heard Marty’s distinctive bark, more like an OWRUF! OWRUF! We used the sound to hone in on Norm and Marty through the crowd.

Marty cannot be contained!

Marty’s nickname is “Stinky Ass”, and if you know Marty, you know why. He can let go of the most violent, eye-watering farts, powerful enough to clear a room. Just hope you’re never in a small space with him, like a car, when he lets one of those go!

One of Marty’s favourite pastimes is chasing rabbits, and that’s resulted in a couple of knee surgeries. But that still didn’t seem to slow Marty down, and he continued to accompany anyone, at anytime, for a run, ride, ski, hike, swim – whatever you were doing, Marty was up for it. The last year or so had been tough on the old guy’s knees, and he had trouble with slippery floors. When he would come to visit, we’d build the “Marty Bridge to Freedom”; exercise mats from the couch to the doors so he could get through our hardwood floors a bit easier.

Marty's Bridge to Freedom.

Last week, we got to visit Marty for what we thought may be the final visit, although we hoped for the best. One of his legs wasn’t working, so he hadn’t been out for a walk for a couple of weeks, and had been pretty listless at home. But as soon as Humu bounded up their stairs, I heard the characteristic OWRUF! OWRUF! again, and Marty was out of bed scampering around, thrilled to see his girl. Despite hobbling around on only three legs, he was still able to assert his dominance over Humu one last time, as he stole the ball she was playing with and matched her side by side, romping around the house.

Marty, Martin, Mart-Man, Stinky Ass… the tears flow when we think of you not being around anymore. But the smiles come even faster when we recall all the times we’ve spent with you – on the couch, in the woods, on the ski hill… in your fourteen and a half years you have embodied the philosophy of “Live Like You Mean It”. We’ll miss you, Mart-Man!

Humu will follow Marty unconditionally...