December 8th

What makes this day special?

Well, a number of things, but for my Mother and I — well it’s the day in 1944 that she had her first child — a war baby, no less!! There is no need to do a longitudinal history from that point, in part because I only vaguely remember the first couple of years, and also because that’s really a topic for another day. So let me limit myself to a brief review of this year’s version of the day.

I arose early and decided that it was time to get back to the gym, to begin to work off Grey Cup and other diffuse events that had seemingly tipped the scales in the wrong direction. As my membership had waned, it seemed appropriate to get to the place early so as not to distract staff overly much with the re-check-in-and-register-again process. So I did, arriving at 5:01 a.m. with my athletic bag and related gear + a credit card in tow. As I had surmised, there was no line-up at the counter; re-registration was very rapid and I was quickly sent to the change room. After donning my sweats and gloves (I think it’s cool to use weight-lifting gloves as it makes me think I actually am doing some serious working out!!) and gym shoes, I headed into the circuit room. This room has an amazing array of equipment that puts me through a series of workouts that stress and strain different parts of my body (sometimes simultaneously). I managed to do the rotation without suffering either a heart attack or an embarrassing moment of inability. Then I thought I would use the treadmill (as you may recall I broke mine some time ago). Well guess what, after five minutes I broke this one too…so I quickly moved over to the speed bike, completed my routine there and then came to the realization that perhaps on my birthday, getting up at 4:45 a.m. to go to the gym was somewhat out of line. So I got dressed, drove back home and went back to bed.

That was a smart move — because when I finally did wake up for good, there was the wonderful aroma of buckwheat pancakes — and, as it turned out, they were infused with delicious slices of apple and once again (after the recent trip to Montreal) I could apply copious amounts of real maple syrup… delightful event this birthday brunch…

The other daylight hours were spent working on different tasks while fielding a variety of phone calls and e-mails. My kids phoned and my grandkids either text’d or email’d me. It was a lot of fun actually as the phone conversations caught me up on what Christopher and Kelti are doing (although it was not joyous to hear that Chris seems to have inherited his Grandfather Sinclair’s back as he has serious disk problems that have forced him to more or less retire from hockey, slo-pitch softball, and golf). Chris is still enjoying success as Director of Finance at a major auto dealership in Calgary. Kelti had the day of days for a teacher as she managed to inspire all her students to become interested in economics with a rather innovative learning project (you can check her out on Facebook as she is more descriptive than I can be — and I don’t do FB — she is Kelti Manning); as well her school has won recognition in Arizona as part of another project she was instrumental in pushing forward. The Grandkids on the other hand are all enjoying success in their own right: the AZ crew it’s school and hockey, not necessarily in that order (and they are winning championships at the tournaments their teams enter) — starting at the end of this month, I hope to get to a few of these events myself. The Canadian duo are also doing well: Ciera is finding university a great idea and is making use of the academic counselling services to better understand the options that she has before she graduates — smart young lady, as she may decide to opt for a transfer into education before the end of her second year; Nicholas is still enjoying his apprenticeship program in automotive — it is kind of nice to get paid while you learn and gain usable skills. Also received condolences from friends and extended family in a variety of formats…so it was a good day.

Capped it all off with dinner out at the Dream Cafe, Penticton’s gem of music & eating…the feature was Ms. Hoyt and her back-up pair (bass & guitar/mandolin). Although I’d never heard of her, I knew that if she was booked at the Dream Cafe, she would be worth hearing. Added to that, the Cafe has revised its menu so that it is not as expensive to eat and you can order a variety of small plates that then allow sharing while eating modestly. Hoyt has an amazing ability on the fiddle that quickly took me back to similar nights on PEI; she also composes well, and so the program was a mix of known and new — delightfully put together in a seamless format. Her bassist is blind but that is no impedance to his playing or his harmonizing on some of the songs. The third member plays the mandolin with skill equal to his excellent mastery of the guitar. The concert, for it quickly became that as everyone shut up every time she’d strike an opening note, was over two hours of music plus intermission and no one left until she departed the stage for the last time. It was a great way to conclude my birthday (along with the bottle of LaFrenz wine that graced the table). I should mention that the staff brought me a pumpkin infused creme brule with a single candle — that was classy and it was tasty too.

The day was a good one. And according to the horoscope in the local paper, my year ahead is supposed to be okay too: “You are generous, warm and caring. You also are creative and determined. This is a busy year and a year of choice. You have a great zest for life, and want to nurture the happiness and beauty around you. Be grateful for what you have, do not focus on what you don’t have. Expect increased popularity and the warm rekindling of old friendships.”

And on that note…