The Epistle of Q — Chapter Sixty-Five

Now that the Scotties are done for the year, can my life return to normal?

A few years back, when I was living in PEI, I actually flew home from my winter ski-home-shared condo on Apex to attend the Scotties. It was a great event; complete with a never-ending Kitchen Party in the large exhibition hall next to the rinks. So when the Scotties decided to come to Penticton this year I knew that my schedule would be somewhat disrupted.

Of course I bought the complete package — actually acquired four seats so that my niece and her autistic daughter (who is really into curling) could come as well. I also wanted to get some skiing in as well so I knew that I would be giving away a few tickets. It all made sense. And it all worked out reasonably well. My niece and her daughter arrived Wednesday afternoon on Westjet which flew them from Vancouver to Calgary and then to Penticton…and even though they were late, they did get in on the most of the afternoon draw and all of the evening events. (In the days before they came, various friends and colleagues joined me when I went.) They took in a total of 10 draws by the time everything concluded last evening. And Mikela (the young woman) had the time of her life — getting lots of autographs, pictures and times to talk with the players (curlers are notoriously friendly and accommodating to their fans). She even made friends with the Wild Card team and received one of their jerseys after the 1-2 game on Saturday night. Another highlight, Russ Howard posed for a picture with her when he heard she was a great grand-daughter of his #1 fan, my 101 year old Mother.

The Scotties generally were good this year and I actually liked the new format, even though the teams from Nunavut and Yukon were not super competitive. They were not terrible, just over-matched at times. When you don’t play against elite curlers on a regular basis, you don’t really grow quickly in your own skill levels. The team that was most surprising was Nova Scotia — their skip was unflappable and the others were so young and enthusiastic it was always a joy to watch them play. Alberta, Northern Ontario, BC, Team Canada and Quebec were good — exciting at times and maddeningly too young at others. One always had to be paying attention when they were on the ice, because anything could happen. The real cream was from Manitoba — the Wild Card entry (Einerson) and Jennifer Jones (who is slowly becoming more fan-friendly — my mother would say — a bit more humble). In the end these too rinks battled it out, both in the 1-2 Page Playoff game and in the Gold Medal game. Jennifer won each game; in fact, at the moment I would say her team is the best in the world — almost machine like. An interesting fact about these two teams — Jill Officer, probably the best Second and best female sweeper in the world, was on Jones’ team while her niece (by marriage) was on Team Wild Card.

The highlights definitely included the games themselves and the fact they served good Hester Creek wines in the HeartStop Lounge. They also served good Okanagan Craft Beers too, including in the arena itself (there the wine was Jackson Triggs — edible, but not up to the standard of Hester Creek, etc.). The volunteers were efficient, polite and worked hard — but then with 1/3 the population of Penticton “retired” it is not that hard to get good volunteers in this city.

The less than stellar lights — primarily the HeartStop lounge. The interaction with the players was great. The entertainment at other times was only available after the evening draw — there was no showcasing Okanagan musical talent throughout the day as there had been in PEI. The food was ok but not outstanding — it was just as good in the arena (again, no showing off Okanagan culinary chops…).

As for skiing, I did get in a few days of really good skiing — 4-star days on a couple of occasions. But the weather turned warm on Friday and for the first time in maybe 20 years I had a nasty fall (very similar to that earlier one, although then I wasn’t wearing a helmet). I was coming down a blue run I’ve skied a hundred times, and is one where rhythm comes easily. About 20 metres from the bottom of the run the temperature had changed and the snow was suddenly very sticky — I was travelling at a reasonable speed, but that didn’t matter. The skis stopped, my body did not. As much as I tried, my balance gave way and I was very glad I had a helmet, for my head bounced on the hard snow. It took me quite a while to collect myself and get up and put my skis back on and then ski over to the lift…(the irony was that the lift had stopped and remained so for 20 minutes — thus my rest & recovery time was spent standing in a little rain/snow shower). When I finally got the ride up the mountain, I ski’d in to the lodge, put my skis in the locker, went up to the condo and called it a day. I’ll return to the hill on Wednesday. I’m okay…didn’t even trigger a major migraine! (Although I will admit my neck is a bit sore still as is my right knee!!)

Other news on the medical front: have been through a couple more heart monitoring tests sponsored by RACE (at PRH) and I now have an appointment later this week with Dr. Cleveland my cardiologist. That should give me some insights into where I am on the recovery from my pre-Christmas episodic moment. An interim visit with my own doctor provided my with the assurances that things are not bad — but my blood pressure is up slightly…

I did manage to accomplish one other major task. I presented my report on the “re-juvenation committee” to the AGM at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in Penticton on Sunday mid-day. This is the committee I was asked to chair at the 2017 AGM to see how we might develop some financial stability through the use of real estate development on the church property. It was an interesting year and I do believe we established a good foundational starting-point for the congregation’s leadership. It will be intriguing to see what happens next.

I also saw an opera production Live from the Met a few days ago. It was very good. I may give a more in-depth review after I see the next presentation in this season.

For now, let me simply wish you a great February.

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