The Epistle of Q — Chapter Sixty-One (Part C)

So what has happened after Christmas (and before New Year’s)?

Well actually, Boxing Day was a bit of a work day. Since I was going to be away the rest of the week, it was important to make sure that some of my work at CUE was up-to-date, particularly uploading the materials onto Moodle so that as students sign in for the next distance course I am teaching, the background material would all be there. I also needed to sign the contract for the January/February course. There was a touch of nostalgia with this signing — it will be the last time I will likely ever teach PHLD 615 (a grad course in Ethics and Leadership). The administration at CUE has notified the department that our graduate courses (part of a certificate program that has been going for a number of years, and we had hoped would morph into a Masters degree program) will end at the end of 2018. I do have two courses that I will teach in the autumn, but they are part of the “planning course” sequence that I took on a couple of years ago.

In the late afternoon, after getting as much accomplished as I likely was ever going to, given my tendency to be lazy on Boxing Day, I packed my suitcase and then went to friends (connection developed through ST’s being a member of the Board of Directors for the Okanagan Symphony) who were hosting a Boxing Day dinner for a number of folk. It was delightful, but of necessity ended earlier than usual for me as I was going to be hitting the road fairly early the next morning.

Wednesday I headed out to Vancouver as the youngest grandson was playing in the Pat Quinn Classic — it is a major international hockey tournament (primarily Bantam and Pee Wee at the Elite/AAA level) using a number of rinks in Burnaby. The first game was played early in the morning so I didn’t get to it (it was a loss but I also missed Brendan’s first goal at the AAA Bantam level in tourney play). However the next two games were quite exciting. One win and one tie. And an interesting moment in the game that they won — it was tied with a minute to go, but the team needed a win if it hoped to advance. So the coach pulled the goalie and the team scored. First time I have ever seen a team pull their goalie for an extra attacker when the game was tied. The final game in the round-robin was the most impressive in one sense — the opposition, a team from California, was a no-star/all-team group and they put on a clinic of how to play Bantam hockey. In the end they won 8-3. As a result Brendan’s team slipped to 9th place and just out of the medal round.

In the meantime we did get to have a lunch and a dinner with my daughter and son-in-law who are delightful people in any setting. Due to a more disciplined eating program, they are both looking very trim and fit and are feeling much chipper too. Methinks it is time for me to go against my dietitian’s advice and actually try to reduce my girth!! By the way, if you are ever at the west coast, the Atlas at the Burnaby Grand is worth stopping by for a meal… Very good food and excellent service…

Due to warnings from DriveBC it seemed prudent to skip the final day — Brendan’s team had a consolation game in the morning — and try to beat the confluence of two weather systems by driving back early on Friday. While I did manage to get to the leading edge of the storm, it still meant that the highway from the Port Mann Bridge to Abbottsford was a combination of shear ice, black ice, and melting ice — no speed record was set, but several lessons learned at the Performance Driving School in early November were successfully put into action. After Abbottsford the winds picked up and swirling snow was starting but by Hope all the rain was gone and only snow and wind was in the picture. Unfortunately many people had heard the warning not to use the Coq/Connector and so were also on the Hope-Princeton. At times the lines of cars were extensive but most were driving with reasonable care and attention — the only real annoyance was a big semi out of Princeton who kicked up much snow but wouldn’t pull over, even though he seldom got above 40 and by the outskirts of Hedley had at least 25 cars behind him. I managed to get past him and until the Kaleden junction with Hwy 97 there were no more lengthy line-ups. The storm was on our heels the entire journey and by this morning all roads out of the lower mainland were closed (although they eventually got them re-opened after the avalanches were dealt with). Even Penticton has received a tonne of snow in the past 48 hours — I’ve shoveled the driveway four times since arriving home. By the way, we made it back in time to drop in on a special holiday party in Naramata for a couple of hours, which was a nice way to end the trip (although I continue to surprise many with my choice of mineral water as my drink!!(.

Brendan’s team did win their game on Thursday after we left. That moved them into a further playdown this morning which they also won and it seems this was their best effort of the tournament. That sent them home with a 3(W)-2(L)-1(tie) record and on a positive upbeat note. Brendan played exceptionally well in all three games that I watched. He is a third line centre but was among the best fore-checkers on the team, often breaking up rushes before they really got going. He also has a real hockey eye and often is the first one to the puck even though he doesn’t start out closest to it. He was in on a couple of goals in the consolation round and returns to AZ in a very positive frame of mind.

Today it has been clearing snow, trying to clear the desk, and clearing the mind… I’m glad I don’t have any more pending trips to the coast for a long while. For some reason, this winter is colder and snowier than usual, by quite a bit. The ski hill already has 144 cms of snow for its base, which is good; however, the town has about a metre on the ground as well, which is not so good. Furthermore, there is little sign that the temperature will get above 0C any time soon. As for global warming — well, it seems to have avoided western Canada this winter…