All clear

Posted by bernicky - August 29th, 2006

Well the doc gave me the all clear and wants to see me again in three years. 😉

I took yesterday off from running and ate everything I could lay my hands on. Today was insane at work – just non stop and everything rush, rush with school opening tomorrow nothing could wait another minute. After work wasn’t that much better and I was really getting agitated with the pressure of the day to the point that I could barely contain myself from running even when bringing the groceries inside the house.

Finally I went for a run and it was heaven. 20 kilometers at a smooth pace it was absolutely effortless and cleared my mind off all the tension built up over the last two days. It really was one of the best running days I have ever experienced. I wish they could all be that nice.

Off to the doc again!

Posted by bernicky - August 27th, 2006

I haven’t had a bite to eat since Friday evening. It is now Sunday night and I am feeling a little peckish to say the least. My doctors appointment is for 10:30 so I should be able to have something around noon tomorrow assuming all goes well.

Wish me luck 🙂


Posted by bernicky - August 22nd, 2006

My father and mother in 1946 – mother on the right – Who knew they were once beautiful and young?

My father was an interesting man but that is something I have only come to appreciate as I have gotten older. In my youth it wasn’t so much that I was a typical teen in rebellion but I resented him and the way he dealt with life from the inside of a bottle. Never having lived a moment in his shoes I know now that I could not possibly appreciate the horrors of war he witnessed in WW II and Korea nor could I understand his youth as a Franco Ontarian. So I have come to terms with how he dealt with life and stopped using it as an excuse for never having made the effort to know him.

For a long time it seems to me that not knowing your father was just par for the course. Who knows their father? In reality who knows their mother? What we know of our parents is filtered through the distorted memories of childhood and the harried impressions of them as we get older and take on our own lives frequently forgetting that they were once doing what we are doing now.

Our parents were probably once cooler than we can think of them. They certainly did their own share of partying, laughing and probably had more than a few stupid moments they would like to have as do overs. Who doesn’t? How often though do we make the effort to dig into those lives which are so near to us and of such influence that we both fear and are comforted when we start to notice how much like them we are becoming?

One of my most fond memories of my father was when I was very young. Somewhere I had received a football helmet. It was over sized for my head, but I had a small football and I would run around the house with the helmet on and ball in hand. My father challenged me to come outside into the front yard and play some real football with him. I don’t recall the sequence of events but I do recall storming into my dad full speed with the ball under my arm and knocking him over. He was very theatrical about it and he kept his hand over his right eye saying over and over again “I think you gave me a black eye.” And he ran inside. I followed and found him in the kitchen with my mom looking at his eye which was indeed black boot polish black under his eye and he was saying how proud he was that I had knocked over someone as big as he was.

Once someone is gone you cannot get to know them.

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Mrs. P’s comes through

Posted by bernicky - August 21st, 2006

There is a test that you have to have when you reach a certain age. Not the prostate exam, everyone knows about that one, no I am talking about the colonoscopy. This is an interesting procedure in that it takes a long time to get ready for. Nine days before the exam you have to stop taking any kind of NSAID or other blood thinners. That means no ibuprofen, aspirin etcetera. Then the day before the exam you cannot eat and you have to take oral purgatives. This is to clean out your system. My doctor gave me instructions to take something called Pico-Salax.

This is an outpatient procedure so once you arrive in the hospital, they check you in, take your blood pressure and pulse (The nurse took my pulse twice with one of those electronic pulse/BP machines she didn’t believe the first reading of 38 bpm and then double checked with me when it read 41 bpm the second time with a BP both times of 120/70). Then you change into hospital johnnies, get a needle put into your arm where they will give you sedatives later and seated in a waiting area. They were moving things along at a good rate and before I knew it they were filling me with drugs, laying me down and starting with the colonoscope which shows video of the exciting world of your colon as you watch and the doctor comments.

As it turned out my own feelings about the ineffectiveness of Pico-Salax were confirmed by the doctor who said that he couldn’t continue with the exam because I wasn’t properly prepared: ie the purgative didn’t work. So same time next week, same exam different prep formula. I can’t tell you how lucky that makes me feel.

It’s not as if the need to do the exam again comes as a surprise the week has been like that. On Wednesday at the Lachine Jetty I couldn’t complete my speed workout due to groin pain. Thursdays easy run went okay but I pulled up at 14 K of a 16 K run with groin pain. I took Friday off knowing that Saturday are my usual long runs. On Saturday I went out to Ile Bizard to run and 11 K into a 20 K run I had to pull up because I literally could not run anymore. After walking about a kilometer and taking a gentle jab from Bill asking me if I took a short cut I managed to do a light jog making it a 14 K day instead of an 11 K day. Sunday was completely disasterous as I had to pull up at 5 K and walk 2 before finishing off a 10 K run. With the drugs and exam today I am taking today off and hoping that tomorrow will be a better running day. Easy does it.

Also on Wednesday  (why does everything happen on the same day?) my kids computer decided not to boot. At first I thought it was a hard drive problem but it turned out to be a power supply problem which of course I only discovered after doing a low level format of the hard drive HAHAHAHA. Anyway they are up and running again playing World Of Warcraft.

Also on Wednesday seriously you have to wonder the mySQL server went down on all my websites. All of them were offline,,,,,, as well as this site. When you rely on a database to control content it can be a bit of a panic when the server goes down. Fortunately my ever patient and understanding partner brought the difficulty to my attention and we got things back on track in a few hours of troubleshooting with my service provider.

That in essence was my week. Tomorrow the earth will still turn toward the sun. To quote the late Raul Julia: The first rule of Italian driving: What’s behind me is not important.

What I have to look forward to is Mrs. P’s Oatcakes! Pete’s Frootique gave me the name of their supplier in Halifax. So I called them at (902) 479-1293 and spoke to Mrs. P herself who took my order for 2 dozen oatcakes and agreed to ship them to me in Dorval. Woohoo. I am salivating already. She seemed surprised that I only wanted plain ones not the cranberry or peanutbutter chocolate ones – but I explained that I was an oatmeal purist. She is baking them tomorrow and shipping them tomorrow too! How long does parcel post from Halifax take? Mrs. P assured me that they will freeze well.

Mrs. P’s Oatcakes
336 Herring Cove Road,
Halifax  NS  B3R 1V7
(902) 479-1293


Starry, starry night…

Posted by bernicky - August 15th, 2006

At the visitors center in Lunenburg there isn’t much in the way of lights. Once darkness falls it really does become dark outside and it is a different experience from dark in the city. Darkness in Dorval means that you are briefly in shadow as you move from one streetlight to the next. When a streetlight is burned out or there is an usually large distance between streetlights it may actually seem dark but you can still see the road, the curb, the houses and the hundreds of other lights around you. Night time is a time of shadows in the city.

In Lunenburg, at the visitor’s center, on our first night there our daughter looked up at the sky in complete wonder: Look at all the stars. Children often look up because they have to look up to see things that adults consider to be at eye level. It hadn’t occurred to any of us to look at the sky until our daughter pointed it out to us. It was spectacular. Having grown up in a rural area I should have remembered night skies that were so littered with stars but those memories have long since faded. Decades of city life where not even the Perseids, Orionids or Leonids are visible without considerable effort have removed any curiosity I may have once had in a night sky. It was a wondrous thing to see such a splash of stars.

The changes in the way we live now from seventy-five years ago are incredible. Unquestionable advances have been made in almost every facet of human endeavor that is a good thing. How often though do we take the time to look past the achievements we have surrounded ourselves with to regard the achievements of the natural world with the wonder they deserve? Niagara Falls is spectacular but when you consider it, it is no more spectacular than a tree or a flower. If you don’t think a tree is spectacular you should try making one.

Moving forward

Posted by bernicky - August 11th, 2006

Tomorrow – because today is basically done I have to recommit to my diet and break the last two days of food binge that have been driving me to distraction. One way or another it is back on the straight and narrow.

In two days time I will be returning to work. Summer is over.

In eight days time it will be the anniversary of signing on with Anthony Ortona as my financial adviser. I am richer for it quite literally.

In twenty days time my son will start high school. I am experiencing more trepedation about this than he is.

In eighty days Halloween will be upon us.

In one hundred days the Philadelphia Marathon will be run.

In one hundred and thirty-six days we will be celebrating X-mas.

In one hundred and forty-two days we will celebrating the arrival of 2007.

If I were younger I would look at those numbers and marvel at how much time there was left in the year. Now I only wonder how I am going to fit in everything I want to do before 2007 arrives.

Waddling into the kitchen

Posted by bernicky - August 10th, 2006

I am eating the world today. Some days I get like that I can’t stop eating. I hate it and I hate myself for it, but I still eat and eat and eat and eat. Tomorrow morning I will get on the scale and groan. Everyone who has ever been fat and is no longer probably knows exactly what I am talking about though I’ve never heard anyone else admit to the same problem. It’s like the old days when Pringles cans look like single servings and you want to know the calories in a bag of cookies not for two cookies.

What makes it worse is that today is my day off for running and all things considered I don’t want to move the day to another day my shins and knees need the break today.

Last night I had a lot of fun as the Phoenix Runners Club held the second of its Crazy 8 eight kilometer races. I worked the water table again with my kids and my wife shot some pics of the event. We had a new runner in the field last night his name was Francois McKinnis and he ran an amazing race finishing in 29:25 a stunning 3m 41s pace.

After the race we dropped by Dairy Queen our daughter went with her usual soft chocolate ice cream in a cup, my son dug into a brownie avalanche, my wife went for a brownie blizzard and I bought some of their no sugar added bars (vanilla+orange and chocolate). It was a great idea but the bugs were out in force last night so we made a quick run in and a quick run back to the van.

Once I got home I dialed into a conference call with James Martell. It was an interesting experience hearing him handle questions from affiliate marketers for an hour and a half. He has a knack for simplifying things for the listener. Time to get to work on my own sites.

We are heading into my last weekend of holiday as I return to work on the 14th of August. I dropped by last week and surprise, surprise my office isn’t even close to finished and no work has been done to finish the lab.

On a different front I’ve converted another computer to Linux Vector Linux this time and I have to say that of all the Linux variants I have tried (including Knoppix) Vector stands out as the lightest and fastest full install version I have installed. Of course what you choose to install effects everything. Three little problems I’m having, my Wifi card isn’t supported, the sound server doesn’t seem to want to start and the DVD player doesn’t want to play movies. Since I chose a minimal install that’s probably my fault but I will tweak it until I get it right. It’s fun playing around with an OS that allows you to actually control what happens with your computer.

Best of the trip

Posted by bernicky - August 6th, 2006

Favorite things said on the trip.

My daughter:
“Are we going to the beach? I didn’t bring my beach toys for nothing.”

My son:
“What are we having for lunch?”
variations “Is it time for lunch?”
“Is it time for supper?”
“Can I have a snack?”
“Lobster gummies!”
“I’ll have the fish and chips.”

My wife:
“I think I’ve had about as much camping as I can take.”
“Just stand over there while I take your picture.”
“Ok, look this way, smile.”
“We have to see the Citadel.”

“There’s no Citadel in Halifax it’s in Quebec City.” (Yes the Citadel is in Halifax but I was very confident in my statement.)
“I’m never doing this again.”

Favourite things on the trip.

Running in the Lunenburg fog.

Oatcakes and Pete’s Frootique –

The Super 8 Motel in Dieppe.

Campfires at night in Glen Margaret.

The harbor in Charlottetown.

Last day

Posted by bernicky - August 6th, 2006

Wednesday I skipped my run. We partook of the free breakfast offered by Super 8, packed up the van and were on the road by eight forty-five. The previous evening I made it clear to everyone that we were going to drive pretty much nonstop. Once on the road we did not stop until lunch time to get gas and food in Edmundston. A travel tip for anyone considering stopping in Edmundston don’t go into town. There is one bridge, it is two lanes wide and is fed by multiple streets on each side of the river. A traffic jam in the middle of the day in a town smaller than Charlottetown is ridiculous. There is a McDonalds, Subway, Tim Hortons and Kentucky Fried Chicken at the exit off the highway and you can fill up your tank too stay right in that area and you will have experienced the best Edmundston has to offer.

We went back on the road again and did not stop until just before Drummondville on highway 20. Once we got into Quebec we managed to experience what only Quebec can achieve: Just outside of Drummondville the inbound highway was reduced to one lane, then no lanes as the traffic was redirected to the opposite side and that side of the highway was reduced to one lane. Road construction right? Nope, we still have no idea why the highway was closed for several kilometers causing a more than one hour delay in our travel time. On the entire protected stretch there were no workers, no cars, no trucks, no heavy equipment, nothing except smooth, empty road surface. We still managed to get home just before dark and unpack the van just as the rain was starting.

In the back yard there was a surprise for me as our big maple tree had lost two primary limbs in the previous nights storm which had also knocked out power in large chunks of Quebec. It was easy to decide to put off dealing with it until the morning as a thunderstorm decided to blow up just as we finished unpacking. That was the first bad weather we had, had all trip and it still worked out to my advantage.

N.B. the penultimate day

Posted by bernicky - August 6th, 2006

Kind of the last day in New Brunswick and we had a plan. Well it was a rough plan but it still worked out right: Magnetic Hill, Shediac Beach, The Shediac Lobster, eat lobster then get a good night sleep.

We actually hit the street early out of the motel room by about nine thirty and we were rolling up Magnetic Hill by about ten. You really do have to experience Magnetic Hill to get it. The area has been developed all around the hill but the hill is still the experience. It’s only 5 dollars to get in and you have to have the experience of driving down a hill, shifting the car into neutral and then rolling back up the hill it is weird. We did it twice. Then we parked, got out of the car, walked down the hill then walked up it. It was easier to walk back up than it was to walk down no question about it.

After doing a few of the touristy things like visiting the souvenir shops at Magnetic Hill we headed out for the beach in Shediac. We found a nice spot on the unofficial part of the beach without lifeguard protection and settled in to enjoy the sun and sand before having some lunch. Both kids headed straight for the water with our daughter playing in a tidal pool filled with hermit crabs and small fish and my son heading out for a sandbar about one hundred meters off shore.

The tidal pool was nice and warm. My wife and I went for a walk down the beach and I noticed something I hadn’t in P.E.I. on the Twinshores beaches beer and cigarettes everywhere I looked. It was the kind of odd observation that comes almost as a revelation but I couldn’t actually remember seeing people smoking in Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island (though it is a given that there are smokers there) but as we moved east cigarettes seemed to suddenly materialize in peoples hands. If nothing else there really is something fascinating to see large, gelatinous slabs of tanned flesh moving along the beach sporting too small swimsuits, a cigarette pursed between lips and a beer comfortably dangling from between the thumb and index finger. There is a comfort level with how you look that is far beyond that of mere mortals in such a presentation to the world. I wish I had that type of confidence in my appearance.

After a few hours in the sun and sand we headed back into town to see the world’s largest lobster and to get some lunch. It was a good time seeing the lobster and posing around the base then going back into town and getting some lunch. My wife had a lobster, mussels, scallops and rice lunch, my son had fish and chips, our daughter had a hotdog and french-fries and I stuck with a chef salad. After lunch we headed back to the beach for another hour in the sun and building a sandcastle this time.

In keeping with our often impromptu vacation plans we made a last minute decision to visit the Olivier Savonnerie to see their soap show. As it turned out I took the wrong exit and drove 20 kilometers in the wrong direction before Lynn pointed out we were going the wrong way. Of course a traffic jam on the highway back caused us to miss the show, but the trip was worthwhile. The custom soap manufacturer has an amazing array of soaps and the staff a seemingly endless knowledge about the history of soap.

Finally we returned back to our room at the Super 8 Motel in Dieppe, ordered in some Greco’s Pizza and got what we could ready for the next morning. Our last evening was touched by a little excitement as my son came up to the room soaking wet from the pool to announce that our daughter had smashed her head against the side of the eighty-foot slide. My wife went to get our daughter while I waited for the pizza to be delivered I get all the exciting jobs. My daughter had quite a bump on her head from the knock she took but she was none the worse for wear.

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