A Family Tradition

July 20, 2014

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the return the Ottawa REDBLACKS! It’s been nearly a decade since a CFL game has been played at Lansdowne Park, now TD Place and in that time my son has grown into a fine young man.

I wanted to look for a tradition I could share with my son – something that we can learn, love and laugh together and season tickets seemed like a wonderful idea. Season tickets were something we never had. We have gone to other sporting events, but this would be the first time that we would be season ticket holders – complete with our very own seats!

I think I was more excited than my son, but as opening day grew closer, I could see his curiosity and excitement build. He wasn’t having anything to do with my plans to dress up as lumberjacks, but I did want opening day to be something very special.

I ordered some appropriately themed cupcakes from Vanilla Gourmet Cupcakes, picked up the required Ottawa REDBLACKS swag from our neighborhood Giant Tiger (Thank you to @mrsnickcharney for the idea) and patiently awaited for our departure to the TD Place.

As a thank you, we shared our first cupcake with the taxi driver that drove us to the game and preceded to share the rest of them with random strangers around the stadium. You can see some of those photos here.

To say the mood was electric would not only be an understatement, but also downright boring. It felt wonderful to be part of this exciting chapter of Ottawa and the REDBLACKS! To be able to share this with my son was magically magnificent.

We soaked up the atmosphere and you can genuinely tell that people were excited to have professional ball back in the nation’s capital. We wanted to experience it all and we did.

Beverages. Food. The comraderie. Hanging out on the West Lawn to try and catch a football was one of the highlights. Meeting Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons – was an awesome experience. Sharing this with my son – unbelievable.

There were multiple winners that night! The Ottawa REDBLACKS, the fans and me.

Can’t wait for the next game! #GOREDBLACKSGO!

You can learn more about Vanilla Gourmet Cupcakes here:
Facebook: Vanilla Gourmet Cupcakes
Twitter: @VanillaGourmet
Web: Vanilla Gourmet Cupcakes

I haven’t grown tired of running to work. It’s an both an economical and spiritual method of transportation. Along with running, I have a passion for experiencing the open road on a bicycle.

My 16 year old mountain bike was re-purposed to be a winter commuter, albeit, one that was used infrequently. I also have a 2011 Giant TCR Composite 1. However, something was missing.

On those short errands or short rides to work, it’s hard to justify riding the Giant, so I began my search for a more urban commuter. I settled on a ‘fixie‘, the Echo, from Pure Fix Cycles.

It’s utilitarian and simplistic design is part of its beauty and the idea of riding a fixie, was part of the allure.

Today was the first day I used it to commute to work. I’m not talking long distance here, rather a short bust of effort to get to and from work, and allow me to continue running, but over the lunch hour.

Today’s journey taught me a few lessons:
1. The bike needs a back brake: This kind of talk might go against all that a fixie is meant to be, but if you have ever biked in Ottawa, you know that the the extra stopping power provides an invaluable sense of comfort.

2. Clip-less Pedals: This is a no brainer for me. More power and again more control.

3. Hills: I won’t be climbing, with any regular frequency, any steep hills, but inclines are a tad more challenging with one gear. Please refer to lesson #2.

4. Headwinds: No matter if you are a weekend road racer, a daily commuter, or back-country rider, headwinds are your nemesis.

If you have any suggestions for this fixie newbie, please share them. In the meantime, cycle safe!

More information on Pure Fix Cycles:
Facebook: Pure Fix Cycles
Twitter: @PFCycles
Web: purefixcycles.com

More information on cycling in Ottawa:
1. City of Ottawa
2. National Capital Commission
3. GoBiking.ca

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This post has been overdue, but I find myself with time on my hand and thought I would put it to good use. In a Twitter conversation, I shared some thoughts on my experience at Canada’s newest waterpark – Calypso.

To celebrate Father’s Day – my son and I, along with Grandma, went to the $45M water park, located in Limoges, Ontario, just a short drive east of Ottawa. Jaxson, my son, was looking forward to this day for a long time. Although the weather was mixed, there was both sun and rain, we arrived at the park eager to get in a good day of sliding.

And sliding we did. Many times over. One thing I appreciated about the park is that they provide personal flotation devices (PFD) for all ages. The PFD allowed Jaxson, Grandma and I to go on many of the rides. While Jaxson is brave enough or fearless enough to try all of the runs, his stature, at this time, prohibits him from doing so. In retrospect, this is probably a good thing.

Here are some quick thoughts/observations:

    1. You are allowed to bring in a cooler (no glass/no alcohol). It makes it easier to eat healthier and will also be easier on the pocket book.
    2. Having even numbers will make it easier to get the most out of the park, without having one person be the odd one out.
    3. You have the option of using a locker. It does make it easier to store your towel and a change of clothes for the drive home. It will cost you $5, but I found it useful.
    4. It’s a waterpark, with moving water so leave the watches, bracelets, etc in the car or at home. Grandma learnt the hard way.
    5. The line-ups moved quickly. I recognize that this is entirely dependent on the weather and the number of sliders, but found that the staff kept the operation running smoothly.
    6. It’s a waterpark and it is not immune to men and women from wearing, in my opinion, ‘inappropriate swimwear’.
    7. The weather was mixed, but sunscreen is a must.
    8. Although, I don’t find them entirely fashionable, watersocks are a great alternative to sandals. The pavement can get slippery and we witnessed more then a few young children slip and bump their heads.
    9. It’s a waterpark. Have fun!
    10. Have lots of fun.

These are some quick thoughts, but should also let you know of some of the little irritants. These won’t keep me from returning, but I imagine will be worked on as the park matures:

    1. I don’t understand the need to pay $5 for parking, when I have to pay over $100 to get into the park.
    2. Healthier and vegetarian options were seemingly absent from the menu
    3. There is no family pass option. This may need to change.

Overall we had a great time at the park. Jaxson enjoyed himself and before we left the park, he asked when we would be going back. I told him soon, real soon.