There and back again

My husband loves Mike Holmes.

One of M's biggest projects was the ski jump for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

When I asked him to sum up his fascination with the man, he responded:




As a journeyman carpenter, he also enjoys the practical aspect of Mr. Holmes’ show.

“I never really got to see the construction of a house from beginning to end. I like how much I learn watching him, and I like seeing how Mike has grown as a contractor, how much he’s learned over the run of his show. He’s obviously committed to helping people, but also encouraging others to perform the best possible work – not only among the people he works with, but within the industry in general. They just do really good work.

“It also gives me lots of great ideas of what I would like to do with our house.”


REALLY awesome.

I too like Mike. Not necessarily for the same reasons that M does, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t pretty darn affecting to see how grateful people are for the help they receive from Mr. Holmes and his crew.

(I may or may not cry regularly during the last ten minutes of the show.)

For reality programming, it’s certainly not your run-of-the mill “how desperately can one person embarrass themselves over the course of fifty-two minutes?”

(Aka it’s one of those exceedingly rare “positive” breeds of reality tv.)

I mean, other than highlighting all the shoddy work being down by crap, pass-the-buck companies, episodes are enough to make the hardest heart grow three sizes (plus Mike probably has a tool for that.)

And at the very least hopefully viewers be extra careful when considering having work done on their house.

Remember: References people, REFERENCES!

This weekend we trekked up to the Sunshine Coast for a mini getaway.

We were gone only two days, but the weather during this time was all over the map.

(This is, depending on your taste, one of the best or worst qualities of life on the west coast of British Columbia. For my part, I like the variety.)

At the ferry terminal, I espied these two birdies, hanging out, having a chin-wag together:

"So I says to Mabel I says..."

These two feathered friends stirred something in me. The morning of M’s and my wedding, he sent me a beautiful bracelet to wear with my dress. This was the card that accompanied the gift:

Love birds!


Whist on the ferry we encountered some insane fog. I went out to take some photos and the gentleman standing to my right turned to face me as I snapped away.

“It’s like we’re heading into Narnia,” he said laughing.

I nodded. “Either that or the Gray Havens. Being on a ship and I all.” I answered.

“Of course the Gray Havens!” He exclaimed, almost as if he was sad that his brief lapse in nerd knowledge was intensely disappointing to him.

“We’re not exactly crossing walking into a wardrobe here,” he muttered.

Love it.

This was taken facing Horshoebay:

Sail away, sail away, sail away...

This was heading towards Port Melllon:


Driving past Sechelt, up towards the cabin, we encountered a lot of fog.

I'm picking up a fog bank on my radar...

The route all of a sudden became a little bit more mysterious, and a little bit more exciting. While the mist gave our travel time more character and a decidedly more somber moo (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), needless to say that the views were not what you normally get when heading up that way.

And my rear view mirror.

Not that I’m complaining.

As soon as we arrived, I took some photos of the dock, before warming myself in front of the wood burning stove.

Baby it's cold outside...


But not in here!


Later that evening, I froze my feet taking photos of the how spooky the water looked, lit-up amid the night boat lights and fog.

Linda? Is that you?

That is some exorcist stuff, if I ever saw it. EEP.

For the rest of the weekend we ran, cooked, watched Eli Manning and his compatriots (no double entendre intended) run over New England’s defence, and played more rounds of Trivial Pursuit Genius Edition (released in 1981!) than we could count.

I was seriously on the verge of peeing my pants at some points, I was laughing so hard.

Every time one of us drew a history card, and it happened to be something like, “Who was Truman’s vice-presidential running mate?” we’d lose it, before guessing some random “American” sounding name.

“Ummm, Harold Williams?”

A good set up. The best, really.


Although, my favourite of the night was:

Who lived at Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, with his pet duck named Dab Dab?

Good grief, I was crying with laughter as I attempted to choke this question out for M. For serious, I now know my life will never be complete until I acquire a duck and name it Dab Dab.

Holy quack.

This morning the water was completely frozen over (and again I froze my little feets when I ventured out to take these photos at 7:30am. The clouds looked like milk, frothed, and spotted pink in places, making candy-coloured striations fly across the length of the sky.

Beauty, beauty, Beauty.

As I ran my favourite ten kilometre route (in the whole wide world) my breath hung close, suspended in the frigid air. Couples out walking their dogs nodded to me, and I smiled and waved back, concentrating on my breathing, and stride length.

At one end of the loop, the fog clung to the tall firs, and spindly pines, the air smelled like fresh sod and salt cod, my cheeks stung cold, and my hands burned hot.

My feet, legs, hips, arms – back and forth, one and two, sprinting to my finish line, where freshly strewn pine needles, and the contented call of water fowl mark my place in my self-timed race.

I was home.

(Just like Holmes.)

We gotta move these refrigerators

I have never understood the whole “I-don’t-watch-TV-therefore-I-am” Cartesian superiority thing – as if watching television somehow negates every book read, every lecture attended, every run gone on or piece of classical music mastered.

(This list has been shortened just in case you’re into the whole brevity thing, but please feel free to populate it with whichever activities you see fit.)

Anti-television aficionados will normally let you in on their secret in one of two ways.  The first usually goes something like this:

Player A (played by yours truly in this scene):  “Hey man, do you watch Breaking Bad [or insert some other amazing television show here]?  I just started watching it this weekend and it’s amazing!”

Player B: [smarmy, self-congratulatory] “No.  I don’t own a TV. Fwuh fwuh fwuuuuuuuh!” [adjusts monocle and top hat]

To which my immediate reaction (as Player A) is: “Shut the front door!  No TV eh? Well, ever heard of a little thing called the internet there Einstein?  Because I’m pretty sure that’s where the majority of the world is getting their television these days! Totes McGotes dude, not owning a TV is one crap excuse for missing out on quality television programming!  [pause]  NEXT!”

The second scenario is a little different:

Player A: “Hey man, have you ever seen The Wire [or insert some other amazing television show here]?  I just finished the series and I think it changed my life!”

Player B squints their eyes, and curls their lips.  Their voice is thick with disdain.

Player B: “No.  [Pause] I don’t watch TV.

Now, my first reaction to this situation is, as Player A, to laugh while giving Player B some serious side-eye.  Then I am overwhelmed by the urge to scream, “OH YEAH?  NO TV EH?  What about movies then?  DO YOU WATCH MOVIES, ARSEHOLE?  Because I’m pretty sure television can be just as beautiful, engaging and life-changing as any film, and I can guarantee you there is as much filth being produced on the big screen as there is on that little box!”

[Pause for dramatic effect and to ensure that I didn’t drop any unplanned double entendres.]

And then I round house kick them in their kidneys.  No of course I don’t.  (I would never do that.)

I box their ears.

(I kid, I kid).

Now, while I’ve never quite had the guts to respond in this fashion, it has taken some mighty yoga breathing to keep this rage-attack at bay.

I mean, what can I say?  Like one Homer J., I’m a rageaholic.  I’m addicted to rageahol.

Because honestly, the whole, “all TV is shit TV” excuse is tired, played-out and completely untrue.  Now, to clarify, is the majority of current television programming awful, mind-numbing crap?  Yes.  Undoubtedly and tragically, yes.   And unfortunately, there seems to be an insatiable thirst for this glut of shows that are, for lack of a more poetic term, utter garbage.  (See: most reality television, anything produced by Chuck Lorre, the current Law and Order series [and all of its spinoffs], anything with “housewives” in its title and of course pretty much everything broadcast on the CBC).  This is truly regrettable, because it is this saturation of mindless, unimaginative, monotonous slime that gives an entire medium a bad rap.

In reality, there are a number of truly great shows on television – and (fingers crossed) until the day we see the premier of “Two and a Half Jersey Shore’s Big Bang the Biggest Loser”, this trend will continue.  Or at least until the zombie apocalypse comes to town,  but by then I’m pretty sure people will have bigger fish to fry than arguing over the merits of television.  One thing though – all those schmucks who don’t watch the Walking Dead are going to bite it hard and fast (or should I say, be bit hard and fast), so let that serve as a warning to you all.  Netflix that stuff, pronto.

This zombie will settle the TV debate once and for all. Or you know, eat your brain.

Great television is transcendent.  It is a dramatic art form at its finest and should be celebrated.  Maintaining a storyline throughout multiple seasons without the writing, directing, acting, cinematography (etc. – the list goes on and ever on) suffering, becoming stale or over the top, or losing its momentum is beyond difficult.  It is damn near impossible.  And when this feat is achieved, it is magic.

This magic is so rarely achieved nowadays within any artistic channel.  And because of this I believe we should be galvanizing our forces in all areas, instead of trying to break down one (or multiple) artistic vehicles for the sake of self-aggrandizement or the propagation of whatever lame notion happens to be au-courant that day or month or year.

This too is tired and overly played out.  And it doesn’t make you cultured, it just makes you uniformed.  It’s like walking into a drugstore, perusing their book selection and them proclaiming all literature trash.  Drivel exists everywhere in all forms.  To write off an entire group because of this fact is uninspired and lazy.

So Player B, don’t tell me that you won’t watch TV and somehow think I will admire you.  And especially don’t tell me you won’t watch TV and then inform me that you’re heading out for a night at the cinema.

Because I will tell you that the comedy you are going to watch probably won’t be funnier than Arrested Development -or that inner-city drama won’t hold a flame to The Wire.  I will tell you to open your mind.

I promise, no one is going to force feed you The Bachelor.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

I will tell you to start with Rome – and do as we Romans do.   And always remember, no one likes a chicken: