The First Week of a New Year

And a pretty good one at that. I managed to end the year on a strong exercise kick – and so far – so good! This has been helped by getting to work an hour earlier – which means I have a little less time to read the paper and putter around in the mornings -but DOES mean that my commute is much more predictable. So – instead of leaving an hour early – I’ve been sneaking out for a run – it’s been a dual hit, too – I get to run in the middle of the day, which is a great stress relief AND I get to run in the daylight. Nice!
And my brother Frank and I continue our weekend tradition of running together – we clocked 8 miles last weekend – and although he’s out of town this weekend – I clocked 7 in his honor today. Probably easier since he’s in Vegas and I’m not – I think I have the better deal!
Along the way this weekend – I made a mad dash to Canada to watch my first professional hockey game. It was really great, even though my team lost. (The Edmonton Oilers, if you must know). But it was a sudden death overtime, both teams played really well, it was MUCH more fun to watch in real life than on television – and – Canadians are nicer, skinnier, and more polite than Americans. Probably smarter, too, although I didn’t measure.
I mean – Vancouver is a lot like Seattle in terms of its location in the Pacific NW, being a port town, blah, blah, blah. And my girl is from Canada, so I’m a bit biased.  And I know that there are some things about Canada that aren’t perfectly rosy. Healthcare comes to mind – although I’d venture to say that if you don’t have a lot of money in the U.S. or in Canada – you’re better off in Canada. Taxes are higher there, too – but – I think the value is tangible.
Not as many huge cars, either – maybe becuase the people aren’t so huge.
The other good thing about Canada? The border guards aren’t jerks like they are in the U.S. Oh, I know – Al Qaeda didn’t blow up a building in Montreal, blah, blah. But the American guards are mostly rude and maybe uneducated. (I take some of that back – they guy that let us back in was polite, seemed to enjoy his job, and asked us the questions he needed to without making us feel dirty). But when we cross IN to Canada – they NEVER make me feel like a crook.
Finally – you can make it from Canada to Mt. Baker for a snowboard trip in just about 2 and a half hours – which is exactly what we did! We got half a day on the slopes (great conditions) and still made it home at a decent hour.
And who knew that the Red Robin in Bellingham would have excellent customer service? Friendly, fast, not fake – on the way back we talked a bit about that – you can set corporate policy and enforce it – but there must be a really good manager at that location that makes it real. Hires the right people, keeps them, trains them. Maybe we were lucky – but – I don’t think so. I’ll go back. And the beer arrived fast and cold – just what you want after riding (and falling) down the mountain for a few hours!

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