Unrestrained Kids in the Sky

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The 125 thousand pound aluminum tube we are in speeds toward the ground, its flaps unfurled, wheels extended. Against Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommendations, but in full compliance with regulations, we have a lap child – and she is not on our lap. Instead, Olympia lies on her back in seat 8A, her legs touch over Catherine, she is asleep. I want to throw my body over her in some sort of quasi-brace position but instead I whisper to my wife, “Please be careful. Put your arms on her.”  I cringe, waiting for impact.

However, we barely feel a jolt in the soft touchdown of the Boeing 737-800. The roar from the reverse thrust of the engines is loud, the spoilers on the wings jut up hard, the brakes are applied; it all produces less g-forces than I have felt on previous flights.

I exhale. It was a perfect landing.

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Retirement

Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado

Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado

 

“So tell me, what is the difference between Canada geese and Canadian geese?”

Our neighbor in cabin number six was standing on his porch, an elderly man from Wisconsin who looked to be in his late 60’s with grey hair and neatly trimmed beard to match.  He and my Dad had befriended each other yesterday. Now they were deep – as deep as one gets while making small talk at a public campground – in conversation about the geese.

I was standing at the green Coleman two-burner stove, making breakfast. The morning was warm and dry. The cloudless sky was teasing, drawing summer to a close as autumn was patiently waiting. On the menu for our breakfast was one of my cuisine specialties: oats. Not the glue-like, tasteless slop that most come to hate. I stir up a thick, chewy, nutty variation, with toasted walnuts and fresh apples. And salt. Oatmeal without salt is like eating paste.

One thing I learned in my past career as a professional cyclist was to make killer oatmeal.  Read the rest of this entry

What Everybody Ought to Know About Boulder’s Beer

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In the mid-‘90’s I used to tell a Canadian joke to my American friends that went like this: “How is making love in a canoe and American beer the same?” Answer: “They are both f—ing close to water.”

This is how I perceived beer in the United States 15 years ago. I was not far off.

There are two things that Canadians take seriously: hockey and beer. There was a time when Canada proudly boasted – particularly to its large, brash neighbor below – of owning the best hockey and better beer. It was uncharacteristically cheeky of Canadians, and sadly, we can no longer brag with such bravado. Good brews and the National sport went south ­– and flourished.

Fast forward to today. I no longer live in the cold, white north but reside in one of the best beer towns in North America: Boulder, Colorado. Beer is beloved in Boulder. Just look at the number of suds that overflow this town: The Brewers Association lists 21 local brewing establishments, and with a population of 100,000, that’s impressive. Read the rest of this entry

Ceci and Lulu

I put Olympia down at five past two.  I let Cecilia out sometime before that. I can breathe again. Time slows. I have my little slice of day.

It’s called naptime.

Today was atypical – it was raining and Olympia was taking a monstrous nap. It does not rain much in this area, there has not been more than a sprinkle in at least two months and everything was dry. Listening to the splattering of rain hit the window made me realize how much I missed this type of day. The kind of day where it rains more than it doesn’t. Read the rest of this entry

THE DARK HORSE

I stare at the deep-fried, golden slabs in front of me. They lay in a conventional rectangular container made of thick paper, some small, some a little larger, perhaps five or six in all – I am afraid to count – a large Romaine leaf beds underneath, a thumb-size cup of horseradish rests on top.

I select a small piece and turn it over in my fingers; its appearance looks rather inviting. Yes, I think, but deep-fried cardboard would look inviting. I dip the morsel into the horseradish, and, slowly, carefully, I chew.

I am in the Dark Horse. Read the rest of this entry

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