Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

The race is on - our wave heading out of the starting gate!


August 31st.

It's my birthday and Nike is throwing a big party for me!

Standing at the Start Line. Looking back towards the Coliseum.


I am lacin' up my shoes and ready to head out...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Talkin' Smack

"Hey L.A. want us to get some paparazzi to chase you"

"Hey L.A you spend to much time in traffic to know what fast is."

Really?!? I *don't* think so!

Tomorrow is the day. The world is going to hit the street and run the largest 10K in history.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Last night I watched the film Sicko.

I stopped and thought twice before writing about it. Michael Moore is such an 'in your face' flash point of controversy. There is no question that his documentaries are really opinion pieces.

Watching this film, what engaged me was not the portrayal of the American Healthcare System, but rather, the discussions with Europeans, Canadians and Cubans.

When I first came to the U.S., I would often be encouraged to share how happy and relieved I was to be free of socialized medicine and finally have decent health care.

Huh? In puzzlement I would ask - "What *is* socialized medicine"?!?

Oh, you mean our Universal Health Care System. It is a bad thing? O.k. why?

Huh? What do you mean I can't choose my own doctor?

Huh? What do you mean I have to wait forever to see a doctor?

Lots of Huh? Huh? Huh?

*Complete* misconnect.

Truth is there are some fundamental ideological differences between the two countries.

I have to admit. I was slow to get over my own ignorance and fear of a new and different medical system.

It was a rocky start. My first attempt at getting health care coverage was not successful. Blue Cross was not able to validate my medical history as it was against policy to request medical records from 'over seas'. Hmmm, what sea lies between California and Ontario?!? That obstacle was easily removed. I went ahead and requested my medical records and hand delivered them with a new application.

Eventually I was able to secure coverage. But, now that I had insurance, I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. What can say - I was adrift in a ocean of naivety. I had no clue what an HMO was, what 'in network' vs 'out of network' was, and I had no clue about the concept of prior approval.

Eventually, I became sick and that forced me to try and figure things out. I was reluctant. I tried to ignore that I was sick. I was away on business and didn't have anyone to ask. After a week I realized I wasn't well enough to travel home and had to do something. I started with the yellow pages and found a Walk In Clinic. Then I went to an ATM. I had no clue how much I would need. I withdrew a few hundred dollars and hoped that would be enough to see a doctor. It seems silly in retrospect - but it never dawned on me that doctors accept credit cards. In the end I was diagnosed with shingles. I had let it spread out of control before seeking help. As a result I would suffer nerve pain for over a year.

I am still tentative about new things. I like the comfort of things I know. But, I live in a diverse world. I hurt myself if I am not open to learning and embracing new things. Slowly I peek out side my comfort zone and sometimes I discover new and exciting things.

The Canadians and Europeans in the film - I understand them. They talk the language I grew up with. It is a world view I understand and am comfortable with. For me, the film was like coming in for a warm cup of chocolate after an evening of shoveling snow!

9 million

I am running for the 9 million refugee children around the world.

Who will you run for?

Cada niño en el mundo tiene algo en común.
Dé un niño una pelota
y ellos jugarán
y ellos crecerán
y aprenderán
y llegarán a ser el mejor podemos ser.
Nueve millones de niños refugiado.
Ayúdelos juegan, permiten que ellos aprendan.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wanna Race

I am running for Los Angeles.

What city are you running for?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wave Riders

Time to start a new tradition.

Celebrate hump day by riding the waves.

Tonight was our second assembly of the Wednesday Wave Riding Club. As soon as the quitting whistle blew tonight ... we dashed to the beach. We had a blast crashing around in the ocean and riding the waves.

Second Meeting of the Wednesday Wave Riding Club

I was going to shoot some video of our antics - but my flip went for a swim without the waterproof case ... so no video 'til our next club meeting!

And the Flag Goes To...

If you had asked me 10 years ago ... I would have never expected I would be flying the American flag. But here I am!

This morning R- had her swearing in ceremony and officially became a citizen. Congrats R-!

A group of us greeted her after the ceremony and made a rather pathetic attempt at singing the National Anthem. After that, the 'ceremonial' flag was bestowed upon me.

We have a tradition, here at work, "the flag" is passed along to the next foreign national eligible for citizenship. In the last few years it has had quite the journey. There has been a rapid succession of folks being naturalized. This Sunday, I will be celebrating the 2nd anniversary of my green card. That puts me two and half years out from applying for naturalization. So ... it looks like the flag will be flying in my office for a while...

Our ceremonial flag.
I look forward to passing it along to C.S. in a couple of years

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


8.31.2008 is

  1. my birthday
  2. the second anniversary of my green card
  3. the nike human race

I will be in Los Angeles for the Human Race.

My charity is the UN Refugee Agency.

Won't you join me?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Church Sign

You know those church signs with the removable letters and the goofy sayings?!?

Now there is a website ( ) where you can make your own church sign.

Give it a try ...

Church of The Tippie Canoe Open Door Sign

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Community Drum Circle

Today I participated in a community drum circle. It sounds a little hippie dippie - but it is actually alot of fun!

The event took place at funky place called Trolley Barn Park in University Heights. The event was free and all you had needed to bring was your groove and a chair!

Here is what the flyer I rec'd said:

This is a musical experience like none other! Breaking the barriers of language, ethnicity, race, and gender, group drumming provides a safe and fun environment for creative expression... no musical talent or experience necessary! Making music in a group setting is powerful, synergistic, energizing and most importantly- FUN!

In American society, we go to concerts, politely sit down and listen, or perhaps we go dance at pop concerts. But the musicians are separate from the non-musicians. What happened to the communal music-making? WE'RE HERE TO BRING IT BACK! ...and it is exhilarating! Join us and express your own unbound sound!

It really was a community experience. There was an ecclectic mix of kids, parents, professionals, grandparents and misc folks who wandered over and joined in the fun!

The circle was led by music therapists from Sound Health Music. These facilitators have an amazing amazing ability to make everyone feel welcome, help us to find our individual sound and groove together as a group! Even I started to find a sense of rhythm!

Sample Drum Circle

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Work Day

This morning I dragged myself out of bed earlier than usual. I was still waking up when I rode my bike over to the church ready to join in on the "work day". Of all the things we do as a community - I enjoy the work days the most. There is something wonderful about working together to iteratively make improvements to our campus.

I started the morning on the window cleaning crew. I was just finishing up windows in one of the trancepts when I heard someone behind me removing screens. New folks had arrived ... with some serious equipment in tow. Buckets, ammonia, squeegees, rags... you name it, they had it. These folks were SERIOUS about window cleaning. I had to concede that I was waaaay out of my league here. Perhaps fence painting might be more my speed.

The Serious Window Cleaning Crew

The fence painters were under staffed and happy to add me to their crew. I soon learned that painting a chain link fence presents some interesting challenges. Using a roller turned about to be the preferred approach. You can get about 80% coverage with the roller and then switch to a paint brush for finishing touches. Over the course of the day I think I managed to get about 80% coverage on my clothes and body as well. At the end of the day my legs look like an ink pen exploded on them!

We broke at noon for lunch and had build you own tacos with amazing home made pollo and carne asada. Mmmm, good. It really hit the spot.

Tippie on Fence Painting Duty

It is absolutely amazing, new sod and coat of paint on the fence transformed the place. What use to be an eye-sore is now an inviting playground!

New Sod and Freshly Painted Fence

American Prayer

Latest Obama music video - set to new 'mix' of Bono's American Prayer.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Night At The Races

Tonight was our annual company trip to the Del Mar Races. For me the highlight was an amazing bowl of mint chocolate ice-cream!

My favourite part of the races is going down to the paddock and watching the parade of horses. I had my 'good' camera along and a friend wanted to have some fun being a paparazzi. I put the camera into rapid fire mode and let her go to town.

Wow, I came home with 75 pictures from the paddock. Here is picture of horse #1.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Traveling Tea Party

Today's commute turned into a big ol' tea party.

On the way to work I saw Stan listening to his iPod busily raking the church lawn. Boy did I surprise him when I came barreling across the grass on my bike! I stopped and chatted with him for a bit before heading into the canyon and off to work.

On the return trip, just as I was heading up the hill at Torrey Pines, I spotted Liz sitting on a bench watching the surf. I stopped and turned around (any excuse to avoid the grueling hill) and joined her on the bench - catching up and watching the surf.

I love it when my commute to work turns into a traveling tea party!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Quick Dip!

Tonight a gang from the office headed over to Torrey Pines Beach to boogie board after work. One of our Chicago colleagues is in town. There is no better way to extend a California welcome than a quick lesson in riding the waves. We had a blast crashing around in the surf together. It enjoyed watching our pasty friend tentatively dip his toes in the water and shiver. The 'locals' plunged in with glee, thrilled to bits with the beautiful warm water (low 70's!!!).

Tonight is school night for me - so I could only play for a half an hour or so. But that half hour wiped away all the stress and craziness of the work week! I scrambled to class wearing my flip flops, hair dripping wet and a huge smile on my face!

On a sadder note when we arrived at the park this evening there was a line up of media trucks and news crews milling about. TV crews are ominous. They rarely show up to do a feature about a beautiful day at the beach. We learned that just a few hours before we arrived, a man vacationing with his family was killed by a bluff collapse (local news story here).

I have always been in awe of the distinctive beauty of the sand bluffs along the San Diego coastline.

Beach Near Bluff Collapse Is Deserted

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Little Yellow House

When I ride my bike to work I pass this quaint little yellow house. It is a little welcome 'yellow' in the midst of an otherwise grey industrial area. Each day as I ride by I think ... one day I should escape the office at lunch and check this place out!

Well today was the day!

Turns out the "little yellow house" is actually called The Corner House Cafe. Not only does it have the mellow groove I imagined - but the food is wonderful!

Monday, August 18, 2008

caminar o pasear

To walk.

To walk. But NOT a walk TO anywhere, just a walk. A stroll.

Two ways of saying "to walk". BIG difference in meaning.

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent upon arriving."
- Lao-tzu

Goals in life are good,
they give us a reason
to walk the path towards them
...if we need a reason.
But sometimes
.. darn..
you really don't need a reason.
You just feel like taking a stroll!!

Ancient and always
The wheel's ever whirling
Today I'm riding
Tomorrow I walk
Step through forever
into this very moment

Lyrics selected from My Beat
By Bruce Cockburn

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Midnight Madness

Last night was the annual Midnight Madness bike ride. Last year was my first time out - and I was a bit timid with all the craziness. This year I am a veteran and loved every minute of it.

I convinced my friend Pete to come along for the ride. Fortunately, he is use to, and patient, with my stop and take pictures, joy in the journey approach to bike riding.

P- and Tippie at the Starting Line

One of the things that I love about this ride is the eclectic mix of participants. There are folks with expensive racing/Tri bikes in fancy outfits, folks on beach cruisers in their PJs, lots of bikes with boom boxes blasting hip hop tunes, crazy costumes and families on tandem bikes.

Lady in Pink TuTu

Wacky Mix of Folks at the Starting Line

While waiting at the starting line we met a very excited and talkative young boy wearing Dinosaur PJs. His father and sister were riding a tandem bike and he was riding an extension out back. The little guy was over the moon with excitement about a post ride trip to Denny's. Chocolate cake ...3 am..... Denny's - life doesn't get much better than that!

Pete and I were a little too thorough staying hydrated - so about the five miles mark the ride turned into a scavenger hunt - first one to find a restroom wins! Pete was Mr. Eagle Eye at spotting port-a-potties, but, much to our dismay, we discovered they were all padlocked.

Washrooms located - Our moment of triumph

We could not have had a nicer night for the ride. The weather was beautiful and we had a clear skies. The city lights breathtaking.

Taking in the City Lights

Inspired by our little friend in the dinosaur PJs. We decided to head to Denny's for breakfast. 3 am and the place was packed and full of energy! No chocolate cake - just breakfast for us old folks. Part way through my French Toast slam my little friend arrived with his family. He waved to me on his way to order his cake!

Denny's Downtown San Diego - 3 am Sunday Morning

Denny's At 3 AM

To quote Pete ... this is what insane people do at 3 in the morning!

After our 21 mile bike ride through downtown - we stopped at Denny's for breakfast - at 3 AM!

Pete chugs coffee in an effort to stay awake. I on the other hand am amped up from the ride and inhale my French Toast Slam!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Toronto in Pictures

I recently found this fun photo blog site by Sam Javanrouh. Sam's blog features a photo a day taken around T.O. (that's Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the non-Canucks out there). You can also check out Sam's photos on his flickr site!

I love this picture taken from a bike in Downtown ( click here for picture). Makes me sad to see so little of the land mark left. This is the way I remember Sam's. I have fond memories of wandering the maze at Sam The Record Man, looking for that elusive LP.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Gang

This week friends are in town from Salt Lake. I love their visits - our group of friends get together and we have a chance to catch up and share stories from our journey. We have a fun tradition of taking a group picture at the end of the evening. Here is the Summer 2008 picture of 'the gang'.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Tonight on the corner of LaJolla Village Drive and Villa LaJolla there was a homeless vet with a sign that said "Smile". He stood there with a big grin and looked at the somber grumpy folks stewing in frustration on the evening commute. While we were stopped a the red light he walked down the row of cars and smiled his goofy grin. If the driver didn't return his smile he would start a crazy clown routine until he was rewarded with a smile and a laugh.

What a perfect end to a busy work day!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Big Sleep

Four days down for the count in bed ... but I think I am finally winning the battle against the freaky mumps like infection that has plagued me for over a week...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Another Tippie Sighting

A note from another friend with a Tippie spotting. This one is in Northern California (Truckee). Check out this home furnishing and accessory store -- some pretty neat stuff!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Downpour in Denver

A 45 minute downpour in Denver tonight created a flash flood.

Street in Front of My Sister's Home
Capitol Hill Area, Denver, CO

Kayaking through the streets of Denver

Thanks to Heather Tudhope and Roby Sherman for the pics!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tippy Canoe Bar and Grill

A friend sent me this link and note.

Just got back from 10 days in Oregon Wilderness. Found a little store above Columbia Gorge called Tippie Canoe but my camera batter died. I am sick about it...

Anyone out there from the Oregon area that can send me a photo of my namesake?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Which Way To The Ocean?

The last week has been a bit of a rollercoaster. It has been the final push to bring live a client project I have been working hard on for seven months. A few last minute curve balls were thrown our way - one of which led to a stressful weekend as we flirted with failure. The last week or so a few health complications have been thrown in to the mix.

There is nothing like an evening stroll to clear your mind. I set out about 9 pm to walk through the park and enjoy the cool evening air. Just as I approached the park a car stopped and an older gentlemen stuck his head out through the window and asked me if I knew how they might get to the ocean.

Ten years ago I too stopped by the same park and asked for directions. I helped the couple and then continued happily on my way. The rest of my walk was filled with fond memories of the evening I arrived in San Diego for the first time, full of awe and anticipation!

Lyric for the Day

Bruce Cockburn
My Beat

Ancient and always
The wheel's ever whirling
Today I'm riding
Tomorrow I walk
Step through forever
into this very moment

...and it's all present tense

It's my beat
In my new town

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Man From Plains

Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains

This documentary provides an intimate view of former President Jimmy Carter by shadowing him on his national book tour. The film shows the controversy and criticism surrounding the book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" . The candid responses and depth of conviction shown through out the film paint a colourful picture of Jimmy Carter as a man with a passion for peace.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Lost Day

Today was lost to the 'go live' that almost didn't.