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Triathlon Fever

World class triathletes are in Bermuda for the second stop of the ITU World Triathlon Series that is taking place tomorrow in Hamilton and the island has been BUZZING with athletes all week.

The pool at NSC has been busy with swimmers, the streets of the island have seen an increase in Pelotons cycling and all week long, I saw groups of runners hitting the streets of Hamilton around 3 pm. I think the elite athletes are trying to adapt to the heat and humidity they may encounter tomorrow afternoon.

Coming out of the pool this morning I struck up a conversation with three elite athletes who had just finished their swim. (Thing 1 would have been embarrassed, she doesn’t like when I talk to strangers.) When I asked them, ”Where are you guys from?” They responded they were from Brighton, UK. I said, ”I love Brighton. I ran the half there a couple years back.” One of them said, ”It takes place in February.” And we started to talk about running. They told me they were here last year for the first edition of the Triathlon and they were a bit surprised with Corkscrew Hill. So this year they came early to practice.

This is Corkscrew Hill that they have to cycle 10 times and run 4 times!  

The reason why the ITU World Triathlon series stops in Bermuda is because of Flora Duffy. Flora is probably the best athlete ever to come from Bermuda. She is the 2016 and 2017 ITU World Triathlon series World Champion, the 2015 and 2016 ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion, and a four-time winner (2014-2017) of the XTERRA World Championships. She won Gold at the last Commonwealth games. The only hardware she is missing is an Olympic Medal. Last year she dominated in Bermuda winning by a big margin but sadly this year she has been injured and has not competed yet. She is however on the island and participating in the relay portion tomorrow so Bermudians will be able to watch her compete.

Flora is everywhere!

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The barricades have started to go up downtown, tonight is the kids’ duathlon and tomorrow the main event. This means that we will be staying away from town and watching it live on TV. If you want to watch this event and see how beautiful the island is, I believe you will be able to watch on BBC sports and failing that, just go to http://www.triathlonlive.tv.

Happy Tri weekend everyone!

Mama Why Don’t you Write a Blog Anymore?

Is what Thing 1 has been asking for a month. She brought it up again last weekend while she was here for Easter, and frankly, the only answer I gave her is, life in general has been busy.  Here is a glimpse of what has been going on with the Coopers in Bermuda (and Montreal) since we came back from Christmas.

Thing 2 – As a 20 year old young man, Thing 2 doesn’t talk much. As far as I know, he has been busy with his third year of university at Concordia while working as a lifeguard and swim instructor. Whenever I send him a message asking anything I get the usual, ”yes”, ”no”, ”Sure” and ”Can do”. Thing 2 has never been a huge talker. One good news about him. He applied and got a job with parks Canada and is leaving his Mama for three and a half months (this is how I see it anyways…) on May 12 to go work in the Yukon, at Kluane National Park. It is beautiful up there and I know he will have a blast.

But, before he can go, he needs to have his wisdom teeth removed. His Mama is flying to Montreal on May 5th. May 6th I will torture Thing 2 by taking him shopping for hiking boots, (I swear, he HATES shopping. If he could go barefoot and naked, he would be much happier.) May 7th is his oral surgery and then for the rest of the week I will take care of my Thing 2. Daddy Cool will come to Montreal on May 10th for one last weekend with Thing 2 and then on May 12th, we will put him on a plane and go for brunch!

Thing 1 –  She has been busy working and finishing her thesis while playing rugby and training for the half marathon we ran two weekends ago. She is now a ”Maître” and we are very proud of her. A week before the half-marathon, she called me after her first rugby ”Contact” practice and announced she had injured herself. I wanted to ring her neck! Alas, youth is on her side and her ACL was not torn, just sprained and she managed to run this half in NYC with a PR of 1:54! (Bitch! Just kidding, excellent, very proud of you!) We had a fun weekend in NYC with my Sole Sister. It was a fun time and if Thing 1 can find my Sole Sister and I a 10 km to run (we think our Half careers are over!), while she runs another half, we may consider it. But there better be wine involved.

Daddy Cool –  There has been lots of squash in the first three months of 2019. In February, he played and won the Senior Club Championship and is now back to back Senior Club champion. In March, there was a tournament with overseas player and we hosted a couple. It was a lot of fun and we saw some really good squash. Two weeks ago was the Legends of Squash where 8 players come to the island to play in this fun tournament. I think 4 were former world #1 and the other four were either former #2 or #3 and there was a young guy who was number 12 in the world (I think), but we saw him play last summer at the Masters and he won the 35 – 40 years old players. He was the youngest on court and he ended winning but if you want to see something funny, I invite you to watch this video from the BSRA Instagram account.

 

Yes! The shoes belong to Peter who had put them on top of his locker to dry. L.J. who had been struggling with his shoes all week, saw them, tried them on and decided to play with them. The shoes have now been autographed and I don’t think they will ever be played with.

Aside from that, Daddy Cool went on a whirlwind tour of London, Singapore, Dublin, and then London again before coming back to the Rock. He was gone for 18 days and since I don’t sleep well while he is gone, I was becoming a Zombie. He almost missed his return flight. He fell asleep in the BA Lounge and when he woke up, they were announcing the final boarding call. He ran to the gate (which was on the other side of Gatwick) and made it in time as they were closing the doors. I needed my sleep and would have killed him if he had been delayed one more day. Good thing he made it back in time.

Mama – As for moi, let’s just say a lot of stuff has happened since Christmas.

One: Been busy coaching my little swimmers, a.k.a. ”My Minions”. They are doing great, having fun with them and they are keeping me young.

Two: I struggled while training for this last half-marathon. My plantar fasciitis that first manifested itself in 2011, came back in the middle of my training with a vengeance. My last 6 weeks from Monday to Sunday pretty much looked like this, SWIM, SWIM, RUN, SWIM, SWIM, REST, LONG RUN, REPEAT. And Tuesdays and Thursdays I would go see physiotherapist or podiatrist for laser treatment. The run was hell for me. It was mostly, RUN first 5 miles, then WALK up hills, and RUN down hills. I made it, it was painful but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with copious amounts of Aleve, cocktails and wine. Let’s just say that when I finally went to bed on Sunday night after watching the first episode of Game of Thrones, I COULD NOT FEEL A THING ANYWHERE IN MY BODY! It was Awesome! At the moment, I am on a one month break from running with loads of swimming and walking. Have to rest up the fascia.

Three: This kind of stuff only happens in Bermuda. Before Christmas, my GP ordered a pelvic CT. So I went to the hospital and they performed a CT scan. This was my first ever CT scan and I just did what I was told. They injected dye and I laid there and entered the machine and held my breath etc… Friday Dec. 16th, (I remember the date because I was driving to the airport), my GP office called and asked if I could come in to ”discuss the test results”. I informed them I was on my way to airport and asked if it could wait till after the holidays. They said yes. Upon the first week of my return I went to see my GP who informed me that the hospital had performed the wrong CT, and that I needed to go back for a pelvic CT, but that in the meantime, they had discovered an aneurysm on each on my kidneys. The right one was very small and the left one was a bit bigger but nothing to worry about. She just said, ”Every week there’s a vascular surgeon that comes from the Lahey clinic and maybe you should meet him. I will send his team the films and they will contact you but I wouldn’t be worried, they will probably just want to keep an eye on them for now.” I didn’t make a big thing of it. Someone called me at the end of January and arranged the consult. But that got cancelled because the surgeon had been delayed getting on the island, due to a storm, I would have to wait another week. This happened twice. Third time, the surgeon wanted to see me before he flew back to Boston so he asked that I go to the hospital at 8 am, before his flight back to Boston. He came in the consult with his suitcase ready to go to the airport. After a 45 minute consult I came out of there a little bit in shock and phoned Peter at work. The consensus is that the one on the left is quite large, and in the words of the Surgeon, ”Your GP doesn’t know what she is talking about.” And then he said, normally, this would not be urgent but because you live on a Rock in the middle of the Atlantic where there are many X factors that can make this go sideways if it was to burst, I would like to operate sooner rather than later. When I asked if we could do it next time he comes to Bermuda, he just shook his head NO. He said that even though this is a new hospital, they are not equipped to deal with this. He kind of put the radiology department under the bus and just said, ”Listen, the fact that they performed the wrong CT to uncover this says a lot about who is working down there.” So now after several weeks of back and forth emails and phone calls, Peter and I are getting an all expense paid “séjour” at the beautiful Lahey Clinic downtown Burlington Mass. Not suppose to be flying for a solid week after operations, so I will be off island from May 5th to May 26th. Actually looking forward to driving up to the townships after my surgeries and enjoying some quiet time at Weirwood.

There you have it. Almost four months in a nutshell. Not very exciting, ”C’est la vie! Et la vie continue.”

Thing 1, I promise to write more in the future. XO

 

 

O Tanenbaum!

Tuesday morning Thing 2 and I set out to look for the perfect Christmas tree for Weirwood. Thing 1 who has high school connections with a tree farm dynasty, sent us to an uncle of the so called high school guy, (I will keep his name confidential, I don’t want him to get into trouble).

Upon our arrival to the so called tree farm where we were suppose to select and cut our tree, we noticed the deserted parking lot. More importantly, the entire place was closed, even though their website claimed it was open…

We called Thing 1, she apologized and told us that her high school connection said that if we could not get to his uncle’s tree farm, to go to this other one and she gave me the phone number. I called, they were not opened on a weekday, just this weekend. Hummm? I don’t know if I want to wait till Saturday, December 22nd. I thanked him, said I would think about it and called Canadian Tire to see if they had any trees left. They did not. I phoned Rona, asked the same thing. They had one left at their Magog store, “How tall?” I was told 7 feet. Okay, I decided to drive us out of the forest and instructed Thing 2 to keep his eyes opened for guys selling trees on the side of the road, we would go check the one at Rona in Magog.

On the way back into Magog, Thing 2 was on the phone with his boss from the pool when I stopped at a nursery who was advertising Christmas Trees for sale. No joke, all he had were Charlie Brown Christmas trees, I was starting to get a little nervous. I returned to the car, Thing 2 was off the phone, we drove on to Rona to check the 5 footer, not 7 footer, tree standing on its own by the door to the store. I told Thing 2, it’s okay but short. If we don’t find anything, we will come back.

We drove out of the Rona parking lot, and I noticed the trees in the Giant Tiger parking lot and made a bee line for the lot. Thing 2 was laughing his head off because Giant Tiger (a thrift store with very inexpensive clothing items, is where he shops all summer when he works at camp.) And there, sitting on its own, all wrapped up was this 10 footer. I asked the man selling them if it was a nice one. He reassured me by telling me that he has sold 4 of them already. One to a regular customer who has been buying from him for the last 10 years and she had sent him a photo. I looked at the photo, the tree looked full, no holes so I decided to take a chance. He said since we were close to Christmas and it was a big one, the price was $75.00. I laughed internally and said okay with a defeated look. Trees in Bermuda are anywhere between $110 and $230. Turns out, all I had in my wallet was exactly $75.00, it was meant to be!

 

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Back home it was not easy to put it in the stand. Thing 2 had to chisel the base to fit.

 

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While it dropped, I was baking my cassava pie and my tourtiere.

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Then it was time to get the ladder out and put on the lights and the many decorations.

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The next morning, I added the village. It takes a village.

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This is the final look. (There is a hole in the bottom in the middle, I will fix it when I get back to Weirwood!)

Before any of you start to write me an email, I know it’s a bit crooked on one side, it leans a bit to the left, no worries, I bought the fish line for Daddy cool to fix it when he gets to Weirwood tomorrow.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays everyone! The Coopers.

Not So Traditional Christmas Music

Sitting at the airport in Bermuda and while I am waiting for the call to board AC943, I am listening to my Spotify Xmas list more closely and realizing that some of these Christmas songs are not your usual Christmas tunes.

Looking at my list of 315 Christmas songs, the ones that pop out as ‘’Non-Tradtional’’ are the following;

1. ‘’Elf’s Lament’’ by The Barenaked Ladies

2. ‘’A Spaceman Came traveling’’ by Chris De Burgh

3. ‘’Tout Va Changer’’ by Michel Fugain

4. ‘’Fairy Tale of New York’’ by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl,  and one of Daddy Cool’s favorite.

5. ‘’Shake Up Christmas’’ by Train

6. ‘’Christmas in Hollis’’ by Run – D.M.C.

7. ‘’Puppies are Forever’’ by Sia

8. ‘’The 12 days of Christmas’’ by Bob & Doug McKenzie (A Classic).

9. ‘’Christmas Every Day’’ by Simple Plan

10. ‘’23 Décembre’’ by Beau Dommage

There you have it, just 10 of the ones I noticed from my list. By the way, if you have a Spotify account and you want to check out my Christmas list, it CanadianMama67 Christmas. There’s lots of good music, some choirs, some in French, some in Gaelic (Enya). You just have to download and let it play for HOURS….

HO!HO!HO! Boarding my plane to Feliz Navidad!!!!

Christmas Traditions

First, let me say I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

For me, Christmas is not so much about the gifts, I just love all the traditions and history around this holiday.

Tradition #1: Christmas Tree – I love getting a real tree. When the kids were little and we lived in NH, getting a tree was a big deal. Peter had a hockey friend who owned a farm. In the summer we would go and pick strawberries, in the fall we would go pick our pumpkin for Halloween and in preparation for Christmas, we would go pick and tag our tree just before Thanksgiving and then we would go and cut it the first Saturday of December, just after I ran the ”Jingle Bell” 5 km run. One year, Thing 1 even ran it with me. She complained the entire 5 km but that’s when I knew she would one day, be a runner.

Sarah Xmas race

We still get a tree today. We get one in Bermuda and Thing 1 has already ordered one from her high school friend who’s family owns a tree farm near the cottage. Can’t wait to pick it up with Thing 2 and decorate it. What does the tree represent? Well, as Pope John Paul said back in 2004, ”the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the “tree of life” of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity.”

I don’t know if that is really true? What I used to tell Thing 1 and Thing 2 is that we needed a tree with lights for Santa to know where to put the gifts. Whatever, I love me a real Balsam Fur this time of the year.

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Our Tree in Bermuda this year.

Tradition #2: Christmas Decorations – When we moved back to Bermuda, one of my floaties, Maria, came to help on moving day. Maria is a very take charge kind of lady so when one of the trucks pulled up and they mostly had stuff for the garage, she quickly told me, ”I’m on it I will arrange the garage for you.” More than an hour later she was done and entered my kitchen by saying, ”Wow! I thought I had a lot of Christmas decorations but I think you have more than me.” Yes, we have loads. I have some here, (8 rubbermaid boxes, one small fake tree and we had to go and buy lights since we needed lights with North American plugs. So, when I take everything down, it will be more like 9 maybe 10 boxes because we also got more stuff too.) When I was at the cottage back in November, I brought up I think another 6 boxes of decorations and the kids have at least two in their condo. Let’s just say that over the years, we have accumulated lots of Christmas decorations. I sort of dread the day we move back to Canada, and look at all my stuff but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

In the meantime, my army of Nutcrackers is growing every year, as well as my collection of tree ornaments and, Christmas linens for the kitchen and bedroom.

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Outdoor lights in Bermuda.

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Daddy Cool needs his cushions….and at Xmas time, they become red and purple!

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Some of my Nutcrackers. I have more around the house and a platoon at the cottage.

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Outdoor Christmas lights at the Cottage.

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Last year I added a new tradition, the Christmas Advent wreath. I did this in remembrance of my mom who passed away. Every year, for as long as I can remember, my father bought her a Christmas wreath that the florist would deliver along with some poinsettias, just before the first Sunday of December. My mom would then start lighting the candles on the first Sunday of Advent and each Sunday after that, leading to Christmas day. She would light the one in the middle on Christmas day. It was a tradition that she cherished and since last Christmas was our first one without her, I decided to start that tradition for myself. Today, (when I return from yet another swim meet! I will light the second candle.)

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My Advent Calendar.

Tradition #3: Baking!

This is an important one for the Coopers. We all have our favorites, Daddy Cool and Thing 2 love their shortbread’s and fudge. Thing 1 loves to bake anything under the sky. She has been sending recipes ever since she received the Christmas Edition of the Food Network magazine. I like trying new recipes too but it’s funny how we all come back to the same ones all the time. Nanny’s fudge. Nanny’s shortbread. Buttertarts, chocolate and peppermint biscottis (to have with the Xmas morning coffee and baileys, another wonderful tradition, baileys in your coffee on Christmas day!) I also bake a couple tourtières, Cassava Pie (a must every year or else I think La Famiglia would go on strike) and loads of other stuff. At the moment, my grocery list for when I arrive in Canada on Dec. 17th, is pretty long.

Tradition #4: Christmas music – We have this big Christmas music playlist on Spotify and we start listening to Christmas music every where we go, starting American Thanksgiving. So, even if radio stations decide to pull some songs from their playlists (”Baby it’s cold outside), it doesn’t matter, it’s on my playlist.

Tradition #5: Christmas movies – We love to watch Christmas movies until the big day. When the kids were little, I used to love the 12 days of Christmas on ABC family channel. We used to watch the old claymation and animated movies like ”Rudolf”, ”Frosty the snowman”,  ”Charlie Brown Christmas etc…” Nowadays, we enjoy watching the adult ones such as, ”the Family Stone”, ”Nothing like the Holidays”, ”Elf” and ”This Christmas” among others. We sit together, the four of us, with some popcorn and wine and we watch our movies. We have watched these movies so much that we get into reciting the lines along. It’s good fun.

Tradition #6: Christmas Day – When the big day finally arrives, we tend to spend most of the day in our PJs. Now that the kids are older, we don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn to see if Santa has been by. We can get up whenever we feel like it and take our time to open our presents while having copious amounts of coffee with baileys. After the presents, we usually have a big breakfast, and then we settle down for a ”Lord of the Rings” marathon while playing cards and some board games. Somewhere in there, we managed to put the turkey in the oven and around 4 pm, Thing 2 puts his bartender hat on and makes everyone a cocktail while the rest of us makes dinner.

The rest of the holidays are spent visiting with family and friends and now that we have the cottage, I am certain we will add new traditions.

There you have it, some of our traditions. Some have changed throughout the years or simply, we adapt to whatever is going on in a certain year but one thing is for sure, as long as I have Daddy Cool, Thing 1 and Thing 2 with me, it’s perfect. The rest is just extra.

What are you Christmas traditions?

 

What is on this Green Stick?

I was cleaning my desk and came upon a green memory stick. I had no idea what was on it so stuck it in my laptop only to find a collection of all the photos from the travels and the hiking of our last 5 1/2 years in the UK.

Everything is there except for our Dubai trip, a hike we took with Sarah to go see some pones, our last hiking trip to the coastal path in Cornwall and our last trip to Paris with Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Man we covered a lot of ground in 5 1/2 years.  Two ski trips in Austria, two in Italy. Several hiking getaways; Hadrian’s wall, Ben Nevis, Snowdon in Wales, Scaffell Pike, Seven Sisters, The Dover Cliffs, and Dartmoor National Park. Weekend getaways in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Iceland, San Sebastian,  Normandy, Athens, Nice, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Venice, Budapest, Bordeaux (to run Le Medoc), Dublin (twice), Avignon and  Jordan.

In England we went to Oxford, Bath, Cambridge, Liverpool, Brighton, Kent region, Cornwall and also parts of Scotland (Edinburgh and St. Andrews).

I followed Peter on business trips to Sidney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zug (Switzerland) and New York.

We went on three beautiful and memorable trips. One to the Yukon to visit my brother. Breath taking part of Canada! The second one and my favorite one (sorry Yukon), Istanbul and the third one to St. Petersburg, also amazing.

This is why every time I go to the United States I get pulled over and the agent questions me.

Agent, “Elise, what do you do for a living?”

Me, “Stay at home mom.”

Agent, “Why do you have visa entries to Jordan, Russia and Turkey?”

Me, “I just travel for leisure with my husband.”

Weird how they never really ask Peter. Always me because I have an older passport and these visas will be with me till 2023. Peter’s passport is new and I think he got it done after the Turkey and Russia trip. He still has Jordan. Oh well, I don’t mind, I will fondly remember all these places and the visas and questions at the border are totally worth it!

I leave you with a video montage of the green stick (not in order of visit) and photos of the places that were not on the mysterious green stick.

 

 

 

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Saturday Morning

Has quickly become a trip to Windy Bank Farm market for me.

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Every Saturday I get up and after my morning coffee, I like to jump on the scooter and head over to Windy Bank farm. I go on the scooter since their parking is, shall we say, almost nonexistent and if there are loads of people, which often there are, you end up parking your car at your own risk.

That being said, going with the scooter by myself poses a challenge. There is only so much I can buy. Sometimes, Daddy Cool comes along, so two scooters are better than one, but lately he has squash on Saturday morning and if you want the good stuff, you have to go early.

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Food in the seat.

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Food in the box.

This morning I made my regular Saturday morning pilgrimage and bought some veg, fruits, soups and a loaf of Spanakopia Loaf (Spinach, Feta, Dill & Onion). I am told it goes well with the gingered chicken and coconut soup. All made at the farm and usually excellent. This is also where I buy my eggs but I did not need any this week. I like that I can take back my egg carton and they will just fill it up with fresh eggs.

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The yummy baked goods made at the farm and the eggs.

 

I realize that not all veg and fruits come from Windy Bank farm but while living on this Rock in the middle of the Atlantic, I am really making an effort to buy local and what is in season. Trying to practice the 3Rs as best as I can.