Thursday, June 26, 2008

brian van rossi

OK, the title only makes sense if you know Moto GP champion racer Valentino Rossi. Brian turns 40 in August this year and for this milestone birthday, I wanted him to be able to cross off one of the items on his life's to-do list. So, I surprised him by registering him in a one-day motorcycle race school on the track.

Brian has been riding motorcycles since he was 12 years-old and he has never ridden on a track. He has ridden dirt bikes, street bikes and his current bike is a Suzuki GSXR 750 race bike. He bought this bike on the off-chance that he decided to get on a track. Well, he finally had his chance this past weekend.

He participated in Mike Sullivan's race school at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington. It was a one-day school that mixes off-track race instruction with on-track practice.

We had to be at the track by 8:00am and as we drove down, Brian said that couldn't eat his favourite breakfast - sausage and egg McGriddle from McDonald's - because he was too nervous. I'd be nervous too. He has an opportunity here to open up the throttle on his bike in a "controlled" environment. Knowing the hazards and risks, how far will he push himself? To add to Brian's nerves, I kept reminding him that he has a family now! Hehehe...

The school divides up the day into 5 one-hour sessions. In each session, the riders get 20 minutes of off-track instruction, 20 minutes on the track and 20 minutes of rest. When I saw Brian go by on his first lap in the first session, I got goose bumps. I wanted to be on the track with him. It was SO cool.

Unfortunately, part way through the first lap, a rider that was 2 in front of Brian lost control of his bike and high-sided. The red flags went up immediately and all riders had to clear the course. I didn't see the guy go down. All I saw were the red flags going up and the emergency vehicles going out. I ran back to our set-up area, all the while praying that Brian was back there. He was. Phew. Luckily. the guy who high-sided was OK and actually went on to finish the day with the rest of the group (though he moved out of Brian's group into a slower-paced group).

Towards the end of the day, Brian started to feel the fatigue. After all, he hasn't had a chance to really ride his motorcycle in the last 2 years! He ended his 4th track session early because he said his head wasn't in it and then he didn't attempt to go out in the 5th session. He couldn't concentrate on the turns and didn't feel like he was at his best. It's like when you are snowboarding and you want to keep going at the end of the day, but your legs are jello and you wonder whether you should end on a good run, or do "just one more" at the risk of wiping out. Well, you don't take those risks when you are moving at 200 km/h. I think he made a wise decision.

On the drive back at the end of the day, as his muscles started to tighten up, I asked Brian if it was what he expected. He said it was more than he expected. It was exhilarating and butt-clenching all at the same time! He said it was alot harder than he expected, but given the opportunity, he'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Here are a couple of pics from the experience. I will post more on Flickr soon. Since I had Josh with me, I couldn't really get to other areas of the track, so I took a bunch of movies from the same spot on the track's front straight. I posted one of the movies at the end...
Brian and Josh going for a test ride to make sure the bike is track-ready

Our setup at the race site - since we were novices, we forgot to bring a tent and chairs!

Josh checks out the line-up of Lotus Elise race cars

Brian coming back from a track session - you can't tell, but he's smiling from ear to ear

I can't take credit for this shot - a professional photographer was on site and he caught Brian in action

a belated message from the heart

It's ironic that I'm posting this after a post saying that we're wasting away. I had this Father's Day post in my head for awhile now and I'm finally getting to "write" it down.

This past Father's Day is Brian's second one. As with the first, it was low-key. We got together with Brian's family and just spent quality time together. It's always nice to spend time with family. I think the way we spend Father's Day is a bit of a reflection of how Brian reacts to being a father - he's very low key. He takes everything with a grain of salt and he does things because he knows he just needs to do them.

What Brian doesn't know, is that he is an absolutely fantastic dad. When Josh was first born and I was a basket case, Brian stood firm and supportive. When Josh would cry and I would tell Brian that he was doing something wrong, he would tell me that he is not me, he is not the mommy and he has to figure out how to do things so that they work for him and Josh. When I need a break, Brian takes Josh. When the parental duties need to be shared, Brian is there to feed Josh, change a diaper, give a bath or pick up Josh from daycare. When Josh is naughty, Brian is stern. When Josh gets an owie, he calls "Daddy". When Josh and Brian play, Josh laughs that carefree baby laugh that melts my heart. When we sing songs, we all sing together even though Brian hates singing. When I say, "Are you sure we should have another baby to add to the chaos?", he says, "Absolutely.". And if you see the way Brian lights up when he first sees Josh in the morning or after work, you know he means "Absolutely."

It's funny because everyone tells me, "you're so lucky that Brian is such an involved dad". I used to believe that I was really lucky too. But, I thought about it and I realized that it isn't luck that Brian ended up being such a good dad because he didn't just become a wonderful father overnight. He always had it in him. So, it doesn't make me lucky, it makes me smart because I chose him.

Happy Father's Day, Bri. We love you very much!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

wasting away

I haven't posted in almost 3 weeks. Why, you ask?! Because Brian and I have been wasting away in front of the tv watching Grey's Anatomy DVD's from the beginning. Ugh. We KNOW it's awful and we KNOW we can spend out time more wisely. But every night after Josh goes to bed, we quickly do our necessary chores and are usually planted in front of the tv by around 9:00pm to watch a couple of episodes; maybe 3, if it's getting REALLY good. Ugh.

TV series on DVD has to be the absolute worst creation. There is no longer a reason to stop after one show. When you record shows on your Tivo or PVR, you have to wait a week until the next episode airs. But when you have an entire season on DVD's, there is no reason to stop! And it's not like a movie where it's 2 hours long and then it's over. Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy was 27 episodes long!

Well, I'm relieved to say that we are now in season 3 and we're starting to see some repeats of shows that we saw when we first started watching Grey's. Phew! The madness will end soon and I will be able to post the 3 blog postings that I currently have in my head. After that, we will have to strongly consider whether we start watching another tv series on DVD. Maybe we need to set ourselves some DVD-watching rules...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

so special

This morning, Josh sat on my lap, facing me, rested his head on my chest and was hugging his lamb in between us while watching tv. I had so many things to do to get out the door this morning but I found myself sitting there with my son. And I didn't want to be the first to let go. It was wonderful...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

season 7 of satc

That is exactly what it was. I purposely avoided finding out any details of the new Sex and the City movie because I didn't want to spoil the story. Let me tell you, it was HARD. After all, many scenes were shot in the streets of New York and there were many snip-its in magazines, Web-sites and blogs of what happened during shoots.

This past weekend, we had a girl's night out so that we could watch SATC on it's opening weekend. I'm sure there were many girl's nights over the 2 days! I had a fabulous time and thanks to Lisa for hosting pre-movie cocktails and appies (the mojitos were SO good!)

I won't ruin it for anyone else, but I'll say that the movie stayed true to the series. I really felt like I was watching the next season (fast forwarded to 4 years later). I can't say whether it was good or bad as a movie because it's Sex and the City! However, I can say that I laughed and cried and that I will watch it again if someone in this house decides they want to see it (I won't mention any names for fear of embarrassing anyone that might not want to admit that they enjoyed the series!)

Now, I have to live with the disappointment that "season 7" has ended and we won't know if there is anymore to come...