Network Growth

This is all heading towards some sort of perfect future, where there is amazing network connectivity throughout my house.

Not that it’s bad right now. In fact, it’s pretty darn good. But it could be better, you know? Since the big network update of 2020, things have been great. We made it through the depths of the pandemic (knock on 🪵) where Tammy was teaching remotely, I was working remotely and both kids were schooling remotely. If we survived that, surely things are good enough.

I would agree with you, dear reader, except an opportunity has arisen. With the imminent installation of solar panels on the roof, there will be a conduit running from the electrical panel in the basement to the attic. One of my main issues of the last 10 years has been that there are no clean routes for cables from the basement (where the cable modem is) to the upper floors of the house. I had the foresight to run cables to the kitchen before the basement was finished, and I managed to run ethernet to the bonus room by a very circuitous route, but there are parts of the house that I would love to drop ethernet into or put another WiFi hotspot, but there was just no way to do it.

But with a conduit to the attic, I will be able to run wires up that I can then drop into the bedrooms or place a WiFi hotspot upstairs wherever I like. Right now, the master bedroom (where Tammy works 3 days per week) is the place with the weakest WiFi in the house. A hotspot in the hallway would boost it a lot.

In preparation for this eventual conduit (the solar installation will happen soon) I have upgraded the switch in the electrical cabinet from a 8-port one (that was full) to a 16-port one. Now I have the capacity to run up to eight ethernet lines up to the attic, enough for drops in each bedroom and a hotspot.

Reconfigured system. Note the eight empty ethernet jacks.

I’d like to also point out that I rode by bike down to the store on October 2nd. The leaves were falling from the trees while I rode in a t-shirt. We are having a long, long extended summer into fall this year.


Today, Miranda got a letter and cheque from the Alberta government for $2500. She had won it as a scholarship from her provincial exams last spring. $2500 is the maximum amount, so she got all she could have.

As I said when she texted me: “Holy cow! 🐮”

That’s a nice surprise for a Tuesday.

Solar Panels are Here

Can I get a “finally”? We are at month 14 of this process to get solar panels on our roof. The major delays have been:

  • Waiting to be accepted into the Greener Homes Grant.
  • Waiting (unsuccessfully) to hear from the local company that was doing the home efficiency evaluations – should have called them myself right away.
  • Waiting for the next available spot for the energy evaluation
  • Waiting for the actual equipment to be available for the installation

Right now, I have fifteen solar panels in my garage.

The waiting isn’t technically over, because we still don’t have the micro inverters. They are expected next week. But we’re closer than ever!

Updated Sept. 29

The micro inverters are on their way. Installation should happen just in time to be covered with snow.

Temporary to Permanent

 August 15 2018 we began our journey at the Consulate General of Mexico in Vancouver British Columbia to apply for the Residente Temporal Cards. We were required to submit our passports, have an interview with the consular official, meeting the financial requirements and submitting all the voluminous financial paperwork. Our receipt was a temporary visa from the consulate, return of our documents to submit and complete the process in Mexico within one month.

       Arriving in Ajijic Jalisco Mexico we applied within the 30 days to Chapala INM “Instituto National de Migracion” submitting our paperwork and our financial documents . We received our Residente Temporal Cards two weeks later on September 9, 2018 valid for four years . 

        During the four years of temporal residency we travelled by car in 2018, 2019 to and from Canada & Mexico driving 4589.2 km across the USA to Mexico, volunteer work in Ajijic (Lakeside Friends of Animals, Needlepushers & Comforting the Border) travelling adventures to different areas surrounding Ajijic ( Mazamitla, Manzanillo, Colima, Comala, Tequila, Tapalapa, Chacala, Guayabitos, Barra de Navidad & Melaque ) in 2018/2019.  Experiencing the outbreak of Covid in the Spring of 2020 and the long quarantine and our delayed return home due to the travel restrictions we were able return to Canada June 2021.

       September 1 2022 our Residente Temporal expires.

We discussed leaving Canada early to fly to Bucerias Nayarit Mexico and apply before September 1 st and the benefits of having Resedente Permanente.  Some of the benefits with having the card was especially the ease of travel and the other option was the opportunity to live full time in Mexico. Also having already met the financial requirements for residente there was thankfully less paperwork to submit this time.

         We applied on August 17 submitted our soon to be expired cards, paperwork, photos, fingerprints and electronic signatures for our  residency at the INM office in Nayarit.

         Tuesday September 6 at 1:25 pm we signed our signatures to the final INM papers and we were handed our Resedente Permanente Cards and opening up the future for us with continuing wonderful adventures in .Mexico.

Sheep River and See Every Street

Today was what might be the last major “new roads” for cycling in 2022. The club had a last bonus event ride that started in Black Diamond (south of Calgary) and headed up the Sheep River valley to the end of the road, at the first line of the Rocky Mountains.

Strava map

It was a bit chilly in the morning but it was already warm enough to dispense with some layers before the start, which is a good sign. There was little wind and no threat of rain as we rode up into the mountains. In short, it was an extraordinarily nice mid-September ride. Compare that to the wet, cold ride we had in Drumheller last year…

Here are some photos from the day.

Throughout 2022, Esri Canada has been running multiple programs out of our “Connection Hub”, an attempt to bring people together during the pandemic. Last year the athletic challenge was to cover the length of the Trans-Canada Trail. People would submit their activities which would count as distance along the 28,000 km of the trail. This year it was more advanced with a heat map where you could see the roads that people walked, ran, cycled, etc. on. I found it a great personal motivator: it was a challenge to “paint” the roads blue and that included a lot of roads I’d never been on. The title was “See Every Street”, and while as a company we didn’t actually cover every street in Canada, it was fun to see the heat map bloom.

My Alberta riding, with Lake Louise to the west, Drumheller to the east and Sheep River to the south

It was great to see how much of Calgary (and area) I visited.

The Northwest was especially “bright”, where I was always riding to and from, as well as my morning walks.

Areas of the map that have never been filled in before include a lot of the gravel and impassable roads north of town. I’ve had a full season of gravel riding with the club, and while there are rides in other places too, many of them are in this area.

The map extended farther, thanks to the trip in August to Victoria.

And virtual riding in the wintertime put spots on the map in unlikely places both real and imaginary.

A Gravel Adventure

It’s September and we’ve lost the daylight in the evenings. The BCC road rides have come to an end because of that, but the weather has remained really warm and dry. The club gravel rides and mountain bike rides have continued because you can trust that the people who take part will have lights.

Last night was my first daylight to darkness ride with the gravel riders. I didn’t do any of them last fall because the weather wasn’t quite so inviting. This ride was out of Millarville and seemed to be 100% uphill, somehow.

The daylight was fading by the time we had crossed the conservancy lands and reached the climb back up from the Road to Nepal/Granary Road area. I had my new light with me that I’d bought in the summer. It was 600 lumens at max brightness, and that was pretty impressive. It was good enough for me to go downhill on gravel without fearing for my life.

Wing and I as the light was fading

After dark, most of the ride was on pavement, but we did have to ford one stream. Only about four inches of water, but it was a thrill.

The most concerning part of the ride happened early. The second downhill was very steep and rough double-track. I was not… comfortable and I guess I had a “deer in the headlights” expression and wasn’t blinking much. When I did blink, both of my contacts were dry and they came out! Not all the way, just on my eyelashes. I managed to stop and put them back in at the trailside. That would have been a complication I didn’t need. I’m a bad enough gravel rider when I can see.

27 Freezer Bags of Apples… And It’s Not Done Yet

This morning we picked the apples from the tree… mostly. Some of the apples on the lower branches weren’t ripe yet, so they are still out there. But even without that, Tammy, Ian and I have processed 27 large freezer bags of apples. That’s a lot: there’s not much room left in our freezer downstairs. I don’t know what we will do next week when the rest are ripe.

I took this a couple weeks ago: the tree bending under the weight.

Cancervive 2022

Today was the day of the Cancervive ride. With contributions from family, co-workers and BCC club members, I exceeded my fundraising goals and was clear to ride. As of last week, the weather forecast was looking grim, but it turned around and was clear and sunny, if a little cold. It was something like 5 degrees to start, but over 20 to finish. The challenge is to dress warm enough for the morning and not bake by the afternoon.

Cancervive Ride on Strava

I carpooled with Rob from the club. He picked me up from the parking lot at the Tim Hortons near Tuscany Home Depot. Tammy drove me down and used it as an excuse to get some coffee. ☕️

We were there in plenty of time to sign in and use the washroom before the ceremonies kicked off. There were short speeches from the brass at Wellspring, as well as a heartfelt speech from the Mayor of Banff.

Speech time. The mayor is in green at the right

100 riders started off in waves starting about 9:15. Those doing the longest route like me were first. Lee Jackson, who is on the board at Wellspring and a BCC member led us out. I got to be on the front row. I felt like a celebrity. 😎

It was cold to start, but by the time we reached Castle Junction, it was warm enough to lose the vest. That was a scramble to try to fit everything into my pockets. I’m sure I looked like some kind of pack mule with everything in there…

Pack mule or not?

The ride was fun and thankfully uneventful. Lee got a slow leak in his rear tire as we approached the turnaround, so our stop there was a little longer than expected.

The only interesting wildlife spotting was a coyote on the drive home. A few squirrels and birds, but no bears or anything. Our group of 5 BCC riders mixed it up with some other riders: Pablo, Matt, Mark and Ryan. There also was a guy on a recumbent bike who was sort of riding with us. He couldn’t really work in the pace line, but he passed us on the flats and fell back on the climbs.

Joel, Lee, Perry, Simon and Rob at Castle Junction

We made it back in time for lunch at the Fenlands Rec Centre. There was quite the crowd to cheer us in. We made sure that Lee led us in as the team captain. Lunch was what I’d call appetizers or finger food. It was good after the ride.

Post-ride meal

I will probably update this post with more pictures later. There were two photographers and Lee and Rob got some more photos of the day.

It’s a Bona-Fide Miracle

We just did another round of COVID tests tonight. Miranda started sneezing and blowing her nose this afternoon, which was a good reminder. All negative.

It’s now over two weeks since I tested positive for COVID, and no one else in the house caught it. 🎉 What I really couldn’t believe was that no one caught it after the drive back to Calgary. I masked in the car, but it was just a medical procedure mask, not an N95 one or anything. Sixteen or so hours together in the enclosed space should have overcome that.

And now it’s over a week since I came out of isolation. Tammy didn’t catch it despite caring for me. I guess we got lucky or did everything right. I am very thankful that no one else got sick.

The First Day of School *for me*

Even though the first day of school for me was actually on the 1st, I haven’t gotten into writing about how it went and all the things that happened until now, which is the 4th. So, this post is about my first day of high school and how it went.

Now, before the first day of high school, within the 2nd half of August, emails containing websites to sign up for a pre-Bowness High School tour were sent to the inboxes of grade 9 students who were looking to do a pre-first day of school tour. The optional event was hosted on the 31st of August. I was one of the students who signed up for the Bowness High School Tour. The tours were spread out in 20-30 minute time spaces over the course of the day so that many people could participate in the school tour at any time of day based off of their preferences. I signed up for the 10:20 am tour, which would mean a rough 20-30 bike ride from home to the school to get there by 10:10 -10:15ish.

So, on August 31st, I headed out at 9:45 am on my Kona Fire Mountain (my mountain/commuter bike) and rode from home to Bowness High School to take part in the tour. I did make a few mishaps while biking to the school, mainly just taking wrong turns and such. I managed to arrive at the school by 10:10, which left me with 10 minutes of leisure time before the 10:20 am tour would be conducted. so, I just hung around, and simply waited for the 10 minutes to roll around. After the 10 minutes, the tour started, and I, along with plenty more students, entered the building to tour around the school for the first time.

As we walked around the school, being guided by grade 11 students, I saw several amenities in the school, such as a cafeteria which was connected to the kitchen where culinary arts class is held, a fitness centre, a learning commons which really reminded me of the Calgary Public Library in Crowfoot, the usual gym and auxiliary gym, washrooms, classrooms, vending machines scattered across the school, stairwells with elevators, study halls, and the main office. This school packed a lot of stuff in it, and with the seemingly endless hallways with twists and turns, I felt like I was stuck in a rat maze. Even though the school is a bit confusing to walk around as I just pointed out, but the school does seem like a pleasure to be in.

The tour lasted as long as anticipated, so 20-30 minutes, and then it was time to return home going only uphill on a heavy mountain bike. It was tiring. 😫

So now, we get to the first day of school. I woke up at 6:30 in the morning to my morning alarm, had breakfast, and left home by 8:05 to walk down to the nearby bus stop to embark on a bus ride through Tuscany to ultimately arrive at Bowness High School.

The bus arrived at the school at 8:46 am, which was right on schedule. For the first day of school, all grade 10 students would have a full school day to get all the introduction stuff out of the way, and the grade 11s and 12s would start their day at 12:30 pm, mid day.

After getting off the bus, all grade 10 students who knew what their homeroom teacher was were sent to the main gym to be given their first day of school speeches by the principal, assistant principal, and teachers representing core classes such as robotics, marketing, multimedia, and more. I was able to get a photo of the main gym:

The introduction speeches started at 9:00 and finished by 9:30. After that, students would assigned to follow their homeroom teachers to their homeroom for a briefing. following that was a homeroom teacher led tour for the homeroom class around the school, which I already did the day before which I clearly already wrote about. The tour seemed to last a bit longer, but it may have been because the contents of the tour weren’t new to me by then. The day was going by rather fast, because by the time the tour was finished, it was pretty much lunch time, which was scheduled from 12:05-12:45 in the afternoon. I had my lunch and enjoyed it.

After lunch break, every grade 10 homeroom class went out back to the football fields to hangout and do activities such as football, soccer, frisbee, and more. I got to play frisbee with some students I didn’t know. That section of the day lasted for about an hour and a half. following that, students would go to their classes scheduled for the semester to meet their teachers, and get a briefing about what their class for the semester would be going to look like. I got to meet my math teacher, who is a very calm person, my English teacher, who is extroverted and open to students, my French teacher, who is less extroverted but still open to the students, and my multimedia teacher, who in fact is my homeroom teacher as well and is a nice person and calm like my math teacher. With all of that done, the school day came to an end.

School ended at about 3:30 in the afternoon, and it was time to catch the bus to embark on the return trip back home. There was a lot of traffic in Bowness by then. 😕 My bus arrived at my bus station at around 4:00 in the afternoon. I walked the extra 5 minutes back home, and relaxed on the couch, as well as talking to mum and dad about how the day went when I got there.

BONUS: Here are some extra photos I took:

My Math Class White Board
My Photo ID