Special announcement from your favourite dinosaur

The day D’mitry was rescued from that squalid mud puddle was the best day of his, and my, life. In the simple act of picking up his tiny plastic form, we both gained an adventure buddy that brought unspeakable joy to all subsequent journeys. That is now changing slightly. Not being the jealous type, D’mitry has embraced the new changes, knowing that he now has two adventure buddies: his beloved Mon and the elusive Boyfriend who recently upgraded to Fiance. I’m getting married and D’mitry sees the benefit for him in this engagement. More people means more adventures.

I suppose some would say marriage itself is an adventure but I don’t see it that way. What I see is that I now have a life-long adventure buddy to travel, hike, ski, kayak, bike and slide down glaciers on my butt with. And he’s stuck with me (willingly, apparently).

There are a few adventures in the works right now, sit tight and they will be here soon. It’s worth the wait to read all about my travels with my TWO adventure buddies.

Mon & D’mitry…. & Tim.

 

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The excitement of moss and rocks

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In January, I went on a trial trip South. After enjoying a zoo more than the children around me and eating an amazing burger, plus onion rings that were practically an entire onion, segmented and deep fried, I decided Washington is a nice place. So I went back with D’mitry fiercely in my pocket. This time, however, I became a forest nomad for five days, living out of my Jeep instead of spending a weekend in the city. I reverted to my unshowered, barefoot, loose clothing ways and loved it. I even had a designated ‘bedroom’ and ‘kitchen’ area in the back of the car. Never mind that I was sleeping on a pile of blankets and eating nothing but ham and cheese sandwiches, apples and trail mix for five days. Some would envy such a carefree lifestyle. I find it kind of liberating.

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It was a rather long drive from Canada to the first campsite, with a border official who thought I was nuts. For real, he thought I was actually crazy for driving hours to go camping alone in the rain. He knows nothing of adventure, unlike D’mitry. This is why a small plastic dinosaur is my adventure buddy, who’s crazy now? The plan was to spend an entire day hiking through the forest but a recent cougar sighting in the area had me concerned for D’mitry’s safety so I protectively opted for driving through the forest instead. Dang was it worth it. I’ve done a lot of driving, both as driver and passenger, through crazy scenery but this drive, aside from the life threatening narrow mountain roads with views so good it’s terrifying (because you might become part of that view), has to be among the top few. Perhaps I still haven’t worn out the novelty of everything in sight being covered in crazy moss, after all I haven’t lived in the Northern Hemisphere very long, but it was an amazing drive.

Considering dinosaur photos were lacking and we’d already started wearing a camp headband, indicating an advanced level of not showering, we made a stop in a rainforest. Despite the cougar sightings, I couldn’t help but risk a few kilometres which made way for some fine, mossy, rainforesty dinosaur photography. I have a newfound love for moss. Not only does it look super cool, but when you are grubby from camping and not showering and it won’t stop raining, it provides an excellent way to wash your hands and face. I should create a line of designer moss sponges.

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MOSS!

Eventually I drove to the coast for some beachy camping but, forgive me, it just doesn’t feel like a beach without sand. That doesn’t mean the beach I visited wasn’t awesome; beach rocks are my new favourite thing. They’re just so smooth and make really nice sounds when you stack them. It was totally worth walking 3km along a muddy in the rain to get there, especially because some old guy pulled over, kind creepy initially, just to tell me there were otters in the river next to the road. Here I was, soaking wet and holding onto D’mitry for dear life when the old guy who had suddenly pulled over next to me pointed out one of the most awesome animals on the planet (don’t even try to argue that). Best day ever.

Inevitably, the rain had to stop at some point. That point was my last night, camping on a coastal point before a full day of driving home. It was really nice to be able to read a book outside instead of justifying having to sit in my car out of the rain by playing guitar and singing, both very average quality, as loud as I possibly could. I’m back home now, trying to get my life in some kind of order before I start working again next week. At least I have a real people job.

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Snowpocalypse

Where I grew up, it snowed about once every two years. My parents were super into skiing but it meant a two hour drive on a road that we travelled so often that I had practically memorised all the turns by the age of ten. Apparently, my new town receives a similar amount of snow and I was not expecting to spend my first winter here wading through waist-deep powder. Then snowpocalypse happened with well over a metre of snow falling in less than two days. D’mitry was thrilled, after all it meant fine photography, and I was too because snow is the best thing ever. I love watching snow falling from my window almost as much as I love skiing, both of which I have been doing a lot of over the past few months. I never thought I would ever reach a point where I said “there is too much snow”. It seemed like a preposterous statement that people with no joy in their heart would say while frowning bitterly at snowmen and snowball fights. As it turns out, there is such thing as too much snow and those people probably aren’t quite as sinister as I imagined. In a town that is simply not equipped to deal with this much snowfall, it really has been apocalyptic. And I would love a single day where I don’t have to leave for work twenty minutes early just to make sure there is enough times to scrape the most stubborn ice ever from my windshield. The worst part is that I’ve neglected to take photos of D’mitry making the most of snowpocalypse because I’ve been an irresponsible dinosaur owner. I’m sorry.

Philanthropic dinosaurs are the best sorts of dinosaurs

Remember that time I promo-ed the Green Pledge because I like the environment? It turns out I also like people. Today I’m promo-ing Coldest Night of the Year. Because homelessness, frankly, sucks.

I’d say we’ve all slept on the ground at some point in our lives. In fact, I did only last week at a New Year party after all the spare beds, couches and futons were claimed. I laid a blanket down on tiled floor, curled up and had a restless night. Sleeping on tiles is cold and super uncomfortable but, I can only imagine, not nearly as cold and uncomfortable as sleeping on concrete, outside, in the middle of winter. That sounds like less fun than being mauled by a bear. At least bears are warm.

I also remember having surgery on a finger I mashed in a car door and having to eat nothing for a day. By the end of that day, just before the anaesthetist did his thing, I remember thinking how terrible it would be to feel like that every single day, with my stomach so hollow it hurt. And that was only one day of not eating. Homelessness sucks.

Let’s consider how D’mitry and I met; I’ve mentioned finding him in a mud puddle countless times so I can only assume he knows a thing or two about being homeless. He might be able to understand a little better than I can just how much homelessness sucks. For me, however, I just have to grasp the understanding that my one night of sleeping on cold tiles and one day of eating nothing, both of which sucked, doesn’t suck nearly as much as being homeless and doing those things, but worse, every single day.

So we’re raising money to fight homelessness. Your support would be super appreciated and D’mitry would want to wrap his tiny little T-rex arms around you and hug you passionately. If you need any further reason to support us, other than the fact homelessness sucks, you might see an actual picture of me on the team page (not just one I drew of myself like the one in the “about” page). I’m a rather private person who chooses to showcase my dinosaur instead of myself but I think I can make an exception for generous supporters of this cause. Peace.

To donate (and make D’mitry’s day) follow this link:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3660333&langPref=en-CA

Chuck a snowie

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I’m trying to make the phrase international. If “chuck a sickie” means to pretend to be sick to get out of work, then “chuck a snowie” is the skiing equivalent. Now, I may not be rich enough to actually skip work, but I have been doing the “snowie” part on my days off. It’s ski season and I’m thrilled. D’mitry has more hiking experience than skiing and so he too was extatic about my snow day antics. Although I missed a season and haven’t skied in actual powder snow for years, I’ve been having the time of my life and not caring that I can’t really walk after a full day on the mountain. Literally, after the first day I drove home and proceeded to fall over as I exited the car.

Thanks to some heroes from back home, I also have some natural gummy dinosaurs that have graced my backpack as a ski snack. D’mitry made friends with a pink gummy T-rex but, considering he was just a badass shaped blob, D’mitry wasn’t too upset when I ate his new friend.

Snow is the best thing ever. Also dinosaurs.

Fishy tragedy

One time, D’mitry bonded with my friend’s fish, Dawg. They were buddies. Dawg was a great little fish who enjoyed the simple things in life like swimming and inspiring greatness in young people. He was an unofficial mascot of all things fantastic and unfortunately he has gone to the great toilet bowl after his untimely death. RIP Dawg ❤ We miss you.

 

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Little hiking

As opposed to big hiking. Where I come from, “hiking” means strapping on a pack and heading into the wilderness for a few days, practically being a nomad. I’ve spent many happy days disappearing into the mountains or along the coast with somewhere between 15-20kg on my back and a different campsite every night. In Canada, hiking means anything from the multiple day nomadic adventure I’ve experienced to a casual stroll through the forest. Yesterday, D’mitry and I did what I have dubbed little hiking. There was a mountain with a noodle factory of paths winding up it, so we climbed it. No pack, no campsite, just a few hours of little hiking. It was definitely more than a walk, just not quite as much of a hike as I’m accustomed to, hence little hiking. It’s going to be a thing, trust me. We had a fantastic time disconnecting from the world and reconnecting with trees, which hasn’t happened for a few weeks. Trees and mountains are ranked alongside  dinosaurs in my favourite things so I feel pretty content with everything and D’mitry is always up for an adventure. Unfortunately no dinosaur photos, although get excited for some quality shots as we have a new photo taking device! It’s similar to the old one, just a few different functions. Bear with us as we figure it out and D’mitry analyses which camera angles flatter him the most.

Stillwood and Dinosaurs

It should be clear by now that working with and mentoring children and teenagers is kind of my thing. For D’mitry, kids aren’t much different to adults because everyone tends to react the same when a tiny little T-rex screeches at them but for me, working with youth is something I get super excited about. I was stoked about my work with kids at home and, as it turns out, I’m just as stoked when that work transfers to another country. It also turns out that places like Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre are also stoked about working with youth. That made life a little more awesome when they decided to hire me after an email interview of five questions, four of which weren’t actually questions but rather statements. Remember this picture? Well, that was this same interview almost a year ago. I’d say it went well. Digital Interview

For the past six months D’mitry and I have been living the dream hanging from trees, coaxing kids through high ropes courses and climbing walls, paddling across lakes, pretending to be professional (sometimes Olympic) archers while instructing without demonstrating and, more often than anything else, lifeguarding. But what is it all for?

Philosophy with Mon and D’mitry: outdoor education is super important because it teaches you multiple things all at once, both academically and intrinsically, while also improving your sense of self efficacy and expanding your comfort zone. In short, you learn a lot about yourself and the world around you while also sneakily learning some academic things while you’re at it. There is no down side. It’s good for your physical, mental and academic health. Add in Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre and you can also add spiritual health to that list. Compliment a high energy lifestyle, full of crazy exciting things like jumping off a platform approximately 20m off the ground onto a zipline, with the calm of daily devotions and suddenly kids are physically, mentally and spiritually in tune, not to mention ready to sleep for a solid few days. It’s a win for the child because they had heaps of fun, for me because they learned so many super important things and for their parents because there is no parenting achievement greater than having a sleeping child.

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As winter approaches and D’mitry and I retreat to our usual winter domain of skiing as much as humanly (dinosaurly?) possible, think about how awesome outdoor education is. While you’re at it, do a little reducing, reusing and recycling. Healthy environment makes outdoor education possible and increases the number of dinosaur habitats. Both are very important.

A super big thanks to Stillwood for employing me, showing me a good time and not complaining when I took pictures of D’mitry on the low ropes course and outdoor climbing wall.

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Real bears

I hate to break it to you, but the bear D’mitry saw wasn’t actually a bear. It was just a gummy bear. However, I saw a real bear last week, it had claws and everything. It sitting in a tree happily munching apples while I stood and stared at it for a solid fifteen minutes. I also learned something: bears can climb a lot higher than I thought. My flawless escape plan if I ever got chased by a bear of climbing a tree faster than the bear now seems somewhat less flawless. Nothing crushes your sense of self-preservation like watching a bear five metres up a tree and realising just how wrong you were. And the whole time he just chomped away at apples like nothing was up.

Also bears are fat and waddle when they walk. It’s mildly amusing.