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Mike

Laity Pumpkin Patch

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Fall Family Fun

On the 9th of October, we took the kids to the Laity Pumpkin Patch here in Maple Ridge.  There was a corn maze, many puzzles and games, a parkour course, animals, and a tractor ride.  It is still too far away from Halloween to grab our pumpkins but Nugget had the perfect one picked out and he was quite disappointed that we would not let him bring it home with us that day.  I am sure that we will get an earful when we go back and his pumpkin is not there anymore.

I will be sure to take lots of photos at Halloween, see you then!

The Journey Begins – SFU EMBA

By | SFU EMBA | No Comments

SFU EMBA ABL 2017 – 2020 Cohort

On the 23rd of September, I began the Masters of Business Administration program at the SFU Beedie School of Business.  We began the program with 2 days of orientation which focused on team building exercises that were designed to help us get to know our classmates.

The first full week of classes was amazing.  We spent the entire week with Professor Gary Wagenheim and he led us through the Leadership and Teamwork course.  It was an intense week of discovery and self-reflection about who we are as leaders within our respective organizations.

The second week had 2 courses packed into it and it felt quite rushed, to be honest.  We had Professor Scott Powell for Business Communications and Professors Mark Selman and Joy Cramer for Indigenous Values and Governance.  The Business Communications had us examine negotiation techniques, effective meeting management strategies, presentation skills, and writing skills for professionals.  The Indigenous Values and Governance course took a look at how oral histories such as origin stories communicated the leadership values that a people hold dear and aspire to achieve today.

This is a minor point but I want to let you know that the program feeds us breakfast every morning.  I was quite rushed catching the train from Maple Ridge to downtown Vancouver every day and the morning breakfasts and coffee made a significant difference in my learning during the week.  It is a small touch, but so appreciated.

This will be a very short blog post as I have approximately 5 assignments that I need to be writing.  What I can say for certain is that I will not have enough time to update my website as regularly as I would like to.  The amount of reading and writing that we have to do over the next 2.5 years is fairly intense.

I am very excited about heading to the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona in Tucson for 2 weeks in January of 2018.  It sounds like it will be a very intense 2 weeks of learning!

The photo to the right features the beautiful class jackets that the program provided to us.  We also received coffee mugs, keychains, lanyards, and a few other swag items that everyone really appreciated.

SFU EMBA ABL Headshot

Adventures in Podcasting

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Adventures in Podcasting

I have been listening to podcasts for 4 years now.  My commute from Maple Ridge to Ruby Creek is 70 minutes each way, so I have a lot of time to listen to audio in the car and, as much as I love her, even Taylor Swift starts to get stale after a few years on repeat.

My podcast obsession started with Serial, a true crime story about a young man in prison when there is substantial doubt about whether he is the murderer or not.  The podcast was an amazing display of storytelling, the narrator drew me in and I simply could not wait to get back into the vehicle to listen to the next episode.  Good podcasts are like that, they are addictive.

Some of my current favourites are:

So here I am 4 years later and I thought I would try to make a podcast, as a hobby.  One of the first things that you need to decide when setting out to create a podcast is what it is that you will talk about.  I don’t have much expertise in anything, aside from being devilishly handsome and charming, so it took some time to figure out what my podcast should be about.  I have finally decided that I will talk about my job.  Economic Development in First Nations communities.  This will be a great way to connect with the members of the community that I work for and it will expand my network in the field by allowing me to interview successful Economic Development Officers, Consultants, Chief and Council members and grassroots Entrepreneurs.

So I am going to give it a go.  This is the first ever episode of Ruby Creek Radio.  In this episode, I interview Patrick Lucas from the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program about the trail network that we are currently building on the north side of Skawahlook I.R. #1.  This isn’t anything fancy.  There is no catchy theme music yet and I totally stumble through the interview but here it is.  Enjoy!

Click The Link Below To Listen
Episode 001 – Patrick Lucas

Greater Vancouver Zoo

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National Aboriginal Day 2017

This is being posted nearly 2 months after we went to the zoo.  I have been very busy at work and it took me a while before I could get around to editing the video footage together.

On June 21st, 2017, the Greater Vancouver Zoo offered free admission to Indigenous people to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.  It was a nice gesture; however, the execution was flawed.  When we got to the admission gate, we were told that we were required to have a status card in order to claim the offer of free entry.  This was not an issue for me, as I always carry mine in my wallet, but my children do not yet have status cards.  I had copies of letters from INAC on my phone, which indicated that the kids were indeed status, but that wasn’t good enough for the person at the kiosk.  We were finally allowed to enter after speaking with a manager.

This is ultimately a post about the great time that my family had at the zoo so I’ll leave the political rant for another time.

We Love Hippos!

Cleo’paw’tra Goes on an Adventure

By | Queen Cleo'paw'tra | No Comments

Rieboldt Park is a short drive from our house.  Cleo and I frequently go for morning walks through this serene little forest.  The park is always beautiful but this particular morning was especially enchanting as the fog was quite thick and heavy droplets of morning dew clung to the leaves of the trees.

An interesting fact is that this tiny park is home to 12 black bears, according to the park caretaker.  I have never personally seen any of the bears but I have been assured that they have seen me.  I am not too worried about it, there hasn’t been a black bear attack in Maple Ridge in as long as anyone can remember.  They appear to be more afraid of us than we are of them.

August Long Weekend 2017

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BC Day Weekend 2017

We had an excellent family adventure on the BC Day Long Weekend this year!

Sunday was our main day of family activities and we started with Dim Sum at the Panda Szechuan restaurant in Surrey, BC.  Being allergic to gluten has some serious challenges when it comes to Asian cuisine and I knew that it would be difficult to find anything that I could eat at Dim Sum.  I decided to eat everything in sight (except for the chicken feet) and it was all delicious!  Sure enough, I had some serious cramps, a headache, sore joints, and fatigue for 2 days after the meal.  I know that cheating on the diet isn’t good for me, but this new lifestyle is pretty tough for a foodie like me and it will take some time to fully adjust.

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The next activity on the agenda was to check out the White Rock Sea Festival.  This was an amazing family event with enough activities to keep us busy for the entire day.  In fact, we didn’t have nearly enough time to check everything out.  Some of the activities included:

  • Sand Castle Building Competitions
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Family Games Zone
  • Synchronized Kite Flying Demonstrations
  • Skim Boarding Lessons
  • Classic Car Show
  • Live Music
  • Evening Parade

Next year we will definitely plan to be down there for an entire day.  We are also already planning to dominate the family sandcastle building competition.  I think Susanna has already started a pinterest board to save our ideas.

We look forward to coming back again next year!

Follow the White Rock Sea Festival on Twitter here.

Go Kart Racing!

By | Family | No Comments

Kaya and I decided to check out the go karts in Abbotsford today and as we drove towards Castle Fun Park, I could sense her initial excitement fading. By the time we had pulled into the parking lot, she was a nervous mess. When I asked what was wrong she told me that she was afraid to crash because she had never driven anything before. There’s a first time for everything, right?

We walked up to the fence and watched a group of young racers rip around the track. Her excitement slowly came back when she saw how the young kids were able to drive the go karts. We talked to the attendant who reassured Kaya that everything would be fine and that she would be able to handle the go karts without a problem.  Well…almost.  At the end of our turn, we had to park the go karts in a straight line and, unfortunately for me, I was the car right in front of Kaya.  She came in a little hot and completely missed the brake pedal, the rear end collision was pretty jarring and I definitely felt it in my neck later that night.  Overall though, she did fantastically.  It was a really great father/daughter moment and I can’t wait to teach her how to drive a real car.

The cost was $8 each and we were able to drive for 5 minutes, which was enough time for about 12 laps around the course. Kaya had a blast and she begged me to let her go a second time, which I did…because I am an awesome dad!

It was a great day and I love spending some quality time with my princess.

 

 

Whistler 2017

By | Family | No Comments

We spent July 16th – 19th at the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa. It was an awesome little vacation. The weather was amazing and Sue and the kids spent a lot of time in the pool while I was working on the Sq’ewá:lxw Comprehensive Community Plan.

 

 

Sue and Kaya got to try out an Escape Room and I hear that Kaya was quite the clever investigator. They didn’t quite make it out in time but they had a blast and are excited to try it again sometime.

 

We ate at some amazing restaurants. The kids’ favourite was the Mongolie Grill, where you create your own stir fry ingredients. It was so delicious that we went back twice.

One night we got a babysitter (thanks Andrew) and Sue and I went out to eat at Araxi. It was amazing! We were so full we had trouble walking back to the hotel. #Gluttony

On the way home we stopped to take in some amazing views.

 

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Shannon Falls
Shannon Falls
Watershed Grill
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Scenic Pit Stop
Scenic Pit Stop
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Candy Shop
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Stó:lō Place Names Tour

By | Work | No Comments
Place Names Tour
Pit House Depression
The Mighty Fraser
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Stó:lō Service Agency
Stó:lō Service Agency
Sonny McHalsie
Sonny McHalsie
Place Names Tour
Pit House Depression
The Mighty Fraser
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On June 3rd, 2017 I joined 2 board members and 3 staff members of the Stó:lō Service Agency for a Stó:lō Place Names Tour.  My wife and daughter also joined us for the tour.

Sonny McHalsie was our tour guide for the trip.  Sonny does 3 distinct place name tours.  There is one that focuses on the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribes, one that goes upriver, and one that goes downriver.  On this day we went on the upriver tour.

Sonny is a walking encyclopedia of Stó:lō history.  The tour lasted for about 6 hours and he spoke without a script, or even notes, the entire time. His stories were extremely educational and entertaining.  I also appreciated that he cut the x-rated parts of the stories out since there were children on the tour with us.

I would highly recommend one of Sonny’s Place Names Tours to anyone who has an interest in local Stó:lō culture.

Motorcycle Mike

By | Hobbies | No Comments
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I Love Motorcycles!

Suzuki GSX-R 750

The Gixxer was my first bike.  In retrospect, a 750cc Superbike probably isn’t a very good first bike.  However, I was not a spring chicken when I got my first bike and I had a healthy amount of respect for the power that the bike had.

This bike was blindingly fast, it sounded amazing, and I felt like a superhero when I was riding it.  That being said…it wasn’t comfortable for anything longer than a 45-minute ride.

Sometimes, when life is feeling extra mid-life crisis-ish, I think that I would like to get a Gixxer again.  I usually come to my senses within a day or two.

Kawasaki Vulcan 900 SE

I picked up this bike from the dealership in a small town north of Barrie, ON and immediately began riding it across the country, all the way to Vancouver.

This bike was very comfortable and it served as my daily driver in Vancouver for 3 years.  I rode it rain or shine for the entire time I was a student at Simon Fraser University.

I made the mistake of putting extremely loud pipes on this bike.  It was borderline obnoxious and I couldn’t take the bike downtown without feeling embarrassed as each little twist of the throttle sent a thunderous roar echoing throughout the concrete jungle.

Night Rod Special

When I graduated from Simon Fraser University, I got an amazing job as the Marketing Manager for Canada’s Oldest Harley-Davidson® dealership, Trev Deeley Motorcycles.

I had been a Harley fan boy for many years by that point and I could not wait to take advantage of their employee pricing and get myself something amazing.  Trying to choose my war pony from such an amazing stable was a daunting task but it was, ultimately, my wife who chose anyway.  She came into the dealership and looked at the Night Rod Special and said “That one is hot” and that was good enough for me.

Ducati Hypermotard

I am not sure why I got this hooligan bike.  It handled amazingly well but, like the Gixxer, it wasn’t comfortable over the long haul and it just wasn’t practical for the type of riding that I do.  I guess I got it because I had always wanted a Ducati, don’t get me wrong – it is an awesome machine, it just wasn’t awesome for me.

And so, after 2 short years of ownership, I traded in the Ducati for a pair of Sea Doos.  My thinking was that I could take the entire family out on the lake and enjoy quality time with the kids while they still want to spend their weekends with me.  There will be plenty of time to ride after they don’t think I’m cool anymore.

Help Me Choose My Next Bike

Indian Scout

or the

Indian Scout Bobber