September 19, 2014
Realtors' Slo-Pitch Tournament in South Surrey, BC
This year I decided to play in the Surrey realtors Slo-Pitch Tournament. I play slo-pitch in a regular league and our season wraps up with a tournament in Cloverdale the second weekend of August. So it had been over a month since I'd played and I had "itchy cleats" to run the bases one more time (or maybe just needed new cleats). Our team was made up predominantly of realtors from the Homelife Benchmark Titus and Homelife Benchmark Cloverdale offices. There was also a home inspector from Richmond and a realtor from Homelife North Vancouver, who joined the team (ringers, I hope). The weather was confusingly sun and rain, so as realtors do, we huddled in the dugout and talked about South Surrey real estate trends.
We held a practice at Joe Brown Park in Panorama Ridge the night before the tournament. Although the team roster had 25 people, there were only 9 at the practice (rain, rain go away). It was a small group and a good opportunity to get to know the friends and family of the other Homelife Benchmark realtors. Given the park is walking distance from our home, my wife, Janet, and our dogs came to watch. It was such a fun group and we were all able to have a quick beer after the practice and get to know each other a little more.
The tournament was to be held at Softball City in South Surrey on September 19. On tournament day it was pouring rain and no time to allow for the sky of South Surrey to clear as our first game was a 9 am. When we arrived, we faced off against a team from ReMax Coquitlam Sabres Realty, who were outfitted in brand new white shirts. By the third inning, many of the Sabres looked like they'd rolled in mud (and some go-getters really did fall in the puddles). They would need to use the "by" they had between games to visit a laudromat. Really I'm just kidding, getting dirty is all part of the sport. I was just hoping no one got hurt because it was wet and slick out there. Most of the players were newbies to slo-pitch and didn't play enough to know how to avoid injury. Despite the obstacles of the weather and mudball, we actually won 10-0. Being soaked to the skin didn't dampen our team spirit. Our Homelife group was so excited ... a big win for our ragtag, barely practiced team.
I'm glad we relished our win, because our game against the ReMax Sabres was our one moment of glory. It was downhill from there. Our next game we lost in a squeaker 9-8, but we were still optimistic. Hey, we fought hard and only lost by one run. Our skill set continued to go in the wrong direction. Perhaps too much food and beer at lunch was our downfall, because we were taken down handily in our next game .... by ... wait for it, the Remax Coquitlam Sabres, the same team we had shut out first thing that morning. Karma had played a bad blow to our team.
The good news is that the sun broke though the clouds in the early afternoon (good old South Surrey weather). It was right about the time the sun came out that we were being polished off in our final game. When I say "polished off", I mean, done for, kaput, relegated to the bleachers. These tournaments are all about having fun and meetng people and that we did. So Janet and I and the rest of the Homelife team soaked up one of the last days of summer watching The Remax Treeland Team (the Treelanders) win the tournament. Apparently, they win every year - sigh. Congratulations, but watch out for Homelife Benchmark team next year. We'll be back!
September 6, 2014
Moon Festival in White Rock
This weekend, September 5 to 7, 2014 is very special in the Chinese lunar calendar. It's the Moon Festival celebration, the time of year when the moon reaches its peak fullness and brightness. I took a little time to learn the history of the celebration through a Chinese friend. The festival celebrates family reunion. It's a time when moon cakes, a circular pastry made from red bean or lotus seed paste, are given primarily to relatives, but also friends and business colleagues.
There is a historic legend around the festival and the moon cakes. It dates back to the 12th century when the Mongolians were oppressing the Chinese. Legend says that the Mongolians would not eat the moon cakes, so they became the perfect hiding spot for the exchange of messages and plans for the rebellion. The Chinese were able to ward off their oppressors in 1,368 AD.
As we walked down the White Rock promenade and pier last night, we found it hard to imagine the 1,000's of years of history that is steeped in the White Rock Moon Festival. The evening couldn't have been more perfect when at 9 pm, there was an amazing display of fireworks. We looked behind us and saw the houses of White Rock lit up in technocolour. So many people were silhouetted out on their decks watching the skies light up over Semiahmoo Bay. The view homes of White Rock that are clustered all the way up the hill had a front row seat to the amazing show. I wondered if they knew the history behind this amazing event.
For anyone in the White Rock area this weekend, I recommend that you get down to the White Rock beach and take in the festivities. The best place to be is on foot on the boardwalk or on the beach. You can enjoy your family and friends, listen to music, and soak up he sun. The 500 red lanterns dotting the promenade and pier are an amazing site, particularly at night.
August 7, 2012
Golf at Morgan Creek Golf Club
Attending ABC golf tournament hosted by Margaret Wong's at Morgan Creek Golf Club http://www.morgancreekgolf.com has been a treat or me the last couple of years. The Morgan Creek Golf Club in South Surrey is a fabulous course. The tournament is not only for corporate purposes but also supports the worthwhile charity of CHILD (for children with ileitis and colitis). The tournament was held in late July this year.
Before the tournament began I was able to warm up with a bucket of complimentary range. It was really peaceful and I was the only one on the practice range. My drives at the practice range were clean and straight. This is usually a bad sign as my on course drives are usually directly opposite to my range performance.
The golf course is nestle amongst South Surrey homes and the golf course. If you drive along Morgan Creek Way, the course seems to pop up out of blue. Once you are on the course, you almost forget that you are in a residential area. Well I almost forgot until I richoched a golf ball off the roof of one of the beautiful Morgan Creek homes. Before you mumble under your breath about me, I did go talk to the resident. He was working in his garden and good naturedly lead me to me ball (phew!!! - no damage). By the way the gardens around this course are also amazingly beautiful according to my wife. I don't tend to pay attention to flowers.
The fairways and greens are extremely well maintained and manicured and the backdrop of the coast mountains is amazing. I think I hit only two fairways but my steadfast golfing heart kept plugging along. Luckily I didn't throw in the towel because dispite my abysmal drives, I actually won closest to the pin. That's golf!
The tournament was followed up by thanks yous to and from Margaret and a wonderful wonderful banquet meal.
Thank you Margaret Wong and ABC for a wonderful day!
August 5, 2012
Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock BC
My wife and I woke up early to a beautiful sunny day, so we headed down to the Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock. OK my kids are all grown and I’m melancholy about the old days. At the beach there's an early morning buzz of activity as performance stages and the festival tents for the Boathouse, St. John’s Ambulance, DaVinci Bikes, Facepainting and so much more are just setting up.
One of the reasons we know about the festival is that Trevor Murray, a long term friend of mine (and talented country music performer) is performing at the East Stage the Spirit of the Sea. I reallly want to see his performance but I have an Open House today. My wife drew the long straw and will get to enjoy the entire day at the beach. I've asked her to post pictures of his performance as he really is a talented performer and songwriter. I'm hoping that the community of White Rock, BC, really comes out to support this talented hometown boy.
We started our day by having breakfast at Uli’s restaurant on Marine Drive. It’s so early and quiet, we are the only restaurant patrons sitting on the deck. The restaurant has a beautiful view and we have a perfect spot in the shade. We had wonderful service and it was truly was one of the best eggs benedict we had in a long time (I shouldn't be eating eggs benny, but I forgot about my expanding middle for a moment). After breakfast we walked along the White Rock beach promenade. In the time it took to have breakfast it seems like the entire City of White Rock has shown up for this beautiful day. There was so much to see -- a sandcastle booth, face painting, electric bicycles, Tim Hortons, clothing, jewelry and so much more.
This festival is one of the reasons that living in South Surrey is so desirable. Many White Rock homes are nestled down the hillside overlooking the sea. Many residents can just amble down walkways tapered down the hillside for the walkers of White Rock. The parking at White Rock beach can be a problem. It fills up quickly, it's expensive and violation tickets are handed out at warp speed. If you don't have a home in White Rock you can walk to the festival from, you can also park on a side road up the hillside (mindful of residents parking signs) and use the same path down to the festival.
The Spirit of the Sea Festival is a fantastic way to spend a day or weekend. There is magic and music in the air and a perfect way to enjoy the beaches of White Rock.
Mike Alleyne, Real Estate AgentHomeLife Benchmark604-785-7066
August 5, 2012
Trevor Murray Performs at Spirit of the Sea Festival
Early in Trevor Murray's www.trevor-murray.com music career, he gave us a CD with four songs he had written and performed with the Murray Band. Mike and I played the CD while driving home from a vacation in the interior. I had heard Trevor sing before, (as he often impromptu just picks up the guitar and sings at gatherings of friends) but listening to the lyrics of Speed up to Slow Down and Fireball Whisky made me realize that in addition to smooth country drall, he was also an amazing songwriter.
Trevor has recently travelled to Nashville to create his new album called "Leave it up to Me" and I was anxious to hear his new songs at the East Stage at the Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock. Although Trevor currently lives in the Brookswood area of Langley in his heart he thinks of White Rock as home. Many of us feel that same sentiment he feels for the home of our early years.
Trevor's White Rock east beach performance began with "Fireball Whiskey" which is likely his most well known song. We saw him perform that same song at a bar in Langley one night and the crowd went crazy. It is amazingly upbeat song and some of the little kids in the Festival of the Sea crowd immediately sprung up from their beach blankets and started dancing to the irresistable rythym.
Trevor took a moment between songs to talk to the crowd. He said he's a White Rock boy at heart and spoke about the carefree good years growing up in his White Rock home and going to Ray Shepherd Elementary School. He had moved to Langley and life had taken a few difficult turns. As an outlet, Trevor did what Trevors does best, he wrote a song called "Fightin' the Urge". It's a great song and I heard it for the first time sitting on the grass of White Rock beach with Trevor signing live and the beautiful bay as the background.
I'm a huge Bob Seger fan and was surprised with Trev's next song was "Turn the Page". I love that song and actually found a version of Trevor singing it on line from three years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pnonIfWHJQ. He did an amazing job -- love that song. I couldn't get a good angle of the photo from in front of the bandstand so went up to the railways tracks for a higher angle. While I'm looking both ways hoping not to get wiped out by a train, Trevor starting singing "Riding the Rails". It was too busy for him to see, but I half thought he was making fun of me.
Trevor wrapped up with a couple of original tracks including a great new song titled "Louise". It was an awesome live performance. I thought it couldn't have been a better day but at the end of the performance Trevor came over and gave me a copy of his new album. Mike and I sat out on our deck in Panorama Ridge later that evening and really enjoyed listening to the whole album. We had unexpected guests from Armstrong, BC and they loved the music too. I recommended the album to them and found it on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/leave-it-up-to-me/id516467798