Be The Best.

Vacuums and grief…why not?

A couple of weeks before Chris passed away, he told me about his buddy Tanner and how he was going into the vacuum business.  Would I help him out?  Could I talk to him? Could I give him some business advice?  My initial answer was sure, but I had questions too.  Wasn’t Tanner in school? Why vacuums? Really….a 17 year old kid opening a retail operation?  Really?

You know Tanner.  He spoke at Chris’ funeral and was a great friend.  Sometimes school doesn’t fit for everyone at the exact time we think it’s going to.  For Tanner, right now the timing is wrong.  Now before we go any further I’ll tell you something (and Tanner listen up…this is in WRITING now with witnesses!!)  Several weeks ago, Tanner and gang were over and I made Tanner promise he would complete his GED at some point.  He agreed.  Tanner we have a deal!

That being said, we currently have a business to run.  You see, Tanner’s family runs the Big Gary vacuum stores and that’s how Tanner has learned the business.  And yes it’s true, at age 17, this young man is opening his own retail operation in Port Moody called Newport Vacuums!  His website is a simple marker with contact info for the time being. So…if you are somewhere in the Port Moody area and need a new vacuum or have a broken system that needs some fixing, Tanner is your guy.  He is having is GRAND OPENING on Saturday, May 22 at 202 Newport Drive, Port Moody, BC.

Tanner…I wish you every success in your new business.  I know Chris would have loved to have you in school with him and the gang, but he also understood school was a tough choice right now and he REALLY wanted you to do well and that’s why he was asking me if I could help you.  You and I have had some great business conversations in the past several weeks and I wish you all the success in the world!  Remember your customers first and most everything will fall into place for you….and in the long run, don’t forget…we have a deal about that GED, ok?

PS Great voicemail on your business line.  Customer oriented, energetic and approachable.  Good work.

Be The Best.

Silver linings

The weather this week has matched our experiences quite well.  It’s been a very extreme weather week.  Get where I’m going?  I took this picture on Tues evening from the deck of our home.  It sort of says it all.  The dark clouds are very present, but still a hope persists.  As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.  Thinking about the sun behind a cloud actually is a good symbolic view of where we’re at right now. We can sense that more sun is going to come.  We can sense there are brighter days ahead and for pockets of time, just like the weather this week, you feel the sun’s warmth and then in an instant it’s raining and cold again.  I think the hope is that we believe…no actually we know the sun exists.  We know it will be sunny again and even though the clouds and rain persist, the sun will have it’s moment and hours in the days ahead.  For now we’ll pack a good umbrella and a hot cup of coffee as we continue on our journey.

Be The Best.

Da boyz were back in town…

An unexpected treat awaited us when we arrived home tonight.  Max and good bud Spencer were ‘chillin’ (I feel so hip) doing a little P90X (an oxymoron I know) and in the ping pong, teen-age hangout room, we actually had ‘da boyz’ playing some ping pong and beating each other up.  It was great.  A few more games of ping pong were played, some additional fighting occurred and of course various feats of strength to see who could match Chris’ forearm power portrayed in the rowing pic from last night’s blog.

Boyz…it was great to see you all.

We’re proud of all of you.  Keep working hard!  (that goes for all of our teenage contacts out there!)

Play Hard, Be Safe and Have Fun. Remember, the only person I ever said that to?  As of tonight, that’s for all of you, starting with ‘da boyz’.

Here’s some pics.

Ingrid, Jesse, Marshall, Dylan, Cam, Alan, Tanner, Me.
Jesse, Tanner, Marshal, Dylan, Cam, Alan
Be The Best.

Row, row, row your boat.

Chris and his Brookswood buddies Jesse, Dylan, Marshall took to the water for the inaugural season of the Brookswood Rowing Club last year.  They really wanted to be in the same boat (so to speak!), but that was not to be.  The teams were mixed and they made some new friends. Even though they didn’t get to race together, they stuck with it through the season and these are some pics from their regatta in Bedford Channel at Ft. Langley.

Being The Best is not about winning everything or having everything turn out the way you thought it would.  Not even close.  It’s about trying new things.  Wanna hear a secret?  My good friend Mark Wardell once had a private meeting with Jimmy Pattison…yes, THE Jimmy Pattison, a BC icon and billionaire many times over.  Mark asked him what THE secret of success was.  You know the answer?  Be prepared to lose and lose big.  Interesting.  The secret of success is calculated risk and trying new things where the outcome is uncertain.  ie, Trying out for the rowing team and not winning every race, trying out for the basketball team and being cut, trying something new at work and risking failure but pushing boundaries.

Being The Best is about trying new things whether you ‘win’ or not.  This is as much a challenge to me as anyone else.  Be The Best.  I want to try at least one new thing in 2010.  I’m not sure what yet, but I promise to blog about it..!

Be The Best.

Water and life.

Guichon Creek on the BCIT campus. May 17, 2010.

At lunch today I decided to take a short walk only minutes from my Burnaby office.  Just behind the hum and drone of Willingdon Ave, there is a magical little path that takes you along Guichon Creek which flows through the BCIT property.  That creek has been amazingly restored by Mark Angelo, BCIT colleagues and students.  Mark is the Chair of the Rivers Institute at BCIT and Founder of World Rivers Day.  In any event, hearing that water today and being transported into that natural setting just steps from the urban sprawl was energy needed at the right time.

Chris turns 16. Jan 14, 2009.

I was going to do something different tonight for the blog, but I came across this picture of Chris when he turned 16 on January 14, 2009.  I couldn’t stop looking at it.  I miss him so much.   Here’s the most bizarre thing.  It hadn’t rained here all night and just as I was staring at the picture, a rain shower pounded down for a couple of minutes and then was gone.  Now I realize it rains all the time here in the Vancouver area!  I get it.  But that burst of rain tonight brought the same feeling that the sound of the stream brought today at lunchtime.  Water is so integral to our lives and for whatever reason we’ve always loved the sound of water from the waves of Hawaii to the surf of Oregon and California or the gentle tides of White Rock.

Water brings life.  When I hear it, I think of Chris and the amazing life he lived.  Love ya kid.

Be The Best.

Langley wins in OT…must have been PA announcer!

Ok, maybe a slight stretch…but aside from life-guarding, swim instructing and helping his old man around the house this weekend, Max did the PA announcing at this afternoon’s Intermediate A Langley Thunder game.  You can see him in the red circle.  In the green circle you can see the team celebrating the overtime victory on a goal by a certain William VH.  Nice job to all!  In the blue circle, Max chows down on 6 post game tacos (first helping).

Great to see the families from Nanaimo at the game as well as so many of the Island folks are helping to support Chris’ fund and sporting the wrist bands!  The fund, for those keeping score at home, is closing in on $14,000! As soon as the fund hits $20,000 it will be locked in for life.  In other words, the award given out each year will be generated by interest earned and the fund continues to make money for the next year.  The first award will be given out in January 2011.  (As indicated in previous posts, Ingrid and I will make an additional gift to SFU to allow the first award to be presented then as the fund will not have generated a full year of interest at that time.)

The release of the Chris Friesen lacrosse stick from Harrow gives me shivers whenever I look at the design.  Check yesterday’s post to see it for yourself.  I know many non-lacrosse players (like me!) are going to be picking one up just because it’s the coolest thing ever ….ok, I may be biased…!  A link to the pdf order form will be up tomorrow at If you are worried about a cheque getting to Joyce before the deadline or any other issue regarding payment, but you still want to order…just contact her by email.  More than anything, we simply have to provide Harrow with a number of these special edition sticks.

I am excited about this stick for two reasons.  One, what an awesome way to remember Chris.  Nuff said.  Two, through the amazing generosity of Harrow and Burnaby Mountain Selects ALL of the net proceeds will go to the Christian Friesen Memorial Award fund.  I love that because players (AND PARENTS!!!) are buying equipment all the time.  If you need a stick for this year or next, what a cool way to spend the regular amount, but know that you are helping to change the world by challenging one SFU student and lacrosse player to Be The Best.

For all my teenage readers out there, look out for each other this week, and as I would say to Chris before every single lacrosse game, Play Hard, Be Safe, Have Fun.

Be The Best.

Mega News – Chris Friesen memorial lacrosse stick in production!!

Are you kidding me?  When Ingrid and I met Joyce, Brent and Jeff from SFU (and Burnaby Mountain Selects) for coffee a few weeks ago we knew we would be talking about some ideas to support the Christian Friesen Memorial Award.  We had no idea however, how big these guys were thinking.  What you are looking at is the Christian Friesen Commemorative Lacrosse Stick.  It has Be The Best on it, along with Chris’ signature and the Canadian flag BMS logo.  The sticks will be sold at normal retail, but with incredible support from Harrow and our BMS gang, all net proceeds will be added to the Chris Friesen Memorial Award fund.  More on this tomorrow, but thought you just had to see this now!

Be The Best.

Shoes and souls.

It’s hard to count the number of people at our house during the first few weeks since we lost Chris.  I found this picture yesterday on my Blackberry taken in the first couple of weeks.

I must say the shoes weren’t exactly that neat when I found them, but I arranged them to avoid a tripping hazard and took a quick picture!  Each one of those pairs of shoes represented a teenager willing to come out of their comfort zone to hang out with a couple of 40 something parents and remember Chris with us.  To all the Brookswood friends, lacrosse buddies, family friends, cousins and friends of friends who have come by in the past seven weeks, we thank you from the bottom of our…souls.

Keep working hard to Be The Best as you finish the school year in style.  Be safe this weekend.

Be The Best.

God is dead?

Get ready. This one’s heavy!

Where is God in tragedy? Now there is a question never asked before…(cough). Regardless of your belief system, when you lose a child, I guarantee that you will question everything you believe. Here’s a few thoughts from our journey. Was it ‘God’s will’ that Chris died? Some sort of master plan…everything happens for a reason you know. Really?? Don’t get me going on that one. You know where my mind went? Was it God’s will that 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust?

Don’t think so.

I don’t really know why, but I then thought about the difference between humans and animals.  Generally speaking, animals will operate more by instinct and humans have a unique ability to make choices that go beyond instinctual needs.  Ever seen the Dog Whisperer show with Cesar Millan?  That guy is amazing as he teaches people how to work with their ‘out-of-control’ dogs. You’ll hear a constant theme..don’t treat your dog with human emotions…they are dogs.  Watch the show a couple of times and you’ll see some great illustrations of how we as humans are different from dogs (I realize this may sound silly, but most of Cesar’s ‘interventions’ stem from people applying human logic and decision making with their pets).

So if you would allow me, I’ll suggest the following.  I believe our ability to make choices…some would call this ‘free will’, is so sacred, it’s part of our spiritual DNA….and this is hard to type…even when those choices end up with dire and unintended outcomes. I believe this ability to choose is protected to the point that surpasses human understanding.

Now here’s the wild part.  You know what has been the most EMPOWERING, HEALING, and SPIRITUAL part of our journey without Chris so far?  It has been our ability to CHOOSE.  It has been our ability to make DECISIONS.  It has been our ability to celebrate the one million good choices Chris made.  It’s been our CHOICES that have kept us going. In that ability to CHOOSE we have found strength and a greater understanding of our very human and spiritual DNA.

Is God dead? Your choice, but I think not…I think God lives in every decision we are empowered to make.

Be The Best.

San Diego: an epic short film

After the complete shut-out at Cannes, Sundance and an unfortunate snub by the Oscars for the epic short ‘Walking in Langley’ subtitled something about birds or something, I remain undeterred.  For your viewing pleasure I present, ‘San Diego: an epic short film’.

You can see the ‘new normal’ in action.  It’s a weird thing…that little walking segment that you’ll see was probably the most emotional part of the trip.  Just going for that morning walk with Ingrid got us talking, remembering and thinking about future experiences never to be experienced.  You combine that with synchronized coffee drinking (this was not planned and you’ll see it when you view) and you have this interesting recipe of tears, sadness, love, joy, pride, sorrow, jokes and laughter that forms our current reality.

I’m sure the Oscar people will get it this time round….  😉

PS In a future post I will tell you why I like to work with the Hilton brand whenever I can.  Thanks to the management of the San Diego Hilton who understood why we were there and did a great job in respecting what we needed.