Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Andrew Ebbett’s Game-Winning Goal Edition

This blog also appears on Canucks Hockey Blog.

I know it’s been three weeks since my last “Things That Make You Go Hmmm”, but I was a bit pre-occupied with Christmas and creating this year’s Canucks Christmas Carol called “Under the Minneso”. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it was rendered irrelevant on Boxing Day when the Canucks passed the Wild to take over top spot in the Northwest Division. So check it out now if you haven’t seen it yet, before it fades into YouTube oblivion.

For my last “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” column of 2011, I am going to focus solely on Andrew Ebbett’s overtime goal that lifted the Canucks to a thrilling 3-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose last night. I have three things that made me go hmmm:

Continue reading Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Andrew Ebbett’s Game-Winning Goal Edition

Canucks Christmas Carol: Under the Minneso (Parody of Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe)

For this special edition of Clay’s Canucks Commentary, I pull a few friends together for the 2nd annual Canucks Christmas Carol.

You’ll recognize my friends Joseph and Jason from last year, as well as my sons Sean and Jacob. Oh yeah…and Kevin the foreign exchange student. Last year we put together The 12 Days of Christmas:

This year, we go bigger and better as we welcome Oggy, Patrick and “Game Day” dudes Andrew and Chris.

Inspired by Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe”, our song is called “Under the Minneso”. Confused? It will become very clear to you after the first verse.

You’ll actually hear Kevin the foreign exchange student for the very first time, and make sure you stay until the end for some bloopers!

Merry Christmas!



Merry Christmas from the Imoo Family (Pictorial Recap and Letter)

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Blessings to you and Merry Christmas! This is our 10th annual Christmas letter, and this year we’ve once again included a pictorial “Year at a Glance”. As well, similar to last year, each family member has prepared his or her own paragraph. I’ve tried to leave everything unedited and uncensored!

2011 was another busy year for our family and certainly filled with blessings. Sean started grade 5 and was named captain of his volleyball team, Jacob received his First Communion back in February, and Kayla started her final year of preschool. Gail ran another successful First Communion program at St. Paul School, and I was blessed to serve as a keynote speaker at the Archdiocesan Youth Conference in Houston, Texas in July. Also, in August we enjoyed a family vacation on the beaches of Hawaii.

Here are some highlights of the year, in our own words:

Kayla: I really liked my birthday party because Gizmo the Clown came. He did funny stuff and made balloons for all my friends and family. I liked Hawaii because I liked to sleep in the bed in the hotel, make sandcastles and play on the beach. It’s my last year in preschool and my best friends are Mikayla and Claire. At home, I like eating, watching videos on the iPad, and playing with my cupcake toy. Merry Christmas!

Jacob: This year I received my First Communion. The bread tasted quite plain but it made me feel happy because receiving Jesus makes my heart feel warm. I loved Hawaii because I loved to swim in the pool and eat Spam and rice. I’ve gone to a lot of sleepovers and play-dates this year; I even had a play-date at home with a girl! When I’m home I like to play piano and play Wii. Merry Christmas!

Sean: This year I turned 10 years old in August. Double digits baby! Also in August, we went to Hawaii. I enjoyed the scene at the beach if you know what I mean. I joined the school volleyball team and I was the setter and team captain. My favourite part about being a setter is ordering my friends around and telling them where to go…if you know what I mean. I like playing Xbox and hockey outside. Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays…haha.

Gail: 2011 was a busy year as usual. The kids are all grown up and more independent…yet they still need a lot of direction and attention. Same goes with Clay. I have a simple life: I go to work, come home, cook, clean, and go to bed. It was nice to get back to Hawaii after 30 years; we got to tour around the entire island of Oahu, visit Pearl Harbour and the Polynesian Cultural Center, and eat Korean BBQ for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I loved our mini-vacations to Whistler, Washington and downtown Vancouver: we stay in a hotel for a weekend and I get a break from cooking and cleaning. See a theme here?

Clay: What a year of blessings and new opportunities. In July, I was one of four keynote speakers at the Archdiocesan Youth Conference for the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston, Texas. I still love my job as Director for Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, and now I’m also serving as the Religious Education Director at St. Paul’s. I’ve continued to blog and video-blog regularly on matters of family, faith, and the Canucks. I’ve managed to avoid serious injury playing on my roller hockey team, hiking up Diamond Head in Hawaii, and grinding up Grouse (just once). I was also blessed to witness the Stanley Cup Finals and the Grey Cup. I know…I’m spoiled.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Christmas letter. We’re looking forward to another great year in 2012. We want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! We hope that 2012 brings you joy, happiness and good health! Our family will be praying for you!

Love and God Bless,
Clay, Gail, Sean, Jacob and Kayla

Happy Birthday Kayla Marie: Recalling the Best Christmas Blessing

Four years ago, our family received the greatest Christmas blessing possible: the gift of Kayla Marie, born on Friday, December 21st.

That morning, after dropping Sean off at school, we went to the doctor for a check-in. He confirmed that the baby was in position so it could be anytime, likely sometime on the weekend. I asked him if I could go to my staff Christmas luncheon that day. He said sure, as long as I could get back home if Gail needed me. It was weird, it was like I was asking my doctor for permission to go to my own work function! But these were indeed special circumstances.

Text to friends at 10:36am: “Gonna be today or tomorrow. Gail at 2cm with very light contractions. Doc said all is good. Will keep u posted. Keep praying. Thanks.”

We went home for a few minutes, and then picked up Sean from school so we could attend Jake’s first-ever Christmas concert. He did really well, and was easily one of the most animated performers on stage. Jake proved that you can make hand actions to almost any song out there. He’ll be perfect for youth rallies when he grows up.

I left just after noon and drove downtown in the light snow. I had already missed the Mass, but arrived just in time to beat the line up for seconds at the Beatty Street Bar and Grill. I loaded up my plate and sat down to a coke (surprise surprise) and had a nice catch-up with Faye. We then headed back to the building for our annual Secret Santa.

After a bit of cleanup in the office, I drove Gerard home. Just as I dropped him off, my phone rang. Judging from the voice and tone emitting from the other end, I knew I needed to get home. And fast.

I made it home by 4:30pm and interrupted the boys’ soccer game outside, whisking them inside to find Gail on her hands and knees in our living room, trying to find a comfortable position. And no, she wasn’t praying.  Gail’s brother John picked up the boys 15 minutes later and Gail and I bolted to Richmond General Hospital.

Once we were admitted just after 5pm, Gail was already at 6cm. She jumped into the shower to ease her discomfort, while I massaged her back with water. After 15 minutes, she was back in the hospital bed at was close to 10cm! We knew it was only a matter of time.

Text to friends at 5:07pm: “Just brought Gail to hospital…contractions for last hour. Will keep u posted. Keep praying…thank you.”

Gail’s contractions occurred off an on over the next 3 hours, teasing us as we eagerly awaited our baby girl. I was relegated to my usual role as cheerleader, story-teller, and comedian as I shared stories and conversation with the doctor and nurses. Seems like we were connected to almost all of the nurses there somehow, either through St. Paul’s or through friends of friends. It was nice to be in the company and care of friends.

Kayla Marie was born at 8:54pm, the first Imoo girl in 75 years and breaking the streak of 12 straight Imoo boys (starting with my Dad’s older brothers). As Gail and I took turns holding our new princess, we thanked God for blessing us yet once again.

Text to friends at 9:25pm: “Kayla Marie born at 8:54pm. Not weighed yet. Gail so strong. Me too…haha. Baby girl generally healthy…just checking out a small rash. Thx for prayers.”

Unfortunately, Gail’s placenta (the organ that holds the baby inside) didn’t come out after Kayla, as it should have. Gail tried pushing it out for close to 2 hours, but it wouldn’t budge. After losing over 2 litres of blood, the doctor and specialist decided that they needed to operate to get it out. They went over a few worst-case scenarios with us (as they should), including removing the uterus and/or a blood transfusion. We weren’t exactly thrilled at either prospect, the former meaning no more babies for us! I was able to work in my favourite saying as I looked at the doctors and said: “Do whatcha gotta do.”

It was a surreal moment. There I was, holding our 2-hour old baby daughter, while my wife was being rushed down for emergency surgery. The nurses told me to leave for a bit and get some fresh air: go home, eat, take a walk, do whatever. They would take care of Kayla until I returned, and Gail would be over an hour. I agreed, but not before I said a prayer over Kayla and for Gail. Admittedly, I played out a few worst-case scenarios in my head, and I didn’t like any of them.

Text to friends at 11:16pm: “Not out of the woods yet. Gail in operating room to have placenta removed…didn’t come out after Kayla. Please continue to pray. Kayla weighed in at 7lbs 2oz.”

I rushed home to grab some stuff to sleep over only to find that the power was out in our complex. Thus, under the intermittent light of my Palm Treo (God rest its soul), I grabbed whatever I could and then headed out. Wanting to post the news on my website and on Facebook, I called up Krissy and asked to borrow her wireless internet connection. Thankfully, she invited me in at midnite, as opposed to me “borrowing” the signal from outside in my van. So there I was, wolfing down McDonalds, posting pics to the net, and sharing stories with Krissy and her mom.  Thanks Krissy for saving my bacon once again!

I arrived back at the hospital just after 1am, and was embarrassed to find both women of my life back in the room already. Kayla was sleeping, while Gail was alert albeit sore. Surgery was successful, but it would be a long road to recovery as Gail needed to replace all of the iron in her body that was lost with her blood.

We got a decent night of rest given the circumstances, and I was able to help give Kayla her first bath, albeit at 5am in the morning. Not sure why nurse Stephanie picked that time.

Text to friends at 9:59am: “Last text for a while haha…thx for reading them. Gail has successful surgery last nite…both her and Kayla doing well. Looking at home Sunday or Monday.”

By late morning, the hospital had discharged Kayla but not Gail. That was rather ironic: the newborn being discharged before the mommy! I didn’t really consider leaving the hospital with Kayla…though that would be been kinda funny. But not really.

Our immediately family came to visit in the late morning, followed by friends in the afternoon. The specialist came to check on Gail and discharged her by dinner time. We waited for Kayla to have her 24 hour blood work done just after 9pm, and then we packed up and headed home, a day earlier than my prediction. To ensure a better night’s rest, Gail’s family took care of Sean and Jake for one more night.

I went to pick them up first thing Sunday morning. Upon arriving home, they bolted up the stairs to enjoy their best Christmas gift ever…even if she was unwrapped 4 days early.


22 Years Ago: Love at First Jump

It was 22 years ago TODAY, on Thursday, December 14, 1989 that two lives changed forever in the hallowed halls of JN Burnett Junior Secondary School in Richmond.  That was the day a scrawny, immature, goofy-haired boy asked a beautiful, humble, quiet girl to go to that night’s school dance with him.  Thankfully for both of them, she said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s amazing to think it’s been 22 years already.  Gail is still beautiful, while I am still immature.  Gail is still humble, while I am certainly not scrawny.  And I guess the jury is still out on my haircut.  But at least I’ve gotten rid of the curls and the lines.

Although I have the more “public persona” of the two of us and it seems that I’ve never met a spotlight I didn’t like, I’m not afraid to admit that Gail wears the pants in the family.  And the shirt.  Also the socks, shoes and underwear.  Not that I don’t wear underwear.  But I digress.

I know that I’m blessed.  Gail was born to be a mother and wife: she is amazing with our kids and with me.  She is patient, caring, and wise.  She is rarely rattled and she loves all of us unconditionally.  She humbly stands behind me and supports me as I seek out speaking engagements, make videos to post on YouTube, tweet about our lives, update my Facebook status, and play around with my website.  She is the consummate encourager, advocate and cheerleader.

So it would be natural to presume (not assume…because we know that that does) that back in the day I was the one who liked Gail first; that I noticed her before she noticed me.  After all, according to my quick and very unscientific poll on Facebook, it’s usually the guy who likes the girl first (the poll results were slanted towards the guys by a 2 to 1 ratio).  And according to my friend Megan, girls like to be “chased” and not be the “chasers”…all in a non-stalking and legal way of course.  She also advised me that some females, even if they know that they were indeed attracted to the guy first, might not admit it as easily as a guy would if it were the other way around.  I would tend to agree.

Actually, ideally both guys and girls would be chaste.  See what I did there?  But once again, I digress

Back to the story.  Believe it or not, it was Gail who was attracted to me first.  And it wasn’t because she lost a bet or a dare!  Apparently, Gail first really “noticed” me in late October 1989 on a day where we were setting up for the school’s Hallowe’en dance.  A bunch of us were decorating the school gym a few hours prior to the dance.  I was trying to affix some decorations over a doorway and doing so without a ladder.  So there I was, jumping up and down trying to exert the most out of my rather small body.  Who knows…back then I was a decent athlete (remember…this was 22 years ago) so perhaps she was impressed by my technique.  Or my vertical.  Or my ability to land without falling.  Regardless, for Gail it was love at first jump.

The school dance was just a couple of weeks after we had our first actual conversation.  It was at the school’s fall concert at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre where I initiated contact with her.  Admittedly, I didn’t know who Gail was at the time, but as our respective choirs were getting ready to perform, I passed by her on my way to the restroom. While hurriedly rushing to take care of business, I asked her “Are you nervous?”  I can’t remember what she answered as I myself was too nervous…that I wouldn’t make it to the restroom on time.

Fast forward now past the Hallowe’en Dance to December.  In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, we held our annual Canned Food Drive and in my role as Student Council President, I would be in the school office every morning receiving cans from the Class Reps, who collected cans from their entire class. Gail, as a Class Rep, would bring a can of food every single day, even if no one else in her class did, just so she could come down to the office to drop it off (and of course, see me in the process). Meanwhile, I (in my think-I’m-cool phase) didn’t really notice her.

Around the same time, our school began casting for its Spring Musical called “Lumberjacks and Weddingbelles”.  I was originally paired with my ex-girlfriend Elaine while my best bud Javier was paired up with Gail.  Then, for whatever reason, at the last minute the drama teacher decided to switch the pairings and have Gail and I go together.  We hit it off quite well, even though I thought she was a refugee from the Philippines who couldn’t speak English.  As the rehearsal days went on, I started to find myself becoming attracted to her, regardless of her citizenship status.  Turns out she was attracted to me as well.  Then, after one of our hoedown dances, the music stopped but Gail and I still held onto each other’s hand.  A few people nearby started whispering and giggling.  When Gail asked why, I told her they were laughing at my haircut. Which in hindsight may have been true.

After a couple of weeks of musical practices and canned food encounters, on December 14 I asked Gail to go to the Christmas Dance with me later that evening.  On our first night as a couple I didn’t kiss Gail, rather I ended up getting kissed by another girl.  Carrie, a fellow member of the Student Council, was running around with her own mistletoe.  So while Gail and I were talking during my shift in the concession stand, Carrie ran up to me, held the mistletoe above my head, and planted a kiss firmly on my face…right in front of Gail!  I don’t think Carrie knew that I had a new girlfriend…at least I hope she didn’t.  I’m thankful Gail didn’t go all Bruce Lee on Carrie.  Actually…that would have been kind of cool.

The night concluded without any further kisses from Carrie or anyone else.  And the next day began with JN Burnett being home to a brand new couple. 

22 years later, we have three wonderful children, jobs that we love, family and friends that we cherish, our health, a place to stay and food to eat, and a God that continues to amaze us and bless us every day.  We know that He placed us in each other’s lives as part of His master plan.

The plan included that fateful day in October 1989 when Gail noticed me jumping.  And just two months later, she took a leap of faith of her own by saying yes to the scrawny, immature, goofy-haired boy.