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March 2016

February 2016

RIP: Kimberly Kenny - 1968 - 2016


The beautiful woman above with the curly red hair is Kimberly Kenny, a dear friend and wonderful musician with the voice of an angel. You may not know her, but she touched countless lives with her passionate soul, songs and humanity.

Mrs. Crab first met sassy "Rock Star Kim" back in 2003 or so, through another dear friend, Angelina. At the time Kim was working in the corporate world in Washington DC, and rockin it at night in local nightclubs. Mr. Crab was completely mesmerized and enchanted with this chanteuse with her belting rendition of Susan Tedeschi's "Hurt So Bad!"  We became Kim "groupies", following her every Monday night to her performances at the Majestic Lounge in Del Ray, Alexandria, Virginia when she was singing with the Joe Chiocca Band. 

When we moved to London, Kim stopped to visit us en route to see family in Ireland. Later after breaking out of the corporate world, Kim left DC and moved to San Francisco to pursue her dream of a music career and share her gift of music and song.  Mrs. Crab traveled several times to SanFran to see Kim & Angelina. Mrs. Crab recalls staying with Kim in her old apartments, in the Mission, behind The Lost Church and Russian Hill (it was at this apartment that Kim gave Mrs. Crab her first CD -Kim Kenny & the Otherlys- in a handmade cover from a recycled paper grocery bag - we have played it in our homes and cars all over the world).  Kim and Mrs. Crab spent time talking about the future, taking walks together to the dog park with Kim's beloved pup "Bill Murray" and donating food to homeless people in a local park. When we joined the Foreign Service, Kim insisted on taking Mrs. Crab to the mall to help her pick out a whole new wardrobe. "A diplomat's wife needs to dress the part," she would say with her keen fashion sense.  

Kim was the most embracing, non-judgmental person you would ever meet. She had the wisdom of someone beyond her years and somehow she always had the right words of wisdom or comfort. Although we were separated by distance, we saw and spoke often. En route to our second tour in Seoul, we made a point to stop in San Francisco and spend several days with Kim and Angelina. Our highlight of Summer 2013 was attending one of Kim's shows, where she acted and sang in a performance at The Lost Church in a musical.  

In 2015, Kim released a new album with her new band, Kim & The Generations (singles available on iTunes and Amazon). Things were looking up for Kim. Then in mid-2015, soon after we moved to Calgary came the shocking news of Kim's diagnosis. But she was a trooper, and kept performing as long as she could. Kim was a fighter. It was a blessing in disguise that we were posted nearby, so Mrs. Crab could visit San Fran often. Kim's final public performance was at the infamous Great American Music Hall in August 2015. 

Just before Christmas 2015, Kim and Angelina were married in Angelina's parents home. With less than 6 days notice from engagement to wedding and despite the busy holiday season, the happy couple managed to squeeze 100+ people into Angelina's family home for the wedding ceremony - a testament to the love and friendship surrounding these lovely ladies. "See you later!" we would always say and kiss at the end of each visit.

In early February, Mrs. Crab was able to visit Kim to spend some time and sadly, say goodbye.  Last night, Feb. 22, 2016, Kim lost her brief battle with cancer.  The world is a sadder place without Kimberly Kenny. We miss you and love you. We'll see you later. XoXo 


Kim's last CD, "Kim & The Generations," is available for purchase at CDBaby:

KQBM public radio in California will and stream perform a tribute to Kim on Wednesday, Feb. 24 (replay from last week's show):

How we learned to stop worrying and love Canadian winters

When we were first assigned to Calgary, everyone warned us of the horrible the winters that lay ahead. They don't call Canada "the Great White North" for nothin'! Some of the more bleak predictions warned of regular -40 degree days (note: -40 is where celsius and fahrenheit meet). 

We took the warnings to heed, physically and psychologically preparing ourselves for what would surely be the longest winter of our lives. We spent a lot of money on winter tires (a MUST) and super warm parkas (maybe a must depending on your tolerance for cold. But you don't need to spend $1K on a Canada Goose). We got a good snow shovel and ice melting salt. We bought new gloves, hats, scarves. We prepped our house, storing everything in the garage. We stocked up on bulk food and products from Costco, under the assumption that we would be spending a lot of weekends and nights stuck in the house. 

It hasn't turned out that way. More than halfway through the winter, our description of 2015-2016 winter has been: meh! Turns out, it's been one of the most mild winters in history. Granted, we've had a few cold spells. The coldest day we experienced in Calgary was -13F (-25c) in late December.  There were weeks in December and January when the temperature never got above freezing, and we've had a few snow "storms". Fun fact: it doesn't snow in Calgary as much as on the east coast. And when it does, it's rarely more than 3-5 inches, and the snow is so fluffy and powdery, you can sweep it away with a broom. But even when the temperatures dipped into single digits, it's soon followed by the warming phenomenon known as "Chinooks" -- a warm dry wind from the Pacific that blows over and down the east side of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. When the Chinook winds roll into Calgary, the temperatures can rise from 10F to 30F in just a few hours!  (It was 55 and sunny in Calgary today, while it was only 31 and snowing in NYC today). 

The Two Crabs have EMBRACED the winter. We've gone skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding. We have no problem with bundling up and walking 1 mile in the snow to our neighborhood pubs. As devoted skiers, we've explored several of the world class ski resorts within a 2 hour drive of Calgary (more details in a future post). And we've welcomed 5 wonderful friends to our home in fall and winter, including two dear friends who visited us in the dead of winter in January. We've experienced activities we never would have done human curling! And in a few weeks we will be heading to Yellowknife, a city near the arctic circle most famous as being one of the top places in the world to view the aurora borealis -- the Northern Lights. 

A few photos from our first Canadian winter:



Top places to experiencing winter in Alberta:

Best ski resort: Sunshine Village, Banff

Best place to learn to ski: Calgary Olympic Park, Calgary

Best dog-sledding tour company: Snowy Owl Tours in Canmore, AB

Best snowmobiling company: White & Wild, Golden, BC

Best hotel: Fairmont Lake Louise