Thursday, March 31, 2005

Peace at last

In spite of the meddling of George W., the self-serving faith of her parents, Terri Schiavo died today. Farewell, rest well, be at peace.

After 13 days without food or water, it may seem harsh and cruel death in a world of medical marvels. Just to be absolutely clear if that was my situation: get my organs (except for my non-functioning pancreas) to those that could use them and let me die. I would prefer 13 days of dying to 14 years of not living.

So much has been made of this story, of this woman in particular, it really has people thinking about the value of life, the finality of death and the interceding war of morality and righteousness. I agree with The Voice on The Current who wondered if George W. Bush's "presumption in favour of life" applies to those on Death Row.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fancy Lunch

At the Rainforest Cafe, we dined in ecological awe as animatronic gorillas, birds and other fauna, came to life every few minutes (although I shudder to think of the water, energy and resources needed to create and maintain such an atmosphere). The twinkling skyscape of a ceiling and the saltwater fishtank provided a fine family dining experience, most of which was lost on a tired toddler.
fancy lunch
It was a "fancy holiday lunch" as Rei still refers to it. The impact of its cost was lessened by the fact that the doggy bags furnished our supper that night. We chose not to buy the pint glass for an extra $8.50.

(Tourist Area)

If the bright lights and sounds of midway attractions, wax museums, Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not museuems, various haunted attractions, or the incredibly angry Incredible Hulk leaping from Marvel Super Heroes Adventure City, didn't clue us in, the informative signage of Niagara Falls kindly indicate that we are in a Tourist Area.
tourist area
Just in case we got lost. How kind!

A Honeymoon Getaway

After the liturgical frenzy of Easter weekend, we escaped the hustle and bustle of Arkona by crossing southwestern Ontario to the turbulent junction of Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Our family was greeted by warm cookies to the ritzy (by our standards) Doubletree Resort Lodge in touristique Niagara Falls. We settled into our 2-room suite where much TV was watched and much relaxation was had on the luxurious duvet-covered, king-sized bed.

While there was much anticipation about the pool (Rei had been wearing her swimsuit in the house at any and every opportunity), the actual aquatic adventure was less enthusiastically received.

The irony of our accommodation is found in the neighbouring establishment, Econolodge, which hosted our previous Niagara getaway of 2002. Marketed for the thrifty, we shivered by space heater and endured frat-boy parties. Needless to say, we enjoyed our lodgings more this time.

Monday malaise

Another extended absence this week, due to a mini-holiday in Niagara Falls to celebrate Easter (more accurately, its passage) and to enjoy family time together.

So today feels rather like Monday, facing the mid-week amount of work with start-of-week energy level. I managed to botch a meeting tonight by forgetting to show up (double-booked Rei care tonight with said meeting).

To get back into the routine of things, and to clear my mind, I'll blitz-blog until there's enough mind space freed up to attend to work and school and all else.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Rolling Flat

Handy Daddy struck again this morning, this time changing a flat tire on the car. Last night I took the confirmation class to The Swell, a "contemporary" youth worship service. I intended to use our car except it had this flat tire. Pressed for time, we hopped into my in-laws' Taurus which we've been carsitting and left for London.

So this morning, in the chill of dawn, I swapped the tires (those afternoons helping my father-in-law rotate them came in handy) and proceeded to the local garage. Peter was very helpful and accommodating, but could not find any problem with it. To be on the safe side, he replaced the valve stem and offered to repair the tire for free should another problem arise in the next few days.

While it's a relief that there was no major damage done, it would nice to know what the cause of the flat was and that it was corrected. So in our travels tonight, every bumpy stretch of road had me wondering if that was the tire gone again and I was sure I smelled rubber at one point in the journey. The mind is a wonderfully paranoid thing (at least mine is). Safely home again, it's still inflated and ready to roll.

Dye Hard

It's egg-cellent.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Extended Service Plan

There was no benediction (or malediction as I usually offer this day), no words of sending out or of blessing at our Good Friday service because worship continues on through the weekend and on to Easter Sunday.

Truthfully, worship ought to continue beyond the walls of church into our ordinary lives. Spending time with Shelley and Rei is worship, reconnecting with friends, exercise (physical or mental or spiritual), etc., can be an offering of thanks, awareness of a greater good and an act of praise. Although I hesitate to use that word, "praise", because it conjures up images of crowded stadiums of weeping, lighter-waving, pilgrims with hands held high with blissful countenances of assured salvation.

Dang! How did a sermon get in here?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Single Dad Evening

While Shelley is out on a bonding night with the girls from work, I get to play single-parent family with Rei. I had grand visions of an omelette for dinner, seeing as how my appetite is returning. That's what happens when Shelley leaves, I go egg-tastic. It ended up being reheated Kraft Dinner.

Rei spotted some hot cross buns on the table, purchased for Easter breakfast at the church. She pointed and happily cried, "Buns!" After artfully employing my powers of distraction, I was able to convince her that 7-grain bread with margarine was just as nice. This was before she dumped her cup of milk.

As active multi-taskers, we watched a Baby Einstein video, sang many refrains of "Head and shoulders, knees and toes", read some Curious George, put some babies to sleep and endured some short-lived nailcutting.

A play-filled bath time (without bubbles, because they scared her last night) involved Rei correctly identifying, and playing with, her "nipples". In protest of the new, clean diaper being brandished at her, she peed on her towel while informing me that she was "pooping".

So far, the drift off to sleep has been successfully uneventful. To make up for my lack of omelette, I may fashion some nachos deluxe while I watch basketball. After I finish planning for the Easter weekend worship services, of course.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Getting Back to It

After a couple of days of feeling rather blaaaah-g, the fever, headaches, chills, nausea, etc. have abated enough to some work accomplished.

Times like this give me great admiration and appreciation for single parents who have to manage a household, kids and life in general through times of bad health and gastro-intestinal woe. I'm thankful for Shelley, for our daycare and for my life of privilege.

I've also realized how reliant I am on the digital cyberworld after being effectively offline for a couple days. Somewhat like friends who've returned from a week's holiday in Fiji, there are many sites, stories and news to catch up on. It's a little scary that this electronically-constructed reality is so consuming that it's easy to forget about an immense sphere of nature, weather and wonder.

Well, here's hoping nature is nice for us for our outdoor Easter Sunrise service.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Vernal Equinox

As day lengthens to meet the shrinking night, we catch up to the outer limit of Groundhog Day's prediction. All the signs of spring are here: chirping birds; squirrelly squirrels; brown, dead grass; mud everywhere; the emergence of roadkill; and, the smells of wet dog and manure filling the crisp air.

I know I have a tendency to see the negative in things (a Myers-Briggs "thinker"/ a True Colour "green"/ an Enneagrammic "5") but I'm not off base when I say the delightful sunny days with green grass, blooming flowers, and butterflies are still a ways away.

Just like life - we have to get through the mud and guck in order to enjoy the sunny pastorale that is rural southwestern Ontario. Although the smell of manure never does seem to go away; it just seems to hang in the background all the time. Happy Spring.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Bracket Busted

Round 1 of the NCAA basketball tournament is done and I'm sitting at 23/32 in picking the winner. If you can't be successful, you might as well be stylishly palindromic.

I'm guessing Bucknell and Vermont did quite a number to a few pools around the continent. I had Old Dominion as the 12-5 upset winner so there's a bit of revising that needs to be done. Now, in my dreamworld, Kentucky (instead of Syracuse) gets to be the one who knocks off Duke.

Before that happens, it's Bearcats vs. Wildcats tonight. Meow!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Today was brought to you by the number 2

Two was the number of:
  • trips to Forest
  • trips to the Forest City, London
  • losing Rrroll up the Rim to Win coffees
  • pairs of new glasses for Shelley
  • sightings of Grandma B.
  • fast food meals
  • attempts to blog these incidences
Today also featured the second ultrasound of baby 2 and the purchase of The Weakerthans' 2nd studio release, Left & Leaving. I also ended up with ten $2 coins in my pocket.

If only I could play the tuba. And I should have had a tuna sandwich. Then I'd be 2 Legit 2 Quit.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

St. Pat's Beer Run

So it is St. Patrick's Day and here I was without Guinness. Shelley offered to pick some up for me on her way home from work and we laughed at the thought of a 25-week pregnant woman perusing the liquor store. (Although, the dark draft would offer the child-in-waiting some essential nutrients).

My charming and intrepid wife salvaged this saint's day and permitted me to indulge my Irish heritage. My goodness, my Guinness!

My Many Smells

This morning I decided to forego a shower. The ladies were making meat pies at the church and I knew I would end up smelling like onions anyway.

I also went to the gym where there is some high-powered air freshener that almost makes me nauseous. It's an overwhelmingly noxious fruity Dead Milkmen scent that sings of its own "sickening sweet smell, I could really make you ill".

I'd prefer the scent of sweaty, odorous bodies; and lucky Shelley, that's what I return home with.
"Won't you come and smell me? Won't you share my stench?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


It's been a standard Tuesday of questions (along with my answers).

Field Ed. meeting:
  • How's the paper coming along? (uhm, fine. really)
Bible Study:
  • How much coffee should I make? (not enough)
  • What message is in the scripture for us today? (true charity comes from love)
Baptism meeting:
  • What is the one thing you want your child to know about faith? (there are many paths to spiritual awareness)
The inevitable:
  • What are we doing for supper? (chicken strips, fries, salad)
The Amazing Race:
  • Could I eat 4 lbs of meat? (sure. in a timely, vomit-less, fashion? maybe not)
  • How does Rob get away with it? (I have no idea)
  • How can one get so lost they're 2 hours off-course? (I have no idea)
March Madness:
  • Who would I like in the Final Four? (Illinois, Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky)
  • Who do I think will make it there? (Illinois, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Syracuse)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hard Time

Rei's familiarity with the criminal justice system is maybe too advanced for our liking.

While touring the back streets of Goderich (having arranged a face-to-face family visit with my CCS learning partner), we happened to drive by the Huron County Historic Gaol. Imagine our amusement and fearful delight as Rei happily piped up “Big House!” as that institution of correction and justice glided past her window.

What else she knows about the Big House and its goings-on, we’re not sure. We don’t even get Oz on our cable package.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

3-point Folly

The 3-point shot is a dangerous, oft-unreliable, option for basketball player. Such is the lesson for today.

While Kelenna Azubuike turned in a decent game this afternoon, Patrick Sparks long-range touch was off and the mighty Wildcats were routed by Florida. To make matters worse, Duke holds off Georgia Tech in their game and emerges as champions. Blech.

Yet when the outside shots drop through the basket like Skittles from the sky, even the Raptors can win. Swish. It’s a sweet sound when it works. Clang, when it doesn't.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Onset of Madness

The signs of spring are here: brightening mornings and evenings, Tim Horton's Rrroll up the Rim campaign, and the flurry of college basketball. Ah, March Madness, the cause of Survivor's relocation to Wednesday night for the next fortnight ...

As Rei and I watched the Georgia Tech - UNC game this afternoon, I explained that when the defender has established position previous to contact with the player on offense (as opposed to an "offensive player"), it was a "player-controlled foul" or a "charge". She nodded knowingly and repeated "charge".

Next on my list is the name "Kelenna Azubuike", simply because I like the way it rolls off the tongue and I appreciate his play as one of Tubby Smith's 'Cats from Kentucky. If it can't be U of K, then, I'd be quite happy cheering for any underdog. Well, anyone but Duke.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I have to fit in a little something called "Easter".

Friday, March 11, 2005

CharBar < Darbar

Of the many fine family dining options available to us in our locale, nothing has yet (nor do we anticipate anything ever will) supplant Darbar as our favourite restaurant.

A local establishment, 50 King St Grill (I'm not sure that's the proper name it often is referred to as "CharBar") received our business last night. It seemed like a popular choice in our circle of influence: two teachers from Rei's daycare, with separate parties; parents of a church member; a baritone from the choir; and a neighbour from across the parking lot next door.

I was impressed with the centre cut half rack of ribs. The availability of Stella Artois was a surprising touch for a clientele that ordinarily swims in the pedestrian standards of Blue and Canadian. Friendly service and reasonable prices added to the experience. The decor is a hodgepodge of tables and chairs but the overall appearance is clean and bright.

While it is no Darbar, it certainly was the place to be.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

An Empty Nest

While the cat's away, the mice will play. Meaning while Rei's at daycare, her parents have an afternoon to themselves (although if we follow the adage through, she is the predator and we are the prey). Shelley has a doctor's appointment this afternoon so she came home at lunch. It's an unsettling sensation to be here at home without our child. Although for many years we lived that way, it's quietly depressing now.

Although we have made the most of our temporary lapse in parental care. The wild and crazy things we've done today are many. Like eating in front of the TV and including potato chips as part of our meal. Later, I went to the gym and Shelley vacuumed upstairs. As for drinking games, Shelley is currently consuming the orange-flavoured glucose tolerance beverage for her appointment. Party-party!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Robfather III

*** Warning: contains Amazing Race 7 spoilers ***
(well, maybe not spoilers, but game info)

The Robfather is back at it. I couldn't help but become a fan of the unashamedly brazen liar from Survivor: Marquesas (fourth edition, won by unremarkable, cheap grace grabbing, Vecepia) despite his all-American (-Italian) bravado and arrogance. He's so far from who I am that it must be a case of opposites attracting.

The race premiere featured far too much "when I was in Survivor blah, blah, blah" which dampened my enthusiasm for this glory hound. That seems to have abated, being replaced by his devious game play and effective completion of challenges/tasks.

Otherwise, I remain somewhat unimpressed so far by this running of the race. And the team archetypes (the gay couple; the bumbling brothers; the retirees/grandparents; the parent and child; the on-again, off-again couple; etc. etc.) seem much too familiar - more so than usual. Not that I expected any different, it could just be with the brief lagtime between races has me desensitized to their uniqueness. Nowhere is it more apparent to me than with Uchenna and Joyce who seem to be Chip and Kim reincarnated.

Could it be that Rob (and Amber) is what will keep me coming back? Could this be Phil Keogan and company jumping the shark? Or is it just bitterness at the ouster of the South Carolinians?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Welcome Back Reiko

Day 4 of 24 has yielded few shocking surprises. I predicted who actually ordered the execution (attempt) on Behrooz Araz; the untoward death of Maya Driscoll; and the reappearance of Michelle Dessler.

Nevertheless, I'm pleased to welcome back actor Reiko Aylesworth (for somewhat obvious reasons, maybe?) to the cast of 24 and offer heartfelt congratulations on her promotion to provisional director of CTU.

In spite of the absence of mind-numbing plot twists, I remain an avid/rabid fan of Jack Bauer and his ironic quest to save the American people. In fact I can hear him now: "BLOG IT! Blog it NOW!"

Monday Routine

It seems that I've finally hit some semblance of a weekly routine (well, for Monday anyway).

Rei and I went for a walk downtown where we mailed some tapes for Dr. U. "Hoeger", rented a movie at the gas station/convenience trailer, and had coffee and cookie at the cafe/restaurant/variety store. It was a busy day in the town, where we saw and were seen.

After lunch and a wailing nap send-off, I watched Alien vs. Predator (seeing as it got so much press at the Oscars during Chris Rock's on-the-street interviews). It was pretty much what I expected. Mindless distraction, although a reference to Shackleton did catch my attention and had me thinking fondly of The Weakerthans. For $3.45 and 90 minutes of my life, I could have done worse.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Size 5

Rei's continued growth was marked today by the upgrade of diapers to size 5. While she is still well within the 22 - 37 lbs range for size 4 (weighing in at roughly 24 lbs), our current needs require a diaper that has a greater load capacity. It is hoped the size 5s rated at 27+ lbs can accommodate.

Aside from gross motor skills, Rei appears to be functioning at an advanced level for her age and size: solid knowledge of shapes, colours and animals; familiarity with the A-B-C and 1-2-3 sequences; comprehensive understanding of hair care and styling; refined musical appreciation rooted in Raffi and CBC Radio; jiggy dance moves; and, now, this diaper development.

The transition to the new model of Huggies should be eased by the omnipresence of Mickey Mouse and his cohorts. That rodent really gets around - he and, that Winnipeg bear, "Pooh".

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Clips and Tails

It's all about the 'do.
clips and tails
And we're still trying to keep Rei from touching the oven - she just smiles at us and repeats "Hot!"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Flurrious Morning

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday as I was shovelling out the driveway, it was quiet. Too quiet. Usually, the S_ brothers are shovelling next door at the Medical Centre, neighbours across the street are cleaning off the car, and the snowplow is rumbling around somewhere nearby. Not so yesterday; it was eerie, like I was the only one left on earth. Granted, the school buses were cancelled, leaving a subdued sense of snow-clearing urgency. Nonetheless, I was a little creeped out.

This morning, things were back to normal. The S_ brothers were hard at work, neighbours were out, and the plow nicely filled in the end of the driveway I had just cleared (it was early! usually that happens after I'm back in the house). All is right with the world again ... although I did miss that moment when I had it all to myself.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Poopy Subterfuge

Another episode of Daddy Rei-care has uncovered the scope of our toddler's calculating mind:

During afternoon nap, after happily babbling in her crib, Rei started announcing, "Poopy. Poopy." I checked on her because there have been recent concerns about diaper capacity and wondering whether she needed a size upgrade or not.

When I got to her room, Rei was sitting up and playing with her bed toys. When she saw me, she repeated, "Poopy!" I responded by asking if she was poopy and she gave a knowing nod. This should have been my first clue. She never admits to being poopy.

I pick her up, we go to the bathroom and behold, her diaper is empty and dry. As I take her back to her room when she points down the hall and sweetly asks, "Downstairs?" It was all a decoy to get her out of her crib so she could make her move to freedom.

Did it work? She's in lockdown right now and not happy about it. Here's hoping she settles and sleeps soon. She had a big morning and needs her rest. (Translation: I need her to need her rest).