Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fashion Sense

Tonight, Shelley and I went clothes shopping for my sister's upcoming wedding. Rei stayed with her grandparents, Kai came with us and we set out to try and look good. My sister is a self-declared fashionista and I'd like to try and do right by her.

I'm a little overwhelmed by the patterned-dress-shirt-with-tie look. How does one decide if a tie goes with a shirt? Is it by colour? Or pattern? I settled upon a combo that is stripey, bright and doesn't conflict within itself (at least to my eyes). Getting dressed for church is much easier: throw on the alb and you're good to go!

Hoping that my selection isn't offensive, I might do a test run at Bobo's wedding tomorrow. Who gets married on the Friday of a long weekend? Someone with grand plans of a grand party. That would be Bobo.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Does this look like an "R" to you?

A couple weeks ago, Rei was happily colouring in her book when she proudly pronounces, "R!" I went over to see, and this was the letter in question:
R for Reiko
As a very biased and proud parent, I'd say that's recognizable as an R.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sibling Jealousy

Rei's become extremely attached to the words "MY" and "MINE" (I was going to call them adjectives, but one or both of them can be pronouns apparently...).

Back to the point, (waylaid by words again!), Rei is asserting where she belongs in the order of things, especially when she proclaims, "MY mommy!"

It seems that she's experiencing some feeling of territorial encroachment by her "little buddy" Kai who seems to receive inordinate amount of attention. We're wondering if her disrupted and disruptive (lack of sleep) the past couple nights is some regressive behaviour to get more mommy time.

So as the parents, we've resolved to give Rei more quality time, one-to-one, with mommy. Next stop? The toilet. Training is about to begin. Sometime. Soon. Later.

Monday, June 27, 2005


From yesterday's 2 week commemoration:
I'm a lucky guy.


At 15 days old, we put Kai on his tummy for the first time. Unsure of how he would like this orientation, he impressed his parents by moving his head from side to side to side again. I don't want to get into the habit of comparing Kai to his sister, or anyone else for that matter, but I don't think she was this coordinated at this age.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Can't Stay Away from Abraham

Despite the warnings of some theologically astute readers, I couldn't leave Abraham's story well enough alone this morning. When the lesson from Genesis 22: 1-14 described his attempt to sacrifice his son Isaac in response to God's test, I couldn't let that go without comment. Something compels me to speak up.

To weakly defend this text, I offered how some people might interpret this story as God rejecting child sacrfice, which could have been a prevelant practice in those days. But why such a horrific and appalling object lesson?

Maybe Abraham is the scapegoat of our negative feelings because God is the principle character in this story, as the provider, initiator and tester. After all, it isn't proper or polite to think poorly of God, so we transfer our rage and outrage on good old Abe. Because otherwise, we might get zapped or something.

The upshot was my hope that people would feel free to think of God as a bastardo when merited, because sometimes that's the only responsible theological conclusion we can reach. The world needs more discerning and critical thinkers, these days especially. Amen.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Strawberries, Social and Otherwise

One of the great joys of living where we do is the abundance of fresh summer fruit. The strawberry season is bursting upon us. (Cherries will arrive in a week or so, peaches and plums after that and apples in the fall. Not too far away is a great blueberry farm. Tasty tasty, all of it!)

Rei has developed quite a taste for "strawbabies" and at Ravenswood's Strawberry Social, knew exactly what we were there for. She dabbled in the ham and scalloped potates, but saved her appetite for that sweet, antioxidanty fruit.

Kai, as he is wont to do during daylight hours, slept through most of it. I'm sure he'll want in on the action next year.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Instead of sleeping at night, Kai has been rather alert and awake.
night bug
And I don't think it's because of the big ladybug freaking him out.

The Last Few Days

I better catch up on the last couple days, looking back I recall diapers, Raffi, washing dishes and trying to tidy the house. Which is what every day has pretty much become.

Specific memories include visits from: friends Michelle & Steve, she's lent me a book about a nun; and both sets of grandparents, with gifts of piggy bank, pinwheel and clothing for the kids.

Summer must be here, the hammock is set up on our porch. We haven't used it as much we'd like. After what seems like an eternity, I BBQ-ed some burgers last night. Last time I charred some food was pre-Kai (PK? or BK, before-Kai?).

I have undertaken to (re-)organize the filing cabinet and office. So even though everything is everywhere, I am making progress. And a new dresser for Kai's room awaits assembly. That's scheduled for tomorrow.

Somewhere along the way, I need to find a sermon for Sunday. In Genesis, Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I think I'll be working with the gospel text.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Anniversary / Due Date

Lost amid the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes frenzy (and this will be the only mention of them in this blog, they don't deserve any more) is the story of our love. "Our love is like our best friend's love...only *better*!"

Eight years ago, Shelley and I were married on a hot, humid day that ended with a brilliant summer thunderstorm. So much has changed since then (added two kids, endured a few relocations, leased/bought some cars, revisioned our wardrobes) and a lot of things have remained the same (nurturing admiration and respect for one another, enjoying the simpler elements of life, delighting in many of the same circle of friends, amassing an ever-increasing volume of CDs). How lucky, to find a steadfast and giving companion on the journey of life.

Today is also the day that Kai was predicted to arrive. Instead, he's 9 days old, regained his birth weight less an ounce, and is sleeping like a baby.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hip to Be Square

Head gear courtesy of dr. goodurs.
hip baby
Innate love for Huey Lewis & the News courtesy of his father.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


One of Shelley's co-workers dropped off supper yesterday: lasagne, salad, and an ice cream pie. After a week of take-out, drive-thru, sandwiches and cereal, it was a joy to eat something with a more substance than a BLT.

Once we fit into a routine again, our meals will be more substantial and regularly timed. In the meantime, heartfelt thanks to Diana, from deep down in my gut!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The First Days

Understandably, the past couple days have been a blur. We're living our lives in two-hour segments of what-can-we-get-done?, how-much-can-we-sleep?, between feedings. Kai has some jaundice that is slowing up the feeding instinct (at least we hope that's what's happening) and the nursing experience has been difficult for Shelley.

On the postive side, Rei has been very accommodating and adjusting well, checking in on her "little buddy", gently touching his hair and always eager to talk about her new baby brother.

Sunday is on the horizon, coming around as it always does. Tomorrow is a special combined service of the two congregations that will feature PowerPointed liturgy. As much as I enjoy putting such presentations together, it is extra work, and helping with a wedding today, and a cemetery decoration day service tomorrow afternoon, I'm feeling a little bit of pressure (mostly self-imposed, I realize. But that's me).

Oh well, it'll all be over in 24 hours. And then it's 7 days until it happens again...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Where the Heart Is

After 4 days apart, an inordinately long wait at Shoppers Drug Mart for a Tylenol 3 prescription and some happy hugs, two halves were reunited today, as Shelley and Kai joined Rei and I in the homestead. Technically, it's the churches' homestead, but the important thing is that everyone here is where they're supposed to be: home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Last Goodnight

Bye bye Kai. See you at home!
One last night, then home!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Woooooo hoooooo! Finished. My. Last. CCS. Paper.

Of course, now that it's done, I have many more questions than when I began. One proof read tomorrow and send it in. It's not perfect, it's good enough.

Going to have some of my reserved-for-special-occasions, 30th birthday present Glen Breton, the Canadian single malt, to celebrate. (Although I thought I'd be toasting this accomplishment before Kai's arrival, which I did do last night).

Yes, I'm aware of what time it is. And that I'd be drinking alone. But once you've engaged in The Circle, are you ever alone?

In an homage to Winnipeg, I'll lift a glass to The Weakerthans: "Set our watches forward like we're just arriving here / from a past we left in a place we knew too well. / Hold on to the corners of today, / and we'll fold it up to save until it's needed ..."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Rei - Kai - Kenji

Yeah, we're pretty happy.
rei kai kenji
Well, 2 of us are. The other is not so sure yet.

The Sermon that Wasn't

So yesterday I had planned on preaching about the prediction and news of Sarah and Abraham's unplanned parenthood (Genesis 18: 1-5, 21: 1-7), elaborating on laughter, hospitality and other churchy themes. I find it particularly ironic that I was going to conclude with:

And naturally, Sarah's story is prominent in my mind as Shelley prepares for the last weeks, maybe only days, of her pregnancy. It will be a time of fear, anxiety, wonder, hardship, pain, hope, and of course, laughter. These stories of Sarah, Abraham and the disciples offer an invitation to share in good news, to journey with others, offering them welcome and hospitality in our lives, into our faith.

Yeah, I guess I was tempting fate wasn't I? And by "fate", I mean God of course. If you believe that God has a hand in these sorts of things.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Quick Timeline

The day seems quite long when you're measuring much of it in 2-minute intervals. Here's what I remember from this morning:

3:35 water broke
4:10 called Shelley's mom to watch Rei for today
6:00 left for hospital
7:00 fetal monitor hooked up ...
  • showed "variables" (i.e., drop in baby's heart rate during some contractions)
  • nurses, residents, doctors rush in, look at the readings, rush out - a veritable sea of royal blue scrubs milling about
  • we're freaking out a bit (a lot)
  • received unconvincing assurances that everything's OK (then why is everyone here? why is everything happening so quickly? do nurses usually run the bloodwork down to the lab themselves?)
7:30 decided on a C-section
8:00 anethesiologist interview
8:30 prepping for C-section
9:10 obstetrician arrives (late b/c of shift change); I enter the O.R. shortly after
9:23 Kai is born
10:15 we all go to recovery room
10:50 he has his first feed, it goes well
11:17 first sneeze, very cute
11:45 to semi-private room for 3-4 more days

Welcome Kai!

Kaede (pronounced "ka-EH-dey") Baker Marui was born this morning, 9:23 a.m. 8 lbs. 8 oz. 21" long.
kai 1
Kaede is the Japanese word for "maple", an effort to honour his Japanese and Canadian roots. We're calling him "Kai".

Labour Day

Shelley's water broke at 3:35 this morning.
We're off to the hospital now.
We'll let you know how things turn out!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Beach Day

Another hazy, hot and humid day. So we made the most of it.
Beach day
Life's really just one big sandbox.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Trees of the Field

My fears of my sore back interfering with my golf game were misplaced. It was my still-aching ribs that did me in.

This morning, I went to Camlachie Golf & Country Club with colleague David (he's a colleague in the sense that we're both working for the same boss: Lambton Presbytery. For now. Soon he'll be chaplaining in South Korea). Over 9 holes, he shot a 60, I ended with 65.

He was duly impressed by my ability to hit a tree 8 different times. And I don't mean "hit a tree" as in ripping through the leaves and phlangeal twigs. I mean "hit a tree" with a carooming thwock! that radically alters the flight path of the ball.

There's a hymn that repeats: "And the trees of the field with clap their hands". In Camlachie today, "the trees on the course were shaking in their boots, / because I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK".

Skeletor online

I often enjoy using the Homer-Simpson-loud-whisper voice when gathered with friends. And one of my favourite lines is "ZING! What's a Skeletor?"

Well, what IS a Skeletor? Now you can find out, courtesy of my buddy Jeffy's foray into Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopdia. Better check out his entry now in case it isn't accepted by the Wikipedian powers that be. ZING!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Spider Solitary Confinement

I was just dealt a new row in Spider Solitaire that has far too many 9s for me to believe that luck is truly random in the cards. The program conspires against me; letting me win only often enough to keep me coming back for more. Actually, I don't even win that much. I'm either a glutton for punishment or avoiding my last paper.

Submitted one earlier tonight. Woo hoo! (We're ignoring the fact it was due last week).

More Errands and Hospitals

The Wednesday morning routine involves a trip to the local "li-baby" where there's a reading program for toddlers and kids where books, song and craft come together in one dynamic and fun-filled hour of education.

Visited Hospital #5 today, completing my 3-day tour (passing on 2 others that fall into my catchment area). This trip was personal, accompanying Shelley to her ob-gyn visit. Although I did check the patient listing in the clergy room for any of my flock. So there's a billable 2 minutes.

Errands today saw another phone upgrade. We're ascending (slowly) up the ranks of cell phone technocracy where a simple, straightforward telephone ringing tone is apparently not an option on our Samsung SGH X426 flip phone with vibrant colour display. At least we can rely on the phone that can reach me, should labour begin.

A trip to Wal-Mart (yes, Keith if you're reading this, I can hear your indignation and rage) yielded: a present for a shower (bridal, baby, I'm not telling); papier de toilette; diapers for the coming newborn; plastic portable shelving unit for baby's diaper/blanket/clothing station; sunglasses for Rei; ketchup for all of us, but Rei was especially interested; and a fan which will be returned, for $30 we expected bigger.

A meltdown in someone's diaper was followed shortly after by a meltdown in temperament. The exuberant and excessively happy songs of Raffi eventually calmed all of our wailing. Evening came, the Wednes-day.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Aural Acquisitions

In addition to 2 more pastoral visits in 2 different hospitals (that makes 4 in 2 days), I picked up a couple new CDs on a semi-impulse.

Coldplay's X&Y, after just half a listen, strikes me as their strongest album yet. Hooky and catchy, if immemorable, melodies punctuate the ethereal, lilting lyrics (although nothing will ever come close to Martin Tielli). This is radio mainstream at its best.

Keane's Hopes and Fears, the latest acclaimed entry into the wave of new Brit pop, is, to my ears, a gloomier, stripped-down version of Travis and reminiscent at times of Radiohead. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes some UK grey is the only thing that suits my mood. There are some standout tracks and I know the rest will grow on me.

All in all, a fine soundtrack to the theological ruminations that will blunder deep into the night.

Baby Names

Eschewing celeb names such as Apple Blythe Alison Martin, Picabo Street and Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette, Shelley and I continue to consider Japanese-Canadian possibilities for the baby-due-in-2-or-so-weeks. We've semi-settled on a couple names, but who knows what that moment of putting pen to paper will yield.

No matter what we select, I foresee a lifetime of repeated pronunciation and spelling.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Manic Monday

It's lovely, hot summer weather. Were it not for the lingering after effects of sore ribs and sore back from my oomph! last week, I'd like to be golfing. Or running even. Or lounging in the hammock (which has yet to be erected - not until my last papers are done!)...

In spite of these delayed dreams of leisure, I did get a fair bit done today: went to 2 hospitals; conducted 2 pastoral visits; installed the air conditioner into the bedroom; paid many bills; bought a new cordless phone (upgrading from 50 MHz to only 900 MHz, so as to avoid interference with the router); browsed for a new suit; went to 2 university libraries; amassed research material for one of the aforementioned papers; willed the Pistons to victory in Game 7 as the Wallaces triumphed over the Joneses; and, tidied the home office a bit.

So now that all that's out of the way, I should be free and clear to knock off a couple papers.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Summer Storm

I was chased home tonight by lightning as I returned from a covenanting service at Dunlop United in Sarnia. (That's the extent of my bachelor's night: without the company of Shelley and Rei, I went to church... I did stay for the coffee and squares after, hobnobbing with the big names of Lambton Presbytery).

I got home in time to tie down the barbecue cover, close some windows and watch the marvellous summer storm from the window. At one point the sky turned an exotic green-blue before another lightning strike. Thankfully, Rei slept through all the gusting, crackling and rumbling. This should take the edge of the heat, hopefully; at the very least, the storm's passed so I could blog about it.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

New High Score

In my waste-o I have undertaken once again to best my solo Catan score. My latest achievement built 4 settlements (on 4 new islands), 3 metropoles, 2 cities, gaining a trader card and scoring a saviour point to bring my total 43.
catan 43
Were it not for a misplaced settlement, I could have added another to score 44. Maybe next time.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Vote for Pedro

After much build-up and recommendation, we rented Napoleon Dynamite. It just seemed that we were missing out on so much. The truth? Not so much. I did think it was very cute, in an ascerbically deadpan manner that appealed to the good-hearted, indie-loving, margin-dwelling, outsider in me.

Although it may be time for therapy as memories of high school resurfaced: camera club, Alphaville, and student council elections. Unfortunately, nifty dance moves weren't enough to keep the cool kids from being elected after all.

"I love technology / but not as much as you, you see"
Yep, that's me.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Tonight at the park, I was on the swings with Rei after administering her "big push." As she was slowing down, I was trying to decide if/when/how I was going to jump off my swing when gravity decided for me. It wasn't so much the wind being knocked out of me by the elegant belly flop into gravel that hurt, it was the fact that the neighbours were sitting on their back porch watching the whole thing. Thankfully, the wine I had with supper (and the pre-wine beer) numbed everything.

There's more: After Rei's bath, she slipped and fell back, landing on her rear. She has recently come to the understanding that kisses heal all bumps and ouches (you can see where this is going)... After picking herself up, she very clearly and plaintively directed me, "Kiss my bum." I wasn't expecting to hear that sentiment from her for another 10 years.

The setting Suns

For the record, I was firmly encamped on the Phoenix bandwagon before the season began (entry of November 27/04 attests to this). I was prepared to back this team should they have stunk it up in the desert, lest I be accused of being a sunshiney, fair weather fan. Tonight, their season ends at the hands of those boringly efficient (and I'll admit they're good) Spurs.

Steve, Amare, Shawn, Quentin and Joe - "You bunch of goats!" - thanks for making professional basketball fun and fast again.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005