Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Little Buddha

The drawing feature of this course was the keynote speaker, Sister Helen Prejean whose ministry with death row inmates and advocacy against the death penalty in the States was told through the novel/movie Dead Man Walking.

When the group was asked for a volunteer to thank her, I waited a quick second, not wanting to appear too eager, and to allow others a chance to step in. My hand went up and the task was shared between myself and another.

After an engaging and inspiring session, I proceeded to officially thank Sr. Helen when she interrupted me with a comment about my "little Buddha face". We'll see if she autographs her book that way to me.

The Past Couple Days

Breakfast at The Sleepless Goat, courtesy of Ursula who then dropped me off at the Spirituality Centre/Convent.

The usual community building exercises occurred and then I broke ranks from the group and met Michelle for supper. Lamb Dhansak at Darbar, courtesy of a gift certificate from Jeffy. Sweet, with a hot undertone.

I went for a run in the morning, the first time in about 3 months. Who did I met on the road, running at me from the other direction? A systematic theology professor of mine from Queen's! (I had seen another prof of mine on the train on Sunday - small world of ours)

Some sessions on conflict and blessings, boundaries and self-care filled out the content portion of the day.

The evening featured musical entertainment by Roger James, bringing me back to Wellington pub days as Maritime songs about shipwrecks filled the bodhran-percussed air.

Shelley, her mom and the kids are at the cottage and are managing okay.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

All Aboard / En voiture!

I'm going to a week-long conference in Kingston. It's been a long time since I've been on public transit. Trapped in a fully-booked train for 5+ hours with no chance for fresh air was an extreme introduction. It turned out that the train I was to connect with in Toronto was the train I was already on, so I didn't get a chance to step off and out to stretch and breathe.

All the talk about Harvey's made by the couple (he's in a band and lives with mom, she's in first-year at Queen's) I was sitting with had made me hungry. We pulled into Union Station late and it didn't look like the burger run would be made. I resigned myself to the prospect of overpaying for train food. Happily, the fourth person of our seating arrangement (a Catholic, Master's student at Queen's in neuroscience) pulls out an extra sandwich for me.

I pulled into Kingston a half-hour late to be greeted by Michelle, Ursula and Jeffy. Plans were made to see Michelle tomorrow, a tour down Princess Street to see what's changed and what has not, and settling into Jeffy and Cheryl's. A game of Settlers with Urs and Jeffy saw me use my wood and sheep ports to attain victory.

Now to bed, with some guilt about the prospect of uninterrupted sleep.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

On a Roll

Everybuddy's on a roll today:

Kai rolled over for the first time unassisted, from tummy to back.

Rei forward-rolled over on her beachball in a precursor to somersaulting.

I had some good rolls on the golf course at the local church camp's charity tournament. I didn't expect me being the one who carried our 4-some through the best ball scramble.

And Shelley had cabbage rolls for supper.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Cut the Mullet

First trip to the stylist today and I feel like channelling Wesley Willis:
Rock over Forest, rock on Arkona. Milk, it does a body good.

Baby Nazgûl

We've moved Kai out of our room into his own for sleeping at night now. We hoped that without our rustling and recomforting noises, he'd sleep sounder. And we would avoid hearing every little sigh and sound that didn't require our attention.

Last night his cries took on a different, agitating quality. Recognizing my inexpertise I would say the pitch of his voice was distressed, the tone more desperate. As much as I like words, they don't really convey the sound of his new, keening cry. I liken it to that of The Lord of the Rings' Nazgûl.

That's the latest phase we're hoping he'll grow out of soon.

This morning on the radio, Michael Stipe serenaded us with "Nightswimming, deserves a quiet night..." Yeah, REM-sleep would be good too.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Weighing in at 16 lbs. 3 oz., he's not going to take any guff from anyone.
Assuming, of course, that he doesn't tip over.

Catching Up

It's been a busy week workwise. As I'm leaving next week for a course in Kingston, all the preparation has had me on the go: church meetings (administrative and marriage preparation) amd their follow-up, wedding rehearsal, and working on 3 sermons at the same time. And the local church camp has their golf tournament this weekend.

House-wise we're getting Kai's bedroom set up and the new guest room too for Urs' imminent arrival. It's full steam ahead.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Portrait of a Baby

Look at me look at you.
kai 3 month
Three months flew by.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Own Wheels

After 160,000 km and 60 payments, we now own our car. Our Ford Focus has been in the streets of New York, the wilds of Sault Ste. Marie and most parts in between.

Less pristine with some dings and nicks, and less roomy with two carseats crammed in the back, it has served us well. Even the recall notices and dead battery haven't soured us on our purchase (what a ringing endorsement!). It may not be much, but it is ours.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Line Dance

It isn't all doom and gloom these days. We do have our moments.
Look at Me

Night Rider

This morning, I rummaged through the laundry hamper for some pants before loading Kai into the car for a moonlit drive. He wasn't frantic, but he wasn't settling down with me and his weight has become a bit much to bear for extended jaunts through the house. So we drove into the night.

Lessons I learned at 2:30 a.m.: the car should be backed into the driveway for quick nocturnal getaways, because fogged windshields could lead to mishaps; Mac's Milk, Tim Horton's and the car wash are the only businesses open 24 hours in Forest; and, 2:30 is too early for freshly baked Timbits, but it is a good time to drive at a fuel-efficient 80 km/h.

A half-hour in the car finally coaxed a yawn out of him and he was finally asleep when we got back home. Except he woke up a half-hour later for a feed, and an hour after that, screaming. We guessed it was gas pain, but who knows for certain.

Our plans for today have been put on hold.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Plays Well with Others

For Kai's baptism, we invited our families to our place afterwards for a little visit. Everyone was impressed with how well the cousins played together, Christopher, Rei and Samantha were turned loose in the play room and nary an argument occurred.

Previous play dates have been comemorated by a steady refrain of "MINE! MINE! NO!" so it was heartening to see peaceable interaction and cooperation.

Best Laid Plans

Yesterday was a day of cleaning and tidying. The church next door had a work bee where some inside and outside jobs were done in the morning. The afternoon had some household and lawn jobs to do (including taking the laundry to the laundromat because the dryer is on the fritz again).

My plan for the evening, when Shelley went to a barbeque with friends from work, was to do some more tidying up, watch Rabbit-Proof Fence while having some Australian shiraz, and relaxing in general.

Instead I paced the floors with an unsoothed son, sequestering myself in the laundry room so that his wails wouldn't wake his sister. I didn't want to call Shelley and have her come home early, figuring as soon as I did that, he'd settle and she'll arrive to calm and quiet. As the night wore on, I then figured she'd be home soon enough anyway so I might as well tough it out until she got here...

Then I had some Java errors with Blogger, losing my post for the church blog and not even getting around to this one. I didn't even get to read the paper.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Crack of Dawn

I woke up at 5:10 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. My body's gotten used to being up at that time to walk around with Kai, but he was sound asleep. So I lay there thinking about church stuff, computer stuff, and had some children's songs running through my head.

At least when Kai did start to fret and fuss an hour later, I was still pretty foggy-headed but it didn't take as much to get awake and ready to go.

This would have been a good day for naps but I had a morning and afternoon filled with church meetings. I'm sure Jesus delights in all the levels of bureaucracy the church has constructed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Photo, Shoot!

This morning, we travelled to Zehr's in Sarnia for Kai's first studio photos. The idea was to have a set with him and another with Rei, a couplet of happy kidlets. Apprehensive about this new place we entered, Rei was reluctant to pose happily.

So our package is of him alone. But even that was not without issue, Kai managed to scratch his face during the night. (Just like his sister would before picture days and social gatherings). Not that we're hung up on looks, we would feel less guilty about our parenting were their scratches not preserved in portrait.

And also like his sister, the first pose was the one we used of the 11 shots taken.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Work Hard, Play Hard

We welcomed Rei home today after her special sleepover time with her aunt and grandparents. In her absence, we did manage to clean out some clutter (little-used books, CDs, trinkets and knick-knacks), clear Kai's room of our stuff, and moved around some large furniture items. We've rearranged the office so that it can double as a guest room. It's a tight fit; functional but rife with poor feng shui.

Amid all that, I managed to get away for 18 holes of golf. I shot 112; I know, don't quit my day job. I love fall golfing: the leaves starting to turn, the crispness and clean smell of the air (although it was hot and muggy this time), the water hazards are drying up so more lost balls can be recovered, the summer rush dying down so I could swing in private.

I'm feeling pretty huge and sore right now from all that exertion.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quarter-year Kai

Has it been 3 months already?
3 month Kai
Happy and healthy, we can't complain. Although some more sleep would be nice.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Lion Sleeps (over) Tonight

Shelley's folks have taken Rei for a sleep over, so Kai gets a chance to experience the only child phenomenon. While we hope to get some things done, we do miss our daughter terribly. I've taken to making her usual comments so things sound as busy and amusing here.

In the meantime, I'll look at pictures. Such as this special pose that I call "Ode to Pizza Hut"; she calls it "Lion" because she often growls at the same time.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Train, train, choo-choo train ...

After a morning of yardwork, an interment service in the afternoon and a church potluck/planning meeting/discussion session in the evening, I relaxed to an award-winning cinematic diversion called "The Station Agent" borrowed from the library. Finn inherits a depot in Newfoundland (New Jersey), makes it his home, and makes some friends. The dynamic between a couple of introverts and an exuberant extrovert reminded me of Winnipeg days for some reason.

I booked my train tickets for my course in Kingston. The plan is to meet up with Michelle for the Toronto-Kingston leg as she commutes to some classes at QTC.
I had looked into First Class for the Kingston-Toronto return with Urs but the cost was prohibitive. Unless we could drink $200 of complimentary drinks, the money could be used better elsewhere.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

You Turn

Driving home from Wyoming/Sarnia, I realized that I missed my exit. I zoomed right by and didn't even catch on to my miscue until I was driving under Arkona Road a few kilometres later. Wait a sec ... I'm supposed to be on that road!

So one exit later, and a dozen kilometres out of my way, I got home a little late, a little embarrassed, but safe and sound.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Keith from the Kootenays

Moxywoman put me onto Shelagh Rogers' blog about the CBC Lockout and her caravan coverage of it. I noticed a recent entry about a stop and speech in Trail. Recognizing the name of the place and the billet, I wondered if my classmate Keith (who should be plowing through readings for school) made himself known in anyway. It's not like Keith to be actively interested and involved with a labour dispute!

So I looked at the Trail slideshow in search of Waldo and was rewarded a pic of a stalwart defender of public justice and equality gazing into the future with determined cynicism. Further along I see that I missed an entry about her stay in Castlegar complete with an entire slideshow and podcast. How lucky to have the gracious presence of Shelagh amidst the splendour of the Kootenays (wherever that is)!

Mini-break ... down

Overloaded, I had little breakdown last night. It seemed each child I tended to ended up wailing and crying. Tired of Rei rejecting me, of losing the battle of wills to a two-year old, trying to fit 40 hours of ministry in with the rigours of attentive parenting, etc., etc. It was a low point.

So I went to sleep early ... and had dreams of being in high school needing to pass Grade 11 math to graduate, except I hadn't attended a single class and it was May. Today's been better.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Labourless Sunday and Movable Feasts

It's Sunday, but not just any Sunday. The local church camp has its anniversary service during Labour Day weekend and we close our churches to attend, and support, its ministry. That meant no anti-social, pre-occupied, grumping from me. I got to spend time with the kids, did some laundry, vacuummed the downstairs carpet, and sit with my family for worship.

Mom has to work Thanksgiving weekend, so we tried to do our family Thanksgiving now with sweet corn and barbeque. Shelley's folks will be away, trailering in the southern States, for Christmas so we'll be observing that holiday next month during Thanksgiving. If this trend continues, we'll have Victoria Day during Valentine's.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Life's Beachin'

Rei enjoys the sand at the beach. It's what she likes best. The water, she could just as easily do without. So just out of the parking lot, as soon as we hit sand, Rei set up camp and for a while, we thought this was as close as we would get to the beach:near beach

But eventually we worked our way down to the landing and encouraged (chased) by the appearance of a dog to rest at the same elevation as the lake.Rei Ipperwash

Her brother was taking it all in, not really caring where we were.
Kai Ipperwash
The last time we had a family outing to this section of beach, Shelley had a baby the next morning. I guarantee this will not be the case this time.


Yesterday's plan was: Rei to daycare, groceries/errands, McDonald's lunch, home to clean, Shelley to chiropractor and pick up Rei.

Instead, we called our just-updated Ford Roadside Assistance when the car didn't start. I gave directions to the McDonald's parking lot (we did get that far at least) and mentioned the dealership McDonnell Ford was a couple blocks down the street. I wondered if I would have been further ahead calling the dealership than some phone-jockey in Montreal, but wasn't sure if our coverage would then be valid.

As we approached the later reaches of the estimated time of rescue, I get a call from the local operator wondering where we were. The driver went directly to the dealership (yeah, try finding a Ford Focus in that lot is like finding hay in a haystack) , because McDonnell and McDonald's sound an awful lot alike. (Why we would need a tow when we were at the dealership is beyond us ...)

A jump start and we were down the street to McDonnell's where the car battery was replaced. (Interestingly, thankfully, Kai slept peacefully through the car trouble). A few hours behind schedule left us with a quick scurry through the grocery store, an acclerated drive to the chiropractor and a happy reunion with an oblivious Rei.

And our day was complete. Except for the cleaning. That'll have to wait for another time.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Couching Tigers

In case you've forgotten what we look like.
And behind the camera, Shelley is as lovely as ever.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ma Baker to the Rescue

Not even an hour after posting yesterday's sleepless blog entry, Shelley's mom calls and offers to come over and help out.

Last night went a little better than the night before: slept until 1:00, up at 3:00-3:30, slept, up at 4:00-4:30, spent some "quality" one-on-one time with an alert and active Kai, contemplated driving him around again, he drifted off to sleep just before 6:00, up again at 7:00, Shelley got him back to sleep again until 8ish.

Shelley's mom arrives before 9 so I can tend to office hours and some work, she does some laundry and dishes, cleans & sanitizes our dish rack (how embarrassing), and pays attention to Rei. Thanks Mom!

Kai (who weighed 15 lbs. today) has be asleep for about 3 hours, this looks promising. Now, if I can shake my headache we'll be set.