Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Let the Record Show

Shelley would like to state that she, too, is without sleep. Should you be thinking that she has been blissfully slumbering while I paced the night away, I assure you that is not the case. Her responses to Kai's cries are more timely and effective than mine; she is nursing him, I am not.

Just because she doesn't go online bemoaning her deprivation, doesn't mean it's not there. Not that you would be thinking any of this anyway; she's just been rolling her eyes at my logged efforts.

It's a TV morning

Shelley's away this morning at an appointment, leaving me with solo with the kids. I've been awake, off and on, since 3:30 this morning, with Kai needing attention at 4:00, 5:10, 5:50 (I think those were the times, it's all a blur).

He's napping now; Rei and I have been watching TV pretty much all morning. A steady stream of Blue's Clues, Doodlebops, Little Bear, and Dora the Explorer has kept us out of trouble; hopefully, with little damage to her attention span.

Kai's waking up now. And on Dora, Swiper is trying to engage in some swiping. I'll undertake more involved and interactive parenting when I wake up a little more myself.

Monday, November 28, 2005

2 for 2

We marked a momentous occasion today with the addition of two stickers to Rei's potty page. Two stickers for "number two", her first poo in the potty (she's going to love knowing this information is on the internet when she's old enough to be embarrassed about it).

She was the star of Church School this afternoon, eliciting peals of laughter and constant giggles from the 6- and 8-year olds with her 2½-year old behaviours and observations. All in all, a lot of attention directed her way today.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A thousand words?

The failings of self-portrait photography:
So much for my Camera Club credentials.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


After a session of snow-shovelling, we got a little creationist.

When I asked about her snowbuddy, Rei corrected me: "It's a snowGRRL!"

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fast-forward 29 days

It was a morning of last-minute Christmas shopping as we prepare for a Baker Christmas tomorrow. I also picked up some beer for the festivities (where the elderly man in line behind me complimented me on my Moosehead purchase) and selected Bibles for the confirmands on Sunday. All this on "Buy Nothing Day" no less.

Shelley's work had a Christmas party tonight; her parents watched the kids for us. Shelley wondered when the next time we'd be able to be out for an evening alone would be. Thus, we were ripe for some irony, (speaking of which, peak at Al's Icon-o-clash of the ironic icons!)

After spending sufficient time with co-workers and Board members, we ducked out with another couple for some Carcasonne: Hunters and Gatherers at their house. Unfortunately, our game was interrupted by a phone call informing us that Kai was awake and inconsolable. We did have an enjoyable evening and I was able to get a head start on Sunday worship prep.

In spite of my dismay and disdain for Christmas celebrations before Advent even begins, I did have a Merry Christmas Eve.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

She likes words too

The exponential growth of Rei's vocabulary has abated somewhat, but she still manages to surprise us with an adept grasp of abstract concetps, a quaint turn of phase or a particular word. Examples include her bold assertion as she went upstairs: "I'M SHY!"; or, her correct identification of a "stethoscope". Which are all reminders that we need to watch what we say around her. Next thing you know she'll be making claims of apostolic succession within an eschatological hermeneutic.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy B-urs-day

I'm sitting down to a glass of 2002 Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc, Grand Reserve, in honour of Ursula's birthday. It's rather endearing how excited she gets about it. We managed a brief chat today but BrettspielWelt wasn't loading for Pip and our Carcassonne game on the PC was cut short by family returning home.

My love gift from Apple appeared on the front porch today. It's Urs's birthday but I get the gifts (the wine was courtesy of her too). Sweet.

In keeping with our one-year tradition, a birthday haiku:

Irish Urs loves life
Computer, travel savvy
Gains a superjob

Incidentally, this day also marks the one-year birthday of this blog. 352 posts later and I haven't run out of things to say.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Apple Love

Now that the rush has slowed up a bit and my work is relatively caught up; I called Apple, was helpfully guided through to Customer Relations where I presented my case for some compensation. Again, the turning point came when I was asked what I had in mind.

Heeding Ursula's advice, I had done my research and readily suggested Symantec Norton AntiVirus 10.0 and Personal Firewall 3.1 for Macintosh software. (Yes, I'm having unprotected computations; yes, I know how dangerous that is). I figured $11 for each day without Pip was more than reasonable. Failing that, I had a list of other applications and carrying cases ready.

They agreed to my proposal and I can expect to unwrap my gesture of goodwill from Apple in 7-10 days. I didn't push for courier delivery, figuring I already got more than I anticipated.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wi-fi Forest

In between visiting with the family and the actual funeral service, I stopped at the bank, filled the car with gas, went through the car wash, and popped into "Char-Bar" for a cup of coffee and some wi-fi Internet access. Now this is what I wanted Pip to be doing for me.

So often I talk about how in times of grief and mourning, it's maddening how the rest of the world keeps going on about its business. 'Tis true, and I'm guilty as charged.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

New tactics

These past couple of evenings, we've had Kai active and alert in the late evening hoping to build up some longer sleep time in the night; or at least postpone his 4:30 a.m. wake up to a more reasonable hour.

Last night had him sleep for 5 hours, getting up for the first time at 3:00. If I hadn't been up most of the night working on the Sunday service, I would have quite enjoyed that.

Friday, November 18, 2005


These days are making up for all those I-only-work-one-day-a-week jokes. It's been a long week; I'm off to bed. Until it's time to be up with Kai again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Power up, Pip

With a new display and logic board, a fully functional Pip is back on my lap and ready to compute. Despite the fact preparations for the church's fall supper were underway, I made a quick trip into London to pick up the iBook. I hadn't been able to use it since the 5th of November; and with a memorial service or two, Presbytery meeting, confirmation class and breakfast-bake sale this week, it was conceivable that I might have had to wait until next week before I could retrieve it.

The traffic lights overwhelming worked in my favour and I was back within a very reasonable time. Still, considering it had been only a week before this new computer quit on me, I'll be calling Apple and seeing what kind of love they'll give me in compensation for my hardship. Time to channel the spirit of Ursula once more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


After having backed off considerably from our hardline no-retreat-once-underwear-wearing-has-begun, our patience was rewarded and celebrated tonight.
potty 1
You will notice the first sticker on Reiko's bathroom chart. It was a big deal; we all rejoiced. She enjoyed the attention.

White Noise

We're in the midst of an experiment in white noise that's supposed to help calm babies and squeeze an extra hour of sleep out of them. So says Harvey Karp, M.D., baby soother extraordinaire. One of Shelley's friends lent us a DVD that shows how to trigger the baby calming reflex by attempting to recreate the conditions in utero (tight swaddling, steady jiggling and white noise).

The radio presets are tuned to static and while it saves us having to making loud shhhsss-ing sounds, Kai has not slept any longer. At least it's not Britney or Lindsay or Hilary or Jessica or Christina that we have to tune out.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Saucer Central

It took a couple days to post this, but Rei's celebrating her brother's 5-month birthday.
different directions
He's otherwise occupied.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Quahog: the new Springfield

It's pretty much official. The Family Guy has been consistently outperformed The Simpsons with wit, irreverance and relevance; tonight, the Griffins won the chuckle war.

Tonight's "Simpsons" episode with Bart becoming a Momma's boy did not elicit any giggles from me. I noted with disdain the recycled joke of dialing "9-1-" in anticipation of another "1" being needed to summon police, fire and ambulance services.

During "Family Guy", Stewie's stint at college garnered a few snickers. The clincher was the ongoing salute to The A-Team that brought me great mirth and joy.

I have so many great memories of Springfield and its citizens, it will always hold a special place in my heart. However, as life does move on, so must we. And I will look to the eastern land of Rhode Island for contemporary youth/pop culture references for worship ideas and illustrations. Ever thankful for the salvation given me by Jeebus, I go forth into a new world.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I blame the CBC

One of the justifications for ready Internet access is all the biblical scholarship, worship ideas, and sermon seedlings available at my fingertips. Another is the variety and breadth of work avoidance and procrastination that keeps me from finalizing my work for tomorrow.

My current indulgence is Jian Ghomeshi's latest offering in The National Playlist (where The Weakerthans appear with "Aside" and Arcade Fire reigns supreme). I'm contemplating submitting an entry for my latest crush, Stars' "Elevator Love Song". Pop-py, earnest and melodic, it always leaves me wistful and yearning.

It hasn't all be waste-o. I have uncovered important and valuable information, the greatest mystery is solved: what does CBC Radio's Promo Girl look like?

Friday, November 11, 2005

We all scream for ice cream

Apparently, while I was away in Arnprior, Rei kept telling Shelley that I would have ice cream when I got back. Last night as she licked at her cone after a successful supper of chicken fingers, fries and peas, she offered me some of her ice cream.

I politely declined, partly because I'm rather neutral to ice cream in the first place, and mostly because I wanted her to have full enjoyment of her treat. Rei got rather quiet, looked at her cone dismayed and crestfallen. I quickly recanted my refusal and shared her dessert; she delighted in the sharing, instructing me to lick, not bite. It seemed she'd waited a long time for me to return and have this moment.

So I had some ice cream, but more importantly, I had yet another lesson about receiving gifts with grace.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Moment of Silence

Things were quiet and reflective in this part of the blogosphere. Jeffy shared news that the 17-month old son of some friends died earlier this week. To think of parents Huss and Sarah facing the void left by Malik made the trivial, bloggable, news about the number of crosswords I did on the train home or my opinions on the abyssmal start to the Raptors' season insignificant to say the least.

The past couple days I've soaked up time with Shelley and the kids, trying to capture these moments in my memory and sending my thoughts and spiritual energy to Sarah and Huss. I can't, and don't want to, imagine how I'd be in a similar situation.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Lighter Load

After a brief, but giggle-filled, reconnection with Molly, Stephen and Emma, it's off to the train station today for another cross-province odyssey.

For some reason, my bag is not as crammed full as when I left home. I can't think of anything I'm missing (apart from soap and its plastic travel container, left in the bathroom of room 232 of Arnprior's Quality Inn). If anything, there's more in the suitcase: a currently unusable laptop.

I'm not sure if I've packed more efficiently; my many Tetris forays into space management have always served me well. Regardless, a lighter load is always an apt and appreciated metaphor for carrying baggage and burdens. Soon enough I'll see my family again and all will be as it should!

Monday, November 07, 2005


Life with Pip has come to unforeseen halt. The screen is overly dark and dim, tech support was unable to reconfigure the backlight with its magic key combinations. Which means the trouble is with the hardware, so I'll have to take the laptop in for repair.

The Arnprior Assembly has concluded; I'm spending a night in Orleans with friends Molly, Stephen and daughter Emma and am using their connection to do a bit of back-blogging while they conduct their Monday night work. We'll reconvene for the latest developments in Scofield's quest for justice in Prison Break.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sitting down for what I believe in

This afternoon, after a moving testimony and plea from a First Nation survivor of United Church-run residential schools, an eager ministry student leapt up to respond with a "prayer". A component of his offering was that, if we were enraged enough, compassionate enough, and faithful enough, we would stand in solidarity with our "aboriginal brothers and sisters".

Lord knows I am in solidarity with them. Yet I had to stay seated, even as a multitude rose en masse. I could not allow myself to be guilted into a show of solidarity that was merely a show or be coerced into action. I did not want to be a prop to someone else's convictions. Let me express my beliefs in my way.

And, at the very least, I sat to remain in solidarity with those who could not physically stand, despite the repeated urgings we do so. With Stan McKay, First Nations former moderator beside me, I awkwardly sat on my can. I don't know how many noticed, but I felt many eyes on me.

Afterwards, some expressed their embarrassment that they stood and wished they had done like I had. It wasn't easy; but the right thing rarely is.

Middle Earth

With my morning routine greatly simplified these days, I've tried to take advantage of the time to go running. Today I found myself on a beautiful wooded trail that reminded me of the paths at Burry Heights in Newfoundland.

Ignoring the hum and noises of the adjacent Honeywell Nylene plant that filled the air with a smell of melted plastic, all other signs of modern civilization fell away. I was able to evoke a personal sense of how I imagine Middle Earth, of hobbit living, cool air, the crunch of twigs and leaves. I channelled Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chasing after the orcs who've kidnapped Merry and Pippin. Yes, I'm a geek.

Running steadily through the trees, with purpose and ease, I felt I could go forever. It's rare when I hit my stride like that, and its memory will prompt me to keep at it. Endorphin rush, anyone?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Oh crap...

I didn't have many expectations coming into the Arnprior Assembly. Shelley asked what I hoped for from this time. I simply wished, "I hope it doesn't suck."

Saturday morning, I feared things were about to take a turn for the worse when the beginnings of a "Bitch and Brag" session emerged. Whenever clergy gather, there is always the possibility of sharing how bad one's situation is through complaint and lamentation, or how wonderful one's ministry is through personal virtue and innovation.

Whenever I hear the words "in MY church", I try not to roll my eyes too obviously and hunker down. Today, this thread of conversation dissipated soon enough and I could breathe again.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I skipped out of evening program tonight. It was a Moderators' Reception that featured activities and socializing with the general public and members of the hosting congregation. Not that I'm not grateful for the gracious hospitality of Arnprior and Grace-St. Andrews United; it's that meeting 106 people in an ethos of intentional dialogue, conversation and listening has taken a lot of energy out of an introvert like me. Yes, I can play the extrovert, and play it well, but it wears me out.

So to model self-care, I've opted out of the reception, the glad-handing and small-talking. Camped out in my hotel room with the basketball game on, Pip on my lap, an order of chicken wings and other junk foods assembled on the bed, I'm content to flake out and be fresh for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The back end of town

Riding the train as much as I have lately, I've noticed the truth in being "on the wrong side of the tracks". When highway driving, you see the better facade of businesses, the attractive store front and the inviting tidiness. From the train windows, you see the junk heap and scrap pile in the back, the rusting and unused equipment, broken or discarded materials, and all the graffiti.

While travelling to Arnprior for a United Church consultation about the future ministry of the church in the coming years, I found some other delegates in line at Union Station and we agreed to save each other seats. I resisted the temptation to anti-socialize with Pip or my NY Times crosswords (I'm a few days behind on my daily calendar puzzles because of Sudoku and the laptop) and chatted amiably with these others; those 5 hours just flew by.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Big Comfy Couch

It's been a while since we've seen the kids:
Kai Rei farm couch
Cute as ever, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I got home this afternoon to find Rei wearing her new underwear. The toilet training has begun; because, once she's started on underwear, there's no going back to diapers except for overnight. The bathroom has been outfitted with a reward sticker chart and all that's needed now is some poops and pees into the potty.

As expected, our paper towels and cleaners were busy this afternoon. Between 4:00 and 5:00, there were 3 puddles on the floor and no clean underwear left (the Lion Kings were being washed). Of course, Rei decides she's ready to try this bathroom behaviour on the eve of my departure for 6 days in Arnprior to vision and dialogue about ministry in the church.