Friday, March 31, 2006

The Passion of the Librarian

The local library runs a couple programs through the week for toddlers and infants (stories, crafts, puppets, etc.) and even though we're signed up to go, it's been a couple weeks since we've attended. It seems we're unable to get out of the house in the mornings on time; either Kai is napping, or Rei doesn't want to go.

Although she does enjoy the idea of libraries. We spent the afternoon playing library. She'd take a stack of books over to her stuffed animal sitting in a high chair, hand a little piece of cardboard (her library card) to it making a "beep" sound and waving each book under its nose with some more "beep"s.

We'd then proceed to sit on the couch and read our books under an enforced silence. After we finish, we renew our books and repeat the process.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Room to Move

I suppose I should have rescued Kai from being trapped under the coffee table instead of going for the camera.
table legs
It's kind of like my First Aid textbook; did the people with impaled objects, compound fractures and sucking chest wounds mind that they were professionally photographed before treatment commenced? I'm sure it was all make-up, yeah, that's it...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cinderella Man

Our Boys' Day excursion took us downtown and beyond. Kai was in the stroller, clutching a rattle, and chewing on the end of the seat belt. At the corner of of the street, I noticed that the rattle was missing. I hadn't heard it drop so (hoping that wasn't in the middle of road) we continued on, figuring to pick it up on the way back.

We got the mail, got some groceries and a movie ("Jarhead") and headed home for lunch. We picked up the missing rattle in the parking lot next door. Inside the house, I noticed that Kai only had one shoe on. He smiled cheerily at me as he sucked on his sock.

We dined quickly and I loaded him up in the stroller again to retrace our steps. Luckily, we didn't have to go very far; three houses down we found the missing shoe. No Prince Charming, no fairy godmother, but a happy ending nonetheless.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Boxcar Reiko

Once upon a time, she wore boxes on her head.
The introverts will understand.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Smells like Teen Spirit

Having recently completed my last Confirmation Weekend with 5 Oaks, I have developed a new tenet of Youth Ministry etiquette.

Those who bring Fart Spray to an event, and discharge it, are:
a) not allowed to be surprised at how bad it smells;
b) forbidden to complain about how bad it smells.

"Oh man, this really stinks." Really!? Do ya think so?!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Schadenfreude: Death of the Devils

In college basketball, the only thing that gives me as much joy as a Kentucky win is a Duke loss. The LSU Tigers mauled the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet Sixteen just now.

Now I know what Raptorblog is talking about when he gushes over Tyrus Thomas. That man was a defensive force inside when the game was on the line.

It may not be particularly "Christian" to delight in the misfortune of others, especially J.J. Redick, but how could one root for a team named "Blue Devils"? Pauvre J.J., pauvre Shelden.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


The telemarketing began earlier than usual; I don't start screening calls until 4:00 or so. MBNA and the Bank of Canada called before lunch, a courtesy call. What would be courteous is not calling non-clients.

Peter of Absolute Home Creations knocked at the door an hour later offering a "Special Winter Works Promotion" on renovations, citing a government grant for home owners. Too bad I don't own my home, the church does.

Mid-afternoon someone came to the door and asked if my parents were home. No. Then she asked if they played golf. No.

After supper, she came to the house again. Apparently Arkona is so immense and densely populated, it's easy to lose track of where you've already interrupted someone's day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Turn for the Worse

The day dawned bright with promise. This afternoon, a sore throat, chills, headache and temperature put me back on my heels a bit. It's ironic that tonight I completed my First Aid course.

Shelley had an evening/supper workshop so we called our babysitter (after a lapse of 9 months or so). Rei reacted better than we thought; Kai did not. Everybody's home again now and things are as they should be. Except for my cold.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Turn for the Literal

Leading into one of our frequent reenactments of Dora the Explorer episodes, Rei will announce that she is turning into Dora and perform a pirouette. I am required to conduct the same maneuver when turning into Boots the Monkey.

We also spin when turning back into ourselves. It seems that she grasps the multiple, abstract, implications of "turning into" someone. That child, she knows too much for our own good.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Online and Up-to-Date

Blogger's issues have been resolved and things are back to normal in my section of the blogsphere. The simple life we lead hasn't seen much in exciting news. Although, Shelley's enduring another bout of March Madness, the always-surprising college basketball tournament.

My bracket picks are swayed, as usual, by my affinity for University of Kentucky. I foresee good things for Kevin Pittsnogle (with a name like that, how can you ignore him?) and West Virginia. Gonzaga's Adam Morrison reminds me of an athletic, sports-minded Bobo. George Mason was a whimsy pick, in memory of a 24 character, although I didn't see them taking down UNC. If there's such an institution as Tony Almeida University, you better believe that I'd pick them to show in the Final Four.

As for Kentucky, the Wildcats played a respectable game against heavyweight UConn. We made an afternoon trip to Strathroy for groceries and a fast food treat so I was pleasantly surprised to see they only lost by 4 points. The winner of that match is my pick to win it all.

For the record, my adjusted Final Four is Texas, Gonzaga (after Kansas lost), Villanova and Connecticut (after beating UK); with the Huskies besting the Longhorns on April 3. And then baseball season begins.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

403 Forbidden

This is "interesting"/inconvenient; I can't see my own blog. Each time I try, I get Error 403:


You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Apparently, I can still post. I can access other Blogger sites, except for my brother's. Curiouser and curiouser.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The kids have had some diaper rash; Rei's has cleared up fairly well overnight, Kai was not so fortunate. Boys' Day was "Air It Out Day" as he spent a good amount of time with his bottom-half unclothed.

The alfresco intervals were not without incident. We changed his shirt once, and mine once. That was the highlight of my day.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Shopping List

Shelley took the day off work and we made a morning trip to London. I had a few things on my list to get at the mall and somewhat successfully navigated the myriad of selections priced and marketed to lure and entice the sucker with a wallet.

I've been in the market for a new hat; my University of Kentucky cap is a little coffee-stained and grungy. For the past few months, I've been keeping an eye open but my searches in London, Sarnia and Toronto, have yielded little (no) success. Today, I remedied my functional hatlessness settling on a Roots "Heritage" baseball cap.

Musically, our library has expanded by two CDs: the Curious George movie soundtrack by Jack Johnson, Hawksley Workman's latest offering, Treeful of Starling.

My impulse purchase was an Eddie Bauer jean jacket on sale, 55% off.

So I go into the March Break with new tunes and threads (do people still say "threads"?).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Murmel Murmel

Kai's been babbling and vocalizing more experimentally these past weeks. He's managed "mummmmm" and "uppppppp". This morning at church (well, in the basement of church where I had the kids), I distinctly heard: "dadadada". I'll have him preaching before long.

Bored of the Sith

I should add that last night Shelley and I endured Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. (It's been a little bit of movie catch-up lately).

Yes, the third was the best of the abysmal prequel trilogy, which doesn't say a lot considering the blight that is JarJar Binks or the wooden "chemistry" between Padme and Anakin. Maybe it was our energy level, or lack thereof, but watching the movie was a chore, a struggle to stay awake (which Shelley abandoned with 38 minutes left to go).

Yes, the effects were marvelous, the battle scenes thrilling, but it got a bit rote after the umpteenth time. The turning of Anakin to the Dark Side was anticlimactic, the political intrigue was not, and the warmth and depth of the love relationship was cold and buried. I did, however, appreciate the juxtaposition of new life/resurrection and death as Vader mechanized and Padme slipped away.

If Jeffy wants me to give it a rating, I'd say 2½ stars out of 5. At least I didn't pay any money to see it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hard at Play

London's Children's Museum hosted our excursion this morning; i.e., we played with their toys instead of ours.
Children's museum
It's hard work, this life of leisure we lead.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Half-full Goblet of Fire

Tonight, Shelley and I finally had time to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

While I enjoyed the movie, pleased to see the franchise continue in the darker tone set by "The Prisoner of Azkaban", the nitpicker in me resisted all the artistic liberties taken with the story. Granted, a 2½+ hour adaptation cannot do justice to 750+ pages, what I wanted to see mostly didn't transpire.

As is my tendency, I am quick to find the negative: the Quidditch World Cup was cut short, omitting the Weasley twins gambling plot; SPEW didn't exist; Rita Skeeter was barely introduced; Malfoy reduced to a tertiary character; Dumbledore was over the top, losing his cool far too often; and Snape was uncharacteristically benign.

Although I will concede that computer-generated graphics were best spent on the dragons (instead of house elves or even Quidditch) and the choices that were made regarding plotlines still offered a tightly woven spell of wonder and whimsy. Despite my griping, I would say it's one of the stronger movies of the series thus far and I can't wait for #6 (yeah, book #5 didn't really do it for me...).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's a bird, it's a plane ...

superhero pink
It must be a universal inclination to zoom around the house in a cape/towel.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Big Boys

While Kai enjoys little handsized toys, he prefers to interact with larger objects (strollers, wagons, high chairs, tents). This afternoon, I hauled out the larger-than-life stuffed animals that the kids got for Christmas.
giraffe joy
They'd been kept aside because Rei's been rather fearful of them. It being Boys' Day, we made the most of the opportunity.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Redtape to Resuscitation

It was a full day.

The morning we dropped Shelley off at work and I took the kids into Sarnia to sort out some confusion around my Parental Leave claim; apparently, the government can't figure out that Shelley and I are related to the same file. I re-submitted a letter she sent a month ago; while there, I also applied for Kai's Social Insurance Number so we can begin his RESP.

We went to the "Umbrella Store", (yes, sadly Wal-Mart wins again), where we had lunch and also picked up the newly-released Harry Potter movie, "Goblet of Fire", and the not-so-newly-released "Prisoner of Azkaban". Rei picked out some Dora the Explorer underwear, maybe to help the potty training?, and happily waved her rainbow-umbrella-with-a-red-handle around as she raced up and down the aisles.

Shelley was worried for me, taking both kids through numerous errands all morning, but everyone was happy and content.

First Aid/CPR classes began for me this evening. My certification had expired, so I was glad for the opportunity to refresh my memory. Although it meant that by the time I and the kids picked up Shelley and got home, I had enough time to make supper but not eat any it. A sandwich in the car tided me over until after class, when I was able to dine in front of the TV.

Did I mention it was a full day?

Monday, March 06, 2006

24: Day 5, another silent clock


Farewell Edgar Stiles. My heart caught in my throat when I realized that he wasn't in the lockdown room. For all his bumbling and social ineptitude, he represented the ordinary person who did their job well and tried to do right by others. You can tell from my mini-tribute that he was one of my favourite characters.

I don't think I've been this shaken since Jack had to kill Ryan Chappelle.

I know it's only TV; but I do love a good story and great characters, even more.

Clearing the Blogjam

I know it's been a few days since the minor details of my life have been posted for all to see. I blame entropy, the universe's natural tendency to disorder and decay. More accurately, my blogging time has been curtailed due to a shift in priorities (a Confirmation Weekend at Five Oaks and, uh, sleep).

Motivated to catch up, I've gone on a bit of a blogging blitz ...

Childcare Chocolate

Stephen Harper and The Conservative Party of Canada propose a childcare benefit paid out to families to assist with childcare costs: $1200 per year per child under 6-years old. At $25 per week (which will be taxed, of course) it won't do our family much good.

Although we could use the money, not for beer and popcorn, but for chocolate bars. Rei's daycare is selling them as a fundraiser. This means we, as parents, buy all the bars we don't sell. This, in turn, means we don't get a receipt for the extra money we pay to the daycare and therefore cannot claim on our taxes. How can I be bitter about snacks so sweet?

Fortunately, I was able to peddle most of my candy to the youth at the weekend retreat I was coordinating. Was it abuse of power/position? I prefer to think of it as knowing my market: young teenagers, away from home, miles from the nearest convenience store ... as easy as selling candy to a baby.

The Gospel According to Macaulay Culkin

This past weekend, I again offered some leadership at 5 Oaks for a youth Confirmation retreat. The theme was based on Incarnation and Image; surprisingly, Macaulay Culkin featured prominently in the content I presented.

Hearkening back to Michael Jackson's video for "Black or White" (where an 11-year old Macaulay rocked and rapped) and using numerous clips from Michael Stipe-produced movie Saved! (with adult Macaulay playing a wheelchair-bound Christian High School student), it wasn't until we were well into the weekend that I realized much Culkin-content was incarnated in my message.

Cue the Home Alone aftershave scream.

The Umbrella Store

In an effort to alter Rei's sleep resistance, we're bribing her with an umbrella. For each night of positive night behaviour, she was rewarded with some Smarties. A series of three consecutive Smarties mornings translates, in our sleep economics, to one umbrella.

She's become fixated on yo-yo's and umbrellas since seeing them featured in some of her TV shows. Figuring a yo-yo would be too frustrating for a toddler, we decided the umbrella would be the great reward that would convince our daughter to sleep in her own bed without histrionics.

According to her, she did a good job with sleeping last night and we will go to the umbrella store to buy her a red umbrella. Yes, she's quite clear about what she wants.