Sunday, April 30, 2006

Timing Is Everything

When Kai woke up this morning at 5:10, half an hour ahead of schedule, the thought crossed my mind that in a week's time, that would have been 6:40 in Newfoundland. Maybe keeping them trying to keep the kids on our Ontario schedule might work to our advantage. Although I learned that attempting to discuss this possibility with Shelley at that moment was not the best idea I've ever had. As mentioned, timing is everything.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


It's a sure-fire sign of spring when I conduct my self-shearing.
Rei is not so impressed; she wants me to put my black hair back on.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Shot Heard around the World

I went golfing again this afternoon, I shot 5 better than my last round with fewer mulligans needed.

My best shot was one I didn't see, off the fairway behind a tree on #9 (yes, my tee shot put me closer to the 1st green). I lined up with my 3-iron and, with an easy swing, blasted off. It went out and up like a rocket, I lost sight of it but it sounded sweet and looked straight. With no idea where it might have gone, I trudged off in search of my ball. Golf really is a silly game if you stop to think about it; I don't.

And there it was, my ball, right in the middle of the fairway beside the white marker, 150 yards from the flag. With the hole being 509 yards in length, taking 2 shots for 359 yards was the highlight. From there, I overshot the green and double-bogeyed which was the theme of my outing. I won't quit my day job.

Down the Fairway

Back to the beginning of this week, Rei broke in her birthday golf set.
birthday golf
She insisted on wearing a golf glove; perhaps she's looking for a duel.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Homo Erectus

The Boys' Day entertainment today was standing Kai up on his feet and letting him bounce. A few times he took some steps, but that was more accidental than anything. The look of delight on his face indicated it was the greatest thing in the world. He's growing up so fast.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Forward Momentum

Kai's spending more time on his belly now, repositioning himself for his next adventure. Usually, he logrolls himself all over the place. Now he is making some forward progression; is crawling that far off?


It seems that another household in the neighbourhood is wirelessly high-speeding along the information superhighway.

My practice has been to turn off our router at night, lessening the unlikely chance of someone else using our signal for their own surfing needs. Plus, one less device emitting invisible rays throughout the house is, in my mind, a good thing. Whether it makes a difference, given all the radio, satellite and wireless signals, is another point.

Sometimes I forget to turn the route back on in the morning, remembering only when the internet browser or email fails to connect. This morning, my download of iTunes' Free Single of the Week was exceptionally quick and then I remembered that our router was still unplugged. Checking the iBook's settings I found a "linksys" network that is nearby, judging by the strength of signal.

Arkona is on-line, with a vengeance.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Sad news from our friends, Jeffy and Cheryl. This past weekend, Cheryl had a miscarriage and we're left with little more than appreciation for the fragility of life and the miracle of birth. How often we take for granted the health care we complain about.

In the face of absence, we hold on to what we know and have. So we find solace in our routines and our circles of support. Send kind thoughts to Cheryl & Jeffy and their kids.

Monday, April 24, 2006

HoCho at LoCoYoFo

After 4 days with 100 youth and their leaders, and missing Rei's birthday on the weekend, I'm settling back into the wonderful routine that is home.

In attempting to impress the importance of curfew and self-care in a youth retreat setting, I related the true story of a youth suffering from the side effects of no sleep, little food and too much running around. His body reacted strongly to this mistreatment and I summed up the anecdote with the diagnosis: "hopped up on hot chocolate and good times".

This became one of the running jokes throughout the event; but even as I share it in this cyber space, I know it is another case of "you had to be there". Should you care to discover more about the vibrant ministry for youth in our London Conference of The United Church of Canada, pictures, videos and shared stories await at

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Welcome Back, I'm Off!

Shelley's parents returned from their winter away in the American south. The trailer pulled into Arkona at supper time where I had a chance to awake the barbeque from its winter slumber. And proceeded to run out of propane as the burgers finished.

We played a bit of catch-up over the last 4 months and I was presented with a University of Kentucky baseball hat, just like the one I couldn't find anywhere around these parts. The kids were happy to see Grandma and Papa and it will be nice to have some extra pairs of hands and eyes here while I'm away at London Conference's Youth Forum for the next 4 days.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sweet Dreams are made of these

For some particular reason, my dreams of late have been especially vivid and memorable.

Last night, I dreamt that Prison Break's Michael Scofield rigged himself a jet pack to escape from Fox River Penitentiary and spent the rest of the series trying to spring his buddies. How bad is it that I'm dreaming up TV episodes, don't I watch enough?

The night before, I dreamt I was golfing and in a high pressure situation (large crowd, sizeable wager on the line) made a marvellous approach shot with my 3-wood to garner fame, fortune and a feeling of satisfaction.

The night before that I was at The Airport waiting to catch a flight - it's a common dream of mine, the same airport, accompanied with a sense of me needing to be somewhere else, waiting, hoping I'm not late.

Not to be outdone, Shelley dreamt that Rei woke up at 10:30 p.m. and I, in an attempt to get her back to sleep, gave her a can of Coke. Then I was frustrated that she was up until 2 a.m. and unable to figure out why.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter morning

Eggs, chocolate, basket; it's pretty much a winning combo.
egg hunt

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Gravy!

The spring cleaning bug hit today; Shelley moreso than me, not surprisingly. She made a roast beef supper (featuring some stellar gravy) and some baby food. With the help of Rei, they cleaned out and reorganized the fridge.

As for me, I did a couple loads of laundry. I also wiped the dust off the keyboard of the PC so that I could play some Carcasonne online with a still-awake Ursula.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Glitches and Bloopers

The Jeopardy game that was crafted for a regional youth worship service apparently couldn't make the Macintosh transition and so my favourite question/answer remains unoffered. I present the cyberspace unveiling of said question, inspired by Cheryl's dad and Shelley's grandmother:

Category: Biblical Characters
Q: The Baha-Men may have borrowed the title from their hit song from these last words of Jezebel.
A: What is "Who let the dogs out?"

The giggle-inducing highlight/miscue was an overlap of a documentary video clip of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate and the Passover featuring scholars from Harvard and other highbrowed ivory towers with the less scholastic audio rendition of "O Holy Night". I don't think anyone realized things were amiss until the computer screen windows started minimizing and closing; the carol was silenced and the video re-started.

The pew was shaking from my internalized mirth which, I think, kept those around me in chuckles. Who said church isn't fun?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tip Off

Tonight I got back into the basketball groove, playing in a pick-up game in Grand Bend, administered by the Youth Centre there. For $2 per person per night, it was worth the drive for me to get out and shoot some hoop.

It's been a long time since I've played against people; naturally there was a bit of rusty play on my part, but all in all, I felt good about my game. Mind you, there was only 6 of us, so it was just halfcourt 3-on-3. Although we tired quickly too. I managed a few slashing drives to the basket, a few 3-pointers, and even some low-post play. Most importantly, I finished relatively injury-free: a minor cut on my pinkie and I bit my tongue.

Who won? Well, we all did! (Although I suspect that had we kept score, ours would have been lower).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Little Boy Blue

Ten months old.
little boy blue
Happy as a clam.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


It was just a matter of time before Kai got into the CDs.
CD racker
Jeffy would see this as karmic payback for the times I'd rearranged his extensive CD collection.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bon Jovi Day

"Ohhh, we're halfway there. Whooooaaa, livin' on a prayer..."

I'm halfway done Parental Leave, 9 weeks down, 9 weeks left. It's safe to say the novelty's worn off, but I love and cherish every laughing moment with the kids. Even the frustrating, head-shaking, episodes of meltdown and zero patience are not all that different from the workings of church governance (dare I comment about Presbytery or Conference or General Council? I guess I have).

In the weeks ahead, I'll be keeping busy with London Conference's Youth Forum, a family vacation to St. John's, Newfoundland, and endless references to Dora the Explorer.

Biker Grrl

Her feet now reach the pedals. However, she has yet to use them to propel herself; mostly, she just scoots along.
biker grrl
She does, however, have the facial expressions down pat.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


In the car, on the way to greatgrandma's house for supper, Kai abruptly gave a little shriek-shout. Reiko reprimanded him with the familiar words, "Kai, we don't yell in the car". Glad to learn she's picked up some parenting tips from us...

The internalized feedback hasn't been all negative. Earlier in the afternoon when I handed her some juice, she accepted it with thanks and the words, "Good job Daddy!"; high praise, indeed.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Raking in the Games

This morning was spent using a new garden rake to gather up leaves, branches and other detritus from the winter past. I filled up a few garbage bags full in the bright, but coolish, weather. Some more tidying up in the house occurred over the lunch hour and then I was ready to head out to do what I wanted to do yesterday.

For the first golf outing of the year, I shot a modified 53 over 9-holes (it's early in the season, I'm all about forgiveness and mulligan mania). At first, I wondered if I should have just stayed with the driving range but I'd found my stroke halfway through and hit some solid drives and made some decent pitches. Putting and approach shots, as always, need a bit of work.

The babysitter came after supper, where she got a warm reception from Rei; we'd already put Kai to bed. Shelley and I headed to one of her co-workers' place for some Settlers of Catan. My stockpile of Development Cards did not yield a point until my 11th draw; I could have built a couple cities with those resources but still would have finished well back.

Parental leave: fun and games, believe it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Brokenback Mountain


Shelley and I watched most of Brokeback Mountain tonight. We missed about twenty minutes of it because of technical difficulties. The DVD stuck and skipped, and with our remote out of commission (you can't do much fiddling around without a remote anymore), two 10-minute segments went unseen.

From what we surmised, we only missed minor plot points like the marriage and fatherhood of one the protagonists and also his death. And the classic Brokeback line, "I wish I knew how to quit you", is still without context for us.

What we saw was compelling and poignant. What we didn't see likely was too. Someday we'll get back to Brokeback and find out for ourselves.

Rain in the Fore!cast

My plan was to dust off the golf clubs and lose some balls this afternoon for the first hack session of the new season. I watched the weather prognostication for today throughout the week, hoping that a miracle bubble of isolated dryness would settle over the fairways. It was not to be.

On the upside, my thumb is consequently blister-free.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In All Things, Balance

Today was a well-rounded day with the kids. Rei was up at a decent hour (7:30), she's been exhibiting a propensity for sleeping in lately. Her brother was up at an indecent hour, (4 a.m. according to Shelley -- me? I was mostly oblivious), but settled down again around 5:45.

We made it to the Library children's program today where Rei kept to herself while her brother oogled and giggled and shrieked happily at the sight of other kids. Of course, once the other patrons left, Rei cheerily conversed at length with the librarian.

After lunch, Rei watched a video while I did dishes. Then she painted; of course Kai woke up from his afternoon nap wailing exactly when I consented to some handpainting and Rei was in full splatter mode.

The day wasn't totally dominated by TV, we had a length playtime in the park, splashing in puddles, jumping, sliding, climbing and swinging.

All in all, we managed to use our time for some solitude, socializing, play, work, artistry, singing, dancing, acting, and cuddling.

As for the evening, well that is another story... I guess that is part of the broader perspective of balance.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

In Jeopardy

A couple of youth ministers gathered for lunch here at the manse to feast on fine UCW meat pies and plan the Jeopardy game for The Swell youth worship service on Good Friday. Yours truly has been asked to undertake the hosting duties, à la Alex Trebek, because of my Canadian heritage, insistence on pronouncing things accurately and mustache-growing "ability".

The afternoon was spent thinking in "Jeopardese" as we dreamed up categories and questions (er, answers) and familiarized ourselves with the $700 Jeopardy machine-in-a-box. All this in an effort to make large-scale Christian Education engaging and entertaining. And also to identify the Poindexters that know more about the Bible than we do.


Kai's central incisor (top right) finally broke through the gumline today. Hopefully that will also clear up the rash on his other end. For some reason, we've noticed a correlation between the two events.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Boxcar Kai

Not to be outdone by his sister, Kai finds entertainment and solace in the packaging of objects.
boxcar kai
Although she couldn't resist posing for the camera; you might not know it to meet her, but she is quite the ham.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I Watched Double Overtime for This?

There are some joys to being a Raptors fan these days. The emergence of the younger players: Joey Graham; of course, Charlie Villaneuva; and even, Rafael Araujo. There are more frustrations. Like the 17-point comeback tonight go for naught in double-overtime.

The bravado and brash play of Mike James was entertaining early on, but as the season is closing out, is wearing rather thin. A self-proclaimed "go-to-guy" should recognize when his game is off. If he's so keen on winning, he'd see defences collapsing upon him and open teammates with a better shot. Except it seems he's keen on him winning (and scoring a big contract), not necessarily the team doing so.

Before the editing group finds it, Wikipedia's newest definition of "chucker" gave me a chuckle.

EDIT: the linked reference to "Chucker" was speedily deleted. Essentially, it questioned the "team" attitude of said Mike James with various quotations about not being appreciated and not being able to go to the Bahamas on a salary of $3.4 million... you get the picture.

I Stayed Up for This?

The Final Four was quite a bore; and not just because I was cheering for George Mason and LSU. Theoretically, as the teams get better as the tournament wears on, the games should be better: fewer miscues, closer scores and higher entertainment value.

So much for that. In the two blowouts last night, there was so little tension about the outcome I ended up doing dishes and blogging about shopping. Could have been April Fool's Day, but I was expecting more.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Shopping Solo

This afternoon, Shelley stayed home with the kids, enabling me to get out on my own and tend to some shopping. We had tried as a family to get some things on Thursday afternoon, but there wasn't quality opportunity to browse when tending to the care of children.

I cleared the basement of empties, garnering $24.80 at the beer store. It had been over a year since I'd tended to that task; I found last St. Pat's Guinness cans amid the collection. Still, that's 248 bottles returned - mind you there has been a healthy contribution from mysterious donors leaving their remnants on our lawn, in the parking lot next door, in the park, in the church bushes ...

On my list was a new pair of hiking shoes. I've had my current pair since Survivor: Marquesas, 2002. I remember because some of the contestants wore the same model. I found some Merrells that fit my short, wide, flat feet well, but the price was a bit too dear. I can wait until they're on sale.

I did grab Broken Social Scene's CD on sale and a Campus Crew ¼-zip sweatshirt, on final sale. I was also searching out a new pair of jeans. After checking 7 different places and trying on 9 pairs (boycotting Tommy Hilfiger and wincing at the price of some Mavi's - who knew jeans were so expensive these days? who knew there was a brand called "Mavi"?), I did find success. I went with a pair from the Eddie Bauer clearance rack, along with a longsleeve button-down shirt also on sale.

After some purchases to restock the wine rack, I finally addressed my season-long Harvey's craving and headed home in time to help finish with bathtime. Tomorrow afternoon is Shelley's turn to play consumer and she'll go pick up those hiking boots for me; she pointed out that with all the sales I took advantage of, I might as well have bought the footwear at retail. Who am I to argue?