Monday, July 31, 2006

Shorts Shorts

I'm turning into my dad. The shorts I'm wearing are 14-years old. Embroidered near the hem is the declaration:
I'm quite certain the rest of my team members have already moved on to new clothing. I think I need to bite the bullet and buy some new shorts. Turns out Jeffy's been thinking the same thing. This is what we call "sharing the brain".

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Open House

We hosted an open house at the manse this afternoon, inviting the members of the congregation to come and enjoy the hospitality of the home they provide us with. It was also an opportunity to showcase the new floor in the kitchen.

It being the middle of summer with people here, there and everywhere, the turnout was sporadic, but at least the house is clean. Even the office has been tidied, organized even. There is clear working space on the desk and papers have been appropriately filed away.

We'll see if it lasts until our winter open house. My prediction? No.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Payoff

After many days of dry, clean underwear, we made good on our promise to Rei of a "big Dora present" as a reward for excellence in toilet training. Overriding our suggestions of a LeapPad book or a treehouse play set or doll, she selected the Vamanos Van.

It's large and noisy, the doors fall off easily and the figurines don't stay seated, but it makes Rei happy. Of course, Kai is happy with this toy too, which makes her less happy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Kenji the Destroyer

At today's Summer Commission meeting of Lambton Presbytery's Executive, I destroyed my first church. Literally. I seconded the motion that approved the demolition of St. Andrews B & E United Church (B & E as in "Brooke and Enniskillen" not "Break & Enter"). Perhaps I should assure my congregations that I don't see this as beginning a trend.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Storybook Story

Are we crazy? Cheryl and I undertook an outing to Storybook Gardens in London with 4 kids under 5. We managed to get away fairly easily, hoping that morning naps would occur in the car on the way, and arriving before the doors opened at 10:00.

As we waited in line, I noted that someone dressed in a "Slippery the Seal" costume was at the door greeting everyone with courtesy and enthusiasm. I tried to block Rei's sightline but I was too slow. She caught sight of the larger-than-life mascot and was slightly terrified.

We quickly entered the park and eschewing the animals at the zoo and farm attractions, proceeded to the playground area and splash pad.
We capped off our adventure with some Chicken Nuggets and milkshakes before heading home. It was an active morning, the kids had fun and the adults survived the ordeal.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Friendship Day

Kai and Rei returned to daycare after a week-and-a-half away to be reunited with their friends and demonstrate their respective new skills: Kai on his feet and Rei on the potty.

They returned home to find their friends Neva and Hugh had arrived, with Cheryl, for a visit. Already there've been some negotiations about it what means to be a gracious hostess or guestess. It must difficult for children to grasp that different homes have different rules, in spite of the many shared similarities in parenting philosophy that Jeffy, Cheryl, Shelley and I hold.

Still, it is a time for fun and hilarity; as Franklin the Turtle observed that while Valentine's Day can only be February 14th, "any day can be friendship day!"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Programming Announcements

Shelley has been running a "Stories in the Park" program this summer, using the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom where letters of the alphabet try to climb a tree. She's been using letter pretzels to supplement the experience.

This afternoon, while Rei and I were getting some groceries for birthday sushi, we also picked up some letter pretzels to replenish Shelley's supply.

Tonight, Rei was in her repeated "why?" mode, asking about the pretzels and why we bought them for mommy. Shelley explained she used them for her program. Rei thought about that and replied, "Daddy's program has Homer Simpson."

Sunday, July 23, 2006


In potty news, Rei has done extremely well. For the second consecutive day, the underwear she put on in the morning lasted the entire day. She also used the toilet at church this morning. It seems she's ready to cash in on the most enticing potty bribe we offered: a "big Dora present".

Kai has figured out how to sit himself back down on the ground after pulling himself up to standing. There was a time when he'd fret and cry, unable to get back down after getting to his feet. Now he frets and cries when we take away the items he's grabbed from the third shelf.

These are wonderful days and the time seems to be slipping by so fast.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wedding Firsts

This year's wedding season has concluded for me after conducting 3 ceremonies. Each one is unique and special, of course, with its memoires and highlights. Earlier this summer, and for the first time in 6 years, I married a couple that wasn't living together before their wedding. I'm not passing any moral judgment, I'm just saying is all.

This afternoon's outdoor service was rained out by a freakishly isolated thunderstorm. At first we thought we could attach the sides of the guest tent and put up another gazebo shelter for the wedding party. Then the puddles of water deepened to pools and considering the high heels of the bridesmaids and long dress of the bride, the call was made to move to the reception hall.

After rearranging chairs and tables, setting up sound equipment and some hasty re-choreography, we began things an hour late but the couple was wedded and that is the most important thing, apart from everyone "looking so hot".

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Week that Was

Monday: Waterboys
On the hazy, hot and humid day, Kai took to the water like a baby unable to get away from the hare-brained schemes of his dad.
We missed the full force of the damaging summer thunderstorm, hearing the news of Toronto's power outage and Cheryl's cottage storm survival experience after the fact.

Tuesday: GOlf and JPod
In the afternoon, I played 9 holes at Brooklea Golf & Country Club. Considering it was my first round on a new course, and I did reasonably, somewhat, well. Although losing 7 balls may seem like a setback to most, I prefer to dwell on the holes where I didn't reach double-digits in shot totals. I did manage a mulligan-free par; too bad no one was around to witness it.

I finished Doug Coupland's JPod today; and I fear that he may have "jumped the shark" with this one. At first I thought it was self-effacing and ironic that he wrote himself into the book; then as it became apparent that he, the character, was influencing key plot points, I thought it annoying.

Not to say that I didn't enjoy the book or chortle happily as I discovered the true extent of my geek-ness, but I'd have to say I prefer Microserfs to this pale attempt.

Wednesday: 2 for 2
The hurdles to diaper weaning continue to fall by the wayside as Rei had 2 poops in the potty today.

In other barrier-breaking behaviour, she actually entered the water at the beach, "swimming like a duck".

Today: Grey County

We left the cottage this morning and proceeded to the another cottage for a visit with Cheryl, Neva and Hugh. As we crossed over into Grey County, we noted the sullen sky was sullen and I put my glasses on for the first time in days. (Since Sunday I had been making do with my prescription sunglasses or unenhanced eyesight). The rain came clattering down on the car, threatening to overtake the speed-sensitive wipers of the Fusion.

Due to construction, some detours were necessary and as we approached a vital junction to our travels, we discovered excellent signage for 3 of the approaches to this intersection. The fourth path, the one we were on, sent us around and about only to face a road and ditch torn up by backhoe and heavy machinery. Backtracking, we discovered the clear and helpful signs that would have pointed us in the right direction, had we been going elsewhere, or had I been driving in reverse, or by looking in the rearview mirror.

Anyway, we got there, had a delightful visit with our friends in a cottage that had hydro recently restored. We're home now and looking forward to the rest and recuperation after vacation.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Borrowed Time

I opened the iBook at the cottage to find an invitation to join an open network, courtesy of the local marina, Queen’s Cove. While it’s strictly for those patrons with boats docked there, a “few minutes” free access. Unsure of how long (or how often) these minutes are available to us, this is a just a quick “hello, we’re here and ready to relax”.


The trip to the cottage was going well; too well. During a little lunch stop in Stayner, Shelley and I noticed that Rei wasn’t using her left arm. Recalling how she fell out of bed Friday night and has been sore and sensitive ever since, her repeatedly telling us she doesn’t feel well, and Jeffy and Cheryl’s story about Neva’s dislocated elbow we thought we should seek medical guidance.

We arrived at the cottage in good time, unloaded the car and Kai. Shelley and Rei headed to the Emergency Room in nearby Midland to confirm/allay our fears. I set about the tasks of plugging in the fridge, resetting the fuses for the water heater, removing mouse traps, putting away clothes, babyproofing while making do with the provisions left here: water and crackers.

As it turned out, Rei was fine with no dislocations or sprains, but at least I feel better. Maybe she’ll as better I do tomorrow.

Going Offline

Pending an open wireless connection at the cottage, this will be the last entry for the next few days. I'll be back with all the mind-numbing details of our week on Friday or so. Once I get ready for the wedding I'm returning to and see to all the usual Sunday prep.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Forza Italia

The summer of Italian victories and achievements continues. To complement the World Cup victory and basketball's number one draft pick, La Linea, a.k.a. Mr. Line, was crowned Icon-o-Clash winner at an Icon-o-Bash in Guelph, in the mansion of the league Commissioner.

Besting a Final Four field of Stella from "The Secret Railroad", Jerome the Giraffe of "The Friendly Giant" and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man of "Ghostbusters", Mr. Line will go on to enjoy fame and glory on T-shirts honouring this achievement.

Mind you, the T-shirt planning/design stage of our gathering took a back seat to the eating, drinking, meeting other cyber-contributors and wrangling our respective children. Although, Shelley and I enjoyed an evening without said wrangling as our young were staying with Grandma and Papa at the farm.

Superjob Mr. Line, I enjoyed the cake.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Rhymes with Orange

Haven't we all done this?
orange smile
In the background, you'll make note of the textured vinyl floor of our kitchen. Laminate is being installed on Monday while we're away.


The training for potty proficiency continues. On the plus side, 5 stickers were added to the reward page today. On the minus side, 5 pairs of underwear and shorts went into the laundry this afternoon. On the plus side, that's 10 size-6 diapers that were not used.

Mind you, the fact that I was trying to keep the kids hydrated on a hazy, hot and humid day exacerbated the situation.

In other watering news, Rei and I dipped into our new inflatable pool with watering cans to tend to the plants in our "gardens". It's raining right now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Underwear Day

Reiko's wearing underwear to daycare today.

Last night she decided she'd like to wear underwear (although we put it on overtop of her diaper). She thinks that she can run faster and jump higher with sleek underwear instead of a bulky diaper. If she explains that to you, go along with it; you don't want to make a liar out of her dad.

So she went to daycare this morning with extra changes of clothes and underwear and with instructions to let her teachers know right away if she needs to go potty. Here's hoping our days of diapers (size 6) are coming to a close. Until it's Kai's turn.

Hasselhoff's Revenge

It was a matter of minutes after questioning the talent level of David Hasselhoff than I was struck with a summer flu. Battling ague, aches, nausea and Montezuma's Revenge (no more details, I promise), I wasn't much of a parent today.

Poor Kai was crying in the play room and comes crawling to the bathroom for me to comfort him.
Nauseated, feverish, I was too weak to pick him up, he tried to pull himself up on me, but I was sweating too much and he couldn't get a grip. So much for this week's Boys' Day.

There was a rash of some kind on his face this afternoon and he was tugging at his ears, so I thought it was an ear infection, given that we just finished his penicillin regimen. I called Shelley who left work to take him to the doctor (where he perked up right away – and no ear infection), then picked up Rei from daycare and came home to care for all her babies.

This morning's been a bit better, at least I can remain upright for longer and am somewhat functional. We have a week of holidays coming up, hopefully we'll be healthy enough to enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What a Hassel

Is it me or does David Hasselhoff's perception of his own talent far outstrip his actual appeal or ability? I don't think I've been this annoyed with a celebrity who doesn't know when to quit since Michael Jordan's retirements.

Ironically, this doesn't prevent me from inflicting the same experience upon you...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whirlwind Tour

After dropping someone off from Bible Study, I followed Peter and Patricia back to the manse. It turns out they passed by as I was pulling out of the driveway.

We welcomed them to Arkona, after touring the church and having lunch, we did a little driving tour of the area (a fair bit of "here's another orchard" and "more golf courses that way") taking in the sights of Rock Glen, Thedford, Ravenswood, Ipperwash, Forest and back to the "Little Apple".

My parents arrived with their neighbour while Shelley got the kids from daycare. Introductions, and re-introductions, were made and much discussion occurred. It was nice to have Peter and Patricia visiting us on our "home turf" after we'd been to their oceanside home innumerable times.

Monday, July 10, 2006


In preparation for the arrival of friends Peter and Patricia, of Cochrane St. United in St. John's, NL, I cleaned the house with some help from Rei. As a reward, we treated ourselves to some ice cream downtown; blue (bubblegum) for her, pink (black cherry, this time) for me.

In the evening, I plugged into the iPod Shuffle and did some garden work. Shelley remarked, "If [the iPod] gets you weeding, I'm all for it!" At least my iTunes gave my mind something else to focus on instead of the usual environmental commentary on the arrogance, and futility, of humanity trying to tame nature into artificial displays of floral prettiness.

Instead, I realized the iPod commercials don't feature any black-silhouetted figures with white iPod earphones cavorting and dancing about while gardening, or vaccumming. That is an untapped market right there. Or maybe that's a demographic that Apple isn't worried about – they should. They could hire me as a consultant. Because I'm such an expert.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Canada Intends to Read

Jian Ghomeshi, in an homage to "Canada Reads" has invited the nation to read a literary work of great repute, and difficulty, that ought to have already been read by now. His selection for this year's "Canada Intends to Read" is James Joyce's Ulysses.

After his first weekend, he was on page 25 or so; I have no idea how far he's managed since then as my morning radio listening has curtailed lately. I've stalled in my own quest for literary poser greatness. Well, maybe not so much stalled as wilfully distracted.

My endeavour has been sidetracked by Guy Gavriel Kay's epic fantasy trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry (how did I not know about this before? and thanks to Cheryl's blog commenters for putting it onto my reading radar) and Doug Coupland's JPod (which I will love, because he wrote it – I'm saving it for holidays later this week).

I'm sure I'll get back to JJ's densely obscure tome, because I'm stubborn enough to finish it; whether I remember or comprehend anything upon my return is debatable. Perhaps some Guinness would help put me in the mood.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Just Chillin'

Tonight when the babysitter came, I asked what else she was doing this summer. She answered, "Just chillin'."

So were the kids:
new pool

At the wedding reception tonight, you may be surprised to learn that the Best Man's toast started with: "Here's to the bridesmaids for looking so good..." Wow, I didn't see that coming.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I joined the growing ranks of the Podpeople with the acqusition of an iPod Shuffle today.

Shelley and I had done an early birthday gift exchange this year, given that she knew what I was getting her (a hair straightener) and I'd have little opportunity to get it in the next couple weeks, closer to her birthday.

There was a sale on a 1 GB MP3-Player that I had eyed up, but upon getting it home, wasn't satisfied with the product. Also the hard sell on the extended warranty by the commissioned salesperson citing its poor quality, rubbed the wrong way. This, after extolling the virtues of the same gadget over and above its competitors...

We went into London for a few things today and exchanged the MP3-player for a brand name that I trust (*ahem* Apple, what about my commission?).

So, happy early birthday to us!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Positive Pee-r Pressure

With Reiko going to daycare on a more regular basis, she's become fast friends with a girl we'll call "H-M". They play together all the time and when we're home, Rei will often ask, "What is H-M is doing right now?"

Last night, Rei willingly sat on the potty. We had pretty much given up on the toilet training, waiting for that magical, mythical moment when she would decide it was time. Apparently, the time has come! (Incidentally, H-M uses the potty and doesn't wear diapers).

Today, there are 3 stickers on the latest incarnation of her potty sticker page. We've bribed her with a kite when she gets to 10. Ten more stickers after that and she gets a special Dora present. Seems like she's getting ready to cash in on all our desperate bribes from the past months (and she remembers all of them).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Let Your Backbone Slide

Last night after getting the kids settled, I anticipated some hang time in the hammock where I do some work on the laptop while enjoying the evening on the porch. As I hopped in, the anchoring chain slipped, sending me crashing to the ground; my back slammed into the metal pipe frame, and there was much pain. At least I managed to keep the computer injury-free.

Today is a day of soreness and ginger movements. I can't hold the same body position for too long, which made sleep difficult (coupled with Kai waking at 4 a.m. – I guess he wanted to get a head start on Boys' Day).

Although the location of my aching pain is positioned so that an ice pack tucked into my belt leaves both hands free. Admittedly, Kai didn't get the best Boys' Day today, and I couldn't imagine having both kids at home. Hopefully, I'll get into see the chiropractor tomorrow for some readjusting.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jeffy's Best Game

We had the pleasure of Jeffy's company for 20 hours. On his way to Goderich, he stopped for the night and caught up on each other's news and shared stories about the kids, of course.

This afternoon, he and I went out for 9 holes at the local course. I'm glad to say I was witness to his "best game ever". There were some excellent approach shots and we didn't see much of his slice; he went out on an astounding putt at #9. He credits the higher-quality rental clubs with his game.

A group let us play through at hole 5, so of course, we missed some putts on the 4th green and stunk it up as they watched and waited for us to move past them ...

My game picked up as we went along, making solid shots on the last 3 holes. Were I more bold in my putting, the score would not have been so close (57 to 58 for me). It was a hard-fought game and we both enjoyed ourselves, which is the most important thing. Plus, there were no incidents of public nudity on the course.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Apparently in our overly-sanitized world, children do not get enough exposure to allergens and bacteria, leaving them susceptible to asthma and other complications. So in Australia, researchers are developing a "dirt pill" to help build up immunity.
This morning at the beach, Kai received his daily dose of dirt.

Zen Castles

If there's something Rei likes more than building sand castles, it's crushing them.
It could be a comment on the impermanence of our existence or the futility of the human endeavour. Or it might just be fun.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

O Candy-da

Today marks the 6-year anniversary of our arrival in Arkona. How nice that they had another parade to commemorate the occasion!
Canada Day 2006
Rei and Kai weren't so impressed until after they realized how much candy they took in.