Thursday, August 31, 2006

Put a Lid on It

One of Kai's favourite activities has become taking lids off of containers and replacing them. Many variations present themselves: peering inside, placing a toy within, mismatching the lids; it's all great fun.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Blog Days of Summer

Maybe it is the August malaise, the lack of activity in the basketball world (the FIBA tournament and WNBA hold only the most passing of interest for me), the dropping off the Blue Jays in the pennant/post-season races, the dearth of new television, or the preparation for the busy-ness to come that is September, but I'm finding it difficult to compose blog entries for the time being.

Putting up cute pictures of the kids is not presently an option, as Rei has become quite camera shy lately – any request I've made to take her picture results in an emphatic "NO, thank you!" My sense of balance hasn't allowed me to go overboard with Kai pictures yet, although he does have 26 months of catching up to do. Not that I'm implying he is inferior or behind in anyway ... maybe I should just stop here before my other foot crams itself into my mouth (keyboard?).

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's Catching

After some debate this morning, Kai went to daycare and had a fine day. His body temperature was much cooler and he had a good, but subdued, day.

I, on the other hand, have a summer cold. Despite sniffles, sneezes and an endless string of kleenex, I managed to get a few household chores done, a bit of church work and some Daddy Day moments with Rei.

I'm headed to the "sick bed" tonight to quarantine myself from Shelley; there should be at least one healthy parent in the household. *sniff*

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Last night Kai had a temperature and did not sleep very well at all. Dosing him with Tylenol and Advil through the day helped somewhat.

We managed a fairly peaceable visit to great-grandma for supper. A walk around the block helped, although the neighbour's big dog loping over to greet our return didn't help Reiko.

If it's a new tooth, his molars are next in line. Of course, the alarmist parent in me wonders about West Nile...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Picture in Picture

A Portrait of the Artist (and His Sister) as a Young Man:
Speaking of James Joyce, I really should get back to that book if I want to finish it by Labour Day.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Dancing & Duffing

Dancing in the kitchen with Rei has evolved away from Hi-5 to take on a more Canadian flavour: Neil Young and Tegan & Sara.

Our dance routines now incorporate some of Pocoyo's grooving moves as well as chasing each other around in circles.

My golf outing in the afternoon was pretty horrid. I couldn't get a handle on the slick greens and turned in my worst performance all year. Mind you, I also hit my best drive ever: 230 yds down the middle of the fairway! Too bad I followed up the last 95 yds with 6 shots...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Patience of Job

I took the car in for an oil change today. I saw a trio of sales staff standing around outside enjoying the afternoon. I entered the waiting area to an onslaught of one-sided conversation.

There was a sweet "little old lady" who was opining, reiterating and waxing ignorant about anything and everything. When I arrived, she was talking about her phone:

"I still have a dial phone, you know the one with the numbers that you use with your fingers? When I'm on the phone and you have to push the button? I can't do that; I go to my neighbours. Do I have to pay Bell for the push-button phones?"

After learning what I do for a living:

"I'm born again. Baptist. My dad was Presbyterian but I'm Baptist. You should tell your wife when you get home that she's like an angel – hanging around, up there, always harping! Ha! You know the health food store here in town? The owner was saying that he thanks God ten times a day. Now that gets you thinking, doesn't it? It got me thinking."

After pulling out my laptop and popping in the headphones to signal that I don't want to be part of the conversation:

"What does a computer do? I don't know anything about them, my grandson works with them all the time. They scare me. I like flowers and animals and health. Could a computer teach me about that? How do you pay for it? Is it a little each month? Can you show me your computer? How does it work? My grandson knows all about them; he says he could get me one. How does the internet work?"

In the almost-hour that I was there, she didn't let up at all. You can imagine what she thinks about raising kids these days, the high cost of auto repair and getting old.

My sales guy was telling me later that she'd been there for 3 hours while their car was getting fixed. He spent an hour-and-a-half of it outside, enjoying the afternoon. He was going to call me into his office to discuss a "problem with my file" so I could get some work done in peace away from the chatter. Had he done that, I might have felt obligated to buy another car or, at the very least, lease a getaway vehicle.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Gallery: Boy Blue

In an overcompensating attempt to bestow attention upon the second child and the lack of photos on the blog, here is Kai ...

... Boxing

... Climbing

... Drinking

... Standing

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to Earth

Our TV watching has fallen out the treehouse and crashed back to earth. The cable company sometimes previews a channel from one of their "deluxe" packages. For the past month, we've enjoyed the preschool-friendly programming of Treehouse.

This morning, the preview was revoked, right in the middle of Dora the Explorer. Rei burst into tears wanting to know how they saved the red fire truck (although I'm pretty sure she's seen it before). Looks like we'll have to make do with the mish-mash of TVO Kids, CBC Kids, PBS with some TLC; we also have a 6-hour tape from one afternoon when I popped a cassette into the VCR and hit "Record": it's a hard life.

Prison Broken

I've always enjoyed the heist movie or the escape story, watching how meticulous plans and preparations fall into place. Maybe it was the influence of Hannibal Smith in my impressionable years: "I love it when a plan comes together". And so Prison Break was one of my must-sees last year.

Although the season finale didn't do it for me. After T-Bag's hand went the way of Chase Edmunds' (24: Day 3), my zeal for the series abated somewhat, and I question how this series could credibly go beyond this year.

Yet I'm very pleased and excited to see Scofield and Sucre return to the small screen for another run and hope not to be disappointed ... noting that Abruzzi is only credited with a guest appearance, my favourite born-again, lapsed-again mob boss, may not share my enthusiasm.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

30% Chance of Rain

The 2006 edition of TA Camping was more domestic than times past, as we converged upon a homestead with thoughts of tent camping in the yard. The forecast gave cause for optimism, 30% chance of rain. As in 30% chance that it would rain all day.

Fortunately the large farmhouse had plenty of room those gathered, and their kids. Although our two were spending the night with my parents nearby; so we had the luxury of looking after only ourselves at meal times.

There was a surprising paucity of Simpsons' references and quotations, but there was much talk about Treehouse programs (yay Pocoyo! boo Ruby! wha? Toopy & Binoo? sorry Daniel Cook, make way for Emily Yeung!) and musing about the incarnations of Icon-o-clash, possibly featuring a Ralph Wiggum Division.

There also wasn't much "camping" unless you count sleeping on couches, cushioned floors and tractor beds camping. In which case, there was lots of it. Something else there was a lot of? Beer and tea (and trips to the bathroom).

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Literary Odyssey

I've calculated that I need to read 33 pages of Ulysses every day for the next couple weeks in order to complete the book by Labour Day. This being my participation in Canada Intends to Read, I'm not going to lose any sleep if I don't reach my quota. (Therein being the problem, I tend to fall asleep before the 33 page mark).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back to Life

We're back home after 4 hours of driving (and 6 hours between departure and arrival). I'm getting caught up on things. One of those things did not happen while on holiday was making progress in Ulysses. Although I learned that, if I were to suffer from insomnia, James Joyce is a viable solution. I did read that Leopold Bloom had lunch. I'm not sure why it's called Ulysses, if it's a classical reference, or a person in story, or if merely reading the tome is an odyssey.

As for now, it's time to get caught up on the blogs and the "important" events of the sporting world. Last time I was away for the week, the biggest news in the NBA was Steve Nash's haircut.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Italian Job

My golfing excursion took me to Port Severn, only to be told by the people at the Information Centre that I didn't really want to go there, a better course was in Coldwater. So it was off to Bonaire Golf.

I found myself stuck behind a slow 3-some with no hint of playing through, and another 3-some on my tail, I sociably formed a four with 3 Italian men with thinning and greying hair. Meet Mario, Marcello and Wally.

At the 6th hole, a 150-yard par 3, it was decided that anyone not making the green had to (how to frame this delicately?) perform a certain sex act upon the others. Mercifully, this declaration was modified to simply clearing the water hazard after Wally failed to meet the requirement.

This is why I would rather golf by myself than join up with strangers. They were nice enough; we're just from different worlds. For the record, I cleared the water hazard (by a large margin) and finished the hole with a quality putt.

After supper, I helped the next-door neighbour patch the crack in his driveway. He rewarded my time and effort with beer and golf balls. Everybody wins.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Standing 3-Count

This afternoon, Kai was standing on his own in the middle of the room for 3 seconds. He delightedly throw his hands up in the air and plonked back down onto his diaper-padded bottom before, in the immortal words of Chumbawamba, he gets "up again, you're never going to keep [him] down".

Monday, August 14, 2006


After watching me sneeze numerous times in a row today, Kai mimicked the head movement. As he gauged our delighted and appreciative reaction, he now will repeatedly nod his head with an expectant smile on his face.
As parents, we're relieved that, despite, all the "No Kai!"s that he's heard in his lifetime, his first communication is in the affirmative.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hummers and Fusions

We got an early start to the second week of our summer holidays, leaving for the cottage after church. With a toilet trained girl in the back seat, more stops were made as we got acquainted with public bathrooms in Mitchell, Atwood, Mount Forest and Elmvale.

We always seem to notice that after purchasing or investigating a particular make and model of a car, the roads are rife with them. Not so with our Fusion; they still seem to be rather sparse in our sightings, although we did see a smattering of them in our travels.

In addition to our car-spotting, we spied 3 Hummers. I continue to marvel at what functional use a military vechicle could possibly have in civilian hands apart from gas-guzzling, posturing for status, let alone transporting the glorified lab technicians of CSI: Miami.

The Happy Meal treat at McDonald's? A toy Hummer.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Summer Foods

At Lambton Centre's annual Pork & Beef BBQ, we also indulged in some summer staples: corn on the cob and watermelon. To our surprise, Rei gnawed happily on both. Her ever-discerning palate is growing and we are always thrilled to have more options at dinner time.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Night Musings

For posterity, and my embarrassment, I'm recording some unfiltered thoughts while hypoglycemic and waiting for my sugar snacks to kick in:

  • The name of movie writer/director/producer M. Night Shamaylan rhymes with "Taliban".
  • What about a Medic Alert bracelet made of candy?
  • Maybe I should finish the night sleeping on the couch so I don't wake the kids going back to bed...
  • What about "Briar" as the name for a baby? (no we're not expecting another)
  • This list of random thoughts is a good idea.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Kai is a very affable and affectionate child. Curious and active, we've taken to calling him "Farzzle". Lately, he has taken to zerbert-ing our legs, torsos, arms, shoulders, any available body part.

It's funny (and a little scary) how easily a word like "zerbert" immerses itself into our lexicon. "Thanks" Bill Cosby for that; and also for the "food" we call "Jell-o Pudding Pops".

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Storm Repair

We're still sorting out the aftermath of last week's electrical storm. I exchanged the burnt-out DSL modem at our service provider. After swinging by the hospital in Strathroy, I bought a new cordless phone (going all the way up to 2.4 GHz) and a new answering machine for the church. All that remains to be replaced is the church computer (maybe the data is recoverable) and the garage door opener.

It could have been worse.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Parkhill Pad

The aquatic adventures continued at the splash pad in Parkhill. Getting out of the car, Rei surveyed the scene and gave her approval: "There's no one scary here" referring, we think, to the larger-than-life "Slippery the Seal" that greeted her at Storybook Gardens.

Kai crawled around and about through puddles, pools and geysers; Rei sprinted through showers and sprinklers. After a picnic lunch and some park play, we headed home a little damp, and with sore faces from smiling so much.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Beach Night

In the afternoon, we headed to the lake which was as busy as middle-of-a-long-weekend might expect. We met up with one of Shelley's co-workers and his family (including one of Rei's daycare classmates) for beach barbecue.

Despite the crowds, Reiko enjoyed herself, continually running back and forth from the beach blanket to the water, splashing about and cavorting. Kai made the most of the soft sand and the other boys' toys.

We're not usually on the water at day's end, so we witnessed the evening closing-down-the-beach routine of tractors and trucks hauling their JetSkis and boats out of the lake. We headed home ourselves, sandy, sunshiney and spent.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Heights

Kai went upstairs by himself today (with supervision). He crawled up the flight of 16 steep farmhouse steps with little difficulty.

He paused and looked around a few times, but once Rei appeared at the top of the stairs to cheer him on, he was motivated to complete his ascent. Ever on the move, that's our boy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Meet Big Brown

Better late than never; Rei decided tonight that she'd like to play with the broomstick horse that she got for Christmas. Looking at her now and the delight she gets from her steed, "Big Brown", you wouldn't know she was petrified of the thing for the last 8 months.
big brown
Maybe today's episode of Dora (where she's a cowgirl on a horse) prompted today's daring pony ride.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Last night's thunderstorm fried a lot of components around here. Our cordless phone, the church answering machine, the church computer, the garage door opener and our internet connection all fell victim. (I'm currently online courtesy of "linksys" in the neighbourhood). And our TV fritzed; mind you, it's 12-years old, almost as old as my shorts.

So instead of birthday golf today (it would have been in the pouring rain), I had permission and free rein to go and buy a TV. After doing some scouting around on-line, and measuring the dimensions of our entertainment unit, I had in mind a Toshiba 26" widescreen but was open to other options.

I checked Sam's Club and saw a 24" Sanyo flatscreen with widescreen capability for about half the price of the other. I headed on to the Sears Outlet Store but everything there was too big, expensive and damaged.

I bought a mousepad as a present to myself and proceeded
to Future Shop to examine the Toshiba. I was going to try bargaining for some Monster component cables or a surge protector to be thrown into with my purchase, but didn't expect them to want to earn my business. Except there was a couple there (also with measuring tape) who bought the last one right in front of me. After checking with the manager, I could have bought the floor model, but at full price; they called the other London store and said there one was "a brand new one" there. How novel, pay full price for a product that hasn't yet been used!

While they were somewhat helpful, and not totally inattentive, they were acting jerkish so I took my business back to Sam and bought the Sanyo. I also got a laptop case and some steaks with the money I saved. Although searching around on-line, I don't think I got much of deal on the TV. But the price I paid for the laptop case and steaks, recovered the cost of our membership.

Maybe tomorrow afternoon, I'll get my golf fix (and use my new balls and tees).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


It seems that Kai is turning into his dad. Shelley broached the idea of buzzing his hair. With the weather being so hot and humid, and given his propensity to pull at his hair when uncomfortable, it seemed like a good idea. I had no objections.
Somehow, I don't see the same solution for Rei...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Summer Metamorphosis

I'm also turning into Shelley's dad. Sitting at the supper table with my shirt off, beer in hand, and crunching on a stalk of green onion, I apparently reminded her of someone...