Saturday, September 30, 2006

Septemberwe'en

To mark the arrival of fall, and to find an excuse for some friends to gather together, we invited our summer camping friends over for a kids' fun day of cake and hotdogs and play in the park. The rainy weather nixed the last option, but the expansive manse allowed for a full scattering of toys and books.

Eight kids and 12 adults was a good enough ratio to allow for some grown-up conversation and catching-up and childcare. A full complement of casseroles, munchies and desserts kept us well fed. Surprisingly few tears were shed and tantrums thrown (by the kids too) and it was a joy to see everyone before another year passed.

Friday, September 29, 2006

High Fives

Kai will now walk across the room to deliver high 5's.
Hi-5
You'd think he'd just hit a walk-off home run or something. Superjob!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Motivation

After finishing watching Super Size Me last night, I was inspired to go for a run this morning. I also have a craving for a Big Mac.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Long Night's Journey into Day

With Shelley away at a conference, it's been single-parenting for a couple days. With daycare, the days have been manageable and our evening routine has helped keep things even.

Last night, Rei woke up at 1:40 because of a bad dream. After a snack and story, she still couldn't relax and joined me in the big bed at 2:20.

Kai had a coughing fit at 3:30; I went to settle him before he threw up. At 4:10 he was squawking again and I re-arranged him in the crib. At 4:37, I gave him a bottle and changed his diaper. After a few incidents of him crying out again as soon as I got back into bed, I carried him around and held him in the rocking chair for 20 minutes. 5:30 I got back to bed.

Kai woke again at 7:15; which was a nice stretch of sleep, given the night. Except the kids are usually in the car and on the way to daycare by 7:20. We didn't make it on time.

I got Rei up, fed the kids breakfast, got them to daycare with little incident. I tried to make it back home in time to put the recycling and garbage out but didn't make it in time. But I was early for Bible Study.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Shutterbug

Rei's first picture:
portrait of a lamb
I admire the placement of the lamb, at the intersection of the cushion angles on the couch. It evokes sentiments of linear fluidity cushioned by the stuffed pensiveness of the ovine subject. The white contrast on the earth tones is a profound commentary on contemporary peer pressure, socialization and the futility of belonging. Two thumbs up.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Duck

The same day we were in Holstein for a wedding at the Optimist Community Centre, was the same day duck hunting season opened. (Which would explain the people wearing camoflague at the reception).

To commemorate this wonderful coincidence, duck calls were used to entice/coerce the happy couple to kiss. You can imagine how well Rei reacted to an echoing flock of bird calls in the enclosed room. Yet I think she maintained composure better than the flustered Justice of the Peace who apparently hadn't heard a baby cry before.
spoon
Kai, in all his toddling cuteness, was pretty oblivious to all the goings-on and was merely happy for large expanses of floor. Having a spoon didn't hurt either, The Tick would approve.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tired Knees

Lately, Rei has been self-diagnosing that her knees were tired and that she couldn't walk. Meaning that her parents would have to pick her up and carry her.

It reminds me of childhood nights when the babysitter would usher us off to bed and my brother would collapse in the middle of the hallway and mournfully wail, "I can't mooooooove."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dance, Dance

I noticed Kai was dancing along to the music today.
Dance, Dance
A few more rehearsals and they'll be ready to tour.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Expanding Vocabulary

Once in a while, I'll go through my Junk emailbox to see what the spammers are up to these days. Wading through the pharmaceutical offerings, investment opportunities and health enhancers, I saw that Maggie Crouch sent me a message with the title "guiltily methane".

Given the presence of an adverb, I presume that "methane" is being used as a verb. That brought forth a juvenile chuckle as I imagined one red-faced Maggie Crouch furtively looking around to see if anyone might detect the "smelt she dealt". (Do not click to the link to Mr. Methane, Performing Flatulist if such subject matter is offensive to you, or if you wish to retain your perceptions of my maturity).

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wiggly Party

It seems I'm not the only concert goer in the family (Rheostatic tix arrived in the mail today): Shelley and Rei are going to see The Wiggles in London on November 1. It'll be a special Mother-Daughter outing supplemented by the ongoing aftermath of Halloween candy.

Weekend Update

It's been a busy few days with some pastorally intensive situations. Isn't there some witty remark about raining and pouring?

Kids' Table

At my cousin's wedding reception this weekend, Shelley and I sat at the kids' table with some other cousins. Mind you we're all in our late 20's and early 30's now. The toasts were as to be expected: everyone looked good and cleaned up well. Apparently there were lots of juicy stories about the bride and groom, but no one delivered on the goods. It's been a while since I've been at the kids' table. And there weren't drink tickets at our plates then.

While we were at the wedding, Shelley's family was over to babysit the kids where they got to experience the energetic joy of caring for our children.

Finding Footing
Kai's spending more time on his feet than on his seat lately. Although we need to do something about his road rage.
road rage

Pedal Power
Rei is also finding her footing, this time on the pedals, and discovering she's a road warrior.pedal power
The next day when she and I were on our bikes together, I discovered how hard it is to bike slowly and maintain balance. Also, the seats aren't the most comfortable when doing so.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Irish Roots

Shelley had redeemed some of her iCoke points for 3 downloads from Universal Music (sorry Al). It's harder than I thought. Any music that I would be interested in, I already have.

So I looked for a hit song or a blast from my past that I likely wouldn't bother buying the album for; hence, "Dance, Dance" by Fallout Boy, and "20th Century Boy" by Chalk Circle. I haven't yet committed to them, I'm still browsing. It could be that I used up all my decision-making energy to purchase tickets for the Rheostatics' swan song in March.

If you have any suggestions, I'd be willing to entertain a listen to them ... although country and rap don't get much airplay here at the manse.

While browsing through the very-poorly organized database, I discovered something that will send me on a CD-buying quest. I can tell that Shelley will be overjoyed.

Black 47 is a band I discovered in the early 90's. They're a desperate fusion of traditional celtic music with hip-hop, blues, jazz, rock, soul, and punk. Fire of Freedom detailed the woes of being Irish in New York and it was quirky and fun. But I didn't think there was enough to make a career out of it, and wrote them off as a flash in the pan (I won't call them a "one hit wonder" because I don't think anything reached "hit" status).

8 studio albums, 2 compilations and an ongoing tour prove me wrong; even though the vocalist can't really pull it off, and the lyrics are somewhat suspect (rhyming "hysterical" with "America"). However, the tunes are catchy, and the narratives are entertaining ("I Got Laid on James Joyce's Grave" strikes a chord with me, given my recent tussle with Ulysses).

They're so earnest and laughable, I can't help but smile as I listen. I'm no longer such a collector that I must possess all their remaining albums, but I do have my eye on a couple. Pogue mahone! No wait, I didn't mean that. How about, slainte!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Child of the Day

In a group behaviour modification effort, Rei's daycare class has instituted a "Child of the Day" idea. She woke up this morning very excited to be at daycare because she was CotD!

Today, she got to bring in some pictures of herself, presented a special toy to her peers during circle time, and enjoyed countless other perks like standing at the head of the line. Naturally, she enjoyed the star treatment.

She better enjoy the experience while she can, in a few weeks' time she'll be transitioning to the Senior Pre-School Room.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Suitable

I found a 2-piece gray suit: single-breasted, high-twisted (is that a term? the "consultant" mentioned something about it...), 2-button jacket with unfortunately pleated trousers. (Unfortunate in that they're pleated, not that the folds themselves are particularly grotesque). A couple shirts, light green and purple, and matching ties completed the purchase.

Although the Renovations Sale didn't lead to any real savings. It did lead to a delay in the tailoring as the shop will be the next to be re-fitted. At least I have some new shirt/tie combos to work with for the upcoming wedding.

My sales consultant, in his concluding piece of butt-kissing, commented that they're renovating because of customers like myself. Yes, patrons like me, who buy a suit every 4 years ...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

You Are Very *

Shelley has told me that The Rheostatics have broken up. I can't say I'm shocked by the news; saddened yes, but eternally grateful for their ground-breaking contributions to the Canadian soundscape.

"After much consternation, it has been resolved that the group's March 30th, 2007 date at Massey Hall will be the last live performance for the group as they have existed for the last two-plus decades."

It's been a wonderful, melodic run; perhaps I'll see those troubadours from Etobicoke on their fateful final night?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sending out an S.O.S.

If you happen to hear Rei call out, "Ay├║deme!" it means "Help me!"; such requests take on greater urgency when made in the bathroom. Just so you know.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No Sauce, No Suit

We went shopping in London after work/daycare. After finding a princess outfit that would fit Rei for Hallowe'en, we picked up some drive-thru McD's en route to Shelley's sister's apartment.

Once there, we discovered an astounding lack of condiments and accessories: ketchup (no big deal, there was some in the fridge), sweet & sour sauce (after being asked if we wanted sauce for the nuggets), caramel sauce for the apple slices, salad dressing, a straw for my Sprite Zero, and the toddler toy we asked for wasn't.

Seems like quality control at that establishment is slipping, it's not the first time our order (albeit different from the standard combos or Happy Meals, but not complicatedly so) has been messed up. Although, this time we couldn't go to the counter and get things corrected. What kind of clown operation is Ronald running these days?

Following our fast food misadventure, I headed out for some shopping. I went to 3 different stores, tried on 6 different suits but the right combination of style, fit, colour and price wasn't to be had. It looks like my single-breasted, 3-button, navy blue will have to do for the next couple weddings and anniversary services.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Canada Intended to Read

So Labour Day has come and gone. Congratulations to Jian Ghomeshi for completing Ulysses. Congratulations to me for not going crazy in my attempt to do the same.

I didn't even make it close to completion by the deadline: I'm on page 274 of 783. I could blame it on a number of thing like trying to tend to the family needs of two toddling children, the worship and pastoral needs of two towering churches, left little brain function to wade through the densely elusive allegory.

Also the fact that my 25¢ copy from 1961 fell apart into two distinct novellas with a scattering of single leafs crammed back into place, alluded to my pre-destined failure. Although I will slog on through the pages to eventually finish the book Canada intended to read.

I had made a vow not to read any other book until I finished Ulysses. Now that the Labour Day deadline has passed without incident, I'm turning to my stack of neglected, borrowed library books: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe; You Went Away, Timothy Findley; The Way the Crow Flies, Ann-Marie MacDonald; Sailing to Sarantium, Guy Gavriel Kay; Our Lady of the Forest, David Guterson; Disobedience, Jane Hamilton ...

My first post-Joyce foray is as far from early-20th century Ireland as I can get: The Road to Dune, a companion book to Frank Herbert's sci-fi epic, with original drafts, deleted scenes and correspondence. I noted that another trilogy based on Arrakis and its Spice is forthcoming; Shelley will be so happy for me. "The Spice must flow."

Choco the Clown

Kai's learning curve is accelerating as he gets his feet under him and his teeth around words. His vocabulary has expanded to include: "cheese" and "cracker" (do you detect a theme?)
kai cone 2
It seems "ice cream" won't be that far off either.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

He Likes Me!

Joy of joys, Paul Shirley considers me a friend! My request to be added to his list was granted; it reminds me of high school, trying to suck up to the cool kids. Mind you, Paul Shirley would be the last person to think of himself as a high school cool kid.

So, the purpose of my MySpace membership has been fulfilled: to read his blog and the gems contained therein. Where else can learn about possible titles for his book, his search for a tall, good-looking man that he can cruise bars with, his predilection to use the word "retard", his "love" of Kansas and Kansas City, and on-line blind dating?

In other celebrity news, Michael Stipe was a guest on tonight's episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and Sirajul and Mujibur made an appearance as pizza-jacking bandits. I'm not sure if I can stay up to see who's on Letterman tonight, if my idol worship trend continues, but something tells me it'll be a rerun.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Leisure Day

On this Monday, we indulged in the irony of a holiday celebrating the contributions of the Labour movement to society. (Although I'm well aware that others regard this coincidence as entirely appropriate).

We travelled to Sarnia's Canatara Park where the omnipresence of ducks, Rei's favourite animal and her choice for a pet, overcame her anxiety about the other creatures at the Children's Animal Farm. Mind you, we had to carry her the entire time; at least we knew her shoes were clean.

She did enjoy herself later at the playground, peeking through this "spaceship window":
space portal rei

Lunch was a very healthy serving of fries under the bridge before a leisurely drive home.

Kai had his first ice cream cone tonight.
kai cone
He figured out quickly enough how shotgun the ice cream by biting a hole in the bottom of the cone and sucking out the innards.

Before bed, as the sugar buzz was wearing off, he took a couple steps. He's not quite walking yet, but very soon he'll utilize bipedal locomotion.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

MySpace

I see that the online exploits of my favourite NBA benchwarmer will continue at myspace.com. Paul Shirley's contract with ESPN has come to its conclusion and if I need my fix of sardonic and wry wit with a dose of self-loathing from a 6'10" word-loving basketball wannabe, I need to become a "member".

Like any momentous decision, it takes some time for me to warm up to the idea before committing. This is not to say I'm abandoning my blogspot and throwing in with the myspacers; at least it's not Windows Live Spaces. Mostly, my deliberation is about what login name I will use ...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

On the Town

For the first time in a long time, Shelley and I went out for some shopping, movie and supper.

I stopped in at the new New Balance store in London, turns out finding shoes for size 7½, 4E width, is difficult even for a specialty store. And I didn't feel like waiting 2 weeks for my size to arrive and spend $160 for a running shoe (well, two of them, actually)....

We did manage to find Tegan & Sara's "So Jealous" so we can legally own the music that I borrowed from the Lambton County Libraries.

Despite Jeffy's movie recommendation of An Inconvenient Truth, also endorsed by some of Shelley's blog sources, we opted for something more darkly light-hearted. Little Miss Sunshine turned out to be a quirky, yet accessible, movie that was a superior family road trip to any of the National Lampoons vacations.

It carries a cinematic undertone of Blind Melon's "No Rain" video, although that could just be my resonance with Olive's character. There is a small dose of Weekend at Bernie's kitsch with an appreciable touch of resurrection at the end. Despite its predictability, the running gag throughout the movie never failed to amuse me. The grand finale dance scene outstrips that of Napoleon Dynamite.

Highly recommended; although keep in mind I haven't seen a movie in a theatre in ages...

As for supper at Jack Astor's? It was "nice".

Friday, September 01, 2006

Reunion

Shelley's parents pulled their trailer into our driveway this afternoon for a welcome stopover on their way back to the cottage from a western roadtrip. It was a reminder of how quickly time passes.

When they left, Kai was barely supporting himself on his hands and knees, log-rolling his way around the room, and Rei was still in diapers. The kitchen floor was still textured vinyl and our phone, TV and garage door opener functioned.

As grand/parents are wont to do, they bore gifts from the West: for me, tea from the Fairmont Hotel; for Shelley, soap from Pacific Coast Soap Works, and a Dora puzzle and storybook for the kids. The greatest gift may be the chance for Shelley and I to have a date night tomorrow – perhaps dinner and a movie? It'll be the first time in a long time.

What's in the theatres these days? It's been a while since I've thought to pay attention. "Snakes on a Plane"? I wonder if that movie's about snakes ... on a plane....

Redemption

If last week's golf outing was one of my worst, today's was immeasurably better. Well, measurably 16 strokes better (mind you, that is more an indication of how poor last week was). My swing was strong and on-line, my putting was passable; things are starting to come together. Poor club selection had a role in a couple holes, but 2 pars and 2 bogeys are a welcome change from my usual.

Still, those invested in my day job need not worry.