Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve 2007

'Twas a sleepless night for us as the kids had trouble settling in an unfamiliar place and ended up in our bed with us. And many of us have a variety of illnesses and ailments, namely runny noses and sore throats.

The morning was spent with the kids playing with toys and watching some TV together while the grown-ups took turns napping and showering. The all-day eating of snacks and appetizers began with "lunch" and a tobogganing expedition by Rei and Kai was cut short by cold weather and the presence of a dog.

For the New Year's Eve festivities, we watched an HBO concert of The Flight of the Conchords, and some internet video clips (that sounds sleazier than it was: some old favourites like "badgerbadger" and "numa numa"; Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice"; conservative Christian spoof "Baby got Book"; and some Homestar Runner).

Once the kids were to bed, Shelley left to nap with Kai, and a game of Settlers happened. We rang in the New Year while listening to Sean Cullen on CBC and that was our wild and crazy night. I did open another of Keizo's Christmas gifts to me tonight. Fuller's Vintage Ale bottle number 13374 (of 150 000) is no longer with us. Happy 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 2007, Part 5

For the most part, the trip to Kingston went well. The roads were clear and traffic was light; the kids did well to make it through Toronto before an extended stop at a McDonald's Play Place to burn off some energy. The plan was then for Kai to nap the rest of the way, but he chose to exercise his toddler veto. So everyone was a little punchy for the last hour-and-a-half of the trip, for different reasons; we were glad to arrive at Jeffy & Cheryl's.

The reunion of all the kids met everyone's high expectations. There was lots of joy and energetic celebration, giggling and co-operative play. It was the kind of interaction that we parents had envisioned for our children many years ago.

A yummy supper of salmon and sweet potato fries preceded gift giving where the children delighted in ripping wrapping and excited "thank you!"s. After bathtime and playtime and getting the kids to bed, if not to sleep, Shelley and I played a couple rounds of Blokus with Jeffy, which we received as a gift.

Then we were introduced to the British "gameshow" QI hosted by Stephen Fry, better known in our household as the narrator for Pocoyo.

It was a full day of travel, friends, food and fun. Our Christmas circuit for the year is now complete.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Anticipation and Preparation

For the past 7 years, we've gotten together with Jeffy and Cheryl for New Year's Eve (with the exception of the time they were in New Zealand and we were not). This year is no exception as we prepare to travel to Kingston for a few days, leaving tomorrow.

Clothes were set aside, and we packed books and toys for the car ride. I was at Wal-Mart getting some provisions for the trip (and to return a defective Christmas present) where I saw 5 people connected to the church in Arkona and one from Glencoe. In fact, as I was checking out I saw at a register further ahead, an Arkona couple in line ahead of the Glencoe person, but I was too far away to catch up or say anything. I guess that's the place to be seen on a Saturday afternoon.

Reiko and Kai are very excited about the prospect of seeing their friends, and so are we. The six hours in the car to get there is another matter.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gender Separation

Shelley went over the border for some shopping and Olive Garden to commemorate Sister Day, topped off with a sleepover at Shauna's apartment. Rei was quite excited to be included in the festivities tonight, leaving me with Kai at the house.

Boys' Night was bath and some Treehouse before settling Kai to bed. Which left me with a vacation evening alone with a couple movies: "Howl's Moving Castle", which would have been better had the DVD not been skipping so much; and "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004), which would have been better had ... well, there's too much to suggest really.

There was also some chicken wings from the crockpot and a basketball game; so in the end, I was happy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sculpture and Painting

With help from the boy next door and his dad, the kids and I took advantage of the available snow and the milder weather:
Snow family

Afterwards, it was more artistic activity as some piggy banks were painted:
Piggy bank painting

Yes, the kids are feeling better today.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Frat Boy Forever

Keizo's Christmas gift to me is now magnetically mounted on the fridge. I love that it's classically quirky in the Steam Whistle vein of retro.
frat gifts
But it is admittedly "frat boy chic" that doesn't quite match the young family vibe of our domicile. Still, it suits me fine; thanks, bro!

Christmas 2007, Part 4

Maybe it's the Boxing Day Blues, but the kids were out of sorts today. Granted, we've had a series of late nights and departures from the usual routine.

On the way through the fog towards Shelley's grandmother's apartment in Exeter, Rei complained of a headache while both kids were generally cranky. For the most part, Reiko didn't eat much and lay down on the couch or great-grandma's bed. It felt like she had a bit of a temperature, so I went to the drugstore for some acetaminophen. Stopping also to get gas, I instructed a fellow consumer on the rudimentary points of pumping one's own petrol, a concept that a was clearly foreign to him.

Rei perked up a bit after her dosage and Kai eventually napped on great-grandma's bed. Our visit wasn't the best, but still the opportunity to create memories for the kids and spend time with family was not wasted. Once home, and still stuffed full of poultry and fixings, we had a small supper and early bath and bed time. Here's hoping for happier kids tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007, Part 3b

Much ado about everything at the farm, as the kids were excited and excitable, interacting with their uncles and aunt and grandparents. This was the year the children were old enough to appreciate the specialness of Christmas and familiar enough with their relatives to be engaging and, as usual, entertaining.

The kids were abundantly gifted with toys and clothes and treats. We'll have to make room for the Cars cars and Princess Belle, ponies and a Transformers potato head, walkie-talkie headsets and puppet theatre that were so generously given.

farm xmas 2007
Kai is styling in his new Christmas sweater, and while Rei is not playing with the gift boxes, she does have affinity for cushions.

Christmas 2007, Part 3a

The kids slept later than usual (if you ignore Kai waking up at 3 and coming to our bed for the rest of the night); apparently, the full-paced days have wore out Christmas morning anticipation.

Despite Kai's expression, he really is happy to have a pony of his own:
xmas 2007 morning
He also is also enjoying his coffee maker, cash register, safari animals and Diego big-boy underwear.

Reiko is happy to have a watch of her own, a new doll, Hello Kitty stationary, and Princess days-of-the-week underwear.

Soon, we'll off to the farm to fill up on turkey for Christmas 2007, part 3b.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Guitar Hero

Apparently, Kai's experience of The Swell worship service made quite an impression on him. He was asking Shelley if there would be guitars at church today. I'm sure he was also looking for a big screen for visual effects.

Upon my return home, after working at the office through the afternoon, he greeted me with some more stories about the "mans" with the "guiTARRR", talking about straps and showing off his own musical showmanship:

And kicking into some more energetic shredding:
guitar hero

I blame Pat Morrison.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas 2007, Part 2

We hosted Christmas with Shauna and John, to the delight of the kids. Rei now has a pet cat named "Catty Whiskey" that purrs when petted, slurps milk when given a bottle and meows when ignored. Kai now has a Little People deluxe castle set, but it's no surprise that he also enjoys the box it came in:
boxed set

There were a few surprises however. An old Arkona Christmas tradition continues with the gift of Stott cinnamon buns. We'd been accustomed to their presence at Christmas and mourned the fact that with our departure, we'd have to turn to Pilsbury for a substitute. The Stotts tracked us down and presented with generous dose of doughy sweet goodness.

Also surprising was the suggestion that we play a board game and Shelley and I quickly seized the opportunity to introduce Shauna and John to the marvellous world of Catan. It was good practice for our upcoming visit with the Parsons-Sheldrakes.

This time it feels more seasonal to say "Merry Christmas".

Friday, December 21, 2007

That Was Swell

Shelley and the kids joined me in attending the youth-oriented "The Swell" worship service tonight. Rei noted with interest the movement/dance elements of the evening (perhaps I do have a budding liturgical dancer in my family) and Kai was intrigued by all the people, the live band and the big screen "TV".

Despite their extreme tiredness, the kids were very keen to stay for the entire time. It was nice to not have a leadership or presenting role in a service worship where I could sit and enjoy and fully participate and appreciate as a worshipper. Those times are rather few and far between.

It was pretty swell; whatever.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Angel Tree

Kai came home with an ornament for the tree that matches up well with one that Reiko made a couple years ago:
angel ornaments
"Angels we have heard on high..."

Another Week Gone By

It must be the High Holy Hectic time of Christmas coming. To share the newsworthy events of the week that was:

Saturday - Rei's dance class had an open session where the family could sit in and see their starlets perform.

Sunday - Snow Day! - No church services that morning. Shovelled out the driveway in the morning. And in the afternoon. And in the evening after the plow went by. Still, it was easier than digging out the manse driveway of yesteryear.

Monday - After an Early Years morning of having the site to ourselves, we dug some more in the afternoon. We excavated a snow cave in the mound by the road (facing the sidewalk, for safety's sake), dug a snow staircase into our front yard and channelled a snow tunnel/slide.

Tuesday - After daycare/school/work, we headed to London to do some Christmas shopping, strategically avoiding Santa and his picture throne; not because the kids would then pester us to stand in line, but because of the real and present danger that His Jolliness represents.

Wednesday - I bought snow tires for Shelley's car, but the garage didn't carry the proper size rims (contrary to what they told me the day before, when I was calling around). So they mounted the tires on the current ones and my automotive investigations will continue.

I realized that my Christmas holidays begin in 4 days. Maybe I'll have more blogging time then; in the meantime, the preparation continues.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nine Ladies Dancing

Not sure where the content of this post vanished to after hitting "Publish" so is it really repeating myself if no one else knew what I said?

Tonight I had opportunity to shake my moneymaker for the church at the Sunday School concert. In a group rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", I was called upon to dress up in a grass skirt and bikini top and hula like Nine Ladies Dancing. (And a cryptic comment made to me about coconuts earlier in the week suddenly made sense).

This is as close as I get to liturgical dance.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Running Behind

I thought I was being so clever and time-savvy this morning when I directed my morning run towards the bank; I still got about 5 km out of the deal as well as some buisness transacted. That was about the only time I was ahead of the game today.

The recycling/garbage truck tricked me by going down our side of the street first, usually the other side gets picked up before ours does. So I didn't quite have everything sorted and bagged and tagged in time. At least there's next week.

One more good thing: I had completed my run before all the snow blew in. Which means the drive to work took some extra time and I proceeded straight to the seniors' apartments to get ready for the Christmas service with the ministerial. This also meant I didn't get to print off my mini-sermons; so I handwrote some margin notes and winged it.

The afternoon Christmas service at another seniors' home was late starting and with the addition of 4 musical pieces by the local school choir, it was even later finishing. Then it was onto a visit with a parishioner before picking up the kids from daycare.

Running late again/still, I called Shelley to see if she could gather the kids and meet me at a restaurant for supper. From there, Shelley went back to work and I took the kids home for bed. At least I was back in time for "Survivor: China"'s penultimate episode.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stage Fright

Today was the school Christmas Concert, where Rei takes on the role of a spinning top. Before getting on the bus, she told me she didn't want to be in front of all the moms and dads.

Reportedly, the afternoon presentation in front of the other classes went well. After supper with my parents and Aunt Shauna, we all headed to the school for the evening show. Despite Rei's earlier reticence, she performed admirably. She hit her mark and was on cue, spinning and singing like a star.

[a picture will go here, once I crop the other kids out and remove the demon glare from her eyes]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Private Eye

At supper, Reiko related the news of a new girl in her daycare class. She said, "She says she's 7-years old." Her eyes narrowed as she conspiratorially shared, "I don't think she is."

Then Rei talked about how she followed the new girl around all day, watching what she was doing and who she was playing with; maybe gathering evidence of her true age.

We asked Rei if she knew what the girl's name was. "No." I guess that was a minor detail in the game of cloak and dagger.

Monday, December 10, 2007

December & Everything after

It's been a while since my series of conscientious updates so it's perhaps time to recap the week that was.

On Tuesday I conceded defeat to Satan. The library wanted its book back and I was only halfway through the lyrically fantastical tale of religious incarnation known as The Satanic Verses. I'm not sure where the controversy lay and I didn't really have any sense of connection to the characters. While I enjoyed Rushie's writing style, it's not an easy or particularly compelling read, I just didn't have the time or concentration to finish. Maybe another time, along with Ulysses.

Wednesday I met with a family who lost a 25-year old son in a traffic accident on the weekend. So you can imagine where much of my attention went this week.

Thursday I had to track down "The Pizza Villa" in Glencoe to meet with one of the ministers-across-the-road to plan the Christmas worship services at a couple of the senior citizens' homes. I took a stroll to what I assumed was said Pizza Villa only to find a small countertop take-out operation that lacked seating of any kind. I stepped outside to discover my assumption led me to "Pizza Picasso".

I headed back to the church, met up with my meeting partner and we headed over to the intended site: "The Villa Dining Lounge". Such is life in the small town – discovering the difference between what things are called and what they're known as.

Friday was sugar-high day for the kids. Aunt Shauna and John came over with a gingerbread house which the kids confectionarily assembled.
Then it was to A&W for supper which included some orange pop. Kai cheerfully and loudly identified a fellow customer as "SANTA!" who just happened to have a grey-white mustache-beard combo and a bit of heft to his physique. While we agreed with Kai that, yes, that man did resemble the societal construct known as Santa, it was not His Jolliness dining near us. The man in question was goodnatured enough, but ate quickly and left before someone else blew his cover.

Saturday was the funeral service and some preparation for Sunday morning. Not sure what more to say beyond that.

Sunday was Sunday, as ever.

And I've run out of blogging steam for tonight.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Behind the Scenes

This morning I was called upon to deliver a file box from the trunk of the car to the site of the Early Years program. It was no great hardship because I had planned to attend anyway.

Shelley and I put the Christmas tree up this afternoon, so that the kids could decorate it later.
tree trim 2007

I made pizza dough in the afternoon, rolled it out, prepared the toppings, and the kids assembled the culinary creation. After thanking the kids for making supper, Rei graciously said that Dad helped a little too. I told her that made me the sous chef; she seemed to like that assessment.

This is the glorious life I lead. It's why I became a minister, all the power and the glory. Forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow Rain Man

After returning from the churches' White Gift services, it was on to shovelling out the driveway. Not surprisingly, it took nowhere near as long as it would have last year. Rei and I had time to make a new friend:
snowman 2007
With the rain currently falling, I don't think our snowy friend will be with us for very long. And I can get my hat back.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hot Pockets

After Rei's dance class, and on the way to a church Christmas bazaar, we heard some of Go's freakiest, unsung Canadian comedians. One in particular caught Reiko's attention: Jim Gaffigan's routine about Hot Pockets/Pizza Pockets.

Lunch was a church ham dinner and for supper, we invited Shelley's soon-to-be-moving-to-Calgary-co-worker-and-his-family over for supper. (Lasagne: hot pocket without the pocket). Their kids and ours played well together, staying up past bedtime.

Everyone managed to maintain their good humour, although they became somewhat giddy. Especially if you happen to sing the simple little jingle "Hot Pock-ets!" to a little girl.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Sandman Passes

With the cold weather and consequent curtailing of outdoor play, Kai's DQ (Dirt Quotient) has been low. At the Early Years Centre's sand table this morning, Kai made up for his low dirt intake by drinking sand through a straw. We found some of it in his diaper tonight.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Test Drive

This morning, I took the car in for service (oil change and new headlight bulbs) and drove one of the dealership's courtesy cars, a big boat of a Crown Victoria to work. I had also asked they check the front end and the tie rods, as per the advice of my father-in-law.

Upon my return, I learned the car wasn't ready yet; in process of replacing the broken tie rods and realigning the tires, a bolt broke off and needed to be ordered. Having noted a newer courtesy car in the parking lot, I asked if I could take a smaller car overnight instead. After signing the necessary insurance waiver, I was given the keys to a 2008 Focus. (Such a waiver wasn't needed for the older, buoyant Crown Vic).

A lot of changes have been made to the design of the Focus since we bought ours in its first year of production. I quite enjoyed the satellite radio on the short drive home. I didn't mind running errands tonight in town, banking and groceries, as I perused could listen to CBC Radio 3 (Sirius channel 94) in real time while on the road.


It seemed to be the day for people trying to sell me things at work today. Even before I got out of the car, there was a representative for ChurchWares shaking my hand and seeking to fulfill all our candle and vestment needs.

After filing the accumulated church-related junk mail, I fielded a phone call from a photo directory company. Apparently, saying "we have your contact information; if we decide to proceed, we'll contact you" wasn't enough and so a follow-up call is to be expected in March.

The phone rang again near the end of office hours. Not expecting phone solicitors, I was too long to hang up the phone after the momentary silence of the computerized auto-dialer for MNBA. I had to interrupt someone's spiel about some kind of financial services offered to us so that I could hang up.

One of my clergy colleagues from across the street happened to be there and commented that it's no wonder people are so suspicious when we show up at their door or call on the phone. Because, really, all we're doing is selling them back their soul.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


In an attempt to put a big dent in our Christmas-supply shopping, and dine at Olive Garden, Shelley and I took the day off together and spent it in Michigan. We dropped the kids off at daycare and crossed the border.

There was some preliminary investigation at Toys R Us and a wander through the mall, before some pseudo-Italian refuelling at Olive Garden. We filled our cart at Target and again at Toys R Us. It wasn't so much the strength of the Canadian dollar (although it was nice to view prices at par) as the different selection in clothes, shoes, toys, soap and other sundry items.

Back over the border without delay, we picked up the kids and returned home as if it was just another day. Meaning, of course, a church meeting in the evening.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In the Dark

I don't know if I should read too much into this, but after tonight's Presbytery meeting, I discovered both headlights burnt out. As I left the streetlamp-lit roads of London, I thought to myself, Wow, it's really dark out tonight!

So I was the one driving with my high beams on the entire time, ignoring the helpful flickers of on-coming motorists informing me that my lights were too bright. Sometimes I clicked off to demonstrate my dilemma, assuring them I chose to be a blinding jerk than an idiot in the dark. It's not often I get to be the one who makes that choice.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Yes, the pager has pretty much been the focus of my attention. Apparently, it senses this and also detects when I might have moved onto something else. It has been chirping intermittently through the day. My guess is that the battery is low; no one has called from the hospital asking why I'm not there.

The kids, on the other hand, are fascinated by this turn of events. Like we don't have enough noise-making gadgets around here ...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Called On

Of course, with the week I'd been having, the hospital chaplain pager goes off.

I won't say much beyond the fact that it was an intense situation. Nothing dramatically tragic in the way of newpaper headlines, but still heartbreaking. I spent about as much time with some of the hospital staff afterwards as with the family.

Yet despite the emotional toll that I pay in such instances, it also felt fulfilling to be making a real connection with others in a time of need, to have made a difference.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Haiku Birthday

On this day commemorating Urs's birth, we also mark the beginning of this blog's 4th year. Can it be that long? They grow up so fast!

As per tradition, a haiku for Ursula:
With visa in hand,
Urs and Ger prepare to go.
The Canucks are glad.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

White Club

There's been a lot of news lately about Queen's University and its culture of whiteness. While I'm not ashamed of my alma mater, I'm not the most vocal proponent of the school often telling people "it's a good school, but not as good as it thinks it is..."

I have to say I'm pretty adept at noticing this sort of thing, but I have to say I didn't notice much in the way of white power. Perhaps I was over awed by diversity of gender or sexual orientation. Admittedly, I was inundated with multiculturalism by virtue of 4 years living on the International Floor of the residences.

Although further reflecting on my years at Queen's (an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree, a Master's, and various Senate committees), there is a pronounced dearth of pigment in the derma of faculty and administration. My Japanese language course and Introduction to Islam were the only ones not taught by some variety of white-skinned professor.

It's OK though; some of my best friends are white.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


When Shelley picked up Kai from daycare, his teacher said, "I hope you weren't going out anywhere tonight ..."
Kai do
With a hairdo like this, he's ready for the mean streets of Strathvegas.


After a hiatus of a few years, I'm back on the rotation at the local hospital as a chaplain on-call. Here's hoping I won't notice the few extra ounces clipped to my belt this week.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Glory Hound

I was with Kai at the Early Years drop-in at Glencoe Presbyterian this morning where he was happily constructing a tower of blocks. When it was finished, it wasn't enough that I praised his efforts. He needed everyone's attention.

Kai turned to the room and called out in a loud voice, "Look at me! Look at this! Hi! Hi! Look at me! A tall tower! Hi!" and so on, until one of the Early Years staff from across the room acknowledged his achievement. It's cute now, but I can see the makings of a class clown.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Morning Sickness

Maybe it was too much partying the evening before, but Rei was feeling sick to her stomach on the way to church.

Since the morning, she's been feeling better. With winter clothing coming out of the closet, she's re-fitted her superhero persona with warmer boots and a new snowpants-cape.
Winter Hero Wear

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Christmas 2007, Part 1

As mentioned previously, and as has been the custom for the past few years, we've hosted Christmas for Shelley's immediate family before her folks head south for the winter.

With the turkey roasting, we put snow tires on the car, raked some more leaves, before the carb-tryptophan-gravy glut rendered us sleepy.

Unless you were one of the grandkids, delighting in the frenetic afterglow of chocolates and presents. I think Kai is enjoying first remote control car.
Remote Kai

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ahead of the Game

It's Friday night and the sermon is done. With Shelley's folks arriving for a last visit before their winter migration, there were extra hands on deck for the bedtime routine.

So after supper, I went to the library with the laptop and worked there until it closed. I moved to Tim Horton's for a half-hour and tada! The final draft was done and worship was ready (except for the pastoral prayers, but I prefer to work those up closer to show time).

I can enjoy tomorrow's Christmas festivities without the dread of the Sunday deadline.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More Blogging

If I haven't been blogging enough, I've gone and set up a new site for the churches. An anagrammed "Pen a Long Epic" will continue in the same vein as "On an Ark with Ravens". Such is ministry in the new millennium.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Could have been worse

The dark pallor of church closure hanging over my head today seems to have manifested itself into a series minor setbacks that Seinfeld would eny.

Despite a productive morning of getting Reiko to the bus on time, getting a haircut and looking into a Christmas gift project, all before getting to church office hours, things took a turn for the tragically comic.

My preparation and planning for the day forgot to bring the laptop power cord. It was left at home so there was not a lot of computer work to be done. I had to resort to using an actual concordance, physically flipping through the hymnbooks, and writing liturgy in longhand.

I planned on leaving a little earlier to go to London but discovered I had managed to lock the keys in the car. My cellphone battery died. Luckily, I brought the charger.

Then I discovered our roadside assistance plan had lapsed. Luckily, I could renew it and get service at the same time.

After a short wait, I was back in the car and ready to go. The lens popped out of my sunglasses. After a short search, I managed to reassemble them and I was on my way.

The traffic detours didn't slow me down too much and I managed to get everything done that I wanted. I even managed to be home early for Reiko's return off the bus.

It seemed that all my follies were work-related. Tonight's church meeting only had a couple other people show up. Still, we discussed what we needed to and I didn't hit the possum on the road.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The End of an Era

Shelley came home from work with the news that Arkona United Church is closing. Its final worship service will be the last Sunday of January 2008.

In some ways, it's not a shock. Like many rural churches there were too many jobs for too few people who were overworked. Looking back, there was an almost-palliative feel to my last months with them, but I was attributing that to my own sense of loss and closure.

I applaud the courage and foresight it took for the church to take its own fate into its hands and make a decision, rather than having things decided for it.

Dear friends of this blog who are connected to Arkona United: I wish you well. My prayers are for courage, hope, strength and the promise of resurrection. Thank you for seven wonderful years of a career launching and more importantly, of friendship, family connection, music, laughter and meat pies.

While the news is no great surprise, it's still sad for me to think of the void in the community. Who's going to feed everyone?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Four Generations

After a full morning of church services, including a detour necessitated by the Remembrance Day service that closed Main Street right before worship, it was family time. Shelley's grandmother had yet to see us in our new place, so her parents were bringing her over for a visit (meaning my Sunday afternoon zone-out of TV/napping was out; although, some NFL football was watched – Lawrence Welk, not so much).

While the slow-cooked rump roast tenderly awaited its fate, we tidied and made things as presentable as a household with two active children can be. It was nice to have everyone over and welcome four generations of the bloodline in the house; chances are unlikely my side of the family will be able to accomplish a similar feat.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Leaf Fest 2007

Fall is my favourite season for many reasons, but leaf play with the kids is what I love best. With the space of the local ethnic community centre behind our yard, we raked up a large pile for play.

At first they were content to simply sit back and revel in the experience.
leaf pile 2007

Then they decided to mix things up abit.
leaf toss 2007

Basement Bowling Alley

Our palatial home allows for an indoor bowling lane. Ballerinas welcome.
bowling ballerina

Not to be outdone, Kai got into the action as well.
bowling boy

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Spice Must Flow

When novelist Frank Herbert died, the epic Dune sci-fi series was stalled midstream, unresolved. Recently, his son and collaborative partner wrote a series of prequels to the Dune books. More recently, they wrote the finale to the series based on storyline notes discovered in a safe-deposit box.

The copy I reserved from the library arrived this week and Salman Rushdie had been put on hold. So for the past couple days, Shelley's been a Dune-widow as I uncovered the secret to the ultimate Kwisatz Haderach, the fate of Rakis, and the evolution of the sandworms. But apparently this isn't the end of it as there's another book forthcoming somehow.

Shelley will be so thrilled.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fiddle Faddle

One of the churches was hosting a Old Time Country Fiddle concert tonight. I was asked to help introduce Scott Woods and his band, and be introduced in the process. After the obligatory, "yes, I'm old enough to be a minister" joke, Shelley and I settled in to an evening of favourite family-oriented music.

It was a fine, folky fiddle fest, the jokes were corny and church-related, and 600 people attended the event. There was a couple from Arkona there, as well as someone from Lambton Presbytery. I guess the circle of fiddle aficionados is pretty well-connected around here.

All in all, it was a pleasant evening and the first date that Shelley and I have had in a while. Maybe next time Scott Woods will break out some "Devil in the Kitchen", MacIsaac-style.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Extra Hour

This year's version of gaining an hour of sleep went better than last year's time shift. The kids had a restful night of sleep. As for me, I spent much of the night fine tuning the details of the worship service (like what I was preaching ... you know, minor stuff) in my head.

I figured on leaving early for the church to finish the sermon writing and baptism preparation an a computer that wasn't so gigabytally cramped, and thanks to the extra hour, it didn't seem so bad heading to the church if it was really 7:45 a.m., old time.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Garage Space

We're winterizing the homestead. I covered the A/C unit, put away the garden hose and the outdoor garden lights.

The garage has been cleaned out and we fit both cars in our parking facility. Imagine that! Cars in the garage. You know we lead wild and crazy lives when this is the highlight of day.

Friday, November 02, 2007


The laptop is running out of memory. I've been getting messages to clear space, erasing podcasts and other secondary files. In an effort to archive some iTunes, I've been trying to convert some podcasts to mp3's but lacking sufficient memory to do so. I'm having trouble saving my sermon; it could be a long night.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


The post-Hallowe'en sugar rush has left its mark.
ring popped
Ring Pops were very popular this year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en MMVII: Murray Returns

I'm in a new neighbourhood where the locals haven't seen my Murray Wiggle costume.
Halloween 2007

Princess Rei and Pirate Kai tricked and treated at a half-dozen homes before calling it a night. 152 visitors swarmed our place. Many of them dressed as hip-hoppers, meaning baggy jeans and a baseball hat worn on an angle. Of particular note was a very young pimp in a purple suit and a couple inventive costumes (a gift bag and an iPod) that I didn't happen to see but Shelley assured me were quite good.

I did get one compliment on my costume: "Hey, nice Wiggle pants!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Eve

I'm feeling much better today, thank you.

Reiko wore a costume to school today, going as a princess but not her Halloween princess costume because it has a hoop in the skirt making it hard to sit on the bus. Instead, she wore her "regular" princess outfit. Yes, in spite of our best efforts, we own multiple princess dresses.

We got out the kids' Halloween pumpkin-shaped treat bags after supper and Aunt Shauna rehearsed "Trick or Treat!" etiquette with them. Kai thought it was the greatest thing to put something into the bag. Tomorrow night is going to blow his mind.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Apologies to the Infected

I have a cold: sneezing, sniffling, headache, chills. Sorry to all the people I was shaking hands with yesterday. Unless one of them gave it to me ...

Anyway, it's off to the sick bed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


It's official now. After months of living together, Trinity and Appin United Churches and I are now in a church-sanctioned relationship.

The service in the afternoon was personally meaningful, having my parents and Shelley's mom there. It was a real treat to have Cheryl's dad, the Retired Reverend, preaching. We got a chance to wear our matching stoles. After the first hymn, I could hear Kai give his stamp of approval: "Yay! I like that!"

After the plentiful potluck supper that followed and corralling giddy children, came the clean-up. Seemingly from nowhere, a small orange cardboard square with the number "4" floated down from the ceiling. (OK, I guess it wasn't from "nowhere" after all). Apparently, this was a remnant of an activity that my predecessor at the churches organized for her farewell event.

We found it fitting that her spirit was present at the covenanting service too, which I took to be a good sign. Also a sign that Chris Bosh, power forward and #4 for the Raptors, is going to have a monster year. Let's NBA!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Latest Musical Crush ...

... is on Kathryn Calder of The New Pornographers / Immaculate Machine. Having heard an interview with her, demonstrating wit and quirk, as well as a clear, melodic voice, won me over.

She related a story about translating a previous album's lyrics to French and re-recording and re-releasing it, because of boredom. Recently, a podcast host made an offhand joke that Immaculate Machine's newest album would be in Chinese. So they recruited a graduate student to translate the lyrics of their song "Dear Confessor" into Mandarin, learned the pronunciation, and "Wo Xiang Tanbai" was created.

Her commitment to the vision of multicultural diversity and the principle of seeing how far one can take an inside joke are character traits that I look for in my friends.

In my hall of fame, she joins the likes of auspicious sirens Amy Millan, Neko Case, Emily Haines, and Sarah Slean, as well as a couple of fellows I might "cross the street for": John K. Samson and Michael Stipe.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Great Canadian Facebook

This afternoon was family portrait day. We had a photo shoot at the Great Canadian Superstore here in town and the session went very well. The kids were agreeable and smiling, the photographer was excellent. We were very pleased.

So was the studio. As Shelley selected our prints package, she also signed a waiver permitting the publication of our picture in their sales catalog. It was explained that they didn't have many family shots with all of the kids so happy, that they wanted to include us (and possibly our ethnic diveristy?) in their facebook.

If you're not one of the lucky ones to receive a family picture this Christmas from us, you might find us in the sales material of the Superstore's portrait studio in Strathroy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Reverend Jet Li

I was working on the churches' microsites in the Wondercafé web forum: adding information, uploading pictures, etc. When it came to a photo of the minister, I didn't have any on the camera (it's filled pictures of the kids) and so I went with a picture of the actor who would play me in the Hollywood movie of my life: Jet Li.
He's so holy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Memo to JK Rowling:

So. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is gay. Very clever, Ms. Rowling. Now I have to reread the series to pick up on all the clues. Simply fabulous marketing. Are there any other "secrets" you have up your sleeve? Filch had an affair with Professor McGonagall? Butterbeer is laced with THC? Hagrid is vegan?

Although, I still think rewriting the series through Neville Longbottom's point of view is worth your while. In the meantime, I guess it's back to #4 Privet Drive once more.

Kind regards,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Joy of Presbytery Budgets

The special Presbytery meeting that was called to discuss the budget got off to a telling start. During the opening worship, where MP3 hymns were played from a laptop, the congregation fell behind the music of "Be Thou My Vision". A human musician would have adapted to the slower pace, but the digital accompaniment unwaveringly kept its time.

It was fitting that our voices never really caught up to the rest of the song. We did manage to get in sync three times throughout the hymn: at the beginning of each stanza. And we wonder why there aren't any young people in church.

It might also be the fact that during the debate of a proposed amendment, speaker after speaker would lengthily, and passionately, present arguments opposing the motion. You'd think that with such a clear sense of direction in the court, people would not get up to repeat the same opinions or that a vote might be called. Alas, it was not to be, and I suffered through self-righteous pontificating and zealous proselytizing.

And when 6 major expenses were asked to present an alternate budget line, you'd hope that more than one of them would do so.

Forgive my griping, it was too cold in the parking lot to have a proper "meeting after the meeting" and so I turn to the cybersphere for my debriefing.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Orange County

It might be safe to say the kids are happy to see me home.
orange smiles

Not Not Wasted

I have some further resources for use in my congregational life as a result of the training event, but little else in the way of new information. The workshop on the characteristics of postmodern leadership was wasted on me.

Speaking of "wasted", I didn't have to use the "I'm Not High" candies that Michelle so thoughtfully gave me yesterday. Perhaps the "I'm Not an Asian Tourist" candies would have been more practical, but having taken the on-line quiz, it seems Michelle was accurate in her assessment. Dude.

Friday, October 19, 2007


With a weekend training session in the Emerging Spirit campaign of The United Church of Canada taking place in Stratford, I'm staying at the home farm for the night. I forgot to dose up with Reactine so the sneezing and sniffling is laughably sufferable.

After the program ended this evening, I exchanged pleasantries with a number of people that I know/recognize. One person who approached me didn't offer her name, playing the "guess how you know me" game. It took a second, but I managed to remember that she was the mother of a high school girlfriend. Awkward to say the least, but "pleasant" nonetheless.

In other blasts from the past, I'm sleeping in what is now referred to as Rumiko's Room, under the dreamy, watchful eyes of Taylor Hanson. Mmm ... bop.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Two's Clues

The kids were happy to see me home. They were also happy to use the magnifying glasses that I brought back with me.
Two's Clues

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I know the reputed Queen's Homecoming was last weekend, but today was a time to browse downtown before making the long drive home. I patronized some familiar haunts: buying a pound of Dr. Joe coffee beans from The Sleepless Goat; checking used CD stores for any valuable finds or discoveries; getting a couple toys for the kids and a hematite ring for Shelley at Very Shari; searching for child-sized chopsticks and settling on a box of Pocky; and, lunch with Cheryl and Rory at The Wok-In (#4 with extra spring rolls).

I'm always curious to see what's new with Kingston like the updates to Megalo's (still Mega Portions, Low Prices!) and the exterior of Curry Village (as featured in Where to Eat in Canada), and until next time, the memories will continue to paint an idyllic portrait of collegian youth and idealism.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Golf, More Conference

It was a full day of theological insight and catching up with my college cohorts. With an address from Executive Secretary of The United Church, workshops about the exegetical framework of Luke's gospel and preaching for the Emerging Spirit campaign, and book shopping, I was glad to take an early break for some Darbar with Jeffy, Cheryl and the kids. Then it was back for the evening lecture.

It isn't all weighty, academic pondering of our homiletical imperative. Those of us in the balcony are developing the screenplay for the latest Christian epic, "The Passion of the Clown" featuring Ronald McDonald as Jesus, Grimace as Peter, Hamburglar as Judas Iscariot and the Fry Guys as assorted disciples. Rounding out the cast Birdie as Mary Magdalene, Mayor McCheese as Caiphus the High Priest, and Captain Crook as Pontius Pilate. (Although I'm thinking that Big Mac could be Peter, with Grimace becoming John, the disciple Jesus loved most). These are the kind of things theologically trained professionals think about.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Some Golf, Some Conference

I went golfing this morning, again at Inverary Golf & Country Club. Last year, there was a foursome of Korean women eyeing me up; they were there this morning too. At least I think it was them. Although, in the year that's elapsed, a man had joined the group.

My game had its moments: some good hits and putts, many minutes searching for golf balls in the woods because I had lost all that I had in my bag...

After lunch, the conference began with a masterful sermon from Malcolm Sinclair and a giggle-ridden reunion with a dear classmate.

I had supper at the Brew Pub, slaking a craving for Dragon's Breath Pale Ale. Then it was back to the college to hear Christine Smith muse about preachers as world citizens.

One of my pet peeves are questions that aren't questions. Especially during question period following a keynote speaker's address. I'm not saying that happened tonight, but I'm not not saying that it didn't.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Pie Man Cometh

After church, I hit the highway for the marginally shorter trip to Kingston (than from Arkona) for Queen's Theological College's Annual Conference and a visit with Cheryl and the kids, her parents and Jeffy too.

En route, I stopped at Colborne's Big Apple, picking up a traditional apple pie.
And, as has been a quasi-tradition, I also dropped by Dairy Queen to bring a Skor Treatsa Pizza to my hosts.

When I arrived, Neva greeted me at the door and asked if Reiko was with me. I said, "No, she has school tomorrow." To which Neva excitedly replied that she had school too! At least this way, they can go to different schools together and one of my dad's favourite corny jokes can bear a kernel of truth.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Big Boy Bed

After weeks of asking Kai if he'd like to sleep in a big boy bed and him saying no, we decided we'd at least take the mattress out of its storage closet and set it up in his room alongside the crib.

Once it was in place, he and his sister got very excited about this new slumber development.

bed buddies

I'm not sure why Shelley and I decide to start these kinds of disruptions to our kids' routines on the eve of my leaving for extended stretches of time ... here's hoping the transition goes well.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Following The Finger

While playing outside with the kids today, we found ourselves in a game of Follow the Leader. This is usually accompanied with the soundtrack from Disney's "Peter Pan", as the kids sing
following the leader, the leader, the leader
following the leader, wherever s/he may go

In the movie, the middle child, John (I think, or maybe it's Michael) is holding up an umbrella like a drum major's baton to lead the Wild Boys through the woods. This happens right before we fast-forward through the culturally-insensitive, outright racist storyline with the "Injuns".

All this to set the scene where Reiko is the leader of our game, we're singing the song and she's waving a finger in the air pretending it's the umbrella/baton. She's happily waving the longest finger she has on her hand, because that's the most suitable one for an umbrella; they are long, after all. To the casual observer (or our next door neighbours) it looks like she's flipping them the bird.

Thankfully I managed to convince her to change her hand configuration without having to explain why.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stop. Drop. Roll.

We're coming up on Fire Safety Week in the public schools. Reiko's class went on a field trip to the Fire Hall and I volunteered as a parent to help. I'm not sure my presence helped her embrace the newness of the experience. I don't think Rei would have been as clingy had I not been there.

Still, I was glad to be part of the morning adventure and meet some of her friends. Everyone was quite well versed in the procedure of Stop, Drop & Roll. Whenever the fire chief asked the kids a question, the answer was always an enthusiastic "Stop, Drop & Roll!" regardless of the question.

The Sparky the Safety Dog video was a little dated. I seemed to remember it from the days when I was the keener yelling out "Stop, Drop & Roll!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Last Rites

I suppose the title of the post could refer to the political career of John Tory or the demise of the logically just, but frighteningly misunderstood, Mixed Member Proportional representation system, given the results of the Ontario election.

Instead, I'm blogging about the latest loan I took out from the library: DVDs of the fifth, and final, season of Six Feet Under, the acclaimed HBO drama about a funeral directing family. Given that we have the DVDs for a week, with no renewals, (and with me leaving for Kingston on Sunday for some continuing education), we have a lot of TV to watch in the next few days.

Likely, we'll have to re-borrow them upon my return so that we can pay proper respect to the Fishers. The grieving process does take time, after all.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ice and Advil

We saw the chiropractor who diagnosed a common ailment in children: "Acute something-or-other". I did know the name at one point, it has two "l"s in it ... Some tissue pinched between some vertebrae leading to inflammation and pain.

The upshot is ice and ibuprofen, watch for fever, and give it a couple days. Which is as much as I expected, but the experience was much more pleasant than waiting for our/a doctor to find time for us.

Pain in the Neck

While getting ready for school this morning, Rei abruptly stopped and began to wail. Her neck was hurting and she couldn't move without pain.

The medical clinic wasn't open when I called about getting an appointment. I did call the school to say that she'd be absent today. After some Tylenol and a bit of time had passed, Rei was feeling well enough that her tears had stopped.

Upon further investigation, her trouble doesn't seem to be medical in nature. Rather than waste time waiting for a doctor's attention, (and with little assurance that any course of action might be prescribed), I've booked an appointment with our chiropractor for this afternoon and we'll see what can be done there.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007, III

I'm thankful that, for the first time in a week, I don't have church work to do. Which left time for work around the house to happen. A couple apple pies and an apple crisp were made by Shelley and her mom, with help from Rei and Kai.

After a barbeque lunch of burgers and dogs, we had Shelley's dad climb ladders and scamper around our roof patching shingles and caulking troughs while I stayed on the ground and supervised. I don't do well with heights; it was enough of an ordeal for me to repair a couple of kinks in the valley flashing last month, that I was happy to have someone else do the work for the cost of a beer or two.

Then it was mowing the lawn and trimming with the WeedEater. Then it was helping put the snow tires on Shauna's car which involved some "help" from Kai and an unsuccessful attempt to borrow a socket from a neighbour.

Supper was roast beef and the previously-mentioned apple pie. We're thankful for family, food and shelter. I'm also thankful that Prison Break is interesting and engaging after a dullard of a season last year.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007, II

After church and worldwide communion (always a trick the first time in a new setting: figuring out who stands where when and does what), it was off to the farm for thanksgiving with my folks.

Rei and Kai had fun playing outside in the garden, clambouring over/riding on the large, decorative, used-to-be-barn-wall rocks and entertaining their uncles and aunt. We didn't bring our camera, so you'll have to take our word at how charming they were.

Supper, instead of the advertised spare ribs, was chicken wings, partly to offer a break from turkey overload and mostly because my mom had to work today.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Turkey, Tegan & Sara

After a sweltering wedding ceremony, I headed to Exeter for Thanksgiving/Christmas with Shelley's extended family. Rei and Kai were happily playing with their cousins in the garden and with all the tractor-type toys.

Stuffed with turkey and fixings (as well as some of Shelley's Turtle Cake), she and I headed to London for the Tegan and Sara concert. Shelley's parents came back to our place with the kids, while we rocked out.

The opening act, Northern State, featured a trio of hip-hopping white grrls from New York. Not exactly my cup of tea, but they grew on me. By the end of their set, I appreciated their energy and passion for their music and could see why T&S asked them to open.

As for the headliners, it was an unremarkable show. While I enjoyed their sisterly banter and barbs, and hearing some of the stories behind the songs, their performance was rather stilted and standard.

Still, there were some fine moments such as an accelerated set where they ripped through "Hop a Plane" and "Speak Slow" (Rei's favourites) and on into "Walking with a Ghost" that had the crowd roaring.

Sara (who, by the way, is the twin who lives in Montreal) told us that we were the best crowd on the tour and then asserted that she wasn't just saying that. I may have to check with some friends in Regina to see where they ranked in the audience list.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Day at the Office

Ordinarily, Fridays are spent with the kids at home. Given that Shelley had some extra hours banked, she took the day off for a 4-day weekend.

I headed to church for the memorial service, on another gorgeous warm fall day. With a wedding rehearsal in the evening, Shelley suggested I just stay at work and get ready for Sunday in the meantime.

I had packed my golf clubs in the trunk, just in case, but not having money on-hand and with work taking longer than I thought, my duffing will have to wait for another day.

So the sermon's mostly done, an October letter to the congregations written and printed, some church committee work completed and a wedding has been rehearsed. I'm ready for the weekend.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Much of today was spent dealing with the unexpected:

Despite the warmish fall morning, there was a bus delay due to fog. I learned this after taking Rei to our bus stop and hearing a mom from across the road yell the news. So I drove a tearful Rei to school (she wanted to ride the bus and was afraid she wouldn't see her friends, C & L, today). I waited with her in the yard until the bell rang and got to meet her teacher as well as one of her friends, E.

After dealing with some of the usual church office work, I had a call from the funeral home about a graveside service tomorrow morning. As I met with the family this afternoon, there was a knock on the door. It was one of my ministerial colleagues, who will be conducting a wedding with me this weekend.

It turns out there's been a bit of a communication mix-up and the bride was upset. It took a few phone calls and messages to get things sorted out.

After getting the kids from the bus and daycare, we had a picnic supper in Forest while Shelley had an evening workshop to conduct. Turns out there was more than enough staff for the program and she got to come home early, a nice surprise for everyone.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Rei's artwork has progressed beyond flowers and faces. Here's a sampling of her latest work:
gallery oct 07
No, we don't have a scanner, so the picture of the pictures will have to do.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oui oui monsieur

During some of Kai's chatter at daycare, his teachers thought they heard some French. They replied with "Oui, oui, monsieur" which he thought was hilarious. Ever the mimic, he's since been offering his own rendition of "ouiouimonsieur" or maybe it's "wee wee mess your".

Monday, October 01, 2007


I'm not sure where the little girl who doesn't like getting her photo taken has gone to ...
strike a pose
but we could have used this diva for our Septemberween pictures.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Host with the Least

Yesterday's "Septemberween" gathering of friends at our not-a-manse would have been better had I not caught the flu bug that has been going around.

In the middle of our morning preparations, before people arrived, I had a nap. And while everyone went to the park, I had a nap. As the grown-ups dined on casserole favourites, I minded the kids and controlled the chaos in the Wiggles moshpit.

It was nice to see everyone, but I wish I could have been more interactive. (But not in a vomiting-on-the-guests kind of way).

Church this morning was a one-shot deal, as the fifth Sunday of any month is a regional worship service with 4 local pastoral charges join together for worship. This was a good thing as I expended all of my social energy with the children's story and didn't hang around for the coffee and muffins afterwards.

Again, it behooved me not to throw up on those gathered.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


With Shelley away at a conference earlier this week, taking a sick day because of flu-like symptoms and a Thursday evening workshop, I've made the commute from work to home via the kids' daycare far too often this week.

It's a tidy 90-minute circuit with plenty of nostalgic points of reference along the way (I guess feeling more at home in Forest than Glencoe is still only natural ... 7 years versus 6 weeks) but it sure puts a cramp in one's work routine. Factor in Rei's school days and the bus schedule, it's a minor miracle that I was in the right place at the right time with the right kid.

At least with all the road time, my new music acquisitions got a lot of air play. And as I was singing along with John K. Samson to "Tournament of Hearts", Rei remarked that I sounded just like the song that was playing. High praise, indeed!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reunion Tour

After months away on an East Coast tour, Shelley's parents are back in the area and will be spending the next while stopping in on family and friends. We welcomed them back with a BBQ supper. I'm sure they will notice dramatic changes in the kids as well as in the house as it's been a while.

The kids were giddily happy to see Grandma and Papa, but were sad to see me go off to another church meeting. Such is the life of clergy, it can't all be Sunday morning sermon glamour can it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Independents' Day

A red letter day for my kind of music. The day after the Polaris Music Prize was awarded to Patrick Watson (the man and the band), Stars' In Our Bedroom after the War and The Weakerthans' Reunion Tour sent my musical sensibilities aflutter.

Stars reach a Smiths-sonic level of synth-pop earnestness as male vocalist Torquil managed to channel Morrissey and Beautiful South on a couple occasions. There was a brief second when I thought they were doing a cover of "Bigmouth Strikes Again". It seems that his voice became showcased more than siren Amy Milan's; still, no one does a better lovelorn duet than they.

My dear Antarctic rockers from Winnipeg, met my high expectations on all counts (if you exclude the spoken word tribute to Gump Worsley - thankfully it's only a couple minutes long). Who else but John K. Samson can lead us through the soul searching introspection of a bus driver, while melodically incorporating the lexicon of curling or the feral wondering of a recurring cat?

And such is the state of my aural fixation.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fair Game

After blessing the Temple construction of Appin's Outdoor Funday School, and an ecumenical worship service at the Glencoe Fair with mostly the Presbyterians and Uniteds, it was home for some family time before Shelley heads off to a conference for a couple days.

Such is the life of two young-looking, urbane professionals with conferences, meetings, workshops and the like. Things will settle down for a bit and we'll have some two-parent childcare for a few weeks until it starts again. Little wonder there's four different agendas/calendars on the go here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Curtain Call

After repeated trips to Rona and Canadian Tire, we put up a couple sets of curtains: for Rei's room and ours. Again, it took longer than expected but this time I can blame blunt drill bits instead of poor renovation skills. The kids helped out with their tools and marvelled at the powers of HandyDaddy, not knowing any better.

Progress is being made around the house. There's more floor visible in the office/guest room and artwork is finding its place on the walls. Bit by bit, the house is feeling like home.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Restless Night

While the day was rejuvenating and relaxed, the evening and night were not so much. We were at the airport in good time, returned the rental van and our flight out was early. While that meant an earlier touchdown in Calgary, it also meant a longer stint sitting around in the airport waiting for the 12:45 a.m. red eye to London.

I did manage a few fits of sleep here and there, but nothing more than 10 minutes at a time. Sure the satellite TV is a nice feature, but even with all the variety and time-shifting options, there's not a lot of programming in the wee hours.

Arriving in London shortly after 6 a.m. local time and dropping off a fellow United Church Sabbather I was on the road in good time and managed to make it home to see my family before they headed off to work/daycare, an unexpected bonus.

Knowing that when I do crash, it'll incapacitate me for a long time, I headed into the office for a bit of work. I managed a little nap in the afternoon, but ready for the long sleep now - the first in about 40 hours.

Restful Day

The last morning of our gathering saw us developing action plans and timelines, divvying up tasks, and going our separate ways. Four of us were not leaving Regina until the late evening, and one of us lived in Regina, another of us was going to be visiting friends in town so after we dropped people off at the airport, the remnant numbered 6.

At a loss for what to do for the next few hours, turned loose in the big city, we opted for more action rather than watching a movie. We played Ultimate Frisbee on the front lawn of The Legislative building, posed for some photos by the "lake", and after a brief stop at the Reginan's home, proceeded to Bushwakker Brewpub for supper. I have to recommend their Palliser Porter, a smooth dark beer with a chocolatey-coffee flavour that became my dessert.

As we looked back on our afternoon, it very much was a practise of Sabbath: spending time with friends, self-care/physical activity, sharing a meal, appreciating the company of one another.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Playing in Traffic

After an industrious morning where the possibility of the group collaborating on a book stirred the imagination, we broke for lunch and some afternoon sabbath. There was a large contingent that went to a local potter's studio (it must be the prairies when you can go to someone's place of business, select merchandise and leave an I.O.U.), and a trio of us that went golfing.

At Echo Ridge there was little in the way of water hazards to lose balls, but Highway 56 did cut right through the course and I managed to drive one over the roadway. I took a drop on the right side of the fence, but my next hit was a nice solid shot that crossed over the boundary. I chipped through the gateway in the fence to get back on course. Heading to the next tee, I found a ball by the highway to replace the one I lost.

As per usual, I hit a number of trees and generally made my partners feel like better golfers. It was a gorgeous fall day with a scenic backdrop of biblically-bosomy hills and turning of leaves that made an afternoon with new friends that much more enjoyable.

Until we got back to task and faced the frustrations of committee work.

Monday, September 17, 2007


It’s apparent that I’ve managed to get the wireless internet connection running on the laptop here. I went for a run this morning, and I wasn’t too far along before I came across a guy pushing his stalled pick-up truck to the side of the road. I offered a hand and got him off the road (not that, at 6:45, there was a lot of traffic), my good deed for the day already done.

The balance of the morning has been introductions of the discernment team, and a good chunk of time was spent on developing relationship and rapport. Seeing as this is a year-long project with these folks, it was nice to take our time in sharing our stories about ourselves and youth ministry/misery.

Fittingly, the afternoon has started with some Sabbath time before we launch into further work and perhaps I’ll call the golf course about 9 holes tomorrow. Or Wednesday, my flight doesn’t leave until the late evening. I might take advantage of this time for a bit of a nap.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Middle of Regina

After flying over Regina to get to Calgary and whiling away a few hours in the airport, we finally touched down in Regina. The flights themselves were fine: “comfortably” seated in Westjet’s leather-like chairs, watching live satellite TV on the small screen embedded above the tray table.

I did watch some Pocoyo on Treehouse TV to the amusement/curiosity/concern of my seatmates of row 13, if only to avoid the breaking news of OJ Simpson’s arrest for armed robbery.

From the airport in Regina, a cluster of us had arrived together, and we caravanned through the city on a scenic tour … except the local Saskatchewanian (Saskatchewanite?) was in the other car.

We settled into our rooms, unpacked, had supper, and did some preliminary introductions. Not all of us had arrived yet so much of the “real work” will start tomorrow. Seeing as I’ve been up since 3 a.m. local time, it’s early to bed.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Heading for the Hills of Saskatchewan

There’s a national meeting of youth and young adult ministry folk in Saskatchewan happening next week that I’m attending. So I’m packing my bags and heading out to Calling Lakes Centre in Fort Qu’Appelle. Having been there before, I know it’s beautifully nestled in the Qu’Appelle River Valley with lots of glacially-carved slopes and hills. This time, it’s not November so the weather should permit more outdoor enjoyment.

In preparation and development for a nebulous “Year of Sabbath” program, a group of us are visioning and discerning what shape and implications that may have on our individual lives, as well as the wider church.

On the list of things to bring were items that give us rest, restoration and Sabbath. So I bringing some books, some crosswords puzzles, Settlers of Catan and some golf balls (noting a course next door to the retreat centre) ... who knows what will happen? Back to packing, my flight leaves at 7:15 tomorrow morning which is a 5 a.m. wake-up.

Friday, September 14, 2007

An Open Letter to Political Canvassers

Dear Eager and Zealous Campaigner for the Incumbent,

Thank you for interrupting our evening routine, an extra 30 minutes of shrieking-toddler-going-to-bed was exactly what I was hoping for tonight. Although to be fair, I cannot blame you for overtired and hypersensitive children.

I also cannot deny the (self-interested?) work of the Incumbent to improve the quality of life in Strathroy. Your assertions are correct that no natives have been killed at Ipperwash since your party took office, although I doubt that the absence of murder can be credited to the Premier.

What I take exception with is the cavalier dismissal of my political allegiance, stating a vote like mine is a vote for the dreaded Tory candidate (as if he were Lord Voldemort). That you could not name the NDP candidate (do you even know if this person is male or female?), let alone the Green Party, spoke volumes about political hubris in the riding.

While I'm sure the Incumbent and Premier Dalton need me, I will not use my vote as a negative force, voting against anyone. I prefer my actions to be positive and oriented to a specific vision.

I wish you well on the campaign trail. Please don’t come back. Thank you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hospital Rounds 2

I arranged to meet up with my dear friend, the newly-Reverend Michelle, in London with the excuse that I'd orient her to the parking lots and pastoral care departments of the various hospitals. Really, it was an excuse to spend some time together giggling and catching up.

Surprisingly, we ran into the pastor team from the Pentecostal church in Glencoe, there for the same purpose. We had to swallow our guffaws when they asked if Michelle was my assistant. I guess I didn't have to go too far afield to run into the Senior Pastor phenomenon.

After the photo ID, some lunch and cursory tours of the hospitals, we browsed through Chapters together. I noted that the latest Dune posthumous sequel is on the shelves (Shelley will be so thrilled). We both bought copies of The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, having been won over by the hand-drawn map inside the front cover.

It was a grand day out and a wonderful opportunity to reconnect while pondering some big-time spiritual questions, like what our penultimatums would be in the event of our demise.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Cheese Stands Alone

For about a month, we'd noticed a malodorous presence in the car. It smelled like sour milk. We'd pinpointed one of the carseats as the culprit and had washed the seat inserts. That helped, but the smell was still there.

Today, I went to wash the seat cushion again and found in deep in the abyss of the plastic moulding frame: a piece of cheese. I'm not sure how long it had been there, but it's not there anymore. Such is the sweet non-smell of success!

The Real(ty) World

I was at a meeting today at Four Counties Health Services hospital (yes, ministers spend a lot of time in meetings – I count 6 this week) when I glimpsed a familiar looking person across the acute care unit. I figured he was a doctor that I had seen in my travels before.

A few minutes later, as I crossed his path again, I realized who he was: the previous owner of our new home. I knew he did computer work for the hospitals, and there he was. I gave a polite smile and nod as we passed each other, as did he. Although I think he was trying to place my face, or maybe trying to figure out why I'd be in his place of work.

Later this afternoon, in the car, I recognized the name on the personalized licence plate of the car ahead of me as it made a U-turn. This granted me a look at the decals on the side of the car, identifying the driver as the realtor who sold us the house (who by the way, if I hadn't mentioned already, is married to my high school music teacher).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Run, Lola, Run

I was late getting home from work. Meaning I was late meeting the bus to pick up Rei. Yes, I was a bad Daddy.

I was in an important church meeting. Ordinarily I would have blown it off and left early (which I ended up doing: leaving early anyway) but it was a decision-making meeting about the sale of church property, so I kind of needed to be there. So now I know to account for Rei's school days in my meeting schedules.

I raced home at high speed, trying to be pleasant at the kids waving to me from the line of buses in front of me at the railway tracks. And when I realized the irony of me explaining to Rei about car accidents yesterday, I let up on the gas pedal to a more reasonable level. Were it not for two red lights mere kilometers from home, I would have made it on time.

Two minutes too late, I pull into our driveway. As I get out to the car, I hear a happy cry of "Daddyyyyyy!" and see Rei running to greet me from the neighbour's. Her bus buddies were entertaining her at their house, a couple doors down. Immensely grateful for their hospitality and caring nature, I thanked them profusely for looking after her in my absence.

I asked Rei if she was sad or scared that I wasn't there to get her from the bus. "No." Things did turn out OK. And I'm more damaged by this than she is. Argh. Blah. Still, if she's in therapy, years from now, talking about abandonment issues, I can pinpoint when they might have began.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bluewater Bottleneck

On a whim, we decided that we'd do some school clothes shopping over the border with a supper at Olive Garden. Our apparent lack of patriotic consumerism (really, how many products available here are actually made in Canada?) was immediately, cosmically rewarded by a traffic jam on the bridge. For 53 minutes we crept along on the Bluewater Bridge, recalling a radio news report that identified this very border crossing as the slowest in Canada and listening to the kids lament "traffic again" as they relived Saturday's ordeal on the 403.

After considering that maybe Rei could have her bath in the morning before school, and a quick-paced shopping spree through
Target, we decided there was enough time to have supper at Olive Garden after all. (You can tell we were thinking with our guts more than anything else). Again the food was marvellous, I didn't find the wine-peddling overbearing, the service was prompt and perky. Rei asked, "Why is she so smiley?"

To which Shelley replied, "She likes her job." Apparently the border toll takers and customs agents that we met on our way home also liked their jobs, because we breezed through without delay.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Condo Living

We arrived at Rumiko & Kris's condo, where our fears that our kids would wreak havoc on a hip and trendy living space were unfounded. Rei and Kai did well to create their own fun: jumping, running, playing belly pianos, and acting in a puppet show.

Rumiko dug out some Hello Kitty sunglasses that were too small for her but fit her niece very well. She really is looking at life through rose-coloured glasses.

Jerseyville detour

We went to visit my sister and her husband in Toronto, to see their "new" condo. (They've had it almost a couple years now, but we haven't managed to see it yet). The road trip started out smoothly, until Rei needed a bathroom break near Brantford. Of course that was about the time we hit the traffic jam.

It took 20 minutes to travel the 2 km to the exit ramp, where we learned that both lanes of the highway were closed. After a bathroom break and consulting a map, we first followed the masses and ventured to a highway to the south only to find that another traffic jam awaited. After a few minutes, we u-turned and tried a northern route on a lesser road. We backtracked, zigged and zagged and drove through Jerseyville on the way back to the 403. It was very Amazing Race-like.

As we scooted along our way to Toronto, we felt sorry for the backed up traffic heading east, noticing a few cars reversing back up the on-ramps to avoid the wait. We could feel their pain.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Reiko Goes to School

Not wanting her picture taken, this was the best we could manage of Rei's first day of school.
school day 1
The morning went rather smoothly, although my heart was pounding as bus pick-up time drew near. There were no tears (from Rei) but it was with what seemed a sombre and silent resignation to her fate that she got on the bus with help from our neighbours.

Everyone was glad when she was home again. Her day was good, the bus ride was fun, her teacher is nice, and she made one friend. She drew a picture of one flower but she's not sure where it went. The lunch breaks weren't very long; and she didn't eat all of what she brought.

Apparently a student helper (referred to as "the boy") put her on the wrong bus for home, but that got straightened out. In the end, she's looking forward to going back.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Investigative Reporting

Today I had the joy of picking up the kids from daycare as Shelley had an evening program. We were listening to one of Rei's favourites, Tegan and Sara, when some questions came to her mind:

Where do Tegan and Sara live?
- One lives in Montreal and the other in Vancouver

Which one lives in Montreal, Tegan or Sara?
- I'm not sure.

Do they live in a house or apartment or cottage?
- I don't know.

Where do they play their songs?
- In studios or concert halls or bars, I think.

In buildings?
- Yes, mostly. Maybe outside for some concerts.

[and returning to her first line of questioning] Do they live far apart?
- Yes.

After that, she lapsed into silence - maybe imagining what it would be like to live far apart from family.

Inquiring minds want to know. Emily Yeung better watch out, there's a 4-year old interviewer hot on her tail.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Maytag Makeover

Shelley wondered tonight if there was another colour beneath the panels of the dishwasher. Its 80's white contrasted with the black of the other appliances. Not that I'm racist, some of my best friends are white.

Sure enough, the flip side of the panels were black and some chromatic continuity flows in the kitchen.
kitchen black

You can see the old version here; although I have to confess it's a GE dishwasher, not Maytag but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

to School

In the staggered start system at Rei's new school, kids are phased into the classroom in smaller numbers. So her first day is on Friday. The bus pick-up is close at-hand and she already has some "bus buddies" in the girls who live a couple doors down.

Rei and Kai are making friends with the locals; there's a 3-year old boy next door that they're always asking about and they were playing together in his yard yesterday. His place seems to be party central – there's a trailer in the driveway that serves as the neighbourhood tree fort.

Such is life in our corner of the world, on the impending eve of the first day of school.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Master of the Bedroom

This morning's labour had me assembling a new bedframe and attaching our head- and footboards to it. Like many of my HandyDaddy projects, it involved some cursing under my breath and took much longer than I estimated.

By this afternoon, our bed was solidly supported and back in place, ready for our soporific endeavours; although, the boudoir now has the smell of shop class.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Sunday worships are curious things. Each incarnation takes on a different flavour or personality even, despite the liturgy and sermon texts are identical. Today, the first service was adequate. For whatever reason, I wasn't feeling a connection and resigned myself to accepting that this one was in the category of "they can't all be winners".

Maybe it was a different energy, or just the fact I'd had one extra run-through the worship material, but things went much better during the second service. One of my jokes set the organist giggling so much that some misplaced notes chimed out as she tried to compose herself. There was applause led by the choir after the sermon, and not because they were glad it was over.

It was explained to me afterwards that at times when applause follows the choir anthem, it's as if the congregation was duly entertained. Whereas if a sermon manages to connect on a deeper level, there is no expression of appreciation. And shouldn't the main substance of the worship experience be applauded? Or so the rationale went.

Still, it was like preaching to a studio audience, as if all the responses were on cue. This must be how Letterman feels! After all, we both have kids the same age...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Golfing with a Pro

I went golfing at Caradoc Sands golf club with Shauna's boyfriend, John, to check out one of my new local courses. He's a far better golfer than I am, but I was glad for his experience and expertise.

It was paradigm-shifting for me to hear him discuss with himself where he wanted to hit his next shot from. I usually pick the longest club and swing away to see how close I get. He was setting himself up for his approach and putt.

John also observed that my lead foot was a little out of line. Which explains why my shots have been shooting straight off to the right: that's where I was aiming. With a corrected stance, my next few hits sailed down the middle of the fairway.

His best advice? I have to play more. I won't argue with that either.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Children of the R3-30

Our Monday mornings have nestled into a comfortable routine. One of the first things to do is download the latest podcast of the R3-30, CBC Radio 3's chart show. This provides the soundtrack to our car ride to Glencoe Presbyterian where the Ontario Early Years has a drop-in program. It's part of my effort to be a visible presence in the community, get to know some of the locals and spend quality time with Rei and Kai.

It seemed that they were paying particularly close attention to the podcast this week, bopping along to songs, and delighting in the sound effects and jingles. Rei even chided the host for his use of the words "stupid" and "shut up". I'm planning on writing to the show (and by "write", I mean "email") and let them know how positively the kids respond to the podcast. I may even try to get a couple of CBC Radio 3 slide whistles out of the deal.

Meetings Galore

Into my third week and things at the church have ramped up in terms of getting ready for the fall. During three of the last four evenings, I've had four meetings: Ministry and Personnel, Session & Unified Board, and a planning meeting of the Southwest Middlesex Regional Rural (maybe it's Rural Regional ... still trying to figure everything out) worship service planned for next month.

I had stated that to help keep my work-life balance in order, I'd commit to no more than 6 church-related evenings a month. Even in the typically slow summer month of August, I've managed 5. The learning curve is pretty steep but it's still fun.


Reiko is now registered for dance lessons. After doing some calling around and gathering information, we decided to go with a non-profit studio which means some fundraising and "volunteer" work is involved, but the fees are more reasonable and there will be a recital each year.

She now has some dance slippers that she's been practising in and Kai insists he needs to wear dance shoes too. He spent the evening in an old pair of his Robies soft-soled slippers.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Moonlight Escape

We tried to go camping. After Rei had asked a few times about going camping, we picked a weekend in nearby Warwick and she was excited to sleep in her red sleeping bag with her red pillow in a tent.

It turns out that once again, theory is more appealing than actual practice. The weather wasn't great: a grand summer thunderstorm blew up in the evening; timing-wise it was for the best, the tents were set-up and supper had been consumed. The kids were a little weary of being tent-bound for so long and they had trouble getting to sleep.

There was some more rain today, but Rei was away to attend a birthday party. Everyone did well through the day, but all the activity and fresh air had the kids overtired and overly-sensitive. A pre-bed tantrum did not bode well for us and the decision was made to abort the mission and head home.

Shelley took the kids home, along with as much camping equipment as we could cram, while I stayed behind and packed up the rest. I must say it was a beautiful summer night with a lovely fullish moon. Too bad it was spent searching for tent pegs and rolling up tarps in the growing dark (in our haste, the lantern went home with Shelley and the kids).

It was during my packing that our country-loving francophone neighbour decided to strike up a conversation with me about camping gear and how we survived yesterday's storm. Nice guy, warped sense of timing.

So it's home again and I think things will be easier tomorrow morning now. I was going to have to wake up early to come home to Strathroy, because the printer at the church office is too old to interface with the laptop; then head into Glencoe to get things together and ready for the first worship service in Appin. Seeing as the first leg is now completed, I can finish and print everything up and be ready to go first thing. Once I get the campfire-smoke smell out of my skin and hair; unless I'm feeling a John-the-Baptist-kind-of-mood...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Front Page Challenge

What a difference some time and perspective makes. Recovering from yesterday's near-death experience, it was back to the ordinary and everyday work of churching in a small town.

I didn't think it would happen this quickly, but Puppet Jesus and I are on the front page of the local paper, in the sidebar/index referring the reader to page two. There's a full write-up of last week's Vacation Bible School and another shot of me with the Senior Kindergarten class chatting it up with Puppet Jesus. He received the warmest welcome ever; the kids were lining up to give him hugs.

There's no website, but Google tells me microfilm of past issues is available!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Facebook Obit

In what has been an emotionally fraught afternoon, I'm so thankful for a happy ending. For those unfamiliar with The Facebook's social networking capability, there is a "status" line that people can comment about their day, make a witty remark or describe their mood.

This afternoon, I noticed that a friend's status line said she died in a car crash yesterday. ???? After scouring on-line newspapers, obituaries and funeral home sites for more info, and not finding anything, I didn't know what to think. It's a rather morbid and abrupt method of communicating bad news, albeit an effective one. I had shed some tears at the possibility of a bereaved young family, a promising career now lost and a dear friend gone.

Turns out everyone is OK; it was an inexplicable hoax that will cause her to leave The Facebook and understandably so. There were some further tears (of relief) and a renewed conviction to be more in-touch with those who are important to me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Social Life

It's been a whirlwind of visiting and hosting the past few days. Friday was a trip north of Goderich to see Cheryl and her family and parents at their cottage; Saturday, my parents brought supper while Shelley went out with her sister and cousins who were visiting in London; Sunday, those same cousins (and sister) came over to see the house; and yesterday was Jeffy and Cheryl again, this time on our turf.

And tonight our realtor dropped by for a visit and check-in. I guess we're into full-on entertaining and housewarming mode now. There are still boxes left to unpack, knickknacks to place, and artwork to hang. The office/guest bedroom is a mess, but if you're coming over, we'll be glad to see you!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Two Moms

Jeffy and Cheryl and the kids came over for a visit; it was nice to acquaint them to our new digs. The kids played very well together and an enjoyable time was had by all.

With two women answering to "Mom" in the house, there was a moment when neither was sure who was needed when the call of "Mom!" came from the rec room. They called back, "Do you mean Reiko's mom or Neva's mom?"

Once the precedence was set, the next time Reiko called up "Mom!" it was immediately followed by Neva's voice clarifying, "Reiko". Needless to say that prompted much giggling from the adults. It's good that the kids appreciate the value of clear communication.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


During the coffee time after worship, someone came up to me and joked, "So I guess you're a DJ too?" My puzzlement must have shown on my face, so this person explained, "I typed your name into Google..."

My first thought was, They found this blog already? Not that it's any great secret, but it's a little early in the relationship to be so self-revealing (says the guy chronicling details of his days to the entire Internet). I wondered if updating my little Radio 3 playlist was considered DJ-ing, although my selections are more mood-driven and event-based than musically-linked through theme or beat or lyric.

It turns out there is a hip-and-happening DJ in Japan who is the first hit when my name is entered into the Google engine (I guess it's his name too). I'm sure there's a reality TV show that would take people with the same names and swap them into each other's jobs for a week.

I think I'm the B-Boy with the mike. Just like on Sundays. Sort of.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Price of Success

The song of the day is by Canadian hip-hopper k-os. Unfortunately (?) due to his commercial success and acclaim, his work is unavailable at New Music Canada, the source of the blog-embedded music player.

After listening to his songs in the car, Kai learned the word "B-boy". Instead of hearing the song here, you can at least observe Kai's "B-boy Stance":

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Glencoe Vacation Bible School is in full-swing this week. This morning, I toured around with the co-ordinator to the various sites (Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, United churches and the Oddfellows Hall) meeting many of the volunteers and community pillars that make the VBS run. I'm looking forward to a cooperative and collegial relationship with the other churches in town.

While many have commented and complimented me on my memory with names, I fear that tomorrow most of that data will have evapourated into the ether. I also will likely be unable to recall their particular church affiliation. But that's only natural: they all look the same to me.

Morning Run

I planned for a morning run (it's a little cooler in the day, less mosquitoes) today after seeing Shelley and the kids off to work/daycare. Once they left, I remembered that we hadn't given Kai his antibiotic for his latest ear infection. I called Shelley but she wasn't answering her cell phone.

I grabbed his meds, jumped in the car following their trail and kept calling her phone. As I was leaving Strathroy, she answered (it was on "vibrate") and decided to wait by the side of the road for me to arrive. A few minutes later, I pulled over, dosed my son and returned home. And that was my morning run.

Ironic endnote: So I go for a run after supper and after my return, realized that Kai didn't get his evening dose. Except he was now too sound asleep to administer his meds, even though he's just down the hall and not kilometers away.