Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The pyro machine and other goings on

We’ll Fire Up
Apparently Effie went through no fewer than 200 matches the other day trying to start a fire in the rain. There’s got to be a Scout badge in there somewhere!

Happy is this hero never needing a throne
Ever since his trip to my office, Fergus is more intrigued with what I do than ever. Or maybe that’s more philosophical: “Good night Dad, have fun at the office tomorrow - not that you can” is what he says to me at bedtime now. He also goes on about all the breaks I apparently have. Also…
Ferg: “So, what do you do at the office Dad?”
Me: “You saw that spreadsheet on my computer right? I work with numbers and I also write some words.”
Ferg: “But what do the words SAY?”
Me: “Well, I work on...”
Ferg: “BORING”.... “You should stay home with us.”

At Grandpa's 75th b'day party

New Music
Since the furrowed brow (music blog) would appear to be on hiatus due to inspiration/ lazy-based reasons, I hereby present the Musical Recommendations O' The Day:

YACHT - See Mystery Lights... an album chock full of hearty goodness.
Video :: The Afterlife by YACHT

Love Is All - Ten Thousand & Ten Injuries... Shouty n' Swedish.
Video :: Kungen by Love Is All

Off Topic
A homeschooling family up the road from us recently went into the SPCA to adopt a dog. When going through the process they were told that they did not qualify since they were homeschoolers and therefore would be home all the time. Huh? I can’t imagine losing that argument but apparently they left empty handed. There’s got to be more to this than that.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Garden Coin Cube

Last Sunday, Effie planted spinach. This seemingly simple act instantaneously made this year a better garden year than last year. We spent the entire day down there ridding the place of intruding weeds and fixing up the anti-deer fencing.

Ferg enjoys the part of gardening where you get to dig and dig so we gave him his own plot... outside the garden fence. He is now the proud owner of this pile of dirt (slated for the apple trees) where he seemed pretty intent on planting an acorn although I think he ended up burying it a couple feet down:

Ferg also kept himself occupied with a slug he found and when the slimy guy kept escaping from the various stick houses he had made for him, Ferg then transported him over to the compost for a good ol’ chow down. Effie was notably disgusted by this (she pretty much despises slugs more than anything). Ferg and his (rather large) slug house:

Coin Collecting
Sure, we enjoy the silky smooth arm action and angular stride of Cindy Klassen as much as any Canadian who watches speed skating for two weeks every four years, but if we get another one of her quarters in our change... we may be forced to spend it!

Yes, Effie has been working hard lately on completing her collection of the Canadian Olympic coin series. We started this a bit late which is strange because Effie and I are both interested in collecting coins and have a good starter set of coins from around the world courtesy of Grandpa. In fact, Fergus was the first in our family to start putting aside this latest batch of Olympic quarters and loonies and it was he who spurred us on. Fergus needs another 6 coins for a complete set, but Effie required only one more up until today. Both Eff and I had lost patience doing it “the old fashioned way”, so I completed her collection via a trip to the bank (I had also tried to do this the day before - more on that below).

What better way to surprise her with the coveted alpine skiing quarter than with an easter egg huntaroo...

The Office
Effie and Fergus visited my office for the first time yesterday. Fergus has frequently asked to come into the office and “spend the day under my desk” and they both must have been very curious about this strange place I go to everyday. I’m not sure why they haven’t visited before but I suppose it is mainly because my office is not all that kid-friendly - more people seem to bring in their dogs! I thought it was neat that Fergus did indeed spend the entire visit under my desk, watching his dvd player with his headphones on (one co-worker felt in necessary to point at Ferg and comment that she wouldn’t have let her kids do that, though the three of us did not know what she was specifically referring to and we sent her on her way).

Eff’s impression of her first trip to my office:

My eight-hours-a-day reduced to a water bottle, lamp and desk. Pretty cool, but I think Eff was a bit distracted because after I had picked up the kids from the place where Gillian had her appointment, and before we got to my office, we had gone to a branch of the bank that keeps the Olympic coins in stock but, being Monday, this particular neighbourhood branch was closed. I then explained that I tried to get the missing coins from the main branch at lunch time but that the line-up was too long so I left. So, upon leaving my office after the kiddos spent an hour in my cube, meeting some of my co-workers and touring the building and the grounds, I asked Effie what she thought of it all. She replied: “why do banks close on Mondays”, “how long exactly was the line”, “I wish the main branch wasn’t all the way downtown”...

Ferg's army video

He asked that I share this with our friends with computers...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Home-made doll

The result of Eff's doll making skills...

10:15 on a Saturday Morning....

shock, shock, shock, shock, shock, shock....*

*potentially obscure Cure reference

Thursday, 18 March 2010


When six year old Calvin told his buddy Hobbes that the tire swing they were enjoying had just been pried loose from his father’s vehicle, it suddenly occurred to me.... perhaps reading this particular comic series to Fergus was not one of my “greatest ever” ideas.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Paralympic Journal

We missed out on the Olympics for crowd and cash based reasons but we did get over to Vancouver this past weekend for the start of the Paralympic Games. It was an awesome, unforgettable experience. Fergus did have many “moments of doubt” which challenged us a tad bit, but we all survived and did some cool things in the process.

Ferg’s usual/ favourite place on the train - under the seat:

It’s fun to stay at the...

Ferg was genuinely excited to have a desk in the hotel room at which to do his work:

The atmosphere downtown was certainly not of Olympic proportions but the city was still holding onto the spirit and Paralympic references were everywhere:

The kids were excited to skate in Robson Square. Fergus had never been on skates before but was totally thrilled with it all and could have stayed on the ice all day. We went two days in a row and public skates appear to be very much in our future.

Effie was intent on working on her pushing and gliding and Ferg ripped around the ice and did these crazy stop turns with his blue thingy. I also worked on my stopping in ways that didn’t involve simply ramming into the boards. Fergus would say to me every time I grabbed his blue thingy to help slow me down, “I know you didn’t mean to do that Dad”.

Apr├Ęs skate, the sun came out for like 10 whole minutes!!

On Friday night we joined 60,000 other screaming attendees for the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies. Very moving indeed! Admittedly, I have never paid much attention to these Games in the past - they are kind of an Olympic afterthought with very little media coverage. You’d never know it from this spectacle. We were in the white section (ie: not front row at a Blue Man Group concert!):

Ferg looked a bit suspect in his white, pointy hat:

Many non-mounted Mounties (somewhere a village was left unprotected):

American team:


Big flame:

On Saturday we took a jam packed bus out to UBC for Canada’s first sledge hockey game against the Italians (we brought many large Canadian flags and our wee little Italian one from Chicago). The crowded bus and the mass of humanity did Fergus in a little. This was a boisterous, patriotic bunch as sledge hockey has quickly become the poster-sport for the Games.

Hey, even Stephen was in attendance (nothing says politically correct quite like attending sledge hockey). We had our one big chance to meet the PM (Plastic Man?) as we headed to our seats but gosh darn it, we weren’t wearing enough red to warrant a hand shake. And then my camera jammed just as I lined up the perfect shot. Here’s the back of his famous “hair”:

These guys are pretty incredible athletes and the support they got from the crowd was overwhelming:

Three fans. Note the lack of people behind us(!) - good for not getting beer spilled on your head when the home team scores!

During the second period Fergus decided he had had enough (his knee was aching from an earlier fall) and “asked” to go back to the hotel. In the end, the Paralympic demonstrations caught his eye and he tried his hand at sledge hockey, biathlon and some curling:

Effie and I had assumed that the two of them were long gone when, during a stoppage in play, we saw Gillian and two other women dancing (to “Cotton Eye Joe”!) on the big screen above centre ice. Turns out she and Ferg were sneaking some peaks from some other location in the building. Unfortunately, coverage being what it was, she was apparently cut from the televised broadcast. No Pamela Anderson moment< for her then

Canada had no real problem with the Italians despite spending most of the game, it seemed, with one player in the penalty box. Sledge hockey is not for the faint of heart - these are guys wielding not only TWO hockey sticks each, but two hockey sticks with ice picks for ends!

After exiting the hockey venue, Fergus had by now definitely had enough. As he laid prostrate on the asphalt, a torch bearer (with a wandering eye) tried valiantly to revive him by proudly displaying his Jon Montgomery autographed torch:

Fergus has always enjoyed “hanging with the fellas” as he’s a big fan of basically any boy taller than him. These days, sort of out of the blue, he has taken to going up to older boys and striking up a conversation, or joining one in progress. This can be cute but also sometimes a little bit sad to observe. It was cute when he ran around the ferry looking for his new friend so he could say goodbye and cute again when he figured he might run into this particular fellow on the return trip home. Then there were some other big kids that he followed around on the ferry that had no interest in him. When I asked Fergus how it was going he said the kids told him to “beat it” but that he figured they must have been talking to some other littler kids who were pestering them. Completely unfazed - cool!

Here’s Ferg, prior to hitting the ice for our skate the second day, explaining to a group of guys that he went to the sledge hockey game but that he didn’t stay for it all(!). He also regaled them with his cool bit of trivia - that some bears can climb trees faster than they can run (his Uncle Pump would be so proud!)...

More skating

We made it down to the water to see the outdoor cauldron - Effie’s main goal for the trip. There were no two hour line ups, like a few weeks ago, to get to the non-chain linked vantage point. That night, Gillian and I both had sunburned faces. Very curious as there was no sun to be found on Saturday. Too close to the flame!?!? Reflection from the ice!?!?

One very happy candy store customer:

Eff’s mascot keychain collectables that she very proudly purchased for 50% off.

Ferg’s favourite hockey player was everywhere this weekend and goose seemed far more interested in having his picture taken with flat Luongo than getting anywhere near the Prime Minister: