Thursday, November 27, 2003

The Great One

A few million hockey fans watched Wayne Gretzky lace 'em up on the weekend. Growing up in Winnipeg with our beloved Jets, we hated Gretzky and his Oilers in their glory days, but I had goosebumps when they introduced him on Saturday as the greatest player of all time. CBC interviewed him in 1974 when he was just 13 years old -- he had already scored 178 goals in his pee-wee season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Runaway Pumpkin

Maybe it's just the season, but we've been into books about pumpkins lately. In summer Ivy was loving Pumpkin Soup, and I'm still kicking myself for not trying the recipe at the back. This week we've read Runaway Pumpkin over and over and over. It's got a wonderful sort of chorus that makes Ivy giggle every time:
"'Round and 'round, across the ground, makin' a thumpin' bumpin' sound, came that thumpety bumpety thumpin' bumpin' round and roll-y RUNAWAY PUMPKIN!"
Picture repeatedly singing and chanting that to a toddler with a rising pitch, and you get a vision of my life right now. The only book that currently gets her laughing as much as this one is Willy the Wimp. Oh, and I have very few photos of myself with the girls, so here's one from tonight.

Kids on Bikes

Joanne Jacobs links to a somewhat depressing article: the bike is in the garage. I guess sales of kids bikes are way up, partly because you can buy one at Wal-Mart for less money than a decent basketball...but kids aren't riding them much.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Weekend, Sunshine and Photos

Sunny and five degrees wouldn't sound too great in early fall, but I just got in from a ride around town and it seemed like heaven. I've learned to wear black this time of year so whatever sun there is feels warm. There was some snow on my jumps (drop-off in blue, kicker in red), but not enough to be prohibitive. I found an amazing new set of jumps on the edge of town -- big five-foot takeoffs with nice gaps and smooth landings...but it was too muddy to try today.

We're feeling healthy around here finally. We took the whole crew down to Summerland to watch the Heritage Classic outdoor hockey event on TV with Myron and Tracey -- good times. Myron had wisely procured some Naramata Nut Brown to fill his new pitcher and we all went for a short and beautiful walk in the snow.

The girls have been busy and happy these days, and Grandma and Grandpa have been doting. Ella seems to be sleeping less and less, but she's so happy that it's hard to be frustrated about it.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Flickering Blue Premiere

I'm so glad that Angelo has written a short account of his attendance at the premiere of Flickering Blue. It's goosebumply good to read about him seeing his vision come alive on the screen.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Ella Bella

Ella is getting super chubby and growing out of most of her sleepers already. She's not quite as sleepy as she was at first, but still gives us lots of breaks, and she's remarkably happy when she's awake.

Winter Time

It's an early winter in Kelowna this year. A quick look at the Big White Snow Report is looking promising, and they're opening a week early. Not sure if we'll bother heading up there for the first couple of weeks. Tomorrow we'll probably watch the outdoor NHL game on TV at Myron and Tracey's. Maybe we'll leave the windows open for that authentic Canadiana experience.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Through our sickish spell, Ivy and I have been doing piles of reading. Two hours at our local library yesterday, then an hour and a half tonight at the downtown library. Our method is simple: she picks a few books off the shelves, I pick a few, then we read them all and repeat the cycle with more books until Daddy the ogre says it's time to go.

Our current favourites are by a writer/illustrator named Anthony Browne -- amazing pictures and stories that keep me from losing it. Ivy's also delighted with Things That Are Most in This World. Gwen just sent me this list of award-winners for more inspiration.

Tannis picked up Pippi Goes on Board, so we've read the whole Pippi Longstocking series in the last few weeks. I laugh out loud constantly, reading about Pippi's lack of boundaries. Ivy scolds me: "Daddy, stop laughing now." On her worst day of the flu, I picked up the Hobbit and read 40 pages to her before she lost interest -- I'm hoping she didn't have feverish visions of dwarves and dragons that night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Angelo's First Review

Angelo got a print copy of the first review of Flickering Blue, and it's super positive:
"Although the film is short, (under half an hour), it packs a lot of story and meaning, especially in the final scene, which I won't give away, but found extraordinarily moving."
He's going down to Michigan for the premiere this week, and he's certainly earned the pleasure of seeing his words turned into film. Congratulations, Angelo!

Work and Kids

Rob is all over the place on this post, but it's packed with challenges and opportunities in parenting, lifestyles and priorities: Columbine, Ritalin, Hooking Up, Dropping Out, Child Obesity, Bullying - What is going on?. I found his account of his family's downshifting particularly interesting (near the end of the post).

Saturday, November 15, 2003


I got Ivy's bug last far without the fever, thankfully, but I'm miserable. She had a miraculous recovery. I decided to post some photos to cheer myself up: Ivy and a friend, sisters and Tannis at the playground.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Poor Ivy

Ivy was pretty sick last night and all day today...nasty fever, no energy, sad. She basically lay on the futon the entire day, moving only for occasional snacks or bathroom breaks, but she was an incredibly good sport. Contrary to the photographic evidence, she announced several times with weak enthusiasm, "I'm not sick anymore!"

Avalon Alliance

Our friend Barb is a director of the Avalon Alliance. They've just launched an excellent site, and although I had heard a bit about what they do, the site gives a pretty complete picture of their extensive plans:
"Consulting services and workshops are offered to organizations, government and the general public in fields such as: environmental stewardship, sustainable development, green business, organic agriculture, creative arts, and holistic health and wellness."
I'm most fascinated by the focus on sustainable communities. I didn't realize that Barb's partner Laurel had a background in urban and regional planning, but I've been interested in the field since reading some Jane Jacobs a few years ago. Even the most basic interest in urban planning changes the way you observe and experience cities and communities, making you realize how dysfunctional most urban areas are for people and the environment.

I was reminded of some of the work Rob does with Renew in PEI. I hadn't read through much of his consulting site before tonight, but found myself getting more curious the deeper I went. His vision for a networked future really gets you thinking about possibilities. These are the kind of wonderful people who are able to see past the barriers and obstacles that confine our sense of opportunity.

Insanity and Desire

This week I went downtown to see the newest installment of the mountain bike video series called New World Disorder. It's pure escapism, with guys doing things on bicycles that just shouldn't be possible: humungous jumps over cliffs and gaps, 20-foot drops at speed in tight trees on 50-degree slopes...all to the usual grinding nu-metal and alt-rock soundtrack.

The crowd was mostly 12-16-year-old boys, with a scattering of parents and a bunch of twenty-something x-games types. Some of the BC locations looked pretty familiar, but there was conspicuous lack of climbing in any of the footage -- these guys are walking or shuttling, I suppose. As ridiculous as some of the stuff was, it still got me all stoked. I got home and put "Kona Stinky" on the grocery list between evaporated milk and carrots. Unrealistic and probably inappropriate for the riding I do, but seeing the riding in the video inspires you to take it to the next level. This morning I opted for a quiet ride in the pasture instead of trying to launch myself into orbit.

Moms and Blogs

Blogger posted a pretty funny article about what to do if your Mom discovers your blog, in response to a great piece in the Onion: Mom Finds Out About Blog. Oh-so-scary quote: "With the raw materials in my blog, she could actually construct an accurate picture of who I am." Horrors! I'm including these here mostly for my own mom, who happens to be my most loyal reader.

Monday, November 10, 2003

The Ivy and Ella Show

I've been slacking off with the photos lately. We're taking lots, but I seem to be forgetting to post them. Ella has been mostly mellow and quiet, but once in awhile she lets 'er rip. Ivy loves the tub, but she was jealous of Ella bathing in the sink.


A few disconnected thoughts tonight, because it's too late to connect anything properly:
  • Anyone who's suffered through my last week or so of posts already knows I'm addicted to dirt jumping. Today I had a glorious hour out there with the shovel and built two wonderful jumps -- photos to follow. Not sure how long my bike will survive the punishment...or my body.
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen...and I barely paid attention while I was working on the computer. BUT, it has the most kick-ass motocross scene, with huge airs, amazing angles and intense action. If you try to ignore the terrible dialogue and brutal plot, it's worth watching the movie just for the MX scene alone. And no, I didn't choose it at the video store.
  • Myron's birthday on Friday, so we partied with him last night. We watched the Canucks beat Minnesota, enjoyed some cold ones and laughed with Kev. Good times.
  • I should have been asleep hours ago.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Wielding a Shovel

My grandma had major heart surgery this morning, so we've all been a bit on edge about it...but it sounds like it went really well. Other than that, we've just been doing our usual thing. Ivy and I have been spending lots of time at the library, reading through stacks of books. Ella slept most of today. We've been fairly social this week -- had Neil, Teri and Zach over for pizza the other day, then spent the evening with Jen and Jacob yesterday. Jen was walking by the vacant lot and spotted a freak (me) in biking gear wielding a shovel on one of the gravel piles.

I built a kick-ass dirt jump in there this week, only to have it get bulldozed the next day. I guess that's what you've got to expect on a construction site, but it was disappointing. It was a legitimate drop-off launch with a four-foot kicker face sending you up over a decent gap, and then dropping down six feet to a perfectly shaped landing pad. Very safe and super fun, with enough actual air time to scare me properly. I actually had the nerve to ask the guy in the front-end loader to have mercy on my creation, and he was probably more polite than he should have been. Can't believe I didn't get a photo.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Back on the Horse

I was warned that it takes longer to recover from injuries as you age. Now that I've healed enough from my crash to take deep breaths, turn my neck side to side and lift my arms, I decided to head back out to the dirt jumps. I started by measuring the distance from the lip of the jump that humbled me to the spot where I hit the ground: 30+ feet. No wonder I was sore. Anyway, I chickened out of jumping that one again, but had a blast on the other ones.

Songs in my late-night playlist right now:
U2 - The Ground Beneath Her Feet
James - Sometimes
Moby - Porcelin
Primative Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth
Sarah Polley - Courage
The Weakerthans - The Reasons
Morphine - Hanging on a Curtain
Marcy Playground - Saint Joe On The School Bus
The Cure - Pictures of You
Christine Fellows - Veda's Waltz
Jason Mitchell - Road Map
Shawn Colvin - Trouble
Nathan - Australia
Edie Brickell - Circle of Friends
Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes
Pixies - Where is my Mind
Portishead - Sour Times
Jason Mitchell - Little Coma
Fiona Apple - Criminal
Frank Black - Superabound
Depeche Mode - Waiting for the Night
Cranberries - Dreams
Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
The Tragically Hip - My Music at Work
Nine Inch Nails - Slipping Away

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Site Updates

I got a bit of time this weekend to get nostalgic and dig through the photo albums. I added some old pictures, updates and links to my gravity shrine and added Ella to my all-important girls page.

More Halloween Talk

We were at my folks' place for lunch yesterday and Ivy wandered into the garage. She noticed that Dad had covered up his motorcycle for the winter, and she pointed at it: "Grandpa, it looks like it's trying to be a ghost".

Ivy was also quite delighted to help us make gingerbread cookies for Halloween. I wish I had also taken some photos of us carving the second jack-o-lantern of the season -- she loved squishing the guts and seeds between her fingers.