Tuesday, December 27, 2005

2005 Christmas

I'm too lazy to upload photos right now, so you'll have to wait for those riveting Christmas images. Nothing really incredible happened over the holidays -- prepare for another one of these boring chronology posts.

I was really glad to have taken Thursday and Friday off for no other reason than it wasn't work. I played hockey, worked on a fun design project and kicked around. Lorne and Nada had us over for an excellent feast 'n wine party to kick off Christmas on Friday night. Saturday night we did our little family's presents. Like other years, I had a hard time relaxing for that all-important evening -- I have no idea why it stresses me out and makes me feel anxious and strained. It should be the easiest time to just mellow out and enjoy each other's company, but there I was, fussing over photos and videos and feeling apparently grouchy and confused. The elusive antidote was a frosty mug of Kold and watching the last two periods of the Canucks game with Tan while the kids entertained themselves with new goodies.

Well, three of us ended up spending most of Christmas Day with a stomach flu. Not exactly what we had in mind for the festive holiday season. Ella appears to have avoided it altogether, my bout only lasted four hours and we still managed to have a pleasant and relaxing day at my folks' place, so all was not lost. We decided to skip the planned sleepover in order to get our sick selves into our own beds, which didn't devastate Ivy as much as we had feared it might.

I felt great on Boxing Day, and the warm weather had recently reintroduced my mountain biking season in full force, so I did a two-and-a-half-hour epic ride in the afternoon. That Rebellion trail has really captured my imagination, so I defied all logic, amount of available daylight and my lack of fitness to attempt to ride it from my house (as opposed to driving in the car to Penticton first). Ten minutes on the road around Giant's Head to the big train trestle over Trout Creek Canyon, a gorgeous five-minute section of old railbed overlooking the lake, 45 minutes of intense climbing up to the saddle below Mt. Nkwala, then another half hour of grunting up to the top of Nkwala's sister peak in bizarre blowing fog.

Apparently I missed a peak party up there by an hour or so, complete with bonfire and some of the gang who introduced me to that area, but I only found that out today. Anyway, by the time I had descended wonderful (and seemingly endless) swooping singletrack, found my way back to the trestle through gathering dusk (and more coyotes), then shlepped my pig of a bike along the road home, I was entirely spent and oh so happy. It's unbelievable how much ground you can cover on a bicycle -- this photo shows my starting point on the far side of Giant's Head and the ridge I made it up to before returning (photo swiped from a hiker's detailed account and pictures of a similar route).

That night, Ryan and I took in a World Junior pre-tournament hockey game between Russia and Sweden, enjoying a peek at the serious skills of projected NHL star Evgeni Malkin. A pub stop at the Eldorado to catch the last bit of the Canucks game and a couple of cold ones on the way up to Mom and Dad's completed an outstanding day for me, almost helping me forget that I had to be in the office in Kelowna at 6:30 for a meeting in the middle of my vacation.

Stack of Books

We hear legends of mystical children who go to bed at 8:00pm every night. Ours do not, but I didn't start this post to complain. I was just sitting here in the office after tucking in the girls for the night and after fifteen minutes Ella wandered in, whispering "tried can't sleep" with such an earnest expression that I couldn't really take a hard line with her(not that it would have done any good anyway). So I asked her if she'd lie down on the futon in here, which sometimes works.

She tried lying down for about ten minutes, then got up again and whispered, "stack of books?" So I tiptoed downstairs, removed an entire section of kids' books from the bookshelf, and carried them up to dump on the futon beside her. For 40 minutes, she sat there going through them one by one, occasionally whispering softly, and then eventually she rolled over without so much as a g'nite and fell fast asleep at 10:20pm.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Greenish-Brown Christmas

So we've had a solid month of winter, with enough snow on the ground that I had already switched from mountain biking to hockey. But take a look at the Christmas weather forecast! As nice as it would be to have a snowy holiday, it's been great to walk uptown without bundling up the kids. We've had a few days of wet, warm weather that has killed all the snow at lower elevations, and even the mountain tops around town are starting to look snow-free. Time to get the Stinky tuned up again!

Friday, December 23, 2005

More Ella Quips

First thing this morning Ella told me, "I'm hungry, my tummy is all gone!".

When something goes wrong these days she pipes up with, "Oh fiddle faddle!". I don't know where that one came from but I'm assuming it's from a book somewhere.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Worthy of Mention

Ella: Umm...Daddy...
Me: Yes, Ella?
Ella: I just don't have an idea.

Later she adopted Ivy's idea to look at pictures online and repeated the plan back to me as if it was her original: "I have an idea! You check your e-mail and then me and Ivy will look at pictures."

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Ella painted this abstract picture last night (she judges it as "beeyooteefo"), and Ivy produced a terrifying monster, which she named GLG. It has the usual scary mouth and single eyeball, but she also explained in great detail how some of the red sections were "red blood cells" that pump blood through tubes under the surface so it can be sprayed at horrified victims through those tiny tubes on top of its head. Yikes.

I also scanned in this (archaic film) photo from later in summer of the two sisters -- I just love it -- and a clipping of the girls from the Penticton paper. The photographer caught us at the last farmer's market of the year back around Halloween and couldn't get Ella to smile next to those creepy pumpkins.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ivy Babe

I think this photo must be from before Ivy turned one. I remember converting it to black and white and blacking out most of the background (very poorly, if you look closely)...so although it's doctored, I still think it's a pretty striking image. Hard to imagine that this is the same person as our bubbly beanpole four-year-old.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Winter Beach

Feels a bit weird wearing parkas, winter boots and mitts to the beach, but what better place to enjoy a rare sunny day in December? Judging by Ella's tear and Ivy's attempt at looking miffed, we didn't have any fun at all, but that would be misleading. Tannis really enjoyed the sunshine after seemingly weeks of cloud. We explored along the water and the girls happily played on the playground for half an hour -- a good reminder that we don't have to stay cooped up inside all the time.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I think this photo is from about 10 years ago. A group of us were out at Walhalla, just across the border in North Dakota, and it rained so hard that the trail system was mired in the stickiest mud I've ever encountered. We spent part of the day slogging up the nearby Frostfire ski hill and bombing down through the thick grass (no actual trails, so no mud).

Fully rigid bike with purple bar ends, hiking boots, bulbous foam helmet with the bright lycra cover...this is already vintage stuff.

Friday, December 09, 2005


We're getting full-on winter here -- my hopes of a late mountain biking season didn't come to pass. Tannis has already taken the girls uptown in the sled, and we've gone sledding for fun. Ivy got new skates yesterday and is determined to learn this year.

Two more random photos from the past week: my imposing office building at night, and an odd one of Ella with an alien shadow.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What I Had For Breakfast

The old joke on blogging is that nobody cares what you had for breakfast, but what if I don't care that nobody cares? I took this photo so that a decade from now, I'll remember how great it was to work from home three days a week...and a reminder of how awesome Tannis is (baking muffins, then delivering these goodies with coffee upstairs). I really do not deserve such treatment.

We celebrated Tan's birthday this week by going out to Joey's in Kelowna, then hitting the Value Village in our old 'hood, which isn't very romantic, but you gotta take these chances to browse without kids dragging you toward the gross used toys. Then back to my folks' place to devour cake and pick up the kids. A top-notch Monday night -- Happy Birthday, babe.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ivy and Ella Surfing the Web

The girls did an online session this week where they took turns searching for things they like on Google Images. Ivy did the typing, and usually gets close enough to get some results. In this 30-second video, you can tell that the camera was making them a bit silly, but I think it's hilarious. And although it took forever, Ivy actually spelled "princess" right.

Ivy: Ella, what do you want to search for?
Ella: I don' kna. I search for da princess...chez...princesses. Pair-fairs. I love fairies and princesses. (cutest ever)
Ivy: Where's the P-P-PeeP? Errr. (looking for P, then R)
Ella: Peeep. There Peep Peep! There's Peep Peep. There's Peep Peep.
Ivy: There's a Peep Peep.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Grey Cup

Forgot to mention last week what a great time we had at Myron and Tracey's for our annual Grey Cup party. No, we don't follow football at all. In fact, my family has never paid attention to the CFL, but we used to have a group of families back in Manitoba who got together every year for a Grey Cup party and it was always excellent. I have fond memories of skating on ponds in the coldest years, some years playing in the snow, and in the odd warm year riding dirt bikes.

One of my funniest motorcycle crashes came at one of those parties when the Dyck's enormous St. Bernard completely took out me and Sam on their little Z50 when we were already much too big to be riding it (I fully expect Ryan to correct my version of this story, and his memory is much better on these details). Sometimes I wonder what ever became of those kids we grew up with -- Sam & Nathan, Charlotte & Bonnie -- seems likely that they turned out to be wonderful grown-ups.

There's something about the time of year that makes it feel festive to get together with friends to eat, drink and be merry. Cozy warm inside and chilly outside. I'm quite proud that I've managed to convince Tannis to continue my mom's old tradition of making chocolate eclairs for Grey Cup each year -- this year they were mostly missing bottoms for some unknown reason, but they were still obscenely good. The kids were good, and we all got to witness Elijah falling asleep in his high chair in the middle of eating supper. In the end, the game itself was very entertaining, going into overtime with all kinds of action. A classic Canadian tradition, I suppose, and we feel pretty lucky to have our own version of it.