Friday, October 31, 2008


Another great Halloween this year. Bill and Sam joined us, and we partied at the Hildebrands with several families. Of course it wasn't about the grown-ups, although we (the adults) did combine our culinary forces to set up a great feast for everyone. The kids got to hang out with friends and do the trick 'r treating thing. Ivy and Ella dressed up as a banshee and a cowgirl, respectively.

In the lead-up, we spent a happy morning carving pumpkins with the Duecks. Myron kept the kids busy and happy. He also insisted on using power tools to carve, which a purist like me would never consider...but it was entertaining. A couple of other pumpkin shots: pumpkin stems and
Ella pumpkin head.


Saturday, October 25, 2008


Somehow in the flurry of activity around our Tofino trip, I forgot to post a little bit about Ella's birthday. It was pretty special for her to celebrate in a little cottage by the ocean, but of course this special girl deserves some extra recognition. She actually had several celebrations, including meeting up with the Friesens in Canmore the week before and a tea party with friends (and cupcakes) here after we got back from the coast.

I've already eulogized this dear heart many times this year (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, last year's birthday post and the year before with little-kid pics from previous birthdays), but thought I'd collect a few recent photos and a video with a quick look back and a couple of clips from around her b-day:

So cool to see how she's grown, and always in motion...bouncing, dancing, running. Oh, the energy:

Happy birthday, beloved daughter.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Various Stages

I was chatting with a friend who was feeling down today, and I realized that I have a favourite song for melancholy days: Various Stages by the Great Lake Swimmers (graciously offered free on their label's download page). It's not a pick-me-up tune, but not really wallowing in gloom either -- perhaps just more reflective. Although I haven't gotten into the rest of their songs the same way, this one is a keeper, especially for a cold, grey October mood.

Update: One song is pretty skimpy for a music post. Two more songs I love with a similar vibe and some subtle banjo goodness:
  • Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory -- Coyotes Song -- this is actually one of our family's favourite songs, perhaps despite the melancholia. At just before the two-minute mark, an instrumental section soars and makes the whole song more hopeful somehow. Beautiful.
  • The Pirate's Gospel by Alela Diane (excellent video here). This is a more recent discovery for me, but I've grown to love her music very quickly -- great soulful voice, and quirky, rootsy accompaniment that's sometimes dark, but never miserable. This pirate song is actually full-on playful, I think...check out The Rifle (video here) for something a little darker. It's lacking banjo, but is probably a better companion to Various Stages. Plus her main publicity photo (see above) includes a late-'70s Chevy could I resist?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To Tofino

I spent a few hours today going through about 500 photos from our trip to Vancouver Island, eventually choosing and uploading 85 that represent most of our six days of fun (slideshow here). A few highlights that may or may not have been photographed:
  • We stayed at the Sylvia in Vancouver again, in both directions, and loved it even more this time. Wonderful breakfasts, super friendly people, and a humungous room with a separate bedroom for $110/night. On the way to the island, we wandered along the beach and hit Legendary Noodle for supper (complete with fancy cupcakes for dessert). On the way back home, Angelo and Esther and dear Imogene met us at the hotel -- we got yummy takeout (Malaysian for them, Greek for us) and hung out for a happy couple of hours.

  • It was great to see Steve and Ang (and their growing clan) again, but it was way too short this time. Just long enough to realize how hard it is to get into any kind of real conversation with six kids running amuck. Steve was magic with those three little boys, Thomas wanted to stow away in our car, the girls hung out a bit, and Ang tried to hide from the camera (unsuccessfully). Their turn to come to Summerland now for sure.
  • We took Hwy 3 both directions -- it's so pretty this time of year, and we love stopping at Sanderson's market in Keremeos to stock up on fruit, veggies, nuts and the best Indian food. I lined the kids up for a posed shot with the pumpkins and enjoyed the fall bounty.

  • My parents joined us for two nights in Tofino, staying at the Best Western next door to Ocean Village. We had a great time with them, and they treated us to a couple of very nice meals at The Schooner in town and Calm Waters at their resort. Dad even took me out whale watching, which was much more fun than I thought -- we saw a sea otter, bald eagle, seals, sea lions, sea birds, and a bunch of grey whales, one of whom was curious about the tourists.

  • Last year, Ezra was a three-month-old lump on the trip. This year he was more challenging, but way more fun. He enjoyed hanging out with his grandma and grandpa, although he did give them a hilarious sideways glance on the beach. Tannis and I had our hands full with him, but he was generally a really good sport, and got along well with his sisters.
  • Ah yes, the sisters. They did some playing on the beach, but were just as contented hanging out inside, reading or doing puzzles or whatever. Of course the pool was their destination of choice.

  • Cathedral Grove was gorgeous again this year, but an exhausted Ezra pretty much ruined our enjoyment this time around. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
  • I enjoyed some photogeekery, of course: tidal pools, sunsets, beach cruisers, surfers, misty points and many more in the set if you're interested. I broke in a new (to me) 100-300mm lens and had some good luck with it.
  • And, it was good to be home. Until next time...

Sunday, October 12, 2008


October's not been a good blogging month so far, apparently. I have been uploading photos over at flickr (slideshow here), but haven't been making time to link to them.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday, and likely will continue to be until we all learn to properly honour and celebrate equinoxes and solstices. Those of you who know me well have probably heard me blab about thankfulness. It's sort of a quest because I see it as the key to happiness, but it doesn't come naturally for me. This blog is explicitly an exercise in thankfulness, which is why I don't often fill posts with griping and overanalysis even though I engage in too much of both in real life.

I've been melancholy this fall, but still thankful. I'm out of synch again -- enjoying and recognizing moments of joy and beauty, but struggling with the day-to-day demands of working and parenting, missing friends...feeling disconnected and out of step. Not optimizing, not seeing opportunities, drifting at work, and incredulous that Tuesday will mark the end of my ninth year at Bridges. NINE years in one job. On some levels it's embarrassing to admit, yet I'm thankful for that too. Perspective is everything -- even in pondering mortality, I'm more thankful for life.

So, lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, even as Tannis and the girls zoomed away to Canmore to connect with the Friesen clan. Ezra and I had a good weekend together. Saturday evening, Myron and Tracey hosted and feasted us -- it was so warm and mellow and fun. On Sunday Dave and Lucy picked us up on their way to my folks' place for the massive holiday feast -- another excellent time with great people. In between the social stuff, I managed to can pears, finish a batch of apple jelly for Tannis, do a batch of grape jelly, tidy the house, and blow out the sprinklers. Some nice quiet times with Ezra around the house too, reading and playing and just hanging out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Planet Earth

We had three weeks to enjoy the complete DVD set for Planet Earth, and it's so good that I was tempted to pile up late charges at the library to keep it longer. Not sure I love it enough to lay out $65, but really that's probably a bargain. The cinematography is jaw-dropping throughout, with moments you really can't believe...even after rewinding and reviewing. The sheer beauty and majesty of the natural world seriously brought tears to my eyes over and over.

Tannis also got the girls to weave it into their home learning and they had no trouble paying attention for each hour-long episode. Anyway, a masterpiece! Thanks to my old workmate Brett for tipping me off last year. I remember him showing me the ultra-slow-motion scenes of the great white sharks launching out of the water in pursuit of seals (sorry, not so impressive on YouTube), and knew immediately that I had to see them all.