Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Daddy-Daughters Date

Great date this morning with the girls, on a glorious (and rare) rainy day:
  • Hit the new exhibit at the Penticton Art Gallery -- very nicely done, probably the best we've seen there.
  • Explored Penticton's excellent used book store and each picked out a book -- Ivy's all over the Dragonology and Ella picked up old-favourite Scaredy Squirrel.
  • Back to Summerland for sandwiches and beverages at Victoria Rd Deli & Bistro
  • 10 pounds of perfect cherries and visiting the chickens at a nearby orchard
  • Warm chocolate-chip cookies when we arrived home, freshly baked by Tannis and Ezra

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Ivy

So I'm three weeks behind in blogging key family events like birthdays...but we did celebrate Ivy's seventh in style with multiple parties. I cobbled together a few of the clips and photos into a quick tribute to this amazing girl:

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

Random thoughts:
  • It's been blasting hot again; lots of time at the beach...first thing this morning for a couple of hours and then at Sarson's in Kelowna with Mom before supper...glorious picnic supper at Sunoka last night with the Duecks. Hot, calm evenings -- it's pitch black out here in the backyard right now at 11pm and hasn't cooled off yet.
  • Finished W.O. Mitchell's How I Spent My Summer Holidays again, which seemed appropriate for my own summer vacation. It's been one of my favourite novels for many years, and I'm determined to dig into the rest of his stuff over the next few months.
  • Lower-elevation saskatoons are drying up now; up high they're still tasty and abundant. Cherries are in full swing and we've been enjoying enormous yellow ones the Hildebrands dropped off before they headed east for a couple of weeks. The farmer's markets are loaded with goodness of all kinds right now.
  • Our garden is really thriving this year, after adding tons of cow manure to the soil. We've been eating beans, peas, strawberries, raspberries, dill, lettuce, spinach, chard, basil and zucchini already -- still have lots of tomatoes, carrots pumpkins, squash, peppers and potatoes to look forward to. It's not a huge garden, but it's been very pleasing to see things growing so well.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


So yeah, remember when I was feeling down and peopled-out, so we went to stay in Vancouver, and ended up being a total grouch? This week I went back for more. In my defense, I set things up differently this time and Tannis agreed to hold the fort (containing our entire tribe of children) here while I headed down there with Myron for a few days. He was going to SFU to mark provincial exams and invited me to tag along. Some cool things about SFU that I didn't know before: despite being in the middle of the city, it's on the top of a big mountain that has biking trails all over it, at the bottom is the most fun bike park I've ever ridden...and there's a gorgeous park with a beach beside the skills park. Also, salmon berries grow wild everywhere and they've got a decent campus pub, both of which kept me alive when my blood sugar crashed from riding too much.

Myron graciously let me stay in his closet...err, dorm room. Even though we live close to each other, we don't get to hang out one-on-one like that, and it was excellent. We got to ride together and head out to Commercial for a couple of great meals, including the second night with Angelo. He took us to a good pub and we talked until they closed. Even met Esther and Imogene on the walk over, which was a nice bonus. The only bummer of the trip was that I didn't get to connect with Bill or Cass, but both evenings filled up fast.

I finally made it out to Bowen Island, where my old blog friend Chris Corrigan hosted my wanderings. I've been wanting to go for at least five years, and found that it really couldn't be easier -- park at the ferry terminal, pay $8.70 for the round trip and walk on for a stunning 20-minute cruise. The island itself was even more beautiful and mellow and fun than I had imagined, with a fantastic village that appears to bat above its weight in good restaurants (and organic chocolate), walking and biking trails that criss-cross the mountains, and gorgeous beaches. It certainly helped that the weather was incredible and we even got a stellar swim in warm saltwater (pictured at the top of the post, and under threat of water-pistol sniping from above). Chris and Caitlin and their kids have created a wonderful life for themselves, comfortable and connected, both to the magic of the place and the community they've embraced. It was such a treat to experience a bit of it firsthand. Thanks again, Chris.

I had some fun with the photos and bits of video I took mountain biking on Burnaby Mountain. I know the melodramatic music almost seems sarcastic when played over a couple of guys farting around in the woods, and yes, any 11-year-old kid could ride harder and edit better video than this...but it's fun for me to watch anyway, and the last time I checked, this was still my blog. It starts with some clips of Myron, then of my riding, both in the trees and at the bike park, which had a brilliant set of graduated tabletop jumps that let me learn slowly and work up to the big ones (that scared me silly):

Update: Just went for a ride this morning and it couldn't be a more opposite landscape to the rich, humid, tropical green of the coast -- here the air is so hot and dry it scratches the back of your throat. The baking vanilla of hot ponderosa pine, spicy sagebrush and spiky dry grasses that have all turned brown for the summer already.

It was great to get back to the kids and Tannis. Ezra had me silently (sometimes not so silently) swearing within 24 hours, but this too shall pass. We hit the library and beach in the afternoon, munching fresh cherries and feeling thankful.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


We bombed down to Vancouver last weekend with me in an antisocial funk. Maybe hanging out downtown in the big city wasn't the best way to deal with my feeling peopled-out, but I tried not to be a big baby about it. I can't really recommend The Burrard Inn, but our rotten nights there weren't entirely the fault of the hotel. Unfortunately, our beloved rooms at The Sylvia were full. The problem really was, as it has been for me in the last few weeks, is that we were out of sync. It seemed like our timing was off, our decisions not quite right, and our "luck" just wasn't there. With five people contributing to decisions, each with his/her own idea of what might be fun, and with an almost-one-year-old really running the show, it's no wonder.

Thankfully, Angelo and Esther made it special for us, taking us out for an amazing anniversary dinner, hosting our tribe at their place one evening, and letting us hang out with dear Imogene. We hit the art gallery, the pool, and English Bay -- I didn't take many photos, but got a couple of nice ones down at the beach as the sun went down: Ezra the sea turtle and a silhouette of Ivy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pop Culture Wrap-Up

Yes, this is an odd image for midsummer, but I finally finished watching Atanarjuat | The Fast Runner this week and it blew my mind. I think Steve pestered me to watch this about a decade ago and it really is something else (belated hat tip). I've been meaning to do a "here's what's going on" blog post for a while, but this draft has been kicking around for too long already. Some other bits of pop culture that I've made time for over the past month or two:
  • Sicko -- I'm a big Michael Moore fan, and I don't mind the formula he's used for success. I found this one fascinating and hilarious...even though you know the U.S. has a messed up health care system, the film just hammers the message home with compelling contrasting examples from around the world. Worth watching for the trip to Cuba alone.
  • How Happy To Be -- I chose this book for a weird reason...because I love the author's movie reviews. Seriously, Katrina Onstad must be the best movie writer ever -- I enjoy reading the reviews of terrible movies, amazing films, and ones I know I will never see. Anyway, this was her first novel from a couple of years ago, and it's excellent. Sort of a journey toward authenticity, and I devoured it quickly and happily.
  • An Inconvenient Truth -- I'm embarrassed that it took me this long to see this incredible documentary. Pretty depressing, and intellectually bludgeoning, but with glimmers of hope. Powerful stuff.
  • How Art Made the World -- a five-part PBS documentary about the history of art; seriously fascinating stuff. Mind bending images, and I struggled to keep the different eras in anything close to their historical sequence. Great brain food.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- The final in the series, which I hadn't re-read since the week it was released a year ago. A rollicking good finish, almost as fun to read as the first time, and exactly the kind of escapism I needed last week.
  • Project Grizzly -- they call it a Canadian cult classic, and I can see why. It's a documentary about a guy in Ontario who is obsessed with designing and building the ultimate armoured suit that could withstand a grizzly bear attack. The guy is probably a genius, but also totally whacked, so it makes for compelling viewing.
  • ROAM -- a mountain biking video with some of the most stunning videography I've seen in the genre, especially some crazy overhead shots where the camera must be on a cable following along above a rider as he goes through a long section of jumps. You can watch some here, and the coolest stuff is around five minutes in.
  • Princess Mononoke -- another thanks to Steve for this one. Probably my current favourite Miyazaki film. I watched it twice in a couple of months and it was even better the second time.
  • Juno -- Tannis and I rented this one for a sorta date after the kids were asleep, and it was perfect. We loved it. Funny and sad and smart and dumb in all the right ways for the mood we were in. I think it made me nostalgic for John Hughes teen movies from the '80s.

Were any of these ones you enjoyed too (or detested)? What are you watching or reading this summer?