Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More Hip Wisdom

Some of those old Tragically Hip songs have lines that just clobber you over the head. This morning as I wound my way alongside the lake as the darkness turned grey, this was my wakeup call:
"Besides, no one is interested in something you didn't do."
Wheat Kings is a quintessential prairie song and also a rather depressing story of wrongful imprisonment. I take this line (and the whole song, really) as a reminder to really take advantage of the time we have. On a more personal and practical level, it's the main reason why I'm forging ahead on my masters thesis again -- who in the future would have been interested to hear about how I decided to not finish it?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Girlie Girls

I've been taking all kinds of photos of the girls lately and then forgetting to put them up over here. They really all do start looking the same after awhile, but I know these kids have a few loyal fans out there who soak up each and every photo, no matter how repetitious they are.
  • I keep thinking that photos of these sisters together will be so precious 20 years from now when they're best buds coming out of university or wherever they end up. This one is really one of my favourites this week, and this one is pretty cute too.
  • When I work at home, I occasionally get to watch Ella snoozing on the futon. I like this one of her on the vintage Hang-On arcade game as well.
  • You can already see the one of Ivy, but click in if you want to see the bigger version.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Cannery

We had a stellar outing to Penticton on a frosty Sunday morning to check out a new coffee shop called The Can. Tannis found it last week and discovered that it has a dedicated kids' toy room -- which is disproportionately interesting to us in this life stage. Anyway, it's very funky inside, with big old beams and exposed plumbing and thrift-shop furniture. Lots of places like that around, but this one is run by a theatre company in an ancient converted cannery/warehouse that I must describe further. This old building is also the home to one of my favourite breweries, Cannery Brewing, which was unfortunately closed when we were there. Aside from those two cool businesses, walking into The Cannery Mall is quite a surreal experience.

First of all, you walk down a weird open hallway lined with industrial machinery bearing great fonts and vintage arcade games like Galaga, Double Dragon, and Pacland, some for sale, some working, and others neither. There's a classic cigarette dispenser that you don't see too often anymore, and peeking into a small engine repair shop, I spotted a Honda ct70 and dusty pop bottles that made me smile. You get a grimy little remote-control-toy shop beside a tiny pottery studio and an industrial bread outlet (not a cool bakery like you might hope for). One area is focused on lessons in body movement, with large separate studios for yoga/belly dacing, karate and gymnastics. An entire troupe of belly dancers in full costume kept wandering past us, making the experience even more bizarre.

On the way home we stopped by the fancy new Penticton Wine Centre. It's beautifully built, with vaulted ceilings, stained glass and an incredible selection of local wines. I love these new retro labels on a few of the Summerhill wines.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Festival of Lights

We took in Summerland's annual light-up party again this year -- it's a great small-town event that everyone seems to embrace. We started off with a pizza party with the Baker boys and the Hildebrands, complete with Guinness and general kid-induced chaos.

We all walked down into town to catch a bit of Kinship, an Okanagan Celtic band -- my short, shaky video shows how the streets were packed with people, but can't really convey how great a show they put on. Tons of energy and they really get the crowd involved. At the other end of downtown, an excellent blues band was on the other stage. The harmonica player was unreal -- the guy had a belt with maybe 30 holsters containing different kinds of harmonicas. Finally, we hit the fireworks on the walk home, which were short and intense for a change -- doesn't that make more sense than drawing it out for 20 minutes of occasional interest?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Liquid Landscape Light show

Greg got an outstanding photo of lightning from his beachfront accommodations in Australia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ella Bella Turkey

Ella: I have an idea!
Tannis: Oh yeah? What is it?
Ella: I don't know.

Ella's learned that this one tends to get a laugh and it's currently her favourite joke.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stoked Sisters

Esther got a couple of great shots of the girls, one of them on her camera phone. You can totally tell how stoked these kids were to have A&E around that weekend. I'm such a luddite, having never owned a cell phone of any kind...but seeing this second photo triggers an original-Star-Trek-tricorder desire for techie goodness: bouncing girls and happy sisters.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Usual Weekender

Nothing exciting happened this weekend, but that's never stopped me from posting before. Friday night, Bill and I got into the Maudite after the kids went to bed, spending much of the evening discussed the relative beloved merits of Tegan & Sara's So Jealous and Green Day's latest album for cheering yourself up, all while listening right through both.

On Saturday morning we all tagged along on Tannis's work appointment in OK Falls, then met the Hildebrands at Fibonacci in Penticton, a cool new(ish) coffee shop we've been frequenting lately. We ended up at Salty's Beach House later, which yielded some decent photos: Ella, Tannis, and pirate pictures in the lounge upstairs. A fun spot right on the beach, tasty food and great service.

That night we hit the Duecks for Hockey Night in Canada and supper. I snapped this odd photo as we walked up to their place -- you can just see Myron pushing Elijah on their excellent inside swing. Ella and Elijah enjoyed cheerios and beverages along with the rest of us...well, maybe not those beverages. We love going up there this time of year -- it's always chilly outside, with warmth, fun and friends inside.

Sunday we wandered over to The Beanery, our local coffee place and met Bill and Sam before doing a session in the park with the kids. We've been spending a lot of time in front of the fireplace these last few weeks, reading the Narnia books together and lounging.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


One of the coolest things (for us) about Marj and my mom working together is that we get to see her more often! It was great to hang out with her a bit at Greg's wedding, but even nicer to go out for fish 'n chips and have rice pudding with her at our place this week. She's a dear friend, a crazy soul and our kids' biggest fan (by far).

Mid-Week Adventure

I had kind of a spooky ride this week, exploring a new area south of Summerland, not far from that Rebellion ride, but accessed from my side rather than Penticton. Aside from finding this skull, which looked to be from an unfortunate beaver, I also got into a deep echoing valley with a pack of coyotes. They're not dangerous, but their barking and howling with reverb echoes is quite disconcerting when you're out in the boonies -- I managed to record a little six-second audio clip that can't convey how isolated it made me feel. It's a rugged area, with some hardcore cliffs (that's our Giant's Head Mountain in the background) and rocky ridges (check out the bonsai-like pine on the point) that required a fairly punishing push-climb. The singletrack descent made it all worthwhile; even the chilly fingers. By the end of the ride, this creepy stump had me thinking of orcs and ghouls, and I had to remove an unwanted clinging passenger before crossing the big train trestle back to civilization.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Don Deli

I'm too in love with the photo Greg put up in this post. It really seems like one of those moments that I'll look back on in 30 years and ponder all the good stuff of life.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Board

pictureboardFor most of our married life we've had a big bulletin board full of snapshots, usually hung in our living room. You've probably stood in front of it and skimmed it with your eyes if you've been here. It's probably the hugest decorating faux pas you can commit, gives the impression of narcissism (since most of the photos are of our kids), and we haven't always been conscientious about keeping it up to date, but it's special. There's something nice about having a collection of photos of your loved ones visible all the time -- albums are great, but you have to remember to pick them up and make time to leaf through them.

Anyway, last night I did up a new version of the board. I like recording the collections because the combined selections tell a sort of story as well as the individual photos. It's an attempt to represent the complexity of our life together, with relationships, places and people that connect everything...which is impossible to do with 30 photos, especially when I haven't made any prints from the digital in six months. Another cool thing that happens is that individual pictures like this one of Ella suddenly jump out as wonderful in the context of the whole set.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A & E

Angelo and Esther joined us for some good times this weekend, arriving mid-afternoon yesterday, just in time for us to head out for a ride up Rattlesnake Mountain. It gets dark so early now that it was a dusk ride by the end, with the lights of the town twinkling below us. Quite beautiful, but chilly.

By the time we got the bikes back home, Tannis had some nachos going and all kinds of great microbrew was busy chillin': Tree Amber, Shaftebury Winter Nights, Phillips Amnesiac IPA, and some old favourite Naramata Nut Brown from the Cannery. Lots of good laughs, and gracious Esther was amazing with the girls. My vision was fairly fogged by the end of the night despite my fancy new glasses. My cryptic Tragically Hip post triggered a lengthy and rollicking discussion of how we create our futures together.

In the morning we tucked in to stacks of pancakes for breakfast, and it had a very homey family-home-for-the-holidays kinda feel. These guys are our oldest couple friends, with a rich history of party-mode weekends, so we often ditch the kids when they're coming, but we loved hanging out with everyone around.

A bit later, Angelo and I aimed for Rebellion, in the same area I explored for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The climb is close to an hour and a half of steady uphill singletrack, meandering around ridges and through different ecosystems. There was a little dusting of snow at the top where we rested, but nothing that interfered with the fun. I got a quick video (1MB avi) and a couple of photos on the heavenly descent, but it was really too good to interrupt more often for Kodak moments: Angelo and me. Then a quick late lunch at Shaughnessy's Cove to cap off an excellent that I think of it, could I actually have forgotten to do the traditional toast to Good Times? Cheers.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

No Dress Rehearsal

You are ahead by a century
but this is our life
and disappointing you's gettin' me down

Not sure if it's the gloomy weather or what, but I've been totally getting into the Hip again in the last few weeks. Trouble at the Henhouse is a weird, inconsistent album with a few standout tracks and Ahead by a Century is surely one of their best. The italics on the "but this is our life" line really struck me when I dug through the battered old CD liner last week -- in the song, it's a repeated response to the title line in the chorus, but it's quieter and sung by the backup singer, so it huddles out of the limelight concealing its wisdom.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Blog Buds

A web welcome to old friends and new bloggers Greg and Sophie (why do I say that as if I'm the host of the internet or something?) For those of you who don't know these gems, they're the ones we went to hang out with at their wedding in Winnipeg at Thanksgiving. They're living in Ottawa now, so I really need to get down there to skate the canal with them at some point in the next couple of years. Greg's some kind of rocket scientist and Sophie's a dietician, and they're truly great together.

Winter Wonderland

See that white stuff beside this cute kid? We woke up yesterday morning to a legitimate blanket of snow. We headed up to the Duecks' beautiful place to enjoy it with Tracey and Elijah. Ivy and Ella were in heaven rolling in the snow, then heading inside to sit by the fire and have hot chocolate.

Later in the afternoon, it had mostly melted and I even got a quick ride in on the lower section of Giant's Head...way too early for snow that stays.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Rollie Monster

I occasionally play this game with Ivy where I'm lying on the couch and she climbs up onto the top of the couch. I ask her what's going on, and she says, "I'm a Rollie Monster and I'm going to roll down this mountain and crush your bones."

"You wouldn't."
"I would."
"You couldn't."
"I could."
"You can't."
"I can."
"You won't."
"I will."

This part of the game has remained unchanged in over two years -- even at two she somehow knew the proper won't-will combinations, which amazed me. Anyway, then I resign myself to a victim's fate: "Oh well, ok. Let's hear your song." I don't know how or why the song became part of the sequence, but it's apparently essential. She usually meanders through some long, ethereal, improvised poem-song about mountains that always ends with the same line: "...and the little boy stands up and says, The End." At that point the fearsome Rollie Monster rolls down and damages me with much noise and chaos.

She then does a miraculous twirling conversion where she transforms herself into a magical doctor and lovingly repairs every part of my broken body. If I play my cards right, I can usually get a back rub out of the deal, and it's important to note that the entire game can take place without me moving from the couch. This hospital phase can last up to 20 minutes, so we don't usually do many cycles of the game back to back.

Tonight Ella wanted to try the game, and she doesn't really get it, but I managed to remember her first attempt at the Rollie Monster song. Picture it in a little impish toddler voice, happily singing random notes just before rolling down to crush me:
"It's all ok
It is all ok
It is the end
And a polar bear"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Skip This Post

Ella: You wanna be the baby? You go lie down there and I'll turn the light off.
Ivy: (very frustrated) DADDY! I can't make a bed by the fireplace! AEEIY!
Ella: She cry baby!
Ivy: (going along -- fake baby cry)
Ella: I be a superhero!
Ivy: (fake baby cry)
Ella: Baby needs food! I'll get a carrot!
Ivy: (fake baby cry)
Ella: I'll comb baby's hair! Here's a comb!

A run-of-the-mill Wednesday night at the Hiebert house, with Tannis traipsing out to the South Okanagan for work, the girls playing house and me throwing together some cheese toast and an Italian fried rice with cauliflower, peppers and tons of feta. One of my favourite early winter albums, Gran Turismo by the Cardigans provided the soundtrack. In between stirring various pots and pans, I checked the hockey scores (my guilty pleasure) -- so nice to have the laptop online everywhere in the house. Now I should be cleaning up the sty...oh, the excitement of this life.

Big Girl

I think Heather commented on one of Ivy's recent photos that she looked like a teenager. I think this is one of those pictures that gives a glimpse of how she might look years from now -- a certain self-awareness and more grown-up features. And beautiful, too.

Halloween Party

I used to be a Halloween Humbug, but I'm coming around to this thing as an excuse to get together with friends and watch how incredibly stoked the kids are to dress up and collect sugar-based loot from the neighbours. This year Ivy and Ella were Laura and Carrie from Little House on the Prairie. Tannis made yummy veggie lasagna for the gang and the dads took the trick-or-treaters down the row of townhouses on our street, which fully loaded them up with goodies in a half-block loop. The kids were great overall -- I even read them some spooky stories later, which seemed to go over pretty well.