Friday, June 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dear Child

Ivy turns five today. A big milestone birthday, I'd say, and we've spent a lot of time talking about Kindergarten around our place lately. We can hardly believe how sensitive, considerate, and fun this kid is. I've said over and over in the past year, "Ivy's sure got a great soul".

Like all of us, she also has her moments where it's not all good, and we're probably too hard on her sometimes, but overall it's an amazing honour to spend time with this precious creature. Happy Birthday, Ivy Jane.

Update: Ivy got some of her presents this morning and seems to be enjoying being five today. She's off to Peachland to meet her buddy Mahaila for a date, and later a crew is meeting us in Penticton for bumper boats and a picnic. More photos to come, but here are a couple from this morning:
  • trying out her new inflatible sleeping bag from Grandma Pearl and Papa Larry
  • opening up her new backpack (and princess lunch box). making school feel all the more inevitable
Update 2: I got a few more photos of the birthday girl:
  • Hopelessly beautiful while listening to us sing "Happy Birthday" to her on the beach
  • She wanted to dress up in her prettiest dress for the proceedings. She didn't seem that out of place with the hundreds of fancied-up grads that were using the Loco Landing parking lot (where we were trying to get to for the bumper boats part of the party) as their staging ground.
  • Posing with the cake she and Tannis decorated together -- it was a big hit.
  • The grown-ups had a decent time, too. Not the worst place for a kid's birthday party when it's 30 degrees outside.
  • We continued the celebrations with the Duecks' the next day, first at the beach and then BBQing at their place later -- as you can see, it's quite a gang already when we all get together, and this is without me and Sloane, who was happily sleeping inside.

Ivy Day

In honour of Ivy's big day, I thought I'd post a few favourite photos of her from the last week or so:
  • I love this photo of Ivy riding her bike in town -- she looks so independent, heading out into the unknown
  • Maybe the prettiest photo I've taken of Ivy, captured while she walked through the lupin meadow at the ornamental gardens
  • Ivy displaying the cherries she picked off the Hildebrand's tree -- we got a couple of pails off it (and full bellies) and there are still lots left on the tree. The dressup dress adds a weird element to this one.

Monday, June 26, 2006

indie scent

Clearly what I need is another blog. Back in May I started a simple one where I pick an mp3 song you can download (legally) and write a little blurb about it. I didn't link to it back then because I doubted that I'd stick with it, but it's been kind of fun. 10 minutes a couple of times a week is easy, and it's starting to add up into a nice little collection.

So it's called indie scent, covering indie songs I find interesting. Indie is a uselessly broad genre, including very mellow pop and grating punk, but the common thread is that it's all stuff I love. Not sure now why I chose the stinky theme, but it's ok for now. If you find anything you like in there, feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's Here...

Real summer seemed to arrive almost exactly on the official first day of summer this year. It's been kinda cool and wet and mixed for months, it seems. Not any more.

I'm off work for a month to work on my thesis; just finishing up my first week and it's going slow. The hot weather isn't likely to help, but it's been great to have real time to study.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Father's Day

My dad gave me a nice father's day present this year by taking the kids out to every fun place in Penticton for most of Saturday. Tannis and I celebrated by going for a rare bike ride together and kicking around at home. Although a date was great, it was fantastic to have my girls back this week.

Sunday we packed a picnic and took it up to Thornhaven, and after naps we descended on the Hildebrands for a top-notch barbeque. A few pics from the weekend:

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Birthday

My "little" brother Ryan turned 32 today. He's in Ontario seeking his fortunes, but it would have been nice to share a Kold or two (in a bottle, of course) with him. I haven't been the best brother, but I hope to do better this year.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


This country mouse braved the big city this weekend in a whirlwind 36-hour tour with some highlights:

  • Met Angelo at Ledgeview near Abbotsford, for a jungle-like ride in lush green. I caught him resting at the lookout, text-messaging on his cellphone with Texter Esther and navigating a mossy log
  • Spent and happy from a couple of hours of riding, we retired to Lou's, an old-favourite pub nearby. A frosty jug of Okanagan Springs Lager (for $10.95!), great conversation, a couple of top-notch burgers, accompanied by a best-of-Radiohead soundtrack...seriously good livin'
  • Back into Vancouver to hang out with Esther a bit. We walked down to Commercial, where we ended up at Stella's for tasty Belgian brews, gourmet tapas and more great conversation.
  • In the morning, I drove over to Cass and David's place. They've got a gorgeous suite with two balconies on the top floor of an amazing old house. I hadn't ever met David, even though they've been dating for years already -- he's awesome, and I'm not just saying that because he made us stacks of kick-ass french toast. We lounged around, and I got to see Cass's cherished painting by Meghan Hildebrand, and we marvelled at having independently connected so well to Meghan's art (yes, I'm becoming a groupie...if only I could afford to buy one). Anyway, a great visit that made me wish we lived closer together again.
  • Then it was off to Mark and Joel's for a late lunch. We walked over to a nice little Vietnamese place on Broadway, which was excellent. It's always fun hooking up with those guys -- talked about work, their trip to Mexico, Joel's amazing award-winning film (watched it when I got home and was blown away), and had some laughs.
  • For a couple of years, I've been wanting to hit the Vancouver Art Gallery, and I haven't been able to fit it in. This time I had no excuses and made it happen in the afternoon. It was opening weekend for the Haida exhibit, which unfortunately meant crowds of people swarming through the main-floor feature. Many of the pieces were unbelievable, but I found myself rushing through to get away from the crowds. I connected better with the third-floor exhibition -- it was more varied and accessible, somehow, and I lingered there the longest.
  • The drive out of the city was uneventful, but I made a couple of stops along the Hope-Princeton Highway. I'm fascinated by Hedley. It's a tiny little town along the Similkameen River with a restored historical mine site way up high, hanging off the side of the mountain (circled in green). I'd like to do the tour some time, but on this trip I did a short ride alongside 20-Mile Creek. It's a bit of a canyon, and slides have taken out the trail in a couple of spots. Felt good to stretch my legs and listen to the creek before the last drive home.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hiebert Girls

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my four favourite females in the world took off for Winnipeg last week in Mom's Accord. By all accounts, the trip has been a great success so far. The plan was to spend the night at the mineral spa in Moose Jaw, then hit Canmore tomorrow night...which means I should get my family back on Thursday.

Life alone has been mostly a treat. I kept pretty busy, hanging out with friends, riding a lot, and even bombing down to Vancouver on the weekend (post and photos to come). Overall, there was much less of the stuff that tends to tire me out -- noise, crying, demands for help, food to prepare, things to clean up, and routines to uphold -- but also much less of the stuff I love about our life together; reading stories before bed, evening outings, wine by the fire with my best friend, walks uptown and being surprised and fascinated by what the girls have on the go at any given time. Talking to them on the phone this week has been hilarious and wonderful. I really started missing them last night.

A big Happy Birthday to my mom today. I'm sure she celebrated on the road with a few of her favourite people, but I've been missing her this week and wished I could give her a big birthday hug. I'm so thankful for this loving grandma to my daughters and a great friend for me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Summerland History

The Vancouver Sun ran a simple overview of Summerland's history and present-day attractions today: A place where it is always summer. It reminded me of one of my most forward-looking goals in life -- to still be alive in 2067 and healthy enough to help open the time capsule at the top of Giant's Head Mountain. 94 years old doesn't seem unrealistic, although I may not pedal to the top.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This Week's Photo Gallery

...which contains almost no photos of human beings because I've been Bachelor Boy for a week while Tannis and the girls joined my mom on a crazy spontaneous roadtrip to Manitoba. I'll keep clustering these scenery shots into individual posts that you can happily skip if that's not your thing.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Book Shop

The Book Shop -- a simple name for a simple concept, but Penticton's legendary used book store keeps us coming back, mostly because of the massive selection. We're talking floor-to-ceiling books, with extra rows stacked up on every available surface, including most of the floor and forming large piles in the bathroom (you'd never run out of stuff to read on that particular throne of thought).

There are a bunch of cool spots in Penticton's downtown strip that make it fun for us to head down there, especially on Saturday mornings for the farmer's market, which started up again a few weeks ago. We even seriously considered buying this beat-up old house a few blocks away from The Book Shop a few weeks ago. We could have cleaned it up, painted the outside and knocked down the fence, then sold it again for at least a $40,000 profit, or might have even fallen for it and decided to live there a while. In the end we couldn't take the plunge, but it was fun to think about the possibilities.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Midway Madness

The midway arrived in Summerland last week, as part of the spring Action Fest. The girls were, of course, thrilled by the idea of the rides, the parade (with local hero Velvet Elvis!) and...well, really it was about the rides. When it came time to actually ride the rides, both girls were overwhelmed. The noise, smells, piles of people, and the novelty of it all created a pretty intense scene, and the limited number of tickets to spend meant very hard decisions about which spinning machines to choose. This photo of Ivy captures how she was feeling the first time on this ride, just after the shaggy carnie tried to get her excited about the experience. She was a trooper, though, and was eventually flying high. I also got a couple of artsy, blurred photos of the rides one night: flashy lights and the bumper cars.

Monday, June 05, 2006

New Digital Camera For Sale

Canon's customer service came through for us bigtime, replacing our old A60 with a brand new A530 that arrived a couple of weeks ago. It would have been nice to know that before we had bought our new one, but what can you do? Anyway, we'd like to sell this one. If you or anyone you know is looking for a nice, small Canon digital, let me know:

It's a 5-megapixel, 4X zoom that takes two AA batteries. It's new, in the box, although we did put the supplied batteries in the camera to see if it worked (it does). I know a couple of people with the A520, one model down in the lineup, and they're really happy with it. A photographer in Penticton gets wonderful results with hers, too. Future Shop has it on for $269, but we'll let this one go for $225 plus shipping if you want me to send it to you.

Update: SOLD, to soon-to-be-Penticton residents, Aunt Lucy and Dave. Jay couldn't resist trying it out.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I've been taking lots of photos lately, including some basic scenery and vegegation. These lupins caught my eye at the ornamental gardens when we were there for a picnic with my folks on the weekend. A few other artsier shots from the last while:The experimentation continues.