Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I used to think Halloween was pretty dumb. Now I get to see how stoked the kids get and their enthusiasm is rubbing off on me to the point where I look forward to Halloween already. Last night we carved our jack-o-lanterns. Ivy and Tannis scooped seeds and offered design advice, Ella fell asleep, and I did most of the carving. I was most proud of the sad one, which ended up (unintentionally, I'm afraid) reminding me of a sort of Haida look. Anyway, these will be decorating our place for the annual Hiebert Halloween party tonight.

One morning last week after I dropped Ivy off at school (in character as Limo Driver James, of course), I stopped at Blossom Fruit Stand and bought a bunch of autumn goodies: amazing apples, pears and 10 pounds of local red grapes that Tannis turned into wonderful jam. The people who own the stand are super nice and said I was welcome to wander around the farm if I wanted, so I snapped a couple of photos -- pumpkin watchers and some forgotten corn.

Last week Tannis also got a great shot of Ella running full-speed down a path at the Ornamental Gardens. Although she's wearing short sleeves there on Friday, yesterday morning our warm weather finally broke and we woke up to minus five, with a high of plus five. The cooler weather has apparently kick-started my riding season again, sending me bundling up and out into the hills.

Halloween Update: I took a bunch of photos from the party and trick-or-treating later on...
  • Ivy's costume and her candy haul
  • All five kids laid their loot out on the floor when they got back
  • The Hiebert and Hildebrand girls patiently waiting for a door to open, ready to yell their request...I think Elijah got elbowed out before he could get in position.
  • We're in a nice area for trick-or-treating with little kids, because we can hit 20 or 30 townhouses in half an hour. Some people go all out with the decorations and jack-o-lanterns.
  • We've got an old-folks home across the street, and they sent out flyers letting us know that they'd be accepting trick-or-treaters. It was a bit surreal -- kids had to walk the gauntlet between the band and the assembled masses of seniors, as if they were the real entertainment.
  • It ended up being a wonderful night with our best Summerland friends and my folks -- a nice warm vibe, with lots of fun and celebration.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Such a great ride on Rebellion this afternoon on a perfect fall day -- 14 degrees, hazy sunshine, the leaves yellow and red in the orchards and vineyards -- just over two hours from home to the top and back again.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Napa of the North

Our valley gets a fair bit of press, but not often from the New York Times: The Okanagan, a Napa of the North.

Update: This reminds me that I keep meaning to spend a couple of hours driving around taking some photos of all the orchards being ripped out around Summerland right now. It's getting to be a daily occurence to see the equivalent of a clearcut where there were apple, peach and cherry trees before. Then a few weeks later, the wires go up and little grape vines are poking up out of the ground.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gallery Goodness

If you're planning to be in Vancouver before Nov.11 and need some artistic inspiration, Meghan Hildebrand has a show on right now at Snap Contemporary Art. Sadly, we didn't make it there on the weekend, having booked ourselves right up over the 40 hours we were around.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Vancouver Getaway

Tannis and I left the girls with my folks this weekend and headed for the big city. Although we went exclusively to hang out with people, I apparently didn't get a single worthy photo of any friends; judging by the photos I did take, I mostly got up close and personal with various starfishes, rocks and leaves. But anyway, some highlights for posterity:
  • Arrived Friday evening and stayed up late, polishing off a few bottles of fine wine with Mark and Joel (check out his art and clips from his film, which keeps winning prizes all over the world) and ordering pizza later when we got hungry. They're excellent hosts, and went out with Tannis for breakfast and shopping the next day while...
  • I explored Jericho Beach in the morning, marvelling at how clear the water was, and snapping photos of insignificant wonders like seaweed, sailboats, flat rocks, and just generally experiencing my usual prairie-boy awe at getting to be near the ocean.
  • Cassandra and David made me a gourmet brunch at their place later and we gabbed for four hours without interruption. Fantastic conversationalists -- covered all sorts of deep territory -- family, love, lifestyle, faith, and fun.
  • Later in the afternoon, we hit MEC to stock up on some bike stuff for me. Insane store, and ridiculously busy. Took this photo of the wonderful foliage on the side street next to it.
  • Angelo and Esther were our gracious hosts for the rest of Saturday, starting with me and Joe catching up with a few beers while the girls shopped and walked the Commercial strip. We took the bus to Gastown for an excellent beer-and-supper session in the backroom at The Irish Heather, then walked through downtown in the fog, ending up in Yaletown before cabbing back to their place for a nitecap...complete with 1am macaroni and cheese and custom popcorn prepared lovingly by Angelo (sorry, bad in-joke). Loads of laughs and good times with great old friends.
  • The Hope-Princeton Highway was gorgeous on the drive home, with the autumn leaves pretty much at their colourful peak. We stopped at Bromley Rock to stretch our legs and I took a few photos: perhaps the namesake rock(?), a leaf floating by, and Tannis exploring the beach.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Conversation King

I had one of those perfect conversations this week where I thought the visit might have been two hours, but it turned out to have been over four hours long. Maybe it was almost too perfect and intense, because we covered so much ground and went so deep at times that I'm having a hard time keeping it all straight in memory. Anyway, my partner in crime was Chris Corrigan from Bowen Island, a great thinker and sensitive soul who gives the world so much.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ella Pearl

Our baby girl turns three today. She seems to have been leaving the terrible twos behind for a month or so, but today makes it official, I think. She's a dear child with a gentle soul, hilarious spirit and a bit of history of birthdays already:

I think she was one day old in this photo. So tiny, and probably still in shock at being thrust into the outside world.

On her first birthday, she was still as interested in the wrapping paper and box as the toys inside; not really understanding the whole birthday thing, but getting excited about everything anyway.

Last year, she really did understand that it was her special day and she embraced the proceedings.

This morning, she was keenly aware that she was going to have princess-level privileges all day. We had pancakes for a treat and she opened her presents, all of which seemed to be a hit (mostly Lego, which she's stoked about right now, and this doll-snuggli thing in the photo). Happy birthday, Ella Pearl.

Update: A few photos from later in the day (and the next day when the party continued at Cozy Bay and at home with friends later) -- Ella opening presents and so happy listening to us sing to her.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Powerful Music

Ivy: Daddy, the first song on that mix you made me, it sorta...umm...makes me feel a certain way.

Me: Oh yeah, how does it make you feel?

Ivy: Well, it's hard to explain. Sort of like as if the world needed saving, and that I might be the one who could do it. It makes me feel super confident.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Townhouse Update

Our dear Summerland townhouse hasn't sold yet. We had one couple very, very close last week, but a local realtor apparently talked them out of it and steered them towards other properties listed with realtors so he'd get his usual three percent or whatever. This process has not endeared us to realtors at all -- if anything, it has hardened our resolve to sell privately.

Still some interest now, although it's slowed down a bit. Safe to say we've got the internet marketing thing covered, with listings on Property Guys, OK homeseller and local news site Castanet. Anyone looking on the web for a three-bedroom townhouse in Summerland won't have trouble finding this one.

Update: SOLD...on October 31st, sadly not as a result of this internet marketing blitz, and involving us swallowing our private-sale pride and dealing with a real estate agent who agreed to show his clients the property for a much-reduced commission. Whatever, it's sold.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Can't believe it's getting to be the middle of October already. This photo was from one of Tan's swims on the weekend, and we were back in the water late this afternoon. We keep thinking it will be the last warm day, but the forecast has been consistently underestimating the temperature for weeks, and it's been 6-8 degrees warmer than normal. A few random bits from the last while that I keep forgetting:
  • We had lunch at the Gasthaus in Peachland on the weekend before meeting Barb and Laurel for a walk and lounge at Antler's Beach. Ivy and Ella (feeling silly) were in their glory -- it was a perfect sparkly fall day, everyone was happy and mellow, and the food at the Gasthaus was excellent.
  • I've been riding sporadically, enjoying the cooler weather as often as I can, and apparently never taking the camera. I did a couple of long rides in the area south of Summerland with Kevin (ran into four bears in one ride), and an outstanding ride up to the top of McDougal Rim with Nate...occasionally still going up Giant's Head, too. Even got to ride with Tannis last weekend when Dad took the girls out for lunch.
  • Took a few artsy-fartsy photos: feather, jay, praying mantis (ok, maybe not artsy, but pretty cool creature), leaf and sandals
  • The girls have been loving these last beach days: swinging into the sky, Ella playing, Ivy the alligator and Ivy's fort.
  • Mom and Dad made us the hugest, yummiest Thanksgiving feast. Dave and Lucille joined us too, and we enjoyed good wine, good eats and good conversation. Mom gave us the garden tour and we admired the late bouquet.
  • I've been hiking with the girls a fair bit. Ella was so enthusiastic, claiming she wants to go every day, even though stopping for a snack seems to be the main attraction for her.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Photographer Tannis

Tannis is on the verge of becoming the official photographer of Headspacej, having taken a pile of the best photos of the last few weeks, including this one of me negotiating with Ivy on the current issue of her riding the bus (she'd rather not go to school at all this week, but especially not on the bus). A few others of her recent ones:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Can't believe it's only been one year since Greg and Sophie's Wedding (that link goes to my odd photo set from the event, of which this is the only one that includes the bride and groom). Last year at this time, we had all converged in Winnipeg to celebrate with them -- very good times. Congratulations to these world travellers, best friends, and parents-to-be on their first anniversary.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stars -- Elevator Love Letter

I'm too in love with this song, despite (because of?) the sappy '80s electronic vibe -- it could have easily been the key single to the soundtrack to any Molly Ringwald movie. Here's the video and mp3, neither of which are authorized, so they'll likely disappear quickly.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dirty Laundry Sold

The Globe and Mail had this little article posted last week -- Dusty castles give way to naked bodies -- mostly about our favourite little Summerland winery being sold for big bucks on the strength of their rebranding a year ago. It was a huge gamble for the owners, and they won big. It's a little bittersweet for us, because it seems inevitable that the prices will keep rising, and we'll miss the old owners...but we're happy for them, too.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Of Age

I've had a few people recommend Garden State in the past year or two, often in reference to my old love of John Hughes coming-of-age films or connecting my current taste in music to the fantastic soundtrack, so I finally checked it out last night.

To me it had the feel of an earlier Douglas Coupland novel like Shampoo Planet, where it looks like the writer has selected a hundred favourite references from their personal notebooks of interesting observations, then tried to connect them up in a way that sorta makes sense. The result is loose and meandering, with no clear sense of direction. It's more like real life (which tends to include things that aren't part of an obvious narrative), but it's so condensed that it feels a bit surreal compressing all these vignettes into a movie covering four days. Many of the lines and scenes apparently have no point, and several are so bad that they're unintentionally hilarious. Probably more like New Waterford Girl than Good Will Hunting in terms of focus, with bits of Dazed and Confused and maybe even Gross Pointe Blank thrown in for good measure.

Natalie Portman was flat-out irritating for the first while, but I warmed up to her. I liked the guy who wrote, directed and starred -- he has a certain vulnerability that makes him compelling to watch, and it's refreshing to see a star who doesn't look like a Ken doll. The background characters and suburban settings are simultaneously mundane and bizarre, yet they mostly ring true. I guess if I had to sum it up, I'd say that the film was all over the board and occasionally exceptionally dumb, but with enough warmth, fun and humour to make it worth the $3 and two hours I spent on it.