Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brother Down

Sam Roberts - Brother Down

Take It all back ‘cause it don’t mean nothing
If you give it away and you’re looking for something back
Wake up every morning and there’s nothing there
No reason to die but no reason to care

Someone else telling you what your living for
been knocking you down now your looking for more
The only sound you hear is a closing door
Been looking for peace but they're bringing you war

One life to live but we're doing it wrong you see
Got my brother down cause its nothing to me
Rich man crying crying cause his money is time
Poor man smiling cause he knows he ain't blind

I think my life is passing me by
I think my life is passing me by

One life to live but we’re doing it wrong you see

Friday, May 23, 2008

5th Blog Birthday (The History of Headspacej: Part 2)

Five years is a legitimate milestone, I think. To keep any project going for five years means that it matters to you, that the inputs required are justified by the results. I feel that way about my blog; and that the longer I keep it going, the more I like it, because it keeps growing and I can go back and dig through more of our personal history. I'm never quite sure why other people read it, and I certainly don't expect anyone other than me to be interested in past years and months of posts, but last year I pulled out some highlights up to two years old, like a sort of baby book from blog birth (May '03) to toddler-aged. I thought I'd try another archive dive for the remaining three years, the posts that stand out for me among the mundane kid photos and repetitive weekend reports. Consider it a greatest-hits album from a washed-up blogger.

We didn't have any kids born in 2005, which really makes me wish Ezra was three right now. I started up a local activism site early in the year and wrapped up Christmas. I was thinking about how to make Summerland great and Slow Food. Angelo and I tried Merritt for the first time with great success. Myron and Tracey joined us in Vancouver to see U2 in May '05. Ella was talking and the Scots invaded. July was great as usual, and I was smart enough to take my vacation at home in August -- we also hit Apex with A&E. I reported on a hodgepodge of good times, spent some time thinking about my roots, learned to can fruit, and we all ran away from bears. October found me getting plenty of exercise after returning from Greg and Sophie's wedding. A&E fit in a pre-winter visit and we hit Rebellion for the first time. I played Rollie Monster with the girls. December sounded decent, with the obligatory Christmas post taking up the most space.

At the beginning of 2006, this post-modern Mennonite turned 33 and the photos on the site improved a lot due to a new camera. Greg and Sophie visited in spring (and I added more photos later). I had an artistic epiphany before a weekend trip to Vancouver (and again). That summer we decided to
sell our townhouse in Summerland, eventually sold it and moved here to Bill's house. We hosted both Friesen families and sent Ivy off to Kindergarten in September. After celebrating Ella's third birthday, we enjoyed autumn swims and embraced Halloween. Christmas '06 stood out in a winter where I was gone to Los Angeles for work a lot.

Early in 2007 I was back in California, but not for work -- I hit Monterey for a design conference. The family made it back to Vancouver and I pondered mortality. The girls survived a daddy-daughter weekend and I discovered the Okanagan mountain goats while predicting the progress of the 2006 NHL playoffs. Ivy learned to ride her bike and Angelo and Esther came out, one of many great visits -- this was the era of Tannis and Esther comparing bellies. I somehow discovered a peculiar face in some forest fungi. Tannis and I took a day trip through the South Okanagan when she was nine months pregnant. Nostalgia buffs enjoyed my rock 'n roll reminiscing with band footage from 1993 and by mid-summer we were hosting the action-packed Pletts.

As August rolled around, we welcomed Ezra into the world, then Imogene shortly after. Somewhere in there, I got to hang out with old friends Milt and Dan, who could probably be best friends in some other life. We saw Tegan and Sara before sending Ivy off to Grade 1. Ella turned four (and rode her new bike without help), and joined us on our Vancouver Island trip in October with the Eidses. Angelo also met me in Merrit for some riding and pubbing. By December I was posting vignettes and gearing up for Christmas in Winnipeg.

We're not even halfway into 2008, but we've already packed in some good living. January and February were all about skating season. By March I was fixated on personality types and voicing my Luddite perspective on cameras. Around the time I was explaining what I do for a living, I got a new bike and we visited two hot springs in Nakusp while picking up Tannis's new ride. Penticton's Fest-of-Ale rounded out the April goodness.

It's fun to skim through my past like this and see patterns and holes. When I added the Dr. Seuss tagline a couple years ago, it was a direct reflection of the purpose of the site -- to record the bits of fun and beauty of our lives. As a result, it is an incomplete history, entirely omitting and ignoring the stresses, ugliness and boring routines of normal life. Truth be told, I don't really think we've had our share of down times, but the near-total lack of negativity in these pages does start to look like a delusion. Also, I was being a little facetious before about the mundane kid photos. I know that my most loyal handful of readers come here exclusively for those, and after going through 36 months of posts, I don't feel like I've let them down. Safe to say, the Hiebert children are well represented.

Thanks again to those of you who do drop in and leave comments. These things are fun, and fun is good.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ezzer McTezzer

It's been a while since I did a straight-up gallery of the kids. Apparently I'm pretending that our life isn't consumed by their needs, joys and frustrations. Here are a few shots and notes focused on the newest member of the family, with no comment on his newest tooth and the pain it's causing all of us:

Deshane Ticklefred

Oh, our Ella Bella. Can't believe she's off to Kindergarten in a few months, but on the other hand she's so ready. She adored having Grandma Pearl here the past two weeks -- a willing playmate and collaborator, always available, and she took advantage of it. I often forget that she's still only four, because she's so mature in many ways -- I have to remember that she loves to be silly and snuggled and not-so-grown-up at times too. A slice of the photographic record of Ella over the past few weeks:

Miss Ivy

Ivy's wrapping up Grade 1 in the next month or so, and although she's looking forward to summer, she generally loves school. She's kept us well supplied with pizza this year because she gets a gift certificate every time she completes another reading level. Some photographic highlights:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Random Notes

Stream of consciousness, because I have time for a change:
  • Mexican lasagna last night with cherry/nectarine crisp (getting to the end of the frozen local fruit) for dessert. The Hildebrands joined us, and then dads and daughters hit the pool, where both Hiebert girls jumped off the diving board for the first time (w/life jackets).
  • Bought this and would like to pick up this and this.
  • Found the last jar of homemade salsa lurking in the back of the pantry; like finding a ten-dollar bill in the pocket of your winter jacket when you pull it out of storage in fall.
  • I need to renew my passport.
  • Would like to see NIN in Winnipeg this summer.
  • Been riding around in the trunk this week because we didn't get a minivan.
  • We paid a guy good money to dump a pile of crap on our lawn. Speaking of the lawn, dandelions currently outnumber blades of grass. I enjoy mowing grass more now than I did when I was 14 and we had a five-acre yard.
  • Slurpee season is in full swing. Diabetes season may follow.
  • Taxes = not awesome. Tax returns = awesome.
  • Walked to the Cellar Door Bistro for lunch with Tannis, Pearl and Ezra...yum.
  • Little cherries and saskatoons are emerging from their blossoms.
  • Declared war on the mole that was tunneling through our garden beds -- lost the first two battles, then won on the third offensive -- but felt kind of bad about it in the end.

Space Garbage

I've been meaning to post this photo for a couple of weeks. We've been lucky that Marj and my mom are in business together, because it means we get to see her a few times a year when she comes out for work. This time around, she and Mom came out to Summerland to watch the kids for the day, bringing along a giant tub of homemade donuts that were just obscene. Marj smothers the kids with love, inventing crazy games (dragging Ella around in a bag yelling "SPACE GARBAGE!") and of course they love it. The grown-ups got to hang out with her a bit too, bringing in fish 'n chips for supper and catching up on the news from Manitoba. I'm so glad that our families are still so well connected.

Ping Pong Palace

This was what Lorne, his brother Merle and I saw as we drove up to Myron's place for some ping-pong action last week. The shed looked like it was built specifically (and only) for ping pong. We had a great little king's-table tournament, with quick games to seven (win by two). Table Tennis Pro Master Myron won more than his share, but didn't dominate too badly, thanks to Merle emerging as a decent challenge for him -- he busted out a nice low spin maneuver that won him many points.

Later in the evening, we put down the beers and engaged in a serious Team Altona vs Team Rosenort grudge match. Myron will mock me for the fact that I don't remember who won the tie-breaker game.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On a Break

I'm taking a break from my mountain bike today after riding five times this week. It's been social too, riding with Tannis a couple more times (thanks to Pearl for watching the kids), heading out with Richard twice during the week, hosting Darryl Loewen for lunch and a ride on Friday, then Jason and his friend Jordan yesterday. It was bloody hot the last two days and we celebrated summer by jumping in the ice-cold lake and hanging out at the beach afterwards. The Duecks and Hildebrands joined us yesterday too -- good times.

Thanks to J lugging his camera up in a pack, we got some great photos of yesterday's ride at least:
  • I liked the motion blur of the one I posted above, but this one of Jason carving a turn above the lake shows the scene a little better.
  • Unrelated to biking, but J got this cute shot of Ezra joining us for post-ride cold ones
  • I was mocked for setting up this shot of my personal bike history, but I thought it was pretty neat. Jordan was riding the old green FSR (1999-2004), J was riding the orange Stinky (2004-2008) and my new Coiler (2008-?) completed the trio. Now if only I hadn't given away my old Norco (1996-1999)!
  • Tannis on her new bike.
  • Tannis and I having a snack above Garnett Valley.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Facebook Experiment

I'd like to think that I hadn't caved to peer pressure when I finally woke up my dormant Facebook account at the end of March, but that's really what it was. Cassandra had made some compelling arguments, and Mel had stood her ground despite a hostile attitude from her main man Jim. I was a vocal supporter of one of Jim's main points -- I already didn't have enough time to spend with my real friends, never mind seeking out distant acquaintances online. But inside I knew the real reason, the same reason I've never bought a current video game system: I knew I'd like it too much and spend way too much time on it.

I thought this visual representation of my Facebook friends was fascinating. You can see some patterns: the old Rosenort network, work friends, a Niverville cluster, some orphans off to the right, some old Morris connections, a few Summerland friends, some web-only friends. Very few on the list are older than I am -- it seems like Facebook still skews pretty young. The weird thing about this kind of representation is the gaps -- although a few of my closest friends appear, most are not on here because they're not on Facebook. It makes everyone look like they've got tons of equal-importance acquaintances, not capturing the vast differences in the types of relationships that appear. That incomplete picture probably drives people to try to get their "real" friends into it too.

So what's the verdict? My fear was not misplaced. It is addictive, especially for someone like me who's already online eight hours a day. Not that there's so much going on in there, but it's tempting to check anyway, or fire off a message to someone out of the blue. It was a total buzz to connect with some long-lost friends and a few people I'd always thought I could be friends with. It was totally worth it for a handful of great conversations that wouldn't have happened otherwise. It's also been an interesting channel of communication with friends I already communicate with anyway, which I hadn't expected. One thing I've noticed though -- I think I'm out of the initial buzz phase (adding friends, finding connections) and realizing that I don't really want to DO Facebook as an activity (like playing games, adding a zillion applications or whatever). So I'm not sure if I'll just let it lapse.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tokyo Police Club

Tannis and I busted out to the big city (ok, it was actually Kelowna) last night to see Tokyo Police Club at the Habitat. They were fantastic. I haven't been a fan for very long, but these guys hooked me hard. The venue was interesting, too -- good all-ages crowd, nice vibe, decent sound, and they even served us some very nice St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout.

But the band, the BAND I tell ya...simply awesome. I love their recorded music, but they rocked way harder in concert, with a loose post-punk edge I hadn't expected. They tore through a set including all of my favourites, all goosebumply good. If you've never heard these guys, here are a bunch of videos to give you a taste: In a Cave, Tesselate, Nature of the Experiment, and Be Good (live performance, which gives a more accurate sense of what we saw last night).

For some reason I just had to go to this show. I can't really whine about no bands ever coming here if I don't bother going when they do stop on their way from Calgary to Vancouver. I guess part of it is that it's so far outside of the normal inward-focused family life that has been all-consuming lately -- it made us feel free and young and perfectly impractical.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother to my Children

I know it's not Wives' Day, but I joined the kids in celebrating their beautiful mom today. Ivy made an amazing pop-up book at school for her, Ella made a card, and I chipped in with some Silk Scarf Chardonnay. The best present she got this year was for her mom to be here, and Pearl has been an amazing house-guest this week -- she even offered to watch the kids while we went mountain biking together again. Oh, and since the baby didn't make it into the photo of Tannis checking out her mother's day loot, here are a couple of her with Ezra too. These kids are so lucky to have such an incredible mom.

Update: Tannis's reflections on her day...


I realize that I often refer to the woman in this photo as Grandma, or as part of a unit called "my folks", both references that make her sound like someone else's distant relative...but of course this is the one relationship that has most defined who I am.

Never mind creating me from scratch, which is really too incredible for further comment. I now have a keener appreciation and respect for the difficulty and importance of the parenting role, and I'm grateful for her guidance and patience through those dependent years. But when I think of my mom now, I think of our current friendship and her uncompromising love for me and my family; a constant source of strength and stability.

We're all lucky that our moms brought us into the world, but I'm feeling extra lucky that I also got a great friend in the bargain.

Friday, May 09, 2008


We get so absorbed in our little bubbles, leaning on inertia, believing that our perceived limitations are immovable.

It's not often that I get inspired (part inspiration, part indictment) by a movie trailer. Hat tip to Angelo.