Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Ryan must be halfway to 70 today. Although we haven't been close for a few years, I think of our childhood often -- growing up in the boonies of southern Manitoba, we did everything together, depending on each other for fun and friendship. We fought like mad, too, but always seemed to patch things up again. Happy birthday, little brother.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In Case Anyone Forgot What the Kids Looked Like

Flowers and kids these days, apparently. A few notes on the week:
  • I haven't been feeling that good, and had a downer of a weekend. Work's been super busy and not particularly fun.
  • We checked out the local Bluegrass Festival -- an interesting scene, but not really our scene. We enjoyed the fish 'n chips beforehand more than the festival.
  • I composed a song for the viola that I'm planning to play at a recital with adult students of our teacher this week. Kinda scary in the same way it's scary when you're 10 years old at a recital, but exciting.
  • The local community string orchestra played in Penticton last week, so I checked it out -- fun and mellow.
  • The benefit of more downtime this week was that I did some for-fun reading -- Tunnels and Deeper, two creepy, gripping YA novels that have me anticipating the third -- and finally watched Rabbit-Proof Fence. I think it's yet another gem recommended by Steve years ago...excellent film.
  • The garden is happy. Strawberries are ripening fast, the raspberries should be plentiful, and the first zucchinis will be ready to pick soon.
  • Manitoba-bound -- one week and counting.




Friday, June 12, 2009

How much Less?

I was fascinated by this article from The Curious Capitalist, particularly this tidbit about how households have ramped up their debt compared to their income:
"The ratio of debt to income increased from about 35% in the early 1950s to about 65% by the mid-1960s, where it more or less stayed until the late 1980s. That's when debt started its epic rise, hitting 100% of income in 2001 and going all the way up to 133% in 2007."
It's dropped a tiny bit this year, but still...those numbers are alarming.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Shades of Grey

Once in a while, a photo just seems to look better when I drain all the colour out of it. This tends to be surprising to someone like me who tends to geek out on more colour, not less. Sometimes I convert them to black and white because I've botched the exposure so badly that the colours are useless, but the odd one just has more impact with greys (Marj claims that one is one of her all-time favourites). Ivy was reading this morning and I captured a moment that didn't need's just quiet and subtle and right.

A few seconds later, I caught Ella's shadow following her around, and Ezra "Giant Head" Milagro looming over a doomed robotic spider. Such is the drama at our house on a Tuesday morning before the pancakes are made, as the coffee brews and the random rhythm of our day unfolds. I'll often play viola first thing, and make a smoothie. Not many frozen cherries or strawberries left from last summer's harvest. They'll disappear just as the fresh ones emerge in the fields and orchards, which is how it should be.




Monday, June 08, 2009


“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.” -- Henry David Thoreau
By ol' Thoreau's standard, my expenses for pleasures of the past year mark me as a poor man. So be it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Random Notes

I've had a few posts kicking around in the cobwebbed corners of my brain this week, none of which are getting written. So...a hodgepodge:
  • Ivy and I attended our first "Fiddle Jam" on the weekend. Although we only knew a couple of the songs the group played, it was still fun to hang out at Leir House and make music with a dozen or more other curious souls. Ivy wandered off to play with the other kids, and I experimented with trying to find harmonies that sounded ok. Our friend Aimee came too, and the potluck component was excellent. Big thanks to Ivy's fiddle teachers Ron and Liz for organizing it.
  • We've been meeting the Duecks at the beach again, and they hosted us for Hump Day Pizza Night at their place last night. Good old friends, always fun and mellow.
  • The garden and flowerbeds have been getting lots of love (but no rain!) and are looking really good. We've never had much luck with growing potatoes, but this year's look fantastic. My mom's been helping out too. Pulling spinach, chives and oregano out for cooking has been too much fun for me...we even made rhubarb muffins from the semi-wild stuff growing at the edge of the yard.
  • I finally finished designing my ice book and uploaded it to Blurb. I'll post more about it when the printed copies actually arrive, but it's pretty exciting.
  • Two days off this week was very nice. All day Monday with just me and Ezra, and two mornings off on Tuesday and Wednesday to help out with the crew. Ezra got his shots, Tannis wrapped up the school year with the Home Learner's Program, and Ivy fiddled. Ella hung out, mostly just being awesome.
  • Listening to: Barry Phillips, a composer/cellist who blends interesting traditional influences into something very beautiful (see player below), the new Tragically Hip album (their best in many years, imo), lots of classical, as well as some standard stuff from Green Day and Vampire Weekend.
  • Watched: Wall-E and loved it, despite some over-the-top schmaltzy parts.
  • Reading: almost nothing (the shame). I keep starting good books and not finishing them.
  • Playing: I'm willing to say that I've finished Suzuki Book 1, because I can play the final piece, Gavotte, reasonably well on violin and viola. I've been coming up with new viola harmony parts for fiddle tunes, and focusing on a version of Crabs in the Skillet that I've worked out for the viola.
  • Drinking: Great espresso from Richard's Backyard Beans, Unibroue Maudite with Andrew tonight on the back patio, Orange Crush on ice, and water that no longer has to be boiled.
  • Sleeping: never enough.

Trad by Barry Phillips


Hot Hot Hot

There was lots of grumbling in the Okanagan about a colder and longer than normal winter, and then crummy cool weather through March and April when it's usually pretty nice. The last half of May seemed to be making up for it, and now we've had summer heat for a while already, with more on the way. Unfortunately, we could really use some rain, as it's been bone dry for months...we'd hate to start forest-fire season two months ahead of schedule.