Monday, June 30, 2003

I'm drinking a lot more beer lately.

It's beginning to worry me. I'm going to have to back off a bit.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Hostelling is a total blast. The laid-back attitude softens your step as you walk down the gravel pathway towards the cabins, then permeates the soles of your feet and envelops your whole body. You just can't help but feel relaxed and sociable once you get there. We stayed at Rampart's Creek Hostel, located at the foot of a mountain and right alongside (you guessed it) Ramaprt's Creek. The only electricity is supplied by solar panels and a generator that runs *maybe* once a day. The 'fridge is propane run, as are the lights in the dorms and common room/kitchen. There is very little to do but wind down from whatever you were doing before you got there.

The creek is freezing cold (it's just a kilometre or so from the glacier-fed lake where it originates) but works nicely to cool you down when you come out of the wood-fired sauna. Banana and McMonk and I had a great time. There was even a hostel cat that allowed itself to be picked up and carried around by McMonk. Being from a dog lover's household, that poor kid is just starved for cat time.

Friday, June 27, 2003

The kids and I are off to a hostel for the weekend. Cooking s'mores, a campfire, hiking and playing in the creek.

Whoo hoo!
I love being busy, but this is just ridiculous.

By the way, James Brown says, "Hey!".

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Today is the last day of school for Banana and McMonk. Both of their teachers were very pleased, as were the missus and I. At the risk of sounding like a boastful parent, them kids are clever.

We celebrated by having dinner at McDonalds and taking in a lawnchair theatre at Bowness Park. Instead of a play, it was a cheesy children's singer and a half-baked magician. It was nice to sit and sing campfire songs with the kids (doing the actions, too) but I think they need some entertainment with a bit more fibre.

How about the Calgary Folk Fest?

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Want to get a reaction out of me?

Just act all helpless and wimpy when I think you're capable, then watch me boil.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Wow. Iomega recently came out with a 750 meg ZIP drive and cartridge. That's about the same as a writeable CD, at only 80 to 90 times the cost for the media (ZIP cartridge vs. blank CD).

Nice try, guys. You're just 13 years too late.
I came, I saw, I rode the track. And it was good. And I called it, "Sean's New Summer Place to Get Sweaty."

Monday, June 23, 2003

Mmmmm, Miles Davis music while I'm on hold.

Nope, I don't mind waiting.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

The first reading of the new J.K. Rowling book took place this evening. Fifteen pages read aloud, seven hundren and fifty-one to go.

Pass the throat lozenges.
Well, the weird dreams are back. Nightmares, you might even call them. This last one happens in the dark of night. My present neighbor, the Serial Talker, and my dad (who is, in the dream, living on the other side of me) are trying to stop some addition that I am building on my house. They are quoting some obscure law that prevents me from completing what I have already built. I am being ordered to tear down the addition, but I refuse to. I feel myself being overwhelmed by a sense of dread for not following their wishes.

Next, I am traveling in an old-fashioned (circa 1920's) subway car, with wooden seats, brass handrails and poles, and a general feel of good upkeep, as the car travels down a flooded subway tunnel. The driver's compartment is open and an aged Danny Glover is piloting the car. He seems manically happy and is singing some sort of Baptist-revival type song. I'm concerned that he is driving at an unsafe speed and is endangering us (there are suddenly more people aboard the train), but he totally ignores any attempt to communicate with him about this concern. I know he can hear me as I have physical contact with him and can get responses to other questions. I just can't get him to slow down or drive rationally.

Then the dog woke me up to be let out for a pee.

Friday, June 20, 2003

I'm feeling seperated from the rest of my work buddies these days. Driving back and forth betwen the two offices is taking its toll on me. I don't feel plugged into what's going on anymore.

It totally sucks.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Track cycling, you say?

Monday nights at 6:30 pm and Saturday mornings at 9:30 am?

All outdoors, at a reasonable price, including track bike rental?

Convieniently timed as to not interrupt the family schedule?

What could be better?

New cycling shoes, you say?

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

... and this one is for all the girls I've loved before.

Ooooo! New blogger interface!

It sure doesn't take much to excite me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Two days from now, our old fart's swim team will be shut down for 10 weeks while they do repairs to the pool tank.

I'm gonna go nuts if I don't find something exercise-y to do.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Father's Day has come and gone so my yearly golf game is over. My dad is definitely slowing down - I think 9 holes was the limit for his endurance.

Some idle chit-chat was exchanged, the weather was beautiful and fathers (both mine and Jenn's, whom my brother and I invited along) were honored and treated to an on-the-course-beer.

I got to enjoy a bit of time just being a father, as I took my two daughters to a pool and splashed, played and wrestled with them a bit. I'm looking forward to the next few years as my daughters turn into teenagers. Some might question my sanity at this comment (heck, *I* might even question it in a few years), but I am enjoying the increasingly intelligent conversations and relavations regarding their existence that Banana and McMonk share with me from time to time.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

McMonk has stumbled upon a new source of revenue. She has always been envious of her sister's apparent ability to produce spending money (the trick, of course, is that Banana, after producing the money, decides not to spend any). The meager allowance she receives from her parents is greatly outstripped by the commercialistic monster inside her, fueled by the twenty second gotta-have-it breaks between her favorite TV shows. This has lead to her new past time - tooth self-extraction.

McMonk is fully aware who exactly the tooth fairy is. She steadfastly sticks to referring to them in the third person when talking to me or Jenn. She has been getting two dollars per tooth since the first one was lovingly stuck under her pillow. Late in the evening after the first post-Tooth-Fairy-Talk tooth loss, a very solemn, serious and long-faced McMonk came up to my bedroom after we had all gone to bed. With her angelic, big, brown, unblinking eyes on full power, she came close and said to me, "Dad, even though I know who the Tooth Fairy is, I still think it would be really, really nice if he came tonight." Then she came and hugged me and skittered off to bed. Being the soft-headedhearted dad that I am, I decided to go and give her two bucks for her tooth.

Well, a precedent had then been set.

That was at least a year ago. Now, back to the present day. For the past two weeks, we have had reports at the breakfast and dinner table as to which of her teeth is wriggly, along with wriggle-o-meter ratings. "See this one?" she asks, doing her best Elvis-like snarl, assisted by a pinky pulling back one corner of her mouth. "It's getting really loose. It should be out tonight." Then, sometime before bed, she skips upstairs from her room with tooth in hand to show us that there will be a payload under the pillow this evening.

Tonight is the second night in a row that there's been a tooth extraction. She seems to think this is a great (and sure) way to make money. I'm worried that as her supply of wriggly baby teeth starts to dwindle, I'm going to find her down in her bedroom with a figure skate and a rock, doing her imitation of Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I went to Walmart last night.
I was taken there to look at patio furniture.
I walked into the store and was instantly taken with these.
Because it was my birthday, I decided Geek and Co. needed a pair of them for "diagnostic purposes".

That is why they don't give credit cards to kids.

Monday, June 09, 2003

On the evening of my thirty-eighth birthday, I want to give thanks for the best and most special birthday present I received this year - time.

Having personal time has allowed me to rediscover fitness; a love of mine that I've been away from for years. When I had kids, I pretty much (like so many others) threw myself into parenting to the determent of all other parts of my life. For the longest time I felt out of balance, but the time spent with my kids held so much benefit for them and me. As Banana and McMonk grew older and more independent, I no longer needed to be within arm's reach anymore. It was important to be around, but it was more of a "hanging around and waiting for something to happen" kind of parenting.

So that's when I saw my opportunity to request more time to do my own thing and ... I got it. I started swimming more regularly and made some good friends in the process. With established training buddies, swimming led to some cycling, then some running. The more I did, the better it felt. I was getting fit and suddenly, I was needing about two and a half hours a day to get to my workout, do the deed and then get back. I am very lucky that both my family and my job have allowed me to have time to do what I love to do. Jenn and the kids have been great - I've abandoned them for regular Monday and Wednesday evening swim sessions and some Friday and Sunday rides and runs. On Tuesday and Thursdays I've skipped out of work as I've been allowed to stretch my three-and-a-half paid days over four days, punching a long, long lunch break into the middle of two afternoons.

Having this time means that Jenn doesn't get as much help with keeping the house running or as much attention from me as she's used to. It also means the kids lose their biggest playmate, story-reader and a disciplinarian for two nights a week. It also means that others have had to step in and pick up the slack with kids and chores when I'm not around - my mom, my mother-in-law, my co-workers, ... many others. But having this time for me has been a great gift. I feel so much better about myself and have more energy and stamina to do what needs to be done. It's also meant that there's about 11% less of me to start this 38th year than there was starting the 37th. That's substantial.

So, thanks to everyone who's given me a bit of time this year. I've made good use of it.
Due to the amount of work in front of me today, I've decided to delay my birthday until later in the week.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

My aunt died of cervical cancer this week. It's the same aunt that visits my grandmother on a regular basis. I feel a twinge of responsibility to be more attentive to my grandmother now.

The many tassles of responsibility that edge my blanket of life remained while I tried to figure out why I felt so guilty about not needing to say goodbye to a woman who didn't like me or make any attempt to build a friendship. I lived in the same city as this woman for over six years and only saw her twice - both times due to an accidental meeting. I spent some time away from work figuring out what I needed to do to help those who were grieving. Then I carried on with my life.

I knew very little about the person that she was and how she touched others with her life. I don't think it would be fair and productive for others who are counting me if I were to focus on learning about this relative post-humously. My attention and effort needs to be elsewhere.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Holy crap. The results were just posted for the triathlon I did on Saturday. I finished fifth in my age category and EIGHTH overall. Out of two hundred people. I'm in shock.

Just for the record, I was doing 1:37 per 100m in the swim, 36.8 km/hr on the bike, and 4:57 per kilometre in the run. Freakin' fantastic!

Monday, June 02, 2003

Confession time. Civilization has done a fine job on me. I use the proper cutlery when I eat. I cover my mouth when I cough. I shower and shampoo at least once (often twice) a day. My dirty dishes go in the sink or the dishwasher almost immediately after I leave the table. I hold doors for complete strangers when I'm entering or exiting a store. But ... 

One thing I've caught myself doing is burping. Loud, volumous burps. Drawn-out, from-the-diaphragm, ring-in-your-ears kind of burps. I find myself doing it in supposedly private places, like when I'm alone in elevators, in the car, and lately in the shower. The shower at the place where I exercise is the best place to burp. The floors, walls and ceiling are tiled so even skinny little gastronomic noises carry and resonate well. I was surprised this evening, showering and scrubbing myself off after everyone else had left the facility for the day when I let one rip and turned around to rinse my back and found that I wasn't as alone as I thought I was. 

An older gentlemen had just come into the shower room. I was embarrassed and didn't know what to say. The man didn't seem to make any remark about the noise, but he obviously heard me as he looked right at me when he came in, but kept a perfectly straight face. It would have been easier establish a rapport with him if he had said, "Nice one," or "Holy shit," or "Good dinner?" but he chose to remain silent. Excusing myself for my indiscretion seemed silly, as it had been a few seconds since the horn had sounded - it would look pretty obvious that I would be feigning politeness for his benefit. Apologizing might look kind of gallant or femmy, which is an awkward thing to do when you standing naked and soapy just a few feet from another man who is naked and soapy, too. I tried to casually glance over and gauge his reaction, but he was moving and lathering and I didn't want to appear to be checking him out*, so I just pretended it wasn't big deal and carried on. 

What an awkward situation to be in. I've got to be more careful about where I practice my Neanderthal indulgences. 

*Normally, appearing to be gay isn't something that bothers me, but
it just didn't feel appropriate in the shower at that time.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Tonight I donned spandex and a leather jacket.
Tonight I had long, flowing black hair.
Tonight I snarled for the camera.
Tonight I flirted with women I had no hope or intention of ever going further than flirting with.
Tonight I sang along with songs by the Commitments.
Tonight I drank to Cacomixl's good health and birthday.
Tonight I saw Cindi Lauper incarnate.
Tonight I was told why Boise, Idaho is a good place to visit.
Tonight I learned that the hiking trail at Yamnuska is a busy place.
Tonight I purposely drank beer that had been in someone else's mouth.
Tonight I worked very, very hard to be a good listener.
Tonight I pulled from reserves of energy that I had forgotten were there.

I am grateful for my friends.