Friday, May 15, 2020

Fresh air and exercise

Terry likes to play around with woodworking projects. As previously mentioned, wooden pallets are routinely available for picking. The three-tiered planter featured in the last post is one such pallet creation.

Before one can start working with pallet wood, one must first disassemble the pallets to free the wooden planks from all its other wooden plank neighbors.  Crowbars and hammers play a role here.  All the nails must also be removed.  It is a bit tedious when you are talking about removing five planks from each of a dozen pallets.

We have an accumulation of pallets. The weather is beautiful. The kids have a day off from school today (that sounds weird to say, I know, but it means that had they actually been in school they would not have gone today, and the child who does get daily assignments didn't have any for today). Put that all together and we get - Workforce Friday!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Garden!!!

We were lucky enough to get a spot in one of the two community gardens we applied to. Then, after we got that notification Terry found a few spots in the back yard where he thought we could grow a thing or two (it is so shady back there we wrote it off at first).  On Canada's version of Craigslist - called Kijiji - there are often pallets available in peoples' yards for free. It is an entirely contactless experience, if also sometimes a disappointing experience when someone else grabbed the best wood just before you get there. Terry picked up a few and made this awesome planter, which will eventually be mounted into the fence! We're planning a row of lettuce, a row of various herbs, and a row of spinach because one of the children will actually eat spinach (as opposed to chard or kale) ... as long as we refer to it as lettuce. The sacrifices we make for our children's health.

The community garden had a socially distanced tour Saturday morning and Terry went, as this is definitely more his thing than mine and we had a hunch there would be some good tips shared and local gardening in general and the mechanics of this community garden in particular. He came home as close to elated as his stoic self ever is.

After dinner the whole family went down to be introduced to our garden bed - they are all raised beds and each is named for a flower, ours is Aster. Terry and I measured and planned and planted the few cold-weather direct-sow seeds we had - radishes, beets, snow peas, and lettuces. The kids played in the adjacent field, creating some kind of disk golf game that involved their fleeces as "home bases" and Alex's shoes as markers of where the disk last landed.

Look at Terry's super fancy "saddlebag" system for his bike!  He designed it himself, and the buckets handily hold garden tools, seeds, and as necessary - dirt.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Ballad of Broken Glass

We'd been warned before heading to Calgary to save up for a new windshield or two. Chips, cracks, hairline fractures, the traffic kicked up a lot of rock and every single Consulate vehicle ended up with broken windshields. It wasn't whether, but rather when.  One overachiever managed to crack his windshield on his drive to post.

The first crack appeared in November or so. It seemed enormous and dangerous to me at first, starting several inches from the bottom left and moving toward the north/northeast. We called around for quotes and discussed our work schedules to see who could bring the car in, and when.

We marked where the crack ended and tracked how much, and whether, it grew each day. Some days it did, others not so much. We stalled and hesitated. We noted the seeming proliferation in cars driving around with cracks in their windshields. Of the six cars parked closest to us in the Consulate garage, four of them had cracks - and two of them were very nice cars (I don't pay attention to cars much, maybe they were Lexus or Beemers or Audis?) Walking around our neighborhood one day we noticed more than half the cars on one block had such damage. Apparently this is a thing.

We discussed further and reasoned that we were likely to sustain further damage and how many times did we really want to pay for new windshields? The crack did not impede vision, and there didn't seem to be any laws against it like there are for broken headlights.

Some cracks we've seen reach from one side of the car to the other. I think when we get there we may look into a replacement. Or whenever we depart Calgary.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

How do we eat? Turns out, pretty well


For four weeks now (or is it five?), my only car rides have been to the grocery store.  Our shopping list gets longer each week, and each week we seem to manage to eat most of whatever we've bought.

The Canadian stores, like ones in the USA and elsewhere, have been short on toilet paper (which we only notice with a researcher's disinterest, as we are still working off our usual Costco stock) and yeast (this one was becoming a problem - then a friend dropped off sourdough starter and we're working on our first loaf for right after Passover) and flour (I got the last bag of unbleached in the entire store on the last trip).  The line-up-and-wait-to-go-in that we'd seen in photos from the USA have arrived. One visit to our usual grocery store had store employees wiping down shopping carts before handing them off to individual shoppers, another time at the same store the carts were just sitting out with no attendance. Tape marked off at six-foot distances for the line to check out is universal, and cause the lines to snake through a full half of the store's perimeter sometimes. Store hours are universally shortened, 8am-8pm with 7-8am opened for seniors and others who need more social distancing.  The last trip to the store I wasn't allowed to bring my own bags into the store.  It's running 7-10 days to get a pickup spot. We waffle between whether it is better to go ourselves or do the pickup option. We finally decided the employee is in the store anyway, taking our bodies out of the store should be one less possible vector of infection so we have an order placed and ready to pick up ... a week from now.  In anticipation of this we got 2 weeks' worth of groceries, although of course we're getting low on fresh produce.

We're waiting for the day the kinds of severe restrictions on mobility we see in some other countries come here - requiring papers to be outside your home or only 3 hours a day to be outside. Alberta''s spike is expected to start in a couple of weeks, so we expect the harsher measures then. In the meantime we have been building our stores of leftovers and, while not hoarding, trying to have a bit of an extra stockpile. Terry has been joking about scurvy and it is annoyingly sinking in. For those who are also wondering, it takes a month of no vitamin C for scurvy to really start showing symptoms. You're welcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Lockdown Passover

Calgary surprised me with the dearth of Hanukkah candles in December, so I was prepared to expect nothing in any store in the way of matzah come spring. Calgary did not disappoint.  Mails shut down before I could ask my mom to ship me  few boxes from the USA, so I called up the old recipe I used back in Russia to make my own matzah! No rabbi would bless this stuff for a number of reasons, but it did get from water-touches-flour to out-of-the-oven in 18 minutes or less so I am calling it a win and moving on.

We have been able to find some lamb, and after searching our bookshelves I have discovered about seven different Haggadot. I first debated between the "30 minute Seder" and whatever we have the most copies of, and it turned out we had the most copies of the "30 minute Seder". Another win.

The kids had a huge fight that left one child refusing to come down when it was time to Seder ... until Terry worked his magic. Wine and grape juice were drunk, matzah was eaten with horseradish and charoset (although I keep telling Terry he isn't doing it right because he likes the horseradish), and yes we opened the door for Elijah. He didn't touch anything.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I thought I was a "6 months of winter" person. Turns out I'm a "5 months of winter" person

It has snowed nearly every day during the last two weeks. Without the office to go to providing an incentive to leave the house, the daily walks are getting a bit sluggish. Once I force myself outside I'm glad to have gone, but that first step is very, very hard. The super cold, brightly sunny days of deep winter are gone and in this uncertain time the color of the day, ever day, is gray.  This photo was the world outside my front door yesterday. Today there has been melt so the dominant colors are brown and gray. No worries, snow is expected this afternoon.

One day this week I did not leave the house at all and Terry only left it to go to the garage to tell Alex lunch was ready - she was practicing fencing with a duffel bag Terry stuffed and rigged up in the garage for her. Zoltan has gone out there a few times to use the bag as a punching bag.  This weekend we will probably watch some Learn to Box videos so nobody gets injured. Going to Canadian Tire to buy an actual punching bag and sets of gloves for the family seems simultaneously inappropriately frivolous, and also somewhat life-saving. No decision has yet been made, no trip to Canadian Tire yet planned.

We got the good news that we were able to score a garden plot at the local community association. So far gardening hasn't been cancelled, and it seems really clear that schedules can be developed to make sure it doesn't get too crowded that I am cautiously optimistic we'll be able to garden this summer. The earliest planting date is end of May, so we have plenty of time to plan and dream of the day we can walk without hesitation into Home Depot and get bags of fertilizer and plants to grow (not knowing if we'd get a plot, we started nothing indoors). It may be a year of lettuce and radishes otherwise!

* Note, Terry had nothing to do with this photo and probably disapproves of it.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Kids and COVID-19 new normal

The kids and I started our isolations at the same time and we're finishing our third week at home together.  We do get outside most days; during the first couple of weeks the many scavenger hunts offered online were a great way to give them something to do while outside. The first week of isolation, when all this seemed a bit of a lark and tempers were even, Zoltan even taught Alex some soccer and Alex taught Zoltan some fencing.

The kids wear street clothes about once a week. Normally they just go from pajamas to pajamas - usually daily but let's be real, sometimes it's every other day.

Last week was "disastrous spring break." Trapped in the house with working parents and no set schedule resulted in more yelling, screaming, stomping and hitting than usual. It took until the middle of this week to have our first day without fighting.  It was also Wednesday of this week when their teachers sent out the first assignments for them to do. The schools have been wonderfully reasonable - Zoltan will have about 5 hours of assigned work per week and Alex will have about 10 hours - the difference between elementary and middle school. The daily schedules we set for them when this all began, and what we're roughly keeping, include:
  • 1/2 hour daily for math - Khan Academy or whatever the teachers send home
  • 1 hour for social studies/writing - any English Language Arts schoolwork or doing the curriculum that came with their U.S. History in a Box sets, there are a lot of "read this and write a paragraph on it" type exercises
  • 1 hour daily for programming - we got them each Raspberry Pies last year and a growing stash of Python books and figured it can't hurt to let them play with coding each day
  • 15 minutes of music practice - Alex plays trumpet in the school band and Zoltan started piano lessons last fall. There is some computer program her school uses where she can play the music and it tracks whether her notes are correct and whether the timing is too fast/slow or OK. He is continuing his lessons via Skype. This is one of those "thank goodness for technology" moments.
  • Two 15-minute "chores" sessions - the kids do a large chunk of the dishes and laundry these days
  • Two "be outside" and/or "be active" sessions
  • Lunch and two snacks
  • 1 hour of "science" which has been either (1) doing some of the science kits their wonderful aunt got them for Christmas, (2) baking, or (3) watching documentaries. Nova has 47 seasons!  We started with episodes on things we knew they were doing in science class, like the outer planets for Zoltan, but now we're pretty loosey-goosey.
  • There are also blocks of time for reading, for doing "maker space" (projects, some examples have been Lego building or writing and recording poems they have been sending out to the extended family), and a daily period that will become their "catch up on whatever assigned schoolwork they didn't manage to finish during the allotted times". 
There's a lot out there on the web about letting the kids be kids and not having any schedules, routines, or expectations. We tried that during spring break. If that kind of thing works for others, awesome!  Did not work for us. Some kids need to know what to expect, what comes next, and find comfort in the stability of a schedule. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Corona in Alberta

COVID-19 has not made the same deep inroads within Alberta that it has in other places. We have been watching the rest of the world, making plans, stocking up on food and books and waiting for The News. Kids' spring break was supposed to be at the end of the week and of all the places in the world we could have planned to visit for the very first time ... Seattle. So we cancel those plans and instead think about where else in the neighborhood we want to hike. Outdoors is pretty good for social distancing and keeping sanity.

My home office in DC is down to skeleton crew and I started teleworking this week. It's a little funny because of course I telework every day, but from an office rather than my house.

The kids' school was finally cancelled Sunday afternoon, along with all other schools in Alberta, so together with my telework we need a plan to keep the kids from fighting outside the door to the study between 7:30am-4:00pm.We've put together a schedule that includes everything from Khan Academy math to practicing their instruments to doing chores, getting outside, and reading. And a documentary every day - it's TV time, so they are pretty happy about it. Day one went spectacularly well, and I was reminded of how much my children crave structure and predictability (some experts will say all children need this, some parents will argue not their kids). In any case, Alberta Board of Education is doing a rollout of how learning is going to go for the next three months that starts with high school, then middle, then elementary last. Alex got some assignments when she went to school to clean out her locker - all students has certain days and times to go, based on their last names, to avoid a crowd. We're heard essentially bupkis for Zoltan but he's still in elementary and Khan Academy has 5th grade math all ready for him.

On day 3 of learning from home, the kids baked chocolate crinkle cookies for "science".

We are so incredibly fortunate. We can telework, and if we can't we have leave, and if we run out we have savings. We are healthy and secure in our jobs. Our kids are old enough to not need our constant supervision so we can actually work while working from home. We have internet, heat, clean water - and sufficient toilet paper for about a month - and we can easily get outside even if we can't get near other people.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Finally Snowshoeing

Our very first snowshoe adventure was in Finland, back when we were posted to St Petersburg. It was amazing, magical, so very much fun. We were younger, fitter, and tired kids could be pulled on a sled thing that attached at Terry's waist. We decided we'd snowshoe at the cabin in the winter, so we went ahead and bought ourselves a bunch of snowshoes.

Fast forward to being back in the USA. We realize that winter visits to the cabin are a bad idea - arriving near midnight with kid who either did or did not fall asleep in the car and in any case need to get to bed RIGHT NOW but the cabin is below-freezing temps inside, other than in the furnace room, which is a "roasting" 50 - nothing good comes from this. So, no showshoeing that year.

Fast forward to Kazakhstan. We do go snowshoeing once. It was bitterly cold, below -20 without windchill and massive wind that nipped at any exposed flesh. We turned back very early.

Now we are in Canada where everything is glorious. In our introductory hikes we tried to instill in the kids the love of outdoors and hiking so we focused on really cool things like ice falls. Having hit every one in a two hour radius of Calgary (other than Fish Creek, which is within Calgary city limits), we decided it was time to break out the 'shoes.

Our plan was to hit a highly recommended, easy trail that was almost two hours away. Around the hour mark of our drive was a visitors' center we knew would have indoor bathrooms - winter is no good time for the porta-potty type toilets at most trailheads, which have doors that let a lot of outdoor air circulate.  During the stop we had a quick conversation and re-orientation and decided to do the easy trail that left from the other end of the parking lot.  That was a very good decision, as it was a richly fact-finding experience for us. Fact #1: Snowshoes really are a double workout compared to hiking (as in, you get exhausted at what would have been the halfway mark on a hike). Fact #2: Although the children are still technically under the weight limit for their snowshoes, the 'shoes are legitimately too small. They post-holed a number of times when playing around in the deep snow to the side of the trail. We need new-to-them 'shoes before our next trip out. Fact #3: 10 year olds can not be trusted to account for all of their gear before departure and must be reminded.  "I thought I had it so I didn't look", and "I told you so you should have reminded me" are apparently valid excuses. Fact #4: The deep snow is way more fun than the trail.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bowness Park Lagoon

Looking for open ice places to go skating, I stumbled upon the Bowness Park Lagoon. Having no idea at all what to expect, we packed up our skates and headed out.

There is a section of open ice across a wider part of the river. Two firepits lined one bank of the river and a hoarde of very young kids congregated in that general area. At one cleared end was a pickup hockey game, at the other end was the entrance to the "skate along the canal" portion. I thought it would be like the town in Quebec I've read about, with kilometers of trail and hot cocoa stands along the banks. It was not that - it only took a few minutes to get to the end of the cleared portion of the trail, but it was still very fun. My highlight was the woman on skates pushing her stroller along the canal. I later saw a couple of other parents with their strollers on the ice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Human Bonspeil



Across the street from the Consulate in Olympic Plaza there is a fountain that is made into an ice rink in the winter.  It is free to use assuming you have your own skates, but who doesn't have there own skates in Canada.  For people without skates, there are also rentals.  So once a year there is a charity event to raise money for KidSport Calgary.  The organization helps kids without the financial means to play in organized sports.  The fundraiser is a Human Bonspiel competition.  What is bonspiel? you may ask.  It is normally a curling competition (curling: winter sport mainly in Canada played with brooms on ice. Has a horseshoe/bowling element of throwing something heavy down a lane and attempting to hit a bulls-eye). The human bonspiel is similar, except instead of a stone thrown down the lane, players jump on intertubes and they are the stones.  There is also no sweeping.  Officials measure how close you are to the "button" (the center of the target).  Teams of four compete, with each throwing themselves down the ice.  The goal is to get the lowest total measurement of all four teammates.

I was on a team with three other Consulate members.  Due to the skills of other players on my team we did manage to get through the first round of competition.  Because we made the top three for the day we went to the finals.  Monday through Thursday were the initial rounds.  The top three from each day continued on to the finals on Friday. We performed better than the first day a team but we had much stiffer competition with 12 teams competing for the win. Unfortunately we did not place, but I did have a ton of fun and we raised some money for charity.  Above is short video of me sliding on the ice.


Monday, March 2, 2020

More Emergency Room - Canadian Rockies version


Our low key Monday was meant to focus on a ski slope in Canmore that had a sledding hill and skating rink. We figured we'd have some winter fun, cut it short when Zoltan got cold (his boots didn't dry completely), lunch in Canmore and head home in the early afternoon.

We got to the slope and parked at what turned out to be the far end from where we were. When I asked a woman in the parking lot where the sledding hill was, she pointed the way then said "just follow the bloody noses". Confused, I followed the direction and found the hill shortly.

The kids took a few runs, which were longer but a gentler grade than they had gotten used to. On the side there was a steeper grade, which also included a curve and a pretty steep drop off if you missed the curve.  The kids regularly missed the curve, although at first they veered off after already entering it.

Then came the run when Alex missed it practically from the top. The drop was probably four feet or so. We saw her stand up, then seem to crumple down. Terry first, then I raced down to check on her. She said it hurt to breathe and she was having trouble gathering her breath. She could move all fingers and toes so we were slightly less panicked but had her rest a while. When she still complained, we called a local clinic to be sure they were open on this holiday and let them know we were coming.

Have I mentioned frequently enough what a relief it is to have universal health care? We could worry about whether Alex was OK and not what the visit would cost. In the end she was perfectly fine, just a bit bruised and very shaken up. By this time we were hungry and she was OK so we hit a local restaurant for lunch.

Graze was well reviewed and conveniently located to where we could find parking.  The food was tasty, the owner roamed the floor to make sure everyone was comfortable and well served. I was particularly impressed when he came over and said the meal had taken longer to come out than he preferred and our beverages would be comped (it did feel like the kitchen was oddly slow, and I was very impressed and touched at the gesture. We'll be back).

All's well that ends well.

Friday, February 28, 2020

More ice falls - Lake Louise



Our plan Sunday was to do all there was to do at Lake Louise. It was our first time out there, and again Alex whined and complained until we got to the waterfall. We knew it was at the far end of the lake and we saw the line of ants in the distance making it impossible to lose our way, but we didn't realize until we got there that the falls were behind the stand of trees we had been tracking during the walk (thus we never really knew how close or far we were from our destination).


The climb to the falls is practically straight up. None of our photos sufficiently represent the steepness of the grade, which is a great shame. I went up half the distance and the kids raced all the way to the base of the falls. The fun for them was in sliding back down on their butts. The incline was so great a couple of the adults who got a bit off balance raced so dangerously fast we feared they would plunge into the thin ice at the bottom of the hill - there was actually some water at this point so the lake itself was absolutely a hazard.  The kids loved their ride so much the went back up and slid down again.

This warranted some hot cocoa, which we found at the Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise. I do have to give the Fairmont credit, it is very well set up for all the day trippers who are not spending fantastic sums of money to stay at the hotel. On our way to the car to pick up the ice skates - the hotel clears a pretty good sized portion of the lake for two rinks, one for pickup hockey games and one for ice skaters - the kids discovered a massive pileup of snow they could not resist. They spent the next hour building a massive fort within the snow mounds while Terry and I skated and admired the mountains.


We also discovered around this point that Zoltan's boots are not at all
waterproof and his socks were soaking and his feet cold. I gave him my socks and went barefoot in my boots, because that is what mothers do. Especially when they wear the same size socks. His boots are too small for me or I probably would have switched those too.

Next up - sledding. Yeah, we really weren't done yet. We debated staying long enough to catch the sunset but dry socks in wet boots soon become wet socks.

Dinner was a disaster. We originally wanted to get back to our fave Park Distillery and hadn't figured on Banff being so crowded there was nowhere to park within a reasonable walking distance from the restaurant. So we forged on to Canmore. Where our 20-30 minute wait to be seated (reasonable) became an hour wait (unreasonable). Zoltan was famished and freezing so I worried a bit about him. when we finally got back to the hotel he actually did not complain about having to take a shower, looking forward to the prospect of lots of hot water. Bedtime came quickly that night. We worried whether he was getting sick from the exposure (yeah, yeah, cold weather does not lead to colds. However, I had a scratchy throat that day and with his defenses down - from being so cold for so long, as well as worn out and late on eating - he could have caught it). In any case, we planned a much more low key Monday before driving home. And that was lucky for us.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

More ice falls - Canmore


We celebrated President's day with our first overnight in the Rockies. We stayed in Canmore, at a hotel that was 15 minutes away from one of the hikes we planned: Grotto Canyon.  When we pulled into the parking lot - having scored the very last spot - we discovered that we were missing one set of ice cleats and Zoltan had no handwear.

So we decided to see if we could check in early. It was fully booked the night before, it was just checkout time, and therefore no. The gentleman behind the desk very helpfully mentioned that Canmore does boast a Canadian Tire and they sell ice cleats and gloves and mittens. Off we go!

With shopping done and our eyes still on that prize, back to Grotto Canyon we go. As we had hoped, folks who had gotten there earlier were starting to leave and we were able to park the car. Alex did her usual tween thing of whining and complaining and reminding us of how much she hates hiking.  Until we got to the river.

The cool thing about this hike is that it is literally impossible in the summer, as much of the hike is on top of the frozen river and alongside the falls. I kept staring at the waves of ice underfoot - it was as if the river instantly froze in the process of flowing. (I was also very happy we decided to buy another set of cleats, as my bright idea of me and one child each wearing only one cleat would not have worked well).  The cleats we found were a tiny bit too big so they kept slipping to the side during one particularly slippery and steep part of the river, so I did not adventure quite as far as the rest of the family. Zoltan, even with his sturdy cleats, managed to slide down part of that steep, slippery river. It was terrifying to watch but he said it was exciting and just a little scary.

The hike was sufficient adventure for the day so we went back to the hotel, checked in, and let the kids have a run at the hotel pool. We dined at the Iron Goat, which is fun to say, and hit the hay in preparation for a long Sunday.

Monday, February 17, 2020

An Ode to the Ice Cleat


So, I'm not really writing an ode. Although it would rock. We have had experiences with Yak Trax but it was nothing like the joy the ice cleats brought us during the recent hike through Johnston Canyon in Banff (not to be confused with Johnson Lake, also in Banff, but currently closed for the season).  On a number of occasions I would look at my fellow hikers holding on for dear life to a railing or a side of the cliff and wonder why they were being so dramatic. At one point Terry showed me the sheet of ice that covered the path I just tromped down. I had not skidded a millimeter. Oh, ice cleats, why have I only discovered you now?  And, for added joy, they are one of the few items that are actually less expensive to buy in Canada!

All the tourism literature and bloggers compare it to Narnia/a winter fairyland and it is a pretty fair comparison.  I've now officially made it a personal goal to find and hike all trails that involve frozen waterfalls in the two-hour radius around Calgary.

The trip to the Lower Falls is about 1/2 mile and to the Upper Falls another mile beyond that. If it weren't for the fact that you pass directly by the Lower Falls I'd say give it a skip. The Upper Falls were absolutely breathtaking. We watched an ice climbing crew preparing, and a few individuals summiting the frozen waterfalls.  One family with a toddler and a dog looked to be preparing their own climb and we were very interested to see how they managed, but things were proceeding slowly and we moved on.  Side note: Terry disagrees about which waterfall was nicer.  He enjoyed the lower falls and the cave you could go through to get a better view.  The photo at the end is from the lower falls. Side note: Lynne would describe the "cave" as a hole in the rock that one passes through with one large step.

A decent section of the trail is an open-grate catwalk with railing. Just before the last catwalk to the Upper Falls, there is an option to head off the main trail and head down toward a smaller falls.  This was the ultimate discovery and a highlight of the trip. Not only was the frozen fall spectacular; not only could we walk within a few feet of a deep blue pool being constantly refreshed from an apparently (but obviously not entirely) frozen fall; but also we were able to sneak behind a different frozen fall and catch a glimpse of the world from that unique angle.

We created a new verb during this trip - "snowbanking"- which means throwing yourself into a snowbank and taking a rest.  The hike did have its strenuous moments and Terry and I really felt how out of shape we are, so the kids' requests for snowbank time were honored about half the time.  The photos show each kid "snowbanking." They asked every 5 minutes or so, and for a three mile round trip they probably snowbanked a dozen times or more. Towards the tail end we got a bit nervous about getting out of the park before the sun went down.  So the request to "snowbank" were honored a little less often.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Baby it's cold outside

A fun thing to do when the weather gets down below -30C is to make your own snow. Just get some boiling water, pour it into a cup and throw it into the air!


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Canadian Tire

A phenomenon we had never even heard of before our move is the magic that is Canadian Tire. They do in fact sell tires (I wasn't entirely sure). But in addition, they sell every thing you can possibly think of. Kids need ice skates? They even sharpen them in the shop. Looking for a shower curtain or bed sheets? Sure thing. Clothes? Indoor shoes for school? School supplies? It's Canada's Target. And also somehow K-Mart-y. But no food.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The park by our house

I guess four months in a house (one of which was away) isn't TOO long a delay for discovering the charming park around the corner. I can only imagine what it is like in the summer, but this being Canada I have to imagine the stream will be flooded with children. At least, I am sure mine will spend disproportionate time there.

Disclaimer: these photos were taken with my phone, Terry had nothing to do with them.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Happy birthday to me

This was definitely a birthday for the books. The mantra of the day for the kids was "Kind, loving, agreeable" - meaning if their words or actions were not one of the three, they had to knock it off. For the first time ever it worked!  So first gold star of the day - very little bickering, no fighting, yelling, crying.

We went downtown and started to break in the museum membership I received from my father as a birthday gift. The museum has an interactive section where adults and children can work on art projects inspired by two temporary exhibits. The kids worked on making prints on pieces of foam and on re-purposing everyday items after having wandered for a few moments (I stretched it as long as I could) through the related exhibits to see what the artists had done.

They were so interested in their projects we left the museum 20 minutes later than planned - gold star number two.

We met Terry for lunch at the delicious Korean place near work. The kids only complained about the egg on top but after we pushed it away they ate until full and agreed it was delicious. I call that a win - gold star number three.

Next up - ice skating at Olympic Plaza. The Zamboni came out as we were tying our skates and then we spent an hour on the ice. Randomly, an ice sculpture was unceremoniously unveiled while we were there. Interesting fact: This park is the epicenter of Calgary's "ringing in the new year" activities (hence the ice sculpture) and there were about five times more people on the ice at midnight when we saw it on the TV at home.
By the time we were ready to head home, it was time to pick up my birthday Made by Marcus cake. We have recently discovered this local ice cream place and have really enjoyed getting a cone there. Sadly, we all had to admit later that Rocky Road is not their best flavor. I mean the DQ ice cream cakes the kids got for their birthdays were better.  Ah well, live and learn.