Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween #1

Here's a few cute Halloween photos for the archives. I kind of dropped the ball on getting him a certain costume that I had in mind (a foul-up on the order, really), so we were left scrounging a the last minute to find something. R's sister loaned us this dog costume, but it was a little on the small side.
Scott was absolutely thrilled with his other costume -- a baseball player.
The creative costume award for the evening goes to our neice and nephew, who were the lead characters from the Shrek movies. Look at the mini-paunch on little Shrek. And aren't their ogre-ears fantastic? It all just gets me excited for next year.

On the subject of sweet costumes, my cousin and her family managed another stellar showing this year, playing the lead characters from Peter Pan. Check it out.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Shots For Scott

After looking at these thighs, you might think that this boy is a little on the chunky side. You might think that he belongs in the upper quartile for weight when compared on a chart with his peers.

You would be wrong.

Apparently, Scott had an early encounter with the 72nd percentile, but he's drifted back into his home turf in the "under-fifty" club. I was quite surprised to hear that, since he feels pretty hefty to me, and people are always telling us that he looks so big. I guess big doesn't necessarily mean heavy.

Big can also mean tall.

After a fairly modest start, Scott has been climbing the charts like the proverbial weed. In just six months he has grown 8.5 inches. That's about 1.5 inches per month. My hair doesn't even grow that fast. It seems strange that he would be rising in comparative height, but dropping in comparative weight. Perhaps we need to start giving him some Creatine supplements and get him to hit the weights instead of napping all the time.

Isn't he cute?

We have the latest measurement info because Scotty went in for his second round of immunizations this week. For the last month or so, there's been a post-it note on the counter that said, "Shots For Scott - October 23" on it. I don't know if you've noticed, but that rhymes.

"Scott" took his "Shots" quite well. I wasn't there (good thing -- because I'd faint) but R said that he only cried a bit. If we were to graph it, his crying would be in about the 38th percentile. What a tough kid. But he's wiry, and I don't know but the wiry ones can work the hardest (link).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Real Food

Friday Scott tried his first "real food" (rice cereal). He was pretty keen to stick the spoon in his mouth (he's keen to stick ANYTHING in his mouth), but he wasn't so sure what he'd got himself into.

I think he ended up with more of it on his bib than in his mouth, which is his way of taking it easy his first time out. When he stopped opening his mouth to take the spoon, we figured he'd had enough.

On the other hand, it seems that he can never get enough of this particular toy, which is attached to his exersaucer. I think he could get the whole thing in his mouth if he would really put his mind to it. He's gotten pretty close.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Big Smiles

With midterms looming on the horizon (next week), things have been pretty hectic around here. I was a little slow to put this picture up on the blog, but the size of the smile makes it worth the wait.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Saturday In The Heart Of Montreal

[I started writing this back on July 12 2007, when R's sister brought her family out to visit us in Ottawa to celebrate R's milestone birthday. I had this entry nearly finished, but it got lost in the frantic pace of things as we prepared to move. Instead of letting it slowly fade away, I decided to finish it off and post it.]

As if we didn't do enough touristy stuff last week, we packed up the rental van and drove out to Montreal for the day on Saturday, mostly in an attempt to grind our visitors into the ground.

To build up stamina for the big day, we stopped 3/4 of the way to Montreal at the newly opened franchise of "La Belle Province" which had opened in the town of Rigaud. I'll never forget the first time I ate at "La Belle", because it was unbelievable. We had enormous plates of poutine and mile-high smoked meat sandwiches. Unfortunately, none of my experiences since then have measured up. This visit was pretty good, but R was appalled to find her cheese curds fused into three enormous wads, completely unaffected by the gravy. I think I ended up eating it.

After spending a windy few minutes in the square in front of Notre Dame Cathedral (which was closed), we headed through the Old Port sector of Montreal checking out the winding cobblestone streets that lead to Place Jacques Cartier -- a popular spot for buskers. This particular busker was offering free hugs (although I think he preferred to get generous donations for his gentle embraces). Our little niece was both intrigued and intimidated by him. I think that's a safe reaction.

After strolling along the promenade of the Old Port, we drove up to the top of Mount Royal, to climb the stairs to the top of St. Joseph's Oratory, which is Canada's largest church. It got to the top at sundown, and the lighting was exceptional. Unfortunately, I have neither the camera nor the photographic skills to properly capture such moments.

Everybody is smiling for the photos, but it was a pretty draining experience. I hope that J & L took something worthwhile away from their experience in Montreal -- aside from a stomach full of cheese curds.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Travelling Renovators

My dad just retired a month ago, and his company (which is now based in Denver) offered to fly him and my mom up to Calgary for a final trip, since he has been with the company since the very beginning, back when it was just six people in Calgary. While they were here, they took the opportunity to reconnect with lots of their good friends. We got to tag along to a really good Chinese restaurant.

My dad is not one to sit around when there are "projects" to be had. The man can't stand still. In fact I don't think I've ever seen him sit through a whole movie. Well, true to form, he hadn't been here for 10 minutes before he was suggesting renovation projects. While we were giving him a tour of the five rooms that make up our humble dwelling, he latched onto a particularly attractive reno project in the bathroom:

Some previous owner of our house was obsessed with pot-lights, and they managed to put them everywhere, even in places where they really have no business being. In the bathroom, someone had framed in a huge box over the mirror, just for the purpose of putting in pot-lights instead of regular light fixtures. Not only that, they put it about 5 feet off the ground, so I could only see myself from the collarbones down.

Dad made short work of that box.

Over the next few days, in the gaps between their many social engagements, my mom and dad helped patch up the wall and paint it. They even sprung for the cost of the supplies, calling it a house-warming gift.

Rarely do you get a house-warming gift where the giver bashes in a bunch of your drywall with a wrecking bar.

I really like the electric screwdriver that my dad got for me at Rona. He also snagged this sweet drill and driver set that had 215 pieces. It's awesome.

They finished the last coat of paint this morning, before the company lunch, and came back this afternoon to help hang the mirror before catching a 6:00 plane. They are dedicated renovators, and they make international house calls.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Baby's First Blog

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(I'm convinced that there is deep meaning behind this message.)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Moving From Ottawa to Calgary For $300


This week we sold the moving truck that we bought for our move from Ottawa to Calgary. I posted ads on several web services (kijiji, craigslist, usedcalgary, bargainfinder and autotrader) and sat back to wait for all the calls to come in. The first caller bought the truck. Lucky thing he did, because I didn't have that many other calls coming in (two).

I listed the truck for more than I paid for it, knowing that the Calgary market is pretty strong, and hoping that I could cover some of our moving costs. According to our estimates, the profit that we gained from the sale of the truck (about $2500) covered all of our expenses (truck, inspections, towing, parking ticket, registration, insurance, gas, food, lodging), except for a few hotel rooms. In all, we figure our net cost to move from Ottawa to Calgary was about $300. Not only that, we had the benefit of using the truck for a few months to store our stuff, take loads to the dump, help people move, etc.

Obviously, saving $6000 on our move was a good thing. If I had to do it over again, would I do things differently? Perhaps. I certainly wouldn't leave the thing parked in the church parking lot without a note again. That towing incident was a nightmare that easily could have been avoided. The insurance is the only real deterrent. It's not easy for a private individual to get short-term insurance for a commercial vehicle. If I had to do it over again, I think that is the part I would dread.

It was sad to watch the truck pull away for the last time. I think I will miss it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

All the Leaves Are Brown

Fall is here, and Calgary is aflame with bright-coloured leaves. We took Scott outside for some pictures on Wednesday afternoon because it was such a beautiful, sunny day. Just as I might have predicted, he really wanted to stick those leaves in his mouth.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Chasing Buses

Today I came running down the sidewalk at 8:07 and missed my bus by about twelve seconds. I chased it for a little while, but it was pretty clear that I wasn't going to catch it. Instead, I went down a few blocks to a different stop that has multiple buses. Just before I got there, I saw another bus coming, so I had to sprint after that one to make sure I got on. I made it.

It was fairly cold out this morning, so it was a decent shock to the lungs to be breathing so hard so suddenly. The bus was packed, so it was pretty stuffy in there. After a few blocks, I started to feel pretty ill. About two blocks from the train station I asked the driver to let me off. I didn't tell him that I was dangerously close to hurling all over the front of his bus.

After a few minutes outside, with my hands resting on my knees, I lost that tingly feeling in your jaw that signals an imminent puking episode.

I stepped aboard another bus and made it to the train station without losing my breakfast.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Front Row Seats

Today I had my first meeting as part of the Calgary Portfolio Management Trust (CPMT), which is a program for finance students at the University of Calgary. About 15 of us had an hour to chat with Stephen A. Jarislowsky, a Canadian investment icon. He told us about his experiences over the course of his 55-year career in investing, and it was all quite fascinating. It was a medium-sized board room, and we all got to sit close and participate in the discussion.

In other news, we took Scott's booster highchair for a test drive tonight. He sat at the table with us for the first time, strapped into his Fisher Price booster chair. We bought it on Saturday with a gift card from all the kind folks at my job in Ottawa. If any of them are out there, Scotty sends his thanks.