Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh Ho Ho

Somewhere along the way, Scotty learned that the white-bearded man in the red suit likes to say, "Oh-ho-ho." Snowmen say it too, apparently.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 1978 - 2008

My Grandma A gave me a Christmas outfit in 1978, when I was a about 14 months old. As noted in a previous blog post, my mom dug it out of a box somewhere and sent it to us just before Scott was born.

Because his birthday is earlier in the year, he was 20 months old when we dressed him up in the Christmas outfit, so it wasn't a perfect fit. Still, he looked awful cute and we took plenty of pictures. You just don't see many red velvet vests these days.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in the Idaho Hills

This year we spent Christmas with my family at the home my parents just acquired on the outskirts of Pocatello, Idaho. They are in the area called Buckskin, and they've started calling their place the "Buckskin Lodge" for reasons obvious from the photos.

It was constructed a number of years ago out of ENORMOUS logs and is heated from stove in the massive stone fireplace. Obviously, my parents love it.

Instead of skiing, the lodge offered direct access to sledding -- by way of the driveway. The daily runs with the tractor-snowblower left great snowbanks along the driveway that created a track much like a luge track. The kids (large and small) had a great time. The video shows Scotty and me making a run together.

After 2 or 3 trips, he decided he'd had enough.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Building of Bankers Court

I started a summer internship in May 2008 in a downtown Calgary office building. Out of my 20th-storey window, I could see another structure being built across the street. After a little searching, I learned that it is called Bankers Court, a $68 million addition to the Bankers Hall complex. I found it fascinating to see how quickly they poured the cement for the successive floors, making the building appear to sprout like a plant.

To track the progress, I took a picture on my 3rd day of work and I tried to take one every 2 weeks since then. Today the cranes lifted the portable toilets off the roof, so the job must be nearly completed. That's good, because today is the last day of my "summer" job.

May 8 2008

June 9 2008

June 25 2008

July 4 2008

July 23 2008

August 13 2008

August 29 2008

September 15 2008

September 29 2008

November 17 2008

November 24 2008

December 10 2008

December 17 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Off Road Racing in Calgary

Do you like rally racing? What about winter rally racing?

After a fairly dry November with nothing but brown grass and dry pavement, Calgary had a sudden dousing of 16 cm (6.3 inches) of snow on Sunday. Regular roads turned into rally courses as conditions transformed overnight. Unfortunately, not every driver is a qualified racer, and there were more than 200 accidents reported. I was almost party to one of them, even though I wasn't on the road.

I was standing in a bus shelter on 53rd street NW, when I saw a Subaru wagon slide wide on a left turn and bounce over a curb onto the sidewalk near me. He missed a fire hydrant by about three feet and just kept driving on the sidewalk behind the bus shelter until he could pull back onto the road again.

I left my car at home and took the bus because I thought conditions would be crazy. Now I wonder if I would have been safer in my car.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Power Struggles

Based on the title, this blog could be about two things:

1. The move to try to unseat the currently-governing Conservative Party of Canada and replace it with the first coalition government in nearly a century.
2. The weakening performance of my laptop battery and the malfunction of its electric adapter amid the frenzy of end-of-semester exams and assignments.

It is about the latter.

The battery in my 2.5-year-old Dell laptop has been fading slowly. It used to get more than 2 hours per charge, but now it gets an hour or less. This hasn't been a problem, because I can usually plug it with the AC adapter... until last night. We were using my computer to host a webcast of our quarterly performance and the adapter mysteriously gave out, slowly draining the battery until the computer suddenly died, cutting the webcast to an abrupt finish.

I still had a number of important files on the computer that I needed for the truckload of assignments due this week, so I had to borrow an adapter long enough to pull all the files off. I also face a substantial outlay of cash to replace my ailing equipment.

I wonder if the economic stimulus package promised by the invading coalition has any IT allocations for harried MBA students. I doubt it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

November is for Lovers

There's something about November. Something magically romantic.

My little brother got married earlier this month to a girl he met since he moved to Manhattan a few years ago. The weather was perfect for the noon ceremony in Salt Lake City and the evening reception in Park City.

They are such a cute couple and we are relieved to see that his bride had the patience and persistence to overcome my brother's general tendency to shy away from social interaction ... with anyone ... including us. I imagine we'll get more frequent updates about their life from her that we will from him.

The wedding was a great opportunity to get all the family together at once, which rarely happens. With more than 20 people in the family, it always seemed like someone was missing. This time, not only was everyone there, they even showed up in matching outfits.

November is pretty special. Eight years ago in November, we were married. Granted, the weather wasn't quite so warm and the grass wasn't quite so green, but it was just as magical. And now we've got little Scotty with us. We think he's so cute.

To celebrate eight lucky years, we had a little celebration of our own -- heading out to the Kootenay Mountains of British Columbia for the weekend. R's family used to own cabins on Windermere Lake, so it was nostalgic for her to come back and visit the area.

Nostalgia. Romance. Magic. Cute toddlers. November has it all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chapters Kids

The Chapters Bookstore near our house has recently opened a "Chapters Kids" section that takes up nearly a full quarter of the store. It has a big tea cup that you can sit in to read stories, a train set, and oodles of books and toys that you are free to play with. It has become our new afternoon hangout for cold-weather days. Plus, they have story time every day at 11am.

The addition of toys to the store's offerings is great because we can redeem our Air Miles reward points for gift cards, so we can buy all of Scotty's Christmas presents at the store without paying cash for any of it. We checked a few prices against Zeller's (another Air-Miles-eligible store) and found that some of the toys are actually cheaper at Chapters, so it seems like a winning strategy.

Chapters: choo-choo!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Backlog Blog

If you read blogs (and apparently you do), you've probably noticed how frequently the postings start with something like "Wow, I haven't posted in a long time". It happens to almost everyone. A week turns into a month and pretty soon you've got a pile of pictures and stories that are waiting in queue to be immortalized in your blog.

And that's why it's called a blog.

You may have heard that "blog" is short for "web blog". Yeah, well, you heard wrong. It's actually "b-log", as in "back-log". This is my latest b-log entry:

The few evenings in the week when R has to work, Scotty and I hang out together. For most of the fall, it has been nice enough to go out in the wagon or walk to the park. With winter rapidly closing in, visits to the park are becoming scarce. However, two weeks ago, we went to the park to try out a new camera that we bought for the Scouts to use on camps. It's supposedly waterproof to 13 meters and highly dustproof, because it has no external moving parts.

That's great, but the test subject for this new camera tends to move quite a bit.

We also tested out the video function and I captured a few funny moments, like this wipe-out on the pathway leading to the park:

As soon as we got back inside where it was toasty warm, Scott wanted to go right back outside. I caught the typical routine that we go through whenever he wants to go out and play (which is quite often):

Once we tell him he can't go outside, he leaves the front door and tries his luck at the back door. As far as we're concerned, they both lead outside, so this trick hasn't fooled us yet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keyboarding Skills

I let Scotty type at the computer for a minute tonight. I stopped him when the typing turned to banging, but this is what he had to say:

Notice the extensive use of 'shift'. The boy is dextrous.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dragon Sighting in Highland, Utah

My younger brother got married in Salt Lake City on Saturday (Nov 1) and the extended family on my mom's side decided to gather together the night before to celebrate Halloween together in my oldest brother's neighbourhood in Highland, Utah. Several of his neighbours go the extra mile and set up tables on the sidewalk to serve things like scones, cider and nachos with cheese. I was so impressed, I would consider driving down again to trick or treat there.

Scotty was dressed as a stubby purple dragon and made the rounds with his 2nd cousins E (2yrs) and A (1yr), who were dressed as a monkey and a deviled egg. It was a bit of work herding the little band up the sidewalks to the different houses, but Scott quite enjoying receiving the colourful treats and stuffing them into his basket. However, at some houses he got 2/3 of the way up the walk before turning abruptly around. We figured he had a "bad feeling" about those places, so we didn't force him to go back. After I while, I think I figured out that he was afraid of some of the jack-o-lanterns, but perhaps it was something more ethereal.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rafting the Kickinghorse River

We took the scouts whitewater rafting down the Kickinghorse River (near Golden, BC) last month, and we ended up with some sweet pics. It was the last day of the season on that river and it was little bit chilly, even with our neoprene outfits on. I was sitting up front in our raft and it seemed like I got more than my share of waves that splashed over my head, sending streams of icy water down the inside of my wetsuit. It was tons of fun and we're planning on going back again next year.

My Raft

The Other Raft

A week or two later, we did a video log segment of the trip, since the boys like to complain whenever we ask them to pick up a pen and write something. One of them says it's "too much like school". Clearly, he has not found the true joy in education that I have found these last year. In the video, look for Scouter Troy to dish out pushups to one of the boys for chatting with girls while he was talking. Some of the girls from church had wandered into our classroom by then, and one of them did the pushups just for fun. She also made up several details about the trip that were better than the info provided by the boys who actually went on the trip.

.                  "Three-and-a-half-and-a-half"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Little Cousins

Scotty has two new cousins this month.

Brett was born on September 3 in St. George, Utah, to my sister and her husband. They now have 5 kidmos.

The most recent addition is this little red-haired boy named Cannon. He was born last week in Pocatello, Idaho, to my brother and his wife. They now have six kids, bringing our total for neices and nephews to 18 (15 on my side and 3 on R's side).

These latest additions came when I thought my side of the family seemed tapped out for cousins, and now my little brother has announced that he's getting married in November. That's great, because we thought our kids might end up with nobody their age on my side of the family.

On R's side of the family, the most recent addition is Lacey, born to R's brother and his wife back in April. She's got the cutest little head of hair ever.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ghost Lake - Take 2

These pictures are from the beginning of August, when we had a follow-up, more-successful ski trip to Ghost Lake Reservoir. It wasn't quite hot enough to make R want to jump in the water, but the rest of us took a turn behind the boat.

I tried out the dry-suit, but it hardly seems worth the hassle to peel all that rubber off your wrists and ankles. The water's not so bad, really.

The kids each took a turn in the tube, accompanied by their daddies. Unfortunately, our battery died before we got a picture of Scott and me in the tube. That's probably just fine, since there were quite few tears.

It's pretty scenic on the lake. I don't know if I noticed this kind of thing as much when I would come here as a teenager.

Speaking of scenic, who's that tough guy in the background?