Friday, October 2, 2009

Cultural Attache

For the past month-and-a-bit, I have been showing some of my new in-laws all that Calgary and the mountains has to offer. I think I've been having as much fun as they have. Some of the highlights have been:
  • floating down the Elbow river, enjoying the gentle current and child-friendly depth
  • an adults-only hike up Ha Ling Peak
  • trips to Calgary landmarks such as Peter's Drive Inn, Recordland, our lovely neighborhood of Kensington, Prince's Island and the bike paths
  • the Barrier Lake Fire Lookout hike (which the kids walked themselves - all 12 kilometers of)
  • the Little Elbow loop (a true back-country mountain bike ride)
  • Canada Olympic Park for a zipline ride
  • curling at the Winter Club
  • a 5 km Fun Run at Bowness Park
  • a speedy trip to Frank, Waterton Park and down into The 'States to do the Going to the Sun Road

In the past, having Aussies around has usually meant that I've had to defend much of what Canada encompasses - Tim Horton's coffee, waiting patiently in line, winter, etc. In this instance, the weather, scenery and natives were all cooperating to provide fantastic experiences for all involved.

I look forward to hosting the next group that comes over.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Off the Ol' Block

I am very chuffed that Banana has commented a few times that she has inherited a few of her favorite traits from me. She credits me with instilling a love of reading, an eclectic taste in music, a quirky sense of humor and a kryptonite-like weakness for baked goods.

After last night's Canada-based reception, I had a few of my high-school classmates confirm this by telling me they had spoken with Banana and she was a carbon copy of me in some ways.

I think she's better in a lot of areas.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Canadian Reception

We knew that not everybody in our Canadian crowd of friends and relations would be able to make the substantial time and money commitment of a trip to Flinders to attend our wedding, so we specifically decided to host a Calgary reception. Kate's friend, Adrienne, offered to host the event at her home (which flabbergasted us - it could be over SEVENTY people!). After an Australian reception where I was warmly received but knew perhaps only 1/3 of all the attendees, I was ready for a gathering of mostly my buddies.

Tonight was the big night. Adrienne, her husband Peter and their daughters did a fantastic job of hosting. My new brother-in-law, Simon, stepped up to the mic and did took care of Master of Ceremonies duties (for what little formal program we had). It was a cocktail-style affair, where Kate and I circulated and visited with the guests and had a wonderful time. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We have Kate's sister and her family staying with us for September, along with The Phelan family for the weekend. Our house is alive with kids aged 4 to 17, animals (a cat, hedgehog and Chinchilla), laughter and general busy-ness. I love how everything is holding together in spite of the stress put on all of us (thirteen people!) crammed into a twenty-foot wide house.

I'm happy to be married again and very proud of the many facets of this lovely woman I'm married to. What an exciting future we have.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Going South

I'm off to marry the Aussie girl of my dreams.

It's been a whirlwind trip. A quick and busy year and a half between getting to know each other and getting hitched. The details around the big day are filled with excitement and expectations of a marvelous adventure, but also more than a twinge of sadness that McMonk has chosen not to be part of it. Banana is coming along to be part of the wedding and I'm quite proud of the work she's put into building a relationship with Kate. The two of them are spending time together (sometimes without me) and creating communication ties that work for both of them. It's not a mother-daughter bond, but something much more friend/mutual-adult based.

Having foreign relatives will be an exciting new thing instead of just having in-laws that seemed to be from another planet. I've met the entire nuclear family of Kate, her parents and their partners, Kate's sisters and their husbands and children and can honestly state that they are all quite tolerable. Kate maintains close relationships with her sisters without each of them involving themselves in each other's lives.

With Kate's through-and-through patriotism, I know that Australia will continue to be a big part of our life together. I look forward to what the future has to bring.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Writing the Ceremony

Terry, my next-door neighbor, has come to my rescue. Due to Kate and I dividing up the tasks of preparing for the wedding, I am writing up the ceremony.

The minister that will be marrying us has sent a sample ceremony that I am modifying and making our own. Twice in the ceremony, I have come to a section that says, "Reading goes here." The Rev has told us that we can have one scripture reading and one non-scripture (but church-appropriate) reading. I'd been pouring over poetry books, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, but without any luck of finding words that work for me. They were either too flowery, maudlin or goofy. As the time frittered itself away and our departure crept closer and closer, I had the bright idea of asking Terry for some help. Terry, my neighbor, is also a minister in a Christian church and through some other dealings over the fence, I've found him to be quite likable and not-at-all-preachy.

He was keen to help and after a bit of conversation about what I was after, he recommended some great readings. Rather than the traditional Corinthians passage, he had a great one from Genesis that I really liked. We were even able to find a translation that changed a "servant" reference to the word "companion." I liked that.

The time I've spent working on this with Terry has convinced me that I want to spend more time just hanging out with him. As well as being a spiritual fella, he seems reflective and a gentle soul. He likes to cycle, so let's see if we can't hit the road for a few rides this summer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Little Questions

When do those younger than you stop being annoying little kids and start being potential friends?

Where is the line drawn between relying on someone and having control over them?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some Advice

  • Don't take more than you need.
  • Everything you do (good and bad) has consequences.
  • Try to read more and then think about what you've read.
  • If you're not sure about something (actually, anything), go for a 20 minute walk.
  • Give someone a hug.
  • Try to be tidy.
  • Put things back.
  • The truth is a lot easier to remember.
  • Leave everywhere in as-good- or better-shape when you go.
  • Don't wait for someone else to make you happy, you need to do it yourself.
  • If you're feeling sorry for yourself, help someone else who is in worse circumstances than you are and you'll find things are better for you, too.
  • Now is the time.
  • As your amount of 'stuff' increases, so does the amount of time necessary to take care of and maintain that stuff. Keep that in mind before getting more stuff.
  • if you can do better, then do it, or shut up.

Sorry, but I've had that building up inside of me for some time now. Better out than in, you know.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Things to Learn

There are some things everyone should know. I've got some of these things already, have plans to work on some and have a few lessons on the go. Here's my list.
  • how to dance really well
  • how to swim
  • how to graciously accept a complement
  • how to teach an animal a trick
  • how to be still for more than an hour
  • what you want to be doing when you are seventy-five years old
  • how to make some form of music
  • what your comfort food is
  • how much sleep you need
  • how to count to ten, say please, thank you and how much in the language of each country you visit
  • how to make at least one fantastic three-course meal
  • how to dress for extremely cold weather
  • basic first aid skills

Saturday, January 24, 2009


It's been a big year for Banana. She's just turned seventeen and I'd say some significant learning took place in this past year. I won't go into great detail, but suffice to say that I'm pleased with the outcome of the many lessons that have occurred. It feels like I've aged ten years for this past one, but not all of that is her fault. :-)

She has an exciting year coming up for a number of reasons. I have confidence that she'll make mostly good decisions, and she'll see the messages that result from the incorrect choices.

I have faith in you, kiddo.