Saturday, February 28, 2009

Not Under the Stars

I am not tempted to participate in very many memes although I usually comply when I am tagged. I did see a list of 100 things on Janet's blog, a bucket list of sorts. One is supposed to indicate which things one has done. Of course, I can seldom comply with meme rules exactly, so what I think I will do is grab some points from time to time and see what memories and thoughts they conjure. The whole list is here if you want to see it.

2. Slept under the stars

That was the second item on the list, the first being whether one has started a blog. Well duh, wouldn't everyone who were to pick up such a meme be a blogger by default?

Regardless, I've never done it: never slept under the stars. But I have certainly slept in a tent, and I think that's pretty close.

One time was when I was still nineteen years old. My friend and I had concurrent vacations, so we decided to spend them together: the first week at Expo 67 in Montreal, and the second camping in the wilderness that is Algonquin Park, which covers about 7 630 square kilometres (almost two million acres or 3000 square miles), in Ontario's near north. Our plan was to canoe some of the 2400-plus lakes and 1200 kilometres of streams, but we didn't get very far. We paddled for a day and then rested ... and rested. Boy, did we rest a lot.

While I'm almost certain that I have posted about the trip previously, I can't find it for linking purposes. Nevertheless, I'll cut the account a bit short and refer only on our very silly sleeping arrangement.

You see, this is bear country, and bears do like to scrounge about in campers' food supplies if they can possibly arrange it. My friend decided that, in order to protect our provisions, we should sleep with the food in the tent. While I thought it odd, he was the experienced camper, so I didn't question him. How would I know that you're supposed to hang your food pack out of reach in a tree? Otherwise a bear could possibly crash into the tent and maul those who stood (er slept) between him and a midnight snack. It was a very bad decision that could have led to disaster, but no bears sniffed around, and both we and our food remained safe.

This was to be my only experience of wilderness camping but not my only tenting experience, but I think that's enough for one post.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Foto Friday

With Zachary hogging much of the limelight these days (Limelight? What is that?), it's time to give Nikki Dee her due. Above, she drives Mom crazy. Mom will sit at the computer for a few minutes, and the kid will insist on being up there, and she can get quite upset and vocal if she is not allowed. She is a strange duck to be sure.

But she's also a lovey duck and a ton of fun. She and Daddy are having a great time in the next picture. It's a great shot that SILlee took, holding the camera at arm's length while he played with the kid.

Oh what we do to keep the kids amused. We don crazy headgear (above) or do the dance. If Nikki Dee is distraught, a little dance with Buppa will generally calm her quickly. Below, she rests her head against my shoulder and calms right down. I may have been smiling because she often tries to hum along. She's very cute, you know.

When I label my very own firstborn grandchild as an odd duck (even strange was actually my adjective of choice somewhere above), I do so deliberately. You see, in the above photograph, she insisted on climbing up on Grandma's lap while she was rocking Zachary. Wait, I agree; that's not so strange. But what is strange is that I have no time to wait for the right shot because as soon as she sees the camera she is at pains to check the image. Right away; can't wait. The problem is that she wants to see the image before one has even taken the picture, for, as you can see below, she is hastening off the lap to see the picture. Odd duck, indeed!

Finally, while Cuppa has either blogged these next two photos or plans to (I forget which), I can't help but show them too. Once again these are two Daddy shots that are quite wonderful: taken through the glass as she peered in from the outside on a winter day. I don't mind using Daddy's pictures because they were taken with my camera, and I do all of the processing work, which is really the greater job. Aren't they great?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Have Today

Cuppa is back! Because SILlee has been away on a course, she's spent the last three nights over at Thesha's. There are two babies after all, one less than a month old, so she kindly offered her services. Mom could tend to the younger in the middle of the night, while Grandma could take charge of the older if the need were to arise.

For whatever reason, the older one often awakes for a period at night. While it's often just for a few moments, it can get longer, much longer. Thankfully, that didn't happen during Cuppa's watch as just the short awakenings occurred.

But you know what? Even though we were together during the day, I still missed the old girl. One gets used to having another body around the house, and while I can quite get into a certain amount of solitude, I also find that a little goes a long way.

We're kind of joined at the hip, the two of us, but as senior citizenship begins to approach, one can't help but ponder the future at times. When we discuss it, neither of us can quite imagine being on our own without the other, and neither can quite imagine hooking up with someone else.

It will happen, of course; inevitably, one will depart this form before the other. The remaining one will adapt because that is what one has to do; there is no viable choice.

Meanwhile, it's good to have The Cuppa back home. And I rather think that we're both going to be around for a good while yet. If not, we have today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


SILee has been away this week, so we've been spending extra time at Thesha's. Cuppa has even been sleeping over in case both babies were to become needy at the same time. So far, it hasn't happened. In fact, they've both had pretty good nights.

I am seeing more of the open-eyed version of Zachary these days.

The kids and I are still getting comfortable with each other. It's a work in progress. It doesn't help when he proffers the finger though.

Yesterday, as I was holding the little guy, I got excited and proclaimed that he had produced a genuine smile. Then I thought, "No AC, it can't be." But he did it again, about five times in five minutes all told. Cuppa grabbed the camera and caught this one — the third smile, I think. I know it sounds improbable for someone who is just three weeks old today, but they sure seemed real enough.

Then, as I was looking through photos from a few days ago, I found this next one. Looks a bit like a smile too, but let's just put that one down to a fluke.

Anyway, as I continued to hold him and walk with him (from the smile photo — two above), Zach fell fast asleep (below). Perhaps we are beginning to understand each other after all.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Meanderings and Complaints

Well, the Academy Award show was okay last night although it always runs a little long. For me, a song and a dance and the presentation of the five big awards would suffice. But my ladies like to see how the stars are decked out, so it's all fine with me. Just feed me a chip or cheesie every now and then, and I'm content.

Meanwhile, I have two gripes to post.

One: I went to a site that advertised in Facebook. They had a come'on that got me, so I clicked and answered ten questions that would prove that I was a genius ... or not. Except when I was done, they wanted the name of my cell phone provider and my cell number. Apparently, they wanted to send several IQ question weekly to my cell — for a fee of course. They wouldn't even give me a score without the info. Can you believe the cheek?!

Two: I am a dedicated Diet Coke drinker although I am making an effort to reduce my consumption. I had been doing fairly well until Zachary came along. Somehow, his arrival coincided with the departure of my discipline — for moderate eating too. Well, I'm trying to do better again, and with the price of pop (soda, soft drinks) escalating, I'd better make some progress.

While I don't normally track pop prices or any other kinds of prices, I can clearly follow the trend at our neighbourhood drug store, Shoppers. When it opened in the autumn of 'o5, Shoppers sold three cases for nine dollars — not bad. Mind you, one was required to purchase three cases to get the deal; one couldn't buy just one for $3.00 for example. Well, they increase the cost at the beginning of each year — 3/$10 in '06, 3/$11 in '07, and 2/$8 in '08 — to the point where in January '09, the deal is now 2/$8.99. Let me do a little math. While we were paying 25 cents per can five years ago, we are now being charged 37 cents per tin, which approaches a 50% increase at a time when the cost of living only rises 2-3% per annum.

I suppose both Coca Cola and Shoppers are increasing their profit margins every year, but a 50% increase is beyond the pale for me. We're in a recession, but it disturbs me that corporations keep escalating their prices without compunction. Over the past few years, one excuse has been the rising costs of production and distribution due to significant increases in the cost of fuel, but although those costs decreasing by almost 50% in the past six months, the corporations are still raising their prices drastically.

Yes, I do realize that soft drinks are a luxury item, so no one should feel very sorry for me, but that's just something that I happen to track, and I'm sure that most producers and vendors of most items continue to jack up their process as much as possible.

I must get back to what I was doing before Zach came along: i.e. restrict myself to one or possibly two cans per day.

But not today, I'm afraid, for I woke up with a sore throat, and ice cold coke with its little bite feels better than anything on my throat.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An Odd Tradition

So far, so good: I've been up for more than an hour, and I am not yet feeling the headache that had befriended me for more than two days. Consequently, I feel that I should write something, preferably not about grandchildren for both your sakes and mine, change being a good thing after all. It shouldn't be that difficult since I haven't seen them for several days. Except, nothing much else has been going on, so I'm not too sure what else to write about ........

....... I could say that we'll be heading over to Thesha's to view the Oscar spectacle with her tonight. It's an odd tradition that we've kept up for years now, even though neither she nor we usually see most of the films. In fact, I don't think any of us have seen any of them this year. We almost roused ourselves to drive in to see Slumdog yesterday, but headaches got the best of both Cuppa and me. The last time that I can recall having much of a stake in the outcome was the year that the other film, that of forgettable name, beat out Brokeback Mountain for best picture. What were they thinking? I do remember seeing that other film, and while I thought it was good at the time, let's face it, the fabled and illustrious Academy got it wrong. Not that I'm bitter. Oh no, not I.

But, whether we've seen the films or not, we always seem to get together with Thesha. There will be munchies and wine (I trust), and both Thesha and Cuppa have been known to wear their tiaras. SIL-lee will ogle the women (except he will be away this year), and, being too old too care about women (if you can believe it) I will wonder what the heck I'm doing there.

We even plan to sleepover this year because SIL-lee will be away this week, and our services might be needed to help get Mom and kids through the night. If not, we can still try to help get things sorted and running in the morning. We'll see how it goes after tonight; I wouldn't be surprised if Nikki Dee spends a night or two over here this week as she is still prone to difficult nights, and there is now another baby in the house to demand attention. While he is a bit of a chillbaby, he is still a baby, and you just never know when he's going to act like one.

Okay then, AC over and out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two Weeks Old

As I've said before, I seldom seem to see Zach with his eyes open.

Two Weeks Old

Two Weeks Old

But on his second-week birthday on Wednesday, I really wanted to get a few open eye shots, so I kept checking. After awhile, I spied a tiny peek.

Two Weeks Old

And when his eyes finally opened fully, the young fellow did not seem at all impressed.

Two Weeks Old


Two Weeks Old

Here is a slideshow of a collection of week two photos, and here is the actual Flickr page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Always Cute and Occasionally Quiet

We are overflowing with pictures these days, and that is tending to prescribe and/or proscribe my posting.

I had to go into the city yesterday, but, since it was also SIL's first day back at work since the great birthing incident, it was Mom's first day at home alone with the kids. So, we took pity on her by having the glorious Nikki Dee for a sleep-over and then taking her into town with us.

For almost the first time in the evening, she actually sat quietly while I attempted to go through a picture book with her. Usually, she is all about turning to the next page as quickly as possible, but she actually became attentive for a while. She is definitely a mover and not a sitter, but I was quite pleased to have her be so contemplative for a few moments; I rather enjoyed reading to my own kids, and I felt that we were getting closer to it that night although she does look a little impish in the photo below.

Riding in the car is another time when she's pretty quiet. I know that she strapped in too tightly to move around much, but she also seems happy to sit and gaze. She's wearing her extremely cute sweater coat; people often remark on it. It has a pointed elf hat, and she's about as cute as can be in it.

Once we were in the mall for my pedorthic appointment, Cuppa had to take care of her in her natural state — ie very active. Indeed, Nikki Dee reverted to her very active self and led Cuppa on a merry chase hither, thither, and yon for the duration. But then, she was pretty well behaved in the restaurant afterwards. She drew and coloured and munched happily (below).

That was followed by a stop at the library where she had a chance to work out some more beans, which involved much moving of things although we were enjoying a semi-quiet moment in the next photo.

Finally, she conked on the ride home. She's so active that it's a wonder that she doesn't conk out more often, but she does tend to resist nap time.

She's always cute, but it's really nice when she's both cute and tranquil.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cousin Jay's Visit

We had company this weekend, so I haven't thought much about blogging, either the reading or writing of same. Zach's cousin, Jay, came to visit. He's 5-6 weeks older than Zach, and that makes a big difference at this age. Jay is much more alert and aware and actually spends quite a bit of time peering at his world and the strange creature that inhabit it.

Cousin J Visits

Week Two

On the other hand, Zach (above) barely opened his eyes during the visit. He seemed totally unconcerned that he might not see his cousin for another year or more because Jay will be heading to Korea sometime in the next few months to be nearer his daddy who is doing his military stint. Sare delivered here in Canada but will be heading back to resume her teaching duties in the summer.

Cousin J Visits

He wouldn't even open his eyes for a photo op with cousin (above), not even when joined by Grampa, Sare and Nikki Dee (below).

Cousin J Visits

He continued to sleep through his uncle's guitar playing and all sorts of other noise. As per usual, however, Nikki Dee was enthralled with the instrument. Unk also teaches in Korea and is only home for a few weeks between year one and two of his contract.

The Unk Plays for Her

Week Two

Once the visitors left for home, Zach briefly opened his eyes (above), and it was only then that he shed tears for missing his cousin (below). Not even a cuddle with Grandma could cure his broken heart (two below).

Week Two

Week Two

Meanwhile, AC is a bit weary, so don't count on seeing too many comments from him for another day or two.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

All My Valentines

This has been updated if you have read an earlier version. These dear people are ...

My Valentines

Above: Cuppa and Nikki Dee after her bath last night.
Below: Thesha and Zachary while waiting for Grandma to get Nikki Dee to sleep.

Week Two

The Couple Poses

Above: The dynamic duo from the Left Coast.
Below: Silly SIL and the baby.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Week One Slideshow

Here is a little slideshow of all of the Zachary photos from week one that I have Flickr'd. They may not all have appeared on this blog as Cuppa uses some, and we may also have overlooked a few, either by design or by chance. If you can't see the show below but wish to, click here.

We have some company coming this weekend. Sare will be bringing Zach's cousin, Jinu, who is about a month older. Having seen the changes in Zach in just one short week, I think there will be a big difference between the two babies, a difference that will diminish over time. Here's hoping that we get some pictures of the two together ... if Zach can wake up long enough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Other Child

It's hard to forget Miss Nikki Dee for too long. For example: when I was trying to take the birthday photos, which I posted yesterday, Nikki Dee was making sure to stay involved in the family dynamics. She sure hates to miss out and sure is bold about inserting herself into situations.

She's a pretty busy girl, but she does take some time to visit with Zachary every now and then..

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday

Perhaps you can't tell, but we takes lots of pictures. It's often a bit of a circus act though because she's keen to look at the results almost before we've taken the picture, and she'll chase you around until you let her look.

We also spent some time visiting and baby sitting today. Zach is somewhat remarkable sleeper, and even Miss Nikki Dee deigned to nap. But just for a while, for there were blocks to play with ...

... and newspapers to read. Below, I was trying to find something to interest her, so I pointed out a Blackberry, just like her daddy has. She knew enough to call it a phone ... which it is. Clever girl.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One Week Old

Happy Birthday Zachary!

Yes, the boy is one week old today. In honour of the event, I took the DLSR over; not that anyone will notice any difference in photo quality, especially in small blog shots, but one must make an effort to rise to the occasion if one possibly can. I do promise not inflict you with updates, every day for the rest of the poor child's life, but I'm sure there will still be plenty of photos in the upcoming days and years.

He's doing well; he seems to be a little easier than Nikki Dee was at this stage, but it's early days yet.

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday

Week One Birthday