Monday, December 19, 2005


I realized earlier this evening that my vertical peripheral vision, if there is such a thing, has somehow become significantly heightened over the last couple years. I found myself stepping over things whose presence I hadn't actually registered until I was already on the other side of the kitchen: a bright orange xylophone and a mini power drill. What were they doing on the floor of my kitchen, you might ask? Well, that would be something to ask my son. Regardless, much to my dismay the living spaces in our home are frequently the dumping ground of various toy collections, discarded suddenly during routine laps around our living room/dining room/kitchen. If I were to wager a guess, I'd say that Keith and I are not alone in this constant battle of toy-landmine strewing. And I suppose I should admit that there are still many times where my peripheral vision fails me and something gets stepped on awkwardly, but they are amazingly few and far between.

Life in the Anderson home has become fairly routine over the last few weeks. Keith is working two or three evenings a week, as well as weekends. Last week, he worked three evenings straight and we had a taste of what "off-shifts" would be like: for three days the only times we saw each other (awake) was for about 5 minutes around 5:15 PM each day and briefly one night around 4 AM when the smoke alarm in our bedroom started chirping and we had to remove its batteries. "Mommy's at work" and "Daddy's at work" have become frequent responses to Kai's constant inquiries.

Speaking of Kai and questions, we have being trying to help him with his word order, but as of yet, to no avail. One of his favourite questions of late has been "what that is?" Oddly, although he has the word order wrong, he has a sufficient grasp of proper grammar when there is more than one object in question to ask "what those are?"

Lastly, I just found out a few days ago that butter tarts are a uniquely Canadian thing. Who knew? And really - butter tarts? The amount of butter in the recipe makes that a very odd name - it would make more sense to call them "brown sugar tarts".

Monday, December 05, 2005


Today is a VERY windy day. I woke up around 5:00 am to the sound of our house rattling. When I went downstairs, the flue in our fireplace was flipping up and down. When I went back upstairs, I noticed that the curtain in our bedroom was flapping in the wind, even though the window is shut. It might be time for some weather stripping. Here at work, I hear the dumpster lids swinging open and slamming shut outside. It sounds like someone is driving a truck around inside the ventilation system. I just checked the weather station reports for the lab - we've had a number of gusts that have reached 90 miles per hour. That's pretty fast.

Last Friday 17 cars in our parking lot at work had damage due to the wind. There has already been one damaged today. I didn't take the chance with our van and left it at a park n' ride down the hill, taking the shuttle up to the lab. Here's hoping that it's still intact.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving II

This past weekend was the American Thanksgiving. Most people around here think it's funny when I refer to "American Thanksgiving", but when there are two different Thanksgivings, one needs to be specific.

At my workplace, we are given both the Thursday and Friday off, so I had 4 days off in a row, which was really nice. Shannon flew in to spend just under a week with us, which was also really nice. It's become a bit of a tradition for us to go "over-the-border" shopping on the long weekend (longer for Shannon than for myself), which typically means Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Lucky for me, Shannon thought it would be good to come all the way to Denver this time. Needless to say, there was much turning over of credit cards and green money, but it was (as far as I can tell) all worth it.

On Thursday, since there were a few families in our life group (from Cornerstone) who weren't travelling out of the area for the holiday, we decided to pool our resources and have a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. I have to say, the American Thanksgiving was much tastier than the Canadian version a month and a half ago, at least for myself and Kai.

Shannon left yesterday morning. Kai misses her. When Keith picked me up from the park and ride last night after work, Kai said he wanted to pick up Shannon, too... And he keeps asking where she is, and where her luggage is... and where she is...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Actual first snow

Last night it finally snowed at our house. There wasn't much - and it's mostly gone from home now, but there is some up here at work. I'm looking out my office window right now, and I've got the most incredible view of a pink and dark blue sky, a bright near-full moon, and dusk falling over the city. I'm going to miss this view when I have to move to the new lab.

I just spent over an hour looking for a piece of my inlet that I swear must have vaporized. I was cleaning the inlet, which means that the entire thing is in pieces - not including o-rings and screws there are about 15 separate pieces. (Including them, it would be closer to 125 pieces.) One of those pieces is a short Teflon tube with tiny holes in a circle around it, and it's GONE. I can't find it anywhere... I checked the garbage, the drains, and I've been crawling around on my lab floor (ick) looking under everything. I've even started looking in places where it certainly couldn't be. Very frustrating. I'm guessing we're going to have to have a new one made.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I just wanted to take a minute to talk about one of my biggest pet peeves: people who try to give up their right of way. They may THINK they're being really friendly, but most of the time giving up your right of way results in momentary chaos from which no one benefits. Over the last month, I've had (well-meaning?) people try to give me their rights of way to me as a driver, a cyclist and a pedestrian. How often did it work well? Never.

People have worked very hard to establish rules and rights of ways for our roads. When someone decides that they will be nice, and give the *other* person the right of way, what typically happens is a form of a stand-off: You go - no, you go - No really, you have right of way, you're supposed to go - No, I insist - Really? - Yes. I insist - Oh, well. if you insist, then... - Well, if you're not going to go I'll just go... - Okay I'll go... hey! I thought you were letting me go! - Well you didn't go - Well you didn't wait long enough, I had to make sure - But you took too long - But I was about to....

and so on. CHAOS.

Meanwhile, someone who had right of way and took it properly is already halfway to wherever they are going.

That's all. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

my other brothers birthday

today is my brother tylers birthday, he is 32. unlike christians birthday i don't remember when tyler was born, we are too close in age for me to remember that far back in time.

one thing i do remember from those very early years is running through gramma o'sullivans house like a couple of little rips. i remember playing in the yard, in the snow and once we even had a sand eating contest in the backyard.

i don't think you could find better little brothers than the ones that have blessed my life.

and so on this day wherever you are, raise a glass to my first little brother and let him know that he is loved.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Autumn Fun

I think I'm warming up to autumn. I think I've always disliked the season because of what it represents: shorter days, colder nights, winter is looming around the corner... But yesterday was what autumn is all about.

After playing in the leaves on our lawn for a while earlier in the day (minus the part where I stepped in some of Jake's leftovers), we went to a local pumpkin patch with some friends of ours. There were tractors, including an old steam tractor, mazes (both for little and big people), animals for petting, wagons for pulling around, and pumpkins gallore!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

ah kids

yesterday was a bit of a breakthrough for kai. he initiated going to the toilet in order to do a #1. before we moved here we were using stickers as incentives to get him to go to go #1 in his little kids toilet. as i was getting something out of the bathroom cupboard yesterday morning kai spotted the box of stickers. he immediately wanted to get onto his toilet and go pee "i want a sticker" were his words and i then helped him take off his diaper and down he sat. nothing happened. it didn't bother him that he didn't get a sticker but last night when becky helped him sit on the big toilet he went and boy was it an event. each time since then he has initiated wanting to go the bathroom, i don't know if he can tell that he has an urge or if it's just the stickers. but it's working. last night he got to wear some elmo underwear before going to bed and it was a big deal. they ended up wet but that's the way it goes sometimes. he gets a real kick out of me jumping up and down whenever he uses his little seat over top of the big toilet.

convincing him that he can do a #2 in the toilet may be a bigger adventure but we aren't in a hurry. we are trying not to make any of this forced or put too much pressure on the little guy. he seems to be happy to tell us when he wants to go and we accept it when we ask and he says "no".

now if we can only convince him to stay in his bed at night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

First snow?

My mother and I have been curious about whether it will snow first in Barrie or Boulder this year. Well, yesterday it snowed in the Boulder AREA, but it's hard to say whether or not it actually snowed in Boulder. It didn't snow at our house - it actually rained for about 48 hours straight. The Denver airport got about 8", though, and the foothills all around Boulder got a comparable amount. Some places in the Denver region got as much as 18". Not our house, though... we just got rain. So does this count as a first snow? I don't know...

I didn't even realize there was snow in the hills near Boulder until I went out for groceries late in the afternoon yesterday, and yet it still wasn't really obvious as the low-lying cloud/fog made it almost impossible to see. This morning, however, it was very clear that there is snow here - the hills around my lab are covered, although it is melting quickly.

I know I wasn't looking forward to snow, but now that it's here (however briefly) I can definitely appreciate the way that it makes the mountains come alive... In fact, I even had to take pictures of it, just because that's how my mind works:

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Giving thanks

Today is [the Canadian] Thanksgiving. It’s a strange holiday for a Canadian living in the U.S., because although Thanksgiving is also celebrated here, the two nations recognize the holiday on days that are over a month and a half apart, and few Americans realize that today is special for us. I think this is the first day that I have felt really far away from home. It doesn’t help that Keith is over 2000 miles away at a wedding, making it a holiday that no other adult nearby is celebrating. All I could muster the energy to make for dinner for myself and Kai was spaghetti and garlic bread, and the dinner conversation wasn’t that fantastic:

Kai: I want more cheese.

Me: no Kai, you’ve got enough cheese.

Kai: I want more WHITE cheese… I want MORE cheese… I want more CHEESE.

Me: I said no.

Kai: I want JUICE.

Me: (pours juice and hands it over) Here you go.

Kai: I want more cheese. I want MORE CHEEEEEEESE!

Me: I said no.

Kai: I want more cheese!

Me: (silence)

Kai: I want… THAT (indicating plate containing the banana muffin bits that he had rejected minutes earlier, and upon receiving it, dumping it, crumbs and all, into his bowl of spaghetti).

And so on…

confession time: I’ve never cooked a turkey. Maybe this year will be the year I learn how. Of course, Keith and I have often scoffed at the whole turkey thing. Is it really necessary to consume one every Christmas and Thanksgiving? Having three sets of parents, plus good friends who have often graciously invited us to their family functions, we frequently get turkeyed-out during the holidays. And I can’t say I enjoy big turkey dinners any more than a nice roast chicken, fresh bread and a salad. A few years ago Keith and I thought that perhaps we’d make lasagna for Christmas dinner if anyone ever comes to our place. Of course, now they likely won’t come. But I do make a pretty decent lasagna, or so I’ve been told.

Having had a lot of time to myself this weekend, I’ve spent some time thinking about some of the things I’m thankful for: of course, Keith and Kai, and our families. I’m thankful that Keith was able to be there for Mark this weekend as he starts a new part of his life with Chandra. I know it meant a lot for him to go. Even though we are both too far away from Ontario to go home, I’m thankful that all our parents are with one of their children this weekend. I’m thankful for the opportunity that we had to come to Boulder, and that we are able to explore and experience so many new places. I’m thankful for our good health. I’m thankful for old friends who have always been there for us – I miss you. I’m thankful for new friends, including the ones who invited Kai and me over for lunch this afternoon, making my first Thanksgiving away that much more bearable. I’m thankful for mountains, and for new meaning to the song How Great Thou Art. I’m thankful that God has provided for us over the past year, and continues to provide for us, and I'm thankful for the many ways He has taught us to trust in Him since we moved. Above all, I’m thankful that I have hope in my Lord and Saviour, and that I can trust in Him to take care of us.

So happy thanksgiving to all of you, Americans and Canadians alike. May you all have something to be thankful for this year.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

there's no place like home, there's no place like home

while that is true, it is also true that there is no place like a party. and so tomorrow morning i am headed to boston for a party. more like a wedding really. mark abraham's wedding to be exact. i fly into boston and there mark is picking me up and we are heading back to freeport maine for the weekend. becky and kai will be staying in boulder and i'm sure they will have a great weekend together.

i have to remember to take my pocket knife off of my key chain as i pack for the flight, i don't want to end up being searched.......

it will certainly be a different kind of trip for me. the longest i have ever been away from kai is two nights, so four days and three nights should be an experience.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another gloomy day

Today is another gloomy day, made more gloomy by the contrast to the very nice weather we've had for the last few days. I suppose it's good to have gloomy days so that we can appreciate the nice ones that much more. I've heard the same said for cold, snowy weather, but I think I've seen enough snow in my lifetime to be able to appreciate warm weather even if I never saw snow again.

Even Jake is mopey:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

still an alien, but now i can be a working alien

friday afternoon was a lazy day, a sunny day, just another day of going to the mailbox and not finding my work permit. as i came back into the house i decided to check the homeland security webpage that contains information about my file. the last time i checked the webpage it said the office had received the information that they had requested and now i would have to wait. so as i logged into my file i expected to see a statement to the effect of "our decision has been mailed to you". but lo and behold the statement said "this case has been approved, your card was mailed to you on september 22, if you do not receive it within 14 days contact our office." i was so happy i nearly jumped out of my skin. i immediately called becky but she wasn't answering her phone. she walked into the house 5 minutes later while i was talking to my mom.

and so now i need to go to the social security office tomorrow at 9 am and apply for a card. i can apply for any job i want, i just have to tell them that i have a work permit and that my social security card is on its way. hopefully and prayerfully within a couple of weeks i will have a job.

thanks to becky, my parents and my lifegroup for your support
and thanks be to God. jeremiah 29:11

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bike Musings

I ride my bike to and from work on average about 4 days per week, 2 1/2 miles on the way to work and 6 miles home (I take a shuttle up the mountain to my lab and then I ride home the whole way). Biking is a good time to think about life and about things that matter. It's also a good time to think about inane things, because attention spans on bikes can be rather short. Lately, I've been mentally tallying up a list of things that occur to me while I ride, and I thought I'd share it with you:

1) There are a lot more bugs at 5:30 PM in September than there are at the same time in July.
2) Bugs hurt when they hit you in the face at 40 miles per hour.
3) Glasses are a good thing.
4) Somehow, roadkill always ends up in bike lanes.
5) Like the shoemaker, I have elves. Only, my elves don't make shoes for me at night - they loosen the strap on my bike helmet, so that every day I have to retighten it.
6) Sometimes the fastest way home isn't the best. A bike path beside a creek beats a bike lane on a street every time.
7) My hands hate the cold.

If you ride, feel free to add your own musings. The list is open.
If you don't ride, but wish you could, I say: just do it. It's very worthwhile.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

imagine breathing 1/3 the amount of oxygen and then try climbing a mountain

yesterday i had the pleasure of meeting a man who joins a club of six other climbers (he is the first american) who have climbed the 14 highest peaks (8000 meters or 26,246 feet) on the planet without using supplemental oxygen. on may 12, 2005 ed viesturs reached the summit of annapurna, the tenth highest mountain in the world.

kai and i went to r.e.i. yesterday afternoon where ed was doing a meet and greet before his presentation at the boulder theater last night. he signed this poster for becky.

he told the story of his sixteen year quest to climb these mountains and he talked about his experience regarding the 1996 tragedy on everest. he talked about the impact that climbing at extreme altitudes has on the human body and of course about his sponsors who have supported him over his career. most importantly he talked about his wife who supported his decisions to climb and his climbing partners both past and present who shared in these adventures. his pictures and stories contained tales of caution and inspiration as it relates to safety and success on these high peaks. his mantra has always been - getting to the peak is optional, getting down is mandatory.

his autobiography is going to be released next year and i'm sure it will be just interesting and inspiring as his presentation was last night.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

red tape

last week i filled out some job applications ... i got as far as the section that asks for proof of your eligibility to work in the usa. for the past couple of weeks i have waited anxiously for the mail truck to make the turn down our street. i have been expecting a letter from homeland security telling me if i do or do not have work authorization. each day i put kai down for his nap and then sit at the computer checking my email or looking at a variety of different web pages on climbing, mountaineering and other sports. from the desk i only have to lean over to look out the window when i hear a vehicle turning around on our dead end street. today is the last day that i am going to be held captive by this expected letter from uncle sam. i will continue to check the mail of course but i won't go looking for the mail truck.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Tourism at its best...

We were true tourists this past weekend. My three boys (Keith, Kai and Jake) and I went south on Friday afternoon to "the springs" (aka Colorado Springs, for you non-coloradans). We weren't very smart about choosing our route, and we soon found ourselves stuck very soundly in heavy Denver rush hour traffic heading down I-25. Note to self: avoid Denver on Friday afternoons. Scratch that. Avoid Denver.

Finally free of the traffic, and with a Red Roof Inn in Colorado Springs as our destination, we boldly went where MANY tourists have gone before.

Aside: I'm not sure how other people with 2 1/2-year-olds manage, but our kid WON'T sleep in a hotel room while we are awake.

Our destinations included a number of the "NOT TO BE MISSED" points of interests on our Colorado Springs Vacation Guide: Garden of the Gods (huge spires of rock that got lost on their voyage east and headed UP instead), the Pike's Peak Cog Railway (a highlight for Kai, who had to bring his Thomas the Tank Engine along for the show), the Manitou Cliff Dwellings (700+ year old apartments fashioned out of the side of a rocky cliff) and the Manitou Springs (naturally occuring lukewarm Perrier bubbling up from a mile below the surface - actually pretty neat, once you think about it.) We actually had a really good time, once we were able to ignore all the billboards advertising all of the above and other tourist spots.

I don't know that we'll go back to the springs again... but all good touristy places need to be experienced at least once.

Maybe next week we'll go hiking again.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Home again, home again...

I'm home... Perhaps some of you didn't know I was gone? Well then - let me fill you in:

Last week I had the incredible privilege of being picked to be a part of ACCESS VIII and the GRC, which respectively stand for "Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium of Emerging Senior Scientists" and "Gordon Research Conference". The former is an opportunity for recent and soon-to-be recent PhD graduates in atmospheric chemistry-related fields to meet together, discuss our research, socialize and schmooze with a number of US agency reps (read: NASA, NSF, DoE and NOAA big-spenders) for three days prior to the Atmospheric Chemistry GRC, which happens immediately following ACCESS. These happen every two years, with the last two GRC meetings (2003 and 2005) taking place at Big Sky in Montana, and ACCESS in Yellowstone Park (Wyoming). For the record, I owe a huge thank you to my good friend Alex Thompson, who attended both ACCESS and the GRC two years ago and basically insisted that I apply this year. Cheers, Alex!

I've never been to either Montana or Wyoming, and I was absolutely in awe... Yellowstone is beautiful (all three photos shown here are from Yellowstone Park), and has an incredible number of stunning and amazing sights and wildlife. I really can't do them justice to describe them, but if you're interested, you can check out the rest of my pictures on the Shoppers site (along with some lengthy descriptions.) A warning - there are a LOT of pictures... my apologies to those of you with slow internet access.

The truth is, I don't know which was more exciting - ACCESS and Yellowstone or the GRC part of the week. The format of a GRC meeting is such that I not only got to listen to some of the best and brightest in our field during the morning and evening sessions, but because we are a relatively small group (conference-wise, at ~160 people), eating, sleeping and living in an environment not unlike a high school youth retreat, there were numerous opportunities for interaction with more established scientists throughout the week. As members of ACCESS, we were like the "new elite", and thus we garnered almost as much attention as those giving talks. The conversations over dinner often broke out into scientific discussions of the state of the world (and our futures), sometimes even in the absence of "current" senior scientists...

It occurred to me today while I was reading my friend Rhian's blog that many of you probably don't really know what it is that I and other atmospheric chemists actually do with our time. She explains it much more eloquently than I can, but essentially, we study the gas-phase and aerosol (gas-liquid and gas-solid) chemistry that occurs in the complex mixture of the atmosphere.
There are two major foci for current research: climate change and air quality. The first talk of this year's GRC contrasted the issue of climate change to the Antarctic ozone hole. Unlike the relatively straightforward job of assessing the causes and establishing a workable solution to the ozone hole issue, the difficulty of interpreting and reporting on climate change is that it isn't as easy to identify direct causes, model anthropogenic v. natural impacts, and develop a reasonable plan for what we can do to stop the impact we as humans are having on our world. Climate change is more than just the greenhouse effect. It involves such a vast array of factors that are barely understood (if at all) and much more difficult to model than the ozone issue ever was. Is it happening? Definitely... Why? Well... on a basic level, it has to do with what we (humans) are doing to our atmosphere that is causing our climate to change at an seemingly unprecedented pace. What can we do to stop it? Hard to say. I think it's even harder to implement. Just ask the people in charge of Kyoto.

As for air quality, atmospheric scientists are mostly concerned with the increasing number of megacities (> 10 million people) - only 4 in 1975, currently 16, and 20+ by 2015, mostly in less-developed nations. Problems such as ozone (near the surface, ozone is bad, in the ozone layer in the stratosphere, ozone is good - I know, it's complicated), fine particulate matter and NOx are some of the the bigger issues in urban air - typically related to adverse health effects. This is the focus of my current research, as I prepare for a field study that will look at impact of the urban outflow (polluted air) of Mexico City as it is transported into the surrounding regions. As chemists, we are looking at the major factors involved in the chemistry of this polluted air mass, to determine the impact it has downwind of Mexico City. Perhaps someday this work will help us to better understand the complex chemistry of urban air in such a way that it will enable policy makers to do their jobs more confidently.
It certainly is an interesting ride. We don't have all the answers. If we did, I wouldn't have a job. For now, I'll keep toiling away in my corner of the field, feeling a little more confident that what I'm doing can fit into the big picture and maybe someday make a difference.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

my brothers birthday

today my brother christian turns 30. happy birthday my dearly loved little brother.

i'm not sure if it was the day he was born or shortly after but i remember seeing him and my mom from their hospital window in lindsay, ontario those many years ago. i remember my dad standing with tyler and i on the grass of the hospital and i think our mom threw us some candy out the window. i don't have a lot of memories of christian as a baby but i do remember one incident when he was a toddler, he fell off of the couch and split his chin open. he had to get some stitches of course and i thought that was the most amazing thing in the world.

needless to say that was not the only accident that he would have over the next 20 or so years.

so if you can, raise a glass to my little brother tonight and let him know he is loved.

cheers buddy.

Monday, August 29, 2005

reading good, tv bad

there is probably nothing more sickening than watching the news. yesterday i watched a local denver newscast and for the first ten minutes every story was bad news. someone was robbed, shot/murdered or was scammed out of their money in almost every story. not to say that canadian tv news is any better but there is more sensationalism behind the american broadcasts than back home. and of course we are all aware that summer tv is about the worst thing ever to be put on the airwaves. it is no secret that even at the best of times the programs that are put on the air simply rot our brains.

and so over the last three months i have endeavoured to try to watch as little tv as possible and by doing so i have probably read more books and magazines than i have in the past five years.

it all started back in the winter when i watched the Everest expedition on the discovery channel. i was in awe of the mountain and the people attempting to summit Chomolungma (the Tibetan name). from there becky had bought me Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer for my birthday and i read it in a week. next i read Alive, the story of the rugby team that survived a plane crash in the Andes and survived by eating their dead teammates. once we got to boulder i started to read every copy of backpacker, national geographic adventure, and outside magazine i could find in the library. from there i moved on to Krakauer's book Into the Wild and since then i have read two books by Dr. Ken Kamler. in his book Dr. on Everest, Kamler talks about his experiences while attempting to climb Everest and the events surrounding the 1996 disaster (also the premise of Into Thin Air). and i have just completed his book Surviving the Extremes which describes the ability of the human body and will to overcome some of the harshest conditions on the planet.

all this is to say that i have come to realize yet again that an imagination, a good book and the desire to get outside is all i really need for entertainment. i have even decided to give up playing hockey this year in order to take some mountaineering courses that will stretch my understanding of my will and abilities as a person.

Waterboy and Sugarloaf

We've known for a long time that Kai is a fish. This was reaffirmed on Saturday evening when we went to our new church's pool party/dinner/member's meeting (a fun combination indeed!) We're not members (at least not yet), but the entire church was invited so we joined in.

The event was held at a pool that we've seen before, but never actually used. It's right in the middle of Boulder, and it's very large, with a very big waterslide. We had no idea that 2-year-olds would be allowed on the slide, or that our 2-year-old would love it so much! After every ride we would get "C'mon c'mon c'mon! Up up up!" as he dashed off ahead of us to the stairs.

Yesterday we climbed Sugarloaf Mountain, which is a 20 minute drive west of Boulder. This mountain is a much easier climb than Bear Peak, with only +470 ft of elevation gain from the trailhead to the top at 8917 ft. There was a fire on the mountain back in 1989, and there is still ample evidence today in the form of charred tree trunks. It made for a very ominous landscape.

We have many more photos of both events, all on the shoppers website.

Friday, August 26, 2005

someone is going to get punched in the face

so help me God, but if someone calls me mr. mom or says that it's nice that i am babysitting my own kid again, i'm going to lose it.

for some reason there is still this stereotype that exists that fathers aren't capable of caring for their own children. "oh you change the diapers, you gave him his bottles!" is there some unwritten law out there that states that since i stay at home my masculinity has diminished. well like i said, i'll show them some masculinity in the form of a beat down, man or woman it won't matter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Toilet Wars

My office at work is on the third floor of the northeast wing, and the washroom on this floor is a unisex one. No, not an Ally McBeal chat-comically-with-the-opposite-sex-while-you-wash-your-hands-and-they-use-the-facilities kind of unisex restroom, but rather a one room/one stall place with a lock on the stall that no one uses and a lock on the outer door that everyone uses because the room is far too small for two people.

The toilet is possessed. It has a sensor on the back wall that is supposed to flush when you stand up and walk away, but it often doesn't have the patience. It will frequently flush while a poor unsuspecting person is still seated. At one point, I thought that leaning forward (to retie a shoe, to scratch one's ankle, etc.) triggered this premature flush, but I've learned that it will also occasionally go off for no apparent reason. All this has led to its nickname: "the bidet".

Because it's a unisex washroom, half the time the seat is up. This means that if and when you put the seat down (with a foot, natch), in the time it takes to turn around to arrange yourself to sit down, it flushes. To combat this and the bidet treatment, there is a stack of post-it notes attatched to the underside of the toilet paper dispenser, that many patrons have been using to cover the sensor, opting to manually flush using the button on the wall beside the sensor (also with a foot, natch.) Some cite environmental reasons - i.e. water conservation. Others just don't like the sensation. Not long ago, a larger post-it note was left beside the sensor asking people to "please do not cover the sensor because then it doesn't flush". Ah, the drama.

Monday, August 22, 2005


In the words of Dora the Explorer, we did it, we did it! On Saturday morning, around 9:30 AM, Keith and I arrived at the top of Bear Peak, the highest peak in the Flatirons. The Flatirons are a series of very rocky mountains at the southwest end of Boulder. An educated guess is that they get their names from their shapes: huge flat faces that jut out of the earth at a pretty severe angle ~ around 70°.

We were both sore yesterday - mostly in our quads, although I also felt it in my triceps (we used ski poles for stabilization.) They're those good achey feelings, though. I was definitely pushing the limit of my abilities, but Keith's breathing was barely changed by the exertion. I have no doubts that he will be able to tackle Long's Peak next year. Myself? Not so sure...

Anyhow, as Keith predicted, we have a bunch of pictures that I've put up on the Shoppers site, although not a single one of us - together or separate - at the top. I think we were too tired from the climb/distracted by the view to remember to do that.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I knew I voted liberal for a reason

I'm a big fan of midwifery, as many of you know. I wasn't brave enough to attempt a home birth, and as it turned out, due to minor complications I would have had to go to the hospital to have Kai after all. Regardless, I was very pleased with my entire midwifery experience (pre-, mid- and especially post-delivery) and am grateful to a couple friends who spent time sharing their personal midwifery experiences with me. I, in turn, would strongly recommend to anyone that she consider the midwife option, and that she do so early in her pregnancy (i.e. immediately after the stick she pees on gives the appropriate sign) as there is a generally a high demand for midwives. Which brings me to why I'm writing...

I just read a short article in the Toronto Star indicating that the Ontario government is going to hire 50 new midwives to "address the growth of midwifery in the province". Although it was suggested that part of the motivation is that births attended by midwives result in lower average hospital stays for mothers and newborns, thus a financial incentive, I'm pleased to see the Ontario government is noticing that the demand for midwifery is growing. I doubt 50 midwives will have a big impact on the overall system, but it's a step in the right direction and it will make a difference for many women who would otherwise be turned away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

feeling ill

there isn't anything i dislike more than vomitting. nothing happened but it sure felt like my breakfast was coming up on more than one occasion today. kai on the other hand did just that a couple of weeks ago. i can clean it up but i just don't like doing it myself.

on the weekend becky and i will be climbing bear peak. the elevation is about 8500 ft. our starting elevation will be about 6100 ft. the east face is steep and has lots of rock to hike over. we tried the northwest approach with kai once but with his weight in the backpack and then his complaining because of our insistence of him going back in the backpack after breaks just got to be too much. so on saturday we will be leaving him with gary and nancy hornbrook while we try again. he does love his time in the mountains though.
pictures will be posted on the shoppers site on either monday or tuesday. if anyone doesn't have the link to the shoppers site let us know and we can give it to you.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

big boy bed and mountain man

a few weeks ago we bought kai a twin size bed. over the last few days he has been sleeping in this new bed at night. and then when i put him down for his afternoon nap, he gets up walks downstairs and with a smile on his face tells me that there are monsters in his room. he doesn't appear to believe it but he knows that i will give him some attention. he gets one more chance to sleep in the bed and if he gets out a second time he has to sleep in his crib.

yesterday i informed becky that i was going to attempt longs peak next year. the following is information about the mountain from i will be doing a non-technical climb, maybe if i get some training in i will attempt a technical climb later.

Quick Facts
Trail #1 - From Longs Peak Ranger Station Trailhead (16 miles round trip)(est. time: 14-16 hrs)
Highest Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park and the only peak in the park exceeding 14,000 ft at 14,255 ft. (4,345 meters)
Park officials estimate that 15,000 people try to reach the 14,255-foot summit of Longs Peak each year and that about 9,000 are successful.
This year alone (2000) to date (Sep. 5), 3 people have died on Longs Peak. There have been 55 fatalities on Longs since 1887.
First recorded climb was in 1868 by John Wesley Powell and party, but certainly climbed earlier by natives.
Best climbing months are June - September

Friday, August 12, 2005

this will have to do

just getting this thing started and i have to go and take the dog out for a crap. ah the poop scooping.