Thursday, April 03, 2008

Green Your Life

Here is a site for anyone interested in developing a green lifestyle.
Check it - TreeHugger

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Do You Remember Having Shrinky Dinks

As Kai was watching a few taped episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo this morning an interesting thing happened. One of the episodes is called Pinky Shrinks. Becky asked me if I remember Shrinky Dinks. Of course everyone knows that most men's mental ages are that of a twelve year old and mine is no exception. I immediately started to laugh. I vaguely remember these little craft projects. The idea behind this craft is that you decorate a piece of plastic and then put it into an oven of some kind and the plastic shrinks. Your Shrinky Dinks will decrease to about one-third it's original size, hehehe.

Monday, February 18, 2008

La Plata

On Saturday I left Boulder to climb La Plata. Of all the 14er's in Colorado it ranks in at number five for elevation (4369m). We started from the trail head at 7:20 am and after much post holing and rout finding we arrived at camp at 2:30pm. After setting up camp I had a nap, ate 2 two serving dinners and drifted off to a restless sleep until 5:30 am. Our plan we to get up at 4:30am so we could summit and hike back to the trail head by dark. As my old friend Mark Abraham told me long ago - Don't ever plan anything because it will never work. As it turns out Mark has been right on many occasions. My watch alarm didn't work in the extreme cold that we experienced on Saturday night and that is why we didn't get up at 4:30am. Instead after having some hot chocolate and some power gels our team headed to the ridge of La Plata at 7:40am. The climb to reach the top of the ridge took an hour and then from there we spent the next four hours slogging up the ridge to the summit. About five minutes before reaching the summit there was a nice patch of blue sky peaking through all of the clouds but it was not to be. At 12:30 we reached the summit of La Plata in a virtual whiteout. The trip back to camp took two hours and a half hours, things go much faster when you can plunge step through snow on the downhill. After helping my tent mate get some water and some food in to him for the hike back to the trail head we left camp at 5:20pm and arrived back at the van at 7:20pm.

It was my first winter ascent of a 14er and now that I know I can do it, it will not be my last as long as I have breath.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Nothing makes this four and a half year old happier than to help bake or cook. This morning I finally did something with the old bananas that were sitting on the counter. The recipe that I use makes two nice little loafs of banana bread, one goes on the glass domed cake stand, the other into the freezer for next week (yeah right). Today Kai remembered that he has a little apron with trucks on it (made by his Grandma Franks) that he needs to wear just as he flipped some of the creamed eggs and sugar out to the bowl. He is generally in charge of the wet ingredients, creaming the butter and sugar and mixing in the eggs. I just add the ingredients and he does almost all of the mixing. As the volume of wet ingredients increases I have to keep reminding him to mix slower and slower and to his credit he listens very well.

Kai - Dad when I grow up I want to be a cook.

Me - Okay buddy, that would be a great job. Did you know that your Grandpa Anderson is a cook, he's a big cook, a chef. And he used be the boss of a big kitchen. If you are a chef you could travel to all sorts of different countries and learn to cook their food.

Kai - No way, that's awesome. I could go to China. Dad, when are we going to have Chinese New Year?

Ah, the wandering imagination.

If I don't keep an eye on him he would eat most of the batter.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hillary's Inner Tracy Flick

This is for all the Election fans out there.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Blueberry Pancake Tuesday

At the Canucks at large household, we like to do things a little differently. May the parading and eating and antioxidizing and voting begin! Of course, we can't actually vote, but we can at least sit by and patiently wait. And we can eat pancakes.

The funniest part about this is that when he was making the pancakes with Kai this morning, Keith didn't actually realize that today is Fat Tuesday. Kai had made the suggestion last night that we should have blueberry pancakes soon, no doubt because of our glorious container of Costco blueberries. Keith decided to go ahead and make them today. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I'm guessing that Pancake Tuesday was discussed at preschool yesterday. (These things aren't always disclosed openly and honestly.)

***edited to add: I've just now realized, though speaking to a couple colleagues at work, that Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, is not an American tradition, so perhaps some of my readers from South of the Border may be a little in the dark about the pancake eating. Scott - on Sunday when others were saying "Super Tuesday" and "Fat Tuesday", I said "Pancake Tuesday", and I don't know if you heard me, but I just figured it was the same as "Fat Tuesday". It turns out that it isn't, although they are both related to lent. When asked "why pancakes?" by one of my colleagues, I didn't really have an answer. I found these sites, which shed a little bit of light on the pancake tradition, or rather the pancake races. But then I found the following here, which actually explains WHY pancakes, and how the whole crazy pancake race thingy started.

Aren't traditions fascinating?

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent. In earlier days there were many foods that observant Christians would not eat during Lent such as meat and fish, eggs, and milky foods. So that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday, and eat up all the foods that wouldn't last the forty days of Lent without going off.

Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday because they were a dish that could use up perishable foodstuffs such as eggs, fats and milk, with just the addition of flour. Pancake races are thought to have begun in 1445. A woman who was busy cooking pancakes in her kitchen lost track of the time on Shrove Tuesday and when she heard the church bell ringing, she woman raced out of her house and ran all the way to church; still holding her frying pan and wearing her apron.

Many Australian groups and communities make and share pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Selling pancakes to raise money for charity is also a popular activity.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cold but not too cold

Prior to Becky's prodding it was my intent to post some video and pictures from my winter camping trip. We started hiking into Mammoth Reservoir from a trail head near the town of Rollinsville. The hike took about two hours. After the first hour I donned my snowshoes to avoid sinking up to my waist in snow. Once we arrived at the site for our field trip it was an easy afternoon of digging, digging and more digging. When our snow cave was finished it was time for supper. Nothing beats rehydrated Santa Fe Chicken when it's -5 c outside and the wind is blowing straight into camp. After supper I toured around and checked out the other students' snow caves. All of them were larger than ours but there was a chance that ours would be warmer because it was small. I decided to head to bed around 620pm. Early you say? Why yes it was, but I had been up since 430am and outside in blowing snow at an altitude of about 9800ft for almost the whole day.

It took me about 40 minutes to take off my plastic boots, my jacket, get changed into some spare long underwear, and to adjust my sleeping pads (two are needed for extra insulation from the snow). Finally comfortable, I laid down and had a conversation with my cave mate about things that I can't remember now. When we were done with our chat I put on some music and around 830pm I fell asleep listening to Weezer. I was awake from 1030pm until 1230pm, again listening to music and in a very creative way going to the bathroom. There was nothing but sound sleep until 545am when I noticed sunlight coming in through our makeshift door (a big block of snow and my pack).

Breakfast was lukewarm oatmeal - my stove didn't work very well and so the snow I was melting for water didn't get very hot. Lucky for me though the tea I had made the night before (when the stove was working a bit better) was still warm and I had a warm/hot breakfast. Once everyone was packed up we headed for home. The nice thing about going uphill on a trip is that the descent is much faster. I was the third guy back to the trail head in one hour and twenty minutes.

We have one an ice climbing field trip next weekend and then our class ends with a big climb on the weekend of Feb. 16-18. That is going to be a long long couple of days.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Climbing v. Adventuring

Wow... this is our 250th post. That's a bit of a milestone, no?

I've had a fairly busy week... I think. It's really all a blur. A definite highlight was when my dear friend Megan took me to her bouldering gym (rock climbing sans rope) on Thursday evening. It has been a couple days since we went, but my arms and legs still feel like I picked up a small truck and carried it down the street. Don't get me wrong - it was a blast, and once I can walk around the room and up a flight of stairs without wincing I'm definitely going back. Thankfully I wasn't too intimidated by all the "famous people" who were in town this week and happened to be at the gym at the same time. I just happily clambered up the walls in my own rather awkward and, uh... unique style. I guess it's for the best that I don't instantly recognize the "big names" in rock climbing and bouldering. Anyhow, I might be completely delusional here, but I think I wasn't too terrible considering that it has been over 10 years since I was last on a climbing wall. Most of all, it was nice to do something other than work for a change. Thanks Meg! And check this out: you thought it was crowded on Thursday! I think this photo was taken during the gym's grand opening or something - wow that's a lot of people!

Keith is away for the next 24 hours or so. He's been up since about 5 AM, and he's off on some snowy hill in the mountains building himself a snow cave to sleep in tonight. Have I mentioned that I have a most adventurous husband? He's far more adventurous than I. You see, I have no problem at all donning my capri yoga pants and a pair of climbing shoes and bouldering up an 18 foot wall inside a relatively comfortable temperature-controlled room. But ask me to put a 30 kilo pack on my back, snowshoe through the woods for an hour or so and then sleep in a hole dug out of the snow? Uh, gee. Thanks, but no thanks. I do enjoy camping and all, but I'm a pathetic wimp when there is frost on the ground in the morning. Keith, on the other hand, has the metabolism of a hamster and his feet and his nose never get cold. I think he might be bionic. He's got our camera, so I'll prod him a little when he gets back and he'll tell you all about his snow hole and the cold and his new down jacket.

We love his new down jacket. He loves it because it's going to keep him warm. I love it for, well, for the exact same reason. Stay warm, sweetie. Have fun. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sea World

Bless his heart, at least the travel I do for work presents an opportunity for learning.

I was parked in the hallway outside our bathroom, taking advantage of the bathtime playtime to upgrade a computer program for work and listening to Kai play with his new Target brand Toob-style tube of wee sea creature toys, when I heard the following:

"So, here are the fish. These fish and these crabs live at Christmas Island..."

So now we're discussing who lives at Christmas Island. And the difference between scorpions and crustaceans. And that lobsters live in cooler waters than crabs. And did I see any seahorses when I was at Christmas Island? And what about eels? Or hammerhead sharks? Or stingrays?

Oh, and he thinks that we should all go there for a family vacation to go scuba diving.

Good idea, bub. We'll look into it. In the meantime, maybe I'll get you a goldfish for your birthday.

Monday, January 21, 2008

If I were in a band

... it would apparently be a bluegrass band from somewhere in the deep south. I would likely be the person playing the jug (you know, the person who blows across the mouth of a jug and makes deep hooty noises?) and perhaps adds some other percussion sounds here or there. I've never claimed to be very musical, despite eight+ years of parental investment into piano lessons.

Anyhow, this fun little meme that I found over at Halushki (quite likely one of the funniest blogs out there) is how I spent my lunch hour while working on a day that everyone else seems to be not working. It's technically a holiday, but I'm expecting a guest next week from Ontario, and I thought I'd pay it forward, if you will, with my work attendance.

I'm so happy I have a flexible-hours job.

So the meme basically goes like this:

1. Click on this link:

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Click on this link:

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Finally, click on this link:

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.

Okay, I admit it. I cheated a little with the picture, because the first one I had just didn't cut it, but the band name and album title are both legit.

Incidentally, our imaginary band would later release a second album titled "Walk in the Sun", which would prove to be significantly less popular than the first, and thus the band would quickly dissolve and we would all go back to our day jobs.

Speaking of which, I need to get back to work. Be sure to leave a comment if you give it a try.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Whereas my life slowly dissolves into...

the monotony of working as much as possible.

It seems to happen each year. Not that I'm an expert on this whole "working" thing: I managed to avoid properly entering the workforce for a good 5 years by returning to grad school and slogging my way through another degree. But, for the third straight year since the ol' defence thingy, I find myself on the cusp of yet another field study. Don't get me wrong - I love what I do, but wow... I can always tell things are gearing up for a long couple of months when I wake up at 5:30 AM and all I can do is lie in bed and think about all the things I need to do until I finally relent at 6:15 AM, get up and return to my computer.

Which is perhaps why I laced tonight's evening work session with a glass of wine.

It just makes the whole working late thing that much more civilized.

I am still "getting out" mind you - I went swimming earlier this evening for the first time in... what year is it? Not important. What is important is that I swam, I soaked in the hot tub, I lounged in the steam room, I went outside and my hair promptly froze...

Have I mentioned it is absurdly cold outside?

Probably not important.

So you've probably noticed by now that I really have nothing to say...



{birds chirping}


So I'll just post a couple pictures of my dog and call it even.

Sleep well, all.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The first conversation of my day

Becky: (groggy, just waking up) Good morning, Kai.

Kai: (not as groggy, climbing across the bed, apparently on a mission) Good morning, mama. I have a question.

B: What is it, Bub?

K: When people go up mountains, how do they get down?

B: Well, when they walk up a mountain they generally walk back down. Sometimes it is almost as hard to walk down as it is to walk up.

K: I think it would be funner (sic) if, instead of walking, they could just slide down.


Ain't that the truth.

Of course, I would add that rather than walking up the mountain, it would be even more funner if they could ride up on a chair lift. But that's just me.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kai's Perfect Saturday

Having a friend over.

Painting some rocks.

Baking some cookies.

Taking Puddles for a ride in anything that he can pull or drag around.

It was an absolutely lovely day today. It wasn't particularly warm, but it was warm enough for me to be inspired to take down the outdoor Christmas lights and to attach our new (to us) trailer bike to my bike to take Kai for a little ride. (I suppose it is the opposite of the bike trailer, shown above.) We've had the trailer bike for a few weeks, but it has been too snowy and icy to bother giving it a try.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until we were all helmetted-up and hopping up on our respective seats that I realized my bike has a seriously flat tire. Very tragic.

Pleasantly unphased, Kai jumped back on his own new bike and we went for a walk/ride around the neighbourhood. All in all, a good Saturday.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What on earth have we done?

It was necessary to treat a skin rash he has had for a while. But really: Oh.My.Goodness.

There can be no doubt

Watch and listen to this. I am sure that you will be convinced that Radiohead is one of the best bands on the planet. I watched the video this morning and it is good stuff. The songs are from their new album (or alblum - for Tyler) In Rainbows. The album was originally released on the band's website for a pay what you want fee. It was released in North American stores on January 1. Check it.

I hope they tour North America.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Listy bliss

Oh my, I do love me a good relaxing Saturday, and today was just that. Lots of little things checked off the list:

  • mail that stuff to mom and dad
  • remove the very unnecessary and actually bulky pockets from my new fleece skiing pants
  • do a couple loads of laundry
  • vacuum the upstairs
  • bake a couple loaves of pumpkin bread
  • finally unpack all those wonderful pieces of China from my mom-in-law
  • take the wreath off the front door
Do you keep a list of things-to-do? I admit, I regularly toy with list-making. I come by list-making honestly: my dad is an avid list maker. Often the list is a mental list, but I have been learning the virtues of the tangible list. Not only am I less likely to forget some fleeting idea, but I can take tremendous pride in crossing the items off one by one.

Of course, being a self-proclaimed anti-perfectionist, I am perfectly content to not cross off every thing that goes on the list. For example, "take Jake to the dog park" is not going to get crossed off today. I has been about 15°C all day, with strong chinook-like winds all morning long, and what snow there was a few days ago at the aforementioned park is inevitably all mud gook. Mud gook caked dog is something we can live without today. Sorry buddy.

But overall, crossing items off a list one by one is a fine way to spend a lazy Saturday.

... and as I type, chaos and tempers are erupting downstairs. (Last night Kai went to a friend's house for a sleepover, so he's a teensy weensy bit tired today.) Bliss bliss... where is the bliss?

Oh, here's some bliss. These photos are from earlier today, when the sun was actually still mostly visible through the foggy sublimating-ice and -snow haze:

Look! I can help things grow!
The first photo is the jade plant that I purchased not long after we moved to Colorado. (I had to leave all my plants in Canada when we moved - something about not bringing soil across the border.) I think the jade is the only houseplant we have that I bought from a store - most of my plants are either from garage sales, gifts (i.e.: my holy-cow-it-has-tripled-in-size! aloe) or inherited. My friend Meg gave me the African violet before she moved to New Hampshire last summer. I replanted it in a larger pot and watered it diligently for a few months (when I was here, at least) with nary a bud in sight. When we returned from Canada at the end of November, out of the blue there were two open blooms and a host of buds ready to burst!

And finally - what could be more exciting than having a window open and a breeze blowing through the house to encourage the freshly-hung January laundry to dry? I'm so easy to please, eh?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope your New Year's was wonderful. Mine was lovely, thank you very much. Our family celebrated with some of the folks from our church at our pastor's house. Does that sound lame? Let me tell you, it was not. We are a very cool bunch. And the terribly exciting Cranium match proved it.

I've never been one for those big huge ring-in-the-New-Year in a skimpy sparkly thing holding a glass of bubbly amid a host of people singing and dancing and looking all svelte. Sure, that sounds like fun, but I've just never been invited. Anyhow, I like my evenings low key. "4... 3... 2... 1... Happy New Year, everyone! OK thanks for the fun, see you next week." Suits me just fine.

To celebrate the new year, I'm going to do what I've seen some other excellent bloggers do (original I am not) and remember the past year with Becky's 2007 first sentence of the month.

It's fun, I promise. It's also a sneaky way to entice you into my archives.

  • January, from Soapbox Revisited: I know I don't live in Ontario, but an innate need to know what's happening at home combined with the pathetic lack of reporting in the US on the World Junior Hockey Championships prompted me to check out the online version of The Toronto Star yesterday.
  • March, from Back from the mountains: We just spent Friday afternoon and Saturday at a friend's parents' condo in Silverthorne - four families: 7 adults and 11 kids.
  • April, from Anatomie of a bike ride: I developed this idea for a post (or at least for a collection of photos) a week ago today.
  • May, from Four: Four is carrying your own pack.
  • July, from Happy Birthday, Canada!: I'm exhausted, but before I head off to bed, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Canada Day!
  • November, from Puttering around: A very wise man once recommended that puttering is good for the soul.
So overall, what I've learned from this little exercise: I'm obsessed with Canada, the environment, ellipses and exclamation points. Sometimes I'm wordy, and sometimes (I.e.: September, in which I only posted ONCE) I'm not. And perhaps it's rather surprising that so many of you actually bother to visit. At least my kid is cute, right?

Happy New Year, everyone! OK, thanks for the fun. See you next week.