Thursday, December 20, 2012

Departmental Christmas

Our family hosted a staff Christmas party for our friends in the Children's Department. It was a near thing, but Wendy managed to keep the house in one piece despite all the dancing and wild abandon.

As you might predict there was a serious literary discussion while we dined. Anwyn was grilled by the staff over her opinions on such greats as The Hobbit, A Face Like Glass, and The Hunger Games. I think her comments were well supported by the texts and the library staff were in agreement that Anwyn may wish to start her career in literary review with all speed. She decided instead to show Henry (hereafter known as Hank) the purpose of her extensive Nerf weapon collection.
Lori provided the dessert hit of the evening with her fantastic carrot cake -- although, it appears that Jenny is more fond of eating mice. I guess it takes all kinds -- a fact that could be attested to by the insane people that hired all of us to work in the same place.

We were so glad that Jenny and Patrick decided to ignore the health of new baby Erik in order to visit with us and open presents. Thanks to those who sent gifts for her even though you couldn't come yourself. But, I do blame you for the fact that Jenny subsequently managed to be in every single picture. On the other hand, I was taking the pictures, so I probably shouldn't complain.

Though Jim was barely able to get off to the couch after making the acquaintance of our emotionally needy cat, Pippin, he did manage to look at my drawing workbook. Strangely, he didn't say much after that. Shock? I think I may need to put in more practice time :)

I hear Thom came back from his sabbatical early just to have the opportunity to try my pizza. He, along with Jane and Joanne managed to add a modicum of class to the whole affair. You can probably thank this trifecta of taste that the evening didn't degenerate into lampshades on heads.

Thanks to everyone who came. Donna, Adele, Joel, Max, Nancy and Sandy, you were missed.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween 2012

I think I just lost a button!
Wendy and I are not much for partying. This year we started off Halloween a little bit early. We got some tickets to a Diabetes fundraiser and enjoyed ourselves dancing part of the night away with Jodi. The band played a little too much country for our taste but, for the most part they seem to read their audience well. We're just not typical, I guess.

Anyway, the cool thing is that we got to design steam punk costumes for ourselves. I really love to make things and this was an awesome opportunity to play around with paint and cheap doodads that we found at Value Village. The two feature parts of my costume were the knee-length leather jacket which I found for $14 and a top hat. The hat was originally baby blue felt, which just wouldn't work for my particular costume. Although, as it turns out, it would've matched Wendy's outfit pretty well.

Alas, the candied corn wound up in the trash :(
Sadly, my camera had just arrived back from Florida and I hadn't checked out the batteries or anything else on it. Also, I was pressed for time and so I didn't make an opportunity to take some pictures as I designed the costume. Will I ever learn?

The day before Halloween, the girls and I did a little cooking. Not everything was a success but, the caramel apples for Anwyn's class turned out very well.
On Halloween proper, we visited Vin and Chantelle for the second year in a row. They really know how to put together a party and everything looked great as usual. What's more I didn't have to cook.

This year marks the first year that Leora did not trick-or-treat with us. She opted to go over to a friend's house and was rewarded with the largest container (I can best describe it as a bucket) of candy I've ever seen her acquire. while she is a bit shy in the costume department, we eventually convinced her to go a little outside of her comfort zone. You'd never know she wants to be a stage actress.

I call this one, "take the damn picture so I can go to my friend's house, already!!!"
Of course, the other kids took no convincing.

Someone may have done a little compu/revisionist history with respect to Matt's makeup
How strange... Autumn in January. Or is it the other way around...
A horrible greeting from the Pumpkin Nest!

For the record, it was quite cold! Perhaps you noticed. Only about -5 but, the wind seemed extra bitter. To the kids credit, there was less complaining then I have ever heard with this group. Okay, there was James, but he's always cold.

--edit 11:29am--
I guess I shouldn't single out James. All of the "adults" were freezing our fingers off. James just happened to have 50% less body fat than the rest of us.

The rest of the Halloween costumes can be found here, as usual.

 And, as a little treat for reading to the end... Here is my favourite picture from Halloween 2001. They were 2 and 3.
Pirate and Red Riding Hood

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stories in the Bar

Just a quick note. I will be among many story-tellers and poets participating in this young-ish annual event. Mostly, I'll be enjoying the other performers, but I will be telling at least one story. I've attended previously and it was fun (but loud).

Here is a link to the Facebook Event.

And here is what the event says, if you want to avoid going to facebook ;)

7pm-9pm at Lydia's

Story time debauchery! This is not your toddler’s story time.
Help us ring in Saskatchewan Library Week with an evening of performances for grownups. There will be stories, music… and a full drinks

Performers include The Seahags, No-Nos Improv Comedy, author Wes Funk, and radio personality Berkley Staite.

Master of ceremonies will be our Writer in Residence, David Poulsen.

Free! (Note: this is a licensed event)

View Larger Map

Monday, October 01, 2012

Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 6-7

Wow. So tired. I found the same thing in Honduras. When you have a full day of vacation, it's pretty hard to go back to your hotel and process pictures/video and then write about it all before you fall asleep.

But, I missed you yesterday, so here goes...


Beach House looks like an old fort
We caught a boat out with Steve, from Quiescence. The trip was a little longer out than usual at 45 minutes. I was a little irritated that our trip was being hijacked by two young couples who wanted to go hunting Lion Fish. My irritation gave way when we found ourselves at an out of the way location that gave us the best diving of our trip.

As it turns out, the two young women on our trip were from REEFThe Reef Environmental Education Foundation is a non-profit organization of recreational divers who conduct fish biodiversity and abundance surveys during their dives, among other things. One of these thing is reducing the lionfish population. Lionfish are native to the indo-pacific ocean and now thrive unchecked in atlantic waters.

And, so much for that PBS break :)

We did a dive called Game Fish. It was a beautiful section of reef. It had spectacular corals and the light was amazing. Sadly, we didn't see any sharks or other large fish, as the name might have implied.

Our second dive was at a place called The Slabs. Besides the 'slabs' themselves, which are relatively flat coral features, the standout part of this dive is called The Arch. Unlike in TNG, where you can just call for it, this arch required a little finding (actually, I suppose that happens often enough in Star Trek...). When we did find it--WOW! Not only were there 4 lionfish there, which kept us from buzzing back and forth through the structure, but there was an enormous Goliath Grouper, perhaps 600 lbs, hanging out beneath it. It's in the video that I'm posting today, but there is nothing for scale, as we were too intimidated to go near. There is a marginally smaller one in a photo I found online if you are curious. As if that wasn't enough, later in the dive, we found a sleeping nurse shark :) It was entirely amazing.


Got on a boat with Harry. Dolphins followed us out of the harbour. I was really lucky to have had my camera out, though my settings were not ideal.
Wake Jumping
So Awesome!
 There were 4ft swells and I'm proud to say that I was able to make the first dive at French Reef just fine. Brad found a strange box secreted within the reef, but we were unable to open it. We decided to leave it lie. I eventually succumbed to the waves and was unable to do the second dive, the Bentwood Wreck--but who cares... DOLPHINS!


We went to Everglades National Park. The interpretive centre was a bit more commercial than I like, but I enjoyed seeing lots of snakes, crocodiles and alligators. The highlight would be the airboat ride, a segment of which can be found in this G+ post.

Diving Video

It is hard to explain the feeling you get when you become comfortable breathing and moving underwater. It is very freeing and there is a smugness that comes with knowing that you shouldn't be able to be there, and yet, there you are. If you like sitting out and watching the sun set, or appreciating a fine flower garden, just sitting and breathing the sweet air, I suppose it is like that. But imagine that you are doing it on another planet. One with a toxic atmosphere that you have managed to adapt to. Oh, and you are able to fly on this planet.

This video doesn't do my explanation justice. You probably need to watch an IMAX undersea video for that. I've tried to compress 5 or 6 hours of serenity into 15 minutes. It's ridiculous, really. Anyway, I wanted to mention that I didn't put any music to it, because I didn't want the copyright police to stomp all over it, but the sound is mostly bubbles and the wheezing of an ecstatic and playful human breathing through a magical (I mean scientific, Brad, really) combination of tanks and tubes that allows the impossible to happen.

15 minutes may be a long time, or seem boring to you. I understand. So I'm adding time signatures for some key areas that I have mentioned in my recent posts that you may enjoy only those moments that interest you most ;)
I'd view this in full screen, if I were you.

Additional pictures from this trip may be found here.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 5

Double Crested Cormorant
We have started to fall into a really good rhythm here. What with the not throwing up added to lots of sun and diving, it is starting to feel very much like a vacation. Or at the very least, some place that I don't loathe existing in :)
We did morning dives again, which means no coffee as we have to be at Quiescence by 8am.
We were on French Reef today. The two locations we did were called Hard Bottom Cave and Hourglass Cave. As you might expect, each of these locations offered some nooks and crannies to weave through. Neither contained any seriously challenging elements, but both were substantially deeper dives than yesterday.

Speaking of which, here are some numbers from yesterday at Northern Dry Rocks.
Dive 1 -- Minnow Cave 59 minutes at 4m average and 6.1m max
Dive 2 -- Dry Rock(Not sure of this name and I think Brad is sick of me asking...) 58 minutes, averaging 4.9m and 7.3m max.

Today's Dives: Weather Hot and Sunny. Light Winds.
Dive 1 -- Hard Bottom was a 60min dive and averaged 8.2m and took us down as deep as 12.2m. Saw a spotted eel, several lobster.

Dive 2 -- Hourglass was 54min and averaged 7.6m and bottomed out at 11.6m. Saw a Goliath Grouper and a Reef Shark(likely Caribbean). This reef had lots of vertical change and was quite textured. It was fun to swoop around through canyons and gullies.

I must admit that Brad and I are not the best underwater navigators, with each of us drifting off course on numerous occasions. It's not a dangerous scenario, but does involve some extra swimming.

For listening to all that, I think you deserve a picture of this fellow that we saw eating some sort of weed in the park we strolled through this afternoon.
You can have coffee with me tomorrow, Handsome.
Sorry, I can't not take these pictures... I had to climb in the water to get the rocks right, so you'd better appreciate it!

Additional pictures from this trip may be found here.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 4

American White Ibis
As you know, I like to have coffee in the morning. If you know Brad, you will also know that although he loves coffee (possibly even more than me) he does not love morning. What I'm saying is that I've had to make due with another of my weird animal coffee buddies.

Meet the American White Ibis. They seem to be quite curious, and though they are a little skittish, they don't seem to mind posing for pictures.

If you were checking Google+ early this morning, you probably noticed that I was feeling pretty positive about my chances for diving in Key Largo today.
I'm really not sure how I managed to be so upbeat after yesterday's gore-fest on the boat. But, I shall not keep you in suspense. I held my breakfast down today! Let the trumpets trumpet and the banners... ban.

Brad and I did two dives after lunch totalling about 1hr 55min. The number of fish was really quite spectacular.

I found this lovely fish in Florida identification image. I'm pretty tired so I'm just going to guess that I saw them all :)

Joking aside, without an expert diver along to talk about these things afterward, there are such a variety that I really have little idea what I've seen. Just like trying to learn Spanish for a trip to Spain, I suppose one should try to learn to speak some fish if I am going to discuss diving.

Wreck of a Cement Ship -- Can't remember what it is called...
The first dive was along Horseshoe Reef (brief desc.) from 1-7 metres in depth. I saw half a dozen barracuda and an eagle ray. The second dive was at a place called Minnow Cave. Can you guess what we saw a lot of there? Brad's video is currently under construction, but I found several links that really get the idea across. Here is Minnow Cave. If I had a $2000 underwater video camera and a cute female diver to record, this is what my video would look like. FYI, I did not see an octopus on my dive. Score one more for the internet. The first 3-4 minutes is pretty much what we were able to see. If you watch the rest of the video, beware 7:25-30. Pretty awesome "moobs" if you are into that type of thing (you know who I'm talking to, daughter).

Now, if you will forgive me, I am totally exhausted and would like to sleep after Brad and I decide where we would like to try and go tomorrow. Until then...

Additional pictures from this trip may be found here.


Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 3


Got up and headed for the dive shop. My G+ crew will recognize this optimistic video clip.
Headache and stuffiness better but not gone. I decided to give snorkelling rather (than scuba) a try. This was a good plan for a number of reasons. The first reason was that I did still find it difficult to clear my ears, particularly on ascent. It's not a very big deal snorkelling because you don't go to the same depths and therefore there is much less equalization pressure on your ear drum and sinus cavities.
Leaving the Keys

The other reason that I'm glad that I snorkelled instead is that I was violently sick to my stomach 25 minutes after getting in the water. If you are down at 30 or 40 feet at the time, this can become tricky. You probably remember that I had this same problem early on in Honduras. There is one small difference. I took anti-nausea medication in advance this time. It just didn't work. I don't know if it is because I am immune to this particular antiemetic (dimenhydrinate) or if the added pressure in my ears has something to do with it. In any event I am frustrated. I am really trying to take advantage of my opportunity for fun here, but it's a bit of a struggle.

Brad had 2 more great dives partnered with a nice woman who was a very experienced diver. It sounds like the highlight was getting to see a very playful Nurse Shark.


Moving along. I was mostly over my grouchy period after a couple of hours. I soothed my woozy head with some Starbucks and several games of Chez Goth(board game geek). Having run alongside a goth crowd in university, I found it to be a fun and nostalgic way to beat brad in a best of 3 ;)

When we got back to our resort lodgings we prepared a delectable feast on one of the many grills near the water.
The highlight... Grilled Sweet Peppers


Naturally... while watching the sun set.

Additional pictures from this trip may be found here.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 2

Tuesday -- 7am

Still congested. Brad and I agreed that I shouldn't dive today. Extra sleep for me.

I've managed to get up, shower, and have coffee and a scone. All without hilarious incident.
The view out the front door is... okay
The view 50 metres out back is somewhat more inspiring
Morning Coffee Companion
Proof of manly shopping expedition


Brad back from Diving. He reports that the diving was excellent and that there were a lot more fish on his first dive than we saw at the most fishy dive in Honduras. I'm excited to see if his stories live up to the tale. Brad can be given to such exaggeration.

We went and found a local grocery store and stocked up on fresh produce and some bread. Tomorrow we will be barbecuing.


Drove into Miami (an hour 1-way). We checked out a couple of stores that sell board/card games and found one to play when we are stopped places for coffee or to sponge free wifi.

Additional pictures from this trip may be found here.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 1

I have been sick for a couple of days leading into this trip. It's a sinus cold, which is not conducive to diving. A ruptured aorta while in shark infested waters is about equivalent ;)

Monday -- 4am

Wendy was kind enough to help me fumble my way to the airport. Being sick, short on sleep, short on coffee, and panicked about forgetting something vital (like boots when mountain climbing for instance), Wendy seemed torn between kissing me goodbye and reporting me as a terrorist to airport security.

Here is a breakdown of my first 10 minutes at the airport: Pass through security. Forget 1.5 day old iPhone5 in an airport security bin. Purchase coffee. Wandered upstairs to wait at departure gate. Walk back down for coffee that I forgot on the condiment counter. Return to my gate. Answer cell call from wife.

Karma-Free Sunrise
Wendy: Are you awake yet?
Me: I left my new phone in a bin. A kind security agent found me as I was buying coffee and returned it to me.
Wendy: That's a "no," then?
Me: I'm waiting upstairs.
Wendy: I thought you would be downstairs.
Me: There aren't any gates downstairs.
Wendy: Um...
Me: I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about--
Wendy: <click>

At this point, I check the departures board for the 3rd time and promptly, sheepishly, slink downstairs to the correct gate. I'm going to almost totally omit the part where I try to board the plane without a boarding pass. They don't get as mad as you'd expect :)

Did I mention that I was sick AND tired? Anyway, blogging is better than an apology because it's permanent and more people can hear it. <crickets...>

Fortunately, the plane did not crash (no thanks to me) and I was treated to a beautiful sunrise over the wing. Other than plugged ears and a good ebook, the rest of the flight was unremarkable.

2:30pm--Miami Time

Brad met me in the Miami airport and we began our drive down to Key Largo. Using my new phone, and a hacked together sun-visor mount, I have made you this very short stop motion video, of a surprisingly boring stretch of Miami. Enjoy and please shop Best Buy!

Our Room in Key Largo

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September Update

Obligatory Back to School Photo
Of course the biggest change this month is that Wendy and the girls all went back to school. Phew! I love them--you know I do, but I'm still happy when everyone gets back into the rhythm of school. I get a little more time to myself in the morning and things feel a little less rushed... for me. Everyone else, on the other hand is in quite a tizzy.

Wendy is walking downtown every morning to the SPSD division office and trying to destroy the demons of chaos that threaten our children's educational existence. She has a host of new responsibilities this year and it has been a bit of a wild ride for her to try and get it together. She needs new challenges like the rest of us, so I figure it's all to the good. We hosted a pot-luck dinner party for her colleagues last night to try and help the team gel right at the start of the year.

Father walking stalking children to school...
Leora is trying to get the hang of her first year of high school at Walter Murray. After a summer of sleeping in, getting up early every weekday is not coming easily. She has three mornings of choir and two mornings of archery club. She has decided this isn't enough and yesterday, after three punishing rounds of try-outs, she has made the junior volleyball team. She tells me that will entail "most" days after school. She was mad that we wouldn't let her continue with her gymnastics class :(

Anwyn has switched schools as well. She managed to get herself enrolled into Greystone's ACTAL program. After two years of boredom in her last class, she is coming home every day excited about her classmates and her learning. She misses her friends from Ecole Victoria, but is so challenged in her new environment that she hasn't really noticed it yet.

We had a little kick off party last week. Anwyn had been reading a novel which spent many paragraphs detailing fancy table settings and decided that she wanted us to have a 7 course meal! Wendy and Leo did the cooking, Anwyn served and I photographed. Perfect division of labour.
Baked Brie 
French Onion Soup
Caesar Salad
Creme Brulee (with coffee)
Cheese/Fruit/Nut Plate

The thing at the bottom (that looks like an ear) is a slice of fresh fig :)

The meal was great. I just hope the next book Anwyn reads goes deep into manufacturing consumer electronics.

"Hey, Dad, I thought maybe tonight we could build a new iPhone."
"If you insist, Honey, but I want your homework done first!"

Monday, September 03, 2012

City Walk 2012 -- Check!

It's a whole new game. The score is tied at 3 victories a piece.

I left the house at 4:40am--10 minutes behind schedule. I have often had company for this section of the journey, but this year I was on my own.

The first new thing for this trip is the new Tim Horton's in Stonebridge. I availed myself of a little pick-me-up and headed East. The morning was cold and calm. The moon looked over my shoulder as I headed out parallel to the railroad tracks. All the rain we've had this summer meant healthy plant growth and the cool morning was heavy with dew. My shoes were shortly soaked through and I found it necessary to pause every couple of hours to strip off my shoes and dry them in the sun.

A major change from previous years is that I didn't take a "real" camera. I had only my trusty iPhone3GS. I was feeling unsure about my ability to complete the trek this year and I was concerned about the extra weight a camera would add. That and Environment Canada predicting rain throughout the day meant that my Pentax stayed safely at home. Today, looking through all the great pictures from past years and observing the lack of 24hr precipitation, I'm regretting that choice.

To help minimize said regret... here is on of my favorite pictures from 2007.
Djaii does his best to stop to the "trash compactor" on the detention level
My favourite routing decision of this year was the addition of the wet river crossing. Wendy convinced me to give it a try and offered to swim it with me. With a 3/4 wet suit and life jacket, there was really nothing that could go wrong. On the contrary, I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. Next time I will definitely make the swimming leg last longer.

Me and 2 crucial members of this year's support crew
The swimming thing brings me to an important point. I could not have done the swim if I had stuck to my original concept of what the city walk was. Initially, I envisioned it as a very solitary walk. Not that other people couldn't come, but that it was each persons job to make it on their own power; your only support was to be the company of the others. As such, you would have to carry everything that you might need for the entire day--although we always allowed purchase of drinks and food (i.e. foraging). As it turns out, while there is something appealing about this 'purist' model, it certainly isn't the most fun.

Wendy drove out to see me 5 times yesterday, essentially spending her entire day supporting my outing. Each time she offered me coffee, soda, dry clothes and other niceties. She and the girls brought me a picnic lunch. I had 8 different people walk/swim with me. I had verbal or text exchanges with perhaps 15. At times, when I wasn't sulking or wishing it would all be over, it was positively festive. Over the last several years Wendy has helped me revisualize my city walk as a celebration in which others can participate in many ways--only one of which is walking. Okay, that's getting a bit inclusive and positively mushy. I'll just leave it there.

To assist me in feeling more manly again, I'll provide you with a photo of the huge and awesome caterpillar that I avoided stomping shortly after noon. It was very solid feeling and reared its head in positively Dune-like fashion.

Huge spike on tail (1.5cm), sadly not shown in this photo :(
My time to completion yesterday was 17h 24min. I hobbled into the house at 10:04pm--within 4min of my estimate.

Below is the map containing data points from all three of my successful walks. The part we care about at this point is the blue line. You can see where it diverges from the previous aqua and orange lines which gives you an indication of where neighbourhoods have expanded.

View Mik's City Quest in a larger map

Lots of you followed my google+ posts yesterday, which I have to say was really nice. I felt like I had company all day long. On a marathon undertaking like this, it can be pretty important.

A few more stats:
  • Total time17h 24min
  • 66km (as plotted on the Google Map of my 3 completions) 
  • Accompanied for 34km (I think that's a record when I've finished Nope, looks like David did 34.8km in 2006 and James did 36km in 2008)
  • saved 7km or 1-1/12hrs by swimming. 
  • So without swimming the total would have been about 72km--about 2 more than in 2008.
  • 1.5L of water, 700ml coffee, 650ml diet soda consumed
I thought the more desperately bored of you might enjoy browsing an album containing City Walk photos from 2006-2008 and 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

City Walk 2012

I'm excited to announce that on Sunday morning, at about 4:30am, I will be departing on my questing marathon known as the City Walk. A brief history of how and why I started doing it can be found in a 2006 post just before I make my first complete circumnavigation.

The score stands at Saskatoon 3 (1994, 2005, 2007) - Mike 2 (2006 and 2008). I'm out to even the score.

As usual, you are all welcome to attend part or all of the marathon. I'll have my cell phone with me, so feel free to give me a call to meet up. Here is a map of Saskatoon with two previous trips on it, so you can have an idea of the route.

Possible Itinerary:*
4:30am -- departure from Clarence Ave S (counterclockwise this year)
12-12:30 -- river crossing sans bridge (a first! Could save me 8-10km)
12:30 -- Picnic lunch on Spadina (hopefully... it will be near here)
4:30pm -- North of YXE
7pm -- 11th St Esso
10pm -- Finish

*later times show increasing approximation ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back Handsprings

Anwyn with an awesome Spread Eagle (working on knees and toe pointing)
Leo's are better than mine. Happy/Sad at the same time.
Just a quick note. I'm pretty excited this morning. My family has had the use of Liz's trampoline (in exchange for our swings) for the last 3 weeks. This coincided very nicely with the enthusiasm I have for exercise when the Olympics are on and lead to many hours of getting over my adult onset dizziness :(

I remembered with a certain fondness performing crazy teenage antics on David Rabuka's trampoline when I was in high-school, back in P.A. Some tricks --the ones involving serious core strength-- have given me some trouble, but back and forward tucks, pikes and layouts came back to me very easily... except for wanting to violently eject my breakfast after 5 minutes.

Back handsprings, on the other hand, have given me a lot of difficulty for 18 years --ever since I spent a week loading box-cars up with 100lb bags of lentils. Back injury! I was still able to do them, but I developed a nasty 1/4 twist. Anyway, the trampoline has given me a safe(ish) place to practice a bit, and I am proud to report my first (nearly) perfect BHSs on my back lawn. I don't have a picture or video yet, so you will have to settle for an almost back layout (pikeout?) on the trampoline.

Gold medals can be forwarded to my house on Clarence Ave.
Anwyn, thanks for your help with the photography. I may try to do this with a timer and my Gorilla Pod, but this was way easier.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

What happened to the end of your holiday?

Well... things have been crazy busy since we got back. Now that I can think again, let's do a quick recap of the end of the holiday.

Teela, Peff, Merlin and Viola were very good to all of us. We ate wonderful food and endured extreme heat.

One of the things that we all enjoyed was a trip to a local kids' discovery centre. We had all sorts of fun blowing bubbles, testing our vertical jumping ability and testing various laws of physics. My favourite was a series of controls that operated a small crane. Wendy and I had some trouble sharing with the other visitors and spent an enormous amount of time trying to create various structures out of the supplied material. In this picture, you can see me refusing to yield the controls to a 4 year old girl.
Play Nice
Anyhow, when it finally came time to leave Indiana, we decided to bee-line for home. We drove to Minneapolis the first day and stayed at an awesome hotel.

Part way through the next day, we arrived at the border. Now, on the way south, a US guard had threatened to charge us $300 for the sad, solitary orange we had forgotten to eat and were threatening to accidentally smuggle into their fine country. Our car was searched (briefly). I tried to lighten the mood with some humour. There was no smiling. On the way back into Canada, there was no search of our vehicle and the border official was quite friendly. He even suggested that Wendy might want to sign her passport -- but really, no rush. The difference was quite striking.

As Wendy read extensively from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga, we drove, uneventfully, all the way back to Saskatoon, arriving well after dark.

The End

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trip to the Near South (6-7)

News flash. It's hot in Indiana. And apparently, we've been lucky and missed the worst of the heat (so far).
Too Darn Hot!
Still we've managed to do some recreational climbing...
Frisbee Rescue
Merlin in Camouflage Mode
And go for a night ride on horseback.
Anwyn and Spitfire
Actually, the night ride was a little unnerving. We were undercover of trees and the moon rose late, so by 1/2hr into our 90 minute ride, it was dark enough that only the sharpest eyes in our group were able to see anything. It's a good thing the horses knew the route well -- even so, we had a few scraped legs and poked eyeballs. The horses also seemed to "know" one another pretty well (if you know what I mean) and my stallion gave me more than a few frightening moments when in season mares got a little friendly. As it was only my second time on a horse, I found agressive neighing and rearing to be a little above my skill level. But, what doesn't kill you makes for a great story :)

The following day, we went swimming and a few of us went climbing at a great indoor wall that Peff frequents (no pictures).

I managed to take some really nice portraits of Teela and her kids (Peff still eludes me). I thought I'd leave those pics in the gallery, for the truly interested :)