Friday, February 25, 2011

Family Day 2011!

We had a great day on Family Day! Instead of just sitting on our duffs we decided to get out and do something. Luckily, the local Century 21 branch was hosting free swimming at the pool (not in the river) and free skating at the arena (not on the river). Grace and Amelia both LOVE swimming. I just never get to bring them in very often. The free public swim usually a madhouse and this time was no exception. Well, in a way. It was an exceptional madhouse this time. It was crazy packed. And loud! I shoulda brought earplugs! You could barely move in there but Grace managed to find a friend and cover every cubic inch of that pool with her. Amelia however, stuck right to me. She started with a life jacket and we puddled around a bit. Then I gave her a
piggyback swim all the way to the end and back. When we got back she took off the life jacket and hopped right in. She went right under and bobbed back up before I grabbed her to steady her but she wasn't upset by it. She actually laughed a little. Before too long, they blew the whistle and it was time to go. The change rooms were even crazier than the pool. Of course, we split up to handle the girls and I took Meel into the men's with me. She didn't seem to mind and I don't think anyone else even noticed us. Or I didn't notice them noticing.  I was trying to get Meel and myself changed and get out. I wasn't looking around too much.
We met up in the lobby and the girls went in the party room to colour some pictures. They even had a visit from someone dressed up as a giant life jacket. I can't remember its name so I'll just call it Happy Strap.
After lunch (nothing says family like McDonald's!) we headed over to the arena. We were a little late for the start of the public skate but I think the hour they got in was just fine. I don't get to take them skating much either so I was anxious to see how well they would do. I knew they would need those skate helper thingys but they were all being used. So I took them by the hands and we inched ourselves along. We got from one end of the benches to other and someone came over and offered me one. She said I had two kids and I looked like I needed it more. I did. Grace took that one and started off on her own. I still had Amelia so I couldn't really follow. Grace came across a friend of ours and her son. She showed Grace how to use the helper more effectively and she was off to the races! Seriously! She was racing Jacob. Safely of course. I went around holding Amelia's hands for a bit when suddenly a helper was left unattended. I waited to see if someone was coming back for it. When it appeared nobody was, I swooped in like a scavenger and flew away with my prize. Once Amelia had that I was actually able to skate at a speed that actually required skates.
Not fast, mind you but tolerable. Grace and Amelia were both so proud of themselves. And they got better every time around the ice.  At one point Amelia turned the helper around and used it more as back up. Then she just let go and started skating!! Mostly shuffling but she had a few glides. She made it from the red line to the hash marks before she fell down. Amazing for a 3 year old who has skated MAYBE 3 times before. And I pretty much just carried her arond those times. I have the utmost confidence that if I was able to spend the one-on-one time with Grace, she would do the same. Both of them amaze me every day. They are awesome.
Now, I bet you are all wondering, "This is supposed to be Family Day. Where's Becky and the baby?" Well, since Ruby can't swim or skate, or much of anything at all except eat, poop and cry, (and smile!), she couldn't participate. So somebody had to watch her. Not because she is the most qualified or anything. What with the breast feeding and all. No, she had to watch her because well, the breast feeding and all. Hahahaha. We were all in the same place and that's what matters. They had fun watching us have fun.
I practically had to drag the girls off the ice. "But Daddy I love skating!"  I really need to check the schedule and see when public skating is and take them. I think it would be lots of fun.

We went to the banquet hall after the skating for some cotton candy. They were taking the air castles down as we got in there. Much to Amelia's chagrin. But Grace was able to joust against another girl. Up on pedestals on a giant air mattress with big inflatable jousting poles. Grace kicked her butt.
Before heading home we went over to visit Grammie. We had a nice visit. I managed to snag a few more LPs too. Mom gave me some old
pictures of me and my brother and her. She even gave me the wedding album from when she married my dad. It was kinda weird showing the girls. They couldn't really get it. Maybe they were just distracted by Dad's blue tux.
We had some awesome soft tacos/burritos/wraps for supper. I made a giant one out of all the leftover fillings. I posted out about it on Facebook and Twitter. It was that worth it.
I initially wondered about the usefulness of a stat holiday in February (as opposed to say, June) but we took full advantage! What a
great day!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My New Year's Resolutions

I have a handful of resolutions for 2011. None of which are unreasonable.
1. Practice. a) I need to get better at my Buddhist practices. I very rarely meditate outside of class. That needs to change. Meditation is like medicine. I can go to the doctor and get the medicine and read the label, but unless I actually take the medicine, it won't do anything. I can go to class and listen to the teachings and read the books. But unless I meditate on what I have learned, I will come to no realizations.
b) I need to actually play my guitars.  How can I ever consider myself a bass player if I never practice? What should I concentrate on? Black metal and/or Doom?
c) I need to start screaming again. Not at people. I'm talking musically. I am very out of practice. I should probably watch the Melissa Cross Zen of Screaming video and practice her methods so I don't kill my vocal chords.
2. Swear less. The actual goal here is to not swear at all but I have to start somewhere. I know plenty of people who swear lots more than I do but I still think I am a little too free with my language. There really is no need to use expletives in any situation. I still may use them when reviewing albums or when engaging in 1c but the goal is to take it out of everyday use. I know a guy who just uses different words instead. Frig, or fuddle etc. He may not be dropping F-bombs but the intent is there. The best way to keep that intent from arising in your mind is by engaging in 1a.
3. Drink less alcohol. This I am actually doing really well with. I have not been in to the LCBO or the Beer Store yet this year. I had beers that were offered to me while visiting people and I had one at a restaurant the other day. Also, I was given 3 by someone who doesn't have a taste for Belgian Abbey beers and somehow ended up with them in his fridge. I haven't gone out and bought any to have at home though. We'll see how well I am able to stick with this one once summer hits but for now, I'm doing great!
4. Blog more. I do need to blog more. Both on this blog and my metal blog. If I want more readers, I need more posts. I will be using this one to chronicle the development of our mini-farm at least. And I hope that I can get my metal blog to a point that it gets noticed by bands and labels and I can get some free stuff! Maybe even sell ad space!
5. Read more/Watch less TV.  Television is saturated with crime dramas, mediocrity and (far from) reality shows. Even if I can get Becky to watch more documentaries with me, that would be cool. Do you have any idea how many books I want to read but haven't been able to? Literally hundreds.
6. Win the Lottery. I have persevered for years at this game. Maybe I just need to give that little bit extra this year and I'll finally get that big payday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Playing WIth Fire by Theo Fleury

I just finished reading Theoren Fleury's autobiography, Playing With Fire. I thought it was incredible.  It chronicles his life from minor hockey all the way up to his attempt at an NHL comeback. It's a story of neglect, abuse, winning, losing, drugs, alcohol, love, pride and hockey. He pulls no punches when talking about former opponents, teammates, coaches, lovers or himself. He lays it all out on the table. No holding back the details. (No holding back on the language either) It amazes me that he could be such a good hockey player at such an elite level given the lifestyle he led. It's a story of reconciliation and triumph over one's own demons. This inspiring book has left me with a deep respect for Theo Fleury. Hockey fan or not, I highly recommend this book.