Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pool Time: Good Time

We got back into the pool yesterday. Good times.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Brainy Kid

One PA day or snow day, Danica decided that she should do schoolwork. She kept me very busy at the computer, thinking and typing worksheets.

So, at the next opportunity, we checked out the learning aids at Chapters and purchased Brain Quest Grade 1.

This posed no problem for brainy girl, and she's ripped through it with no problem. She's not quite into the busy work, like colouring, that many kids would enjoy, so we have skipped some exercises, but she's effectively completed the book -- fairly easily.

Fortunately, we have another book at our disposal. It's a Canadian book -- greater variety, more difficult and challenging -- so we'll see how it goes.

I don't force her to do this against her will, but if she's ready to give it 20 minutes., I'll sit with her and help her out as need be. She likes to race, so I sometimes need to clarify the task, which she can usually do fairly well. I notice the author's name is Kenny. I had a prof named Kenny a million years ago when I was in teachers college. I wouldn't be surprised it they're related.

After a two-week break, we are back with the kids this week. We will then have a three-week break. I imagine that Sue's almost daily pictorial updates will resume shortly.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

AC's Coffee Budget Skyrockets

About a month ago, Sue lined up at Tim Hortons to get a free Tassimo. It necessitated a $40 purchase of various coffee discs, but the freebie seemed like a good deal. So, she lined up and was one of the last ones in line for the free coffee maker.

Since then, our budget for coffee has increased substantially. We are now spending about the same per week as we used to per month.


Well, the coffee is so darn good. That's why! In the past, sometimes, my morning coffee would be quite good, but it was only fair and just a habit much of the time. Now, I really enjoy my morning coffee. Yum.

But I would gladly pay you on Tuesday if you could loan me some coffee money today.

(Do you know where that modified line originated, at least for me?)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: The Beggar's Opera

I've been escaping reality -- mostly that of torrid heat -- by reading mysteries during the past week or so. Generally, the Brits, do murder mysteries the best, or at least their environment seems better suited for that sort of plot. This is so true that some American mystery writers, such as Elizabeth George and Martha Grimes, set their plots on the other side of the pond. Of course, this is not to say that I never read American mysteries and that they are never good reads.

So .... I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked up Peggy Blair's, The Beggar's Opera. Mind you that's a bit of a lie since I had already read the sequel, The Poisoned Pawn, but the general idea still holds. In fact, I been sufficiently intrigued with Pawn to search out Opera.

Her detective protagonist is Inspector Ramirez of Havana. Yes, the book is set in Cuba. Therefore, one learns a fair amount of the politics culture and living conditions of the country while following the plot. Blair is also a Canadian living in my hometown of Ottawa, so there is a significant Canadian/Ottawa connection in both books. In point of fact, it is an Ottawa detective who is charged with murder in Cuba, and it is an Ottawa lawyer who flies to Cuba and helps Ramirez to solve the case. The second book also features a trip to Ottawa by Ramirez in the middle of a January freeze.

Not only is it fascinating to learn about Cuba, but Ramirez is enticing in his own right, for he is a man who is visited by the ghosts of the people whose cases that he is trying to solve. Are the ghosts real or is he experiencing disease-wrought hallucinations? And will we ever know the answer for sure.

Not only is the character a clever departure from the typical detective protagonist, but so are many twists and turns in the narrative. Some mysteries are pretty straight-ahead affairs, but this reader was frequently surprised by her unfolding of events.

Although this novel is complete in itself, Blair set it up so that the next episode, The Poisoned Pawn, occurs within a week of the first with a most definite tie-in with The Beggar's Opera.

Try it, if you are a fan this genre and would like to read a refreshingly different setting and approach. Like me, you will probably hope to see more of Inspector Ramirez in the future.

Note: If you wish to read a real review from a real critic at a real newspaper, just click this link. Also, here is a link to the book on the American version of Amazon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JJ's Turn

JJ took most of the two weeks to overcome his reluctance and get back to where he was at the end of last year's lessons. But he did it on the last day.

Here's the YouTube link.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Danica at Swimming Lessons

I've been meaning to put this together for awhile and finally got around to it. I do it so seldom that I have to relearn the method every time. Of course, that could be an age problem too. :) You can go full screen on this is you wish. It runs for 2 minutes. Here's the link if you have trouble with the embedded version below.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sunset Photos

It's not all that easy to find a good spot for taking sunset photos around here. For one, thing, the roads aren't oriented quite right, and for another thing, most views are either blocked by trees or inaccessible due to the paucity of pull-off spots. However, I did notice that I could pull off the highway onto the railway bed where the tracks had been removed. After wading through very tall grass whilst being attacked by mosquitoes, I was able to take a few photos that I like.

Meanwhile, we continue to be kid-less for another week. So far, we have barely moved from our domicile due to a very significant heat wave. When I had to do a bit of yardwork, I tried to get it done early -- before 9 -- but still came in a sweaty mess. Perhaps, we'll be able to get out more next week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

River Time

We sort of kid (no pun intended) that these past two weeks are Amma and Buppa's summer camp. We take them to swimming lessons in the morning and try to do something treatful with them afterward. On many days, this involves a swim the the neighbour's pool. However, on the last day of our camp before a little break, we finally had nice enough weather to plan a picnic to The Mill.

A picnic lunch was soon followed by playtime with another group of kids that Danica quickly befriended. However, these photos begin with time afterward in the river.

We took nets and pails so they could catch bugs and crayfish as they did last, but that didn't really happen this year. The water was higher, so the kids stayed close to shore. Even then, JJ managed to fall in and get himself quite wet.

Here are two photos of our surroundings as the kids explored. The first is the remnants of an old fence: the second a look down the Indian River.

A tree had fallen into the river, so we just had to get some pictures of that.

I did my usual thing, feeling somewhat sorry for myself that I can no longer cavort in the water with my bad foot. Sigh.

And while Amma also didn't get wet, she was very helpful to the kidlets.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Pool Time

It's been quite awhile between posts. That has a lot to do with our current busyness with the kids. We have both of them for these first two weeks in July. After this we'll have two weeks of recuperation before our next week-long stint.

We are following the same pattern as we did in early July last year. We take them to swimming class every day. Danica has approached lessons the way she approaches everything -- with enthusiasm and great gusto. As well as deeply loving this kid, I admire her. On top of everything else, she's a happy kid, almost never moody or down.

Here she jumps off the diving board.

Next, she goes the length of the pool using a floatie board, but she's also doing well with her straight swimming. I will likely post some video clips when I have a bit more time next week.

For several afternoons we have also been visiting the neighbour's pool. These are some shots from today. JJ made great strides today after being rather fearful in class. It takes the boy awhile to feel secure in new situations.

Here they are both jumping in. I jumped in with them a few times as well. Thank goodness the camera batteries failed by then.

After morning lessons, we generally try to do something treatful. We've been for ice cream and gone to McDonalds as well as Tim Hortons. Today, we bought Dani a new, desperately needed, swimsuit at Walmart. The following photos were taken at A&W at the end of the first week.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Yet Another Last Day

It seems that there has been a  spate of last days lately, yet we have one more to post.

Last week, I thought I was done picking JJ up from daycare, so I handed in my key and said goodbye to his teacher.

Not so fast, Bucko.

Shauna needed someone to pick him up on his very last day at daycare, so Sue and I obliged. I actually wouldn't have thought of taking pictures that day, but Sue thinks of everything, so these pictures are all on her. However, since I am usually the guy picking JJ up, I'll post them.


Ready to go

On his way
A last look
The final exit
Celebratory times afterward

Monday, July 01, 2013

Canada Day 2013

Canada Day Was a pretty low key affair this year ... and most years come to think of it. We spent the part of the afternoon and evening with the kids and grandkids but didn't make it for the fireworks after being up late the night before.

A few pics, which I think speak for themselves.