Saturday, March 29, 2014

Me Being Me and Danica Being Danica

Dani had taken the ring from Grandma's finger and posed for this ↑ picture.

It was then that I told her that it really was or at least had been my ring: my engagement ring.

So why was Sue wearing it?

Well, you see, I don't like wearing rings or even watches, so Sue sometimes wears this one. Every now and then, I remember to put on my wedding ring and wear my nice heritage watch (from Uncle Charlie) when I go out. I always want to remember to don my jewellery for special occasions, or even not so special, but seldom do remember.

Sue doesn't mind too much although I'm sure that she would prefer me to wear it. She knows, however, that I am just a bit weird and doesn't take it personally. She's a good woman and sort of understands although I am not sure that Danica does.

Speaking of Danica, here ↓ is another picture of her: this one of her fine dining habits. Cute though. Below the photo are two blog posts from Sue of conversations with Danica. I think you might get a kick out of them. She's quite the child.

Conversations with a 6 year old

An interesting phone call from a 6 year old

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mandatory Vaccinations

Yesterday, there was a discussion on Facebook about vaccinations vis-à-vis parental rights to withhold their children from this responsibility. Basically, I went against popular opinion (what else is new?) arguing that it shouldn't be left up to the parents' whims. I believe that society's welfare trumps parental rights in such matters. I was asked to elaborate, but did so via a private message. I thought it would be interesting material for a blog post. This is what I wrote.

I don't claim to be an expert, but from what I understand all of the good scientific information is pro vaccine. There seems to be no real question of that. The only reason people can consider opting out is due to herd immunity. Because there is so much widespread inoculation,  there is a certain herd immunity, and your kids may still be safe even if not vaccinated, but it's no guarantee.

It is science that has given us this safety net, and yet we question the science when it doesn't jive with our notions. If smallpox, for example, was still endemic, we would be crying out for science to intervene. It seems to me that those who choose to opt out are taking advantage of both past science and the current responsible parents of the rest of society.  This seems both ironic and somewhat selfish to me although I know that this is definitely not the intention.

I wish I had paid more attention to what disease I recently came across that is experiencing a bit of a resurgence due to people opting out. I am not going to research and fact check now, but I am not dreaming this.

As far as state vs parental rights, we allow intervention in many instances. If you don't want to give your kids a critical blood transfusion, the state will overrule. Don't you think that is right? If parents abuse or neglect their kids, the state can take them away. Don't you think that is right? The state can make sure that you are providing the proper education for your children, whether in home or in school. Don't you think that is right? I see mandatory vaccination in the same light.

... I don't think parents should have the right to put both their kids and society's children in harm's way. Kids only belong to us in the sense that we are responsible for their care and upbringing. They don't, however, belong to us as mere possessions to do with as we please when it runs counter to the best science available.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sue is 67 Years Young Today

The bride of my youth completes her 67th year today. We celebrated with the family on Saturday and also with wine, gifts, Chinese takeaway, and cake.

For much of the event, the 60 year younger Danica was very present on and around grandma, which Sue didn't seem to mind at all.

Where was JJ? During much of this time he was preoccupied with superheroes and daddy.

But he did make himself present for the traditional blowing out of handles accompanied by a finger full of icing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

An Encouraging Sign

More and more lately, the kids are staying out for awhile after the school bus drops them off — not for hours, but it's still an encouraging sign.

It's getting to be the time of year when we don't mind them taking snow off the pile and spreading it onto the driveway or road because as the sun becomes stronger the snow begins to melt away, even though the temperatures are still not exactly soaring.

As I said, the temperatures aren't soaring, so if Sue wants to keep a close eye on them, she huddles in the closed-in porch under a heavy coat.

It's got nothing to do with the rest of the post, but here's a stray picture of me and the boy on his sleepover two weekends ago. I am currently using it as my buddy icon on Facebook.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On the Third Day of Spring

Taken from upstairs ↑ ↑↑

Taken from downstairs ↓ ↓↓

Friday, March 21, 2014

Karaoke Time

For Christmas, Danica received a little Karaoke machine. She did impressively well with it, and we wanted to get some videos, which we finally did on March Break last week. I set up my tripod to avoid shake and let her go to it.

The first two videos are normal karaoke, which also catch JJ dancing. He kept getting between the camera and Danica, so we gave him his own spot on the floor for subsequent clips. Well that totally inhibited him; he stood rooted firmly to the floor and soon hightailed it. His shy streak kicks in sometimes.

These are all over 3 minutes duration, so I certainly don't expect anyone to watch them all of the way through, but some might want to take a peek or two.

The third clip is interesting because she was making up her own words. Her reading (she's still just 6), timing and creativity continue to impress. We kind of get used to her precociousness in some ways, but then we are reminded again that she is unusual for her age.

Believe it or not, Sue and I are both  experiencing earworms from video 3. We are going around the place humming or singing "Atmosphere in the Room."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In the Sugar Bush on March Break

It is often the case that we experience one really nice day during March Break: a day that seems more like spring than winter. Tuesday of last week did its best to comply as temperatures exceeded 5°C/40°F, with some sun and very little wind. While it didn't exactly keep up with the benign temperatures of some years, it was, nevertheless, a very welcome break, especially considering the major blizzard of the following day.

We picked that day to head to Fulton's Sugar Bush. It is the nearby sugar bush venue that offers the most kid friendly activities — at least during March Break week.

No sooner did we arrive than grandad was reaching into his wallet for face painting and then a sleigh ride. After this came the pancake lunch, and, of course, we had to hit the shop before returning home. But it was good to get out, and the kids liked it. Walking back to the car at the end of the outing, Danica gave my leg a hug and thanked me for the day. Priceless.

I don't think I need to describe the pictures, below, except maybe for the last one of Danica and Grandma on a scavenger hunt.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Serving Up Deserts

Not only did I recently learn that 'peruse' is an auto-antonym or Janus word, but I also learned about deserts, desserts, and deserts.

Waydaminit, AC. You just typed 'deserts' twice. Wasamatterwifyouman? Well, yes and no. The two usages are spelled the same way, but they are pronounced differently.

First, I typed 'desert' as in an habitually dry place like the Sahara or Death Valley for example.

Then, I typed 'desserts' as in ice cream and apple pie.

I won't go over the pronunciations because you all know that, but, in passing, I will offer up my wife's tip about remembering how to spell 'dessert.' You see, dessert is so good that you want two helpings. Therefore you type 's' (or 'ess') twice.

But I digress.

In the third instance, 'desert' is spelled like the arid region but pronounced like the after-dinner treat. Yes indeedy. You probably knew that because you're smart, but I didn't because I'm ... well ... uh ... you know ...

The only place that we employ the third usage, or at least how I employ it, is in the phrase, 'just deserts.'

Now, I have always thought that it was desserts with the two esses in the 'just desserts' phrase, but that is not the case. It is not that you are getting a rotten dessert for doing something naughty. Nope: you are getting what you 'deserve.' 'Desert' in this sense is an otherwise obsolete word, but we have kept the phrase, and that is what it really means.

You pronounce it like 'dessert' but you get what you 'deserve.'

Who knew?

Not me.

Apparently, an old codger can learn new things, even if not every day. The trick is to remember. I think I will now.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I Offer This Post for Your Perusal

Well, our week with the kiddies is done, and so I begin to return to the blogosphere.

Actually, I didn't leave — not entirely anyway — for I did peruse many posts (mostly from Feedly) although I did not stop to comment on any but a scare few.

Or did I really 'peruse'?

It depends on what you mean by the word.

What I have always understood peruse to mean and what I have always meant in my use of it is something like: scanning something in a rather loose way to get the general sense of a document — a light overview as it were.

I honestly never knew that an opposite meaning existed until stumbling upon a podcast, A Way With Words, last week. I discovered that peruse may also mean: to examine or consider with attention and in detail.

Did you catch that?

Peruse can be an antonym of itself. In other words, it's an auto-antonym or a Janus word. I prefer the second appellation because I am too dumb to remember the former.

Up until now, the only Janus word I could remember has been, the verb, cleave: "to join" (as in "cleave unto") and "to separate or divide." I only remember this particular Janus word because I am male and well ... um ... blush.

Anyway, back to peruse: the hosts of the podcast did say that at some point, one of the two definitions will probably become dominant, but they couldn't say which one. In fact, the hosts seemed to be more familiar with the "examine intensely" definition.

Here are a few others, and you can easily find more if this interests you. I am not necessarily familiar with both definitions in the following list, but you may be.
sanction means "to allow" and "to prohibit (or punish)"
inoculate means "to protect against" and "to infect with"
cull means "to select" and "to reject"fix means "a solution" and "a problem" (also fixed)
cool means "supportive of" and "opposed to" (he was "cool with" the idea; he was "cool to" the idea); sort of a slang usage
public means both "public (free)" (in American English) and "private (fee-based)" (in British English)
screen means "to display" (~ a movie) and "to hide" (~ his view)
trim means "to remove from" (~ the tree) and "to add to" (~ the Christmas tree)
enjoin means "to direct" and "to forbid"
dust means "to remove from" (~ the table) and "to add to" (~ the cake)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Little Man

And so we proceed to the Jonathan post that I mentioned having in the queue.

The boy was so freaking cute last week. Sue gave Danica her [Sue's] mother's old jewelry box of costume baubles. At the same time, because you have to have something for both of them y'know, Jonathan inherited my old briefcase.

I carted this, heavy laden, to school and back for more than ten years. I only had two briefcases in my thirty years and got this one after the first spouted holes in all of the corners. This one held up a little better. For the price paid, it sure should have.

Anyway, it has been sitting around, gathering dust, for this past decade, so we passed it on to the boy.

As you might be able to detect from the above photo — well all of the pics in this post, really — he was thrilled.

In there was a calculator, and for goodness sakes, when we turned it on, it still worked. It was not a solar calculator, so I was quite shocked that the battery was still viable after such a long, long time.

He played with the calculator and then carried the briefcase all over: upstairs, back downstairs and all around the place.

The cutest thing of all was at about the time that I snapped the next picture, that he asked, "Do I look like a man?" Isn't that adorable? Isn't he adorable?

Doesn't he look right chuffed?

And that's it for this week. As I said yesterday, it's a busy one for us, so I'll catch you next week. Have a good one.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Our Highland Dancer

Danica had her formal examinations for both ballet and highland dance last week. Each session, although short, involved some time off school. (And who knew that beginning dancers like this would be tested?)

On the highland morning, Sue got her almost all ready -- except for those pernickety shoes -- here at home. So, I took a few pictures in the limited space that I have to work with in this place.

Her hair had to be pulled into a bun, and she must pose with her fingers just so although the left hand wasn't quite set when I took this. Note that the dress code was very specific: kilt, white blouse, and hair pulled back. Finding a blouse and kilt at the last minute was quite problematic for Shauna, but the problem was eventually solved.

Here's one that Sue took at the venue having pleaded with another dancer's mother for help in lacing up the shoes.

This is March Break, which means the opposite of break for Sue and me. We will be babysitting over at their place all week and will come home in a heap. This is my way of saying that I will be very quiet on the blogging front this week, both in terms of posting and commenting.

I do have a post concerning Jonathan  in the queue, but that will be that.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Boiler Room

This ↓ is Paul, the owner of Temple's Sugar Bush.

He came to our table to thank me for the photo that I printed (see below) and offered to open up the boiler room for us after we finished our meal. He had finished a new ceiling over the winter and was happy to show off his impressive handiwork. I love his lumberjack look although it is quite a departure for an ex-military guy. (I processed this to try to bring out his hardy and rugged features.)

I had printed and given them a copy of this ↑ picture which I had taken at Winterlude in downtown Ottawa several weeks ago. He mentioned that they have had this booth and another going for several years now during this winter festival.

So, into the boiler room we went, and I took a number of shots. I had been in there before, but not with the new ceiling and not without many other customers milling about.

I don't think I need to say any more, so I will just present the photos. I really like some of the b&w versions, but also present the colour counterparts in most cases.

I prefer the colour version of this next pair.

A few from floor level. The final one didn't seem to translate well to b&w, so I didn't bother.

Okay, one more: I don't love this ↓ photo, but I do think it's interesting how the ceiling reflected in the pipe.

It was a nice opportunity to click the camera.