metawidget: (hand points up) "this!" (this)
Ada is now over two months old! She has been camping, is starting to stick her hands in her mouth, babbles a bit and still sleeps pretty well.

lots of entry )

I feel pretty content lately and settled into the new normal of three little ones and parental leave. I hope the next few months continue this!

Mobile kids

Aug. 9th, 2014 08:52 pm
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (oscar and vivien)
We tried out the trail-a-bike with Oscar a couple of weeks ago, and so long as we're not going uphill, he can pedal for the both of us so long as I steer and provide a bit of balance. Now he is really keen to tag along on trips with me — he's done the ride across Gatineau Park for groceries a couple of times now and has pedaled intermittently and been pretty good about staying on and being safe. I took Viv on some errands yesterday on foot (with the carrier) and she made it almost all the way across the viaduct into the park before I scooped her up and the rested in the carrier the rest of the way to the Plateau. We took the bus back and she sat really well like a big kid while we made faces at each other and took the milk run to get us within walking distance of home. Woo, mobile kids!
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (oscar and vivien)
We sent out a picture of the kids with our Christmas cards this year. We do things DIY around here, despite the recommendation of one of my friends who wrangles a family of five into a photo with the help of a trusted Superstore photographer every year with good results. It probably took us a little longer (and two sessions, one of which is lost to the vagaries of a borked camera card), but we got one that definitely captures where the kids were at in late November. Here it is:

Oscar smiling, Vivien looking perturbed

The first thing not visible there is Elizabeth under the blanket holding them relatively still.

The other things not visible are the blooper shots, of which here are two:
cut in case you prefer to leave your illusions intact )
Here are a couple more cute shots of Vivien from around Christmas:
you know you want to reveal these )
I have another picture post from a few drawing workshops in the works, but it does take a while to crank them out these days.

Kids update

Nov. 3rd, 2012 03:30 pm
metawidget: Oscar around one month, with Pixel. (oscar and pixel)
Oscar is now big enough, that if he has a drink of water, he's no longer rated for rear-facing car seat travel due to being too heavy. Consequently, I pulled the straps and bits out of their rear-facing position, puzzled through the manual, and put them into front-facing position this week. Oscar seems to like seeing what's coming and keeping an eye on the parents while travelling (since Vivien was born, Elizabeth usually sits up front with me, 'cause it's crowded back there otherwise).

Vivien's first concerted hand-eye coordination seems to be blocking my attempts to trim her nails. I did trim her fingernails in two sittings yesterday, but it was slow going.
metawidget: close-up of freewheel of a bicycle (bicycle)

Life without owning a car is something that gets enough questions asked of me that I thought I'd post a few things about it. Also, I like reading this sort of thing from other people (hi, [livejournal.com profile] asimplelife!), so I thought I'd give back.

So, for starters, here's the situation: I live with my wife and toddler son in an older residential neighbourhood in Hull. We're within walking distance of most of the basic necessities of life, none of us have any mobility-reducing disabilities. I've got the lone driver's license in the household.

the details )

When Oscar was on the way, we heard predictions that we'd be buying a car (or maybe even a minivan!) soon 'cause young kids require cars — we (well, mostly I) did consider getting one (by buying or hand-me-down), but so far we're managing pretty well with a toddler and all the options we have. I know of one co-worker who's thriving with school-aged children and no car, too, so apparently parents in the right situation can manage with multiple kids and not owning a car.

I guess that's a fairly broad picture of how we manage transportation in our little family. I've been wanting to write that out for a while, I hope it's useful or interesting to some people out there...

metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I called Chantal around lunch, and she was just trying to find parking so she could give Mum a lift home. Seeing she was trying to find parking when I called, that's all I know for now, but I'm guessing it's part of good health news.
metawidget: Oscar around one month, with Pixel. (oscar and pixel)

I've been really enjoying the arrival of spring. Yesterday, I seeded the garden and ripped out a lot of dead branches from the back yard hedge. I'm a little achy from hauling dead stuff out of the back, but it was definitely worth it. We also took a family 11km-or-so walk involving picking up coffee beans and conversation from Bytown Beanery and supper at So Good — the food was great at So Good as usual, but the parenting advice was a little unrelenting. I think we're more or less at the stage when babysitting seems like an option, between Oscar's more varied diet and his improved capacity to have fun. Baby's first babysitter is in the cards!

In the past month or two, there have been a lot of Baby's firsts:

  • Baby's first flight of stairs climbed (the back steps)
  • Baby's first few mouthfuls of dirt (in the back yard)
  • Baby's first visit to a sugarbush (complete with a bit of tasty pancake)
  • Baby's first concert (this week at Umi)
  • Baby's first junior assistant scrutineer shift (actually coming tomorrow)
  • Baby's first street demonstration
  • There was also baby's first poetry reading in the winter — anyone have a black turtleneck and beret that would fit a 20 pound baby? Gifts of baby Gitanes are not encouraged.

There's almost always something Oscar can try at every meal, now, which is exciting. He likes his bready things, and seems unfazed by a little bit of spice or sour. Steamed rice (at So Good) wasn't such a good idea — most of it wound up all down Mama's left side. We gave him baby corn and broad noodles from the leftovers, though, and he liked those.

A month from now, I'll be back at work on a slightly reduced schedule (yay, family-friendly workplace!). I have mixed feelings about it, but I do miss work and the people there, and also the different time-scale that work-focus operates in. I hope we all adapt to the changed routine — we'll both be working for a total of a little over one full-time job's worth of time, so we'll need to be more efficient (or more likely, adjust some expectations) and Oscar will have to get used to more one-parent-at-a-time time.

metawidget: A plastic wind-up teeth thing with a googly eye. (chatter)

The holidays went by pretty fast — it felt like we were doing something social nightly for about two weeks. It's a good thing Oscar generally seems to like parties!

Christmas eve, we went over to Elizabeth's parents' place for the traditional nut loaf, cookies, rum balls and gifts. Christmas day, we drove to Ormstown and joined 17 or so family at my parent's place, feasting extensively and helping the new people get names straight. I had been a little sniffly on Christmas eve, but by Christmas day, I was full-blown sick, so a bit subdued. Boxing Day was sort of quiet, but three generations of my parents' next-door neighbours walked over to admire Oscar and say hi. The 27th was the annual Christmas bash with white elephant gift exchange (aka "steal the present") — last year there was one kid there, this year there were three and we were all starting to feel a bit grown-up. We got together at my friend A's parents' place, about 20km past civilization — Enterprise was out of compact cars and gave us something with four-wheel drive, which got some use as we were whacking through snow drifts to get there. On the 28th, we celebrated [personal profile] dagibbs' birthday with food and drink and cheer at his place, and on the 29th we celebrated [personal profile] frenchzie's housewarming and birthday. On the 30th was our mostly-weekly D&D game at our place, and on the 31st we stayed in and rung in the new year with the upstairs people from House of Flail, Ticket to Ride: Europe and Dominion, and some mead from 1999.

The most memorable presents this year were Ticket to Ride: Europe from Elizabeth (a rather addictive little game), a huge jug of Beau's Nightmärzen from my cousin Erica, and a medieval-looking Garden Weasel from my parents.


I've had two tasty gift beers lately. Most recently was Nightmärzen, from my cousin Erica, which is a bright amber beer, Beau's hoppiest beer and fall offering. It reminds me a little of a darker Grolsch — same fresh, sort of pungent hoppiness, with a bit more sweet, and kind of light and easy-drinking. It's got a nice fizz to it and a modest head. I think it would be most excellent on tap when I'm expecting to stay for more than one pint somewhere. A little before that was Fuller's 2010 Vintage Ale, from [livejournal.com profile] the_arachne — it's supposed to be a prime candidate for ageing, and I may get another bottle to stash away. Consumed at a few months old, it was like a light-ish, sweet barleywine (despite a lower alcohol content than most barleywines), with notes of somewhat rough port. It had big malty flavour as well, but definitely tasted kind of young and almost unfinished.
In resolutions and plans for the year, I'd like to build a trellis and get some peas and beans up this year, and maybe even manage to get pumpkins into our squash mix. I also would like to not buy stuff made with water that I could've reconstituted myself — juice from concentrate, any sort of tea in a bottle, and bottled water. This is inspired by seeing chai syrup for sale in our local fancy grocery store. I would also like to bike up into the Pontiac sometime this year, and get out on the bike sometime in every calendar month. To this end, I should really clean and lubricate my chain before I need a new one.

Places I've slept in 2010:

  • Eganville, ON.
  • Gatineau (Hull), QC. A lot.
  • Gatineau (Gatineau), QC.
  • Montreal, QC.
  • Mont-Tremblant, QC.
  • Ormstown, QC.
  • Ottawa, ON.
  • Quebec, QC.


In a little bit of rantiness, I've been fuming slightly over Google's ranking of restaurant pages. When I search for a restaurant, I probably want the official page (with menu, hours and phone) somewhere in the first hits, and failing that (or to help me decide), a review written by a real human with as much of that information as possible. The last thing I want is a listing scraped from the yellow pages, with Bing's best guess at where it is located, in which I can be the first to write a review or add information.

metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
We had a long weekend!

Thursday to Saturday we had some guests in from Waterloo — a colleague of mine from Concordia and his wife. Catching up was fun, and eating well was fun, too: they took us out to Haveli in the market, which was excellent, and we cooked up a couple of breakfasts and an egg-free vegetarian supper (it turns out that Indian vegetarians tend to shy away from eggs but not dairy products — although the danish blue cheese had them shying away for un-philosophical reasons).

We got supplies for a few improvements around the property on Saturday and used them on Monday: our back stairs are now much less disconcertingly springy, and we have an outdoor compost bin set up with a bunch of yard waste already in there.

Sunday, Elizabeth and I went to see the 1930s exhibit and a bit of the permanent collection at the National Gallery. It's only around one more weekend if you haven't seen it; it was worth a look — disconcerting at times, but it seemed intent on showing the variety of competing viewpoints and currents, and on connecting the art to the history. It was a bit more crowded than I would've liked in there, though. There were some really engaging portraits in the show, both photographic and painted. In the permanent collection, I was thoroughly happy to see Rapide et Dangereux by BGL, after seeing a piece under the stairs to the modern collection by them that was sort of like a sculpture of a storeroom.

The low point of the weekend was wonking my shoulder on Sunday before heading out to the museum — I thought I was done with that!

Now, it's back to work for a short week, and possibly a real piano in the near future...
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
... )
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Get onto the bus!"

stuff

Nov. 26th, 2007 08:30 pm
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I had a reasonable accommodation post all written up, but I hadn't updated XJournal for Jaguar. If you're a user, go download 1.06b2 before you write anything you want to keep. Aside from that, my Leopardfication has been pretty smooth, and I think that Spaces and some of the little interface enhancements and increased tweakability will be good things. The one bothersome thing is that the new window chrome is so bland that foreground windows look like a background windows (and the background windows look ghostly). It also feels a bit more responsive and zippy, which is always nice. When I have a bit more cash, I'll probably still bump the RAM up, though.

Three years ago last Sunday, Elizabeth and I took a walk to the park on Greene below the highway, and talked and kissed and started making a go of stuff. Pretty soon, we'll have two anniversaries to keep track of. On Sunday we had a nice supper at the Black Tomato and... talked and kissed and stuff.

I also did the traditional failing of the first road test last Wednesday (on the first snowy day of the season!). The roads are safe from me for another month or so.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
So, this morning my rear derailleur died semi-dramatically on me (it is now hanging only by its cable), changing "I should get my bike looked at by a pro sometime this summer when I have time" to "I should get it fixed ASAP." On the first day of a transit strike, of all things.

Then, between appointments, I open up my laptop, and it freezes on me. Badly. And has been spotty in starting up and freeze-y since, thus preventing me from doing much of anything with it.

I'm going to be running around trying to resuscitate my technological extensions for a while. Goodbye productivity for the same while, probably.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Two people just rang the doorbell to ask for directions to Fripe-Prix. It's a block away.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Pay what you can: music and cupcakes!  All proceeds to Head and Hands.  August 17th, 7 PM.  Featuring the You and Me band, Elizabeth Bruce, Shane Watt and The Spare Limb of Nathalie Portland. 4211 Wellington, Verdun (metro de l'Église)

This is also an opportunity for you to see where we live! Be there, and help raise money for Head and Hands!
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I have arrived, luggage and all, in London. The flight was turbulent at times but on time and pretty uneventful. I've found where I'm staying but have to wait for check-in time, and I've found "London's cheapest Internet cafe," which won't let me do anything laptoppy... but it'll do for now. I remember there being one that was just as cheap and laptop-friendly, out near the V&A. I just need to refresh my memory and hope they're still in business...

Last time I was here, it was sunny and unlike the London one always hears about. Now, it is cool and rainy. To complete the Authentic London thing, I will now seek out some fish and chips while waiting to be able to unpack and take a shower.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
The first half of last week involved getting ready for a big night of sponsors, partners and company visiting the lab, then actually doing the night. We got a bunch of interesting and interested visitors: the evening was pretty laid-back, we had more than enough people to greet visitors, and got what I think was a pretty good response. Walking home from that was pretty wet, though: the rain promised most of the week came down in a gigantic dump Wednesday night.

Thursday to Sunday, I travelled to Subtle Technologies with [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit. The festival itself was intense: we saw maybe two thirds of the thirty presentations, including some really hardcore chemistry ones, some beautiful art and music ones, and some that were just... weird. Like utility fog, for which I'm now on the beta testers list. We also traded off some of our worldly goods to Nancy Nisbet. [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit acquired a negative ion candle and a ceramic vase-y thing, I got a nice bandana. There's now a Handmaden CD and an alarm clock and bus schedule combo in Nisbett's big truck going around the continent.

We also went out to Mississauga to have supper and kick around with my grandfather, aunt, uncle and one cousin, and wandered Kensington Market and Queen Street in the space around the conference. My grandfather's health is not so great, this may be one of the last times I see him. I'm glad he got to meet [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit , and that she'll have more than just stories and photographs to know about him from.

We ate amazingly well... our good food sense led us well all weekend: vegetarian sushi on College (with ice cream and hot sake for dessert), amazing smoothies, burgers, fries and peanut sauce, free cookies (with coffee purchase)...

The trip felt a little packed, boxed in by both our work schedules. It's the longest we've taken together yet, though. We missed catching up with a few people (and didn't even attempt that many — too many friendly people in TO, not enough time).

Two days ago, [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit's rat Apostrophe died. I felt more involved with Apostrophe than with Kiki, having been the rat-keeper for a week in February and having helped take care of her here and there since. She was energetic and social almost to the end (and had long lost her bite-y streak) and lucky to have such a caring owner.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
This may be my last entry from my current computer — my supervisor's acquired a new laptop and has decided to pass his on to me, and mine is tripping on down to [livejournal.com profile] loupdebois sometime in the near future... the "new" machine is actually the same vintage as my current one, but whereas I got the basic model, my supervisor's is the tricked-out one with a somewhat faster chip and much more space.

Went out to the country with [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit Saturday night, arrived very tired to supper with my folks, my sister and her boyfriend (who we hadn't met before). I think we both pretty much approve... almost as soon as my mom was alone with us she had a mini-debriefing session to get our opinions. It's not much of a stretch to presume that way back in March there was a similar debriefing right after Elizabeth and I were on the bus. It was a nice wander out, and a good change of pace. Lots of talking, plenty of rest, some dreamlike moments and even some required reading.

I think that cold that I've been dodging since the beginning of the semester just thwacked me. Buy your tissue futures now. This week'll be a little lighter, but still with a couple of freelance appointments -- and that's only what's arranged ahead. Still, if I'm smart I'll be careful to sleep and eat well.

due to loupdebois [and thanks to dzuunmod for chopping #8], stuff will happen if you comment )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Anyone know how to get mail to change SMTP servers automatically when I choose a new network location? I'm running OS X 10.4 and it'd be really cool to be able to switch locations without digging around in Mail preferences...
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I have my bike back, fixed up, trued and such.

Everything is better with a bike.

I've got to learn to do some more stuff myself, as the two weeks without wheels was painful.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Travelled to Oakville on the weekend for my cousin's wedding. The two of them seemed beamingly happy, it was nice to catch up with fourteen of sixteen of my cousins, and the party was really classy and fun. The bride's family was a little religious, but then so is my cousin (by my family's standards, anyway...) there was some talk in the speeches of us seculars running down the couple's Christian marriage at every turn and how God will give them strength, etc. ... some people just don't get that we value and love our family without any sacred text telling us to: Jesus was worried about family distracting folks from his Dad, after all. The other damper was the fact that this was the eldest son of my aunt Kathy, who died last year. They quietly lit a candle for her without any explanation right at the start of the ceremony, and she was remembered in many of the speeches. I think she'd be happy and supportive if she was there.

Got into the new office... it's much like the old one in bareness, big windows, concrete columns and visible ducts. We're at the end of a hall, in with the other graphics and GIS.art types. Only a little gear got delivered to unplanned destinations, and it's all accounted for. Plenty of cabling and bureaucracy to deal with before we're completely settled in, but it's coming.

Last night, went to the Divers-Cité kick-off parade. It was lower-fi than I'd anticipated, and a little late (would've been fine by Central time, but...), but fun and encouraging. I suspect getting it off Monday night will be the biggest problem facing the Montreal queer activist community, now that the feds are playing nice, Harper's his own worst enemy and things are generally civilized here.

Photos from the wedding and Divers-Cité to follow.

Figured out a few bits of registration stuff... there are still a pile of TBAs and some questions about repeated material there, but it's falling into place. At the very least, I have a sense that there are enough relevant courses on offer to keep me busy. I'm really gunning to do some category theory and logic, which aren't available, but that's what reading courses are for.

In other news, I stretched the wrong way and threw out my shoulder again this morning. I was face-down, basically pinned with my arm outstretched. Really uncomfortable, if a little funny to be pinned by no weight at all. Had to slowly bring it around to my side and pop it back in. I hate that aspect of my body.

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metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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