Summer fun

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:52 am
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)

July has been an adventure! We started with a wedding in Cambridge (my cousin Mike got married to his girlfriend Caitlyn — now they will go back to wandering the world teaching). It was a grownups-only wedding (a first for us since having kids). My aunt Anne did a ton of groundwork, recruiting a babysitter and giving us a place to stay, and it was fun for us all! Then we staryed in the GTA as Elizabeth started some Waldorf teacher training — we stayed the first week and I touristed with the kids while she did her daytime studying, and we had family time in the evenings. We were staying with a family in Richmond Hill; their grandfather was unexpectedly there and enjoyed the kids, and various people were coming and going. They have had a nomadic life over the years and it was fun to see how they live. They have tried to give a bland rental house as much character as possible with what looks like barn wood dividers and musical instruments and art everywhere. It was Richmond Hill, so I spend a lot of time driving (but mostly to TTC stations: the kids find the transit almost as much fun as the parks and museums, it seems).

Originally I was steeling myself for a trip from Toronto to Ottawa alone in the car with three kids, but my cousin Mary had a plane to catch in Ottawa (to get to an icebreaker, so she could scoop up Arctic water for Science) so I had adult company on the ride home. I’m getting to know the route and good places to stop! Amazing Coffee in Madoc and The Hungry 7 in Perth are quickly becoming traditions. She crashed with us overnight, which meant she got to meet Heather, and then caught the plane up North (and the weather was merciful, so it only took one try for the airline to get her up there). We came home to a questionable fridge, so the evening was full of coolers and thawing and delivery pizza.

Elizabeth's training was three weeks, so for the last two Heather stayed over. She had to work during the day, so I did home-making and running the kids around: Oscar had day camp with the UQO kinesiology students and I found parks and people and errands to fill the rest of the days. Evenings were good — the kids accepted that bedtimes without Mama could happen for days on end, Ada started sleeping the night, and with a bit of videoconferencing and some cranky moments, we made it through missing her during the week. Sharing the routine and spending time with Heather was really nice. Elizabeth came in for a semi-flying trip on the weekend in between, with a pagan potluck and traditional Sunday pancakes.

Now we’ve got a week and a bit of homebody time before Kaleidoscope Gathering. Elizabeth has found some time to keep working on the back stairs with Oscar's help, and we've been having pretty unstructured days. Oscar has had a cold and ear infection this week, but he seems in better shape today. Elizabeth and I got to go out for supper and a walk last night while Heather fed and did bedtime with tired kids. It was a nice time to catch up on being a couple.

I saved the pictures for the end — here are some of the nicest ones from June and July. We generally unplug in the woods, so you'll have to imagine all the fabulous dress, campfires and various degrees of extravagant camping rather than getting photos…

Ada is such a kid.

Two-year-old Ada with bubbles.

On the grounds at the Slit Barn in Cambridge, for my cousin's wedding.

Elizabeth, Eric and a rusty giant eagle sculpture.

Oscar being adventurous at Edwards Gardens in Toronto.

Oscar balancing on some rocks in a stream.

Viv enjoying being in nature at Edwards Garden.

Viv looking up in front of some trees. six more… )
metawidget: Our very fresh baby, backlit in blue with funky goggles, looking spiffy but a little like an alien invader (Vivien raygun)

Here are some pictures from the summer in kind of random order. It's been a fun and busy summer, with lots of weddings. And not that many pictures...



The bunch of us at Heather's family's cottage.

Me reading to the family on a chaise longue with a log wall in the background.

Ada looking heroic on a tricycle. With our nascent garden boxes in the background.

Ada on a tricycle on our front lawn.

Lord magus Vivien at the Museum of Civilization.

Vivien with a horned hat in a theatre set. seven more… )
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)

Posted on the Solstice, not about it (we were rushing the ritual to avoid getting rained on hard and to get the kids home to bed — and we don’t usually take pictures at rituals, anyway). Here are some pictures from late winter and spring. I managed to get back to work and do many fun things, so pictures just kind of accumulated.



These three adorn my office wall:

Oscar on an outdoor portable climbing wall

Viv in a bear hat

Ada on a swing in a snowy park fourteen more… )
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!
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Here are some pictures from March to recently… we made it through the chilly spring, had a baby, discovered Vivien’s career aspirations, and hit the Ormstown Fair.

Viv in a swing

Vivien at the park.

twenty-nine more… )
metawidget: close-up of freewheel of a bicycle (bicycle)
Some things starting with the letter B, as suggested by [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit:

Something I hate: Broken promises: personal, political, whatever — with a particular disdain for broken promises of amends. Hey, Kelowna Accord!

Something I love: Bicycling! I am looking forward to the season being in again (for me, I know there are hardcore year-round bicycle users).

Somewhere I've been: The Biodome, although it's been a while. I hope to bring the kids sometime soon, maybe this year.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Aside from the Biodome, maybe Boston, to soak up some of the great intellectual history and wander about the U.S. equivalent of Montréal (in terms of student concentration).

Someone I know: Beatrice at work. We're not super-close but she's been helpful and kind in career and getting-to-know-people spheres.

A film I like: The Birdcage was fun, probably of its time but when I watched it I liked it and found it had some substance.

A book I like: The Burning House, by Jay Ingram, one of my favourite science-explainer writers. Hemispheres! Awareness! Braiiiins!
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
My last picture post featured kids with pumpkins. I still haven't figured out how to do them easily from a mobile device, so here's a big raft of pictures curated and posted at the big computer. Woodgie away! We start covered in snow.

Oscar and Vivien in the snow

Christmas photo candidate.

26 more! See Viv almost double in age! )
metawidget: a basket of vegetables: summer and winter squash, zucchini, tomatoes. (food)
  • Vivien turned one, and then took her first steps on the pine forest floor the next day.
  • I swam in the pond every full day we were there.
  • I won the "Wooden Chef" contest by acclamation with my green pepper stuffed with camp leftovers and raspberry-beer sauce — I guess everyone else was busy or had insufficient stuff in their coolers by Sunday night. This means I get to judge next year!
metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar ducking into frame)

We've been running around madly lately — two of my cousins have July weddings; we went up to the Kitchener-Waterloo area for one last week, and we'll be heading back to Montréal for another next weekend. Oscar is a hit with just about everyone; we met his slightly-older second cousin Owen up at the wedding. My dad observed that they're in very different places in terms of sharing: the world is still Oscar's oyster (and anything he can get his hands on is sort of his), but Owen is both working on sharing and developing a sense of justice. The clash of worldviews took some parental finesse here and there to restore good cheer and make sure everyone had something they liked to play with.

Here are a couple of photos:

from the wedding and train )

Earlier in the month, we went up for a day and a night to [personal profile] dagibbs' family's cottage. Oscar liked running around the grounds, and he got to ride with [personal profile] commodorified on the paddle board and share a hammock with her (photo: [personal profile] fairestcat).

Back at home, we hired one of my friends from back in high school to install and wire up a bathroom fan and update our somewhat vintage outlets and switches. It's going to take a little while to get used to the fact that all the switches are right-side-up and take less effort to throw than before, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. He also moved the 220V outlet down a bit so that our stove isn't perched on bricks anymore. It's only been four years that we've been living with the quirks and bugs in this house; it feels good to get a bunch of them fixed. Next things on our house list: some scraping/patching/paint, a new electrical panel, and a fence upgrade. Not all of these things are likely to get done before #2 is born, but we might get a couple of them done!

Speaking of #2, next month is August! Due date! Crazy homebirth adventure (if all goes well and on time)! That went very fast.

metawidget: [garblegarblescript] Political! Science! for Amusement! [pictures of John A. Macdonald with swirly eyes] (science)

I made it, through the full-body scanner and a flight above the clouds, to Washington D.C. I mixed Metro (mostly) and walking (from L'Enfant Plaza across the National Mall to Chinatown, so get a sniff of the air, get a look at the monumental-ness, and grab some tasty Thai food) to get me to the University of Maryland, where I'm staying and taking a course on disclosure control. Today was the ins and outs of releasing aggregated data, which is the end of things I've worked more in. Mostly for myself: I should e-mail Dr. Cox about where methodological transparency grants the intruder extra leverage in estimating sensitive cells: his problematic findings on feasible intervals, and Dr. Karr's recent conference papers on the topic in general. I think I'm getting some good review and some connecting details that I was missing so far.

Tonight I'm probably going to drop south from Foggy Bottom into the western end of the National Mall and try to see the giant statue of Lincoln and the Vietnam Veterans' monument. Tomorrow: microdata, dynamic queries, and then the rush to the airport to get home.

metawidget: [garblegarblescript] Political! Science! for Amusement! [pictures of John A. Macdonald with swirly eyes] (science)

So, Monday after I left for work, Oscar managed to face-plant into the dresser upstairs, tooth-first. Elizabeth brought him in to our dentist office, who is just across the street from work, and a nice dentist and technician took a look at the damage and decided that the (90-degree-tilted) tooth would need pulling. I got to hold Oscar (due to slightly less flappability with respect to other people's blood than Elizabeth, i guess). After a little bit of futzing around with topical anaesthetic, the dentist went for the quick approach and plucked the tooth out with gloved fingers. Oscar was highly disconcerted for a few minutes, and I was a little woozy from watching, but by the time we'd walked a few blocks to get some air and acquire some lunch, Oscar was almost back to normal.

Here's Oscar with seven teeth, down from eight:

Oscar with a gap front tooth and fingers in his mouth

Elizabeth and I were planning on having a date night on Monday, but having had surprise dentist dealings, we decided to put it off by a few days. In the end, we left Oscar with [personal profile] random and [personal profile] fairestcat Friday night, and went into Little Italy for supper, beer and creamy desserts. Pub Italia is tasty, gloriously decorated and very busy on a Friday — we had a nice meal, some good eavesdropping and a little walk in the chilly autumn air. Some couple time was really nice. Yesterday, Elizabeth's cousin came by for supper and I fired up the Turkish grill (now safely on a pad of a few inches of gravel in a dug hole) and grilled veggie burgers in an attempt to extend summer into September. It was the first time I really got to meet her, as meeting anyone at your own wedding never counts. She seems nice and fun — she had a daughter at 18, and one thing she mentioned struck us both: her daughter will probably be out of the house by the time she's 36, and she mused about "starting again" with another kid. It's unlikely we consider having another kid when Oscar is likely launched and I'm 48.

This week, I'm off to the Washington, D.C. area for a couple of days to attend a short course on disclosure control. It'll be my first time in the U.S. since 2004. I got a fresh passport, I'm partly packed, and I'm looking forward to my more-or-less-annual work-related trip. My mission is more or less to get the big picture and soak up best practices at the course, and meet other people working in the field. I'll try and explore a little bit, too: [personal profile] fairestcat suggests wandering in the National Mall, and if some fellow guardians of respondent privacy in released data decide to see something cool in the evening, I'll probably see what they're excited about.

Even when I'm not on the road, work is pretty stimulating lately — building and disclosure vetting small-geography cancer incidence tables, welcoming new people, agitating to get the computer infrastructure set up to do record linkage better, trying to prepare to help teach a one-day course in November. Part time — the reduced time and the paperwork — is a bit stressful, but for now it gives Elizabeth a bunch of margin to work, take on new students, and have shorter days holed up with Oscar on a regular basis.

metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
[personal profile] random, [personal profile] metawidget, [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit and sleepy baby Oscar are pulled over on the roadside in Renfrew for a routine-ish traffic stop. [personal profile] random has one of those fun Ontario graduated licenses that requires a fully-licensed driver in the front passenger seat (which happens to describe [personal profile] metawidget).
Nice OPP officer
I'm going to need to see your license, as the driver's license is a G1.
[personal profile] metawidget
(pulls out license) Here.
Nice OPP officer
Hey, that's a female's license!
[personal profile] metawidget
No, that's me with long hair.
Nice OPP officer
(blushes)
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)

The week before last, I went to the annual meeting of the SSC and made a short presentation on a statistical disclosure control procedure. The rest of the time, I listened to what other people were up to, met statisticians from near and far, soaked up the conference atmosphere and explored Quebec a bit. I took a few photos on a couple of walks through the older parts of the city and along the riverbank:


selected photos, in order of taking )


Today, Elizabeth's adult students had a recital along with other students from the music school she teaches at. I've heard the piano accompaniment to some of the songs pretty regularly lately; it was fun to hear the students supply the vocals, and put another face or two to names. Afterwards we walked the length of South Keys, getting some pants for me and some food for both of us, and ran into one of my favourite developers and her boyfriend, who were shopping for nice ways to embarrass his daughter at her bachelorette. I like running into people in new contexts; I hope his daughter is ready to deal with realizing that her smiling, grey-haired parent and parent-partner aren't scandalized by verb/body-part dice...

metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I'm enjoying work lately, working on one of those projects that's fairly fast-paced and has lots of finnciky, almost craftsmanlike aspects to it. The people are really nice, too.

Today, Elizabeth and I went to the Great Glebe Garage Sale with a couple of our friends from up here and their 3-month old baby. Babies make almost everyone around you happy, and hanging out with recently-parentfied friends is a little hard to arrange but so nice.

I made off with a stack of books and CDs, as well as a shirt and a grater (one of those nice four-sided ones with different surfaces on each side), for around $20. The baked goods tables scattered around the neighbourhood were tasty, too. It was a little disconcerting to see so many people attempting to navigate the sale by car — but the other 90% seemed to be on foot!

Next weekend is Elizabeth's and my first anniversary. It's been an eventful and generally happy year. We'll probably go up to Wakefield to celebrate, and eat at someplace we enjoyed last year as newlyweds...
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
It seems I've been doing these since 2003!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Got married, bought a house, got a driver's license, went to Peterborough, went on tour
yep, these questions again! )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Went to the craft fair in Wakefield with Elizabeth today... it was really crowded and chaotic in there, but we did find some promising-looking jams and jelly, and looking around was kind of neat. I ran into one of our client-division people from work, selling her wares, too.

We then wandered into town, chatted up some friendly shopkeepers, and started on a bit of Christmas shopping. Wakefielders seem to be almost universally friendly.

Upon returning home, I made some celery root salad while Elizabeth washed the dishes.

Last night we made some recycled ornaments from aluminum cans. Embossing them with ball-point pens gives a really nice effect.
Aluminum can ornaments: shooting star by me and fish by Elizabeth

A week from tomorrow, I'll be in Peterborough doing a survey. Two weeks from yesterday, Elizabeth will be performing at The Spill in Peterborough, at 3 p.m., and two weeks from today, she'll be doing her thing at Tranzac in Toronto, at 7 p.m. If you're in the area, be there or be square!
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Some of what's happened in the past two months and happening this month:

We sealed the deal on the piano. It is in the living room.

I am developing my survey skills for six weeks and liking it.

I will be in Peterborough and T.O. in a couple weeks.

I've had nice meals with a few people for the first time (each), parties too.

I keep getting more and more units with each RRSP purchase.

I've started DMing a 3.5 gaming group in our front room.

Two Thanksgivings were really tasty and laid back; lots to be thankful for.

Some shows, some driving, some friends left for way out west, and a wedding.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
The final show in Elizabeth's tour was a house show in Bedford. The place was cozy and bright, and our hosts were very welcoming. Their kids were around for the show and wandered in and out, their elder son concluded the concert with a piano rendition of a Green Day song. Monique and George sent us (including Dusty Keeler, the other performer) home with a bottle of wine and smiles all 'round. I also found out that George uses some survey data that my unit at work deals with from time to time, and that he's looking forward to the results of some of my record linkage projects.

We had a relaxed evening at Dusty's place, crashed there, and then returned the car and caught our flight back the next morning. Returning on Monday, Elizabeth taught in the evening and I celebrated the 29th birthdays of two of my co-workers (the first 29th for one, the second 29th for the other).

Consequently, I had a short week at work this week: two days as I took a vacation day on Tuesday in case of exhaustion or delay — it was a good idea, I think. It looks like I'll be sharing my thesis with my division sometime soon, and I had a manageable pile of interesting work (and 84 unread e-mails) waiting for me upon my return. Next month, I'll help supervise some visiting interns from France.

Now, I'm in Ormstown at my parents' place, with cooking smells in the air and the woodstove popping and breathing nearby. Back to another short week on Tuesday, and then my first Scrabble tournament next Saturday.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
It snowed again in Halifax, driving in was pretty slushy but uneventful. Elizabeth and I wandered around downtown for a bit, picking up some plane food at Freak Lunchbox (to balance out the stuff we got at the health food store in Truro) and browsing through the books and goodies along Barrington street.

We ate at a pub where the table next to us had an ever-increasing gaggle of young Tories in blue everything. The beer there was mercifully very good, and the food was satisfying.

Ginger's was pretty quiet, probably due to the weather, but one of the artists, who goes by Le Skiv, had a dedicated local fanbase who braved the "snow and shit" (which became a running stage-banter theme). Elizabeth had a real piano (I guess apartment-sized) to play, so the set included piano-molesting songs. She played under a couple of spots with a little shaded table lamp for extra light and atmosphere (unfortunately my camera is borked, so no photos unless someone else took some). After a goofy set by Richard/Thomas, we then made our way to Ryan the promoter's place, where we were loaned a big mattress behind a closed door: couch surfing gold.

This afternoon: the last show of the tour — house show in Bedford, with bonus homemade soup!

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metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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