Mental Hiatus.

Ok what the hell my mind has decided to take a hiatus on me. I have the attention span of a gnat.  My mind keeps skipping around from one thing to another. 
It may be a response to the absolutely gorgeous day outside and my desire to be anywhere but at my computer even for the time it takes to write a short blog.  It is warm and sunny with a nice breeze carrying the scents of spring.
It’s a perfect day to go and fly a kite and today may be the only chance this weekend.  It’s predicted to be a cold and wet one, we may even be facing a bit of snow on Sunday.  It’s May 1st on Sunday, snow and May do not belong in the same sentence.
I may very well have a minor breakdown if we do see snow on Sunday I’ve had quite enough of it this year thank you very much.  I must admit I did not however expect this beautiful weather to make it through to the weekend after all the first soccer game of the season is this Saturday.
Soccer season always seems to kick off with a wet and cold day it seems to be a bit of a tradition.  It doesn’t matter how early or late spring came or how nice it’s been leading up to that first game we have to be prepared to freeze our asses off and get a little wet.
It’s always quite an interesting look when the girls are forced to wear sweaters and tights under their jerseys and shorts.   I have to admit the very slippery wet and muddy grass we always seem to have for game one really helps them break in their new uniforms fast. 
I may well be getting the cart ahead of the horse here seeing as our local meteorologists seem to have a hard time telling current temperatures never mind future weather but we will see. Either way I think I'm going to get out the golf umbrella. 

Bryam Healthcare Response.

As promised in a previous post, I am posting the response I received from Bryam Healthcare regarding a recent order to replenish a supply of catheter kits for our daughter Anna. You will probably agree that a good word to describe their response is L A M E! They responded via email, of course - they took the easy way out:

Good Morning, I received your e-mail in reference to issue with order on catheters and backorder.

I researched Anna’s Account and I apologize that you were not notified of the backorder. Byram’s Policy is to inform the customer either at the time the order is placed or if does not show at the time the order is processed then receiving a call or
e-mail from the representitative to inform of backorder.

I have notated your daughters account for you and your wife to be notified at once if a backorder occurs in the future so this does not happen again.

We appreciate your business and value you as a customer and hope this incident does not reflect your option of using another provider.

Any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at

1-800-234-1779 Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5pm standard time.

Thank you,

Spitting Image.

As the father of all girls, I obviously will not be consulted by our children on as many things as Sarah will. Sure, the girls may get an interest in a sport which I may be able to coach them on – the proper way to throw a softball or how to do a lay-up in basketball, for example. I will not be the “go to guy” for most tasks, however.

Sure, I can put the girls’ hair in ponytails. When Anna says “Daddy, I want a barrette in my hair”, I can handle that. The ponytail may come undone or the barrette may need to be adjusted, but I can get those jobs done. If the girls’ hair needs to be washed, sure I can do that. I am however, fully aware that as Allie, Anna and Emily move into adolescence, they will be going to mommy about all things girlie.

Keeping this in mind, I try to be a dad whenever the opportunity presents itself, even if it is just teaching my girls how to spit! That is correct; my role as mentor the last week or so has been teaching my girls the correct way to spit! Well, technically it is rinsing, but telling them that I am teaching them how to spit after brushing their teeth just sounds like so much more fun!

The decision to start conducting spitting clinics was made after the girls’ recent visit with the dentist. Because swallowing fluoride toothpaste could cause them to have an upset stomach, they need to get used to rinsing and spitting before we move them to fluoride toothpaste (they have been brushing with Orajel non-fluoride training toothpaste). So…last Saturday as the girls and I were getting prepared to do some errands, they asked what we needed at the store. I said “we need little cups so you guys can start learning how to spit after you brush”. That was all they needed to hear! At the grocery store, I pulled some Dixie brand bathroom cups off the shelf and Emily said “are these so we can spit, Daddy?” Yes, Emily.

That night, and every night since, they get all excited about standing in front of the bathroom mirror (on a stool, of course) to practice “spitting” with me. This is a job for Daddy, not Mommy. As Sarah told the girls last night “…no, I don’t know how to spit, daddy has to show you…” They get so proud of themselves too. After they spit, they go directly to Sarah and say “Mommy, I did it, I spit!”

The little pleasures of being a father take me a long way. Who would have thought spitting could be such a joyous thing!

Hand Studies + Animation Test - Jump Test

Here are some hand designs

Still working on the 'Dino Phone Attack!' project for school, click here
to watch the jump test

Picture Day 4

Oak Hammock Marsh

Dedicated to my friend Julie, up in Seattle, WA

My Girly girl.

A for the past week now has everyday worn a skirt. She has to have a perfectly matching top and cannot walk out the door without first accessorizing. She is dramatic, she loves to be a princess and she must always be pretty. She is the perfect epitome of a girly girl.
I don’t get it, I am most definetly not a girly girl, so her love of all things pretty and pink is hard for me to understand.  Why being unable to find just the right hair band to perfect an outfit is so very vital to her that our morning routine is interrupted by tears and drama to the point that she nearly misses the bus I will never know.
I was always up in a tree at her age or grubbing around in the dirt and that’s the way I liked it. I don’t know if my mother would have liked to have had a girly girl or if it’s just what she expected but I had white furniture, flowery bedding and ballerina wallpaper.
It was a girly girls room and I hated that wallpaper and the bedding.  It isn’t that I was or am without femininity it was simply to froo froo for me.
I never expected that years later I would have a girly girl of my own.  She would have loved that room, her room by her own choices is just as froo froo as mine once was.  She has a canopy bed, pink bedding, and purple walls covered in butterflies and princesses.  Her room quite literally sparkles.
I don’t in anyway want to discourage her from being who she is but I would like to be able to connect with her a little more I’m just unsure how.  It’s frustrating when something comes up that seems so important to her and I can’t understand why.
There are plenty of things that we both mutually love but it takes a bit more effort for me to see the world through her eyes.  I suppose the best I can do is to simply let her be her own person and try not to discourage her from being who she is.
I kinda like having a girly girl anyways, although I could do without the drama.    

Dear Byram Healthcare.

Both Sarah and I are pissed off right now - See Sarah's post about the issue we are having with Byram, the company which supplies us with catherization kits for Anna. I thought I would share the email I sent to them. I'll be sure to post a follow-up. Although, based on our experience, I wouldn't doubt it if I do not receive a response. Here is the edited version of my email to Byram:

Good afternoon,

My name is Richard _______. My wife Sarah and I are the parents of Anna ______. Anna has spina bifida, and along with other needs, she needs to be catherized 5 - 6 times per day to prevent infection.

This email is to communicate our frustration and anger with the customer service (or lack thereof) we received with our most recent order of catherization kits.

As I have done for well over two years now, I went to Byram's online "Reorder Supplies" page and placed the same quantity order of Apogee Cath Kits that I have been ordering all along. I placed the order on Thursday April 14 or Friday April 15. From experience with prior orders, I expected the order to arrive in two to three buiness days. Monday April 18 came - no cath kits were delivered. Tuesday - nothing. Wednesday nothing. We had a family emergency Tuesday morning so my attention was diverted to my family. I called your customer service line on Thursday April 21 (around 8:00 pm?) to get a status of the order. This is the point at which Byram failed.

The representative informed me that the cath kits were on backorder and would not be delivered until at least Wednesday, April 27! Really!? And why hadn't we received a phone call or email telling us that? Byram distributes medical supplies to individuals like my daughter, who need them. After explaining that this was unacceptable and we only had enough kits to get us through the weekend, the representative basically told me "my supervisor is gone for the day - we will see if we can find some to send out to you tomorrow - sorry".

I called Byram the next day (Friday, April 22) and was told a "sample suppply" of 30 kits was mailed. On Monday, after contacting Anna's doctor to see if he had any kits, I called Byram again. This time I spoke with "E", who was very helpful. However, he pointed out to me two issues:

(1) the samples were not expected to arrive until Wednesday, April 27, which was too late and
(2) the backorder of Apogee kits would not be ready until May 27!!!

"E" was helpful in that he found a replacement kit made by another company - these kits were available and he agreed to replace the backordered Apogee kits with kits from Coloplast.

I write this email on Tuesday April 26 having not yet received any catherization kits from Byram and having only enough kits to catherize my daughter Anna today. If I had not been able to get a few kits from Anna's doctor, we would not be able to catherize Anna today.

What irks me the most about our situation is that it should not have happened.

I think we at least deserve answers to the following questions:

1.Why were we not informed of the backorder immediately?
2.Why didn't Byram offer the alternative kits when the Apogee kits were on backorder?
3.And finally, knowing we were out of kits, why wasn't the supply of 30 kits sent to us overnight or next day delivery?

We can be reached via this email address or home phone. Your attention to this email will factor into our decision(s) with regards to obtaining catherization kits in the future.

Rich _____

Creepy Crawly Bugs!

Now I’m not particularly scared of or grossed out by most bugs. I do admit to a certain little shudder every time I’m faced with relocating a spider but it is ticks that really make my skin crawl.
We came home from the dog park last night to discover we had brought two additional creatures home, both of the blood sucking variety.  Thankfully he is light colored so the dark deer ticks are quite easy to spot but the return of ticks means a return to every single walk ending in a 10 minute grooming session.
It also means a return to having my skin crawl for hours whenever I do find one on him. A stray hair brushing my neck or a little itch will have me running my fingers through my hair countless times searching for an elusive tick.
There is unfortunately no way around it though, he needs to be walked and the forest has a large deer population so he is going to pick some up.  Grooming is the only method we have to keep them off him as he is terribly allergic to the tick repellant available.
Using these drops was one of the scariest doggie moments we’ve had.  He began to pant and pace within minutes of its application.  After struggling rolling around in the grass and trying to scratch his own back he simply lay there not moving and gasping for air.
I threw him in the shower and washed the stuff off, I have never seen him before or since look so happy being washed, it has never been something he enjoys.  After washing and drying him he seemed tired but ok.  I was shocked when speaking to his vet to discover his reaction was quite common and that many smaller dogs die from reactions to these drops every year.
All of this because of a tiny little creature no bigger than a match head.

Sketches & Some New Designs + 1st Semester Animation Project - Animation Tests

And that would be my first animation tests for 'Dino Phone Attack!' my first school project. I changed the main character and designed it a bit different. I'm still working on this project, trying to fix all the mistakes and everythings. It should take me about one or two more weeks to finish all the scenes.

To watch the first animation test/jump test please click here

To watch the second test click here


Some days are just good days, regardless of what is going on in life. Some days it doesn’t matter how tired I am, how stressed I am or how long my “to do” list is. This Easter was one of those days. I knew I had things to do for my classes, and sleep to catch up on, yard work to do, and running and….on and on and on…but I just let those things slide for a day.

The fun started for Sarah and me Saturday night when we played Easter Bunny and hid eggs around the house for the girls. I think we were as excited about seeing the girls hunt for the treasures as they were about the Easter Bunny’s arrival!

It had been a tiring week for everyone, especially Sarah. Her mom got real sick and ended up in the hospital Tuesday morning so both Sarah & I could have been justified in being miserable on Sunday. But we were not (a little cranky, but not miserable lumps). The end result was a simple but gratifying day which included the treasure hunt and visiting with both my family and Sarah’s family. The best part about our Easter however, was that we spent it with our three beautiful daughters.

Sarah did a mini photo shoot before we left the house so I took the opportunity to grab some video of my cuties. Anna is in blue, Allie is in the white dress and Emily wanted to be Tangled for the day so she wore the princess outfit:

Remembered Kindness

What a wonderful long weekend it has been.  We not only accomplished a lot of things but were also able to spend plenty of time together with family.
Having Easter weekend so late in April and with such nice weather we were actually able to have an outdoor egg hunt, something I can honestly say I don’t recall ever having been able to do before.  It is always either raining, snowing or freezing ass cold. 
I’m always so proud to see how without being asked or reminded my girls split the treats equally.  There is a constant tally from them on how many of each thing they have so that they know who gets the next item found. They don’t even seem to think about it as sharing or being fair it is simply what they do.
When children are young parents always wonders if you will be able to teach them how to be kind and fair to those around them.  I still wonder how I’m doing and can’t explain how I am teaching/have taught my kids these things but it appears something my husband and I are doing is working.  I find no greater satisfaction as a parent than when I see my children being kind and caring.
It reminded me of an incident a long time ago when E was not quite 3 years old and she saw someone begging on the street for the first time. She asked me what he was doing and why. 
I don’t recall exactly what I said to her but I tried my best to explain to her that some people need help and this is sometimes the only way they know how to get it. She asked what his sign said and I explained that it said he was hungry and he was asking for help.  I know I wasn’t sure how to explain it to her and was worried about saying the wrong thing.
When I asked her if she understood she reached into her lunch kit and took out her snacks handed them to me and said “If he is hungry he can have my snack I have oatmeal in my cubby at daycare”.    
I admit the cynical part of me was worried he would turn out to be an addict whose only interest was money for his next fix and then I would have to explain that to her. I also didn’t want to offend him by offering such a paltry thing as a child’s snack.  It was 3 small items a pudding, an applesauce and a fruit.  I offered it anyways and he gladly took it and said thank you.
We continued on our way to daycare and by the time we pulled in she had moved on in her mind and didn’t think on it anymore.  I did though I carried that shot of pride and a smile around with me all day. She had simply looked at his need and had done what she could without judgment or conscience thought.   
I think it remains one of my proudest moments as a parent. It reminded me to be a little less cynical and that even if you can only do something small it’s better than nothing at all.

Pixar Animator Matthew Luhn

Today I met animator Matthew Luhn! He's extremely nice and so kind and it was a pleasure to meet this wonderful storyboard artist. It was a real nice experience. Check out Mr. Laun's Official Website

Also, my artwork\character designs were chosen as some of the best student artwork in my school for 2011! Only 30 different pieces were chosen, so it's kinda cool, I wish my teachers would have chosen different characters, I have better ones, but yeah, that's the way it goes. On the last photo bellow, you can see that I'm probably one of the few students in the school that actually focuses on character design, I try to make my designs as solid and appealing as possible, and hopefully I'll get better and better in the future.

Don't forget to check out Mr. Laun's Official Website

Long nights

Oh why oh why do kids always get their sickest in the middle of the night?
Never noon always midnight and 1 am and 2 am etcetera.  The first call for Mommy always comes just as I reach that magical point when I’m just drifting away.  Then the back and forth begins. 
It’s tiring and exhausting but it is something any mother knows you just simply do.  The hardest part isn’t being up at 3 am it’s seeing them sick.   
Whenever A has the slightest bit of fever she tends to have bad dreams so it’s not only the myriad tasks of water and cool cloths and medication it’s also soothing her fears and making her feel safe enough to sleep. 
Sometimes like last night that involves climbing into bed with her.  Thankfully we are beyond the stage of a toddler bed and I now somewhat fit but she’s a blanket hog and the sheer volume of stuffies and soft toys means that space isn’t exactly comfortable.  It’s also a guarantee that I will eventually fall out of her bed.     
Thankfully when I did fall out of her bed at half past 3 it was the last call of the night and both of us were able to get a few hours of restful sleep before morning came around.
This morning despite my attempts to get E lunch and my morning tasks done quietly she woke up and began her desperate attempts to convince me she is well enough to go to school.  I know it seems a little backwards that I need to convince her she should stay home but she truly loves school.  She looks forward to Monday the way most people look forward to Friday.
She does seem to be feeling quite a bit better this morning but definetly not back to herself and not ready for a school day.  At least with the long weekend now upon us she will have some time to recover without worrying about missing more school. 
I’ve got my fingers crossed that no one else gets sick before Easter and we have a pleasant weekend. We may even hit double digit numbers this weekend, and I do mean on the plus side hopefully will be nice.  

Creeped Out

While I’m always happy to have such a beautiful landscape just steps from my front door sometimes that last walk out with the dog can be a little unnerving.  Chase is taken for three walks a day first thing in the morning, in the afternoon and once more in the late evening. 
During the summer the long days mean it is rarely fully dark when I take him out and in the winter months the snow reflects and the smallest hint of light multiplies to a soft glow and even on a moonless night it never seems to be really dark. In fall and spring however when there is no snow and the days are short on moonless or cloudy nights it is often pitch black.
Last night was one of those nights.  The sky was cloudy and not a hint of the moon could be seen.  It was a very crisp cool night with a slight breeze. Someone near the forest was playing opera in their house very loudly and you could very faintly hear the music playing on the breeze.  
The cool night and the rustle of leaves in the wind along with the faint hint of music reminded me of Halloween.  We are close enough to the park that when an event is going on we often hear the music being played and for three weeks in October we hear the music from Boo at the Zoo.  The music playing last night reminded me of that same sound.
Walking along the path while straining to hear exactly what was playing it occurred to me just how dark the night was. I searched through the bare branches above me to the cloudy sky for a hint of moon but there was none to see.  Of all the things to think about it occurred to me this was the time of year when a bobcat first appeared around our house last year and I started feeling just a wee bit creeped out.
Then something further along the path moved across it.  It almost certainly was a deer crossing along any one of the many deer trails that criss-cross the main path but that slowly drifting shadow and soft rustle followed by the sharp snap of a branch would make any ones skin crawl. I was suddenly very aware of each night sound and the darkness surrounding me.
It’s amazing how that first moment of creepiness leads to absolute paranoia in just a matter of seconds.  A nice calm late evening walk turned into a spooky and nerve racking experience. From the corner of my eye every shadow began to move, faint sounds were all around me and I just knew something had to be out there. 
The dog completely unaware of my mounting nervousness was in no mood to cut his walk short and continued forward looking back at me every few steps as if I’d gone nuts.  The rational part of me that isn’t scared of the dark encouraged me to go a few steps further and scoffed at my mounting nervousness.  The irrational part of me was saying “something” is out there and you need to get the hell out of here right this instant.
I very quickly decided to agree with my irrational side and turned back towards the safety of the streetlights.  My first step back out of the darkness of the forest was accompanied by a sigh of relief, and the realization that I just let a deer creep me out.  
But just maybe it was something else……….

Picture day 3

What a morning I’ve had. I've fallen way behind on absolutly everything and as a result I don't have any time for my blog today. My other commitments have to take precedence over my blog time today.  My girls come first and it concerns them so that takes priority. i've also learnt some distressing news from friends and honestly I am not in the mood.  So I'm simply going to call this a picture day in place of thursday and call it done.  I'm missing green grass and summer temperatures so.......
Labarier Park just south of Winninpeg on a gorgeous summer day.

 Along the La Salle River.
Facing the river

Quick Sketches

Did these sketches real quick while I was in the car with my mother, she was driving and I started doodling these kind of bee characters

Internship at ARG! Animation Studios!!!

Wow! I just got a phone call from New York City, from the main offices of ARG! Animation Studios, they've told me that I got accepted into their internship program and that they'd be happy to have me as an intern! The studio is located in Colorado, the internship takes place online, it's really cool because people who live outside the Colorado area can work online directly with the animators in the studio. It's awesome and I'm looking forward to start my internship with them!

Tech support?

My husband was trying to get an old computer running for the past couple of weeks and at this point my desk seems to have been entirely taken over by wires and hardware. I was reading while he was cursing over not getting something or another working last night.  I couldn’t help but look up and point out the problem may be related to it being a 20+ year old system.
I have absolutely no idea why getting this old Mac running is of interest to him yet it is. This out of all my husband’s interests is the one thing I absolutely don’t get.
We also have a working commodore in the closet. Why? No freaking clue. It’s been lurking in the closet ever since he got it running.  He played a few games boxed it up and hasn’t touched it since. I don’t see anything other than that happening with this one either.  He’ll get it running play around for a day or two and put it away never to see the light of day again.  Yet having these “working” systems seems to have some meaning to him. 
I’m honestly not complaining about this hobby I’m just trying to understand the motivation behind it. I’ve never looked at computers as anything more than tools and I can honestly say I have no sentimental attachment to a single electronic item. So understanding it doesn’t come easy for me.
I suppose I should just stick to the confused acceptance that for some reason there will always be old systems and bins full of computer parts lurking around our house.  I think having a techy husband is more beneficial than negative anyways. He can fix practically anything electronic himself and we always have the latest gadgetry, which can be entertaining.  Mind you the savings from him doing our repairs are certainly lost on the gadgetry and then some.
I’m still hoping however that he finishes whatever it is he is doing with this latest system soon and that it and its assorted paraphernalia disappears from the desk shortly.  



I want to smell the scent of an evening bonfire.

Taste a perfect marshmallow roasted to just the right shade of brown; crunchy on the outside and oh so soft and sweet on the inside.

I want to feel the softness of slightly dewy freshcut green grass between my toes.

I want to see the flames dance see the story they tell, the lightning bugs twinkling through the trees.

I want to hear the crackling sounds of the fire, the quiet gurgle of the fountain and the sound of friends around me.

I want a moment of peace and tranquility when all is right in my world. 

Avril Wannabe

Me, dressed up as Avril Lavigne

That's what I did today instaed of doing my homework for animation class

Trying New Stuff

A Good Night Out

6:30 am comes much too early when you go to bed at 12:30. I think I may actually still be asleep right now.  I can’t do weeknight shows anymore without paying for it the next day. It was however a show well worth it.  I went to see Matt Dusk last night, as some readers may recall I wrote a short blurb when I purchased the tickets in February included in the post a musical note.  
Besides simply having a night without children my husband and I both enjoyed the show very much.  It was nice to have the opportunity to see a good jazz singer live, after all Winnipeg isn’t exactly known for its jazz scene.
I was curious to see the setup for the show as I've never been to one at either of the Winnipeg Casino's but it does seem to work. It gives it a more of a loungy intimate feel which for jazz works particualrly well.
It was a very nice set list and included both mine and my husbands favorite songs. Two Shots of Happy is my hubbys fav and mine is All About Me. He also sang My Way and That's Life two really great Sinatra songs and I think he did them justice.  
I hadn't heard of the opening act Anna Wilson before but I enjoyed her set as well. I particularly enjoyed the duet between the two performers of You've got a friend in me from toy story.  I've always loved that song. I spent most of the evening with a smile on face and enjoyed every minute of the show.
Afterwards he did a meet and greet so we stuck around to meet him and get an autograph. I normally wouldn't have stayed for a meet and greet but I've noticed how he seems to make an effort to actually respond to fans on facebook and I wanted to see if the feeling that he was a nice guy carried through in person. 
It did, he seemed to be enjoying himself as much as the fans who had stuck around to meet him and he was more than happy to take pictures, see right.  All in all it was a pleasant way to spend an evening and I'm sure if he comes back through Winnipeg my husband and I would be happy to go see him again.


Now I am neither a vegan or vegetarion nor do I live in a commune, I am however a fan of yoga.  I know the days of yoga only being a hippie thing are long gone but just thought I would be clear on that.
I started getting interested in yoga awhile back when a therapist suggested I give it a try.  I have had issues with stiffness in my shoulders and neck for some time and it had reached the point that it was interfering with my activities and even my driving.
I honestly didn’t give the suggestion much credit at the time. I didn’t really believe it would make a difference and I had a rather negative impression of yoga as just some new-agey crap.  I only have a limited amount of time to excersice during the day and I didn’t want to waste my time.
Eventually my neck pain reached a point that I could barely finish my regular routine and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot. I downloaded an app and tried out a beginners 30 minute session.  The rest of the day I was marveling how I could actually look over my shoulder, I suddenly had a much wider range of motion. So I decided to add it in to my weekly routine for a while and see if it worked.
That was about 2 years ago and I can no longer imagine not practicing yoga now. I’ve come to realize just how physically demanding it is and recognize the benefits I get from it. I have a much wider range of motion, I have significantly less back and neck pain, my balance has improved, my stress levels are lower and I just feel better. When I get sick or am unable to practice for a few days I feel it I don’t sleep as well and I’m cranky.
Oh well enough of that, I’m going to sign off now with the first flower of spring in my yard, a Manitoba crocus of course.

Birthday Hugs

Happy Birthday to the cutest and most lovable four year olds I know! Today, April 12, 2011 Sarah & I celebrate the birth of our beautiful daughters Alicenne Hope, Anna Abigail and Emily Blessing.

Happy Birthday!

Their party started last Saturday when we picked up their cake and had a little celebration at one of those “bouncy’ places. Here are a few clips from that day:

Pixar MasterClass Character Design Competition - Update

Well, I guess I was stupid enough to think that I actually had a chance to win the contest, nobody would even look at my designs, the competition is based on how many "likes" you get on Facebook, and anybody can submit their artwork, even artists working in the industry.

Anyway, when I created my pecies for the contest I tired to focus on good, solid character design, I tried to create strong characters, that basically was my main goal.

You can check out all the artwork for this competition by clicking here

If you like my stuff, you can vote here (Winner gets a 3000$ scholarship) You can also click on the images below to vote on facebook

95th Birthday Celebration!

It isn’t very often you have five generations together but this weekend my family did just that.  My grandfather will be turning 95 tomorrow and he had children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a great-great grandchild come out for his birthday brunch.
I tried to explain to my kids how unique an experience it is to not only meet your great-grandfather but to have him around long enough to not only hear some of his stories but be old enough to remember them.  I believe I only met one great grandparent, and by meet I mean have a picture of me being held as an infant by one.
I still enjoy listening to my Grandfathers stories even though I’ve heard most before I don’t mind hearing them again and every once in awhile a new one will pop up. When I was a kid I always looked forward to seeing my grandparents because I loved being partnered up with him to play the card game 2 of spades.
We were almost unbeatable together, I’m sure we lost once in awhile but we were always the team to defeat. I’m sure it had more to do with his play than mine but I was always pretty lucky. I still have great luck when it comes to most card games and certainly some of it must be skill learned from my grandfather.
You can’t predict growing up what things you are going to remember fondly, the things that will make you smile. My grandmother on my Dads’ side passed away when I was quite young and of all the things to remember about her I remember a specific drinking glass. 
It was a small glass with hand painted roses on it and was always the one she gave me to drink from.  I also remember she smelt like lilac and that she was soft and warm when she hugged me.  To this day catching a hint of lilac will give me a warm comforting feeling.  It’s not much and as a child I certainly didn’t think to myself one day I’m going to remember these cups and that scent.
I don’t know in the end what my girls will remember of their great-grandfather after he is gone but it’s nice to know they will almost certainly find something that makes them smile when he is brought to mind.
I was glad to wish him a happy birthday yesterday and I hope there are many more to come and a few more memories made.

A political note

Wow looks like Manitobans are going to face two disasters at once now that the red river is predicted to crest during the first few days of May.  The second disaster of course being the upcoming federal election on May 2nd.
I’m not an overly political person but I’ve always voted and try to make an informed decision.  I feel that it is not only every Canadians privilege to vote but also a responsibility.  The recent political scene has left me feeling at a loss however.
I find issues with each representative and with each of the parties at large.  Never before have I felt I am making a choice based solely on what I feel to be the lesser of two evils.  I can find no one in this back-stabbing queue for power that in any way represents the Canada I grew up in and love. Looking at the current political landscape it seems there is no party actively speaking for the Canadian people. In my mind’s eye I see a group of 6 year old kids scrambling to the top of a hill to call out I’m king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascals.
I have felt more and more in the past few years that rather than have a government focused on the good of the Canadian people and for Canada we have one which ill-represents us as a whole internationally and is focused instead on consumerism and greed.  Our international name is being sullied and we seem to be losing a vital part of what makes Canada such an amazing place. 
While our representatives bury their heads in the sand over environmental issues the true north melts.  Our open Democratic process is being undermined each time our elected parliament is blocked by our unelected senate. The disaster of the Toronto G20 showed us disrespect for the freedoms of Canadians.  As programs to lessen crime begin to prove their worth they are cut and more prisons built instead. Our farmers are struggling, or arts are losing valuable support, poverty rates are rising.  Our deficit is quickly spiraling out of control, personal taxes are raised as corporate taxes drop.
Our government appears to show nothing but contempt and disrespect for the Canadian public. Each and every Canadian who doesn’t vote or votes unaware of the current political issues simply encourages this to continue.  Please find out what is happening in our country and make your vote count.

Picture Day 1

 Spring has Sprung

 The trees are budding,

The snow has almost gone

And the water is flowing

The first hint of color 

As the moss turns green

The ground is slowly warming
                                                                                 And something is growing in my garden

I'm going to start having a picture day each week, I've started doing some writing other than on my blog and need that extra bit of time so picture thursdays it is!