Friday, July 31, 2009


Soccer practice did not get rained out this week, and I've since gotten my work schedule organized, so I got to go see Nate in action this week. I'm not sure I was prepared for the whole thing. I can see how it could be a little overwhelming for a kid. There were just so many people, kids, parents, pets, coaches. There seemed to be so many things all happening at the same time. I got to meet some of our neighbours, but I am afraid I can't remember any of their names. There are people who are very into coffee here though, so that bodes well.

Anyways, enough about my experience, here are some photos of Nate in action.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This just in, we are lucky

My 3 year old son told me, so it must be true.

Nate was eating cherries in the living room, and I was looking out the kitchen window at the mob of blue jays in our garden.

Nate (very excitedly):
Dad! Do cherries grow on trees?

Yes Nate, cherries grow on trees. You see those blue jays out there on that tree? That is a cherry tree.

And cherries are going to grow on it, and then I can get cherries to eat?

Well, we need to do some work first because that tree hasn't been taken care of for quite awhile. We'll have to prune it back and we're not going to get fruit this year. If we're lucky we might get some next year.

Nate (very matter-of-fact like):
But we are lucky dad!

Why do you say that Nate?

Because we are.

He is correct, of course. We are lucky. Sometimes it's easy to forget that. I just think it's neat that he might actually get it, even at 3.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The first step to getting espresso in our house again

Today, I finally made some time and went down into the basement to remove the boiler from the espresso machine. It's been sitting down there since that fateful day in May when I discovered it did not survive the move from Vancouver.

The photo below shows the boiler still in the machine. You can see where one of the brass couplings has popped off. That is the hot water on-demand heat-exchanger. Water in it must have froze in transit, and the ice blew the top off the stainless steel flange where the coupling fit in. The coupling is still screwed in to the flange. The flange just isn't in one piece any more. The same happened to the heat exchanger next to it, which runs to the group head. In this case. the flange is split, but not completely blown off.

Here is the Lyra with the boiler removed.

Finally, a look at the boiler itself. The markings are my own, just so I don't forget where everything goes. I still have to put it all back together, assuming it is possible to weld the damaged bits.

I'm not going to get my hopes up, it's more like an interesting project now. I'll keep you posted .

A reminder that there is good out there

There may be some hope after all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nate on soccer

Nate went to his first soccer practice this evening. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go. My fault, I totally forgot and said I could work this evening. He's been pretty excited about it, and Patty said it was all he could talk about this evening. So what does he say when they get there?

'Mum, I don't know about this soccer thing.'

Of course, by the time it was over and people were leaving, he wanted to keep on playing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vancouver through the window of a taxicab

Shot from a taxicab as we made our way from The Cascade Room on Main Street, to our hotel downtown. I don't know why I never did this sooner.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More food from Singapore

This is some of the food we had at my friend Lun Cheak's home. I wish I could have eaten more, but sadly I stuffed myself at lunch that day. Honestly, there is just so much good food in Singapore, it's almost impossible to eat it all! This becomes especially difficult to do when you are only in town for a short visit.

I think all of the foods here are Indonesian in origin, but they are very popular in Malaysia and Singapore as well. When I was in junior college (grades 11 and 12), my lunch usually consisted of rice, rendang, begedil and sambal goreng (green beans and tempeh fried in chili sambal). This is my comfort food, and I'm getting hungry just writing about it!

Sayur Lodeh (Coconut vegetable stew)

Begedil (Fried potato cakes)

Beef Rendang

I think I'm starting to appreciate how some of my readers have felt about the previous food postings!

A reunion

Myself, and my friends from high school. That's Gary on the far left in the black T-shirt, and Lun Cheak in the middle in the blue T-shirt. When I was still working in Singapore, the three of us would meet up in the evening and spend hours at the beach, drinking coffee and talking. Some of the best talks I've ever had happened on those evenings chats.

The posse has gotten somewhat bigger in the last few years. We all had dinner together one evening with our families, and it was nice to see the kids get along and play. And we got to the beach for one more late night chat before I left Singapore. It's nice to know that even after so long, some things just never change. It was just like old times, only this time we got to talk about our kids as well.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nate's goodbye

I am writing this now, before I forget it.

When we left Singapore, we were seen off by my parents and my brother Kevin. Poor people, they had to wake up at 3am to make sure we got to the airport on time. After going through security and customs, we turned around to wave goodbye to my family through the glass. I was carrying Nate over my left shoulder, and he kept on waving as we walked towards the gate.

Then he said:

'Goodbye Kevin! I'll see you later. I'll be back soon.'

There was of course no way Kevin was going to hear it, and it was probably just as well. It was said in such a sincere voice it would have broken his heart. It damned near broke mine, and I just barely held it together as we approached our gate.

Back home

Well, we are back in Halifax. Back in our new home, and slowly coming to grips with regular life again. We spent our first night home sans Snoopy, which was a little odd. The bed seemed altogether too big, and I missed the comfort of that familiar warm furry body next to my leg. It's funny, but both Patty and I woke up the next morning feeling like something wasn't right. But we are all back together again now. It feels good. Now if someone would just take care of all the stuff that needs to get done around here! Groceries to get, laundry to be done, bags that need unpacking, grass that wants mowing... the list goes on. Good thing we had a vacation, although I feel I need another one to get over the long journey back.

For those of you who are wondering about the rest of our vacation, never fear! There is still lots to tell from our time in Singapore and our short stay in Vancouver. Lots more photos, and lots and lots more food. I'll try and get around to them soon, I promise.