Saturday, September 29, 2007

My favourite photo: Master 35

This was once my favourite photo.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Investor Alert

Some kids spend their weekends playing soccer, watching tv, or building forts. Paris does all this, but then also spends his time creating business opportunities, writing business plans, soliciting investors, and scoping out the best real estate to invest in.

This weekend, things got a bit serious. Along with his friend Michael, he managed to secure three investors for the purchase of an apartment. After a few days of looking at they found a perfect apartment for sale in Tumbler Ridge. Hmmmmm...

The plan is to continue to save money until they are both 14, when they can get real jobs with real pay. Then, after six months of "hard labour" they will take their savings, finalize funding with their investors, and buy a rentable apartment. Hopefully one they can walk to.

When I was 13 I was saving money for a box of chocolates from Shoppers Drug Mart. I perhaps also saved enough to build a fort in the wooded area a few blocks from my house, provided I found the lumber and took nails from Mom's toolbox.

Yes, I fully expect one day that Paris will own at least a few homes, and rent out a few more. In the meantime, if anyone knows anyone that wants to rent an apartment in Tumbler Ridge, give us a call.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Worth the change

A friend of mine wrote this cool post about Park(ing) day in San Francisco. Very, very cool idea!!

Language tidbits

Every once in a while, I receive a folio from Masterfile, a stock photography agency. This month, a page on language, with the following facts, was included;

  • There are 6,912 living languages.
  • 516 of those are nearly extinct.
  • There are 820 living languages in Papua New Guinea (hate to see the translation guide for that country.)
  • Khmer, the world's largest alphabet has 74 letters.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into 321 languages.
  • The English language has 250,000 distinct words.

The last tidbit I thought interesting was a quote from Carl Sandburg:

"Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sit. Stay. Good Boy.

It just started wrong.

In our haste for food, I made some easy spaghetti and called everyone to the table. Our youngest son took one look at his plate, pushed it away and said, "I'm not going to eat this." Immediate frown on his face. Immediate frown on mine. He slid around on his chair, half off, half on.

"Sit still please," I said calmly, "feet forward."

I responded to his plate maneuvering by reading out an update about the impoverished community in Ulaanbaator, Mongolia that we help sponsor (perfect timing that our update came in the mail today). The kids are happy to have a home. They are happy to have parents. They are happy to have food.

And they are thrilled when they get a nice plate of spaghetti for dinner. (At least I think they are...)

Of course, that didn't work.

Then, we began negotiations on the eating of the spaghetti and I threaten immediate retreat to the bath and bed. Off to bed for you! He complains some more and his whining voice trembles. I threaten to revoke the Pokemon cards he has been working so hard for all this week. Tears come to his eyes.

He slips out of his chair, puts his grouchy head on the table, moves around a bit more and declares that none of this would have happened if I had just made him a hot dog.

"Sit still please, feet forward." This time a command.

He squirms and slides around.

Thinking that this is just going downhill fast, I retreat.

"Okay," I say quietly, "I'll make you a hot dog." I get up and move to the kitchen.

And then, while the water was boiling I very calmly asked him to come talk to me on the couch. And then, I helped him understand how none of this would have happened if he had been polite from the beginning and just asked nicely for a hot dog, and then maybe offer his spaghetti to his brother.

He seemed to get it, but he still squirmed and slid in the couch beside me.

My philosophy on parenting is that if you get angry at your kids, and don't take the time to calm everyone down, listen and understand, explain things and then compromise, all you have done is teach your kid how to get angry. Some say I'm too easy on my kids. I say I'm raising people that know how to communicate, compromise, and keep the peace.

We said sorry and I went to finish his hot dog. We started dinner again.

This time, he said thank you for making dinner, and smiled while we talked about cats and tea, and he said thank you again, and then said thank you again. And he said yum, this is good, and pulled his plate closer.

And then he squirmed some more and slid one leg off the chair. I screwed my face up into a half smile, half frown.

"I'm just not stayable," he says, a tiny grin on his face.

Ah, the sweet sound, the sweet look, of the way things should be.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Small spaces

Paris is now in grade 8. Greatness, really. In grade 8 you get cafeterias, bus passes, cell phones, home rooms, schedules, home ec, business ed, and most importantly, lockers.

I remember my lockers. My own space, independent of my home.

I have always needed my own space. When I was 6 it was on top of a square shelf inside my parents closet. I would sit on top of the square, tuck myself in between my mom's blouses and hide. It was the seventies and peasant blouses and silk swirls of colour made my memories. My mom wore her hair permed like an Afro then.

A few years later my space became the inside of the "games" closet. I removed everything from underneath the last shelf and put my stuff in. My own phone, a suitcase that held my important stuff and was decorated with my surf stickers (not that I surfed back then, but I did see the Beach Boys live in concert when they came), my favourite big pink elephant, and my best books. In the evenings I would light a birthday candle and celebrate being me. And then chat on the phone for hours. On the shelves above, Lego, snakes and ladders, light bright, paint, rummoli, and my ice-cream-bucket collection of bottle caps kept me company.

My bathroom with its red towels and blue tiles. I would sit on the counter with my feet in the sink and indulge in a book for hours. Space.

Then came the lockers. And the lock.

My lockers were always dressed up in me. Stuff that meant something. Pictures of people, places and things. Notes. Photos. Stuff. Colour. Mood.

Small spaces grew. I moved out and into my own room in a shared house. What a big space to make mine. An old trunk in the corner, a home-made quilt on my bed, my paint on the walls. A candelabra. Bigger candles.

One room to 5 as I bought an apartment, to 10 as I moved into a townhouse. Plus an office, plus a car. More space. But in some ways, less meaningful.

It seems so much harder to make a large space yours. We have been in this house for 5 years now and there are still parts of it that belong to the old owners.

I set up my own space in a corner of this room for this computer, so I can write this blog. But it gets crowded with the paperwork that comes from being an adult in an adult life. It's also a little too exposed. I can't really hide here.

Every time I move to a new office, I promise I will make it mine. Currently, I have only managed to get a few pictures on the wall and a few plants on the desk.

Perhaps my space is now the front of the fridge. There is a lot of stuff on it. Family and friends. Places we have been, places we want to go. I even wrote a blog about it once. Notes and photos and colour and mood.

It's kinda like a locker, sort of.... Isn't it?