Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Holly

Our little girl has turned One-Year Old! Unbelievable! I cannot believe its been a whole year since Holly popped into the world.

We would have loved to have had a big party for her birthday, but the tininess of our apartment meant just a small gathering. However, it was great, especially as Holly had her favourite three little pals, Maite, Poppy and Luke, there with her. They tucked into a big bowl of cheerios while the big people enjoyed the birthday cake.

And while we were exhausted by the little get-together, Holly was energised! She was buzzing even after everyone left, so much so, that she decided that that would be the day she would take her first steps! Sure enough she managed three or four steps on her own. And now there is no stopping her. By the next weekend she could walk clear across the living room and now she's more of a walker than a crawler. We even had to go out and buy her some new walking shoes.

Her talking has really developed as well. She's got at least about 10 words in our language, but talks constantly in her own. And she understands us very well too. She can't say "no" yet, but sure knows how to shake her head "no".

Her manual dexterity has improved immensely as well. She can now push shaped blocks through the correspondaing shaped holes. Annoyingly, she can unscrew the lids off containers, prompting a whole new level of babyproofing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nothing says "I Love You" like Birds of Prey

For Valentine's Day this year I arranged for a rather unconventional activity; a Falconry Workshop. Both Jaime and I have been fascinated with the art of falconry for yonks through our mutual love of both Medieval Arts and Birds. Vancouver has a fabulous medieval martial arts school, Academie Duello, and they have a falconer in residence.

We spent several hours learning the theory of falconry, before we got a chance to handle these beautiful birds. Sabre is a Gyr Falcon, and Cabal a Harris Hawk, but my favourite was Mistral, a Peregrine Falcon. She was a little skittish at first, but seemed to really warm to me.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to take the birds down to local park and let them fly. Luckily, it was a bright sunny day and the birds seemed to really enjoy going for spin.

The course was really fun, and I was very impressed by the instructor's professionalism and respect for the birds.

Now that we've done the course, we can come back and work with the the birds on a regular basis.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Here Comes the Five Ring Circus

So the Torch is here; The Olympics start today. Its certainly brought out the passion in folks; some love it and some hate it. I have friends who have personally carried the torch, and I have others going in the Anti-Olympics protests. My feelings lie somewhere in between. I am happy for the athletes, and interested in watching the hockey, figure skating and skiing events (on TV of course: I can't afford to actually go to a game).

However, I am upset at how much two weeks of sport is going to cost. The cost of living in Vancouver has gone up massively. We have least affordable housing in the world. The budget overrun for the games is something like six billion dollars. We're already suffering from cutbacks in Education, Healthcare and Housing, and if the province is now bankrupt, it's things like Holly's public schooling that's going to suffer.

Security sounds like it will be a nightmare, so it's well good I'm not going to any games or having to commute to work during the events. I do worry about us being a terrorist target, though I hope those fears are unfounded.

I hate to sound like a Cassandra, but seven years ago I thought it was tenuous to have the winter Olympics here as we don't always get a good snowfall. Ironically, the past six years have been great for snow in the winter. Right now, everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere is coated in unprecedented amounts of snow. And here? it's like spring! I've never seen the flowers bloom this early, and they're trucking snow to Cypress for the skiing and snowboarding events there. My wish for the weather? That it doesn't rain the whole time. Vancouver is wonderful, but the rain can be dreary.

Still, it's lovely to see so many people from around the world visiting us here in Vancouver. Its great to see such patriotic spirit. Let's hope Canada does better this Olympics than the last.

So it's true, we're paying for the them, we might as well enjoy them.