Sierra was trying out the keyboard this morning. This is what she wrote for you all:
,kk mkl8n09 ddd jh hjhbj ,mjn
It’s January here and it’s been mighty cold. -40 for a few weeks at the beginning of the month was not a fun time for Sierra…not much to do when you’re stuck indoors! We did our best to go to a store and let her walk around whenever we could.
Sierra has had a rash that would show up on her cheek and other areas of her body from time to time. At first we thought it might be an allergy of sorts. Then we started thinking it might be some form of eczema. Whatever it is, it prompted us to try some non-scented bath wash/shampoo and some different creams to put on her body. We have no idea if any of this helped, but it went from her cheek down to her legs and feet and at the time of writing, it’s all cleared up. Maybe it’s some weird rash that spreads through the body and then the skin gets used to it and it disappears? Who knows.
For the past week I tend to put on videos about elephants or hippos or other creatures while Sierra eats breakfast. She gets really excited when she sees these majestic creatures.
Sierra having fun with her new abacus…always handy if the nuclear war destroys all calculators.
Good thing we were cleaning out the storage room otherwise it would have been months to stumble upon another Christmas gift that was wrapped up in a shower curtain! Nanny had bid on this item from a silent auction in Gaspe…it is a frame of all formats that music has been released on…78s, 45’s, 33 1/3, 8 tracks…you name it, they got it. Quite an interesting history lesson!
I’ve been really inspired to write music during the past month. I managed to finish up two solid tunes which I’m quite happy with. Here’s my trusty helper showing me how to use the guitar pick.
Sierra practicing some yoga moves.
New Year’s Eve dinner over at Jon and Chantal’s, where we had supper with a monkey.
Victor Von Dube with his eye on the prize.
The kids put on a great spectacle for us.
Photographing children is an exercise in futility.
Standing straight and tall!
Sierra is starting to play with her food in the morning instead of eating it. This drives me slightly mad.
We got to head up to Lynn and Sue’s for a night which was fantastic (although it was -40 outside so there wasn’t much fun in the woods happening!)
Sierra really enjoyed traveling the world.
The kids playing in the morning
I’ve been working at Place du Portage since 2001 and I never knew there was a greenhouse in the building! Nat and Etienne were quite amazed at the selection.
While Ellie enjoyed opening gifts for her first birthday, Sierra was scoping out the toy room.
Aunt Trish managed to capture Sierra a few times
The trick is to start them young in building Ikea furniture so they can handle their own Billy bookcase when in university!
For the past few months Sierra has been interested in what we were up to when making supper. I stumbled upon the idea of a ‘learning tower’; something that can allow kids to safely watch/help out at the counter height. Someone developed an Ikea hack so I bought this step stool for $25 and spent another $10 for wood (let’s not count the other $20 of screws! I figure that’s a negligible cost considering I used 10 screws out of a pack of 100). Other than freezing my ass off outside in the garage in the middle of January, I would say it was a success. The only issue I had was there were no wood coloured stools at Ikea when we dropped by so I (I mean Mom) will need to paint it white. An important thing to remember is that this thing can still tip over fairly easily. Mike and Melanie one that was pretty much the same design and poor Max tipped it over one day. I’m wondering if I can learn from that lesson and perhaps attach a piece of plywood on the bottom so it would make it harder to tip over. I’ll think about it over a few beer.
It’s exciting to see Sierra very interested in how tools work.
At work, they were moving us to the fifth floor so everyone stored their plants and other assorted junk in my office on the second floor while they moved. I felt like I was living in the jungle for a few days!
Showing off her latest masterpiece.
With the fourth floor closing up for renovations I begged Vero to come visit me at work before they tore it all down. It was in this very spot back in 2005 that Vero rounded the corner and I was blown away by this stunning human being.
A re-enactment of my reaction when she rounded the corner.
This was definitely her reaction years ago. No lie. It was neat to see Vero come back to the fourth floor after all these years (she had worked there as a summer student). Some things had changed and others hadn’t.
Check out this awesome Deadpool that Amy made for Sierra!
Near the end of January it started to get to be nice outside so we took advantage of it and went snowshoeing. Last year we were able to carry Sierra in the sling but this year it was time to try out a sled. We had a bought a nice big red one and it was horrible as she kept falling off when I would pull it. We resorted to using her baby sleigh that she is nearly done with. From the looks of it, she didn’t mind at all!
From my vantage point, I couldn’t tell if she was having a good time or not with those screams.
I think she must have been getting tired at this point?
She sure loves those bubbles.
Mel and Jon invited us over for supper (where we could also try out some tunes for their wedding in July). I snuck off to the basement to hang out with the cool kids at one point.
Sierra is still pretty shy around the kids (maybe not the ones at daycare?). I tried to get a few photos of her but she was always on the outside just minding her own business. No matter, it’ll take a few years for her to realize these friends are awesome.
Theatre friends plotting the demise of their husbands.
I had to leave the party early to see Big Wreck on their 20th anniversary tour of ‘In Loving Memory Of’. It was a great night out with Etienne at Algonquin College. The only thing that sucks about the college is that you have to finish your beer before going into the theatre!
Killer, killer night with them playing their entire first album (and b-side Ill Advice, only one of my favourite Big Wreck tunes!). They also finished off with a couple of extra tunes and blew our minds with guitar solos. Seriously, how insane is Ian Thornley on the fretboard? Also, I have to point out that Algonquin College always offers a great view from the floor, especially if you venture to the right hand of the stage where there is no one standing.
“I came for Breaking Benjamin, I left being a fan of Avenged Sevenfold.”
Decent view of everything going on!
A few months back I see that Breaking Benjamin is coming to town along with Bullet for My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold. I was a huge Breaking Benjamin fan ever since we saw them open up for Evanescence back in 2004. So it didn’t even matter who was touring with them this time around…I was going to see them again.
Tyler and his brother Ryan graced us with some burgers and beers for the show and along with Eric and Mike in tow, we headed out to the Canadian Tire Center for 6PM. Quite the early start but that’s what you get with three bands on the bill.
While I thought our seats would have been quite good, they put us directly perpendicular with the screen so there was no way we would have been able to see anything going on. Luckily, our section had tons of extra room so we just meandered to the other end of the row and sat down there with a decent view.
Ottawa isn’t generally known for being the best crowd I have ever witnessed but I have to admit that when you bring in bands that haven’t generally hit the area, the arena gets filled with rabid fans who have been waiting years to see their favourite band.
Case in point…the floor was PACKED for Bullet for My Valentine and the crowd was on fire. In fact, there were two distinct mosh pits going on for the entire night. It was quite awesome to behold. I believe Mike summed it up best (well, with my paraphrasing) by stating “I want to be on the floor and in all that energy, but my body is quite comfortable sitting here sipping on a beer.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s exciting to be in a crowd with all that energy…but you couldn’t even have alcohol on the floor which is a very lame new rule at the Canadian Tire Center. Is that happening all over Canada in other venues?
Bullet for My Valentine was awesome. They brought the energy up instantly and we were all amped up for the rest of the show. Mike is a huge fan and was happy with their set. I can’t say I know many tunes, nor do I know many tunes of Avenged Sevenfold. They were icing on the Breaking Benjamin cake.
After going to get another beer, Eric stumbled upon a fifty dollar bill! We feel bad for that kid who lost his Uber-ride home money, but hey, it ramped up our night!
Here’s where a confession has to come out. I really was excited to see Breaking Benjamin. They are in my top hard rock acts of all time list. But you know what? I came out of that show severely underwhelmed for the first half of their set and they managed to bring me back up a little with their rendition of the Imperial March and a few covers of Tool, Nirvana and Pantera. But…man, it kind of sucked. Musically, they sounded great! But there was no energy to their music and I swear if I ever see the frontman take the catwalk again, I will leave the room. Every chance he got, he was out there strutting his stuff, no guitar in hand. I also was quite peeved that between every song there was some weird atmospheric musical intermission. Dudes…you’re a band with 8 songs to play. Don’t have a minute long PA speaker song happening between songs. Keep the energy up and power through those things.
Well, that’s that. Eric and I were severely underwhelmed with what we saw. Not sure what to think anymore of that band…I think it’s a mix of 1) the logistics of their stage show 2) coming after Bullet for my Valentine who had so much more energy 3) maybe I’ve just grown out of their style of music 4) seriously dude, stop strutting on the catwalk so much! I honestly don’t know if I would even bother going to see them in concert if they stumbled back into Ottawa.
With that bad taste in our mouth, I had high hopes for Avenged Sevenfold, a band that Vero’s cousins introduced me to and at the time, I thought they were a band that blatantly stole riffs from Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden. I gave them a chance and they had some good tunes but I hadn’t fallen in love with what they had to offer. I did start to enjoy their latest album The Stage which they were currently touring.
If it didn’t end up being one of the better concerts I’ve seen in a long time!
Avenged Sevenfold blowing our minds.
Seriously, I am officially a huge fan now. The crowd took everything the band threw at them and threw it back at them. So many mosh pits, so many hands pumping in the air. It was an awesome show. I have been thinking that we are witnessing the end of an era of bands who can take control of an entire arena…Metallica, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi…they are getting up their in age. There’s not many bands that can take an arena and transform it to an experience….well Avenged Sevenfold is one of them. Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates are insane on the guitar. I feel Gates is like Kirk Hammett on steroids. I also laughed at how he looks like a mannequin most of the time up on screen but I can understand why…he needs to focus so much on playing these face melting riffs!
The mark of a great band is that you don’t even have to know half their songs but you are still entertained by their show. Entertained we were. Eric said it best: “How have I not known about this band all these years?!”
Incredible night had by all.
Twenty years of rocking and still going strong. Strong being the 200 level with comfy seats.
Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries died today at the age of 46. No real details at this point, but what does it matter anyhow?
A few thoughts are going through my mind, memories mostly.
Bonus: I dug up the greatest photos of all time from the August 27, 1999 concert I was at. Collective Soul opened, Cranberries closed and as you can tell by the photos, we had the greatest seats in the house.
Someone should get me a portal gun so I can go back in time and tell myself not to waste my film on this memory!
Here’s some accomplishments that I’ve done over my fortieth year on this fine Earth:
More to follow of course. It’ll be an ongoing chronicle of what I’ve been up to.
Holy mackerel December flew by. There was way too much going on, much like every other December in the world.
I feel like nothing much has been changing with Sierra in the past month but that cannot be true. Have I already spoken of how she really seems to grasp what we are asking her to do? “Pass the spoon”, “Time to put your boots on”, “It’s bathtime.” She knows what is going on and can tell us that she doesn’t want to do something with a movement of her head and saying “Uh uh.” She cannot figure out how to say ‘yes’ yet which is hilarious when she wants yogurt after supper. She knows she wants it, we know she wants it. We hold it hostage for a few minutes to see if she can say ‘yes’ to the question “Do you want some yogurt?”. She just smiles at us and drools. It’s quite hilarious.
Sierra loves going outdoors. She has the tendency of putting her toque and neckwarmer on and walking around the house. I’m pretty sure we get the hint kid! It’s been tough keeping her inside the house while it’s been -35 outside for the past week! Speaking of it being cold outside, it’s so cold that the entire mouse population of Vars has moved in for the winter! I was sitting one night watching the finale of Twin Peaks season 2 and at a really scary part I thought a raccoon was up in the ceiling above me! I jumped to the high heavens and realized it must be mice so I set a trap. The next morning I caught 4 mice and the next morning I caught 2 more! Yikes! I hate mice. I need to find where they come in every year!
In the mornings, I realized that the Christmas tree is now blocking the news on TV so I thought I would load up some fun videos for Sierra to watch. She seems to really like accordion music so I found some and as you can see, she was quite happy during breakfast the first time I loaded it up!
Something was growing on Vero’s back during December.
Well, at least she didn’t cry.
Every time we got home and had Sierra turn on the Christmas lights was pretty special. A lot of times she would go “Whoaaaa” and look at the lights. Near the end of the month, I think the awe of the lights wore off. But she enjoyed the whole atmosphere. Take note parents of the future…don’t put any ornaments on the bottom half of your tree!
I would also be frustrated if my orange kept falling off my cup!
Sierra trying to escape the kiss monster!
Rudolf had a very shiny nose…that Sierra loved to eat.
As soon as we got outdoors, Sierra would always make her way next door to the winter wonderland they had set up. This became a pain once snow hit the ground!
Going for a walk before the Christmas party.
Unbeknownst to us, this would be the last time we see grass for the year.
Vero and Sierra were having fun in the snow.
Enjoying the cold weather.
The reason for having kids.
This toy is always a crowd pleaser.
Anne-Marie picked up a nice dress for Sierra.
Santa Yoda approves!
Sierra helping me write a new song. I’ve been playing around with DADGAD tuning as I had read folk tunes were written in that tuning. It has inspired me to write some music!
The ongoing joke at work is that they only serve coffee at special events and I don’t drink coffee. Etienne pointed out that they finally heard my complaints. The best part of the hot water is that there no tea or hot chocolate to go along with it! It literally was some hot water!
Good times at the Branch Christmas party with Abigail and Etienne.
Nanny’s Christmas sweater won first prize amongst a dozen competitors! I felt like a golden god when everyone applauded my sweater. Also, when I heard the chants of “Palmer! Palmer! Palmer!” I felt like what it must feel like to win an Olympic medal. Thanks to me friends for cheering me on! Granted, I’m pretty sure they cheered because I said I would share the prize with them.
Some Pearl Jam vinyl can do no wrong in my house!
Clive and I at the work Christmas party. His sweater was fantastic. I am glad I found it at the Bay and he subsequently purchased it. Unfortunately, it was so hot that he took it off and then forget it at the bar that night! He never saw it again. My leg lamp sweater got some great comments. I especially like when people have never seen A Christmas Story so they have no idea what I’m wearing on the front of my chest.
I left this year’s work Christmas party early because
they are morons and scheduled it on the same day as the new Star Wars movie I had tickets to go see the new Star Wars movie! It was great. I feel that it might have been a lousy sequel if I’m speaking in purely sequel terms, but I left there thinking “Man, that was a killer movie.”
Ok, so I have to speak about the Riptides for a moment or two. In fact, this probably deserves it’s own post, but I’m running against the clock of Sierra waking up from a nap, so my thoughts are here. The Riptides are a local punk band who have been around for twenty years. The reason I know of them is because Jeff is now the touring drummer for the band. So when I saw that they were having an album release party I said to Vero “I need to go out and see Jeff play!” I had only seen the Riptides once before and I remember it being quite an aggressive show at Maverick’s. Full disclosure: I can’t say that I’ve been to many punk rock shows in my life. Like…maybe 5, and I’m not even sure if Green Day counts as a punk rock show if it’s seen in an arena? I’m talking about the dirty dive bars where you’re lucky if the PA system works kind of show.
Melissa let me know that their set wouldn’t start until 11:30PM or so which is quite late for this old timer…but no matter! I was heading out! It was weird going out that late into the Market without friends in tow and an already full bladder! I show up and Jeff sees me and is quite surprised to see me, which was the effect I was going for! I hung out with Melissa and her coworker for the most part of the night and we watched a couple of opening bands (GOAT was pretty good. Can’t remember the name of the other band but the PA system sucked for them…couldn’t hear the singer at all).
Alright, so we all know that I haven’t been to many punk shows. I could feel this energy building up in the place and I didn’t really know where it was coming from. Oh wait, I recognize the feeling…it was like going to the Heart and Crown and having hundreds of drunken fans rearing for a party! Yes sir, the Dominion Tavern was about to get torn wide open. This must have been the craziest show I have seen in years…probably in my top five for the sheer insanity of what was happening. Did they have mic problems? Check. Did they have fans jumping on the stage and grabbing the mics? Check. Did they have this awesomely drunk woman get up on stage, take the mic from the singer, scream at the crowd and say something like “Whoever was pushing me around down there, come up and here and fight if you think you’re so tough!” and then she proceeds to take the setlist from the band and tear it up into pieces and now the singer and guitarist are laughing and saying “Well, there goes our setlist!”? Check and CHECK! This woman was awesome. She dove back into the crowd and I’m pretty sure I saw some guy get clocked in the face by her before she fell to the ground in a drunken mess. Sidenote: On her way out, I was near the merch booth and she tried to take my vinyl with her! No sirree! Was there a random alien dude in the crowd? UH CHECK! Take a look at the video above to proof of my alien sighting! The volume in the place must have been so long it popped the microphone on the iPhone because there is no sound on the video unfortunately. Did the singer get a mouth full of blood because of a stage diver? Check! At one point is there so much mayhem in the place that the Riptides banner comes loose in behind Jeff? Check!
“Merry Christmas! Shitter’s full!” – Cousin Eddie
At this point, I honestly didn’t know what else could happen to this show. The stage is a mess, the singer is bleeding all over the place and the crowd is demanding for more. The band was on fire and they knew it was a special night. Plus their new album is killer!
You don’t see this happen at every show you play. They were super appreciative of what transpired. I asked Jeff after the show how he felt about it and he said he didn’t even know what the heck was going on half the time! At one point someone knocked over a drum or a drum mic and he was thinking “Aww what the heck man?” and then he realized “Wait a second! This is a punk show! This stuff is gonna happen!” And happen it did. That show will forever be etched in my memory and I don’t even know if the colliding forces of alcohol, parkas and Christmas cheer will ever occur again in our lifetime.
The Riptides before they realize they will tear up the place. Thanks for the show!
I’m not sure what this game was called but Sierra sure enjoyed it!
I never thought the snow hill at the park was anything to get excited about but I guess to a 19th month old kid, it’s the cat’s meow! It’s quite good as we don’t have too far to hike back up the hill.
Getting my exercise in.
I’m pretty sure this photo was taken from an Eddie Bauer catalogue. I love my new parka. My bones have become colder with age and this parka is a furnace!
I love how Sierra looks like she is going to fall off the back!
Sierra still loves going to the park in the middle of the winter.
She sure loves the slide!
Maman and Sierra enjoying a good day outside.
Here’s the thing about work parties. They never really end! Here’s my immediate team’s party which was at a local pool hall. I hadn’t played pool in years and it showed!
Someone is ready for Santa to arrive!
I’ve always wanted to bring Sierra to work on Christmas Eve as a lot of kids show up. Here she is in my office. This chair ended up being her ride around the building as I figured she would be too tired to walk everywhere.
Enjoying the scenery at the work pot luck breakfast. The security guards are quite smart and give her a visitor pass with my phone number on the back in case she gets lost. Plus, with it on her back, she isn’t trying to pull it off all the time!
Sierra loved the attention from everyone.
Mr. Ben showing Sierra his toys.
She was amazed at Mr. Etienne’s toy as well!
But the real winner was when Servo brought out some Legos for her to play with. Ibrahima helped her out.
After work, we dropped home and Vero wasn’t there yet so we decided to drop into the Losiers for a visit to drop off some gifts. Here is Max and Sierra checking out Max’s birthday gift: Star Wars Potato Heads!
Louise is really good at looking at the only camera in the room.
Rob and the family had us over for some hot chocolate.
I bet Vero hopes that Sierra will learn to not love this new game she found of riding on Vero’s foot!
It’s hard to get a good family photo when there is no one around to take your photo!
Apple cider and rye. Christmas is definitely here!
She’s not entirely talkative, but when she starts, she can’t stop!
Prepping some meat pies for Lynn and Sue’s on Christmas Day! They were nice enough to invite us considering it was our first Christmas where we didn’t head up North.
The lonely end of the rink.
We were fortunate enough to have friends invite us over for supper on Christmas Eve. We enjoyed a nice Chinese food meal with Krista, Ben, Ellie and Ethan along with Krista’s parents who were up for a few days. Unfortunately after I got home, I came down with the flu that didn’t let up for 24 hours! Christmas was quite different this year being away from family, but at least I got to know my bathroom a lot more.
Testing out Krista and Ben’s new tub. Their house was quite a nice upgrade from the old one.
While I was asleep on Christmas morning, Vero had to take care of Sierra upstairs around a bunch of wrapped gifts. She said she was in the bedroom at one point and heard a ‘rrrriippp’ and said “Oh no!” Sure enough, Sierra opened up the biggest gift she could find under the tree! Ah well, you can’t fault her…it was Christmas morning!
Later in the afternoon when I was feeling mobile, we started opening up stockings. Sierra scored big time with some soap and shampoo!
Look at how excited this kid is!
Look at the great gift Santa left me!
Remember, remember, the second Saturday of December…
I love Christmas with Sierra so far. Every time she sees something new in the house she says “Wowwwww”
For the past thirteen years we have hosted a Christmas party which is really code for an event that holds the Trivia Cup Challenge. Spoiler: the men won yet again. I’m not even sure if the women have ever beat the men in the Trivia Cup challenge.
Mandatory safety sign. Mina appreciated the Arabic message I left him.
Sierra quite likes the Winter wonderland at the neighbour’s house.
Out for a walk before the big party!
Prepping for the people.
At least they put good use to the stockings!
Master Yoda hanging out with the elves.
Winner of the best photo of the party goes to Ferda! Sierra was quite good at the party for the most part. I find it quite interesting how she calms down and just takes it all in…like she’s assessing the situation. However, around 8PM when it was 30 minutes past her bedtime, we realized she was ready for bed!
The greatest hostess along with a good looking man.
These two are an inspiration to us all. They went 40 minutes on this thing and were a sweaty mess afterwards!
Sierra plotting an exit.
“The reason I’m smiling is it is less than a week until the new Star Wars movie!”
One of this year’s challenges involved stacking these nuts while using candy canes. Neither team could accomplish it while we had the rule of ‘at least one member needs to hold the plate’. So when the five minutes were up, we decided to allow them to put the plate on the table and attempt it. It was quite the difficult challenge.
But the women won this one!
We blamed it on the lousy candy canes that were purchased. Sidenote: Check out how Andre’s arm is larger than William’s head! That is awesome.
The final challenge was going to be an exciting one as we were entering into a tie-breaker scenario. Whoever won this challenge, won the cup! Always an exciting time. We end up playing a variation of beer pong which had a tic-tac-toe element incorporated into it. One side had X’s on their ping pong balls, the other had O’s.
Bro vs. bro!
No surprise here, the men obliterated the competition and won the trivia cup (which Alex was drinking from during the time of this photo)
Great shot of us all.
Yet another great year for a Christmas party. Surprisingly we woke up to a few inches of snow the next morning! I didn’t make out too bad the next morning. Sierra slept in until 7am so it wasn’t that bad at all.
Sierra didn’t really care about Rudolph.
She did like the lights that Mom put up on the house. She also got to walk around the street and see everyone’s lights. As you can see, Ottawa doesn’t have any snow at the moment. I have to say no snow is a bummer, but at the same time makes things a little more convenient (like when you want to take a walk around the block with Sierra).
An elf showed up in the house to help us decorate!
Here is the elf helping with some decorations. We only broke one glass ball and then realized how silly it was to even try to have glass balls around the tree!
Master Yoda overseeing the operation.
Once again, the Vars Optimist Club arranged for Santa to visit the kids of the community and hand out some gifts. It was a fun event with all the kids singing Christmas carols. Note: I need to learn my Christmas carols in French! Sierra was very appreciative to be around all the kids having fun and wants to thank the Optimist Club for putting on an amazing event.
The fun didn’t end after the Santa event…there was still the tree lighting event at the Anglican Church! I had completely forgot about that as I cozied up in the living room with only the lights from the Christmas tree and a beer in hand. Good thing we remembered to head out! We love how everything is walking distance in Vars. We hung out on some hay bales and chatted with a few people while waiting for the tree to be lit up.
There it is in all its glory. The angel on the top even has a name…Angela! The firefighters help put it on top each year.
Too bad the phone doesn’t take great pictures at night. At least you can see the great moon that was out! It was a nice warm evening as well hovering around zero degrees. Sierra saw plenty of action this day and conked out pretty fast when we got home around 7:30pm. She has been waking up around 4:30am for ten minutes and going back to sleep, but she didn’t even do that last night so she must have been exhausted.