Tuesday March 31st, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: partners.

Made Kat a spaghetti squash pasta with halibut for dinner tonight. The tomatoes I roasted for the pasta sauce were a big hit and the fish was only a little bit overcooked - which isn't bad, considering we were dealing with Max having a before bed meltdown when I'd planned on getting it out of the oven.

Tomorrow morning I'm hoping to get our tomatoes and peppers started in the greenhouse. If that doesn't take too long I might even get out to the garden to do some weeding and mulching around the garlic plants.

It's getting to be that time of year again.


Through the years we've seen
it all, or close enough, and
I still love your smile

*     *     *

You're always by my
side; I can't wait for the day
this glue will wear off

Monday March 30th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the deposit.

Took some time this morning to get a few blossom pictures around the orchard. These, I believe, are peach blossoms (with an outside chance of them being nectarine blossoms):

And this is one of my plum blossom shots:

I'm basically sold on the new camera, I'm just delaying for no good reason at this point. I expect I'll have purchased it within the next couple of days now.

Most of the afternoon was spent with Max at his favorite park. Other than his complete lack of enjoyment of transitioning from one activity to the next, it was generally a good day for him.

Tomorrow is Kat's birthday, so I'm planning on cooking her dinner and spoiling her as much as possible.


The weight of the briefcase in my right hand feels like a lead ball. It slows me down, and hauling it around is exhausting. I know I can't keep it much longer. Dropping it and making a run for it is desperately tempting, but that would be tantamount to suicide.

So that's why I'm here. I guess. I wish it was somebody else, but they picked me. And there's no saying no to these people.

Still, I wish they'd gone with someone a little more experienced with this sort of thing.

This suit doesn't feel like mine. Like it was made for someone just a little bigger than me. Which makes sense, seeing as it's a rental. It's just that it's making me feel even more like a fraud, and that's not helping me. At all.

The last person in line in front of me disappears and suddenly I'm next. I concentrate on remembering to breath. And not dropping the briefcase. Act casual. Like I do this sort of thing every day. Like the money I'm carrying is mine. Like... okay, I'm focusing on too many things now.

Okay, I'm up. I can do this.

"Hello," the teller says with a generic smile. "How can I help you today?"

"I need to make a deposit." Good. Steady voice. Solid eye contact. Doing well. "There's, uh... not like, a maximum amount of... uh, cash... that I can do... that... with, right?"

Bloody hell.

Sunday March 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that is: limitless.

I was allowed to sleep until 7 this morning, which felt relatively glorious. And while I am still feeling the lingering effects of this cold, it's never gotten especially bad. So that's all good.

Max, on the other hand, is going through a rough stretch. I don't think he's sick, just dealing with a lot of stuff. Teething, moving around too much this last month, too many people coming and going, and just a general lack of routine.

We're hoping to get things back to basically normal this week as far as our schedules go, so hopefully that helps.


Dear Max,

There are some moments, some hours, some days that I am convinced that you are testing the limits. Of our rules, of your abilities, of gravity, of my patience.

That last one most of all, I am not proud to admit.

I know so much of this world must be incomprehensible to you. I know that, relatively speaking, you just got here and there's so much you've yet to learn. Like all the emotions surging through your body and the words you need to express them. I know, most of all, that you are innocent.

And sometimes I forget. I forget all that I know for just long enough for my patience to run out. I say things I immediately regret. I apologize afterward, I always do, but words seem inadequate.

There are other moments. Ones during which I see things differently. That you are utterly, blissfully unaware that limits are present. Why can't you climb that? Why not throw that? Why not try that, use that, touch that? Why not, really, do it all?

On those occasions I realize the truth: that you are limitless.

And a part of me, quite a large part of me actually, envies you. What a world to live in. What endless possibilities you must see.

And I am sorry to be one of the people who breaks the illusion. Know that I try not to do so unless it is necessary. And that I probably do it more than I need to, in my attempts to keep you safe. And know too that I do my best to encourage you onward, to preserve your belief in yourself and your endless abilities.

But most of all, know that I love you. Always.

Always and forever,

Your Dada

Saturday March 28th, 2015


Write a four line poem about: the tyrant.

Max woke up at 5 this morning. That about sums up the first half of my day.

After lunch I managed to get our taxes finished and sent off, which felt... better than waking up at 5. With that out of the way I took Max into town to get some groceries and visit the park. He's getting to be quite the little climbing monkey.


His unchallenged power
Keeps us away in fear;
All the while, secretly,
He really wants us near...

Friday March 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose which take place inside: the train station.

Today, at any rate, the cold hit Kat pretty hard. I'm still fighting it off and feeling fairly functional, but I was ready for bed before dinner was on the table. Obviously I've hit my second wind since then, as usual, but had I been given the opportunity to nod off my body would have gladly taken it.

Ugh, so little focus. I'm just going to get this writing done and go to bed.


"We better hurry up and get back on the train - that funny fellow with the hat definitely just yelled 'All aboard!' before he jumped up there."

"Ah, what's the rush? It was clearly a question and the answer is obviously no... I mean, look at all these people still on the platform with us!"

"I think maybe everybody else is catching a different train than... oh crap, it's pulling away!"

Thursday March 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: damage.

Natalie and her mom are flying back north tomorrow morning, so we had to say farewell to them this evening. It sounds like they're going to be back in July, on a permanent basis regardless of what happens with selling their house up there, so at least we've got that to look forward to.

Pretty sure that'll be little comfort to Max for the next couple of days, but we'll see how that goes.

Also: it would appear that Kat and I have come down with her brother's cold. It hasn't hit us as hard as it hit him so far, and I'm hoping that trend continues. Fingers crossed, at any rate.


The surface is unblemished
As I walk down the street;
A smile, a nod, a wave,
This lie is so, so complete.

Inside is where I carry
The hurt, the scars, the pain;
It's where I store the tears
That threaten to pour like rain.

I try to keep it together,
To keep the damage hidden...
But sooner or later, I know,
It will appear, unbidden.

Wednesday March 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Let us revisit the Random Book Prompt, shall we?

If you've got a bookshelf handy, grab a book as randomly as you like and use its opening line as your own. Otherwise Amazon's Look Inside feature is willing to help you find a first sentence to borrow.

Either way, give credit where it is due and then take that first line wherever your imagination tells you to. Mine is from a book I'm about halfway through, which appears to be a reasonable thing to say until I point out that it was a Christmas gift. From 2013.

I have got to make more time to read books.

I began work on filing our taxes this morning. Ugh. So much information required, so many questions to answer. So much paperwork to sort through. Between Kat and I, so many jobs to report on.

I really ought to figure out a better system for next year.


Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art by Christopher Moore

This is a story about the color blue. I felt you should know that up front. Confusion can be a terrible thing, and I'd hate to find out one day that this tale was the source of it for some poor, dumb, clueless soul.

Not that it would have been you, dear reader, had I declined to join Team Clarity right from the start. Of course not! You have an obvious intelligence about you, what with the firm, confident grip with which you have taken hold of this book and the, dare I say, spark in your eyes. No hand holding required with this one, no sirree. I'm wasting precious ink on some other witless wonder.

Okay? Your ego all good now? Then allow me, if you will, to continue.

Blue can represent many things. It is the color of countless objects, from the sky above us (where else would it be?) to the water in our lakes, oceans, and seas. Jeans, shirts, coats, hats, even shoes, if your fashion taste is... different than mine. All can be dyed that lovely hue.

It's a lot of ground to cover, isn't it? Other authors might be intimidated by such a subject matter. Not I, though. Not I. For I know that this tale, like any other, must begin at a single point. From there momentum builds and obstacles are scaled, dashed across, leapt over, or smashed. So without further ado, I shall commence with one blue thing (well, a pair to be precise) and then we can all sally forth and see where this blue road takes us.

The first thing I noticed about Marie Anderson was the color of her eyes.

Tuesday March 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the crunch.

Spent most of the day with Max, as Kat was doing work in the morning and then took Natalie to go pick up Natalie's mom from the Penticton airport this afternoon.

We had quite a bit of fun, between playing outside in the dirt with shovels and rakes and branches and ladders and toy tractors, and playing with his toys up at Kat's parents house. But I am ready for sleep now.

Which means I managed to outlast Max, who fell asleep around 6.


Did I hear a crunch?
I thought you were serving us
cheese plates for... dess... ert.

*     *     *

The deadline's looming
but my paper remains blank;
not time to start yet.

Monday March 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the balloon(s).

Dropped by the gym I worked at last winter this afternoon to pick up a form I need to do my taxes... whenever I can make time to do them. Max came with me so that Kat could do some work at home, and while we were waiting for my paperwork to be found in the bowling alley office Max spotted a balloon.

It was left behind after the most recent birthday party and, obviously, Max was encouraged to take it. He did so eagerly and we played with it for a while at the park before bringing it home, where more fun was had before dinner.

So there's your prompt inspiration.

This morning I spent a little bit of time in the apricot blossoms with the new camera. Other than a brief period where I thought I'd broken it (turned out I'd just accidentally switched it from instant single shots to a ten second timer...), I was quite happy with the results. Here's the one shot that really caught my attention:

I've probably taken very similar shots with my old camera, so it's easy for me to see how much more detail and clarity this one contains (click it for a bigger version). I still want to do a few more things with it, but I'd say there's little doubt now that I'll be purchasing this camera.


"So where's the birthday boy?"

"How the hell am I supposed to know? With all these balloons I can't see more than five feet in any direction!"

"Well, why did you order so many? There must be twice as many balloons as there are people in here."

"You can thank Roger for that, not me. He was worried our little Jeremy would feel bad about himself when only two or three kids showed up for his party."

"So he decided to make it impossible to tell how many people are here? That's great. Utterly brilliant."

"Tell me about it."

"Where is Roger, anyway? I need to give him a piece of my mind. And maybe a couple of needles so he can start making some space to breathe in here."

"How the hell am I supposed to know?"

Sunday March 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the suspension.

This afternoon I finally got my hands on that new (to me) camera that I mentioned a while back. I'm going to take some time to try it out and see how I like it, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up buying it. I'll try to share at least a few results of my test run with you guys.

I think I'll start with a visit to the apricot blossoms tomorrow morning, if the weather agrees. Without Max, this time.

He's hogged enough of the spotlight for now, thank you very much.


The college's chemistry laboratory was quiet, it being a Saturday night in July. All of the usual suspects were off on summer vacation, and those students and teachers stuck doing school work during the hottest months of the year were out partying, or recovering from partying. Most of them, at least.

I was there, amongst the beakers and test tubes and mystery substances. And it was no party. I just wanted to check in on a few experiments I was conducting... off the record, so to speak.

Approaching the work station furthest from both the door and the windows, I took one final look around before taking the small silver key out of my pocket. Into the lock on the cabinet it went and a quick twist later I was in.

My breath grew rapid, despite my best efforts to remain calm, as I pulled away the cloth which covered the three glass beakers I had come to visit. The one on the left contained a clear red liquid, the middle a pale green liquid, and on the right...

"Perfect." The smile on my lips had a life of its own, springing to life without my permission or even awareness. I almost reached out to touch the beaker holding the blue liquid but I managed to control myself. Just in time, most likely.

For the liquid was no longer alone inside its prison. No, there were now three black balls of something suspended in the blue. As I crouched there watching, one of them clearly grew larger.

"Perfect," I breathed again. Then I returned the cloth, locked the cabinet, and hurried back to the hallway. Still empty, luckily for me. Without a backward glance I moved for the exit, for the outdoors, for my car, for the safety that only a few hundred miles of road could provide.

Saturday March 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the petting zoo.

This afternoon Kat, Kat's brother, and myself took Max and Natalie to check out a petting zoo that's just recently opened a little north of Oliver. The animals were pretty cool - chickens, goats, ponies, horses, ducks, bunnies, alpacas, a bull, even a lizard - but they didn't hold the kids' attention for long.

No, that honor went to the rain puddles and the play area. Especially the toddler-sized houses. They both had toy sinks in them, but the one that had the toy microwave was the clear favorite. It wasn't long before they were serving up microwaved fake flowers for the parents.

Good times.

Oh, hey. I promised you guys a picture. The picture of Max, perhaps. Here you go:

God dammit, he's adorable.

Sorry. Right. Back on target. Time to get writing.


This is not what I expected,
These are not the correct creatures.
I did not pay just to observe
High school kids behind the bleachers...

Friday March 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the cameraman. Or camerawoman. It matters not to me.

Today's prompt inspired by a little photo expedition I took to the orchard to capture this year's apricot blossoms. More specifically, by my assistant:

I let Max take shots on my iPhone while I used my camera. I ended up taking 14 pictures, while he tallied 70. Oh, right - it was 68 pictures and 2 short, accidental videos. Some of them were actually pretty cool, in my opinion. Like this one:

I've got a couple more pictures of Max, and one in particular is just... I love it. I'll share it tomorrow, but for now I want to treasure it and indulge my greediness by keeping it to myself (and Kat).


He captures history with a serenity that belies the turmoil seething within him. His camera holds steady, whether it is focused on a rare piece of art in a silent museum in New York or a firefight in the chaotic streets of a remote Eastern European village.

The reporters he works with admire his courage and professionalism and technical expertise.

And have not even the slightest suspicion that he plans to create some history of his own... one day.

Thursday March 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: Tumbleweed Alley.

Inspired by all the tumbleweed that has collected along the fence between our home and Kat's parents house.

It was another warm day here, but it was difficult to appreciate with that cold wind rip roaring all over the place. So, of course, while I was taking care of Max and Natalie for a couple hours after lunch, they really wanted to play outside.

I should have worn more layers. Like, all the layers.

Max spent the day playing with Natalie, from shortly after breakfast until just before dinner. Not surprisingly, he was asleep not long after the last bite of dinner went in his mouth. I'm hoping that doesn't mean an extra early start to the day tomorrow morning.


It's a place for cowboys who are down on their luck. Old hands and young lads who've ended up stuck. Try as they might, they just can't seem to make a buck. If it wasn't so dusty here they'd be covered in muck.

Was it greed? Were there warning signs they refused to heed? Some terrible, unmentionable deed? What could lead these broken down souls to this land of tumbleweeds?

No one I have met seems to be able to say. But I shall hazard a guess, if I may. I may? Well then, what I have to guess goes this way: they had a debt that they could not pay.

Wednesday March 18th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the adventure.

Because Max is very much into declaring things like 'It's an adventure day!' these days. Also: whenever we're on a playground and there is a steering wheel to be found, he will spin it and say 'We're going on an adventure day!'

Speaking of playgrounds, we took Max and Natalie to our favorite local park this afternoon. It was a ridiculously nice day for this time of year - if I'd been just a little more confident in the temperatures away from our deck I would have been in t-shirt and shorts. As is, I grabbed a sweater (which was left in the car the whole time) and went with t-shirt and jeans.

The kids enjoyed climbing and swinging and the usual assortment of fun, but of course we ended up on the beach throwing rocks into the lake:

I had a good time too, running into a few parents and children we know. But the period when Kat was off buying groceries and I was left in charge of two toddlers was... challenging.


In the end, it was Daniel who asked the question that officially marked our outing as an adventure.

We'd left home shortly after sunrise that morning, venturing out into the woods that bordered the southern edge of our town. Our bags were stuffed full of food and water - we weren't idiots, despite all other indications - and a cloudless sky looked down on us.

The trails we followed had been beaten flat by countless animals, both large and small, predators and prey. It wasn't long before the trees blocked the nearest houses from sight. That was my favorite part of all our treks, that sense that we were the only three people on the planet.

We didn't talk much. I don't know about the others, but I honestly felt like I had nothing useful to say. I'd rather listen to the birds and the wind playing with the leaves. So that's what I did. But, eventually, Daniel broke the silence. Someone had to, sooner or later, and it might as well be to confirm the day's activities were absolutely, without question, an adventure.

"Where are we?"

Tuesday March 17th, 2015

The exercise:

It's St. Patrick's Day, so write two haiku about: Ireland.

Ah, home again. Not planning on travelling anywhere else for the foreseeable future.

Had a very smooth road trip from Vancouver. Mid-day on a Tuesday in mid-March is definitely a good time to make that drive, as there was hardly any traffic to speak of.

We went straight to Kat's parents house when we got here, where Max's cousin Natalie was awaiting his arrival. Max was more interested in playing with his toys, and wasn't especially keen to share them. Oh well, she's here for a week, so there's plenty of time for them to start playing nicely together once again.

Tomorrow... I'll have to remember what needs doing around here. It's been awhile.


Home of unending
green, one of the loveliest
lands I've ever seen

*     *     *

For one day each year
the whole wide world unites and
we are all Irish

Monday March 16th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with being: atop the tower.

Greetings from the 29th floor of the Century Plaza Hotel in Vancouver:

That's looking down from our room, taken on my camera. I've got shots of the view during the day on my phone but they haven't made the leap to the computer yet. And, yeah, it's not quite the very top of the building... but it's pretty bloody close.

Had a successful journey from the island to here. We stopped in Courtenay to pick up some lunch and snacks for Kat and Max, took the scenic route for most of the way to the ferry (had to cut in to the faster route to make sure we got there in time), had a smooth ride to the mainland, and then stopped for a walk in Stanley Park on the way to the hotel.

We went out for dinner before hustling to get Max back to our room before he fell asleep in his stroller. Now we're resting up for the last leg of this trip, which should hopefully see us back in Osoyoos by mid-afternoon tomorrow.

It'll be good to be home again.


"Your room is on the 29th floor."

I was not expecting that. The discount site I used to book the hotel said that our room type was located between the 6th and 25th floor. I had hoped for somewhere around the 20th, in order to get away from the sound of downtown traffic and for a nicer view.

The 29th floor though? I was thrilled. My first thought was along the lines of 'I can't wait to see the view!'

And it is spectacular. Absolutely. But, having never had a room this high up before, there was one thing I wasn't counting on.

Whatever the hell is going on with my balance.

I feel like I've been on a boat for the last three days and I'm trying to get my land legs back. I honestly don't know if it's entirely mental (I don't really care for heights all that much - I wouldn't call it a full on fear, but it's certainly not my favorite) or if it's something to do with being up this high. I'm guessing it's the former.

Anyway. The effect is starting to wear off, so maybe I'm getting used to it. And the view really is incredible.

I think I'll just try to stay focused on that.

Sunday March 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the treasure.

Because, somehow or another, I've yet to use that as a prompt.

Also: I managed to finish going through the boxes of my old stuff that were waiting for me in the garage and in the computer/office room. I really didn't think I'd have the time to sort through everything, but I got there. Definitely had trouble putting more than a few items into the discard pile, but I just kept reminding myself that no matter how nice it would be to keep certain items... they'd just end up back in a box or on a shelf, forgotten or ignored.

I picked out a bag's worth of stuff (my own limit) to bring back with us. It's mostly things for Max, but I did find a couple items that should come in handy for me in Osoyoos. I'm also leaving behind three bins worth of things that I'm getting my parents to continue to store for me.

If you think that's a lot, please be aware that there were something like ten or eleven boxes when I started.

Anyway. We're catching the ferry back to Vancouver tomorrow, where we'll be splurging on a hotel for the night before finishing the drive home to Osoyoos on Tuesday.

Not particularly looking forward to Max having to part ways with Nana and Pop in the morning.


Crap. Garbage. Garbage. Crap. What the... oh.

Why would I even keep this in the first place? It should have been tossed in the trash twenty years ago.

Twenty years. God, that's more than half my life.

Nope. Not going down that road, thank you very much. Keep on target. Keep... on... target.

Crap. Garbage. Can't possibly still work. Probably never did. Crap. Ugh, embarrassing. Where's the paper shredder again?

There, that's a satisfying sound, isn't it? Now, where was I? Oh. Right.

Garbage. Garbage. Garbage. Gar... wait, what's this? Oh, man. I played with this little car so much when I was a kid. Just utterly loved the colors. Always ran so smooth. I can't believe it's still in such good shape.

That's one for the keeper pile - Max will get it after we're back home. It'll be so neat to see him playing with it.


Crap. Garbage. Crap. Garbage. Crap...

Saturday March 14th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: unknown.

Max woke up at 5 this morning and would not go back to sleep. Argh.

I needed to go back to bed after Kat woke up, which meant we were late meeting up with my friend and her daughter. We still had a good time together, though it was certainly shorter than I'd hoped. There was talk of meeting up either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, but Max having a nap that lasted an hour and a half eliminated one of those options.

He would have slept for even longer but I needed to wake him up in order to get to our dinner reservation on time.

My parents took us to The Breakwater, one of my favorite area restaurants. It was very tasty, though we did have a long wait between the appetizers and the main course, thanks to our order falling out of sight somewhere in the kitchen.

Thankfully Max was in fine post-nap form, and was quite happy to spend the entire wait exploring the restaurant. Our waitress was also really great with him, taking extra care with his dietary needs. Though I'm not sure all those ice cubes he ate really qualify as a need...


My crystal ball is cloudy,
What comes next is lost to me.
The future is uncertain -
I guess that what will be, will be...

Friday March 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the obstacle course.

Kat is having a mini-reunion this weekend with some classmates from her online counseling course she graduated from almost two years ago. One of them lives here in Comox, another is driving down from Victoria, I think one is coming over from Vancouver, and the other two are flying in from Calgary. She's been looking forward to this for a while now, and it began just before lunch.

While she was busy doing that, I had couple of high school friends over this afternoon. Max was in full on Shy Mode for most of the visit, so he didn't play much with my friend's three year old daughter. I think he was getting tired before they even showed up, so that didn't help.

Anyway, I still enjoyed seeing them both again. Getting together with another old friend and her daughter tomorrow, and I'm hoping that Max will be feeling a little more up for that.


Her instructions are clear. She's even demonstrated how it's done. Jump three times, here, here, and here, and you will receiver her approval - though the consequences of failure have been left worryingly vague.

I do as she says, because who wants to argue with a three year old girl?

Thursday March 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the memory box.

Spent part of the day going through boxes of my old stuff that were moved from the old house. There's not really space for it here, so it's a matter of choosing which stuff can be: a) donated, b) recycled, c) trashed, d) kept here until I have space for it at my own house, and e) kept and brought home this trip.

So far it's been a whole lot of b and c, with a little bit of a, d, and e. It's slow going though, because it's pretty much impossible for me to not linger over items that trigger so many memories. I'd honestly forgotten about so much of that stuff.

Anyway, prompt inspiration.


It appears so plain and unimportant on the outside. As though nothing of interest could possibly reside within. Neglect me, it seems to say. Let dust conceal my existence from the outside world.

But I see you. I know exactly where you are. More importantly, I know what you hold inside your walls.

There is only one question left for me to answer now. Standing here before this simple box I'm still unsure of my answer. It is not a complicated question, but it fills me with doubt and leaves me deeply, deeply conflicted.

It is a question with only two possible answers. That's all. I can feel the two sides battling inside my skull, crashing into each other before swirling away into chaos as they prepare their next attack. It should not be this difficult to answer such a seemingly straightforward question.

Deep breath. Deep breath.


Should I open it?

Wednesday March 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: direction.

Bit of a rainy, dreary kind of day here, which meant not a whole lot of time outdoors. I did, however, take Max bowling after lunch with my parents while Kat was finishing up her online course.

He had a great time (until he started getting tired), not caring about silly things like knocking pins over, or even getting balls all the way down the lane. Plus he was an excellent cheerleader whenever he wasn't trying to bowl or bowl out of turn.


I'm lost in the forest,
A compass spinning in my hand;
Need to find a way out
Of this dark, godforsaken land.

How can I figure out
Which way is east, west, up or down?
How am I supposed to
Find my way to the nearest town?

Hunger and thirst haunt me,
While unseen beasts sniff at my tracks.
Do they miss me back home...
Or have I fallen through the cracks?

Tuesday March 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the bakery.

Max decided that 6am was get out of bed time this morning. I disagreed, but my vote doesn't really count in that poll, so up we got.

Thankfully my parents were around to entertain him so I dumped him handed him into their care and went back to bed shortly after 9. I eventually dragged myself out of bed again a little before noon. That was... much needed, and much appreciated.

This afternoon we went exploring and found ourselves in a kid's store, unsurprisingly. We bought Max a toy box that can be collapsed for travel which... is pretty much the only way we were going to get him a toy box on this trip. Looking forward to getting that home and using it to tidy up the living room. For as long as he's sleeping or out of the house.

Before dinner we took Max to a playground that's just a short walk from here. His Pop had quite a good time pushing him on the swing and, judging by his maniacal (and a little overtired) laughter, Max enjoyed it as well.


That constant smell of
fresh baked goods would just destroy
my hard-won waistline

*     *     *

Buns, breads, and pastries -
their secret ingredient?
Sweet, sweet, pure cocaine.

Monday March 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the bribe.

We had a pretty smooth trip to Comox today, despite fog surrounding the ferry all the way across the straight. The plan had been to visit the Vancouver Aquarium in the morning before catching the ferry, but we ended up being too tight for time. Hopefully we can take Max there another day, when we won't have to be so rushed.

It's weird to be at home with my parents, but not really feel like I'm home. Going to have to drive by the old place at some point, just to see it.

For now, Max is having fun entertaining his Nana and Pop and we're looking forward to getting settled in and having a proper rest.


No price is too high,
Nor too many tears be wept
When it comes time
For a secret to be kept.

Some targets can be
Harder to buy than others;
If they're too tough
Try the sisters or brothers.

Everyone has it,
There's always ways to entice;
Sooner or later,
You'll find we all have our price.

Sunday March 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Knowing that it's extremely unlikely that I'd get to it tomorrow (we're catching the ferry to the island around lunch time and arriving at my parents place late afternoon), we're going to see what's going on with The Colony today.

Spent time in both the morning and afternoon at a local park with Max, as he was not ready to leave the house when Kat had to go. It was a lot of fun: a warm, sunny day, lots of kids around, and plenty of equipment that was a good size for Max to play on.

So of course he spent most of the afternoon kicking a ball (that we borrowed from a group of kids) around the field.

Heading for Comox tomorrow. Except not the house I grew up in, as my parents moved to another place since we last visited. When Max was 4 months old.

It's going to be... different.


I have to give Robbie credit, despite all that happened today. He's actually a pretty good driver.

The terrain here is treacherous, to say the least. With all those boulders and jagged rocks it could easily have been a jolting, crashing ride out to the Alpha and Beta drops, full of flat tires and punctured gas tanks. But it was quite smooth, relatively speaking, and Robbie managed to avoid banging up the buggy too noticeably.

That doesn't make up for what we discovered on our first foray onto the Red Planet... but I guess it's something.

We reached the Alpha drop site with no issues. No vehicular problems, no unexpected terrain in our way, no Martians. Though I'm pretty sure Robbie was at least a little disappointed about that last one.

Anyway, I could tell almost immediately that there was something wrong with the container. The only visible damage was a long, jagged crack in the exterior, but it was enough. I guess the sensors back on Earth weren't strong enough to pick up on it, but that bad boy was completely empty, its contents likely floating out among the stars after making touchdown with too much force.

"At least there are five more," I remember Robbie saying with a shrug.

What if they're all like this?, I remember thinking.

We got back in the buggy and he brought us safely to the Beta drop site, maneuvering around craters and boulders with a surprising gracefulness. The damage on that container was more subtle. In fact, I didn't even notice it - that honour goes to Patrick, the third member of our search crew.

"The lock's been busted," he said, standing in front of the door with his head tilted to the side.

He must have meant it happened in flight, or that the landing was again at fault. I mean, it's not like someone or something had purposely done it after it had arrived, right? But I didn't get a chance to ask. Or even inspect it myself.

Because that was when Robbie noticed the dust storm headed our way.

Saturday March 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: cat(s).

The clocks are going forward an hour overnight, so I should get to bed.

I'll just say today went fairly well, with only a few difficult moments taking care of Max on my own for most of it. A lot of fun was had too, of course, and a visit from a couple friends helped a lot. It's always a nice break when Max has someone else to focus on for a little while.

Not sure what tomorrow will hold in store for us. We might join Kat in North Vancouver and enjoy the parks over there while she's in training, or we might stick around here and see what kind of trouble we can get into closer to where we're staying.

Either way... I should get some sleep.


He roams these streets,
Seemingly alone -
But I know that
He does have a home.

Friday March 6th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: fumes.

Had a delightfully slow paced morning, just lazing around the house while our hosts were off working and traveling (Alex was working, Megan was on her way to Vernon for a ringette tournament, of all things - she'll be back Sunday night). Max kept himself entertained by exploring all the 'toys' in the house while Kat and I recovered from yesterday's drive.

And, you know, maybe the last two weeks or so.

Kat met up with a friend for lunch and then the four of us got together to go for a walk. It's been an early spring here in Vancouver, and a lot of the cherry blossoms are out already, not to mention various flowers. It was a warm, lovely walk, that ended up taking us by the place Kat and I lived... when this blog began, actually. I'd forgotten that.

It was neat to see the old house, and even nicer to roam our old neighborhood. Kat's spending most of the next two days doing an outdoor education course, so Max and I will have plenty of time to continue our explorations in the big city.


"We're running on fumes here, man."

"I know, but we just need to get a little bit farther."

"You're pushing it... you know that, right?"

"Shut up already and help me pick a color to paint Mr. Fuller's poodle - this prank has gotta be the one to push him over the edge!"

Thursday March 5th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the parrot.

Safe and sound with friends in Vancouver tonight. The drive went fairly well, with only a couple of extra stops to get Max out of his car seat.

I've already fallen asleep once on the couch, so I should get this done before the lights go out again.


I feel as though I must admit something at long last. It is a weight that I've carried with me for far too many years. It is time, I say, to lighten the load.

So here it is: I do not understand these people.

Not one bit.

They drink and curse and are always brandishing their pointy weapons. Their hygiene leaves a lot to be desired. If they're awake, they're looking for a fight. They have an unhealthy obsession with treasure. Don't get me wrong on that last one - gold and jewels and all that are great, truly. But with these guys it's nearly all they think about!

That doesn't seem healthy.

And, I mean honestly, what is with this insistence that their leader have a parrot on his shoulder at all times? Why? And why must they dress me up like them?

Which just leads to another question, doesn't it?

Which one of these foul beasts sewed my tiny bandana and eye patch? And didn't he know that both of my eyes work just fine, thank you very much?

Wednesday March 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: pure.

Today was a bit of a car maintenance day in preparation for our road trip. I changed the oil, topped up the windshield washer fluid, checked the air in the tires, and... tried to renew the insurance. Unfortunately ICBC's site was down while I was at the insurance place, so I'll have to try again tomorrow morning before we head out of town.

Our insurance runs out at midnight tomorrow night, so worst case scenario I'll have to find somewhere to do it in Vancouver after we arrive there.

We're basically packed up and ready to go, so fingers crossed for a smooth travel day. I don't have time to schedule a post for Thursday, but hopefully I'll have an opportunity at some point to get one done at a reasonable time.

All right, I should get some sleep.


Sky the color of your eyes
When you first entered this world.
They've changed since then to match mine,
And your hair has finally curled...
But this isn't about now,
And I'm sure that you know that.
So just sit with me a spell,
Quit hiding under your hat.
Life moves quick enough as is,
We don't need to rush it on.
Let's reflect for a short while,
Before all we know is gone...

Tuesday March 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the maid.

That... was a long day of cleaning and packing. I'd list everything I did but just thinking about it makes me tired, and I am plenty tired enough already.

Tomorrow we prepare for our road trip.

Thursday we depart.

Tonight I sleep.


I change your sheets, I
wash your clothes, and I know all
your dirty secrets.

*     *     *

She's a very good
worker, but she knows too much.
James... release the hounds.

Monday March 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the donation.

We didn't accomplish as much as I'd hoped to in the bathroom reno department today, but we did manage to put together a proper attic access point. So no more drafty hole in the ceiling, which is definitely a plus. It'll need to be caulked and painted at some point, but it's something.

I'll be spending most of tomorrow cleaning up the house in Kaleden and collecting the remainder of our things. Kat will be with the kids, teaching her last session before spring break, so I should have plenty of time to get everything done.

Famous last words, right?


Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to thank you for your very generous donation.

I would also like to apologize for the vague salutation that began this letter. You see, I was unable to decipher your handwriting to the point where I could actually read your name. The same goes for at least eight of my coworkers.

A few of us thought your name might be Rachel, another suggested Louis, Mike in accounting was sure it was Boris, and the janitor was absolutely adamant that it was Donatello.

Regardless of whatever your name may be, I shall say again: thank you.

There is, I must admit, one other reason for the letter you now hold in your hands. Or have spread open upon your dinner table. Or coffee table. Or dog.

I'm not here to judge you.

You see, there have been questions raised about the validity of your donation. There are some in my office that, yes, believe it to be a prank. The brainchild of a demented mind. A right, royal, dick move, as it were.

Please accept my deepest, most sincere apologies if any of this offends you.

At any rate, it would be greatly appreciated if, at your earliest convenience, you could confirm the dollar amount written on your cheque. Preferably before I am forced to walk into a bank and attempt to deposit it.

I shall anxiously await your reply. And I will keep my fingers crossed that you do, in fact, have the promised 'eleventy billion dollars' in your bank account.

Scroo Yu Jurq

Sunday March 1st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the blunder.

Took the day off renovation work, which was... badly needed. Hoping to get a good chunk of what remains done tomorrow morning.

Which is being made possible by the fact that Kat's dad retired from his off the farm job last week. So that means he's a) available, and b) looking for something to do. Though, with the way things go around the farm, it's unlikely he'll have much trouble finding things to keep him busy.

I'm just glad our bathroom is what currently has his attention.


A perfect, starry night,
Everything's going right.
We're walking hand in hand
Barefoot on the cool sand;
With no one else around,
Love has space to be found.

We pause to watch a boat,
I quickly drop my coat.
One foot spreads it around,
I suggest we lay down.
Things must have gone astray -
Now she's running away...