A small detour…

A few days ago, the city closed the pedestrian bridge at Summerhill (and MacLennan) in order to tear it down and replace it. Since then I’ve been trying to find a way across the railroad tracks that doesn’t involve taking a major road. And I’ve totally failed. So from now until September 28th, I’ll be biking down Bayview and turning right on Nesbitt before dispy-doodling my way over to Glen Road. It’s not my favourite route, since the traffic on the Bayview Extension is going a fair bit faster than I’ld like to, and the lane isn’t wide enough to share at those speeds (and the right-hand side of the lane is brutally cracked and very difficult to ride on, particularly at 50 km/h), but I still think it’s better than Mt. Pleasant.

Looking closer at the map, there might be another route, if I can get into the path leading South from David A. Balfour park… Yeah, that might be a route to try on my way home tonight. I’ll reply with a comment, letting both of the people who read this know how it was. ;)

The Tour de Dufflet

This year, Amy and I decided to try the Tour de Dufflet. Okay, so it was more like I decided to try the Tour de Dufflet, and convinced Amy to come along with me, but that’s the same, right? I took a few notes12345 on which routes would be less likely to have a lot of traffic on them, and after my parents picked up Delphine and Cordelia, we set out. 46 km and 4 hours later, we arrived home, tired, sore, and full. I think it was mostly a success, although Amy was certainly done having fun by the time we were on the third leg. The stats were as follows:

  • Average speed: 15.0 km/h
  • Total distance: 46.18 km
  • Biking time: 3:04:32
  • Total time (including eating cake): around 4 hours.

I’ve got to say, I’m really pretty impressed with how well Amy did. To go from virtually no bicycling to a 46 km trek (and a 46 km trek with a self-admitted speed freak) is something that a lot of people would skip out on, or avoid, but she went for it, and went faster than I hoped she would. Would we do it again next year? My guess is no, since it wasn’t a lot of fun at the end. On the other hand, if Amy continues to bike throughout the year, she might just go for it, to see if it’s gotten any easier. (I’m hoping to do it next year, as you might have guessed from the url of the post.)

  1. The notes went as follows: “Forman -> Eglinton -> Mt. Pleasant -> Sheldrake -> Yonge”, 

  2. “Craighurst -> Rosewell -> Default -> Bloor -> Manning -> Queen” 

  3. “??? (Ended up being Strachan) -> Martin Goodman Trail -> Woodbine” 

  4. “Dundas -> Greenwood -> Strathmore -> Donlands -> Mt. Pleasant -> Laird -> Broadway -> Yonge” 

  5. and finally “Yonge -> Broadway -> Redpath -> Soudan -> Forman” to get home again. 

Graduation Videos

Here is Cordelia watching, bemused, as everyone else participates in "Sticky Bubblegum":

And here is Delphine and her class performing a chant about recycling:

Conversations with Delphine, Part XV: Shouted and Written

Delphine and Cordelia have really started fighting in earnest, sibling-style, lately. Previously they got in little tiffs about who should play with which toy, or who should be on what side of the bath — sensible stuff — but now they just bicker for the sake of it. The other day I heard this:

Delphine: "You're a pest! You're Ramona!"
Cordelia: "No I not Ramona! I not in a book!"
Delphine: "Yes you are!"
Cordelia: "This in't a book!"

But later that same day Delphine retreated to her room for half an hour and emerged with four pages stapled together with a drawing of a princess to colour in, some dotted lines to trace over and letters to copy. It was an activity book for Cordelia, and on the first page she titled it "UORVAREFRSTBOKK". ("Your Very First Book") She spent all that time and thought to do something nice for her sister. That's how I know she really loves her, even though she is a pest.

Delphine's writing is progressing (although as you can see she doesn't know about spaces between words, internal vowels are sporadic, and she prefers ALL CAPS) and she loves to write things down. The trend now is to let little kids just write things down anyhow and work on spelling later; it's called inventive spelling and for me it mainly reinforces how difficult and random the English language is.

Yesterday Delphine decided she wanted to write down some girl names that she liked, in case she has a girl baby. Here is what she came up with:

GORLS (That's the title.)
GABREELA (Gabriella)
MEGIMN (Megan)
LVEA (Livia)
HEG (Hedge — I don't know why this is on her list)
LENDA (Linda)

More pictures.

I’ve recently installed a new version of Sketches, and today Delphine asked if we could draw another picture. So we did. Then we emailed it to Amy, and I got Delphine to tell me what letters to write for her sentence. (I also told her about putting a space between each word, which is something that Ms. Hollister said that we could tell her about if we wanted.)

The sentence was “Ths is a heis on a hil wth to bsis.”, which I’m sure you can all read as “This is a house on a hill with two bushes.”.

An Inconvienient Ride

I knew when I woke up this morning that it would be an annoying ride in. It was raining fairly hard, but there was a breakfast at The Bike Joint, and they usually have one of the better breakfasts. It’s the same coffee, muffins, bagels, and fresh fruit as filling. As it turns out, this year they got an espresso machine, so instead of the normal coffee, I had a very nice latte along with my chocolate chip muffin, but along the way I got almost completely soaked and tore a hole in the crotch of my biking jeans. The hole wasn’t a complete surprise; the other side had gone a couple of weeks ago, and I had patched it with some old t-shirt. I guess it’s time to re-do the patch, and extend it to cover both sides.

Anyways, I got there, had some coffee and a muffin, and as I got on my bike after crossing the street when I noticed that my rear wheel didn’t really feel right. I looked behind me and found that it had gone completely flat while I was standing around eating breakfast. I wheeled the bike back to the store, Derrick replaced the tube, and I was on my way just as it started to rain again. And then my front light fell off and broke into three pieces. Fortunately, that was easy enough for me to snap back together, and be on my way once more.

After all that, I ended up being late for the 10:00am Status Meeting at work, which was the cherry of annoyance on top of the annoying ride.

The rest of the day, so far, has gone much better. I listening to a not-particularly-interesting talk about bicycle touring at MEC, and while I was there bought a bell. My current bell works just fine, but it’s one of the ding-ding ones, and no-one seems to recognize it as a bike bell, so I got one that goes ringggg-ringgg, which is the canonical bike bell noise, and I hope that’ll help. Work is good too, if a little busier than I might like. And I finally got emacs working with Markdown pretty much the way I want, so all in all, woot!

(Update: The ride home went mostly well, although there were spatters of rain throughout the trip. Around Sherbourne and Bloor, my rear tire started to slow wayyyy down, and then stop. When I flipped the bike over, I noticed that it was jammed right up against the frame, so I loosened it, straightened it, re-tightened it, and kept on going. Still, that’s never happened to me before, and was pretty strange.)

Cordelia Grows Up

On Friday, Cordelia (who is two and eight months) decided she was done wearing diapers and wanted to wear underwear. She has decided to wear underwear before with mixed results, but this time she was really adamant about not wearing diapers, not even pull-ups. So she wore underwear, I accompanied her to the bathroom after meals and her nap, and she went the whole day without an accident. Saturday she had three accidents but mostly because we weren't on the ball with taking her to the bathroom at regular intervals. Notably, after her first accident, Blake (who didn't yet understand the depth of her determination to wear underwear) tried to put her in a diaper and she was mortified! She was furious and miserable until I explained to her that she could wear underwear and everyone has accidents. Since Saturday she hasn't had any accidents.

On top of that, in Saturday we sold her crib, the one the people at work bought for Delphine, and now Cordelia is sleeping in the toddler bed. She is big! She will get really mad if you call her "little".

So that's it, I don't have any babies any more.

Delphine is Five

Delphine turned five this Saturday, and we had a party on the deck. Delphine invited five of her friends, and between food and cleaning up and decorating and games and loot it was almost as much work as a grown-up party. But now the house is clean! Ish.

The night before her birthday, Delphine slept over at Baba and Zaida's house. Baba wanted to take Delphine to Science Rendezvous in the morning, and I had a book club meeting Friday night, so a sleepover was advantageous for all.

Saturday dawned bright but not as early as usual; we had put Cordelia down early on Friday so between that and not having Delphine around to wake her, she slept in until 7:45. (Did you know if you put your kids to bed earlier they sleep later? Weird but true.) We got up and leapt into action; Blake and Cordelia picked up flowers and bread and pickles, I cleaned up and made egg salad and iced cupcakes and put up the daisy decorations Delphine had made. After lunch we put Cordelia down for an early nap, and Auntie Morgan came over to help out.

The party started at 2:00, and Delphine only got home a few minutes before that in time to put on her new red party dress. All the partiers arrived on time —Ursa, Erika, Tina, Sydney, and Athena, and four out of the five Mums stayed, which was cool; also in attendance were Baba and Zaida and Auntie Morgan and Uncle Erik — and we got into the swing of things: crafts, a treasure hunt (the treasure was wrapped boxes of Nerds), some dancing games (they didn't seem to enjoy those much), Pass the Parcel (that was a huge hit), and of course little sandwiches, chips, cake, ice cream and jelly (Jell-o, except made with real juice). (That was a really long sentence with altogether too much punctuation.) There was a good bit of random running around the backyard, too, which was more popular than I expected.

Delphine mostly had a good time — she got mad at me when I didn't take her suggestion for a music game (who knew "Row Row Row Your Boat" was even a game?) but otherwise it was nice. There is some weird bullying/power abuse going on with one of the girls and we tried to ameliorate that as much as we could, but Delphine wasn't directly involved so it didn't seem to bother her. We'll have the "victim" over for a playdate sometime to make her feel more welcome and loved. (She — the victim — is a very intensely affectionate little girl, and that annoys the others a bit, and so they are mean to her – they say she can't play with them. Not surprisingly she's also intensely emotional so she takes it seriously when someone says something hurtful. It's a mess; I'm so glad I'm not a little girl any more! That sucked!)

Anyway, apart from that the party was a hit, and Delphine got some great presents and had a lovely day.

In addition to turning five, she has also grown two centimeters in the last month, and she can now read upside-down. Well, she can't properly read books and stuff, but she's getting pretty good at picking out individual words as long as their spelling is "standard". I guess the memorization of non-standard words really begins once you start reading in earnest and encounter those words more. (Although of course she can read "one" and "two" which are non-standard, so I guess she has already started to build up that database.) She's working on learning to ride a bike without training wheels, and to skip. Five is going to be a very exciting year!

Shrinking Habitats of Eight-Year-Olds

Okay, more on the free-range kids thing. Look at this map, showing how the habitat of an English eight-year-old has shrunk in four generations; it's wild!

It's from this article.

My mother, as a child, was one of those "get out of the house and don't come back until six o'clock" kids but my brother and I stayed more close to home. The best bit was when "home" was five acres of land.