Archive for May, 2006

Cycling through Nature’s obstacle course

Tonight I decided (smog advisory and humidex be damned!) to ride over to my girlfriend's house to drop some stuff off.  She's only 5 kms away so it wasn't a big deal.  I made it there in 18 minutes.  On the way home I decided to clock a route that I ran last week.  I don't normally run but I'm terribly bored with my current fitness routine and decided to shake things up.  I don't normally run because I hate running so you can see, I was pretty desperate for change.  The route that I ran is mainly on a nature trail.  I started out on my bike, computer dutifully recording the mileage and things were looking good.  I figured I might see one of the rabbits we've seen back there but there were only birds.  Then the first obstacle started: gnats.  Anyone that's ever cycled or run (oh hell, even walked) through a cloud of gnats knows how friggin' annoying they can be.  One wrong breath and you've got gnat-filled nostrils.  After 2 kms, I made it through that part of the course. 

Next obstacle: geese.  Or rather: goose excrement.  If you haven't had the pleasure of strolling/running/cycling through a park/path that geese have moved into, you just haven't lived.  There's a good article here that captures the moment.  Or rather, moments as a path strewn with goose poop leaves many memorable moments.  So I was zipping along weaving, zigging, zagging, trying not to run through any goose poop, lest it attach itself to my rear tire and fling back up my back, as water is known to do.  It was looking good!  I was at the top of my game, sucessfully avoiding any and all poop.  About 2/3 of the way through a particularly challenging stretch of path, I hit some poop.  And then, some more.  And more.  And frankly, I pretty much gave up.  It was a losing battle.  I couldn't seem to move 1 inch without hitting some poop!  Luckily, nothing flew off my tire and up my back. 

With that, I had cleared Nature's obstacle course.  Final score: 2 mosquito bites and 4 gnat carcasses on the bathroom floor.  Oh, and it turns out that I ran 4 km.

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Neighbours: It’s summer and they’rrrrrrrre baaaaaack.

As the title of this post implies, we see more of our neighbours during the spring/summer/fall months than we do during the winter.  The fact that we don't see them during the winter is good.  It gives us time to forget about all their quirkiness.

It's been extremely warmer than normal here though and our neighbours are back with all their quirks and a few new tricks too.

Tonight I witnessed one neighbour using his weed whacker to cut his lawn.  He had let his frackin dandelions grow so tall that his push mower couldn't do the job.  He has a push mower because he doesn't have a huge lot.  You might think he would cut his grass/weeds before they got to that point since it would only take him all of 10 minutes, wouldn't you?  Apparently not.

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Please people, talk to your children about sex.

My 6 year old is headed off to Grade 1 next year.  Grade 1 might mean  talk about sex.  Yes, it does happen that early for some children.  I've seen it firsthand in other kids I know.

With this in mind I recently found a great book: The New Speaking of Sex: What Your Children Need to Know and When They Need to Know it.  It's a really easy read.  The author treats the topic as body science, not sex education.  Phrased this way, I see it as something all children should be learning about at an early age.  I'm not saying my 3 year old *needs* to know the mechanics of sperm delivery but she should know that she has a vulva covering 2 openings: urethra and vagina and one opening for poop: her anus.  The author breaks the book down into different ages (ie. the "When they need to know it" part) so you can figure out how much information might be enough or too much, depending on how old your child is.

A good reason to start talking to your children about sex is that informed, educated children are less likely to become victims of sexual abuse.  The author states that sexual predators know that children learn scientific names for body parts from concerned, involved parents.  Children who use correct language are shown to have open relationships with adults and will speak freely about sex/sexual encounters.  These children are not good vicitims for predators because these children will report the abusive encounter to their parents/the authorities. 

As an example of the importance of open communication and the need for parents to remain non-judgemental, the author also shares the following anecdote:

"A mother phoned me in tears one autumn day.  She had just discovered that her seven-year-old son had been abused that summer by a 12-year-old boy who lived in their neighborhood.  When she asked her son why he had not told her at the time, he said, "I tried to tell you, Mom. Remember that day I asked you if guys put their wieners in other guys' bums?  You said that only dirty men did that, and I didn't want you to think that I was dirty."  The only way the mother did find out about the abuse was because her son contracted an infection as a result of it.

My children haven't asked any questions about sex yet but what I've learned is that lots of children never ask questions about sex.  So I look for teachable moments.  I noticed my son's underwear leaving a mark around his waist indicating they were too tight and that segued into a conversation about properly fitting underwear and healthy testicles.  Whatever works.

So teach your children about sex or body science or whatever you want to call it but do it.  And use whatever you need to, to make the conversation more comfortable.  I use an old Human Anatomy textbook left over from my University days when we talk about this stuff.  I find it engages my 6 year old more if he can see pictures.  I also have a copy of Where Did I Come From? that my mom used to teach me about sex.  If you haven't seen it, it's very cute.  It does the trick – it covers intercourse and the birth of a baby. Here are some websites that you may also find helpful:

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Live Eagle Nest Webcam

Adult feeding eaglet 

Yesterday I found out about a live webcam that has been placed near (in?) a Bald Eagle's Nest.  From what I can gather, the cam has been there since the eggs were laid.  The site is getting over 1 million hits per day and it's easy to see why.  I tuned in yesterday and didn't see anything for about 2 minutes.  Then, the eaglets came into view.  It was really cool to watch.  I've visited the site many times since and each time there's either been an eaglet or a Mom/Dad eagle right there.  If I've had to wait, it's only been for a maximum of 5 minutes.  The parents have been bringing lots of food.  I've seen their version of pizza delivery several times now.  I've shown this to my kids and they both seem to enjoy watching for short periods of time.

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Warehouse Sales

I heart warehouse sales.

I don't get to them often but lately for some reason, I've been watching for them and going to them.  It all stems from my love of a good deal.  I discovered garage sales about 5 years ago and after my first fabulous bargain (a Little Tikes Washer/Dryer combo for $15 – the unit is actually discontinued but you can buy it on Ebay for between $49.99 and $129.99 USD – seriously!  Go search!), I've sought out the euphoria wherever I can get it.

I probably would have given up "the perfect score" but shortly thereafter, I happened upon a Wal-Mart where they had a Little Tikes full size picnic table.  Not unusual.  The unusual bit about this was that it did't have a price on it and it was the last one.  Oh and it was the end of the season.  I inquired as to the price and after checking (and finding no price tag and nothing on the shelf), the clerk found a manager and they told me it was $9.99.  It retailed for $89.99 at the time.  Ahhh, feel the euphoria wash over me…

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Random Ramblings

I'd like to make this an intelligent post but given the fact that I've had a few beers and inhaled my fair share of turpentine fumes tonight, I would have to say that all hope for intelligent life is gone.

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Golf and Porn Stars

A friend of mine was lucky enough to wrangle his way into the Skylar Neil Memorial Golf Tournament.  I was blog hopping last night and stumbled upon a blog entry about the tournament. 

It turns out that there were a suitable number of Hooters Girls and porn stars on the green.  Since the friend in question is a red-blooded male with a libido that matches any other man's, I'm sure I'll hear all about it.  In the meantime, if you want to check it out, go here.  Be forwarned: this site is about more than just golf and girls.  If you're under 18, you're asked not to enter the site.

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