Today is my Dad’s 60th birthday. Here are 60 reasons why I think he’s the greatest:
2-He taught me how to ride a bike.
3-He let me shoot real film when I was 5.
4-He’s built more than one cedar-strip canoe.
5-He has plans to build a cedar-strip sea kayak.
6-He taught me how to drive stick in a 1980 Volvo.
7-Except for Grades 3, 4, and half of 5, Dad was a teacher at the school I attended.
8-He can fix anything.
9-He can do plumbing.
10-He can do electrical.
11-He can do woodworking.
12-He can do metal smithing.
13-He can do small engines.
14-Did I mention he’s going to help convert a pick-up truck into an electric vehicle this year?
15-He bought our family’s first Macintosh computer in 1984 and changed the course of my life.
16-He has never ever been too busy for me.
17-He has never ever been too tired for me.
18-He has always listened intently to everything I’ve had to say.
19-He has survived prostate cancer.
20-He has survived back surgery.
21-He has survived the jungles of Paraguay as a kid.
22-He has survived the jeers of kids calling him a DP (displaced person)
23-He worked on a farm to support his family from the age 5.
24-His first teaching gig was in Southern Manitoba in a 1-classroom school house teaching grades 1 thru 8 all by himself!
25-He can build a quincy.
26-He came from a family so poor they honestly wore underwear sewn from potato sacks.
27-He’s the best Grandpa any kid could ask for, and my kids are so happy to spend time with him.
28-He can make great coffee.
29-He can make good wine.
30-He’s a fantastic cook.
31-He beat his terrible allergies by changing to a mostly vegan diet.
32-He once drew the entire map of Canada on the chalk board from memory—backwards!
33-He taught shop for over 25 years without one serious student accident.
34-He draws hilarious horses because they don’t look like horses.
35-He can measure most things in his head, and think in three dimensions.
36-He owned a VW Bug for a while, the old one.
37-He owned a ’67 Chevy with a back seat over six feet wide.
38-He knows how to raise most animals including cows, goats, chickens, rabbits, geese, and horses.
39-The only movies he really likes are dramas about humanity.
40-He could always tell where a TV plot was going which really impressed me as a kid.
41-He loves gardening.
42-He’s into old heritage seed catalogues.
43-His favourite store is Lee Valley.
44-He built a shed in the backyard and then added a split-level playhouse addition complete with kitchen set, railings, windows, a slide, and then a 2-piece swing set just for my kids.
45-He never complains.
46-He’s a great mediator.
47-He has great fund-raising ideas, like letting the students shave his head and beard if they reach their targets.
48-He used to take me out for chocolate shakes at Grapes when I was sad as a kid.
49-He drove us safely through the Rocky Mountains many many times.
50-He has always been supportive of every endeavor I’ve taken on, or that my wife and kids have taken on.
51-Speaking of support for artistic endeavours, he has built my Mom an amazing studio in almost every place we ever lived.
52-He took me to see the Muppet Movie, Pete’s Dragon, and Superman II at the Drive-Inn.
53-He took me to E.T., Ghostbusters, Romancing the Stone, and Return of the Jedi, among others.
54-He always stood up for me when I used to get into trouble.
55-He showed me, by example, how to be a loving, giving, partner.
56-He knows how to make people feel special.
57-He tells great stories.
59-He’s a certified canoeist, and loves outdoor camping.
60-He taught me how to love learning.
There is a very short period of time to make something of your photos and videos before they disappear forever onto a cheap multi-terabyte drive. That’s why I try to upload pictures immediately after (or during) a trip or vacation. Or I take limited footage and edit it into a short video. Today I spent a few hours playing with the kids on New Years Day, then spent a few hours more editing and posting it to Vimeo. I like the documentary style for filming kids.
I shot everything using my new Kodak Zi6, which is a tiny, hand-held camcorder with a built in USB arm. I edited it using iMovie on a MacBook Pro. I saved out an HD version (which is over 2.2 gigs) and a .mov version for the Apple TV and my iPhone.
Canada’s Funniest Home Videos: Baz shows off his natural talent on a white piano at the cottage. I sneaked up on him singing a song called “Go To Your Room”. He switched gears a bit when he noticed me, but kept playing in his wonderfully playful and bouncy manner. At the end of it, he really takes a bow, but lands on his feet. He wasn’t hurt, but we put the piano bench in the furnace room until further notice. Re-watching himself, Baz thinks this is the funniest video on the internet.
To everyone looking for the Presidential Peace Cards (PS), my sincere apologies. I set the quantity to one by mistake and we sold out in seconds. I have a limited run of 25 original cards all set to go, so feel free to pick them up at a fantastic price of a buck-a-piece. Help support a future Vegetarian Astronaut President! Here’s a link to my daughter’s fresh sight, MadPrincess.org.
Having a child has tweaked my perspective on myself. I can hardly remember what it was like NOT having a daughter. Who was I? I feel like those days were childhood, and these days are responsibility. I feel like a took my entire life for granted. All of life, for that matter. I really had no memory or concept of what it means to create life or even be life. Sometimes I look down at Madeleine’s calm little sleeping face and I think I must be an imposter, or dreaming, or perhaps tripped into an alternate universe. It’s so hard to fathom the depths of emotion and the awesome power of creating a REAL LIVE PERSON. In my mind the whole universe has been shifted, affected some way. It’s amazing. It’s like looking into an organic mirror that reflects the future and the past at the same time.
FILL OUT THOSE DONOR CARDS
What I was going to say is that it’s so easy to take life for granted. I was out for a few minutes buying D some cucumbers and cheese for sandwiches and I caught a headline that said organ donations were way down this year. It made me feel sad. Obviously I’m on a life is precious kick right now. I’m thinking of my own mortality, and immortality– I may live forever through Madeleine just as my ancestor’s live through me.
One night, many moons ago, D and I were playing Pictionary with some friends (they know who they are). I had to draw a quick picture for heart transplant. D liked the picture so much that she made me scan it. I remembered the picture today, and thought I’d share it.
Observe the extraordinary and dramatic entrance of Madeleine Zoë into this side of reality.
Born April 15th, 2002 at 3:33am, at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, big feet. 8lbs 2oz, 20.5 inches long.
Beautiful and fearless.
Madeleine has shifted all the family titles, creating:
7 Great-Grandparents (Jakob, Anna, Frank, Anne, Fran, Rod, Agnes)
1 Step-Great-Grandfather (Harold)
4 Grandparents (Ken, Val, Ted, Carol)
2 Uncles (Michael, Scott)
2 Aunts-in-waiting (Katherine, Justyna)
2 Siblings (Griffin the dog, Sabine the cat)
1 Dad (me)
1 Mom (Dayna)
Thank-you to midwives Patrice, Cat, Mel, doula Lisa, 2 superhero paramedics, and the staff of St. Mike’s.
We started it, but we couldn’t have done this without you.