Wednesday, June 29, 2005


While down in Lake George, I got a souvenirs for Bethany and Joel. Each of them got one of those pennies that gets squished into an oval shape with some image imprinted on it. Tonight, Bethany cried and cried because she had lost hers at the Sunday School Picnic last Sunday. She was devastated over the loss of this 51 cent souvenir. So what is a Dad to do? The best thing I could think of was to offer to purchase Joel’s (knowing that he is short on money having spent it all on Lego). He was quite agreeable and we settled on $5. Then, 10 minutes later Bethany comes skipping into the room to show me that she found the lost souvenir! So I told Joel he could keep his squished penny and sent him to bed. Another 10 minutes goes by and Karen comes into the room to tell me that Joel is laying in bed crying over the $5. So, I went into his room and offered to once again buy the squished penny for $5. So, Joel now has $5 and Bethany and I each have a squished penny. Anyone want to buy a cool souvenir of Lake George? Special sale price is $6 (hey, I have to make a profit for all my troubles!).

Friday, June 24, 2005

Back from Vacation

Well, we’re back from our vacation in Lake George, New York. So, here are some details about the vacation, where we went, where we stayed and some thoughts about traveling in the United States.

Traveling with Hannah (14 months) was more of a challenge than we had anticipated, and we ended up returning a day early. She did a lot of screaming while we drove there and back, it was difficult looking after her constantly in our room, and in general it was not a restful vacation. It will be a couple of years before we attempt traveling again.

We saw a number of the attractions around Lake George. Six Flags Amusement Parks has their “Great Escape” park there, and it was quite good. There is a new “Loonie Toons National Park” feature for younger kids, and it was a hit with my children. Karen rode one of their roller coasters, and I saw the most horrifying ride I have ever contemplated (the Alpine Coaster, which is 180 feet tall and drops people on a line in a huge arc, with the riders hitting 63 mph).

We also went to Fort William Henry, visited the Lake George main street (something like Niagara Falls, without the charm but with more motorcycle gangs). The beach is terrific. We went mini-putting twice one some really great courses, did some shopping at the factory outlets, etc. One interesting turn of events is that we found that the next town over had a free art museum. It turned out that the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls has a Rembrandt oil and etching, a Rubens, Renoir, Picasso, van Dyck, etc. Amazing that such a small town has such a collection, but apparently the Hyde family was quite wealthy and left their art collection to the city.

We stayed in an efficiency apartment at the Mohican Motel Resort. Three reasons cause me to recommend the place. First, they have an outdoor pool and kiddy pool, and an indoor pool as well. The indoor pool means good swimming even when the weather is marginal. Second, the facility is very well maintained. The owner has been steadily upgrading the place for 29 years. When changing the sheets they also change the blankets and the bedspreads, which is almost unheard of in the hospitality industry. Third, when we left a day early, they credited our account. They didn’t have to, and we didn’t ask, but they went ahead anyway. Apparently 75% of their business is repeat. If we go again, I’ll ask for one of the upper level rooms because the soundproofing between floors wasn’t great. Other than that, I highly recommend this facility.

Now for the United States: Everyone was really friendly. Speed limits seem higher, they have more police on radar duty and there is less speeding. Flags everywhere. You get the feeling that America is filled with Americans, while Canada is filled with people who just live in Canada and have little sense of being Canadian. Lots of bumper stickers supporting the troops. Something I have never heard of before but perhaps 50 miles into the United States on Interstate 87 all cars were being stopped and checked by the U.S. Border Patrol. I got out my documentation, but the guy just had a quick look in the car and waved me through. But this was no perfunctionary stop; State Troopers were standing by, the border patrol officers were well armed, and they had one serious looking dog with them! The traffic lights hanging from cables really need to be replaced by the kind of poles we use in Ontario. The mountains were really scenic. On the whole I felt comfortable and safe in that area. I like America and I like Americans.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Surf and Turf

I was in the mall that has a "Farm Boy" this afternoon, and had just listened to an ad for their "Alberta AAA" beef. I assumed it was marketing hype, but decided to buy some striploin steaks which were on sale. I also bought a couple of small lobsters for Karen (who loves them as much as I hate them). I did the steaks on the BBQ with some Montreal Steak Spice and boy were they ever good. They may have been the most tender and juicy steaks I've ever had.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pharmacies and Books

Last night, Bethany was sick. She had pains in her stomach. I had wanted to go to bed at about 10:30, but that was when she woke up in pain. At 1:00am I decided to go to a pharmacy to get some medicine. The first pharmacy I went to had an ad in the yellow pages saying they were open 24 hours, but a big sign on the store saying they were open until midnight. I drove to a second place, almost hitting a deer on the way, and got the medicine. On the way home I was rear-ended by a lady in an SUV. There was no damage, but I wasn’t happy. I got home and was asleep by about 3:00am. Today I took a personal leave day from work, because I was in no shape to concentrate. Bethany is feeling a lot better today, but is still a bit sick. We are hoping we will not have to cancel our vacation.

Tonight I finished reading the last book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. “The Last Battle” was brilliant, and I think by far the best book in the series. While I would not take my theology from this book, it was perhaps the most joyful description of Heaven that I have read. At the last 2 pages I had to read slowly and carefully because I was in tears.

Monday, June 13, 2005


On Saturday we attended the wedding of some friends, Cory and Ellen McAree. The wedding itself was really quite touching, and some words by the bride’s father really stick in my mind.

It was very hot, and the basement of the chapel where the reception was held is not air conditioned. Nonetheless the reception went really well. As MC, I ended up with a bit of coordination activities and with approval from the Bride and Groom made a few modifications to the program to keep things on schedule.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My Children are Wonderful

Bethany had her Grade One Piano exam this week. It was a struggle to get her to finish this year, and so I doubt that she will do another year. This is too bad because she is really getting good. It’s also too bad because I bought a nice digital piano last year! Perhaps private lessons where she could go at her own speed? She is talking about wanting to learn the guitar. We'll see.

Joel doesn’t seem too interested in lessons of any sort. We’ve asked about music, sports, chess and other things. Nope. No interest. So we will continue to offer him opportunities and push him a bit but not push him too much. He has started to read more. He is taking the full length Hardy Boys books out of the library and is doing quite well.

Hannah mostly sleeps through the night. She is starting to understand questions, and if she is interested in something will say “Me!” This morning when she woke up, Karen brought her into our room and she made a big fuss. So I said, “Hannah, would you like to go downstairs?” And she started smiling and said “Me!” This is part of our early morning routine. Karen usually gets up with Hannah at night, and I get up with her early in the morning. I bring her downstairs and give her part of my breakfast bagel. She loves it!

Monday, June 06, 2005


OK, I'm nervous. I am the MC at a wedding next week. I have never done this before. I'm not all that funny a person. And Karen has told me to try not to be nervous "because when you're nervous you say flaky things." I'm thankful that my friends have confidence in me, even if I have no confidence in myself. On the other hand, things will either go well, or I won't have to worry about ever being asked again!

A stitch in time would have killed two birds with one stone

This was what is formally known as a busy weekend. On Friday when I got home from work, I found an email asking me if I would be available to preach at my church on Sunday morning. The scheduled guest speaker could not make it. I said yes, and spent a couple of hours Friday and a couple of hours Saturday, first trying to complete a new sermon and then giving up on that idea, revising and practicing a sermon I gave last week (which I had intended to preach at Bridlewood in a couple of weeks).

On Saturday, Karen went out to buy a dress. I took the children for a long walk, and then took them to the mall and the library. After lunch I went for groceries, and then pulled a nest out of the fan vent. Actually, it took me a couple of hours to clean the vent, pull the nest out, and staple up some screen so the birds won’t come back.

Anyway, it was a busy weekend (again).

Friday, June 03, 2005


For the first time in 51 weeks, Karen and I got a chance to go out for supper tonight. It was Karen's birthday and Hannah is old enough to stay with someone for a couple of hours. Karen's Mom was kind enough to babysit for us. We ended up going to Baton Rouge, and had chicken and ribs. Yum! Afterwards, we came home for cake and presents with the children. It was really nice to get out again!