Shopping and other distractions

ShoppingCarolyn has been a great help here around the house.  Mostly this has consisted of taking Kenton and Maya to the park and otherwise keeping them out of Cheryl’s hair.  Today she gave me a break as well – while Callie was sleeping, she took Kenton and Maya to the park and to Loblaws.  Due to the great popularity of the pretzels they make at the Loblaws bakery, a trip to the grocery store is almost as popular as the park!

Calgary Visitor

Auntie arriving in style

Cheryl’s sister has arrived to provide some help and to meet the new baby.

Everyone was very excited to see her arrive.It has been very nice to have an extra pair of hands around, especially during these early days and with e back at work full time now.  We sent her out to explore Taste of the Danforth tonight.  Hopefully she’ll get to experience more of Toronto than just smelly garbage and crying babies!

Salt dough monsters

Kenton's PowerMan on the left.  My abomination on the right.
Kenton's PowerMan on the left. My abomination on the right.

Kenton was using one of his super hero action figures and a blueberry container as a jail but he had a problem.  It seemed he did not have enough villians to put into his jail.  Cheryl came to the rescue with the suggestion the he make some new bad guys out of salt dough.  Well, this was just too much fun for me, and with very little knowledge or experience working in this medium, I decided to try to make my own super villian.  I had grand plans to make a large scale figurine.  I knew that the soft dough would not be able to make a posed character without an armature, so I planned a model that consisted of multiple parts that Iwould then glue together after baking.  The result was “spike man”.  I didn’t end up making any legs for the poor fellow, and he really turned into a fairly grotesque blob as the dough expanded and bulged during baking.  Well, I suppose that’s ok for a bad guy. Kenton’s figure turned out quite well – in fact he looked so good that Kenton promoted him to good guy status!

Excited about space

Endeavor undocks from the ISS
Endeavor undocks from the ISS

For some reason this latest shuttle launch has captured our family’s imagination.  Perhaps it is the fact that on this mission (STS-127) there are two Canadian astronauts in space at the same time and has therefore received more media attention.  Whatever the case, it started a few weeks ago when Cheryl and I watched the International Space Station (ISS) streak across the sky.  It was really cool.  Like a falling star that just keeps moving across the sky.

The next event was the launch of Endeavor, which we all watched on my computer. Kenton found it very exciting.  He has requested that we also watch the landing, which is due for Friday.

It is kind of fun considering that we probably only have another year or two of shuttle launches before they are retired for good.  After that it will just be plain old cigar shaped rockets and parachute landings. So much for space planes at least until Virgin Galactic starts carrying people to space

How public is too public?

hacker_lgWhen I first created a family website I included a lot of details about our family.  I even had an interactive family tree.  It seemed like a great way to share information about our family.  It was fun to hear from people and connect with other Hoopers around the world.  To me, this was what the internet was about – creating a global village – connecting people of common interests and eliminating physical boundaries.  However, as the internet grew and time went on I became concerened about information security and so I took the family tree offline.  After aanyall, many banks will ask you your mother’s maiden name as a security question, and this would be very easy to learn from the familty tree.  Still, I kept our photo gallery and I posted with our real names.  Now in the past year I’ve had my website hacked 3 times.  It was never a personal attack – I just happened to be using a popular framework that had some well known security holes.  I finally got around to upgrading my system, and this process has got me thinking about privacy again.  The new system allows me to passowrd protect certain images, posts, pages or whatever I want.  The question is, do I really want to do this?  I don’t really get much traffic on my site, but it would make it just a bit harder for family and friends to just casually check in to see new pictures or stories about us.  Believe it or not I’m really not that paranoid, but recently a friend of Cheryl’s who has a very popular blog has been getting all sorts of nasty emails from some crazy person who reads the site.  It really makes you wonder if a little privacy is a good idea.  For now I think I’ll just block some selected pictures and posts, but keep the general website open.   We’ll see how that goes!

A great gift bag idea

Kenton and Maya gather their carrot harvest
Kenton and Maya gather their carrot harvest

A few months ago the kids went to a birthday party.  As usual, they recieved a gift bag when they left.  The fun thing about this party is that the gift bag contained packets of seeds, little peat pots and a baggie of soil.  We enthusiastically planted sunflower, morning glory and carrot seeds.  When they had sprouted and the weather got a little warmer we moved them out to our garden.  It has been great fun for the kids to watch them grow and particupate in the care of their plants.  Recently we harvested and ate a bunch of the carrots they planted. They were delicious!

Starting Fresh

An old picture of me
An old picture of me

I like to do a lot of things myself, but I am also willing to go with the flow when it makes sense.  For example, I started out hand coding my own websites, but that soon became tedious, especially when I compared that effort to what I could get from great systems like WordPress.  However, even then I maintained a custom theme that had a very personal look.  This proved to be a pain to maintain and stay in step with WordPress updates, and so now, I am going with a well supported theme framework (called Thematic).  The nice thing is that I should still be able to customize it a fair bit, but still can maintain decent security by keeping the underlying architecture up to date.