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23rd-Oct-2016 01:54 pm - ...and another thing...
Sword & Microscope 1
Last post I mentioned actually attending a sports event. The current Bell Centre is rather soulless compared to the old Forum, but it gets the job done. Of course, they have souvenir stands, selling, cups, hats, and, well, take a look...
SouvenirsCollapse )

Don't worry, even if I'm introducing them to sports/religion, I'm not neglecting their nerd side
NerdwearCollapse )

21st-Oct-2016 08:33 am - Arizona Sucks Ditch Water
Quebec sait faire
Arizona sucks ditch water.1 Specifically, the Arizona Coyotes, who were crushed by Nos Glorieux2 last night 5:2.

For those who are confused as to what I'm talking about, I'm referring to Canada's national religion,3 hockey.4 I've never been much of a sports fan,5 but every coupla years someone comps me some tix,6 and I go. I generally go with somoene who is a big fan, and I pick up on their excitement and have fun. Last night I went with my biggest fan, Nom, and even if she is less than a sports nut than I am, we had fun.

1. Except for a certain household in Tempe.
2. Nos Glorieux = Les Habs = the Montreal Canadiens.
3. No, not Theanism, that would be, well, see footnote 1.
4. Hockey. "Ice Hockey" is redundant in these parts.
5. "Never been much of" is a gross understatement.
6. Drug company reps used to be good for that, but they've tightened the rules to limit their largesse to "educational activities." I found last night's game quite educational, but apparently that is not what is meant.
19th-Oct-2016 09:49 am - I will not be that bad
Today had a patient who is an admissions and academic counsellor at one of the universities here. We were trading stories of helicopter parents, and she had the top one I'd ever heard. Seems some of the professors came to the administration noting that the mother of a certain student was present in all his classes and sitting next to him (even if he tried to move away). He was refusing to look at the mother, or for that matter, the professors. Upon investigation, the mother had applied for, and legitimately been accepted into, the program, and duly enrolled in all the same classes. She, and also the father of the boy, were both doctors, and wanted him to go to medical school, and he wasn't at all interested. Bright enough, but just doesn't want to. Mom was sitting through all the classes, taking notes, hounding him to study the material, planning on doing it for all his entire undergraduate education.

I would like my children to go to medical school, and will try to (gently!) push them that way, but frankly, when they turn 18, if they want to go become coal miners, that's their business. (Dermatology is less dangerous, pays better, and you don't get coal dust on your clothes, although you sometimes get blood on them. Still their choice.)
18th-Oct-2016 10:03 am - My father
A bit ago, I was browsing the website of La Presse (the main French language Montreal newspaper), and came across an interesting "blog" piece, probably written last Fathers Day. He, the writer, talked about how his father wasn't that talkative. "He did the things that fathers are supposed to do: earn money, take the kids to activities, spend time with them." The writer also relates sitting with his father watching hockey, which is practically a religion in these parts, just watching together, not really talking about it. At some point, during some exciting part of the game, he noticed his father had fallen asleep, and realized his father didn't like hockey, he was just sitting being with his son. The writer said even today, they didn't really have conversations, but he had come to understand how he communicated with his father in the silences between words. Maybe that last was a little over-poetic, but the point was that he'd learned his father's thoughts and his father's love without all the words that today we're all supposed to toss endlessly at each other.

Perhaps it is only now, being a father myself, that I understand some of that in my own father. My father was more vocal than this writer's, but not the modern "we're all supposed to chat endlessly like magpies" type.

My father was old school: he went to work, loved his family, provided for them, and when possible did things with them. That was life then. Seems rigid and quaint today, but wasn't. He was a man of his times, the "Greatest Generation," and you didn't talk about things, you just got on with them. He grew up dirt poor, adventured a bit, started a small business in a tiny shop (locksmith), provided for his family, bought a house, made sure his children were educated, and in later years traveled to Europe and Asia with my mother. He wasn't a very empathic person, but he loved his family; perhaps only now do I realize it. Two scenes stand out in my mind as a write this.
- The first was his encouraging me to have children. He said something about how great it was coming home and having the children run up to you, exclaiming, 'Daddy, Daddy.'
- The second was when we were talking about someone I had known. A friend? Girlfriend? I don't recall now. I was in my 20-30's, talking about someone I had known, and was trying to explain who it was. He said something about, "well, you know, I may not have met him/her. I was the father, I had to go to work." Looking back, there was a wistfulness in that statement, that he didn't see as much of our lives as he'd have wanted. He was a man of his generation: he went to work, loved his family, provided for them, and when possible did things with them.

And me? I was born & raised in the 19th century. I've adventured. I have my little shop (dermatology), am buying a house and providing for my family. But I'm also a man of the 21st century. I'm going to make damn sure I have time to see them grow and see their lives.
17th-Oct-2016 04:26 pm - First fire of the year
Lit the fireplace last night. Family all curled up on the couch together. Purr.

Have a real wood-burning fireplace here. :-) The new place will have 2 fireplaces, but both gas. Easier to use, but less charming. Still a gas fireplace is better than no fireplace at all. Will enjoy this one while we have it.
16th-Oct-2016 02:09 pm - Hello Russia
Sword & Microscope 1
Hello everyone in Russia who reads my journal:

I've very flattered that total strangers, who post in a language I can't read (although some of the pictures you post are interesting), wish to read my writing. I am curious who you are, how you came upon my humble LJ, and what you think of my posts.

Na Zdorovie,
15th-Oct-2016 12:24 pm - Awwww of the day #32506693
One if the advantages of having a girl first, is that, when she's not engaging in sibling rivalry, she will sometimes be maternal and help with the baby. When Wallstreet cries, now Hedgefund often comes over and sings to him. (Au Clair de la Lune seems to be her favourite. Other times she sings it to herself. She doesn't have all the words right, but then neither do most people.) This morning, I was watching Wallstreet while Nom took Hedgefund out. He woke up from his nap and started crying. (I'm a horrible parent. If I'm in another room when he wake sup, I sometimes don't pick him up for several seconds.) I came over and picked him up and he calmed down. I think he was trying to sing Au Clair de la Lune to himself as I cuddled him.
Took the kids to the Pedipod recently for wellness check (2 ½  and 1 years old). She pointed out that it's time for Wallstreet to stop using a suce (binky, soother, pacifier, dummy), and well past time for Hedgefund. She had been slowing stopping same, then regressed when WS came along. Have been slowly weaning her off it anyhow, but very slowly. Recently, we went cold turkey. Someone was most unhappy. Fits and tantrums. She'll get over it, and it's for the best, but nerve-wracking in the meanwhile. Also, HF is a picky eater, and ends up drinking lots of milk instead, and still wanting it from a bottle. Again, Pedipod pointed out it's time to start weaning her off that, and enforcing better eating habits. I'm a little less concern about this, but it is time to start moving on that also. It will be a rough time in the household for a while, but we'll all live (HF is not yet old enough to murder us in our sleep).
Nom has been on maternity leave for almost 3 years now. Not all of it paid, but has been considered an employee of a certain corporation for all this time. (Long & complicated story about all the ins-and-outs of both Quebec and corporate policy and benefits.) All of this was ending recently. By happy coincidence, her company was going through a restructuring, so she was eligible for a buy-out package. Far from a golden parachute, but a nice sum of money for several weeks.

She really doesn't want to go back to work until the children are older, a position I fully support: it is happier and healthier for both her and them to have her home. She made a good salary, and now she won't be. Being a modern woman, this does not sit well with her. Me? I'm a post-modern man (okay, I was raised in the 19th century but have some post-modern sensibilities), so what I want is for her to be happy, and whatever is best for our family. Which is to say, unlike apparently the entire western world, I consider it equally valuable for a person to be employed outside the home or to be a homemaker or some combination of the two. (Had this discussion with ecosopher recently.) I consider that since we are married, and therefore a unit, everything, including earning money and homemaking, is a contribution to the team. Nom is having great trouble with this emotionally. I do understand that this is an emotional crisis for her. She has been working since around age 14, and suddenly she will be "unemployed." Add to the fact that she's a war refugee (even if she was too young to remember), and financial insecurity is ingrained in her.

Even though she knew she was going to do this, she hesitated to actually sign and send in the paperwork until the last moment. It's a huge shock for her, and I understand, and was (mostly) patient.
11th-Oct-2016 10:13 pm - Books:
Books (Trinity College Library)
The first two I picked up at our local library. It's not a great adult library (especially the English section), but Hedgefund likes going there, and we get lots of books to read her. These were from the 'new acquisitions' table near the door. I haven't read much casually in awhile, and wanted to try something different.

1. Martin John by Anakan Schofield. A modern novel. Uh, yeah. The first-person protagonist is a mentally-unhinged sex-offender (displays himself, and sometimes touches women on buses). The style is such that I was 1/3 through the book before I figured out that he was mentally deranged.

2. The Enchantress of Florence by Salmon Rushdie. Not bad. Rather round, lyrical writing, with the lines between reality and fantasy blurring, and with a tale-within-a-tale, which in my mind is very Persian. (Not Iranian, Persian. I think from a book we had as children, which had been my mother's, called A Jackal in Persia.) Interesting, but gets a bit tedious after awhile. Also, Rushdie never seems to know when or how to end a story. There are at least half-dozen points near the end where  it should have/could have ended, then he decided to go on further. The only other of his books I've read was The Satanic Verses, which I read because there was a fatwa declared against him for having written it. I didn't see where it was blasphemous or anti-Islam, and frankly not all that well written. I'm tempted to read Midnight's Children, which was super-well received. (I think not only Man Booker award, but considered the best Man Booker in 25 years.)

3. Madison's Gifts by David O. Stewart. This was following a (slightly lukewarm) recommendation by oxymoron67 Lukewarm is about my reaction to this biography of James Monroe. Did illuminate some interesting parts of early US history. BTW, Madison, like other great Virginian fighters for human liberty of the day, was a slave owner. Although Canadians make a big deal about being on terminal end of the Underground Railway: (a) the escaped slaves were welcomed into their country, but not into their communities, and many descendants of same still live in slums on the edges of certain cities; and (b) slavery was legal in Canada until 1833, and some Canadian slaves before then escaped south of the border into Michigan Territory.

4. Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson. Loaned to me by a patient who shares my love of history. Reading it now. I think will feel much like I do about the Madison book (interesting insights, so-so writing). Stand by.
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