Anthony on , , , 28 May 2007 10:38 pm

geocaching.gifRead Part I here

Still certain that Sunday was going to be poor weather, I spent a good portion of Saturday night trying to find cache listings that wouldn’t require too much slogging through muddy trails. So, we turned our attention to Richmond. The plan was to head out after Aidan’s nap, since the weather was supposed to clear up in the afternoon.

Well, Aidan didn’t have a nap on Sunday. Neither did it rain. Kind of yin and yang. At any rate, we left Vancouver in the early afternoon and headed down to the Richmond Nature Park. When we lived in Richmond we often drove by this park, but I had never gone in. Gwen had taken a few classes there though. Anyhow, the trails were dry, the sun beamed down on us and the birds were singing. Ah, yes, I’m familiar with this: mockery.

The trails were kinda fun. Bouncy! They traced their way over a peat bog and we were walking on what was probably several feet of the spongy stuff. Anyway, the cache was in the middle of the park, but we didn’t know which of the many trails to travel. The GPSr pointed us in the general direction, but we had to do some backtracking to get to the cache. Once there, Aidan made his first score of the day. Googooly eyes on a toddler-sized ring! We bounced our way back to the car and drove towards the dike.

There were a couple of caches near the dike at the end of the Westminster Highway. One was under a deck near a duck pond (ok, the oddly named “Terra Nova Natural Area”) that we didn’t know was there. It was an easy find, and Aidan made his second score of the day: a Jeep! Or, a dinky in the form of a Jeep. He laid down right there and then and rolled the jeep along the deck, googooly-eyed ring all but forgotten. The third cache of the day was right on the dike, at the base of a wall, covered by some stones and some tell-tale sticks. If you ever see several piles of stones, and only one has some sticks on it, you can be pretty sure someone’s buried a cache there. No goodies for Aidan in this cache, but it was fun all the same, if not for the view then for the most excellent clue. Gwen gets the credit for this excellent shot looking off towards Vancouver Island across the salt marsh:


The next cache was in Minoru Park (a park with an interesting history), yet another green space that we really didn’t know anything about. It is here in our story that the evil bunnies come out. I don’t know what it is about Richmond, but I can easily think of at least a half dozen places where you can go and observe rabbits living “in the wild”. Minoru Park is another such location. But look at these things! Pure evil:


You can tell their disposition from their eyes…


The cache was located beside a water feature that would have been a nice water fall if it wasn’t for all the pollen making the pond quite scummy. Bracketed on both sides by groups of teens, I think we stayed above suspicion from both them and various passer-bys. And then … we fell into the one-more-cache frame of mind. Between the five from Saturday and four from Sunday, we were having a pretty good weekend. One more would make a record weekend for us. The next cache on the list was in the park so we felt pretty good about making a personal best. We drove (yeah, I know) to the other end of the park and after a wrong turn into a fire station (don’t ask), we pulled into another parking lot. Nary a parking spot to be had, and another group of teens having what seemed to be a tail-gate party at the end of the parking lot. Right where Gwen was telling me the cache was within a few metre radius. So, for a second day in a row, muggles camping out on the cache kept us from the find. We thought about grabbing one more cache down in Steveston, and then considered going for groceries and grabbing the cache afterwards … but in the end, after the grocery shopping it was late enough that we knew that we had to get home to get the boy fed and to bed before we entered the danger zone of unchecked gag reflex.

Side notes: Three Road has been completely transformed. A couple of years ago, there was lots of road work as they widened it and ran a rapid-transit line down the centre of it. It was pretty messy but in the end, it was a pretty good improvement to the main drag in Richmond. Now, after several month’s work on the Canada Line, it’s back to being quite ugly. For one thing, most of the road is all torn up. For another thing, the Sky Train line isn’t running down the centre of the road — instead it’s off to the side. For another, the stark grey pillars have completely destroyed the aesthetics.

Also, we nabbed gas at $1.169 (less the bizarre 3.5¢ discount ‘at the pump’ that every station in the GVRD applies) and were strangely happy about it. I suppose it’s better than the $1.309 that it had been.

So, despite what we expected it was a banner weekend. Aidan gained several new toys (I think it’s time for us to contribute some of them back, plus we’re almost out of speckled frogs) and we got out and spent lots of time outside and in places we thought we knew but it turns out we didn’t know so well. Hope it doesn’t rain next weekend!

Anthony on , 06 Feb 2007 10:05 am

Here I sit this morning, trying to recover from the past few hours. Gwen has an appointment with the dentist this morning to fix a tooth she chipped late last week, so I’ve taken this morning off.

Speaking of teeth, Aidan is teething again. Hopefully these ones come in quickly (although he’s been teething for the past week) since it’s messing with his sleep schedule. Plus he has a bit of a cold. Plus he’s almost 2. All of this adds up to some pretty sleepless early mornings, and as I’ve discovered, some pretty entertaining mornings.

Unfortunately, the source of this entertainment has largely been at poor Aidan’s expense.

tnt.jpgThe first source of entertainment was pure toddler frustration. Aidan has some “Mega Blocks”, acquired from various sources. In a package that Ali gave him, there were some pirates! And, we gave him a small police car that is also Mega Blocks compatible. The front and back of the car come off the “chassis”, so you can mix and match various car parts (there’s quite a series of cars) and you can add Mega Blocks parts on to the car. Yesterday, it seems that one of the pirates was driving the police car. Today, that pirate policeman had apparently arrested someone, and therefore another pirate needed to ride in the back of the car. Unfortunately, due to the size of the figures, it’s pretty much impossible to get both of them “seated” in the car.

megapirates.jpgAnd, sadly, Aidan refused to believe this fact. It seemed like a half hour that he tried to get these figures seated front and back. And tried to get me to do it for him. Most of this time was spent crying, growling, and absolutely trembling in frustration. Attempts to divert him were met with disdain. After distracting him, he’d make a bee-line right back to the car and pirates.

Eventually, I dosed him with Children’s Tylenol, and put the Mega Blocks away.

After this, then, he got into the toy box under the coffee table. Inside, he found The Bunny and another older toy, one of those baby toys (a cat in this case) that has two parts separated by an elastic bit that when you pull the two parts apart, they go back together, one side “rumbling” and “shaking”. He hasn’t seen either of these toy for several months.

The Bunny elicited quite a bit of suspicion. He wanted it turned on, but wouldn’t let it come near him. He would watch, but when it hopped towards him, he would shuffle backwards. Of course, turning it off wasn’t what he wanted either. When The Bunny would run into things or hop off into the toy box, he’d come get me and drag take me by the hand to make all right in The Bunny’s world.

jitter_bugs.jpgThe pull toy (a “Jitter Bug” according the the tag still on the toy) also was treated with suspicion. He stayed a few feet away from me while I opened it up and let it close back. At no time was the Jitter Baby to enter his comfort zone. This was pretty hilarious because he’s had this thing since he was a few months old, and it’s meant for the Very Young crowd.

Now, after a half hour of playing with these things, it’s all changed.

For one, the crying and frustration have ended. I’d like to think that this has everything to do with my superior parenting skills and little to do with the painkiller I gave him, but perhaps that’s not entirely accurate. Plus, he is now switching The Bunny off and on, moving it around to different parts of the play living room, also previous concerns apparently alleviated. He is also pulling the Jitter Baby and letting it go back, shaking and rumbling, while he holds it. While both these developments are not nearly as entertaining, I have to applaud his bravery and ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Anthony on , 12 Dec 2006 09:32 pm

On Friday, Gwen went to the CBC Food Bank Day down at Pacific Centre. Apparently they were so thrilled to see a young’un there (um, Aidan) that they gave her a family pass to Maplewood Farm. For what it’s worth, CBC raised over $500,000 for the food bank. But this isn’t a story about that, it’s about the Farm.

So, on Sunday afternoon, we went.  I knew nothing about Maplefood Farm — I didn’t even know it existed. Plus, it was a typical Vancouver winter day: grey and wet, but on the North Shore it was more so. But, we had the passes and it was a good excuse to get out of the house, so we bundled the kid up in rain gear and headed out.

It turns out to be a great place to bring toddlers. It’s a small property, but they have horses, cows, chickens, peafowl, goats, sheep, pigs, and sundry other fauna.

Aidan was suitably impressed with being able to get up close and personal with the paddocked animals, such as the pot-bellied pig:


After seeing some of the penned animals, we went to the rabbit pen. You can actually go into the rabbit pen and touch and feed the dozen or so rabbits that they have. I’m not sure who liked petting the bunnies more: Gwen or Aidan. A big bonus was that he didn’t run away screaming when they hippy-hopped around!


After the rabbits, we went into the big barn where we saw a small troupe of girls doing Irish Dance. Again, this was a good source of entertainment, as you can see:


Following the dancing, we went to see the goats. It seemed like they had two dozen goats in a muddy pasture. Only, these were small goats. And, we were able to go into the pasture and touch the goats! Aidan thought that this was just great!




All in all, it was a really good outing. I was originally skeptical, but Aidan clearly enjoyed seeing all the animals and being able to go up and touch so much of them was quite exciting.

I don’t know how we’ll beat that next weekend!

Anthony on , , 16 Jul 2006 10:47 am

Here’s what Gwen was referring to (from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Once More With Feeling”):

The setup: The town of Sunnydale has been stricken with song. Everyone breaks into show tunes, for the simplest of things. The Scooby Gang is sitting around the Magic Box trying to come up with reasons why this is happening (in song, of course). Anya, with a well documented dislike of bunnies comes up with the following….


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