Alexander Graham Bell

80208f82e9cd6c88bc81192b729809ac

Beinn Bhreagh (I say Ben Bree-uh) Alexander and Mabel’s home

He is more than just the inventor of the telephone. He’s an expat who came not just to Canada, not just to Nova Scotia, but to Cape Breton Island. Just like me. Though he was born in Scotland, not America. He was a teacher for the deaf. I think my kids are deaf, sometimes. He was an inventor. The only thing I’ve invented so far are new ways to annoy DW. In that I am excelling.

Alec came to Canada, originally to an area near Brampton, Ontario, in 1870. This is 130 years after the British destroyed the French Fortress of Louisbourg. Once here, he continued working on methods to teach the deaf. He created the System of Visible Speech which helped deaf students learn to speak by allowing them to visualize the sounds.

Mabel Hubbard’s inability to hear inspired her father to work with those who were also deaf. He also founded the first school for the deaf in the US, the Clarke School for the Deaf. She eventually became one of Alexander’s pupils. Because she was educated in both Europe and the US she learned to speak and lip read in four language. When she was 19 and he 29 they married at her family’s house.

One story says that during arguments Mabel would turn her back on Alec so that she could not read his lips effectively making his argument null and void.

On March 10, 1876, just 3 days after receiving his patent, Bell spoke to his colleague, Thomas Watson, through his telephone

Come here. I want to see you.

Watson heard him clearly on the other end of the line. Wouldn’t they be impressed to see how far advanced his telephone is today? No wires needed. Though maybe not. Shortly after the telephone’s success, he and a partner developed a way to transmit a voice message on a beam of light. He would later say that that was his greatest accomplishment. Little did he know this achievement would directly lead to fiber-optic communication.

That wasn’t all of Bell’s accomplishments.

He created a metal detector which was successfully used on a patient to find a bullet, though the patient died. Unfortunately, the patient was President James Garfield.

He created hydrofoils – a slight combination of boat and plane.

alexander_graham_bell_hd4_1919

He worked extensively with kites. His favorite being tetrahedral (triangular pyramid) that were so big they had to be towed with a boat to gain lift.

In 1909, Bell and his associates witnessed their plane, The Silver Dart, take flight from the frozen Bras d’Or Lake, becoming the first powered flight in Canada.

Amoeba

What’s even more is that we where it all happened. Baddeck, Nova Scotia. There is a museum dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell’s life and works. The boys got to make their own kite. They got to see exactly how Alec lived and taught and all that he created. They saw a life size hydrofoil. They saw the Silver Dart.  They got to see the 37 room house of the Bells (from the outside). They got to take a ride on a 67′ schooner, the Amoeba, on the lake where Alexander performed his experiments with kites and hydrofoils. On the lake of which The Silver Dart took flight.

 

Quotefancy-2493168-3840x2160

Fun Fact Bonus!

Beinn Bhreagh means “beautiful mountain”. The house has 37 rooms, 11 of them are bedrooms. It has 17 fireplaces. It cost them $22,000 1893 dollars to complete and sits on 600 acres.

 

Questions I Asked Nanny and Pop

I’ve asked my own parents these questions. And these questions, too. I wish I would have asked DW’s dad these questions, too. It’s a good way to get a glimpse into the past. Sometimes a past I had no part of. A past before my own d a existence. Wonder where I was before I existed…

It’s too hot to ask questions that deep. Over my head. Off the diving board deep end. 

1. What are 3 words your parents would use to describe you?

Moe: Spoiled brat (according to my siblings), Pretty, and a hard worker (I was house cleaning for people when I was 10)
Pop: Good, hard worker (using a pick and sledgehammer when I was 9), Shy

2. How did you meet you meet Pop?

Moe: Taralee (DW) introduced us at Tim Hortons the day she got her driver’s license


3. What was your favorite vacation?

Moe: My trips to Cuba. Was there for 1 week the first time and 2 weeks the second. 
Pop: Cuba. I didn’t have to cook or make beds or anything…


4. What’s one memory of DW that makes you laugh?

Moe: I can laugh now, but it wasn’t funny at the time… She wanted a pair of bib overalls and she kicked and screamed and bawled until she got them. Then she cut the legs off them! Also, when she was a baby (I was carrying her) we got off a plane she pooped herself. Her aunt picked her up and shit was running down her leg!
Pop: We had found a chip that was shaped like an ear. We told her there was a recall on potato chips because a guy had died on the assembly line and ended up in the chips.


5. What’s something you miss from “the good ol’ days?”

Moe: Neighbors and lots of company and people around all time. Now there’s barely anyone…
Pop: No worries


6. If you get reincarnated as an animal, what do you hope to come back as?

Moe: A little kitty to crawl into somebody’s lap and they can pet me all day.
Pop: A frog


7. What’s your karaoke song?

Moe: Nothing… I don’t like singing and I don’t know any songs right through. I used to like to sing “Can I Have This Dance” by Ann Murray
Pop: “If I had a Million Dollars” 


8. What was high school like for you?

Moe: Terrible, because I didn’t like my homeroom teacher, Mr. Horswell. I didn’t like gym and they made me do it. I also didn’t like French because I couldn’t understand it.
Pop: Boring, because after grade 5 had no interest in school whatsoever


9. What are 3 things (shows, sports, etc…) you like to watch on T.V

Moe: Game shows, Family Feud with Steve Harvey, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants To be A Millionaire, The Price Is Right, Jeopardy. Oh, and cooking shows like “Master Chef”
Pop: Racing and pretty much any game show…


10. What was your first car? What color was it? Do you remember how much it cost? 

Moe: A blue 1987 Ford LTD
Pop: Green ’66 Pontiac Lauretian

Questions I Asked My Kids About Camping

It’s official. We’re booked for 3 nights at a campsite in PEI. We’re meeting DW’s brother and his wife and 4 kids there. The boys are excited for multiple reasons, A) we get to sleep in a tent and B) they’ll get to play with their cousins for three days.

Also, we have a free pass for two nights of camping in a national/provincial park. The PEI trip is booked at a family campground. Wide open spaces, but lots for the kids to do. Bang wants to go (and I do, too) camping in a forest (as you’ll read in just a moment). So perhaps we’ll use the 2 night pass for forest camping. We might need a few practice nights in the backyard. Though, what I’m most nervous about what to feed the youngest, pickiest eater besides cookies, granola bars, and crackers.

1. What does it mean to go camping?

Crash: When you put up a tent, talk in a tent, roast marshmallows and stay up til 12:00
Bang: Like roast marshmallows, have fun, and sleep in a tent. You don’t do that at real bedtime

2. What is going to be the most fun about camping?

Crash: Going to Shinning Waters, if we go. (Shinning Waters is a water park so his favorite thing about our planned camping trip has nothing do with camping)
Bang: Roasting marshmallows, probably. Because i burn them

3. What do you want to do while we’re camping?

Crash: Doing our own comedy shows inside the tent
Bang: Go to sleep… err no.. Eat cookies

4. How many nights to you want to sleep in a tent?

Crash: 4 would be good
Bang: 30 years

5. What animal would be really cool to see while we’re camping?

Crash: A moose or an owl
Bang: Deer. I haven’t seen one in like ages

 

6. What is something you hope doesn’t happen while we’re camping?

Crash: The tent catches on fire
Bang:  A bear breaks into our tent

7. What would you do if we saw a bear while camping?

Crash: I know what I do! I would slowly walk away from it because in a book it told you how escape from a bear and it said to slowly walk away from it.
Bang: Get our guns out and shoot in the nose?
Me: Do we have guns?
Bang: We have toy guns.
Me: So you want to shoot it with a Nerf dart?
Bang: Yeah

8. Where (besides PEI) do you want to go camping?

Crash: Disneyland
Bang: In a forest. I’ve never been into the forest.

9. What are we going to eat when we go camping?

Crash: Probably granola bars and cheese and crackers
Bang: Junk, like cookies, granola bars. Oh, don’t forget my favorite kind of crackers from playgroup.

10. What is something we should do to be safe while camping?

Crash: Always have a first aid kit and don’t lose your mind and wander off.
Bang: Stick together so we don’t get lost.

Camping Quote

This Summer’s Schedule

I love summer.

I love winter, too. But summer is way hotter.

Unfortunately, it’s not conducive to blogging. The kids are home all day. They either need entertaining or forced encouraged to clean something. They magically get along when they’re told to clean. It’s like a miracle.

Then there’s traveling. We don’t go far. Basically, around the block. Though we did make it to the beach yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we got home a bit late and after a day of sun, sand, surf, and supper, blogging didn’t make the to do list.

Then there’s the later than usual bedtime every night because “It’s still light out!” and “My friends get to stay up until dark!” By the time they’re finally asleep all I have left is to watch as many Game of Thrones episodes we can fit in.

Which is usually one.

There’s also baseball. It’s going to take up more time than a Lord of the Rings extended version trilogy marathon. Actually, that’s about the same length as just one game. This year, however, I have stepped into the role of Coach for Crash’s team. Yes, I’m a Coach Daddy. Except for baseball. I’ve coached soccer and wrestling and golf. This is my first stint at baseball. So far, so good. We haven’t lost! We won one and tied one. We have three games next week. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. So we’ll be spending a good portion of our summer on the field of dreams.

The boys have been begging to go camping. I love camping and used to camp frequently. I’ve never taken along two rambunctious kids. I would love to teach them what I know about camping and the wilderness and the night sky without light pollution and about cheese filled crust pizza (but not while camping). There are a few day trips we’d like to take and trip to visit DW’s brother and sister-in-law. The boys love playing with their cousins.

I’ll be TweetingInstagramming and Facebook our adventures so feel free to follow along. What will you be doing this summer?

Sorry, South-of-the-Equatorians, what will you be doing this winter?

Birthday Time Capsule Questions

We survived the birthday dash – two birthdays two weeks apart. We are now the proud owners parents of a six and ten year old. So hard to believe I’ve been called Dad for 10 years. Seems so short a time ago I was a new dad carrying a screaming infant trying to figure out why he was screaming. Now I’ve got a screaming 10 year old and I’m still trying to figure out why he’s screaming.

Just kidding. He doesn’t scream any more. It’s more like a growl. Sometimes it sounds like a moo. 

Last year on each of the boys’ birthdays I asked them these 20 questions. This year I just asked them at the same time. Some of their answers remained the same, some are different. Some didn’t surprise me, some did. You can read last year’s responses by Crash and/or last year’s responses by Bang.

1. What is your favourite color?

Crash: Green
Bang: Orange

2. What is your favourite toy?

Crash: Legos
Bang: My front loader

3. What is your favourite fruit?

Crash: Grapes
Bang: Broccoli (it’s not a fruit but it’s healthy!)

grapes-purplebroccoli

4. What is your favourite TV show?

Crash: Gaming Show In My Parents Garage
Bang: Justin Time

5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?

Crash: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Bang: Pizza

6. What is your favourite game?

Crash: Lego Star Wars on the Wii
Bang: Infinity for the Wii

7. What is your favourite snack?

Crash: The cupcake goldfish
Bang: Buttered saltines and a mixed berry juice box

8. What is your favourite animal?

Crash: Cat and eagle
Bang: Moose

26elk_or_moose_by_ravenslane-d5s86jc

9. What is your favourite song?

Crash: Victory Chant (the Minecraft song)
Bang: My House

10. What is your favourite book?

Crash: The Harry Potter series
Bang: Pusheen the Cat

11. What is your favourite sport?

Crash: Baseball
Bang: Soccer

12. What is your favourite thing to do outside?

Crash: Either read or play/practice baseball
Bang: Play baseball or practice soccer

13. What is your favourite drink? ?

Crash: Gatorade (although I don’t really need it)
Bang: Milk

14. What is your favourite holiday?

Crash: My birthday, but it’s American Independence Day
Bang: Halloween

15. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

monkeyCrash: My book and Monkey

penguinBang: Penguin

16. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?

Crash: Chocolate chip pancakes with extra syrup
Bang: Chocolate chip and cinnamon pancakes

17. What do you want for supper on your birthday?

Crash: Shephard’s Pie
Bang: Fish, mashed tatoes with broccoli

18. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Crash: Racecar driver
Bang: A maid and a builder

19. Did you have any dreams last night?

Crash: I did but I can’t remember them
Bang: Nope. I never have dreams. I just lay down like I’m dead.

20. What would be the best birthday present?

Crash: The Nintendo Switch
Bang: The biggest teddy bear in the world.

7d4e92cf0b9013872d50d3bc17fa6634-christian-birthday-quotes-christian-quotes

What 12 Years Gets You

It has taken many years to get where we are today. The learning curve was steep. We were newlyweds learning how to be married. How to be husband and wife. And now 12 years later, here we are. Wiser. Slightly more crazy. More in love today than we were 12 years ago.

Wiser

We learned to work as a team. Mostly, I learned to listen and follow instruction. To test how well a couple teams up give them a brand new BBQ in 50 pieces and poorly written instructions. The good ones will have it together in an hour laughing along the way. The ones who are still learning? Both will argue that their way is right. Both will give instructions. Neither will listen. The marriage will dissolve and someone will be threatened to be beaten to death with the unbuilt BBQ. It’s the same with furniture assembly and vacation planning.

Twelve years has taught us (me) that listening, not just hearing, is as important as doing. Of course, being weak to her Mind Tricks helps.

Crazier

Twelve years is a long time to be with the same person. You learn to find your own version of normal. It’s buying your own anniversary present because your wife is sick with the flu and can’t get out. It’s playing with said present (Bop It) and dancing like a drunk June bug to make her laugh. It’s knowing who is going to jump on the trampoline with the kids and who is going to plan the birthday party.

Kids have a tendency to make you a bit crazier than usual, too. Whether they entice you onto the kitchen dance floor, adorn you with macaroni jewels, or just plain refuse to go to sleep, you will find your own crazy and you will embrace it. Wear it proudly as if it were a crown.

Love

We have learned what sacrifices the other has made to help the family. Whether it was a move or using birthday money to pay a bill or going without sleep because of a sick kid, hungry infant, or worry. We learn to see what we do for each other. Whether it’s simple things like cooking, cleaning, or entertaining the kids. Or it’s big like planning a big party, support through a tough time, or a surprise outing. Also, having kids gives us a common enemy goal.

Though all we have learned over the past 12 years (14 if you count when we first met), I have learned the most. Some how I have hunch I’m not yet done learning.

Now come find and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Where are the Feeders?

It was everything I hoped it would be.

And I was hoping for so much.

*Warning: There are no spoilers here…

The original Cars came out in 2006, the same year we found out DW was pregnant with the one we now call Crash. Late in ’07, or perhaps early in ’08, we bought it not knowing what it was. We bought it simply because Crash LOVED playing with cars (and trucks and pretty much anything with wheels). It instantly became a favorite. Soon after, he would refuse to eat unless Cars was playing on TV.

As new parents we allowed it because, hey, what’s a little TV while ya eat? Plus, it got him to eat. Have you ever fought with a toddler to eat? It ain’t pretty and the mess rivals that of a tornado in a trailer park . You have to chose your battles wisely.

We watched that movie more times than a toddler asks, “Why?” It was a good thing we liked it. So many times we caught a new line PIXAR sneaked in there for us adult-like folks.

Well dip me in axle grease and call me slick!

or a bumper sticker in Lizzie’s shop…

Nice butte

Needless to say we loved it and didn’t mind watching it over and over…

and over and over…

Cars 2 was released in 2011 and, like faithful Cars fans, we went to see it. It’s a big deal because we generally don’t see many movies in the theater. Perhaps just once a year. Perhaps fewer. The one we now call Bang was just a week old. He slept through the whole thing. Crash liked it, but got a bit scared when Mater had a bomb stuck to him. We weren’t all that impressed. It was too different from the original. It didn’t carry on the story line that was created in the first movie.

So you can imagine our excitement when we heard about Cars 3 and saw that it was more like the first movie. It came out the day before Bang’s 6th birthday. Unfortunately, that weekend was already jam packed. That, and he was running a fever so we didn’t make it to the movies on its opening weekend.

We went last Saturday when it was cold and raining. It was an hour and 15 minute drive and ten minutes into the drive and we hear, “Where’s the feeder?”

The what? We have several bird feeders at home.

“Where’s the feeder!? Where the movie is!”

Oh, the theater. Duh.

Not to give anything away because I hate spoilers, it was full of emotions. We were laughing at Mater and the situations Lightning found himself (trying to flee Ms. Fritter). We were crying at his longing for The Fabulous Doc Hudson (voiced by the late Paul Newman). They seamlessly combined two eras – dirt racing of yesteryear and virtual reality racing of “today”. It was flashy and new. It was down to earth and retro.

DW and I were as excited to see this one as the boys were and for good reason. Once again, PIXAR lived up to the reputation it built when it made Toy Story. Now we have to wait for it to come out on DVD…

Did you see it? What did you think?

cars3

 

Questions I Asked My Kids

The boys are just 2 (and piece) school days away from summer vacation. Monday. Tuesday. An hour and half next Friday to pick up report cards. Their systems on shut down now. They just want it to end. The days are long and sunny and warm and, really, who wants to be in school? No more than anyone wants to be at work. 

I had the questions written last night but forgot to ask them at bedtime. So I meant to ask them at breakfast time but things ’round here got a bit hairy trying to get the oldest to realize that no matter how much he fought us he was still going to school. So I asked them at the bus stop. They answered the last question just as the bus pulled up. So there are only 8 this week instead of the normal 10. However, I’m sure you’ll find just as much humor crammed into these 8. 

1. What are some things you want to do this summer?

Crash: go to the fair, play video games all day, and go to the beach
Bang: go to the fair, get new hamsters, go dumpster diving

2. Why does the sky turn pink or orange when the sun sets?

Crash: because some of the sun is blocked by hills and trees
Bang: Because the sun is behind an orange cloud so it makes the sky orange

3. How many peanut M&M’s can dad put in his mouth?

Crash: 30 because you have  big mouth
Bang: 10

4. what time should bedtime be over summer break?

Crash: 12:00
Bang: 1 o’clock in the morning

5. What scares you?

Crash: wasps
Bang: a rattlesnake 
*Nova Scotia does not have any poisonous snakes

6. What makes you laugh?  

Crash: Cat videos
Bang: When you’re head’s on your butt

7. If you could trade feet with an animal, what animal’s feet would you have?

Crash: Elephant’s, no doubt
Bang: Horse because I want hooves

8. Would you rather have mom’s hair or dad’s?

Crash: Dad’s. but it makes no sense because you don’t have hair
Bang: Dad’s

This Is the Boy…

You know the cliche, the days go slow the years go fast. Today before me stands a six year old. Yesterday he was five. He started school this year and is learning in leaps and bounds. He’s stubborn but loving. He’s quite the comedian, too. If you’ve read any of the Questions I Asked My Kids posts you’ll see that humor shine through. We never know what’s going to come out of him.

This is the boy who talks to himself while doing his business in the bathroom. He pretends to make YouTube videos. 

This is the boy who loves kayaking. His first time in a kayak he paddled away like he’d been doing it for years. He was 5.

This is the boy who still loves trains, trucks, ships, diggers, dumpers, dozers and crossing bridges. He puts his window down to “hear the bridge” whenever we cross one. 

This is the boy who love dirt more than trains, trucks, diggers, dumpers, dozers, and ships. Dirt loves him, too.

This is the boy who loves to do homework with his brother. It won’t be long before his brother will be paying him to do his homework. 

This is the boy who is a half inch taller than what his brother was at the same age. 

This is the boy who’s taught to say “I love you” without saying “I love you”. “I like your face” has become the new quote around the house. “Night night, like your face”. “Bye! Like your face!” Or at some random time when we’re just sitting around watching TV. 

He’s stubborn as an old mule. He’s got his grandfather’s (Guppie) temper. But he’s a lovey boy who sits with the old ladies in the church choir, who has hugs for his teachers every day, who shovels the neighbor’s driveway. 

Happy birthday sweet boy. 

This Is the Boy…

You know the cliche, the days go slow the years go fast. Today before me stands a six year old. Yesterday he was five. He started school this year and is learning in leaps and bounds. He’s stubborn but loving. He’s quite the comedian, too. If you’ve read any of the Questions I Asked My Kids posts you’ll see that humor shine through. We never know what’s going to come out of him.

This is the boy who talks to himself while doing his business in the bathroom. He pretends to make YouTube videos. 

This is the boy who loves kayaking. His first time in a kayak he paddled away like he’d been doing it for years. He was 5.

This is the boy who still loves trains, trucks, ships, diggers, dumpers, dozers and crossing bridges. He puts his window down to “hear the bridge” whenever we cross one. 

This is the boy who love dirt more than trains, trucks, diggers, dumpers, dozers, and ships. Dirt loves him, too.

This is the boy who loves to do homework with his brother. It won’t be long before his brother will be paying him to do his homework. 

This is the boy who is a half inch taller than what his brother was at the same age. 

This is the boy who’s taught to say “I love you” without saying “I love you”. “I like your face” has become the new quote around the house. “Night night, like your face”. “Bye! Like your face!” Or at some random time when we’re just sitting around watching TV. 

He’s stubborn as an old mule. He’s got his grandfather’s (Guppie) temper. But he’s a lovey boy who sits with the old ladies in the church choir, who has hugs for his teachers every day, who shovels the neighbor’s driveway. 

Happy birthday sweet boy.