Blog #191




Kiddiyak Maiden Voyage


  Svea and I went for a paddle yesterday.  Svea wobbled the Kiddiyak a few times, but never came close to capsizing.  I'm happy with the boat and Svea, considering that it was a first for both.  I need to adjust and fit the rudder pedal straps before we go out again and I think she could use a more of a contoured seat to keep her centered in the boat.  She felt the need to shift herself around often.  It will take a bit more practice before she's able to cover much distance.  Steering a kayak involves coordinating paddle strokes and rudder/foot inputs.  Both of these skills are new to Svea and keeping track of both things at once; she tended to "S" turn much of the time.  But she enjoyed herself and wants to go again which was our objective.





  The girls set up a garden hose last night and played until they were soaked.  The trees are starting to bud and flowers are blooming.  Joan and Papa have planted things in the gardens.  Spring is here!



Alaska Room


  Joan has repainted the living room, including the ceiling, to highlight the Baidarka, which we relocated to the opposite side of the room.  Papa built three shelves, with lights, that display our Alaskana.  I built a wall rack for the Kiddiyak and paddle and painted the TV brown.  The three of us installed five recessed lights in the ceiling; the living room has always been poorly lit.  We are very happy with our improvements; especially the lighting.  Also, we have a ghost that looks much like Joan.



Happy Annika Day


  Annika's Name Day was this Monday, April 21st.  We celebrated with a cake, song and gifts.





Everything Else


  I sold the Aerostar; I think that this is the first time in my adult life that I've only owned one car.  Yesterday I taught another video class at Corporate College for the Diocese; it went much more smoothly than last time.  Brigitta has had a cough for over a month; her doctor says its either allergies or possibly asthma and prescribed an inhaler.  We hope its just allergies...  I've had "something" for six weeks now.  It definitely started out as a cold, and I definitely am suffering from spring allergies.  I'm just not sure If I can blame all of my current symptoms on allergies.  The weather has been nice and I've managed to bike a couple times a week lately.  I feel slow and out of shape, but I've been pushing myself to 25 miles a ride.  Svea auditioned and was accepted into the professional ballet school at Nan Klinger's; we have yet to decide if we want to commit to her upping her practice to two days a week.  Next weekend Svea will make her First Communion; she has been preparing all year both at Immaculate Heart of Mary and Our Lady of Victory.  We are planning a party for Sunday.


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Blog #190






  Svea's second grade teacher assigned her students to either write a song or poem about an assigned planet.  Svea randomly drew Uranus and wanted to write a song.  We talked about many different songs that could it could be patterned after.  Svea figured the three syllables of Uranus would fit "Be Our Guest" (from Beauty and the Beast).  It was a great choice.  Svea researched Uranus and gathered an extensive list of facts that could be worked into a song.  Joan helped her with the rhyme and meter and she came up with a pretty cute song.  I made dozens of suggestions, all of which were rejected by Svea and Joan.  I especially like: "Oh, the sun doesn't shine on Uranus!"  Even though sunlight does light Uranus at 1/400 that of Earth, I think the double meaning would have made it worth fudging the facts.  I also don't see what's wrong with: "Oh Uranus is bigger than the Moon!"  Anyway, Svea practiced her song to death and we filmed her in front of a green screen so that she could be super-imposed over a slow zooming picture of Uranus.  Joan gave me a new Video editing program for Christmas that supports chroma-key/green-screen.  I finally installed it a few days ago, but had yet to even play with the program.  We filmed the night before her project was due; Joan and I studied the program just enough to do what we hoped it would do.

Be sure to check out Svea's 16th take of Uranus on our Movie Page.



A New Car!


  Bill's Lincoln was on it's last legs; no one trusted it and part of the air suspension had gone flat.  Our only seven passenger vehicle for our seven person family was our old Ford Aerostar.  I paid $1,000 for it about five years ago.  Even though I got it for a great price, it's depreciated quite a bit since then.  We don't trust it much more than the Lincoln; Joan actually dreaded driving either one.  My parents have a Honda Odyssey.  We borrow it when we visit them in Alaska and just love it.  It drives like a car and has seven seats.  The rear seat folds into the floor and the middle seats fold forward against the front seats; this makes a huge cargo area in seconds.  The floor is much lower than the Aerostar which should make it much easier for Nana to get in and out.  It also has four doors and four captains seats.  Bill had been talking about replacing the Lincoln for over a year; I didn't know that he was serious until Sunday night when he showed me an ad.  This one is a 2002 with 76,000 miles on it.  The price he paid was excellent compared to what I've seen advertised locally and sold nationwide over the past month on Ebay.  It's a great car and the entire family is excited about it.



The car dealer where Bill bought the Honda was disposing of their balloons Monday night.  When I saw a worker popping them I asked for the rest and she was happy to give them to me; I brought home a carload.  Annika had a ball with them on Tuesday.


Bill and Annika


Munroe Park Hike


  The weather is finally heading toward Spring.  The warm temperatures were all the encouragement we needed for a hike on Sunday.




Kiddiyak Complete!


  I actually completed the Kiddiyak and Greenland style paddle on the last day of Easter Break at the end of March.  The Dacron aircraft fabric was great to work with and the experience was similar to covering a balsa model airplane.  Once the fabric was sealed with varnish we tested the boat out in the water of the ice rink.  We had delayed draining it for this purpose.  Even Annika tested it out. 


  The finished boat weighs 19 pounds and the poplar/walnut paddle weighs one pound.  My log shows that I put about 60 hours into the boat and paddle, including design.  I wanted Joan to paint some Native Alaskan Haida/Tsimshian style figures on the deck before I posted pictures.  It's been a whirlwind of business around her lately, but she finally got around to it earlier this week.  She painted a salmon on the bow and an orca on the stern.  It's exactly the paint scheme I was hoping for, even though I couldn't quite picture it myself.  Joan spent about three hours on research and painting.  The lake water temperatures have to warm up a bit to be safe enough for the kids, however.





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Blog #189




Kite Flying


  Last Sunday it was very windy so we flew kites.  Some of the neighbor kids joined as well.



Note the box kite that I am assembling in the background of the picture above.  I let that one out on 1,000 feet of line.  I drove around the neighborhood and took some angles; I figure that it reached at least 600 feet in altitude.  In the picture below, it is just a speck.



Slumber Party

During Easter Break Joan rafted the girls beds together; they enjoyed it much and played even later than usual.


Glass Blowing Demonstration

Last weekend we went to a glass blowing demonstration near Nothside Lofts, an "artsy" area near downtown Akron.  It was pretty cool; Joan wants to take a class.


Anni builds another Tower



Gerard, Chuck and Harriette

Gerard and Harriette visit their brother Chuck at Wyant Woods this week. 

Chuck is has Alzheimer's, but from all accounts is managing quite well at this point.


Bonsai with Shy

Svea, Joan and cousin Shy went to the Akron/Canton Bonsai Society meeting in Cuyahoga Falls Thursday night and started new Bonsai trees.  Our batch from last year died.




   Something happens to girls between the ages of three and eight.  Yesterday I drained the ice skating rink and pulled up the 20' X 30' tarp that held the water/ice in.  Of course there were worms everywhere.  I called the girls over to check them out.  Svea and Brigitta had serious cases of the heebeegeebees and wouldn't pick them up.  Once Brigitta saw Annika pick them up, however, she got over her fears.  Svea had to use two sticks to pick them up however.  Be sure to check out the worm movie on the movie page.  We are still trying to get Anni's coat clean!




She spun this one around and it landed on her sleeve.





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