Programming with Ian (and Miranda)

As part of his summer enrichment Simon has volunteered me to work through Swift Playgrounds on the iPad with Ian. (I volunteered Miranda to join in as well. 😆) Swift Playgrounds is a visually friendly learn-to-program course put out by Apple in their anyone can code movement. It’s broken down into 3 introductory courses: Learn to Code 1, Learn to Code 2, and Learn to Code 3. Ian has really taken a shine to it. I have to admit it’s a lot better than the coding courses I took at UVic and CNC. In fact it brought to mind my first programming course I had through Radio Shack waaaay back in the ’80s. I managed to find some videos on Logic on Youtube. I showed him how programming classes used to be in the beginning and how they typically are at the post-secondary level (dry and boring). It really made him appreciate how Swift has been designed.  Hopefully we can work our way through 2 of the courses by the end of summer.

Dad’s Summer Visit

For the first time, Dad is visiting when there isn’t any snow on the ground! He’s been here after Thanksgiving and at Christmas, but never when things are warm, sunny and green.

He flew in on Thursday night, just before 10 pm. Ian and I went to the airport to pick him up, because Tammy and Miranda got back late from their BCC ladies’ ride and we weren’t going to greet him with half the family smelling bad. 😁

Friday morning, when Tammy and Miranda went to the orthodontist, Ian, Dad and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood. Then we had a lunch out on the deck. It was starting to get hot, and we were expected to meet up with Sepideh and her family at Arbour Lake. We thought about begging off, but went and were glad we did! Sepideh had managed to snag one of the gazebos so we had shade, and the lake was neat.

The view from the gazebo

Ian and Ilia played in the sand, building a sandcastle, and we went for rides in paddleboats.

Me, Sepideh, Ian and Ilia

Of course, there is a reason that Ian’s all wet in this photo. I encouraged him to jump into the lake when we were in the middle of it. He was wearing a life jacket, so that was fine until he tried to get back into the boat. He couldn’t haul himself out of the water, and I couldn’t get enough leverage to pull him in. So we “towed” him back to shore where he scrambled onto the dock with Tammy’s and Miranda’s help.

We came home and recuperated for a while. We barbecued some burgers, and had an impromptu “early birthday” for Ian, who will turn 11 later this month. Tammy had baked a carrot cake that was delicious.

Ian ready to blow out the candle

Then Tammy and I dragged ourselves out to yet another event. You can tell that she and I are generally introverted. This event was the Bow Cyclists Club Stampede Social. Tara had managed to swing 30 tickets to the Wild Horse Saloon’s Stampede Tent, which is another sort of Stampede event that Tammy and I had not sampled until now.

View of the stage from the back

It was crowded, with loud music and expensive drinks. But for all that, we had a great time. It was too loud to carry on conversation, so it was either stand around and drink, or get in the mix and dance. Knowing Tammy, we chose the latter!

There was a live band (Steve Arsenault Band) and a DJ in the space between sets. The dance floor was crowded, but we had a great time bouncing around for at least an hour and a half.

The band from the dance floor

We didn’t stay too late, and were home by 11:00. Dad and the kids had played some games in the evening: Uno and Anomia.

Today, Tammy was off to work, and Dad, the kids and I headed for Drumheller. We went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Dad had never seen the hoo doos or the dinosaur museum. It was a great day for it. It had rained overnight, but today was sunny and fresh. Not too hot. The canola was in bloom.

Fields of canola

The museum was crowded, but not nearly as much as it would be later in the day. When we arrived, there were about 20 people ahead of us to buy tickets, but when we left, the lineup was out the door and around the corner.

We took our time and looked at all of the fossils. Here’s Dad, Ian and Miranda ready to enter the “time machine” that takes you back to the Precambrian.

Ready for time travel

It was good. We were hungry by the time we were done. I’d made some bunwiches, which we took to the playground/picnic area.

Not sure what else will happen before Dad returns to Victoria tomorrow evening, but those were all of the major planned activities!

I Know… Not Many Posts

It’s just been that kind of week. There’s been a lot going on, but it’s all the garden-variety sort. The kids are on summer break now, and that’s changed the pace of things. Miranda’s making origami things and reading. Ian’s got limits on his iPad time this summer, so that’s working out to more variety of activities. He’ll be working on Swift Playgrounds with Tammy on the iPad this summer. He still wants to code a game.

Dad’s arriving Thursday night for a summer visit. Ya-hoo! Stampede time! 🤠

Both kids are enrolled in the Bow Cycle Kids’ Summer Bike Challenge. They have to log 45 to 75 minutes of bike riding a week to win prizes. Of course, for Miranda, that’s no problem, because she gets more than that per Bow Cyclist ride. In fact, on the Sunday ride, her group stayed out for three and a half hours and covered 64 km!

Ian has been going for longer rides by himself on his road bike, like 10 to 16 km. In fact, I ran into him today as I was riding home. He was coming the other way on the bike bridge over Stoney Trail. He and I did 27 km last Thursday.

I’ve had a bit of a quieter week at work (finally). The APL project that had been jamming my calendar full is on hold, so there is some space to do the other priorities. I’ve also finished writing a Mac version of the perennial software development task: the FFF.

The Fantastic Fiduciary Friend for Mac

The only thing that really has been getting neglected is the housework… It’s July and I haven’t attacked the falling apart lattice on the deck yet.


Reading with Ian

For the last week or so, Ian and I have been reading together in the evenings. I didn’t want to post anything too early and jinx it, but we’re on to Chapter seven of The Eye of the World, and he is really starting to get engaged.

En anglais et en français

I had been pondering trying this for a bit, for a couple of reasons. The first is that I have been listening to the Wheel of Time Spoilers Podcast. It is going through the books a chapter or two at a time, combing over the books and freely talking about how early events connect to later things, etc. You don’t want to listen to this podcast if you haven’t already read the books.

And for Father’s Day (which didn’t get a post this year, for some reason…) I got a French language copy of the first book of the Wheel of Time series. I started reading it, and was overcome with the desire to read it with someone. I had already inflicted the series on Tammy once.

He knows almost nothing about these books, other than them being huge and taking up a whole shelf in the living room. The prologue was touch and go, and then the first chapter he was antsy. Then I started reading right next to him, and he is reading along as I read aloud. We’ve just gotten past the Winternight and the West Wood chapters, and now he’s really getting excited. I hope it keeps going. He is stopping me and asking questions when he doesn’t understand something, and I am asking him questions about the story and he can tell me lots about it. As always with Ian, it’s interesting what he fixates on, but the story is there. 🤨

I am having a bit of a race with myself. Which is faster: Simon reading the French copy, or reading the English copy aloud to a ten year old? So far, it’s neck-and-neck.

Calaway Park

It’s the Canada 🇨🇦 Day long weekend, and the kids and I went to Calaway park this morning. I took Tammy to work, along with her bicycle. If the weather holds, she will try to ride all the way home. It’s a good 27 km or so, so everybody think positive thoughts! 🤞

At Calaway Park, we hit Timber Falls early so that we would have a chance to dry out.

The “before” picture. Wetness ensued.

The other notable happening was that Miranda talked Ian into going on “Chaos”. I refused, knowing that it would give me motion sickness.

Miranda and Ian on Chaos

It ended up making Ian a bit dizzy. Not so much that he felt barfy, but enough that he stuck to the rides that he knew from then on: Adrenaline Test Centre, Pirate Ship and Air Gliders. Miranda and I hit the Storm before we headed out, and Ian watched and waved.

Summer 2018 Piano Recital

The end of another year of piano lessons is here. Miranda has been studying musicality and improvisation with Miss Jessica, and Ian has been in the Level 3 class at Viva Musica. They are both doing very well, and they got a chance to show off at the recital.

The kids on stage

Miranda played two improvisational pieces with Miss Jessica.

Ian played “Left Alone”, which is a play on words: the piece is played entirely with the left hand.

Both did very well and I am very proud of them. They still have some make-up classes in the next couple of weeks, but the “school year” is over.

It’s been a long time since first exploring lessons for Miranda, and buying our piano.

Stampeders Game from the ENMAX Box

I got an email from Mary when I was at Tech Trek:

Hi Simon,

ENMAX has invited Esri to come to the football game – Calgary vs Hamilton – and Dave and I are going.

There is room for one more.

Don’t know if you want to come, but wanted to invite you.  No pressure either way.

Can you let me know tonight?


I said yes, of course. And tonight was the night. The view from the box was good.

View from the box towards downtown

Continue reading