Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Father and Sons...


Open on BRETT and MILES standing near the kitchen table.  Miles is wearing his BATMAN CAPE over his shirt. Brett is wearing his burgundy sweat pants and black guitar shirt.  His eyes are puffy as he searches the nearby cabinet for a ripe ORANGE to eat.

Hey, Dad.  My favorite animal is Grover.

Really?  Wait, Grover isn't an animal, he's a monster.

Miles takes a moment to scratch his chin, looking down at the floor.


Oh, yeah.  I know that.  I know he's a monster.  Also, that guy
that eats all the cookies.  He's a monster, too.

Brett smiles down at Miles, pats him on the head, picks an orange, and goes into the kitchen to peel it.


Jonas, concerned about the horror of not being in character 24-7, decides that his rubber boots are good enough to simulate Kitty Soft Paws' boots from the movie Puss in Boots.  In a week where the weather has been sunny and mild, Jonas has been seen wearing his rubber boots to school every single day.  What people passing by will fail to notice, as it is quite impossible to see, if that Jonas is also wearing a black cape under that big, blue winter coat.  This cape is identical to the one his brother wore in the above scene.

On the weekend, Jonas wanted to wear pants with big enough belt loops to accommodate his toy sword.  When he "sheathed" his weapon, he noticed that the loops made the front of his sword droop.  He did not like this and demanded from his father that the problem be solved.  His father, not knowing were to purchase a pair of magic pants like this, told Jonas that nothing could be done.  Screaming, whining, falling down on the ground, spankings, and a time out for the sword quickly followed for the young Kitty Soft Paws fan.


Today, I dusted off the ol' low-tops for a game of basketball down at Min Yuan.  It was the first time that I participated in a basketball game at the school in well over a year.  I felt like the brisk air would do some good for my sore throat for some reason.  I do not know why. 

The competition was surprisingly good.  I whiffed on a few shots, though most of my time was spent setting up my teammates (just like Gretzky).  Compared to the other local guys on the other 3 on 3 teams, my team was not very good.  They were very good at fakes and traveling and calling fouls on the other team.  I would find myself open near the net, calling for the ball, and in the next moment I would be watching a ballet performance towards the net followed by a no-looker right into the other team's hands.  Opportunity lost.

In the end, my stat line would look something like this:

1 for 3 from the field (it was a 3 pointer!)
5 rebounds
11 blocks

I am pretty tall compared to most people here, so it's nice to know that after a year away from the courts I can still stuff the ball back into my opponent's face.

Playing basketball with Tibetans (and my Canadian friend, Arlin) is a very unique thing.  If you've ever ran the Min Yuan courts then you would know what I'm talking about.  It's a good time.  Fouls abound.  Imaginary fouls abound.  When someone gets swatted on the wrist, everyone laughs, including the guy being slapped.

My throat does not feel any better.  I was hoping for sort of a "reverse psychology" with it.  You know, heal a sore throat with cold air.  It's been done before, I bet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Few Thoughts: Father and Sons


I shower at night, after the boys are asleep.  Barbara showers in the morning, after the boys are up.  Jonas asked Barbara the other day, "Mom, why do moms take showers but dads don't?"  This is an honest question based purely on this boy's life experience.  To him, the world goes to sleep at 8pm.  I mean, what interesting thing could possibly happen while Jonas Gitzel is asleep?

Jonas has a small Batman tattoo on his arm that he got from a birthday party.  It's almost rubbed off now so he coloured it in with a few markers.  Today, while on the bus, Jonas looked over from his seat to notice an old man looking over at him.  Jonas proceeded to roll up his sleeve and show off his cool red and green coloured Batman tattoo to the man.  In fact, 2 days ago he did the same thing in the elevator for an old lady.

Remember when you were young and cheap little things like tattoos and bubble gum were so cool you thought that everyone around you would be jealous?  That's Jonas' world right now.


Miles runs everywhere.  When we are going to school he runs ahead to predetermined "pitstops" that I have pointed out so that he does not run all the way to school without us.  One time, at one of the stops, Miles was breathing very hard, and curiously he asked, 'Dad, why am I breathing like this?"  I told him it was because he just finished running 100 meters.  At that moment he realized that, every time he breathes hard like this, it is not that there is something wrong with him, it is that it is a product of running.  Ever since then I've noticed that, when he's tired, he is much more calm about it.  I realized that, for quite some time, he didn't know why he couldn't just run forever and it seemed to really bug him.

Miles figured out that he is a human being.


My problem with the NHL lockout is that, while they talk about who gets the money, nobody gets the money.  I don't get it.  I read today that there were some more meetings this week between the two sides, yet the conclusion was that they remain far apart and the entire season might be lost.  You know what that means?  These guys lose approximately 3 billion dollars by not working something out.

Can we mere mortals fathom a billion dollars?  Can we imagine being in meetings discussing 3 billions dollars and how to split it up, then leaving the meeting with our hands raised with a, "Well, let's talk about this again in the next week or two."?  These guys should have one of those giant digital counters drilled to the wall in the meeting room.  The counter just keeps ticking up and up, minute by minute, the amount of money they are throwing away every single day.  How much has it been so far?  One report figure that the league has lost over 200 million dollars already.  That clock would just keep ticking up and up.

Now, if you have a job and your job is to make a deal with someone, and every week you don't have a deal in place you lose over 100 million dollars, would you not think that taking a "break from talks" would be more than silly?  To me, this whole thing is psychotic.  If, in the end, the owners end up winning and get a bigger chunk of the money, then someone still needs to answer that age-old question:

When you already have a billion dollar income, why risk losing it just to get 1.5 billion dollars?  In other words (and I have trouble understanding because I don't make money) what can you buy with a whole lot of money that you couldn't already buy with a whole lot of money?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.  Here is a brief glimpse at the history:

Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday back in 1879 but back then it was celebrated in November, around the same time as our American neighbours.  However, they officially changed the date to the 2nd Monday of October in 1957.  I'm not sure why they changed it, but it's been that way ever since.  Maybe the Canadians were just being polite about it.

Yet, the history of being thankful in Canada goes back, back, waaaay back.

In 1578, on explorer Michael Frobisher's 3rd voyage in search of the Northwest Passage, the fleet of 15 ships had a lot of troubles with ice and storms, often times causing them to split up.  Along the way, they lost the ships that held most of the materials for them to start a settlement in the area, which ended up being near what is now the territory of Nunavut.

From wikipedia:
on meeting together again at their anchorage in Frobisher Bay, “..Mayster Wolfall, [ Robert Wolfall ] a learned man, appointed by her Majesties Councell to be their minister and preacher, made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankefull to God for their strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places,…” .
Years later, the French settlers also celebrated a feast of thanks.  On these occasions they held "The Order of Good Cheer" and shared their feast with their First Nations' neighbours.

There are many other stories of thankful Canadians, as many of you know, but I will leave the history lesson at that.

Personally, I am a very thankful person.  Today, it rained buckets and buckets of rain down on this desert town.  The streets were roaring with water, water that sustains life of plants, animals, and people like me.  I am thankful that it rained today.

I have had a massive stomach ache for the last 2 days.  I am thankful for it, in a way, as it reminds me to pray for healing and to remember those who deal with health issues every day of their lives.

I am thankful for my family and friends, both here and far away.

I am most thankful for Barbara, Miles and Jonas.  I have good people.  I am thankful that Barbara and I have grown closer over almost 7 years of living in China.  I am thankful that Miles and Jonas are growing up strong, smart and funny (just like their old man).

Though, once again, I am most thankful for Barbara.