Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jamie and Karla's Calendar

George Bush's Speechalist

I think it's kind of funny.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Aysha Leanring to Walk (and more)

The is a little video that I made of Aysha from earlier in her walking career. It is mostly footage of her from when my parents, my sister and Dave were here. This one is only two minutes long and about 5mb. After you click the picture you will have to wait a few seconds for the video to start with Windows Media Player.

There is more footage of Aysha, but her nap was only long enough this afternoon to put together this little bit. The next bit of the park and playtime at the pool with Gabriel will come soon.

Yesterday, Karla went to a planning meeting for the school and I was on baby duty, alone, for eight straight hours. I don't know if is more amazing that Aysha survived the ordeal, or that I did, but when mom rolled in at 4:30 we were still having a good time. We took two trips down to the pool area for a cruise around. Claudina usually takes Aysha down for a little afternoon walk. When Aysha and I left the apartment, it was obvious that Aysha had the routine down. She walked over to the elevator with her push toy, got on and even turned around by herself so she was ready to get off. We cruised around the patio, Aysha stopping whenever a leaf needed to be picked up. She is pretty good at transferring between her two hands and could manage six or seven big leaves and still push her toy. When we got back, she had a good nap and let me get some work done. When she woke up we did it all again.

Today, the art teacher, Patricia and her son, Gabriel, came over for a play date. Gabriel is only 10 days younger than Aysha. The two of them didn't do too much playing together, but they played beside each other without any problems. Gabriel had all Aysha's toys to play with and Aysha alternated between watching him play and eating pita bread. She's got quite an appetite these days.

Well, the video has been uploaded so this post should be ready to go as soon as I click the button.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another Post in the Blog

It’s another long weekend in Cartagena. We’re a bit spoiled when it comes to long weekends here in Colombia. It’s two in a row, and we have another two to look forward to before the end of the year.

We took Aysha to the doctor this week. She was slow returning to her normal digestive cycle after her little bout of illness last weekend. The doctor gave her a clean bill of health and she is back to full form this weekend. We were very encouraged after the doctor’s visit. She was weighed and measured and when we got home we pulled out the growth charts to see how she’s doing. Her weight was about where it always is – on the low end of the scale for her age, around the 10th percentile. But her height put her around the 60th percentile on the first chart we checked and around 50 on the second. Perhaps Aysha would, after all, provide some hope to the vertically challenged Germaine/Hantke family. On second measurement, Aysha came in a whole inch and a half shorter than her first measurement, putting her back somewhere around the 10th percentile for height at her age. Now, those of you hoping for a tall baby, don’t lose hope. The doctor had a table specially designed for measuring babies. Karla and I conducted the second measurement but getting Aysha to stand beside a wall and balancing a book on her head. The likelihood of an error is probably much higher for our second measurement than the first.

Aysha is continuing to try out little bits of language. She is using the more sign frequently to mean that she wants more food. She hasn’t generalized it so that it applies to activities (but when your attention span is usually about 12 seconds, it’s hard to find an occasion when you need to ask to do something again). She can do book now too. And done. Vocally, up and agua are her two favourite words. She loves to climb things and will come to the edge of the bed and say, “Up.” All she needs is a hand to grab onto then the little goat-girl scrambles up onto the bed and then to the top of the nearest parent. When she’s done that, she will scramble down onto the floor (goat-girl is even better at climbing down) and say, “Agua,” which means, “It’s time for you to come and get me something to put in my mouth.”

Another little video is shaping up. Aysha walked down to the park with the help of one of her little walker toys and played on the play-structure and slide (with close parental supervision). The first trip to the playground was a trial and the second one was the video shoot. We decided to let Aysha walk the second time and by the time she got there she was tuckered out and not in the mood for much playing. Maybe tomorrow, we will take her down in the stroller for some better shots. I tell you, accommodating the needs of this little movie star is hard work!

It’s been a quiet week at school. This week about 1/3 of the middle school students have gone to Medellin for a big sports tournament. The classes were small which made for a mostly easy week. The ones that were left are a mix of the students who wanted to go but, through laziness or lack of aptitude, didn’t have the grades; and the ones who aren’t interested in sports. Last week Karla and I both had a few little crises as students who really wanted to go begged and pleaded to be allowed to slip through the cracks and onto the teams. Despite warnings from the experiences teachers that everyone goes anyways, a few were left behind. The goal of the policy is that the ones who get left behind get more time to do their school work, but it didn’t turn out that way - for my kids, anyway. The ones that had to stay in Cartagena were so mad about it that they sat in class all week and pouted.

We have made plans for Semana Santa (Holy Week) too. We are going up to Bogota with Tony, Diana and Julian, the other young family at the school. People say that the culture her on the coast is very laid back (which it is), but in the interior of the country, people are much harder working. We’ll see. It should be nice and cold up there – positively spring-like, as compared to here, which has been now moved past summer-like into plain-old downright hot.

Friday night, thanks to the DVD black market, we watched Good Night, and Good Luck. It’s the story of Edward R. Murrow, the journalist who worked for CBS and was critical of Sen. McCarthy during the Committee on Un-American Activities. The movie itself was well done (George Clooney directs), but lacked tension and didn’t arouse any great sympathy for the characters. To me, the main point of the movie was to point out the failings of the current media: its failure to report the real news under the double threat of being branded un-American and losing revenue from advertising.

We’ve been trying to work through some of the Academy nominees for best picture. Last weekend we watched Brokeback Mountain. It was sad. I am glad I’m not a gay cowboy in the 1970’s. I’ve been reading the short story since I saw the movie. It’s been a hard read – not because the story is difficult, but because they movie is so closely modeled on the book. It’s like watching the movie all over again.

It will be bedtime soon here in Colombia. Nighty-night.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Summer Plans

Hi there friends and family.

It is time again to begin the planning of the summer schedule. We booked our tickets this week. We leave on June 10th from Cartagena to Saskatoon. We will go to Renee and Brent's wedding the next weekend. We'll have one more week in Saskatchewan and then are flying to Calgary on the 25th. The only other plans we have for the summer so far are for the end of July. The 22nd is Kathy and Chad's wedding in Lloydminster and the 25th-28th is the Calgary Folk Festival (this year already boasting Dan Bern, Dar Williams and Ani DiFranco).

We are scheduled to come back on August 3rd from Calgary to Cartagena in one long day. We start work the next day.

At school it is already going to be the end of the third quarter this Friday. After that there are only 12 more weeks of school left for us this year. In April we have a week off for Semana Santa (Holy Week). We are planning to go to Bogota for a few days and north to a little colonial town in the mountains. It will be cold there - down to 12 degrees at night!

Life in Cartagena has returned to normal. We have been sticking close to home and catching up on the work we should have been doing when all our visitors were here.

Aysha is walking around all by herself. She is speeding up, but still likes to be connected to something. She walks from one piece of furniture to another, or grabs a walker and really moves. If she can get a hold of a hand or handful of clothing, she can pull herself up onto the couch or bed by herself. Sometimes we call her goat-girl due to her knack for making her way to the tops of things. She can slip down backwards from both the bed and couch too. She prefers to crawl down to the foot of the bed to slide down where the foot board gives her an extra handhold.

Her communication skills are still developing. Her current philosophy seems to be that there is no problem that whining won't fix. Slowly, she is making a few more signs, some meaningfully, some randomly. She really has horse down - hands bouncing like they are holding reins (along with the clip-clop sounds, and makes it whenever she hears the sounds of horses passing by on the street. She is also making the sign for more, book, dog, and, rarely, up. She is almost forming words. She manages to almost say mom, bye, up, and, agua too. She has a special na-na-na-na when she doesn't like something.

Aysha and Karla have been sick this weekend. Aysha on Saturday and Karla on Sunday night. Monday was a holiday since several of our Colombian teachers had been recruited by for the Colombian elections on Sunday. Both had threw up for a few hours and have spent a few more hours feeling lousy. I have to hope I am not next.

Aysha's passport is finally being extended. I took advantage of the day off to go into the Canadian consulate and got everything straightened out. In January, the embassy in Bogota said that the consulate here could extend her passport (which expires next month). On Friday, the embassy changed their mind and so I had to go in to figure it out. I had sent an email to the embassy on Friday, and when I arrived at the consul this morning, we called Bogota and the person I had emailed had already figured out how to solve the problem. Both Aysha's certificate of citizenship, which has been on hold since the official photocopy of her birth certificate went lost, and passport extension are underway.

Well, Aysha is crawling all over her recovering mom so I had better go and try to entertain her until bedtime so mom can get some rest.

Friday, March 03, 2006


I'm at school and I should be correcting students reading projects. But I'm not. I was drifting through cyberspace in a typically hyperlinked pattern: from tech news to video sharing to google video to this little bit of video poetry. It's about forgetfulness, which seems to be a growing phenomenon (either as a cause or result of our increased ability to note, post, and remind ourselves of life in general).