2 Sep 2014

Can't even remember all the things we did this week.

It has definitely been a busy week - Wendy and I flew to Edmonton, rented a small car, stayed in a Super 8 hotel, went hiking, found a pile of silver balls, visited with family, went to the West Edmonton Mall (twice), missed Parker's 14th birthday, went to our nephew's Hawaiian-themed wedding, flew to Calgary then back to Hamilton, welcomed Stanley back from China, watched Parker and Stanley head to their new high school, and watched Adam head off to college for the first time. Oh yeah, and September started somewhere in there.

We decided to take a hike at the John Janzen Nature Centre in Edmonton the first morning after we arrived since it was supposed to be best weather for the whole week. After parking, we walked over to an underpass and climbed up to an odd looking pile of silver balls. We had no idea what this rather large structure might be, other than that it was a piece of urban art. We asked a passerby and was told it was called the Talus Dome (although there were no signs anywhere near the installation).

On later Google searching, we found that it was erected a few years ago as a publicly funded art piece ($600,000!) to much praise and much criticism. A talus is apparently a pile of rocks that collects at the bottom of a cliff and such a pile evidently results in a very specific geometric pattern (the angle of the sides is characteristic). OK. But these are silver balls. What gives?

I was never quite able to find an answer to that burning question, but I did find out that these were made of hollow stainless steel and that they were polished deliberately to generate a mirror-like finish to reflect the surrounding landscape (and hikers). They may have been described by others as the droppings of a very large silver rabbit, but they were still a cool find.
Reflected multiple selfie
On our hike along the river we also found what looked like an old wooden boat.  It was quite peaceful (being a Wednesday morning), so it was a nice calming view across the river. We did some geocaching and had dismal luck (only found 2 out of nearly 14 in the vicinity). We stopped looking after several thwarted attempts, mostly because of mosquitoes (and pride).
Boat on the North Saskatchewan River
We did visit a lot with my family, and it was great to see them again.  Below is the bride and groom after they opened the present that Wendy and I had made for them (it is called the 'tree of life'). This glass piece fits with their decoration theme in their townhouse and has a mix of African inspired colours. It is also our way of welcoming the bride to our (family) tree.

The happy couple the night before the wedding
All the usual family merriment ensued, and here is my brother scorching the dinner for the evening. With a brewmaster in the family, beer was present at the house.

While we were away, Parker turned 14. He went with his brother to his grandparent's for pizza, and this is one of the presents he received from them. We got him an android tablet the week before, and he has been playing with it constantly. My guess is that it was probably sitting right behind him while he was modelling the new hoodie below.

Wendy and I were able to take a day of shopping at the West Edmonton Mall.  Didn't buy much but the mall is mostly for looking around anyways. Here is Wendy at the seal show in one of the many phases of the mall.
Wendy at the West Edmonton Mall
Oddly, we found another old wooden boat.  This one was in a much noisier environment than the previous one. After several hours we were exhausted, but went back a day later with my niece to do some more shopping. We shared some Purdy's chocolate hedgehogs... definitely a highlight!
West Edmonton Mall pirate ship
I seem to get myself locked into certain odd behaviours with the kids... here is one of my great nieces beeping my nose after I showed her that it was kind of fun to do. She didn't seem to make strange too much with me (I guess I was that weird nose uncle), although she was somewhat fearful of her own grandfather.
Getting my nose "beeped" by a great niece
The wedding was held on the Saturday in the back yard of my nephew and his bride's place. It was Hawaiian themed and was both a great party and a nice intimate, low-key wedding.  No stress (well, for us...) and there were lots of photo opportunities. I am planning on posting separately for the family, so I have only included a few photos below as a preview for those waiting to see the images.

Wendy and the happy couple
Apparently this is my nephew's first ever selfie!

Wendy blowing bubbles
The whole clan
What we saw on the ground at the Calgary airport on the way home is a preview of what is to come in a little over a week (for Wendy and Parker).

To end off the week, Stanley arrived back from China and came to our house only a few hours after we arrived home from Alberta. After what felt like a very short long weekend, we prepared for the onslaught of the September rush.  We found out that Stanley (grade 12) and Parker (grade 9) get to go to the same school site (the old Parkside high school), but they don't qualify for the school bus. Hopefully that will get fixed in the coming weeks. Adam went to Mohawk College for orientation and will start classes tomorrow. I will start teaching my 194 first year students on Thursday, but met with the 10 TA's for my course today.

Maybe next week I should take a vacation...

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