Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

three week goal setting.

October 25, 2014

I wrote this Fitocracy and reference the site a few times. With that heads-up, I think the post makes sense.

From 2009 to around 2012, my weight was stable at around 92 kg. In 2012 and 2013, I saw 94 and even 95 kg. In 2013, I was home in Canada, eating the comfort food I had grown up with. Man, cheese and oven-cooked food are great.
Since around 2010, I thought about losing weight. Several times, I put some effort into a diet, cutting some of the worst food I eat and trying to eat better.
Exercise has never been a problem. Through high school and university, I was a competitive swimmer and even though those days are around twenty years past, I still exercise frequently.
Still, this year, I have had a nearly perfect storm of exercise and diet opportunities and hope to see continued progress. This being Fitocracy, I will discuss how I exercised but to be honest, getting a dog has probably made the most difference.
I typically sit in front of my computer for several hours a day. We got a puppy in April and I made sure to walk it three times a day, totaling more than an hour each day. The dog ambled and investigated and I wanted to walk faster but the thing is, I was standing and walking for an hour more and sitting for an hour less every day. When I sat in front of the computer and was consuming rather than creating (reading not typing), I normally have a snack nearby to munch on. One hour less snacking is a big deal.

Back to Fitocracy-relevant content. For as long as I can remember, I ate ice cream every day. Now, we don’t keep ice cream at home and I have to go out and buy it. This is the biggest, most obvious change that I’ve made. Nearly no junk food at home. Now, I typically eat ice cream twice a week (my wife thinks its closer to once a week) and chocolate two or three times a week.
My son was curious about the beer I drank and my wife is a teetotaler. Under their prodding, I now drink four beer a week (down from a hardly alcoholic seven or eight a week).
For the past twelve years, I have worked summer and winter at an ESL camp (Korean parents send their kids to academic camps during school breaks – something that I have both felt horrified by and profited by). The camp had been for four weeks and I lived on campus, near a running track. So, every year, I have worked toward 25 km a week on the track. This summer, the camp was shortened to three weeks.

And three weeks is a very manageable time period. I set a goal of 75 km, and made 77km. Upon returning home, I set a three week goal of 80 km and made 80.3km.


At this time, I had some setbacks. Mostly, I was trying to run too fast and had hurt my quads and Achilles tendons. With the advice of friends, I eased off on the speed and suddenly found longer runs comfortable. The third three week goal was 85km and I managed 97 km. I have just finished my fourth three week set; the goal was 100 km and I ran 102 km.


It may seem I just made it, but that is only true due to life events. I had 102 km three days early and if, well, life hand’t gotten in the way, I could have managed 110 km. This is my next goal, although I have an official run on Nov 9 so doing well at that is a possibly-competing goal.
In the just past three week, set I also added some pushups, situps and back arches. I may buy a chin up bar for a doorway in my apartment. I am not yet doing significant amounts of calisthenics but the numbers will improve, I’m sure.  And, my running speed is improving again.


85 kg, here I come – probably in February.

Enjoying a short winter- perhaps only because it is short

January 7, 2014

On January 14, my son and I fly back to South Korea.  In Busan today, the temperature is +6C.

Here in Penetanguishene, schools, roads, well, everything is closed because of the blizzard.  The wind is howling and dumping snow and the temperature is below -15C even before wind chill is taken into account.

My son and had fun today anyway.

Winter started early with a lot of snow in early December.  I seem to remember lasting snow only falling around Christmas (and falling for the next ten days straight, but not until then)  This winter, it has been early and constant.

blizzard jan 7 (1 b)

We had to go out the garage door because the front door is snowed in.blizzard jan 7 (2 b)

Even the back door is blocked up.  The wind has actually pushed snow through the screen door so snow has piled up between the doors.blizzard jan 7 (4 b)

Once outside, we built a quinzee.  Outside, the wind was strong and the temp around -15C.  Inside the snow house, there was no wind and the temp was much closer to 0C.  The main problem was having our glasses fog up in the warmth.in quinzee (1 b)

If we were staying in Ontario for the whole winter, we might soon get sick of the weather.  A short but real winter (again, in Busan it is miserably cool but not cold enough for sledding or making snowmen) is fun and I’m glad to have had the chance to enjoy it.

I sure hope our flight isn’t delayed though.

Cheetahs and other cats of the Toronto Zoo

October 21, 2013

On Saturday, The Little Guy and I went to the Toronto Zoo.  We were there in part to meet an old roommate from  university but we also had a set of animals we had to see.  Those animals were Pandas, cheetahs, Komodo Dragons, and Orangutans.  The other animals were expected to be interesting but not nearly as important to The Little Guy.  In fact, it was only with difficulty that I convinced him to see the pandas.  My tiny knowledge of Hanja allowed me to read one character in each of the pandas names.  Er Shun was ‘2’ Shun and Da Mao was ‘great’ Mao.  My friend and I chuckled that ‘Great Mao’ might have been a dangerous name to have not too long ago.

I gotta say, this is a great time to visit the Zoo.  We were among perhaps fifteen people who entered at the nine AM opening and we didn’t feel crowded at all during the day.

 

The animal that most caught my attention was this feral cat carrying its lunch into a ravine.DSC09822 b The Little Guy and a lion.DSC09785 bTLG and a orangutan statue- the plaque is in honour of a friend of mine.DSC09816 b Three chameleons.*DSC09815 b A resting cheetah.DSC09795 b

The single best part of the trip of TLG’s interactions with one of the cheetahs.  It saw him running along the path and ran to meet him.  Then the two had a few running races.  I wish my camera had a better focus as I think it focused on the fence and not the animal inside but here it is clearly interacting with TLG.

 

 

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* I think there is only one chameleon in the picture.  As with Ninjas, one can never be sure.

Hallowe’en at the Library

October 20, 2013

Finally, a Penetanguishene Library event that had good attendance.  My son has had a great time at the Friday evening activities – Lego and chess are his favorites but there is also a Scrabble night and…something else.

Anyway, Hallowe’en came early on Saturday October 19 at the library.

DSC09833DSC09834DSC09829
Mad scientist Mel enthralled the kids…with science!  I don’t know how much the kids absorbed but I want to make a smoke ring cannon now.
DSC09830DSC09832 DSC09831I have tried to avoid children’s faces in the images.  If anyone notices a problem, I will happily edit or remove a photo.

 

Legoland, Toronto Island, the ROM and more in Toronto

September 24, 2013

The Little Guy and I spent a good weekend in Toronto, but one that left me wondering just how computer literate I really am.

First, the activities.  We met a fellow ex-Korea ESL teacher and his children at Legoland in Vaughan.  I’ll describe the pics, then the day.

A miniature of the ROM – ironic that we finished the weekend at the real thing.

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Building a Lego camera takes serious concentration.

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Peddling for height on the Lord of the Rings ride.DSC09485 b

 

My son loved Legoland as did the other kids.  I thought it was as good as it could be.  We entered ($18 per child, $22 per adult) and learned how blocks were made, then really enjoyed a dark ride where we could use laser guns to protect various Lego people.  Then, we were in the common room which contained many giant bowls of blocks, a workshop room that offered assistance in building things, a few ramps for Lego cars, a jungle gym (that the eldest child was too tall to be allowed in), an LOTR ride and a 4-D movie theatre.  I guess my main concern is that Lego is all about building things and blocks were provided in abundance but it just felt like, “Come in for a Lego adventure! Now sit still and concentrate!”  Loud adventure and contemplative concentration just don’t mesh all that well in my opinion.  The ramps, which looked like they were intended for cars were just used to roll wheels which were connected to nothing.

Again, perhaps I am being too much a middle-aged adult because the kids had fun, but the ‘serious’ activities were underutilized.  The LOTR ride seemed fun but was a weak fit with the general Lego theme.

It was a great place to be because of the miserable weather that day, that’s for sure!

 

On Sunday, we went to Toronto Island and I want to go again, soon.

Does Parks, Forests and Recreation want us to have fun or to tramp down the goose poop that was everywhere?

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There was an ‘Island Girl’ run going on that featured Hawaiian and steel-drum music along the edges of the course.DSC09496

Mute swans.DSC09497 b

Toronto’s skyline from the Island.DSC09498 b

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next to the ROM was The Word on the Street Event, featuring TVO Kids.DSC09506

Finally, we went into the ROM.

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Now the description of my poor internet savvy.

It was raining on Toronto Island -OK, probably everywhere – and that dampened our spirits but we were having fun.  We wanted to rent bikes but were concerned about interfering with the race.  the TVOKids Word on the Street event took us completely by surprise.  Why did I not think to research our destinations to see if anything special were happening? The information was not pushed to us but why didn’t we think to look ahead?  Next time.

National Park Images of the day: Georgian Bay Islands National Park

May 20, 2013

On Sunday, I took some friends to Beausoleil Island, a national park on Georgian Bay.  Along the way, we stopped at Kevin Cadeau’s residence (his info is halfway down the page).  Cadeau is a chain saw artist, making bears and other animals from wood in the round.beauseoliel (3b)

beauseoliel (10b)

Signs of low water levels were everywhere, like this dock that was half a metre too high above water.beauseoliel (17)

Most of my pics are of friends and family and so will not appear here.

This is the first trillium with hints of pink that I have seen.  They might be common but I haven’t been in Canada for many years.beauseoliel (19c)Tadpoles were everywhere and I think they might all have hatched at once.  They were staying in brackish ponds that had some access to Georgian Bay water.  I watched some minnows dart in, grab one and depart.beauseoliel (21b) This is a Rock Harlequin and there were common on the thin soil on the rocks in the northern half of the island.beauseoliel (24b)Beausoleil Island has some connection with Sainte Marie Among the Hurons, I think.  When the Sainte Marie village closed, some local people moved here.  The last burial was in 1927 so someone must still be visiting to care for this grave.beauseoliel (32b)There were several other graves and the ages listed showed remarkable variety.  Many had died tragically young – two years or ten months – while others lived incredibly long lives – 101 years is listed on one marker.beauseoliel (33b)I don’t know what kind of salamander or newt this is and would love some assistance.beauseoliel (35)When we returned, I was exhausted and just rested.  My son, on  the other hand, went out to do some gardening.beauseoliel (1)

 

Provincial Park Image of the day: Awenda in spring

April 14, 2013

My mother, son and I returned to Awenda Provincial Park on April 13 and had a good walk although no wildlife was spotted.

Again, we visited a beach and again, I admired the ice piles.

blog awenda hike (3) blog awenda hike (4)

I could have walked out to them, I think.  The last four metres was of thick-but-broken-and-refrozen ice and where I could see water, something in the clarity wailed cold.  I was still going to do it, but my son was watching and I decided not to demonstrate what foolishness I am capable of.

blog awenda hike (5)

We found one fin and one deer scapula (?) blog awenda hike (6)

My son likes to be clear on where precisely he is.  When he learned we were just outside of Penetanguishene and in Tiny Township, he decided this line was the border and delighted in hopping in and out of Penetanguishene.

blog awenda hike (7)

 

Since I’ve returned, deep views into forest have become fascinating to me but I cannot explain why or take a photo that offers the same pull.blog awenda hike (10)

Awenda has a small ampitheatre and stage.  I hope to hear some wildlife talks or the like there.blog awenda hike (11)

 

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Arrowhead Provincial Park and more (Second week in Canada)

February 21, 2013

Feb 11 to 15 was TLG’s first (and only, as yet) full week of school as his first and third weeks both had snow days.  He has settled into school and enjoys it.

We are still working on finding food for him and getting him to try new foods.  He likes ham sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches and has eaten great amounts at supper but we can’t find much in the way of fruit that he will eat.

The weather has continued interesting with bitter cold followed by thaws, driving snows followed by rain.  Indeed, this week (really our third) there have been two snow days with the latter one entirely justified but the former a poor example of prediction.  The house quickly becomes cramped and boring for a seven year old so he prefers to go to school, nearly as close as the one in Korea and less than ten minutes on foot away.

Penetanguishene’s Winterama was on the weekend and we watched the parade Friday night.  The parade was short as many school teacher unions are recommending against participating in after-school events.  Also, some schools had problems with the theme “The War of 1812″.  In watching the parade, I saw a lot of references to local history but none specific to our War of Kicking US Butt.  I do understand, in a general way, that we shouldn’t glorify war but it is also local (European, and so recorded) history and this region has more of that than much of Ontario.

Anyway, we enjoyed the carnival Saturday morning and TLG saw his first bit of hockey.  Although I am thoroughly Canadian, I was too uncoordinated to enjoy playing the game and so never pushed the sport on him.  I did enjoy the camaraderie and sportsmanship I saw on Saturday, but TLG was non-committal.  He rode a pony, a hay-wagon and a snowmobile and we watched some of the “polar plunge”.  I think the Busan Polar Bear Swim has spoiled me for lesser events.

That afternoon, we went to Bracebridge and visited with friends.

On Sunday, we went to Arrowhead Provincial Park to skate and tube. Good times but would have been great -and still well below freezing – if it had been ten degrees warmer.

We also swam at the fantastic Bracebridge pool, enjoying a slide, a full size pool, a kids pool and warm-tub.

Monday was “Family Day”, a new holiday that allowed us to spend more time with my Bracebridge friends.  We tobogganed at Kerr Park in Bracebridge and loved it although I had a bad landing and really felt it the next day.

Tuesday and Wednesday (today) are snow days here.  Yesterday threatened freezing rain but was only warm and dry.  Today, there is a lot of blowing snow.  I like it.

Our first week in Canada

February 11, 2013

Here is a brief look at our first week in Penetang, Ontario.  I am on my mother’s computer and don’t want to take too much time on it so a lot of this post will be terse to the point of being cryptic.  I am writing this post more for my memory than for international scrutiny.

Just before coming to Canada, I had one last hike on a small, local mountain and finished the hike in my T-shirt. The day before leaving, The Little Guy (TLG) and I rode our bikes to Eulsookdo.
last mountain

 

Jan 31: Long slow drive home – often terrible visibility.  Went to sleep early, up at 3:30 for the day

Sat Feb 1: Midland winter Carnival.  Candy cannon and dog-sled ride

 

winter carnival saturday (4)

 

Here, re-enactors fire the Candy cannon, much as the originals would have done to fight the Americans in 1812.  Britain had access to sugar cane and so worked to rot the American’s teeth.

Sun Feb 2.  Visited the Wye Marsh where my mother volunteers.

 

feb 3 (10)

 

feb 3 (28)

 

Mon, Feb 3: First day of school, chose a cat

 

big snow (3)

Tues, Feb 4: picked up cat “Colino7” from the SPCA.  Colino7 is a four-year-old neutered cat that apparently lived outside for a month or two before being brought in to the SPCA.  I say apparently because the volunteer at the pound pointed out that she only had the drop-off person’s word to go by and that wasn’t always trustworthy.  The cat is amazingly laid-back and has quickly adjusted to living in our home.  TLG, who loves the number seven, named the cat.

catWed, Feb 5: I drove to Toronto to Korean Consulate, and Barrie Drive Test for Ontario drivers licence

Thurs, Feb 6: Vet checkup for cat. All good

All this week, TLG watched a whole lot of TV – Treehouse channel

Fri, Feb 7: Big snow, buses cancelled but TLG went to school -only 20 students total.  Lots of fun.  We met Alex’s teacher, Mrs D.  She called TLG “Brilliant” regarding math.  She repeated that he helped his classmates on the math problems.  She had started him on Grade one spelling, which he is motoring through.  I thought it strange that he learn those words at a slow rate -I considered pushing him in that regard -but they are the basics of letter sounds and phonics.  I guess she knows what she is doing.  He has a good friend in class, Tyson, but is quiet in speaking to the full class.
skiing feb 7 (4)

feb 3 (1)b

 

 

Saturday, Feb 9: Big tobogganing day at Midland’s little lake park hill.

snow fort (8)

 

  TLG dressed in his hanbok and we recorded a bow and new years greeting in korean for YN and family.

 


lunar new year facebook (2)

 

 Made a snow fort and played inside.

 

Sunday, Feb 10, played in snow fort.  We shopped for Valentine’s Day card stock and a ‘ministick’. This is a tiny hockey stick that the kids use at recess at his school. Full size sticks should not be brought to the school but similar sticks are available for gym class. TLG was surprisingly quiet and cranky at the time.

He is still watching a lot of TV -no friends to visit or evening activities organized yet.  Perhaps due to the move and the changes, Alex needs me to hold him and sing lullabies to put him to sleep.
TLG has been uncomfortably interested in death and pets.  His questions have put my and Nana’s faulty memories on display.  We have told him about the cats Little Man, Blackjack, Tailor and Mums and the dogs Midnight, Misty, Buddy, Kingkong, Mr Mugs and Snoopy and I am happy to relive the good memories of these pets.  Still, he has asked how long these pets lived and how they died.  As I noted in our last visit to Canada, he asks similar questions many times possibly to ensure he knows all the details and understands them clearly.
Now that he has a pet of his own, he seems to be preparing for that time, probably when he enters university, when his cat will pass away.

Hwamyeong Waterpark

August 10, 2012

I’m not sure if “waterpark” needs to be in quotes above, but it sure fits the bill for kids in early elementary school.  This is no competitor for Caribbean Bay, but it is a great place for a family to spend the day and I think around one-twentieth the price of Caribbean Bay, too.

Indeed, Busan does children’s aquatic entertainment right, with free fountains and shallow pools (Samnak Park’s 60 cm deep pool is great and just a little downstream of Hwamyeong) spread throughout the city.  Hwamyeong isn’t free, but plenty cheap; two thousand for the little guy and four thousand for me.

Hwamyeong consists of one large pool, most of which is eighty cm deep, plus a ‘river pool’ and water playground.

Here is the large pool:

 

and the playground:

 

and the river pool:

This pool has a strong current that pushes you at quite a clip.

The parasols seen in the background of a few photos are free.  They are also quite low to the ground; during the times I saw a lot of blue bathing suits, I felt like a Smurf under a toadstool.

I guess if more westerners visited, these loungers would see more action:

 

I went to the park with my son and we met his uncle and aunt and three cousins.   I had a great but exhausting time shepherding the kids but noticed that most kids had no adult nearby.  The lifeguards seemed vigilant but I just can’t understand Korean parenting around beaches, pools and waterparks.

As for me, the four kids frequently wanted to go to diverse places and I struggled to keep them all under my eye.

We all had fun in the river pool.  I would hold the youngest and spin around as the current pushed us around.  The water was just deep enough for me to kneel and slide my shins or feet along the bottom. When we left the park, I found my toenails had been ground down quite thin.

English Busan tells us:

Opening hours are from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. and the price is 4,000 won for adults, 3,000 won for youths and 2,000 won for children.
How to get there: Take Metro Line No. 2 to Sujeong Station then leave by Exit No. 3, or take Bus No. 15, 59, 111, 121 or 126 and get off at Sujeong Station.

For more information, please contact the Busan Nakdong River Project Executive Office at 051) 333-3238. 

I want to go there again!  I would describe it as a better than the Dadae waterpark I visited a few weeks ago, although the other attractions in Dadae – the fountains and beach- may give it the edge overall.

 


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