Sunday, 17 August 2014

What Has The Proskitault Posse Been Up To?

I've spent the last number of weeks under mounting pressure in regards to this very blog space.  My most rabid fans have been barraging me with heavy handed reminders that my typing fingers have remained dormant, therefor they have been falling behind on their Prosk and Theriault news.  Of course, those very same fans have also been partly to blame for my lack of writing, as I have been busying spending time with them, and the rest of my family.  It feels like it is time to share a few highlights from a summer busier than any I can remember.  We have been the good kind of busy, with our days full of activity and events, including visiting with family in Richmond, Delta, Quesnel and at home.  Many members of my family discussed how the get their life updates from us through my blog, and I took that as a good sign that I am producing readable content.  Of course, maybe I could provide these updates to interested family members in person, but our modern world dictates my delivery.  Allow me to get on with it, the summer filled with highlights not soon forgotten.

It was just a few days ago that we saw my sister Erin off following what was her longest visit since her returning home from University for the summer days.  It gave us all a chance for a proper visit despite Sheila, Ian and myself having work shifts dotting the schedule.  Erin's long-time partner, and my brother-in-law, Adam was also in Prince George for a few days of spoiling his niece and nephew.  A quick note: Adam and Jasmine together quickly become a whirlwind of split second decision making, which usually devolves into constant eating and fun stuff devoid of any concern for cost.  Jasmine really enjoyed it as a nice escape from my constant cheapness, and I was joking with Adam about his ability to embrace the "never say no" Uncle role.  As if the fun of Erin and Adam visiting wasn't enough, my Auntie came up for a few days from Cloverdale.  I am terrible about keeping up with family members, but this summer has allowed us some time to rectify that.  My Aunt sadly had never met either Jasmine or Asher.  Auntie Steph is as outgoing and fun to be around as I remember, and she fell into favour with both the kids quite quickly.  Asher thinks its funny that adults have aunties but he really didn't mind having another one.  At times over last weekend, Aunties Erin, Paulette, Larissa and Steph were all in the same place at the same time.  With Uncles Adam and Ian also hanging out, Asher and Jasmine were getting spoiled from all angles.

I really can't say thank you enough times for all the treating that occurred.  Auntie Steph treated us to dinner at "Spicy Greens" and the Indian cuisine was bang on.  My sister Paulette celebrated her birthday during the visit, and that dinner happened at "Mr. Mikes".  Adam treated the sushi fans (Jasmine, Ian, Adam and myself) to dinner at "Sushi Star", and the visit was capped with a trip to "Shiraz" Prince George's premier Persian restaurant.  The meals that did happen at our house were great too.  Sheila made a vegetarian gluten free lasagna for our Sunday get together which was celebrating Paulette's birthday, Dad's birthday and Sheila and I were also celebrating our anniversary.  I missed out on my Dad's meat platter, as he filled the barbecue with a variety of cuts and grilled them to perfection.  Sadly, that was the day I was stuck at work.

Now, it may sound like the visit was all about food, but despite our consuming ice cream or frozen yogurt nearly every day of the visit, and my sister actually getting sick due to excessive eating, there were other highlights as well.  Adam, Jasmine, Paulette, Asher and I took in the new and most assuredly cheesy film "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".  Despite the movies's awful acting, crappy product placement, and utterly awful Michael Bay style action scenes, everyone had a great time.  Asher laid on me throughout the film, and was quite tired.  He would lay his head on my chest for a moment, but as soon as he heard something from the movie, his head would snap back around to check up on what he had missed.  He ended up laying quietly on me for the last hour of the movie, perhaps his calm behaviour was partly due to him being tired (it was bed time ish), but I was pleasantly surprised.  We should be able to try again, as we haven't attempted to attend the theatre with Asher for quite a while.  Another day we all went to Fort George Park where Asher had a blast getting soaked in the water park and the grown ups and Jasmine enjoyed visiting and horsing around a bit.  Grandpa managed to toss his newly turned 33 year old daughter into the water, but alas I had already left for work.  Asher absolutely wore his Uncle Adam out with his constant requests to play sports and goof around.  If Adam managed to convince Asher that he was too tired, he then turned his attention to his Auntie Erin, or his Grandpa, or Auntie Steph.  He really was in his glory with so many willing participants around.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their time together, and it was quite bittersweet when the week came to an end.

With all the dead air around this space, I haven't had a chance to brag about our trip to Richmond that occurred in July.  For the 6 days that Sheila, Jasmine, Asher and I were in the Lower Mainland area, we were able to enjoy some very nice weather.  Only a few sprinkles of rain fell, and we were able to take advantage of the overload of sun.  One afternoon was spent at the ballpark as we took in a minor league baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium.  I had been to the stadium once as a child, and was motivated to take my son to enjoy the experience.  Asher's patience was tested, as he struggled to sit still long enough to take it all in.  He was struck with tunnel vision, firmly focused on the kids play area.  I finally appeased him, reluctantly, as it was impossible to follow the game from the outfield area where the play place was set up.  I was pleasantly surprised by how into the game Jasmine and Sheila were.  When the Vancouver team turned a slick double play, I was shocked when Jasmine did a huge fist pump and hollered "Yes!".  We enjoyed keeping track of the poor shortstop for the visiting team who made at least 3 errors, as well as a number of other poor plays that didn't count as errors.  We were hosted in Richmond by Jasmine's Auntie Anne and her daughters Nikki and Rhianna.  Sheila and Anne are very good friends, and the kids all had a great time hanging out.  Auntie Anne loves to spoil the kids with her exuberant energy and over the top generosity.  Jasmine enjoyed a sushi dinner with the girls, Auntie Anne more than happy to cater to Jasmine's request.  The girls also had a blast having a sleepover at their dad's place, with Jasmine tagging along.

Our time in Vancouver was filled with fun stuff that I had spent numerous hours carefully planning.  Of course, as the planner of said activities I coincidentally was a part of all the plans.  On one of the first days of our visit, Jasmine and I made our way to the PNE grounds to try out the rides at Playland.  Jasmine has been before, but this was something quite new for me.  I was a wimp growing up.  In more ways than one, I was always playing it safe.  The rides at any amusement park were no exception.  I was afraid of them.  Not just the scariest ones, but almost every ride that rose above a child level of excitement.  I was still like that throughout my teens, and as a young adult, amusement rides never crossed my mind as I never had any interest in trying them.  As Jasmine got a bit older, I had the opportunity to shed my image as a wimp on a few occasions.  A few years ago, on another visit to Richmond there were some rides set up at the local mall near Auntie Anne's.  I bravely jumped on a few rides with Jasmine, but the scariest ones on offer were the pirate ship and high swings.  Hardly enough to shed my wimpy image.  Well, I think it is fair to say that I have shed that image now.  As we made our way through the park in the morning, we quietly tried nearly every ride we came across.  The park was quiet on a weekday morning, filled mostly with daycare groups in color coordinated shirts who stuck to the kiddie rides.

 As we ate our lunch we began to realize that we were well on our way to trying every ride in the park.  We had just come off of the flume ride that oozes character, before fitting in a go on the signature wooden roller coaster.  My wallet had been safely stored in some random girl's purse after heeding the "anything not tied down will likely fall out" warning signs.  I had never been on a roller coaster in my life until earlier in the morning when we had taken a go on the slightly more modern corkscrew roller coaster.  Jasmine and I had to endure our longest wait of the day, but eventually we made it onto the oldest wooden roller coaster in the world.  Somewhat scared, somewhat concerned (the wooden structure was built in 1958), the ride was a blast.  I am starting to realize that stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things is way more fun then sticking to my old boring ways.  Earlier this summer I had a chance to try tubing behind a boat for the first time, again, breaking out of my comfort zone.  As we munched our overpriced lunch at the cafeteria that was devoid of any air circulation whatsoever, Jasmine and I decided we would have to go for it.  Every single ride.  Jasmine even wanted the kiddie rides included which led us to the Merry Go Round and a few other painfully slow ones.  The heat was beating down on us, but our quest would not go unfulfilled.  We braved the Hellevator which involved being sucked straight up in the air for about 200 feet, then unceremoniously delivered straight back down.  All of this in about 5 seconds.  Jasmine challenged me to try some of the tougher rides, but her one and only hang up was a surprising one.  She had no fears about the roller coasters, or the aforementioned Hellevator.  She didn't mind Hell's Gate or the Beach Party.  It was the giant chair swing that she had planned to avoid.  Eventually, her desire to complete our task overcame her concerns about the ride.  The swings are over 200 feet in the air and while riding, I had an overwhelming sense of euphoria overcome me.  I mean, the swings were the highest thing in the whole park.  Riding up above the roller coasters, and the sling shot ride that we didn't pay to go on, it felt a whole lot more dangerous than it really was.  Jasmine came away very happy that she had "manned up", and we set about completing our goal.  The heat began to overwhelm us just as we finished up, and we decided to duck out in order to avoid getting sick.  We strolled back over to our car and took off, and Jasmine spent the rest of the trip happily recounting how we had conquered the Playland challenge.

As Saturday in Richmond rolled around, it was time for the mens to head out for an adventure.  Asher famously declares that things are: "for mens!" in a rather cute but sexist way.  Some of his notions are pretty funny, including his gender classifying of nearly every song he hears.  "Turn this off Dad!  It's a girls song!"  Cute at 3 years old, offensive in a few years.  We will work on that.  Asher didn't need to be convinced that seeing the "B C Whyyyoooons" was a very manly thing to do.  Our afternoon started with a stroll over to the nearest skytrain station.  We got sidetracked by a celebration at a bank near the station.  A very attractive bank employee let us know there was treats and a prize wheel, and of course face painting inside.  Well now, football could wait, face painting was available!  Truthfully, we had plenty of time to spare as I had accounted for these types of distractions when planning the trip.  We patiently waited our turn, and I turned to Asher to ask him what he was going to have painted.  The lady doing the painting turned out to be a professional make up artist.  There would be no squiggly lines on Asher's face loosely resembling cat whiskers.  He could probably ask for almost anything and this professional would accommodate.  Without hesitation, Asher announced his intention: "I want a flower daddy!"  Not wanting to get too creative, Asher had simply seen the flower that the lady had painted on her own face, and decided he wanted one of his own.  She spent 20 minutes giving him the best free face painting I have witnessed, and all concerns about my 3 year old son being sexist went out the window.  He thanked the lady with his toothy grin, and us mens were back on our way.  Asher loved everything about the skytrain.  The ticket machine with the change tinkling down to the bottom, the train itself with its big crowd and bars to hang onto, the little old lady making a fuss over him, and the orange clad people who Asher was happy to note must be headed to the big game as well.  He also had a blast when we went under ground on the skytrain, not having been prepared for what the skytrain was all about.

We arrived downtown and as we emerged from under ground, commotion surrounded us.  I wasn't sure which direction to head, searching around for a map or sign to point me in the right direction.  Before I had a chance, Asher was quickly absorbed in the action on the street to our right.  Little did I know that we had happened upon Granville Street (I believe that's it) which happens to be pedestrian only.  Right where we were, the road had been designated as a busking area.  Two men were mid-act, basketballs spinning wildly as they danced around.  Asher was engrossed until they finished, then he quickly moved down the block where he had noticed a street hockey game going on.  Actually, there were 3 games taking place, part of a charity tournament.  Asher wanted to join in.  Most of the players were adults, with the youngest participants being at least 11 or 12.  I tried to explain this to my little man, but he wasn't too happy.  We watched a while longer, then strolled back towards the street performers.  A young man was doing a juggling act, 2 sticks connected by a string that was used to toss around diabolos (google it, I did).  He did this with up to 3 at a time, taking a number of chances that didn't quite work out.  At one point, he lost a diabolo that skittered away in our direction.  Asher, who had been crouching down as requested by the hype man, rushed over to grab it and brought it back to the performer.  Wanting to hand it right to the guy, Asher patiently waited while the guy continued his routine.  Other group members were gesturing for him to put it down and get out of the way, but Asher was determined to complete his helpful task.  Eventually, he relinquished the apparatus to one of the other guys, and Asher was more than pleased that he was able to help.  Another proud moment for his Pops.  All of a sudden there was a big ruckus coming up the cross street to our left.  A huge protest filled the street and as it moved by I realized what it was.  Some sort of Free Palestine rally was taking place, heading in the exact direction that we needed to go!  It turned out to be a peaceful march with much loud chanting, but devoid of anything more extreme.  It looked to be a crowd of around 5000 people of all walks of life.  We strolled along the street beside the march, Asher blissfully unaware of what we were witnessing.  Being the political nerd that I am, I found the whole thing quite exciting.  Eventually after a fairly long walk, that included walking the circumference of the stadium in order to get to our section, we arrived at B.C. Place Stadium.

We had arrived nearly an hour early, so it gave us plenty of time to visit the inflatable slide and ball pit (really, does every event that may attract kids need this stuff?) .  We fired a few footballs through the target provided, then moved on to find our seats.  Up in the nosebleeds we found our cheap seats.  It worked out, as the view of the field was just fine, and the gigantic scoreboard also gave us a chance to catch plays that we may have missed.  Asher enjoyed pointing out things he saw as the players warmed up.  "Hey Dad!  They are kicking the ball!" "Hey Dad!  The teams is talking to each other!"  Sure enough, he was correct in his observations.  As the players left the field for a bit before the game started, we went and cashed in our vouchers for hotdogs and drinks.  Really, considering the tickets were 30 dollars each, the dry dogs and tiny soda pops were a nice add on.  All the eating and drinking was quite tiring, so after watching the first few minutes of the game Asher fell asleep on my lap for the rest of the first half.  I didn't worry about him "missing out" as I knew that a cranky Asher would make it tough for both of us to enjoy the game.  I did wake him at halftime so that we could run down and grab a Sponge Bob ice cream and take a few more turns down the slide.  In the second half, the Lions continued to pound away on Montreal scoring touchdown after touchdown.  Asher jumped up and cheered wildly for most of the plays, even throwing in an extra big cheer for an awesome catch.  If you know Asher, you know he loves to dance.  He isn't shy about busting out his moves where ever he feels like it.  Between plays he would jump up and do the robot, incorporating a few pop and lock moves that are hilarious to watch.  When the "Dance Cam" came on he gave it his all, but even his break dancing attempt wasn't enough to get him on the big screen.  All in all, us "mens" had a great time. 

As my fingers begin to protest the length of this submission I will leave you hanging at this point.  This riveting summer update will be continued soon with details from our time at both the Vancouver Folk Fest and the Robson Valley Music Festival.  Yes, my music addiction has only been strengthened by 2 awesome days.  Details to come.  Over and out.