How long has god been on the island?

After having ignored instant messaging for many years, I got the IM religion when brother Johnny on the opposite coast (of Canada) started working with me last year. We use a combination of MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Jabber to stay in touch on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis. It’s saved us a lot of long distance telephoning, and has made it possible to work together.

That said, I have remained sceptical of the whole “group chat” thing — everything seems to go to hell in a handbasket when you get more than one person typing at a time.

If you need proof of this, witness this small lightly edited snippet of a longer instant messenger conversation between my brother , my mother and I:

Peter Rukavina says: Hello?

John says:  hello… its johnny

Peter Rukavina says:  Where did you get birthday photos?

John says:   Fran sent to me

Peter Rukavina says:   Mom, where did you get then?

Frances says:   Catherine sent them to me.

John says:   I saw God with the aubergine coat

Frances says:   Where has he been?

John says:   who?

John says:   God?

Frances says:   God.

John says:  in the sky, I suppose

Frances says:   no no

John says:  aubergine means eggplant

Frances says:   Did he live up to your expectations?

John says:   courgette means zuchinni

Peter Rukavina says:   Who?

Frances says:   I knew that too.

John says:   and cilantro means coriander

Frances says:   God.

Peter Rukavina says:   in the Aubergine Jacket?

John says:   yes

Frances says:   yes.

Frances says:   I thought cilantro was celery.

John says:   nono… coriander

John says:   celery is celery

Frances says:   I knew that.

Frances says:   How long has god been on the island?

John says:   ok

Peter Rukavina says:   For about 3 years.

Frances says:   Okay. You guys can go to work now. oo

I will stick to the telephone for complicated family conversations in future.

Amazing Race III

Tonight was the season premiere of Amazing Race on CBS. It looks like it’s shaping up to be another barnburner of a race, and I will again have to contort my life to always be withing CBS range on Wednesday nights.

As you may recall, Rob and Brennan were winners of the last Amazing Race. What are they up to now? Well, here’s one recent event, from the official Rob and Brennan Website:

Brennan (along with Alex Boylan, co-winner of AR2) will attend Movieline Magazine’s Beauty on the Beach party to benefit Ted Danson’s American Oceans Campaign/Oceana and to celebrate the launch of the Mermaids for Clean Oceans campaign.
This all sounds frightfully like the “Homer Bowls a Perfect Game” episode of The Simpsons. I expect, if it hasn’t happened already, that Rob and Brennan will appear, along with Elmo and Miss Piggy, on The New Hollywood Squares soon. Give it a couple of years and they’ll be joining Kurt Browning on tour and appearing at the Civic Centre here in Charlottetown.

You’d think with $1 million, you’d be able to avoid the Ted Danson benefits, but I guess fame is addictive.

Stay tuned: Oswald and Danny’s website is coming soon.


I walked into the Telus store on Kirkwood Drive this morning.

“Hello there, ” I said, “do you sell any of the Ericsson cell phones?”

“No, we don’t have them,” the clerk replied.

“What if I was able to get one somewhere else: would your network support it?”

“No, our agreement with Island Tel doesn’t let us activate their phones, it’s part of our agreement,” he replied.

“But what if I got one somewhere else?”

“Well, it would have to be a Telus phone.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said, heading out the door.

Oliver Turns 2

Oliver’s day, or at least the part I was awake for, started with a visit to Dr. Champion for his annual checkup. Oliver used this occasion to provide us with a full-on introduction to the “terrible twos” and conducted a cosmic freakout, complete with writhing and screaming, that effectively prevented the good Doctor from doing anything more than looking in his ears and weighing him.

We returned home to gifts in the mail from Brother Mike and the Carlisle grandparents. Oliver was especially intrigued by Mike’s present of a “shapes cage” wherein the goal is to place the appropriate shape in the appropriately shaped hole. He was very frustrated at the lack of universality in the game — i.e. that round peg would not fit in square hole. This seems like a Good SIgn to me.

Tonight, Oliver’s small birthday gathering was graced with many luminaries from near and far.

First there was Catherine Hennessey, host of the gathering, and gifter of a prized pink piggy bank with promises to fill same with toonies as the years progress.

Catherine’s sister Mary Clare (or Marie Claire; I can’t get her to tell me) was there as well, and as well as marshalling together a fantastic salad, was her usual charming self.

Just as the night was reaching a fever pitch — candles lit and me ready to teach Oliver how to blow — who should walk in by AE Thurlow and her crew.

This included not only God in Aubergine Jacket David, but also an exotic guest star from away: Bob Henson a meteorologist from Boulder and author of The Rough Guide to Weather.

Candles were blown, stories told, and a good time was had by all.

Onward and upward to the threes.


Aside from the panic and the waiting and the worry, endless worry, the things I remember most about the day Oliver was born are the sounds.

Oliver was born by a C-section that was convened in a hurry at the last minute after his heart rate started diving into the low 60s the day before he was to be induced out.

I remember the unearthly quite of the surgery waiting room where I waited with Dr. Peter Noonan, the wonderful paediatrician who attended the affair.

I remember the constant beep, beep, beep of the machines in the NICU that helped keep Oliver alive. I remember being scared to death that they would stop beeping their “he’s still alive” beeps.

But most of all I remember the sound of his emergence from Catherine. It is a hard sound to describe, and I’m fairly certain that I was the only one in the world to hear it clearly (Catherine and the medical people being distracted by other things, obviously).

The sound was sort of exactly like you would think it would be, a sort of schlorpt sound. To approximate it as you read this, you can put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, then pull your tongue quickly back and down and back while taking a quick breath in.

But that will be only an approximation. I will never forget that sound.

Oliver was born on Sunday, October 1, 2000 and by Tuesday he had bounced back from near oblivion and has been a happy healthy boy ever since.

My friend Stephen Good says that becoming a parent is like joining a club that, before you join it, you can’t understand why you would ever want to join, and after you join it you can’t imagine why you didn’t join sooner. He’s right. Oliver is a joy to be around, and has changed my life in untold ways.

So please join me tomorrow in wishing Oliver a happy second birthday. It’s the end of free airfare and the start of the really exciting years.