30 Months of Co-Living

We are into the middle of our third year at the RobiRoost where we share a 5 bedroom house with another family of 4 (their last name also begins with Robi...). It was meant to be a single year of co-living in transition between our former homes and the anticipated cohousing project we were all a part of. When the project was delayed and then abandoned, both our families were left in a bit of a quandary and so we moved to a different house and continued our home sharing.

Our families live remarkably well together. We share essential tastes in food, drink, activities, movies, beliefs, and lifestyle. There is a mutual care and respect for each other. We trust each other. We play together. Look after each other's children for date nights. We built and then enjoyed a beer advent calendar (more on this soon). This arrangement has given us some relief from the disappointment of losing our cohousing dream as we have built in community.

My children will certainly have a defined memory of these surrogate siblings and parents. They get tucked in once a week by either Jasen or Heather. They play Lego and superhero and house and watch morning cartoons on the weekend with their housemates.

We decided to celebrate our big family Christmas by going out for some food and then walking around Commonwealth Park to see the holiday lights. It was nice to relax together in this way. For me it demonstrated that getting together is not as special as it used to be. We've crossed a familiarity barrier that few people cross beyond the nuclear family. It's uncharted territory. I joke with my work colleagues about having a sister-wife and brother husband because I haven't found an easier way to explain who they are.

This fine family has inspired, encouraged, nourished, shared, commiserated with, challenged and blessed ours. I hope we have been able to do the same for them as they have become very special to us.

Cheers to 30 months together!


Historical Tour of Romance

I asked Amber out just over 17 years ago. She accepted my invitation to go for a hot drink at Kavaccinos in Lacombe and our relationship sprouted, budded and blossomed from that night in September. We decided to take the kids to this coffee shop and share some memories.

I was super nervous to ask her out. So nervous that I had to go to Lakeview Hall twice in the attempt - the first time she was in the lobby with a group of people which completely unnerved me. the second time I phoned the wrong Amber from the dorm lobby (I didn't know her last name) first and then finally got her on the phone. I borrowed my sister's car and took her out. I had no idea then what kind of joy would come from this euphoric date.

The coffee and food were better than I remember. Spending time with Amber gets sweeter everyday though.

We met at CUC which is changing its name from Canadian University College to Burman University (a move I fully endorse). I was on the welcoming team of upperclassmen when Amber arrived as a freshman. She caught my eye when she joined my jellybean group where we played a dumb name game. I emerged from Freshmen Orientation completely smitten. I had to ask her out just to put my mind at ease so I could continue with my studies.

After our initial date, we went on walks around the lakes at CUC. We took the kids down the hill behind the dorm to the path beside Lake Barnett.

Our first kiss was on one of these walks. I ended up kissing Amber's teeth because she was smiling so big. We've managed to improve on that one since.

One of the moments when I have sensed God's presence most profoundly was in the week or two following the beginning of our relationship. I was on my way to early morning classes walking up College Avenue when I was overwhelmed with how God had blessed me with this remarkable companion.

Whitemud Park

Went for a walk in Edmonton's Whitemud Park in mid-December with some good old friends. Lots of up and down on some rather slick hills, but the views were sights were stellar. The low winter sun and low lying fog on Whitemud Creek provided some wonderful visuals.


Analog Prizes

Advent has a lot of meaning. God sent his Son to Earth to take on physical flesh and blood because He loves this Earth. God's love for Earth is in direct contrast to the Greek dualistic disdain of the physical world as they believe it can not be as valued as the heavenly forms.

So, in honour of the Incarnation, I'm going to share some of the things of this world that have meaning and value to me!
Yo-yo - This might be my only toy. I pull it out every few months and give it a few zips to keep up my skills (which are adequate). Again, I like the weight and feel of the wood and that I can replace the string when required. I could use this yo-yo for the rest of my life - no need for replacement. 
My Wisdom Teeth - Amber is super grossed out by them, but I think they are awesome! I had them pulled in '98 I think. My dentist had me in a headlock so he could yank them out and fortunately, they all came out whole (and beautiful!). I keep them in a little leather pouch I made at summer camp when I was 13.  
Commemorative 400th Anniversary Canadian Silver Dollar of the First Acadian Settlement in 1604 - I don't go for much shiny stuff, but this was a must have coin. I picked it up at the post office in Robichaud New Brunswick in 2004. 
Razor - replacing blades in this solid implement costs me a few cents. I like the weight in my hand and that it gets really hot in hot water. Go stuff yourself Gillette!

Lord of the Rings Box Set - I found this 2nd Edition, 9th Printing, 1965 vintage set in a book store in Edmonton and I couldn't resist buying it. Only one of the books still has a sleeve, but the pages are still very crisp and I would be surprised if anyone has ever read this copy. I just checked eBay and there are 18 copies available there from $75-$405.

Wedding Band - I've been wearing this for over 14 years and I still think it's great. We got white gold just to be different. I like the silver look anyway. I have ECCL. 9:9 engraved on the inside. Amber's choice: Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Beret - My friend Kiki bought me this wool hat in Annecy, France in 1997. I do feel a little strange wearing this in Calgary where no other men wear berets, but it keeps my head warm and I like how it looks. I got it at a hat store where they make hats. They measured my head!

Billfold - One of the real problems with wallets is that they can get so thick. This little gem fits my drivers licence, health card, insurance card, bank card and 2 credit cards. It also has a billfold for cash or receipts. I love its sleek, leather feel and that it has metal in it.

Swiss Army Knife - Who doesn't like these things?! My first one was red and was stolen in Banff, so I replaced it. Then my second one got stolen in Guatemala, so I replaced it in Antigua with this black one. The case is fantastic too - think nylon canvas with a belt loop. I used to carry it on my hip for my Guatemala years. Now, it's frowned upon to be carrying a knife in school... I use it for so much.