Month: December 2011

Hey! I have a 7-year-old.


I’m not going to start with the old adage; “Boy time sure flies” because it’s been a LONG, tiring 7 years, but Tuesday marked our oldest son, Linus’, 7th birthday. 

I sat with him last night, reflecting on the first 6 year of his life – I mistakenly referred to him as being 7 when he corrected me.  “Dad, I’m not seven.  From when I was born until I turned 1 was one year.  I’m already 7.  This is my 8th year being alive”.

Right you are… Smart ass. 

So I went further hoping in my pathetic way to get a good quote from him to tweet.  His brother and sister are destroying him with tweetable quotes and here’s what I got;

On growing older and being a leader: “Respect is the most important thing in the world”.  Not bad, eh?  All this brainwashing is rubbing off, until this came out; “Actually, respect is the second most important thing in the entire world.  Not dying before you are born is the most important”.

Who can argue that point.

So to my 7-year-old (or 8-year-old, whatever you want to call yourself) when you are reflecting back on this post down the road and you want to know what kind of child you were by this age I can tell you this.  Before you I had hair.  It was black, not grey.  You have the best smile in the world, but not the goofy one, the real one.  It is not correct that you “do not care” about absolutely everything, but instead you don’t mind, or are not concerned.  Saying you do not care means all the cool stuff we buy you and all the trips we’ve gone on as a family are a waste of time and I know that is not correct. 

It’s fun being the class clown, isn’t it.  I was one too until I awoke one day to realize I was a joke with crappy grades.  I turned it around and fast.  Please don’t wait until grade 9 like I did.

If only you would practice… Anything.  Karate, piano, swimming, then your brother would not be catching up to you and passing you.  On the bright side while he may be your equal in these areas, you destroyed him at potty training and night-time diaper training and your math skills are off the charts.   

You are hesitant to try anything new or different but trust me that will change when you realize what a rush it is.  Then you’ll be looking for adventure in all the wrong places.

You love the cold.  Aside from me, you are the only person I have met who does not get cold outside.  No hat, no gloves, jacket undone, even at the coldest of temperatures.  You look at me, I look back at you and we silently nod an understanding to each other than it’s Canada.  It gets cold.  We’re tough (and a little cool).

You are starting to like Star Wars.  YAY.  All I need is get you to practice baseball and hockey more, or dodge ball, then you will better fit in with all the boys.  The ones you don’t get along with should respect your karate skills and the girls will continue to dig your awesome smile.  Your parents… They want to see a more focussed son with greater patience.  

Yeah, good luck.  I told your mother that too.

Happy birthday son.  I cannot wait to work with you and plan your year.

Doing Christmas, Jewish Style!


Ahhhhh, Christmas.  I love it!  LOVE IT!

It’s an amazing time of year where people are stressed yet generally really nice to each other which makes it the perfect time of the year when its okay to be friendly without been seen as creepy.  I’m friendly all throughout the year but I get really energized this time of year.  People hold doors for each other, they greet each other, buy gifts for each other and hug each other.  It’s a great time of year and I wish people acted like this to each other every day of the year and not just in the month of December.  

So what does that mean for me and my family, being Jewish?  Absolutely nothing,  It’s not my holiday but it’s impossible to ignore.  I love to celebrate it with friends, family, colleague, anyone who wants to have us over to participate.  I love Christmas trees.  They’re pretty whether they are decorated with few homemade ornaments, or whether they are grand and decorated to the nines.  As well, the concept of waking up in the morning to a tree full of presents is pretty cool, no?  What about leaving milk and cookies out for Santa at night.  It’s also really cool nowadays that NORAD tracks Santa by radar and that kids can send letters to Santa at the North Pole and email him.  It’s magical.  Who couldn’t get caught up in all of it.

I like best when Hanukkah comes during the Christmas season.  Hanukkah, being 8 days long and a festival pales in comparison to the marketing juggernaut that comes with Christmas, and while dubbed the “Festival of Lights” we don’t put up any sort of “Christmas” lights (remind me why, again?!?) but we light a Menorah, or candelabra which holds 9 candles, 8 candles representing the 8 nights plus one candle called the “Shamash” which is the leader candle that gets lit first and is used to lights the others, starting from one candle for the first night, all the way up to the full eight candles on the last night.

As a capitalist, I like that Christmas stimulates the economy and I’ve even seen full cups of the homeless folks in downtown Toronto (and yes I was guilty of emptying my pockets for the one older fellow in St Andrew station on Friday).  Christmas is all about giving, not receiving, and that is a great message to reinforce to our younger generations, something that may be a little lost on our Generation y’s, wouldn’t you say?

For us, it all started two weeks ago, when I took both boys to assist in the selling of Christmas trees for our Boy Scout troop.  My Dad would have been so proud – since he really liked being involved in scouting.   But it was funny, because there was myself, Stewie and Linus, another family from India who did not celebrate Christmas either and one family from the UK who were our experts.  Once the place started hopping and people were everywhere, I had to be quick on my toes answering the questions that came to me.  After cutting the bottom inch off a tree for a family – with Stewie’s help, I might add – I had to ask… Why?  So the gentleman from the UK explained to me that by doing so, if the tree was going to be put up right away, would allow the water (sugar-water preferred) to soak into the tree and keep it fresh.  Who knew? 

I was also asked which tree would last longer, and which smelled better, which had the bluest hue and which would carry the most weight (ornaments).  Before I answered these with common sense, I recalled back to my first week working in the government way back out of University when the group I was in had just completed training and were assigned to teams.  My friend’s phone rang pretty much as soon as we got to our desks and all of us crowded over to hear what he was going to say to this caller. 

What we hear was him saying; “yup. uh huh, okay, yup, uh huh, yup” and we all sat with bated breath, then he said; “What do you think?” and after a pause, he said, “okay, bye”.  Turns out he had no idea what the person said, but that “what do you think?” got him off the hook.  Well, same theory applied here, folks.

So after selling trees during our shift, we headed home with another secret no one told us… That our jackets, gloves and clothes would be covered in the pine tar from the trees and be nearly impossible to remove.

So fast forward to Christmas day, and you will find all of us sitting down to a nice fondue for dinner.  It’s the first one the kids got to take part in and boy did they enjoy it.  We had tofu, tofu fishies, fish balls, baby bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, noodles, that fake crab, and so much more.  So after an hour of stuffing our faces, we watched some Treehouse on Demand, then settled in for the main event, a dark chocolate fondue in which we dipped strawberries, apples, pineapple, lemon pound cake, kosher marshmallows, and eventually I chopped up a giant triple chocolate cookie and we dipped that too.  SO MUCH CHOCOLATE! 

Needless to say, the kids loved it and we all ate so much that we were stuffed, except for the room to roast some marshmallows over the lights from the menorah.  That was great.  I showed Stewie how to do it and of course he picked up really quickly.  Him and I roasted them, toasted them and created marshmallow fireballs from them.  Stewie did not eat one, only I did, but Berry took a bite and quickly spit it back out.  Now I have to hide the BBQ lighter in case they decide to try it again.

So as I complete this post, it’s about 1:30am on the 26th of December, and there is only 365 days until Christmas (it’s a leap year this year) and I miss it already.  I want to keep the tree we have up in the office lit for a couple more weeks at the least and I hope to be able to get into a mall at some point in the next week in order to make some purchases and pick up some cool things we saw over the holidays. 

As for Hanukkah… There are still 2 more days left in the holiday and it won’t be the same now that Christmas is past, but we’ll try.  At least we get to spend some quality family time together due to the Christmas break. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a great end to Hanukkah.

My 775th post – for all readers for all seasons.


Welcome to my 775th post.  If you’re a blogger you will know this is a lot of writing, covering 8 long years.  If you are not a blogger, trust me, it’s a lot of writing.

The thing is, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic in the last couple years, and some very kind accolades here and there, but both of them are from all over the place, as are most of my posts. 

So for my 775th post, I want to make sure I cover off as many visitors as possible by touching on some of my most popular topics;

If you’ve come to read about politics, I can confirm that those on the left in (downtown) Toronto are still way off base in thinking that this financial crisis was “created” by Mayor Ford so that he could solve it to look good.  False.  Look at Greece.  Run by socialists and on the verge of bankruptcy.  Look at the TTC.  In effort to cut costs, the Mayor and the TTC chair Karen Stintz cut some routes and there was backlash, so the public spoke that we needed those routes and a $0.10 fare increase was added instead and the public… Back in an uproar.  You cannot have it both way, folks.  I’d love to help the poor, keep all social programs, have amazing snow removal, etc., but someone has to pay for this and I can tell you I’m already taxed up to the top of my head.  If you think you’re not paying enough taxes, then you can pay more and help those in need.  I’m maxed out, thank you.  If I don’t have enough disposable income, then I cannot afford to go out, buy things, eat out, and help re-distribute my income to those in need.  It’s the way the world works… Get over it.

If you’re here to read about coffee, then let me tell you about this great coffee I tried recently at a place called Neighbours.  It came highly recommended from one of my awesome readers and I was really surprised how nice it was.  Not too bold, not too weak, and the cool thing about the location I went to was that they have flavoured coffee mate and that removed the need to have flavoured coffee.  I didn’t put any in for my first cup and I probably won’t for my next one, but it was very nice!

If you’re here to read about parenting, then you’ll be pleased to know that I am the “Daddy 101″ blogger for Pink and Blue Baby.com. Cool, eh?  I find this site really useful, and I have a ton of great stories and baby / toddler / kid tips from almost 7 years of being a daddy and 3 beautiful children.  For example, just Wednesday was my son (Linus’) 7th birthday party and we had a Lego party.  It was great.  The Lego ninja had the kids sitting in 4 teams of 4 and they raced to build a Lego tower, then the built a Lego candy house.  The hour flew by.  After the hour the kids ate Lego candy blocks (thank you Bulk Barn) and Lego cupcakes that I made and my wife decorated so beautifully.  Pizza, grapes, whole wheat pretzels and air popped popcorn round it all out.  It was totally worth it.

For 5-year-old Stewie, we had The Magic and Comedy of IncrediBrent, Toronto’s birthday musician and Brent was amazing.  The kids loved him, the parents loved him and he interacted with the kids so well.  He was a pleasure to deal with and have in our home and I would totally have him back for any future kids parties.  His web-site is www.incredibrent.com.

For Berry’s 2nd birthday party – you saw the Hello Kitty cupcakes in a previous post – we had Applefun Puppetry, www.applefun.ca, and Mike was also spectacular.  He had all the 2-year-old’s participating and his show was so clever and funny that he had me in stitches.  I’ve seen him a couple of times before but that did not stop me from being completely engaged.  Worth the price of admission.

If you’re here to hear my views about food then I can recommend Java Joe’s for catering because they have added some new sandwiches and they are killer.  Spicy chicken and their steak and hot peppers goes great with their chicken Parmigiano and eggplant Parmigiano.  The coffee is great – some organic too – and they have these wickedly heavy brownies and skor brownies.  Find the location at Leslie and West Beaver Creek, call and speak to Randy.  Tell him the Urban Daddy sent you.  He’ll like that!

So I’m not sure what else to cover at this point in time, except to say thank you to all of you who take the time to comment and who tell me you’ve been following along with my posts at home.  It means a lot to mean and it always makes me wonder what’s so interesting that keeps people coming back.  But I like to tell stories, I’m proud of my family, and I like to write, so there.  I’m going to do it if 200 people come to read or 20 million (LOL).

Feel free to subscribe to my feed, or like me on Facebook.  If you are reading this through my actual blog, then go on the right side, check out some of the amazing writers on my blogroll, and further down you will see the link to my Facebook page and some other sites that have featured me.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all of you from all of us!

Warren aka the urban daddy.

@urbandaddyblog

What crap are they showing on TV nowadays and why am I watching it?


So I found a show on TV called, “Geeklove” and I managed to catch about 10 minutes of it while waiting for the cupcakes I was making for Linus’ birthday party on Wednesday to cook, and I found that while I was weirded out by the premise of the show, I was also strangely attracted to it. 

The piece I saw centred around a geeky guy, a geeky girl and their love for typical “geeky” things like Star Wars and comic book superheroes and the show is all about finding love and finding someone who could appreciate and talk about these two things.  As I was watching I kept wondering what that made me since I grew up loving Star Wars and those super heroes.  Does that make me a geek?  Yeah, probably. 

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

Image via Wikipedia

The piece I watched had a 22-year-old woman meeting up with a 29-year-old guy at Comic Con and she was dressed as Batman’s side-kick Robin, she had her mother with her.  I guess she needed the chaperone in case the guy she met… At the Comic convention no less, was weird.

So as this clip played out, the guy liked the girl and the girl liked the guy and they’re both geeks and it took the mother to ask those exact questions and set up the next date.  It was awkward and, well, geeky.

The next clip had a guy and a girl meeting up in a restaurant and it was her first date too.  She was 22-years-old as well, and she was really nervous but after finding her geek-charming both him and her found that there are others like them and it was okay to set up a second date.  They were safe with each other. 

I turned it off when the guy geek told the camera that he liked his date and “felt a disturbance in the force”.  Yikes.  Let’s hope he wasn’t making a reference to something happening in his pants.

I then turned to Jersey Shore… Why?  Oh, yeah.  T&A.  100% T&A.

I guess the only type of “reality” shows I like to watch are called “sports”.  If I wanted to  watch what I suspected was a true reality show, I’d watch something on the Food Network, or that show called Survivorman, but nothing else.  To me, these other “reality” shows are about as real as wrestling, which I really enjoy as it satisfies my soap opera fetish.

What “reality” shows can you not get enough of and if you had the opportunity to be on any of them, which one(s) would it be?

Ahhh, Sunday. Parenting is over for the weekend and the world has gone bananas.


It’s Sunday night, the kids are in bed, my wife is asleep and I’m getting ready for another busy week at the office and at home.  I have ball hockey this week and I was going to go for a run but I’m too fricking tired (or lazy) to get out, and I even fixed up the music on my iPod for the run.  I was hoping to be wide awake tonight, I had a large coffee at 4pm, and I took my vitamin late tonight but after spending the weekend looking after my kiddos while my wife worked, I was more tired than I thought.

On the plus side, Star Wars had been on TV all day today!

As a family, we played it easy and tight this weekend, allowing the kids an opportunity to play at home, together and relax instead of all the programming / birthday parties.  I even kept them home from karate again this week.  The weekend flew by, and now it’s after midnight and it leaves me with little time to I clean up the house for the upcoming week.  I still need to shower!!!

But as I get ready for bed, and by get ready I mean shower, shave, floss and brush, I wonder what event of this evening left the biggest impact on me; That North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died or that Daniel Bryan won the WWE world heavyweight champion…Didn’t see either of those coming, really. 

Good old Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) summed it up best when he tweeted this;

“Just heard that Kim Jong il had a heart attack when told that @WWEDanielBryan was new World Champion – he’d always admired Daniel’s ROH work.”
 
He He He.
 
I found this out on Twitter – thank you Twittersphere – and understand that Kim’s son, Kim Jong Un is taking over the country and he’s in his 20’s.  OY.  South Korea is on notice, their stock market is low as a result.  Can’t everyone just get along? 
 
Reports indicate that he may have died on Saturday, or that the reported cause of death is fatigue which caused a massive heart attack.  Something about working really hard for the people of North Korea  Ummm, yeah, okay.  I think the news media is just being nice, and cautious, in case he’s really not dead.  This guy was suspected of being dead already in 2011.  He had cancer, then diabetes, then a heart attack… He’s been reported to have had it all, but apparently this is it.  He’s done.  What will this mean for the citizens of North Korea?
 
I like the concern from the PR department of the Death Star (@deathstarPR);
 
“Kim Jong Il is dead. Who will be brave/insane enough to build Earth’s first Death Star now that he’s gone?”
 
So 2011 has been a busy year, eh?  Dead: Osama bin Laden, Muammar al-Qaddafi, and Kim Jong Il. Ousted: Hosni Mubarak, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and Ali Adullah.  
 
It’s also a bad day to die, as Vaclav Havel did, he the first President of the Czech Republic, post communism.  He was a playwright who started the “Velvet Revolution” which was a peaceful revolution that brought down communism in the Czech Republic and as a result, was voted president of that country.  He died today at the age of 75. 
 
I had actually never heard of him, nor this other guy who died 3 days ago; 

Christopher Hitchens, the engaging and enraging British-American author and essayist whose polemical writings on religion, politics, war and other provocations established him as one of his generation’s most robust public intellectuals, has died. He was 62.

So if he was one of his generations most robust public intellectuals, how come I had never heard of him?   Ever.  Considering my love of pop culture and knowing shit that I really shouldn’t know or even care about, I have never ever heard this guys name…

I’m going to have to research this one!

And the last news item I seemed to have missed is just getting started actually, and it has to do with a boycott of Chiquita Bananas after apparently the company, Chiquita Brands International, dissed us Canadians by themselves boycotting any crude oil that comes from the Alberta Oil Sands.  Chiquita has made a decision to rely on “conflict oil from some of the world’s most odious regimes.”

Some special interest group in need of a cause called ForestEthics announced Thursday it was working with the U.S. company to eliminate shipping of Chiquita bananas with fuel from refineries that use the crude.  So better to get your oil from countries that keep the riches in the “royal families” and who persecute their citizens, eh?  Even Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney tweeted Saturday night: “I gather that Chiquita Bananas has no problem with Iranian oil, but is boycotting Canadian oil. No more Chiquita bananas for me.”

I think it might have some traction…

Go bananas!  The rest of the world is!

Chiquita Brands International

Image via Wikipedia