A fair number of my discussions these days are about community. How we don’t have it as a society, how to build it, how it is different in other parts of the world.

For me community starts with family. It has been 25 years since I have lived in the same city with so many of my family. I’m really enjoying it.

My brother and his family are in North Vancouver. We go through fits and spurts seeing them depending on how busy our various lives are, but it is so special to have them close.

And of course the biggest change is Rebecca living in the same city. It has been a few years since that has happened and we are all appreciating the time together. (Rebecca’s mom and her wife have also moved to Vancouver!)

I’m particularly appreciative of the effort Rebecca has made in the last year to connect with Annie. I don’t know if Rebecca always thought it was so great to have a younger sister, but right now she is amazing with Annie. A few weeks ago they went to a comic book convention together. Rebecca is very much into Anime, and there is a mad scientist character who is very short and has red hair and blue eyes. In the comic, the scientist creates a life-size doll with a windup key. Some paper mache and a few trips to Value Village resulted in this:

Don’t ask me about the cat ears. I have no idea…but they were pretty cute! They spent 9 hours together at the Vancouver Convention Center! That was one tired little scientist at the end of the day.

More recently…it was Rebecca’s 19th birthday on the 28th, so we had a small celebration complete with sparkling, as 19 is the drinking age in B.C. (Although Rebecca has been drinking legally since 16 back in Austria.)

Dad is sure glad to have his two girls nearby. He even let Rebecca dress him up for Halloween.

Who doesn’t have at least one zombie in their family?

I’m settling quite nicely into a more normal Canadian life. Things aren’t perfect, but having family around sure makes it seem like the right decision. At least for now…….


Halloweeeeeeen 2012

Annie had a fabulous first Halloween back in Canada. This is actually the first one she can remember, as they don’t really celebrate it in Austria. Or at least not the same way. They have Fasching (Carnival) of course, but the concept of going door-to-door and people giving you fistfuls of candy is something special to North America.

“I really love this candy!” said Annie. What a shocker.

The season started with the Lord Tennyson Halloween Howl. It is the 26th year that the school turned itself into a giant Halloween festival, complete with haunted house, games rooms, graveyard, incredible decorations, prizes and on and on.

Two floors of the school and all the main classrooms house jello eating contests, palm reading, storytelling, and pretty much everything you can imagine that is Halloween related.

Annie was Pippi Longstocking this year. I actually made her costumer (seriously never thought I’d say that in my life), including buying fabric ends for the patches and figuring out the hair. Here is the result:

I love the horse! (We didn’t have a monkey).

Over 800 people attended the Howl and it take about 200 volunteers from the school to set up and tear down. Annie’s new school rocks, let me tell you. We invited the cousins and all four of them had a great time.

Yesterday we all (Markus, Rebecca, Annie and I) went up to North Van to join the cousins.

(I can’t remember the name of Rebecca’s character. Shhh, don’t tell. I have pictures of Markus as well, who Rebecca dresses up like a zombie, but they are on the iPhone so I’ll have to upload them later. )

We started off in Edgemont Village, then had dinner, and then TWO HOURS of trick-or-treating in the pouring, pouring rain. But hey, it is only once a year.

This was very much a night to remember.

* Shout out to Lori, Matheson and Shawna. They gave us the Pippi Longstocking book, which we are enjoying immensely, and also one pair of the stockings that made it into the costume. Thanks!