Family Fun – Christmas Train

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On today’s episode of the EnglishLingQ podcast, Jill and Mark recount their weekend full of family fun.

Mark: Hello again, Mark Kaufmann here joined by Jill Soles, as usual.

How’s it going Jill?

Jill: Good thanks, how are you?

Mark: I’m good; I’m good. How was your weekend?

Jill: Great! I’m just trying to think, it’s only Monday and I’ve already forgotten.

Mark: It was a long time ago, yeah.

Jill: It’s the pregnancy mush brain or whatever they call it though.

I do have a hard time.

Mark: Are you finding that?

Jill: The last couple of months I’ve been finding that.

Mark: More mushy than before?

Jill: Yeah, a little more empty in there, hollow, but I do forget things and can’t sort of focus as much often.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just looking for excuses really.

Mark: You know, I think people start to make up excuses or be more sensitive.

It’s like talking about senior moments, you know.

Jill: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: I mean, I don’t know, I’ve always forgotten stuff.

Just when I become a senior I’ll be able to blame it on being a senior.

Jill: Exactly.

Mark: I guess I won’t be able to blame it on being pregnant.

Jill: No, no, hopefully not.

But no, it was nice.

Oh, we talked about it I guess on Friday.

I did go over to the Sunshine Coast and hung out there with the kids and got a Christmas up and ate lots and played UNO and games with kids and just sort of hung out and relaxed.

Then yesterday I went to Stanley Park with my brother and sister-in-law and two kids and went on the Christmas Train.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Jill: It’s a big area that’s all decorated and lit up and just beautiful.

Mark: Was it busy?

Jill: Oh yeah, it’s packed, but it was great.

We went on the train and then they have the farm animals that you can go and see after and there’s hot chocolate and different things there, so.

It’s not that much it’s like $7.00 and you can stay as long as you want and see the animals, ride the train and look around, so.

Mark: Oh that’s nice. You know, they have the Halloween Train at Stanley Park too.

Jill: Right.

Mark: I know for that it’s hard to get on you have to buy tickets in advance.

Jill: I don’t know if this is the case every year, but this year what they did is they had 50 percent of tickets for sale online in advance and then 50 percent that are there that you have to go there and buy them and, basically, you have a time, so between three and four.

So you can go without tickets and show up and hope that there are tickets left and then you kind of basically line up any time between three and four and that’s your time.

Mark: Right.

Jill: So, my brother lives a ways away from Stanley Park, so they wanted to go in the evening, which is the most popular because it’s dark, but all of the online tickets were sold out.

Because they live about 50 minutes away they didn’t want to take the chance of coming in and not being able to get tickets, so we got ones from three to four.

Mark: Online.

Jill: Yeah, actually they got theirs online and I didn’t have one and I went and just bought it at the window.

We got there at around three and we were on a train at three-fifteen, so it wasn’t a problem.

Mark: No, well that’s pretty good.

Jill: Yeah and it was really well done.

Mark: That’s sounds like fun.

I’m sure my kids would enjoy that too.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: I should think about doing that.

Jill: Have you guys never done that?

Mark: I don’t think so, maybe once quite a few years ago.

I can remember going on the Stanley Park Train when I was little, but I’m not sure.

I know we’ve never done the Halloween Ghost Train because my kids would be too scared.

Jill: I was just going to say, this one’s not scary so your kids might like it.

Mark: Yeah, exactly.

Jill: I know they’re not big fans of scary rides or anything, but this is very tame.

It’s just pretty and they’ve got Christmas music going the whole time.

Mark: Well, we should think about going.

Jill: And I think you can still get online tickets for the evening times for next weekend and the weekend after.

It was just that it was so close already to this weekend they were already sold out.

Mark: Is it only on the weekends?

Jill: No, I don’t believe it is.

Mark: Weeknights too we would be able to do it.

Jill: Yeah, I think so.

Mark: Well, I’ll look into it.

Jill: Yeah, you guys live close enough to Stanley Park that it’s not a big deal for you to just whip over.

Mark: Exactly.

Jill: But yeah, I think they would enjoy it.

Mark: I’ll look into that after the show.

Jill: And you just got a call from your wife talking about your dog.

Mark: I did.

Yeah, he’s been limping for four or five days, at least four or five days, so she finally took him to the vet.

Apparently, he’s only nine months old now, nine month old puppy, but he’s got the beginnings of arthritis in both elbows.

And yeah, he’s been told not to play with other dogs, at least for a while, because he ends up playing with the dog across the street because the neighbors across the street got a puppy about the same time, so he’s about the same age.

He may be a month younger than Gordie, Gordie is our dog, but he’s like an Australian Sheep Dog.

Sheep Dogs are quick, they’re made to run forever and hyper and, you know, that’s how they are and our dog is kind of a big half Black Lab-Retriever cross.

He’s more of a bigger, loping kind of a dog rather than a quick hyper dog, so there’s a bit of a miss-match there in terms of speed.

I think it’s just hard on his joints.

Jill: To try to keep up with the Sheep Dog.

Mark: To try to keep up and I mean they love it.

They just want to play together all the time and really I don’t know how we’re going to keep him from going over there, but I guess we’re going to have to try.

Jill: Oh, that’s too bad.

Mark: Yeah, apparently the vet said he’s more of a 10-miler type of dog rather than a quick-burst type of a dog, which we know that.

He’s more of a loping type of runner.

It’s tough because the big dogs, like his breed Lab and Retrievers, they tend to have a lot of problems with their joints and their hips and arthritis.

So, we don’t want to…I mean he’s so young to have that already.

It isn’t very good, so we’ve got to try and keep him a little less active.

Jill: I know, which is so hard.

It’s like trying to keep kids from playing when they’re sick and they still want to play and they don’t understand why they can’t.

Mark: Exactly.

Jill: They don’t probably understand that they’re in pain because of what they’re doing, because of their running, obviously, they don’t understand that.

Mark: No, for sure.

Jill: So that’s sad.

Mark: You feel bad for the dog.

You can’t speak to him, you know.

Sorry, you’re not allowed out for the next three weeks, you know, whatever it is.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: But it’s funny, friends of ours also got a Lab recently and also have a Sheep Dog living next door, a full-grown Sheep Dog, like a regular English…maybe it’s not a Sheep Dog, but it’s a Collie, which is a kind of a Sheep Dog anyway, quick and lots of energy and that dog needs surgery on both of its knees or two of its knees.

I guess it has four, I don’t know exactly…

Jill: …dog anatomy.

Mark: But yeah, probably for the same reason.

You know, young puppy, big breed, trying to keep up with a little, fast, aggressive, breed it’s just tough on them.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, so anyway, that’s too bad; we just found that out today.

Jill: So I guess that means you guys will be doing a lot more walking with Gordie.

Mark: That’s right.

Jill: You can’t just send him out to play with the neighbor dog.

Mark: That’s right.

Jill: You’ll have to take him out for his exercise.

Mark: We take him out quite a bit anyway.

Jill: Yeah, you do.

Mark: But he’s always wanted to go out and play with the neighbor’s dog, but he won’t be able to do that.

I mean I like running with him when I can.

If that’s okay then it’s just a matter of getting his current injury to settle down and then he’ll be fine.

Jill: Yeah, I think it’s like people.

From what I’ve heard about other dogs is if something starts acting up like that if you rest it and lay off it for a little while it will get better and then, obviously, you can’t resume the same activities exactly the same way or as much, but you can certainly continue to have activity in their daily routine.

Mark: Yeah, oh yeah, I mean he’s got too much energy to sit around for too long as a pup.

Jill: And that can’t be healthy anyway.

Mark: No.

Jill: Dogs need to run around.

Mark: That’s right.

Jill: So.

Mark: So, that’s that. Otherwise, I don’t know, anything exciting?

Jill: Oh, you had your all weekend hockey training course.

Mark: Yes I did.

Jill: How did that go?

Mark: I did.

Well, actually, I went on Saturday and the guy running it didn’t want to be there.

He didn’t think he was going to have to do it and he found out sort of late and he’s like well, I can only do it on Saturday.

They were going to bring someone else in on Sunday, but then they ended up… He said you know what, let’s just get through it all on Saturday, so he went through it really quickly on Saturday.

I didn’t have to go Sunday, it was perfect.

It wasn’t perfect because I had to be there on Saturday too, but I got my Sunday back.

Jill: Oh good.

Mark: So that was great, yeah.

Jill: So, I mean, obviously, they’re not that concerned if they’re going to let a replacement come in and just rush right through it.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, they make a big deal of it and I think they probably wouldn’t be that happy if they knew that was what happened, but he just couldn’t come Sunday and it was a last minute thing and so he just did that, which was lucky for us.

Jill: So, did you get anything out of it?

Mark: You know, a little bit, sure but, again, the little bit that you get out of it doesn’t make up for a full day that you spend there.

It’s hot in here, can you open that window?

Jill: Yeah, we’re having hot flashes here.

Mark: That’s right.

But now I’m done; now, hopefully, I don’t have to do it anymore.

I do have a homework assignment that I have to send in.

Jill: You’re kidding?

Mark: No, but, hopefully, that won’t take too long and then I’ll be done.

Jill: And can you actually fail that assignment?

Mark: I think if you don’t send it in then you fail but, otherwise, not.

Jill: You can officially be the coach now?

Mark: That’s right.

Jill: The coveted role of coach.

Mark: The coveted role of coach, so that now I can spend…

Jill: …four mornings a week.

Mark: Exactly.

Jill: Well, that’s good.

Mark: Yeah, so that kind of worked out well.

I got the Christmas tree on Sunday and set it up and it’s all decorated.

Jill: Oh nice.

Mark: It’s looking quite Christmassy at home. I guess that’s about it.

Jill: Good.

Mark: Had a nice relaxing day.

I saw Annie’s hip-hop concert dancing with her friends.

Jill: Was it a Christmas concert?

Mark: No, just the end of their little term, so they have their concert.

Jill: Was that at the Centennial Theatre or something?

Mark: No, it was at Kay Meek Theatre at West Van.

High, which everyone was kind of grumbling about because it was quite expensive to go and watch my own daughter dance with her class.

Jill: I know the Kay Meek Centre is only a couple of years old and its, apparently…I haven’t been inside, but just a beautiful…

Mark: It’s really nice, yeah.

Jill: And it’s at a local high school.

Mark: It’s at a high school, yeah.

Jill: And they have performances of all calibers there.

Mark: They really do, yeah.

Jill: So how much was it to go?

Mark: Well, it was like $15 bucks a person, but by the time the whole family is there just to watch my daughter and it’s not like a professional production, it just seemed like…

Jill: Who’s kidding who?

Mark: Yeah, it just seemed like ha, why?

I mean I pay for her to go and now I’ve got to… Anyway, she liked it, but they used to do it in a school gymnasium, but I don’t know why they didn’t this time.

I heard that they weren’t allowed to for some reason, but it seems strange.

It’s fine to have it in a school gym, why do we need to be in a fancy theatre and pay that kind of money.

I mean it’s a lot, there were four of us that went.

Jill: And the kids didn’t even get…there was no discount for kids?

Mark: Oh kids were $10.00, adults were $15.00.

Jill: Yeah, that is actually a lot though, yeah.

Mark: Yeah, I mean…

Jill: So it was $50 bucks then.

Mark: Yeah, that’s a lot.

Jill: To see your daughter dance for five minutes, ten minutes.

Mark: Five minutes, you know, maybe yeah, it’s a 30 minute show, 30 minutes tops and she’s not in every…she went out and did two songs, so two songs, yeah.

Jill: Yeah, that’s pretty amazing that they can charge those prices.

Mark: I know. I think a lot of people complained, so now the instructor is like pouting.

Jill: Oh.

Mark: Oh well, we had to do this for this reason.

I never saw the email, but apparently she sent an email out and we’re not going to have the class anymore.

Jill: What do you mean?

Mark: After Christmas there’s no more.

The class is no more because people complained too much.

Jill: So she’s just not going to offer that class anymore?

Mark: That’s what she said.

Jill: Oh is that ever bizarre.

Mark: Yeah, I know. She probably will, she’s just being an artist, you know.

Jill: Has hurt feelings or something, yeah.

Mark: Exactly. So, at any rate, I mean it was fun.

They are getting better.

Like she’s done that, I don’t know, three or four years now and it’s been pretty painful at times to watch that.

Jill: It cannot be as painful as children learning to play instruments and going to see their band concerts.

Mark: I haven’t done that, but I’ve watched my daughter’s piano recitals.

They play for such a short time and there are always some kids that are good and some that are less good.

I don’t mind those, actually, the recitals.

Jill: A piano recital is okay, but when you’ve got a whole band and nobody is in tune and nobody is playing together and there are a bunch of 10 year olds and it’s their first year of playing the trumpet it’s not very harmonious sounding.

Mark: Are you speaking from experience? You’ve done this?

Jill: I have done that, actually, I’m sure I thought I was really good at the time.

Mark: Oh, you were playing.

Jill: I was in the band, yeah.

Mark: So you don’t know, in fact, that you were bad.

Jill: No, because I’ve also gone and listened too.

My little sister is so much younger than me, so I have gone and listened year’s ago, but… I was speaking about it with Kate here at the office too because she’s had to go watch her little niece’s concert and same thing they just… How can we get out of this?

How can we be busy that night because it’s just painful it’s like nails down a chalkboard, you know, so at least dancing you’re just watching something.

Mark: Yeah, that’s true and that was why I was glad it was only half an hour because that’s perfect.

You get a little bit of it and then after a while you can’t watch it anymore.

I shouldn’t say that.

I’ve missed a few; I have missed a few.

Jill: Well, I think mothers and fathers and women and men are a little bit different too because you probably really enjoy watching your son play hockey.

Mark: Yeah I do, yeah.

Jill: And I don’t know, I mean sure, if it’s my own son I will care more, but I don’t know that I’ll really get a lot out of watching an 8 year old play hockey.

Whereas, I’ve watched little girls that I know or care about have little recitals when they were even younger than Annie, like 6 years old, and I thoroughly enjoy it because I like watching the dancing.

I think it’s so cute and all the costumes so I think…

Mark: Yeah, that’s for sure part of it, for sure. I know that Kindrey my wife enjoys it much more than I do.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: Although I didn’t mind it this time, but I will say that she’s a diehard at the hockey games.

Jill: Kindrey is.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Jill: But I can see that too.

Mark: You know what though?

Hockey is much more exciting to watch than kid’s soccer.

Kid’s soccer, especially when they’re young, is painful.

Whereas the hockey for whatever reason… One big advantage is that it’s confined.

The puck has to stay in play.

It can’t go out of play, so they’re kind of trying to do it and they can’t really stand up and they can’t really hit and every once in a while somebody makes a play.

It’s just like you’re watching it and you’re come on!

Jill: And it’s so cute.

Mark: It’s cute, yeah.

Jill: The little boys and they can’t skate and they look so little out there.

They’re falling all over the place and they can’t stop and it’s cute; it’s funny to watch the little kids.

Mark: Yeah, I mean even non-hockey fans, mothers, they all love it.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: They all say it’s more exciting than any other little guy’s sporting activity that they watch. The hockey is by far the most fun to watch.

Jill: I can see that.

Mark: I don’t know why that is, but partly it’s because it is difficult and they just look funny.

They can’t really stand up and yeah, no, it is.

Jill: Oh yeah.

Mark: Anyway, with that I think we should let everybody go here. We will talk again later.

Jill: Alright, bye, bye.

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