Friday, February 24, 2017

Practice Video From Concert

A simple video shot a few weeks ago in Teeswater, ON... Like I wrote earlier; the concert was fun and I enjoyed playing along with the pipe band.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Adding Steps

My buddy Scott and I tackled a simple modification on the truck over the past week or so.  I bought the steps thinking that the weather wouldn't be agreeable to do this outside in February.  It would have to be a spring job or find a decent sized garage.  But with the weather in the mid teens for much of the past 2 weeks, no time was as good as the present.  First step was to give the truck a good wash, and open the packing and hope that I don't loose anything.

These are a definite need and not a want.  Molly has a hard enough time getting into the truck.  I knew that was going to be the case when I bought it, but I didn't want an easily-accessible mini van or loser cruiser as a ride.  I wanted a truck.  That is it.  In a few years Wally is going to be ready to tackle getting into and out of the truck as well.  It might as well be easy for them.

So anyway, no big deal.  These look pretty good and are useful.  The installation instructions said no drilling, no cutting, use existing threaded holes - all of those agreeable words to a guy like me who has no tools or know-how.  Only one ratchet would be needed.  A screw driver to remove a cap.  Sounds like something for my disposition.  I had Scott on tool detail, and in fact all installation detail.  I bought some lock tight and some oily-type spray to coat the unit after it was on the truck, and of course I would supervise if needed.  Weather was 16 degrees centigrade in the middle of February - scary nice.

I've played a number of hockey games lately.  It had been about 2 or 3 years away from it.  I was wrangled into playing in the Old Timer's Tournament in town a week or two ago.  That was fun.  I also played the other night in Bayfield.  It was good to get back out.

It was a long weekend this past week.  We hit the road 40km north into Bruce County for some cousin action and play.  We had a big Christmas-y type meal and play.  The weather, again, it is just so unseasonably warm, had melted the snow to the most ideal packing capacity.  We made a bit of a snowman, and Molly had to instigate the argument over who had to dress it up.  Of course she had too, and not any of her cousins.

I think it is safe to say that Molly will have challenges, and has ongoing challenges, on waiting her turn, appreciating other people's space, being patient, sharing, sitting beside certain others, and the like.  She has a strong nature which is good, but it doesn't serve her well all the time.  She can be quite funny!

International Women's Day

International Women's Day isn't until March 8th, but the labour council I am involved with, along with our ETFO affiliate have supported this campaign.  This is the ad that we put together, Willie Laurie actually put it together this year, that is going to be in The Focus newspaper in the coming weeks.  I think it looks great, and there was lots of support for the ad this year from other local affiliates.

For more information about this go to the Ontario Federation of Labour Website.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dungannon Vintage Snowmobile Show

It is certainly appropriate Dungannon plays host to an annual  vintage snowmobile rally each winter.  I think of vintage stuff as things time has forgotten, and time has forgotten the wee wee hamlet of Dungannon - no offense to two loyal readers Joel and Sherry....

There was no shortage of pre-fuel injected, pre-carbide skiied, pre-gps, and just about any other"pre" creature comfort snowmobiles have today at the rally.  The newest machine there was probably from the early 90s - it looked out of place.  No, the machines there were from a by-gone era of craftsmanship and dependability which was second to none.  Machines with no ergonomics, or no heated features, yet they somehow have lived on in old barns and sheds to see a few flakes of snow each winter pulling laps around the perimetre of a field, or to simply make an appearance at a rally like today's.

Molly and I made the trip.  She wasn't too excited, but a bit of bribery with the promise of potentially riding on one of the yee-old-beaters, and a few toboggan slides at a nearby point, was the push she needed.  We walked around causally, nodding our heads at each old sled like we new all of the quantitative and qualitative statistics of them, and said hi to many familiar faces.  I spied a few kids in the class I teach who rode their snowmobiles to the rally and hoped to shore up a ride for Molly and me, but no.  I maybe didn't ask as point-forwardly as I should have - like when I get kids to sit and get mindful with their work in school.  However, lesson learned and taken from my angle.

The obvious manufacturers were well represented; Ski-Doo, Polaris, Artic Cat, but then there were a number of makers which was a bit more unique; Harley Davidson, John Deere, Mercury, & Chrysler had this really odd looking dirt-bike like contraption.  

I got thinking a lot today about my youth.  Our family had a mid 70s Ski-Doo Olympic.  It was a 340 cc engine with one spark plug.  It was yellow and had a black seat. Of course you had to mix the oil and gas just so, choke it, and yank the hell out of the rip cord to get it going.  It had a wind shield, but by the time we were teenagers it was busted from our aged abuse of it, along with the protective cover.  It wasn't all that powerful, and would get stuck quite easily if you were turning in the deep 1980s snow.  I remember quite often going in a straight line on it with snow so deep it would cascade over the windshield, before it was broke, and go on my face and down the front of my jacket.  We had an old 6 or 8 foot long wooden toboggan that we were towed on.  The snowmobile clothes were stored in an over sized hockey bag and they had this smell to them.  Maybe a bit moldy and perpetually wet, but not enough to be toxic.  After taking turns riding it with my siblings, we would prop up the rear track with a single larger piece of wood - something about not wanting the back track to ice to the snow.  There were lots of good times with that snowmobile.

At any rate - all is well here.  No real news or information to share = I was in a concert last week actually with the Teeswater Bag Pipe Band.  They had about 13 or 14 songs to perform with various instruments, and I accompanied along on 5 of them I suppose.  It was fun - I don't have any photo evidence, but I might to able to load up a video of a rehearsal that I taped so I could practice on my own.

No much else....

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Skating at the Park

Throughout the 80s I can clearly remember the fire department in Goderich flooding the tennis courts at the town pool area on Nelson Street.  The ice rink was that big - basically two tennis courts wide and long.  There was another rink too.  A secondary rink on the grass area for figure skating.  The tennis courts were reserved for hockey.  It was a source of memories for me, and good ones at that.

By and by however the courts did not get flooded in subsequent years during the late 80s and into the 90s.  I suppose it got to be too much work, or too much liability in case of accident.  For whatever the reason there wasn't a community minded outdoor skating rink for quite sometime here.  For a few years in the mid 2000s there was a rink up on the square in Goderich.  I was never on it.  Nor do I remember it lasting that long.  Again the reasons for its demise could have been unpredictable weather, not enough volunteers, too much cost or liability of course.

For the past 3 or 4 years a group of volunteers have resurrected the outdoor rink at the tennis courts.  It has two sets of rinks each about the size of a NBA sized basketball court.  One of the rinks is skating only, and the other has a perimetre set of 4 foot high boards and nets for pick-up hockey.  There are about a dozen different implements such as shovels and such to clear the ice, and a number of benches to sit on to put on skates.  A dedicated group of volunteers flood it when it is appropriate to do so, and by all accounts it gets used quite often.

Molly and I hit it up for 45 minutes or so today.  There was always about a dozen other like minded people on the skating only side, and about a half dozen kids playing hockey on that side.  The sun was poking out and it made it really nice with the accompanying blue cloudless sky.  Molly seemed to do much better then she does indoor at the YMCA in town.  I can't explain that, however it seemed like it to me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Nature Walking

The holidays presents lots of extra time obviously.  We used this time to be at the YMCA of Goderich a number of times to go swimming and skating as a family, and also just to poke around town and out at the farm.  I can't remember what day it was, but it was a nice sunny day so we took off for Hawkin's road to see how the trails and the 25 acres (at Shelly's farm) was holding up.

I had been out there a few times before New Years Eve with the cross bow in hopes to fill a deer tag.  Despite my best efforts, which are poor, I didn't, but did see lots of sign and undoubtedly the deer, lots of rabbits and coyotes are enjoying the trails that I have slashed.  Unfortunately I did not or have not seen and turkey tracks....

At any rate we got on the trail and just heard the pains and screams of wild children.  Without fail Molly complains that it is too this, or too that....  it is too wet in the spring, too buggy or mosquitoe-y in the summer, too many leaves in the fall - her legs were tired this time walking in the snow.  However I try to deafen her calls and and enjoy the walk.  Not 50 feet into the trail I saw what I thought was a jack-rabbit.  Not a cottontail, but a sizable lepus.  Wally was pulled along on a polar bear sled and it was a nice hour or so for all of us.

Molly got a sled for Christmas.  It was your standard "saucer" variety.  We told her she could have a go on it at a place on the way back from the walk at the farm.  She had it in her head after seeing Wally in his sled at the farm that she should be able to ride on it rather then walk.  Saucer sleds aren't the kind that someone gets pulled on....

On the way home we did manage to stop at a sledding area and it worked out just fine.

Last but not least Wally just had his second birthday.  He had it with just a bit of fan fare.

Forgetting My Password

So getting back into things with passwords can be a nightmare.  In September there were no less then 4 or 5 passwords with school to log into the network, to take attendance, complete assessments, finish some reports on students, log into the federation information, and of course the school email system.  It was all forgotten or changed from what I once knew and remembered.

The same can be said with me for this website.  Posting every month doesn't do too much in terms of remembering the login.  However here I am, successfully logged in and adding away in 2017.  We all made it through the holiday season and though there isn't too many pictures, there were lots of memories and stories.

December finished up with a number of school cancellations before the 23rd or December.  To be honest I thought it was going to be quite difficult to make it that far into the month and keeping everyone on track.  Thanks to a few weather cancellations it happened.  They seemed to help in two ways - it made completing work a lot easier because there was less time to do it.  And secondly it just gave enough of a break to want to get back and complete the things that needed done.  So I didn't bat an eye when the closure notices appeared.  I still made it to a health and safety inspection, two in fact, and got plenty of work done at home which both caught me up, and moved me forward.  And it is even another cancellation day today!

So Christmas was just a terrific time for everyone.  On the eve, we went out for dinner and drinks to  a friend's house, where we were joined by other friends.  We were not too late.   The kids were wrapped in beds not long after eight - Molly being very excited, and Shelly and I just hung out and did those last minute things that needed done, and watched Die Hard.

Christmas morning came early.  Before seven.  Santa did in fact make it to the house and dropped off a sundry of useful and necessary items that people asked for and needed.  An electric blanket, Husky car mats, pink hockey helmet and Paw Patrol paraphernalia.  There were other goodies too, but those were the highlights.  Later that afternoon we continued in the joyous spirit with dinner and drink at my uncle Larry's, joined by relatives of all stripes.

Boxing day was spent much like the previous day with an early morning rise, and the same activities of drink and gifts and food at my dad's.  It was the least busy boxing day in terms of numbers in quite sometime.  But that is the way it goes from time to time.