Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dame's Rocket

The Lucknow Legion played host to the infamous Dame's Rocket this past St. Patrick's Day.  The sextet, ha, plugged in and executed their sets with harmony, tone, and rhythm.  It wasn't a huge crowd, but they were keen listeners and excited to hear the girls in person.

Photo Credit to Laurie Hayden; (L to R) Monica, Shelly, Rachel, Katie, Kelly, & Natalie

This is one of the musical groups that Shelly is in that generally practices and rehearses at our house on Tuesdays.  They slay my beer, that is for sure, and maybe that is why they keep coming over to use our house as the studio.  But I also guess it just works for them all too.  It is an interesting mix of two environmental engineers of sorts, two of them are in education, a radio DJ, and one who is in hair and cosmetics.  A true sundry collection.  Why they haven't asked me to join in is a complete mystery.  I don't believe their next concert is booked - they only play about 3 or 4 gigs a year; and don't let that be a reflection on their talent.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Concert February 4th

I thought I had written a few things down about the concert I played in in February.  I guess I didn't.

This is the second time I had played with the Teeswater Pipe Band.  My dad has been in this troupe for the better part of 10 years, and really enjoys playing and parading with them at various events.  The first time I played with them was on St. Patrick's Day in 2016, or rather is was during a St. Patrick's Day concert. This time it was a Robby Burns themed concert with some piano, poetry, dancing, chanters, drumming, electric guitar, bagpipes, indoor bagpipes, singing, and me on an acoustic guitar.  In all there was about 15 pieces, and I accompanied on 5 or 6 of them.  The concert was in Teeswater, ON at the town hall.  The crowd wasn't very rowdy, but at 80 strong they proved to be willing listeners, and non judgmental which is important to me.  My dad and I practiced mostly at home, Shelly also helped out by playing the piano for me, and after 2 formal rehearsals it was time to break a leg on the stage.

It was pretty fun.  It was a bit of a challenge, but like anything after sustained, mindful and repetitive practice I got the chords and their sequence memorized well.  I felt as if it sounded and went well.

One of the other highlights of it all, besides doing this with my dad, was seeing an old Windsor Lancer T&F friend.  She was Julie Lisle back in the 90s, but is now Julie MacDonald.  Her two girls aged 9 and 7, give-or-take, were the highland dancers who stole the show with their cute ensembles', crisp taps', and superb leg lifts'; just like their mom did back in the day as a hurdler!  I knew Julie was in the area, and saw her a few years ago at a wedding we were both at, but it was neat to see her and reminisce about the good-old-days.

As for us at home - we are great.  We were out to the farm on a good old nature walk, and testing the limits of our body weight versus the frozen ice this past weekend.  Molly had no confidence despite being one of the lightest, Shelly's wasn't so sure either, yet Wally and I were as optimistic as can be.  I knew the deepest section was only about knee high, and although a wet boot wouldn't be great, it would have been deserved based on my lack of fear, and made a better story.  In the end I crashed through some ice, but my Bogs repelled the cold icy water which was well past my ankle at the time.

This is how we get ready for bed!

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.