Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Just Keeping Up

I haven't been up to too much lately.  Not even running.  No running really whatsoever.  I maybe ran 3 or 4 times in October, about 15 in November, and just once in December so far.  I just may have retired and given it up for good.  I haven't been feeling to swell out on the trails and putting one foot in front of the other.  So I don't know.  I try, half-heartedly, but no real good feelings come about.  I will miss it.  I do enjoy it.  But I don't quite care for feeling all beat up and feeling terrible whilst doing it.

Other then that things are good.  Molly's fifth birthday came and went with little fan fair during the month.  She had a bit of a a party.  She had some friends over and there were some balloons and cup cakes and all of that.  She has really gotten into swimming and can basically "swim" for whatever the is worth for five years old.  She jumps in the deep end of a pool and can swim 5m or so to the side.  I think that is pretty good.  She can get right under the water and pull two strokes I figure before she has to take a breath....  She really enjoys it too. (The swimming lesson part-of-it.)  In the tub she spazes every time water gets on her face, yet in the pool she can sort of do and underwater handstand and dive down for rings....

Wally had a tough November I suppose.  He really fought every tooth/molar that has been coming in.  He had to take a number of days off of the day-care on account of the pain and inconvenience of these cutting teeth.  He wanted nothing to do with me - mom is absolutely everything in his world; sick or not, but he seems to be much better as I write the recap now.  At the time though it was not so great.

In school my day consists of a lot of physical education.  I take the two kindergarten classes at separate times to the gym, a first grade and second grade split class, as well as a second and third grade split class.  I also take a grade six seven split class.  I try to keep the same theme for a month at a time.  We are right into a dance theme for the month and I have found it kind of enjoyable.  Keep in mind all instruction and modelling is mostly done by yours truly and youtube, and the progression of style has ranged from The Chicken Dance, Mexican Hat Dance, the Macarena, some simple line dancing, square dancing, some simple Tango, Waltzing, the Charleston, and so on.  The older students are getting into a Thriller routine and there is an attempt at a Footloose.  

Shelly is still making lots of those ash beads I wrote of, and playing a ton of music.  She hosted a second annual clothes swap here last night.  I stayed around.  I was hoping some lady would be bringing in a pair of 32x32 Levi's.  I am in need of some jeans.  Much to my surprise no one brought anything close to that size.  I laid the law down to those in attendance that any and all beat-up old Lancer track gear was definitely off limits - stay out of my drawers!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cremation Keepsakes

When Shelly was in high school she had a business, as she tells me, called Shelly's Shrubs.  She had her dad's truck, a shovel, and all the mini-shrubs one could ever want or need from the one farm of theirs' nicknamed "The Airport".  She drummed up business, and put in shrubs at houses and cottages in need.  In fact there is a nice Shelly's Shrub that is now 15 foot long, 8 foot high, and 3 feet thick at my old house on Quebec street that started off looking like a 15 year-olds' facial hair.  Beaser has a Shelly's Shrub to tie into an area in need at his house too.  By all accounts his is doing fantastically.  Now these were installed much later then her formative high school years, but the point is her work was pretty good.  Shelly has always been quite the entrepreneur.....  Why she toils at teaching is anyone's guess.  Well she is back into it again with a new business plan.
Shelly has been doing the lamp work beading for a few years now.  It is just a hobby, but puts together a necklace set, or some earrings for friends in need.  She has all the gear, and a kiln to set them just so.  I don't know how the idea came about, with whom, or how many glasses of wine she had, but a few months ago she took some cremated ashes from a friend who's dog had died.  It was a loyal pet of course and the family was quite sad. 

So one thing led to another and Shelly is firing up some beads with Rover's ashes glassed within.  The beads were going to go to the daughter who was away at school or whatever.  The daughter wasn't there in-the-end, if you will, when the dog died, and this was meant to be a little piece of memory I suppose.

Word gets out, Shelly is taking cremated ashes now from this dog, and that cat, and low and behold has even worked with ashes of a person.  So she is quite proud of her work and has since made a few logos to represent her craft.

At any rate - As I have been busy washing and vacuuming my new truck, Shelly has been holed up in the basement making memories and keepsakes.  I don't believe her new business is incorporated, registered, licensed, or insured - hell it may even be illegal?  But that is what's going on with her exploits these days....  I can tell you all of her customers have been very happy in the finished product.

I wonder when the next season's auditions for Dragon's Den will happen?

Half Attempt

Sorry and my apologies to my loyal followers; those who have been waiting for words or pictures for well over a month.  There has been enough happening, but haven't put the effort in - which I am a bit sorry for.  however....

To the middle and end of September I hosted a Windsor Lancer XC training camp up here as usual.  I said a few words at their Saturday night dinner and thought that this has been the 10 edition since 2002.  So it was great to see the new crew up here, and as it is/was the fellers finished second at the OUA race today.  They lost a close one to Western by ten points or so - not too much.  I also met up with them in London at a race on a sunny Saturday morning.  I had the bike out and despite it being a bit cool in the morning, the rest of the day was terrific.

During that first week of October I was in Windsor.  I went for just a night and crossed paths with a good buddy and his family.  It was another celebration of sorts for my former coach at Windsor, and I made it to the festivities.  And of course there were a tonne of other familiar faces to see.

On the Thanksgiving weekend we stayed around the greater Goderich area.  There was swimming lessons in the morning for Molly, then the customary get-togethers with family.  The weather was nice, and again we saw lots of familiar faces at the couple events we attended.

The next weekend after that I had a Richy Tremain and Mark Kiteley weekend up camping in a yurt near Norland, ON.  It was Mark's idea, and I guess Rich and I just tagged along and invited ourselves.  We had a blast, the weather was great, and the yurt was very comfortable.  There wasn't a whole lot to do, but we brought bikes and toured around that way.  We even went in a dingy for a row around a lake.  It was another good time.

Molly had a birthday party today, and tomorrow is Halloween.....

Work has been busy for Shelly and me - just regular stuff of extra school sports, some assemblies on the go, and the for-ever stack of paper work that is student generated, or ministry generated like report cards and other assessments.  I wasn't in the mood at all this year for the ministry documents; plus I had forgotten all the websites in which they get generated in, and I have forgotten the logins and passwords, and of course have forgotten how to do them properly.  No matter.  They all got done.
It is hard to believe that a year ago today we were in Virgin Gorda for the month.....

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Back at It

14 months didn't really just come and go too quickly.  It was a long time to be off and enjoying other things.  Enjoying some extra time with friends, some extra trips, and lots of extra family time.  However that all came to an end this week as the daily grind of work commenced.  People were curiously asking me if I was excited or happy or whatever to go back to work.  And in the two weeks out my answer was a resounding yes, that I was happy and looking forward to it and all that.  The night before school started I had an epiphany and it was a resounding no - I was not looking forward to it.

The night before school, last Monday, I met up with my good buddy in town John.  We have always watched a movie together the night before returning to work.  The first time would have been September of 2003.  I can say pretty accurately that we haven't missed a date.  By and by we've been joined by a couple of extra people, but it has always been at least the two of us.  Our friend Adrian joined us this year.  Anyway, long story short, by the time the chit-chatting was done, a few drinks drank, and the movie watched, I had said my goodbyes and I was on my pedal bike returning home. 

It was about 11:00.  It was still about 30 degrees centigrade as it has been very warm lately.  The night was cloudless and there was an abundance of stars. Halfway home it just hit me.  There was an enormous feeling of dread to be going back to work.  The best, one of the very best parts of being off work is not going to work on the first day you need to report.  The first day is most critical and what is important.  It is the first day that is the sweetest of them all.  On the second it diminishes a wee bit, not much, but a bit, and of course it diminishes and diminishes for the remaining 194 working days for teachers in the province.  Days off don't become as special the more you have them - in a sense.  Or to me they don't.

So that hit me like a ton of bricks, and like I wrote, I had reservations about the first day and my impending return at truly the 11th hour.  Nevertheless I did report to work.  I carpooled with my two great colleagues Mike and Liesa, who had most obviously missed me tremendously over the past 14 months, and I got into the swing of things.

Molly is swinging in Senior Kindergarten this year, and Wally is swinging at the municipal day car in town.  I Can't say anything but great things about where the kids are and who is minding them.  School is suiting Molly well....  And again - if Shelly or I can't mind Wally on a full time basis like all of last year, the municipal day care is the best. 

It is full of great and caring primary child care workers and lots of other children for Wally to socialize and interact with.  He gets fed like a champ with nutritious meals and he sleeps there too throughout the day.  And did I mention how great the staff are.  He loves to go, and loves to get picked up and leave at the end of the day too.

Molly is back to the same school and with the same teacher.  There are also, of course, a number of same classmates.  She goes to a bit of a daycare of sorts too before the school day starts and again after it ends.  But that is the way it is....

Shelly - hard at it at the high school with a sundry of classes like music and civics....  She had a bit of tears seeing Wally off on the first day, however she has been at ease for the rest of the week. 

I am, once again, back to Brookside in a bit of a different capacity.  I am charged with most of the Kindergarten, grades 1, 2, 3, and grades 6/7 phys. ed., and the math for the sixth and seventh graders as well.  So I am bouncing around a bit, but, I don't mind it so much.

The four of us are all looking forward to February of 2019 when the next sabbatical starts.  Well, mom and dad anyway.  Until then, I am sure there will be a few adventures and postings along the way. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Walton Race Track

I mention in this video about one rider who was wearing number 8.  His last name was Keast.  Anyway, most of the riders looked like distance runners to be honest.  They were quite thin and lean.  Perhaps they carried a bit more muscle, but they certainly weren't built too big.  But the exception to the rule was this Keast rider.  I saw him in a few races and his size immediately jumped out at me.  He was huge.  He looked like he'd be better suited with football equipment on and positioned as a linebacker. 

Darrin and I also talked to a bike mechanic who works at a place just 20km away were we've had our bikes in and wrench on.  We were chit-chatting back and forth and joking about this and that and asking him how things are.  He was there with his two brothers and some nephews.  The boys were about 3.  Anyway he told the boy's parents, and them, that as fun as this sport is, it costs a tonne of $$$$, and you are going to get hurt.  He wasn't exaggerating.  

I couldn't help but think talent is one thing among the brother and sisterhood of this sport, but you first have to start with gear and travel and equipment that is priced above the means of most.  And I get it, you can have fun on a used dirt bike that isn't all tricked out and such, and you can get your feet wet into this sport with a good attitude and friendly people surrounding you, but then something happens.  It happens in track, and tennis, and hockey, figure skating, gymnastics and equestrian riding; there is this swing.  A swing that doesn't seem to go back to where it came from.  A swing that stays in a direction of higher costs, further travel, more expensive coaches and equipment.  It isn't unique to one sport.  It happens.

Then something else weird happens - and it is true in mostly all sports.  At this top level, everyone has the best motorbike, or golf clubs or hockey stick.  Everyone has mostly equal access to decent coaching, and is traveling to where they need to get or be.  However, there is this thing call talent again.  It seems like all the riders in the top 10 were basically going the same speed - just like all the top golfers probably drive just as far.  But the guy in first in the MX race is just that much more talented in the way they do the finer things that need to be done.  His bike is still 250cc like the others behind him.  His chain is equally greased and tires as equally good.  But talent separates these people.  How does talent come about?  Hard work for sure.

Walton Raceway

There are always a few go-to events in the area.  This week it was the MX races at Walton.  Walton is a small, and I mean small rural community.  It has a general store, an elevator for crops, and a sizeable tractor dealership, but that is about all.  I doubt 500 people live there.  There would be no way 500 people live there.  However there is a huge MX facility that plays host to quite the event every 3rd week of August.  For the first 3 days there is lots of 50cc and 85cc races - kids, elementary aged kids getting the feel.  Although as soon as the weekend comes, the big dogs are out and the speed really picks up.

On Sunday afternoon Darrin and I took it in.  The weather wasn't so great, but there were still thousands in attendance.  The action and talent of the riders exceeded our expectations.  Without fear, they had their machines nearly tire to tire, and on their sides, cornering and jumping.  It is hard to believe the pounding the bikes, and bodies take....  The bikes especially seem like they are beaten, and treated like a rented car.  And I suppose they are.  But each bike gets to the starting line clean; very clean.  The chains and sprockets look brand new, tires that shine, exhaust lacking mud and debris, and plastic that proudly displays plenty of advertisement.  After the race though - not so much.

So lots of noise and lots of smells at the races.  The schedule indicated there was a Master's Class.  I don't know the particulars, perhaps 40 and over.  It is sandwiched at the beginning of the week near the kid's races.  Who knows?  I have improved a bit on the MX bike this summer, but I don't think I have the nerve to blast into that Hole Shot with 20 others.  I will stick to running races for the time being.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sunflowers and Tomatos

We hit an abundance of tomatoes this year....

The sunflowers that did grow did well, but I planted 12 and only 3 or 4 made it....

Our basil, which generally does quite well, did not do well whatsoever this year.

Despite having a greenhouse and a lot of land for growing, we don't do well in this department.  Two thirds of what we start gets neglected and cast aside.  However this small plot of 2 feet by 4 feet was my tending, and it did okay I guess.  It has been a very dry summer and there has been little to no rain whatsoever.