Sunday, March 25, 2018


We haven't really done too much during the month of March.  We had a week of discontinuity from our schooling and day care for Wally.  It was an overnight trip to Guelph to visit some friends, and just making use of the facilities at the YMCA in Goderich to swim and skate.  Despite there being little snow, it has been very cold.  Outdoor activities were few and far between as a result.

So there was a bit of getting at the wood with Shelly's dad, and cleaning up out the garbage in the shed out at Shelly's farm with a few dump runs.  As mentioned, a bit of skating and swimming.  Lots of music practice and cleaning around the house.  The common theme is that some of the days drag on, but in general a week's holiday goes very quickly. 
 The Dame's Rocket played at the Lucknow Legion on St. Patrick's Day...  There are no pictures from this year's set, but they looked and sounded as good as ever. 
 The kids got in and had a visit with their great grandmother who is also sounding and looking as good as ever.  If you reversed the numbers on Wally's shirt, and added a few numbers, you'd get to her age!  So yes, looking great indeed.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Zurich Has Beans Tournament

These Old Timer's hockey tournaments can be quite fun, but sadly repetitive too.  It is the same good teams that win and the same teams that lose.  It is the same amount of Bud Lite beer.  It is the same anger that some speed bag lashes out during some game because ?????  and wants to take it one step further.  Every small community in Canada must have tournaments like these.  The surrounding towns about 75km away all load up on glory day superstars, and also just about anyone else who is able to show up.  There are some good, smooth players.  And some hacks.  So I got the call once again to make the 40km drive south to the annual Zurich Has'Beans old timer's hockey tournament with the River Rat motley crew.  Sort of the same group of guys I played with just 2 weeks ago.

I haven't been playing steadily at all over the past 3 or 4 years.  All but 3 or 4 games, in one weekend, in each of the past 3 or 4 years.  That is not a lot.  But having had a few games under my feet in the past 2 weeks, I thought I was up to the challenge of another.  I don't know if I am asked for any particular reason.  I am not very skilled or adept at the game, but whatever.  I at least show up, pay my money to play, and make some reasonably lucky plays along the way.  Shelly watched one game this weekend and said I "hustled".  That sounds just about right. 

The first game we played with 12 players and won.  The second game we played with 10 players and lost.  Finally, and still in the first day, we played the third game and lost again with 9 players.  This goes from 9:00 am, to 1:00 pm, and the final game started at 8:00.  But I am feeling all right.  I am able to sustain a good amount of physical activity because of the running....  Each game got tougher opponents, combined with less players, and the recipe isn't so good.  However it was fun.  If anything we displayed a high level of sportsmanship as we didn't even get a penalty!  But we didn't score much either.

There were 12 teams in the tournament.  Each team plays 3 games.  There is a math algorithm fitting for a university course, to decide who plays who during everyone's fourth game.  This was decided with a point system of adding numbers attributed to period wins, losses, ties, games won and tied, goals scored and goals against.  We were the 11th team, as it was, after 3 games.  The team we beat during the 9:00 am game would be the 12th.  So it would be one more game on Sunday for just a sliver of pride.  The most minuscule of self worth one could hope for.

We lost that game 4-2. 

But the weather was wonderful.  Shelly and the kids came to the fourth game and Molly really thinks I am a superstar on the ice.  I mean really.  If it was anything else I'd tell her some white lies and embellish my past exploits on ice.  I swear I haven't and will never!  Truth be told it is just house lead hockey for the most part. 

But there was, of course, a token set of playground equipment at the arena and the kids were equally keen to be on the swings and on the climbers. 


Monday, February 26, 2018


I wish I had some pictures from a few weeks ago.  Joel and I played in the Oldtimer's Ice Hockey Tournament in Goderich.  We had a pretty good time; a win, a loss and a tie to miss out of a final fourth game.  The last time I played hockey with Joel was back in 2011 when we were living in Rossland.  I think that was one of the first years Joel even played hockey.  He got into the game much later in life, and has dramatically improved from those awesome days on the outdoor rink.  But anyway a team was scratched together by randomly opening an early 90s GDCI high school year book and picking someone on the page. 

It was lots of fun.  The age group starts at 35 to play in the tournament.  So there are a few people who are less then 40, many who are in their 40s, and then some even older then that.  There were 16 teams in 4 divisions.  We were in the second most competitive.  Given our record, we weren't the best, nor were we the worst.  But next time I'll have to get some pictures for sure.

Not much else is going on.  All of the snow has melted, but the weather reporter said not to get to excited for spring as snow and cold weather is still on its way.  But it really seems unusual to have such fluctuating weather. 

I switched up the front grill on my truck for something to do.  The instructions promised this was the easiest of easy things to do, so I choose this task.  Sure enough and true to form I could not get the old grill off the truck despite only having to unscrew two screws and remove two tabs.  By and by I got it....  I think it is a bit of a cha-chi move to post pictures about and to write about, but I do think the new one looks kind of cooler and better.

Halfway There:
 And Finished:

I don't know, maybe it looks kind of stupid still?  I've read that the original grill, the top picture, looks like someone wearing braces.  The funny thing, I think, about it is I order it from a knock-off vender in Asia.  The grill is as unauthentic as a Chibson Guitar.  It isn't Toyota OEM, especially at its price.  It was quite inexpensive.  But it fit!  It works.  I can't help but think "TOYOTA" isn't spelled correctly or something.  But all the holes lined up and it snapped into place.  This was supposed to be a spring project, but since the weather is so nice, I decided to get it done while the sun was shining.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Goderich's Winterfest Weekend

This winter weekend extravaganza has been happening for a number of years.  There is a candle paper-lantern moonlight walk on the Friday night in the town's bush behind the fire department.  Then on Saturday there are a few activities such as a chili cook off, many kids activities on the square, fireworks at night, and a dance at the arena.  It isn't city-esque excitement, but rather small town stimulus that gives families and people something to do.  It is just right, for the situation I suppose.

So Molly and I did the walk on Friday night.  They had a few fires lit and hot dogs were roasting, so it had that going for it.  Plus there was a cookies and hot chocolate station that goes over so well too.  The lanterns were okay.  The walk was okay too.  It is something to do, and I know the organizers put a lot into it, and think of it as very important, so for us to go and show a bit of support is fine.  I think having more would be better; more fires, more cookies, more lanterns, and such.  But it was fine.  It is a social event and we not only run into people we see all the time, but we also cross paths with those who we don't see too often.  Like going to the farmer's market perhaps.

On Saturday Molly, Wally, and I bundled up and went to the downtown Square area to take part in the activities.  There was a neat ice slide for the kids, there was a mini hockey area, there were thousands of ice blocks so kids could build and stack, and there was an ice painting wall.  Again there was a free hot dog station and hot chocolate was aplenty.  They had a DJ, and a juggler was going to perform later that afternoon, but we didn't stick it out to see that act.  The kids had fun and took a few rides on the slide.  Lots of people were there and it is also a very social thing to attend.

We had planned that the kids were going to have a sleep over at my dad's.  So Shelly and I went out to for dinner.  After that we went over to a friend's house as it was going to be a big night of arena dancing and drinking!  Yes, over to Sherry's for an hour or two were the party was so happening that it was a tough choice whether to stay or go.  Well, maybe it wasn't a tough choice, we were always planning on going to the dance.  My point is there was enough fun and music and drink and conversation there that if the arena wasn't going to happen, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal.  However, a number of us ambled over to the festivities and I had a great time.  I know everyone else did as well. 

There isn't really too much else going on.  It has snowed quite a lot lately and it seems that more snow is on its way.  Shelly has made as much of this as she can with getting out cross country skiing most weekends.  She is also busy enough playing in her bands.  I haven't been too busy with much.  Not too much running.  Not too much hockey.  Just minding the house I suppose and keeping out of trouble.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Change in Weather

So as to not make everything about kids on here, the weather is the next easiest topic to write about.  On January 8th we had quite the wicked snowfall and wind.  Enough that school was cancelled and it turned out to be a miserable day with cars in the ditches, a huge pile of snow to get off the driveway, and temperatures that were well into the mid teens below zero.  Fast forward to Wednesday and Thursday, the weather has done a complete 180.  The temperatures are in the teens, and it is raining.   I don't ever remember the fluctuations like these.  I know in Calgary they get such swings due to certain winds, but here it is unusual.

Shelly and I were on the road this past weekend and had a great late afternoon and evening with my good buddy Drew and his wife.  There were lots of laughs and lies!  Of course there was great food and drink.  I see Drew often, but we hadn't had a evening with spouses in 7 or 8 years.  It was a shame a few other people couldn't attend, but the weather wasn't great and staying at home rather then driving 100km was the wise thing.  I suppose that doesn't make me wise.  No surprise.

So onto the kids.

Wally had a third birthday the other day and it was a party!  Shelly, Molly, Wally and I had an incredible hot dog and french fry dinner.  No one else made it over, nor did we invite anyone.  So it was just the four of us.  Wally opened the most stunning gifts of a pair of pants, underwear, and bubble bath soap.  The pants got puked on the next day at day care.  Wally is still in diapers, thus the underwear for now is a bust.  Finally the bubble bath soap does not live up to its intended use - to provide bubbles in a bath.  But at three years old, Wally, I am afraid, neither cares or knows the difference of any of these events.

The real highlight was the cake created.  That we all got something out of, and importantly I know Wally did too.  Shelly created a scene, well you can see the pictures, but a scene where a number of diggers arranged Smarties into the shape of a number 3.  It turned out and tasted great.  It took a few tries, but three candles were successfully blown out, and Cotton Candy ice cream was consumed too.

In the near future we will have to invite a few of Wally's friends over on an afternoon for a few hours to have a play and eat some treats.  NO TOYS OR GIFTS!  He has plenty and will not care nor realize that gift giving goes hand in hand with birthdays.  He'll learn that lesson another year.

But the best part of it all was being together, the four of us, as a family. Having a few laughs is always part of our dinner routine, as well as telling stories about the day.  We do very well to consistently eat a home cooked dinner, generally always better then tube steaks, together each night.  But on a birthday or an anniversary it feels different and has more meaning.  It seems to be more symbolical in a way that is not easy to put in words. 

Maybe the words I'd choose is that these yearly events, these milestones, are important to pass. It is not just that they arrive, but they get passed-over and people are together.  One gets that YES feeling (fist starts at forehead, elbow bent, down ward motion with arm and nod head slightly down).  We got through another one.  Keep them coming. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bar Up

We invited people over on New Years Eve, and when it all go settled about 12 people showed up for a flamboyant-less evening.  The big event is raising the bar.  For 360 days a year it stays hidden from view.  It is tucked away in the basement waiting for some special event or occasion to be summoned to use.  I somehow managed a water hose repair as one of them was had a 3cm split up its side.  But that will happen.
The whole ensemble is quite the engineering feet.  Perhaps it has been mentioned.  But tucked away under the living room is a 2x4 foot bar.  It is plumbed with water and has a sink.  It has an electrical outlet and working lights.  It has a mini refrigerator as well.  It is rigged up on an old 1980s Craftsman garage door opener.  It is counter weighted and balanced with an old steel railroad track, bricks, and different pulleys to make it all just so.  Neighbours told us back in the day people would drive past the house and purposely click their garage door openers so that the bar would raise to the surprise of Ken and Dorthy.  I think there is a bit of exaggeration in that story, but I'll go with it for flare.

So there it is and it is a fun party attraction.

So we've just been hanging  a lot around the house and haven't really gone and done too much outside and in the community.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bouncing Around

From being over at friend's houses, to being with family, and also just having the four of us together, we have been pretty busy since the 22nd of December.  There has always been an occasion to go out on an adventure and bring the camera along with us.

It started with a cool nature walk out to a cabin near Bayfield at the Butler's.  Then it was over to the Coups' for Christmas Eve, we went to Holyrood on Christmas Day, on Boxing Day we spent the day with my dad and Wendy, then I met up with Joel and Trista and we all went to Bayfield, and then off to the community ice rink for a bit of a skate.  It has been quite cold and there has been lots of snow to make this time of year seem apropos.

Christmas morning was kind of exciting.  Molly was really appreciative of the things she got.  She didn't really need anything, but there were wants and she got a good number of her trinkets, Shopkins, Hatchimals, a Barbie, and stuff like that.  The needs were some new clothes and she got the basics which will come in handy. 

Wally didn't really say too much of what he wanted, but we knew he'd like a table top train set with the wooden tracks and supplemental Thomas engines and such.  So that was his big thing, along with a sundry of diggers, a punching bag, a bouncy ball that he sits on, and cars.  He, like Molly, has more then enough!  And it is his birthday on January 9th which just adds to the bounty of loot already possessed.