Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last Post of 2012

Even though there are a few days left in 2012, I doubt I will put fingers to keyboard again.  So let this be the last posting of the year...  Thanks to everyone who came by the blog to check out a post or two.  Hopefully 2013 brings more pictures and stories.

Christmas was the news of the week around here, and for pretty much everyone else I suppose.  We all made it through the holidays with the usually bits of silliness, gift giving, visiting, unwrapping, eating, blah, blah, blah.  All in all, we are still alive and well. 

We started off on Christmas Eve on a bit of a house crawl.  Dinner with Don and Janet, night cap drink with John and Rhonda, a walk around the square, and home by nine or so.  Santa had not yet delivered the goods...

On Christmas morning we had a later start.  We weren't really out of bed and shaking until about nine.  We had a big scoff to eat, and just sort of puttered around.  Molly opened/tried to open a few gifts, but was not into whatsoever.  No big deal.  We never really got her anything anyway!  I went out for a run...  And it wasn't so much different then any other Tuesday. 

We never really got into a posing mode this Christmas with fancy clothes on and that ideal back-drop to shoot a likeness.  All of our pictures were a bit out of focus, eyes closed, missing people, and missing important moments. 
Shelly and her mom were quite upset though this Christmas.  Shelly's horse Lucky was "put-down".  (Not urban "put-down", rather rural "put-down".)  It was unfortunate, but necessary because of its deteriorating condition.  I went out to the barn on Christmas Eve day to give it a hoof clipping - my gift to it I suppose....  and it was laying down, not able to get up - It looked like it had a broken leg even.  At any rate, its fate was in this poor condition.  So ya...  Shelly won Lucky when she was in elementary school at a fair.  It had outlived hundreds of cows, barn cats, mice, raccoons, the rooster, and so on @ the Johnston ranch... To Lucky!
You wouldn't believe it....  But Ralph the dog was in deplorable condition too - Seemingly worse than Lucky.  Now Ralph is Shelly's mom's pride!  Gladys loves her dog more than many-of-person.  But Ralph, well Ralph was not walking, not eating, had lumps, etcetera, etcetera....  So, shall I continue? 
Ralph was also "put-down" (rural definition)....  One after the other.  It was the right thing to do.   I'll tell you, Shelly and her mom were quite upset at the loss of both of the animals - and on Christmas morning of all days.  But after a day or two, and thinking about the quality of life the animals had, it was a choice that was necessary.  On a farm you have two kinds of animals; dead and alive ones.
I have never seen the Johnston's house cat walk on such a straight path!  It knows you better be well, or else....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So last Monday was a new first for me.  It was my first ever strike as an employee.  I had walked a few picket lines before, most recently this summer in support of my brothers and sisters at SIFTO salt mine in Goderich, but this one was the real deal....  Well, it was real, but only one day long, so it was nothing compared to what tens of millions of workers around North America, and the globe, have had to go through.  At any rate, I did my part, and it was extremely anti-climatic, as not much of note happened whilst holding the line.  A few honks, some jeers, one middle finger....  I was stationed at an MPP office, and the faceless politico didn't even have the nerve to go to the office that day.  The strike shift was 3 hours long, I probably walked 4.5 miles, it was really wet and cold out, but we did our part and our message was sent.  To democracy!

Sister Leanne and someone else who I can't quite remember her name:
My buddies and I got horrendously skunked during the December deer hunt.  I did not even see a deer, let along any animal with four legs!  Honestly - not a squirrel, coon, coyote, etc...  I saw a few dogs and some domesticated cows and horses, but nothing, nothing, nothing.  With this, I am somewhat baffled because we are in spots that seem like a coastal-villa for deer with lots to eat, lots of cover, marshy, not beside a house or school, but then again they are so sneaky and can walk around you without you having any idea.  Besides, I don't know too much about deer hunting in general - I've only been out for 6 or 7 years.  I can clearly remember the first year though.  My buddy shot one within the first 20 minutes we were out - I took cracks at one or two each night thereafter for the week - missing of course.  But we saw tonnes of them.  And since then, it has just trickled down slowly but surely.  I don't know....  Oh well.  I still have a tag though for my bow and arrow.  It is good until Dec. 31.  So over the holidays I am going to be out and hopefully my fortunes will be better with that implement.
Molly is doing super terrific.  She is all but walking - Doing everything there is to do, but she has yet to take those fretful solo steps unabided.  No big deal.  Perhaps by New Years she'll have gotten it down.  But she is really doing swell - Enjoying all there is to enjoy at day care and all of those other 14 month old activities.
So the ho-ho-holidays are soon upon us all.  We don't really have any major plans.  The weather has been so mild around here.  It was 7 above zero with no wind, and no snow in the forcast.  Everything is green and muddy.  Maybe we will all get to Toronto or something for a bit of a vacation.  School starts back up on the seventh of January.  Lots of time for something, but not too sure what yet.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Some Very Good Looking People

The infamous Mark Kiteley got married a few weeks ago. It was at a semi-swanky Richmond Street bar in Toronto, so that meant I had to get gussied up, shaved, and find a date...  Funny enough, the bar was called the Richmond - I guess there is no doubt then about where it is for people to find it. Shelly couldn't go, so I searched through my little black book, stopped at the "Bs", and phoned up the great Steve Beasley and he was all-in for a night out in Toronto. 

The event brought in a lot of fine fellers (and one great gal).  We had Andy Hahn, Alexander MacLeod, Chris Bakal, Beaser, myself, Rich Tremain, and his gal Teressa.  Wow!  What a group.  Andy's gal, Alex's, & mine's couldn't go - so it was quite the rooster show.  Rhys was there with his boy Goose, so ya, lots of dudes on Richmond, as compared to on Church Street that night.  Good times had by all.  Someone thought it was a good idea to hit up the Crazy Horse Saloon for a 2:00 am drink - I don't know why.  It seemed like we all had our fill, but such is the way judgements are made at times.

And here we go:  Richy and Alex.

Beaser + Teressa
Bakal + Hahner
Being that it is Toronto and all, there is always a few weirdos and vagabonds kicking about.  These three showed up; John, Ethan, & Emma Coups.  And of course the next picture, well, they don't really need much of an introduction.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Year

Molly's first birthday came and went last Saturday.  It was an unusual day of sorts as Shelly was busy with a long list of prearranged engagements & I was in Toronto at my buddies wedding.  Molly spent the day with my mom.  But Shelly made it out for a quick bite to eat, and there was even a bit of a birthday party going on.  So good on you Molly!  One year old.  Maybe next year I will get to your second birthday.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I was just on Kijiji and posted my rim + tire crusher for sale....  Without any hard feelings too.  It sort of reminded me of posting on here actually - So here I am, and the shameful link to the add is, of course,  I have always had good luck buying and selling stuff on Kijiji - let's hope that continues. 

I can't say we've just been hanging around.  It has been quite busy.  Shelly is well into her run of Rocky Horror Picture Show, playing at the Livery Theatre in Goderich, Molly is into her run of daycare, at the Goderich Daycare, and me, I am doing a bit of running...

I haven't seen Rocky Horror yet, but I was at the theatre in Stratford the other week with the school to see You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  For the occasion, I thought it would be nice to dress up a bit.  I never wear a tie to school, but I thought for this event, it would be fine.

But everyone is doing fine - Molly's first birthday is next week - She is doing pretty good these days.  She seems to like the daycare and the people, food, toys, and such involved with that.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Molly and I were out for a walk the other morning.  My buddy Jeff had just got home from Hullet Marsh, which is one of the best duck hunting spots in southwestern Ontario.

As usual, Jeff did not disappoint, and his brother and him limited out quite quickly in the morning on wood ducks.  Jeff unfortunately, does not quite have the same luck or skill turkey hunting.  Nevertheless Jeff's two kids were elbow deep into the pluck'n and clean'n, so Molly and I joined in as well.  The lighting isn't great in these pictures, but you'll get the idea.

I have my migratory bird stamp, but haven't been out yet - The birds are still plenty save around here.  (And will be still when I am out anyway...)

Monday, October 8, 2012

This happens every 3 months or so...  Not posting, yet there has been enough fun and exciting stuff happening to make mention of.  Oh well.  I am on now and I can post some pictures and stories from this long Thanksgiving weekend.

One of the first orders of business over the last bit was to have a substantial fire to rid ourselves/property of the scrub choke cherries, poplar, and other bits of worthless greenery.  It was actually raining when this got going, but not nearly enough to make any difference of the inevitable outcome.  The pile was really big - much bigger then the picture shows I would say.  We thank the invention of machinery to organize this mess as it was, because there would be nooooo way this stuff could have been hand-bombed.  And yes, there is another pile awaiting this same fate.....  But what a world of difference fire makes for cleaning up a place such as this.  So the farm is looking good.  More fires - and trails with the bulldozer which is on the agenda next.

The next few pictures were taken today - Monday.  Shelly, Molly, and I were at a birthday party and my mom, her husband John, as well as John's mother Doris was there.  So in a round'about way we got everyone in a picture, but that Shelly.  No matter.  The birthday party was a big success with children absolutely everywhere the eye could see.  The scary part is that the next one-year old birthday will be Molly's - in only 4 Saturdays from now!  Good golly.

Shelly and I got out on our own for two hours this weekend when Molly was sleeping.  First we went to the Mennonite produce auction just down the road from her parent's place.  It is the best place to buy produce in bulk, and by bulk, it really is restaurant bulk.  Seeing that we had no need for 50lbs or potatoes, onions, carrots, or the like, we moved on to other adventures.  It was over to the "airport", which is the piece of property we go hunting, fishing, dirt biking at....  It was just great to walk around like it was 2010, and chekc out the hunting blinds that will be in use over the next few months.  They look ready to go.
In a few weeks I hope to be looking down on a deer, rather than my dear.

So I am missing out on a lot of fun activities.  I have been on my motorbike quite a bit lately rip'n around....  Shelly and I were in Toronto last weekend.  We dropped Molly off at the Tremain's in Guelph and she was well taken care of, while we were bar'n it up on Duncan Street and having an all around great time....  My work is going great....  Shelly starts back around Halloween - Shelly is also in the production of Rocky Horror Picture Show in Goderich during the end of the month and she is quite excited to get that going for real.  There has been lots of practicing, as you can imagine, but showtime will be soon enough.  She has an impressive ensemble to wear - it puts the bikini to shame!  So check back in and hopefully she'll pose with it on....  Until then,


Thursday, September 20, 2012

I was just scrolling through another camera and came across some pictures from this past July...  Nothing too epic or anything, but funny nonetheless.
This is pretty clear - Trevor and his two, as well as Connie, Molly and I.  It'll probably be some time until we strike this pose again....

And I also came across this picture of my grandma Donna.  She is in her eighties - that is all I should write as I don't want to offend her, nor do I have her permission to indicate her actual age.  So to say she is in the 80s is probably fine.  Donna is a big fan of all her grand, and great grand children, as well as her 4 children too of course.  She lives on the other side of town from us and is in excellent form and health.
And as for other news - nothing.   Nothing really too much to mention.  Everyone is doing just fine around here.  Molly is motoring from one end of the house to the other crawling on her stomach - She is right-into everything that is within a reach or arm's length.  She experiments and enjoys all kinds of food - including the cat's if we don't put it away.  It is funny how the cat doesn't seem to like his kibbles, but Molly eats it eagerly.  Who would have guessed?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Somewhere I have a picture of me on the first day of school over the past 12 years or so.  They are all different, of course, somehow.  You know, they were once taken with 35mm film, lately they have been digital, some of them were taken in Atlanta, most now are back in Huron County, sometimes I had really long hair, and some of them with shorter hair.  Many different fashion styles and many different themes - but it all boils down to basically the same thing - Back To School....  Back To Work.

And here is another first - Molly posing with me on the first day.

I won't get too political, but it is completely wrong that back to school has started off on a bit of a sour note for tens of thousands of teachers throughout Ontario....  Disappointing in the fact that legislated contracts are being imposed by the Liberal gov't, in coalition with the PCs, on school boards and unions.  So much for negotiations I guess....  So much for the rights' of workers.....

Anyhow - My beloved Lancer's (Cross Country) were in Goderich this past weekend.  It has been 10 years since they first started coming to town for their pre-season training camp.  I was all set to get some great pictures and some cool video of this 37 year-old leading the pack, sailing through the workout - but that is not the case whatsoever.  My running skill and form has gone to hell, big-time, lately!  I have really seemed to make a (straight down) vertical drop in talent, rather then a gradual, bell-like curve decrease as would be expected.  So no, no pictures or video - but I had a great time as always with these fine young group of men and women...

I'll briefly describe my running problem as it relates to interval training and workouts:
I always remember being tired and gassed during the tail-end of a hard workout.  But, you know, I have always been able to grind it out and finish what was started....  So it has only been recently, like the last 6 months that the running has nose dove tremendously, and granted I don't have a super terrific base of fitness, but I have been running enough and it is adequate I feel.  As a result I have scaled back my expected pace and goal times in an interval, and the overall volume (mileage) I expect to run.  The long and short of it is I am barely able to run 3:25 km in an interval, nor am I able to grind it out or suck it up to keep going over 2 miles.....  It is a bit vexatious for me, honestly; as it is a great feeling - to be fit and fast and on-your-toes and all of that....  And now I am not.  I just hurt, you know, and am so physically taxed....

Anyway the girls are all great and all of that.  No problems with them as the pictures indicate.  Molly has been changing and switching into bigger clothes weekly it seems...  Just growing so quickly....  We've had her in this swinging pink vest that Adam and his wife Sunny gave her.

Monday, September 3, 2012

At The Beach

It unfortunately seems like the end of summer.  Labour Day weekend has come and gone, and it is back to school on Tuesday.  But the weather is still terrific in town, and the water still very warm.  So the 3 of us headed to the beach for an hour to wave goodbye to another great summer, and have a send-off to another school year.

It didn't take all summer, but Molly has really liked going in the water and splashing around.  It has been a gradual improvement from July.  The water really is warm.  We always seem to run into people we know too.  Can't complain too much when all of this is less then a kilometre from the door.

And how about Shelly's bikini!  I bought that for her on Friday.  She has been home sick with a bit of the flu it seems and unable to get out and enjoy the last few days.  Molly and I went to Grand Bend for a drive and I was supposed to buy myself some back-to-school clothes.  But I had Molly and I wasn't really in the mood to be trying stuff on and going into stores with her being a bit of a joker....  As I was walking to the car the last store on the strip had all kinds of licensed Sons Of Anarchy swag.  I have been holding out for a white Sons of Anarchy T-Shirt that Jax wears often on the show....  Didn't see one.  No matter.  They had however bikinis with the Sons Of Anarchy logos and such on them.

A few months ago in Toronto I bought Shelly a Sons Of Anarchy T-Shirt that is pretty cool.  It is black and has the text, "What Would Gemma Do?" on it.....  This bikini would compliment her wardrobe quite well I thought....

It was sort of funny, me being in this store with Molly buying Shelly a bikini....  The salesperson wasn't all that helpful, but I sort of described Shelly's disposition (physically) and was getting to what size should I get for her....  I thought it would be beneficial to ask the person working what size of bikini she would wear, and size up Shelly's accordingly from her measurements.  To make a long story short - I settled on a bikini, and the size, fit, colour, and everything else about it was perfect.  Unreal.  I bet that doesn't happen too often; fellers buying bikinis for their missuses and they like them and such.  I am a lucky guy I suppose.

Long Weekend

The Labour Day parade up on the square in Goderich was a big success I thought.  There were about 10 minutes worth of speeches by David Yates, Jeff Denys, and Jim Vance.  Then there were about 50 people who pulled a lap of the square representing about 10 different unions.  We collected about 3 bags of food for the food bank in town....  So all in all it was good.  Unfortunately I did not get any pictures.

Shelly had Molly dressed up in an outfit that had been Alden's - Marsha's daughter.  We got a few pictures, but there is a problem.  We have a combination of not having much skill setting up a picture, and a camera that had been around the block and isn't that great.  However - we/I shouldn't blame the equipment as much as the operator of it.  No matter.
And two years ago exactly I crossed paths with an old friend of my parents from Goderich via London via Lucknow - Her name is Janet Bargh.  It was Janet's son Gord who hosted me in Happy Valley Goose Bay on my big trip.  Anyway, the Johnston's hosted an all years Lucknow District High School Reunion at their place.  I helped bbq up some hamburgers for everyone, and Janet, who went to LDHS, was at the reunion again.  I thought Janet and I had posed together back in 2010, but I can't find the picture.  Nevertheless Molly joined us and I know I will see Janet in another two years, but maybe our paths will cross before then. 
And from two years ago - Janet's son Gord & I up in Labrador.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Go Down Swing'n

Sorry teachers, but Bill C-115 is going to pass and it doesn't look too terribly great for the labour movement and workers in all public fields...  However, thousands of teachers, children support workers, and members of various labour unions met Tuesday at Queen's Park to voice our displeasure with what the Liberal gov't and Conservatives are up to - So if you are going to go down, you might as well go with a fight.  We did.  We are.  I hope it makes a difference in the long run.
So anyway - on the same subject, kind of - labour, the Huron District Labour Council is hosting its 12th annual Labour Day Parade this Saturday at 1:30.  It starts at South Street on the Square and we are just going to parade twice around the square.  It is simply a parade to recognize all workers, from all sectors, and the hard work and collective strength they represent.  No politics at this event.  No protesting or debating.  I mean we all work.  We all contribute.  So it is a day to celebrate that.  I have a poster for the event, but it is just in .pdf file and I don't know how to get it in here...  No big deal.  1:30 on Saturday.  Hope to see many of you....

These next few pictures were taken by Sally Wright a month ago.  I can't remember where Shelly was, perhaps at a softball tournament, but Molly and I were bouncing around and in our travels we made our way out to Dungannon, which isn't too uncommon anyway.

And in other good news, Shelly indicated that she got the hints in the last post about those X-Mas gifts which would be really nice.  Shelly would want something from this store I was in in Mackinaw City: