Monday, August 26, 2013

Blue Rodeo

I'll put up the posting now, but with at least one picture to come later....  Basically Shelly and I went up to Lucknow last Friday and saw Blue Rodeo.  They were awesome!  The show was a big hit...  The venue was great.  They played most of the hits like What Am I Doing here, Lost Together, Bad Timing, 5 Days In May, and the like...  So a great time. 

But before it was a great show, before they went on stage, Shelly and I were backstage for a meet and greet/photograph with Keelor, Cuddy, and the rest of the lads.  All in all it was mostly anti-climatic because a handler of the band just shuffled people in, had a picture, and then hustled them out of the way.  (The photo will be posted when we get it....)  There were only about 30 people or so who had that opportunity.  Seeing that there was 5,000 people at the show, the fact that we had that opportunity was what was neat about it.  Other than that it wasn't a big deal or anything.  I would have really like to talk with the keyboardist after the show - Michael Boguski (I think I have that correct.)  I was extremely impressed with his compliment to the show that night.  He stood out to me.  I would have told him how much I enjoyed listening to his contributions towards the show.

Before the show Shelly and I stopped out at Joel's parents place for a few cold ones and a look-see around.  Sally has the grounds in spectacular condition.  We always seem to get into quite the adventure out there, but this time, it was a bit tame.  No big deal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Molly and I took a quick trip to Windsor a few days ago.  As soon as I finished my 10km portion of the Goderich Triathlon, we got in the truck and headed for familiar territory of yester-year.  It was off to LaSalle, actually, the infamous Andy Hahn, and his lovely and expanding family, would be awaiting our arrival.

Windsor was hot.  The temperature was well in the high 20s.  The summer swelter was happening.  That didn't stop us however.  On Day 1 these 5 monkeys loaded up the bikes, the gym bags full of diapers and snacks and water, and we headed on quite the adventure.  Our final destination was a few hundred metres from the Casino were there is quite the playground facility.  We would join the many like minded mothers and fathers who had kids, and daylight to burn, and occupy our kids attention with swings, slides, monkey bars, tag, and climbing.  It is mostly salvation - these playground equipment facilities.
Later on in the day Molly and I drove over to our former neighbour Brad's house on Parent.  It was a year ago that Brad moved to Windsor, and he has been immeasurably missed ever since.  But Brad has landed on his feet and is in a very good place all in all.  I can't speak for Molly, but I was incredibly happy to see him and his fine additions to his house.

On Tuesday our quintet, turned into a sextet.  Katie joined us for another bicycle tour into Malden Park for another outing.

The weather continued to be fantastic, and the added company was certainly welcome.  Malden Park has changed quite a bit since the mid 90s.   I have a 3rd place  OUAA XC finish around its perimetre from 1997, I think, and you wouldn't think it is the same place.  But it is, and I was glad to check it out for nostalgic purposes. 
Well Windsor is just such a great, great place to get to.  The city and its trails are very user friendly.... The weather is generally very nice....  There are lots of great people who live there - Shelly also went to school in Windsor.  Hopefully we'll be back for the University's 50 year anniversary festivities in September.


August started - I attended the ETFO Annual General Meeting in Toronto just after the Civic holiday weekend.  I had never been in such a formal, parliamentary meeting system.  It was quite an eye opener.  There were lots of points of orders, points of privileges, amendments (some friendly), passing, movers, seconders, and the like.  Robert's Rules of Order were in full swing.  Avon Maitland generates 6 delegates, and there were just under 600 delegates in all.  So, obviously, a small, tiny portion.  However, we got our vote just as everyone else did.  Democracy was in full swing.
For most of the attendees it is like a huge reunion and homecoming - other than the decisions to be made and whatnot.  It somewhat seems like it is the same group of people, and the same familiar faces who speak and are heard.  I just sort of took it all in and sussed out what was happening.  Also, you have to pay attention because things can move rather quickly.....  Many issues get dragged out.
Security is humourously tight at this event...  No spies allowed.  Credentials must always be in plain sight.

Each night there was lots, and I mean lots of revelry.  Stands to figure since these are a big homecoming affair.  I recognized a slight few people, but those who I was with recognized many people from across the province because of this connection to labour and ETFO's federation.
I would go back again if I was chosen.  It was quite busy.  There was very little down time.  I did manage to get out for some out and back runs and a decent walk on Wednesday.  I got a chance to spend some time with colleagues that I know, but not that well.  It was nice to get to know them a bit better and find out that we had some common interests other than work and being at an A.G.M.
Who knows - maybe in 20 years I'll be the president of ETFO in Ontario!  Unlikely....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Part 2

The Mackinaw adventure sort of fizzled out with rain and poorer weather...  There was a splash pad in the hotel which occupied Molly's attention satisfactorily, and Shelly got busy walking about the stores and shops.  But it was time to continue on.  We would definitely consider another return trip to the area.

On Sunday afternoon we drove north.  Ontario was only 90 km away.  And our destination past the border crossing was only another 275 km.  So being packed up, there was no time like the present to hit the road again.  Across the Mackinaw Bridge, and again finishing off I-75's tarmac north, we were no time getting to the Soo.

The day's ultimate destination was 52 km north of Massey, ON.  Whiskey Lake is the official title of the camp were we were going to spend the next 5 days.  I have been there twice before = it is a fine place.

Each day was a bit different, but really this part was totally relaxing and we just spent the days laz'n around, being at the water, playing in the sand, a few boat rides, some fires at night, and things of that nature.  Off and on the weather wasn't super terrific, but it didn't confine us to our cabin continually either.  The water was pretty warm and we all went swimming, and there was a few fishing opportunities scattered through the week too.  I went wild raspberry picking, which hardly seems sexy, but it was a good outing knowing that the berries were scoffed down and enjoyed by Molly and Shelly.

Shelly went out fishing to a bit of a secluded lake.  On the way there the party saw a black bear high-tail it across the road just a few metres in front of them on its hind two legs.  I found that to be odd....  Rather then running on all 4s.  However I was assured that it was a black bear.  They caught a few fish and had a good time.

Another good highlight was taking a boat ride to an area of the lake nicknamed "The Falls".  Why?  Obviously there is a pretty good waterfall area that is fun to swim in and hang out at.

Overall we really didn't do a good job at taking pictures and capturing the moments.  

The mosquitoes and flying bugs were rather bad up there.  It seemed like Molly took the worst of it.  Her face looked like she had just gotten over the chicken pox.  But we all had a number of itchier areas that got our attention.

But by Thursday/Thursday night we were really looking forward to getting back home.  We left on Friday morning and headed to Lake Huron's finest ferry, "The Chi-cheemon".  We arrived plenty early for our 1:30 sailing, poked around South Baymouth, had a bite to eat, and were just waiting for the last leg of the journey to begin.  The boat was pretty full.  It holds 150 cars and 600 passengers.  Since it was a holiday weekend, I can tell you that it was pretty much full to capacity.  There is a kids area on the boat.  But much like most of the trip, Molly was quite clingy, and content to squirm around mom and dad's legs, rather than mingle and socialize, or just enjoy her own time in the child friendly area.

Boat hit Tobermory by 3:30.  In Goderich by 6:30 with lots of rain.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Field Trip

Maybe the most wildest drmexploits would be one in which the whole fam-damily would be involved in.  So a few months ago I proposed that we head to Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island for a get-away from the every-day.  First destination would be to northern Michigan (lower Peninsula northern) for 3 or 4 days to check-it-out.

I had driven through/by Mackinaw City about 3 or 4 times in the past 5 years.  It really does seem like a neat place - and the Island, I have understood, is significantly better.  Last year I stopped off my bike for 2 hours here and had a great time....  So I was sure it would be even better with Shelly and Molly in tow.

It is basically a 600km drive from Goderich - We hit halfway, Sagniaw, without any issues.   We got out of the car, had a bite to eat, walked around Birch Run, and felt confident that the remaining kilometreage wouldn’t be a problem.  And it really wasn’t.

We basically got checked into our accommodations and made the short 1km walk downtown.  It was a beautiful July night.  The weather was terrific.  There are all kinds of general store type stores, lots of fluorescent neon t-shirt stores, cheap trinket stores, and proprietors like that.  All the restaurants are home-grown, the bakeries aren’t Tim Horton’s nor Starbuck’s, and despite of the vast amount of corporate hotels, this city is very pure and untouched by the larger business brand.

We were treated by community karaoke in the downtown area whilst having a cold refreshing pint of on Thursday night.  It was marvelous.  With the combination of that feeling you get on a vacation, drinking a delicious pint, hearing decent music, and being with the family - it was a great way to finish the first day on the road.  

Off and over to the island.

Mackinac Island is amazing - The hustle and bustle of people was awesome to see.  I easily imagined turn of the 20th century type sensations.  Arrived by ferry. (18 minutes by a high speed water jet propelled craft.)  First thing I saw was a team of horses getting round bales of hay at the docks.  People arriving with only items in a suitcase or that which they could carry.  Horses, carriages, people walking, bikes, porters taking luggage and directing people where to cue, or go to....  No traffic lights.  Modern clothing and conveyances like cellular phones and hip-ish restaurants makes it all so 2013however.

The big/significant thing about this 9 square mile piece of land is the lack of motorized vehicles.  We saw hundreds, and hundreds of horses - pulling the linen supplies, pulling the items for the wedding, pulling people, collecting garbage, as taxis - horse power here is literal.  And these horses seem absolutely bomb proof....  They don’t seem to spook, or kick or bite of have any bad vices that one would expect from your typical farm.  It is hard to be impressed by horses, but in a way I was pretty impressed about how it all seemed like clockwork.

But I can’t tell you how immediately impressed I was - and Shelly of course.  We were in the right spot.  We had our bikes and a gym bag and we were ready to go.  We got a map of the island - Brian Prout rule = first thing, always get a city map when traveling.  We found out that the perimetre loop was 8 miles about - and set off with hundreds, if not thousands of other men, women, and children of all ages to complete a circuit. 

Every mile, if not a bit more often, there is a placard or system of interest to stop at, read about, take a picture of, and so on....  We certainly didn’t rush, but completed the circumnavigation in about 2 hours.  It was not difficult whatsoever.  Even going super slow and stopping to see the interesting sights, you wouldn’t need more than 3 and a half or 4 hours.

Another highlight was going to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  We didn’t get off the bikes and go for tea or have a game of cricket there, but we cycled past and admired it, and the views it gives.  It is something else.  It really looks like a fantastic place to stay.  Near here, was a museum of horse drawn carriages and the equipment horses where doing their horse things.  It was also a working barn for the hotel.  I guess they have four Hackney bred horses to be used for really special occasions - They obviously carry themselves (trot/pace/walk) with a bit more pomp and prestige.  I saw a few horses that might of looked a bit extra special I suppose in this location, but I didn’t quite get the specifics on them and them and their PR’s and what college they went too, if they had made a national team before - All that important athletic stuff. 

I just wanted to write a few things down about having my sister and her family come and visit for the better part of three weeks in July = It was nice to see all of them and notice the changes in growth and disposition that has happened since X-Mas???  or from last year....  I think it was last year.

At any rate - there was lots of picture taking and noteworthy moments.  I didn't quite get that shot which sums up the trip, but when you piece them all together, from all of the different cameras, it would show time at the beach, a few bbqs, a beer tent evening, a night out for dinner at The Crapdelight (Candlelight = the food, and atmosphere was awful - zero stars, company was fine), some more family dinners, a bit of a music/jam session, a walk or two around the square, and stuff like that.
Shelly, Molly and I have to get down to Atlanta for a visit...  It is a city that I have a good connection with on a few different personal levels.  Heck, I worked and lived there from 1999 - 2002, I still have a few friends in the city, plus, and finally, Marsha and her family are there and have extended an invitation for a visit.