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

video
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.
video

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. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hatfield McCoy Trail System




Tucked away in the southwestern corner of West Virginia is an extensive motor cross, 4 wheel, and side x side, trail system of over 500 miles.  It is divided in 7 parts that are fully labelled and mapped.  Each section has varied terrain, but I will tell you that the easiest labelled trails are still quite challenging and not for the faint-of-heart.

http://www.trailsheaven.com/

6 adults, 1 infant, 2 pick up trucks, one 6x12 trailer, 4 dirt bikes, 1 four wheeler and a stroller were tightly packed to make the 950km, each way, commute.  We left on a Friday and returned the following Thursday.  We were routed down I-75 to Dayton, OH, then took #35, #119, and finally #10 into our destination of Man, WV.  Traveling there was half the fun, not the battle, as there was constant laughter, music, trivia, teasing and joking to fill the time along the road.

We stayed at a converted train station called The Depot.  It specifically caters to travelers such as ourselves.  It is located about 1 mile from the main trail head of The Rockhouse trail system - one of the 7.  Alone, it has well over 90 miles of trails that are not only quite rocky, as the name suggests, but hilly, twisty, and muddy. 

On a big ride we'd get 40km in 3 hours.  First there would be periodic stops every 8km or so just to make sure we hadn't lost anyone, and to rest, but secondly the trails don't allow for top speeds.  There are few, if any, "straight-away" sections.  Steep inclines of 50 degrees or so had to be climbed, the steep declines ascended, and all the while doing your best to avoid rocks as big as one's head, mud, holes, and loose gravel.  I wiped out significantly enough twice - over the handle bars and a few rolls, on descents and going very slowly.  Both times my front tire just slid out from me and before I new it I was on my back.  No injury, bruising, soreness, or the like though....  So maybe not significantly in one sense, but significantly in the sense that I was tossed from the bike good enough.  And there were a few times I just simply lost balance and dropped the bike.  Again, no injury or damage to me or the machine.  Even the most seasoned rider in our posse had an off or two.

Most days we'd ride 80km or a bit more - breaking it up with food and drink and rest and such.  We rode extensively through trails into a community called Gilbert, WV.  40 plus km by trail, yet only 15km by highway....  There we got gas, food, and just walked around the town.  It is not uncommon to see unplated vehicles driving through town and doing just as we did.  It is just the way it is down there.

It is a long way to go for such fun, and challenge.  I can rip around on a dirt bike up in Lucknow all day, or around the trails along the Bayfield river.   However the trail system is somewhat iconic, thus a belt buckle notch and something I can say, "I've done that...."  The trails are busy, and all the people were very friendly and nice.  I really thought it would be easier riding however.  I was not prepared for how difficult it actually was.  I expected the easiest of the easy stuff to be finely grated stone, flat, and similar to the ripped up rail road tracks around these parts.  But it wasn't.  I thought I did well, and of course my skill set and competence only increased as the week went on.  Trails were also labeled "blue" for more difficult, then black, and of course black diamond.....  We went on a number of blue trails as well. 

This adventure really felt like tree skiing.  It really felt like the ups and downs and the weaving of the skis through the glades.  So I thought of my brother quite a lot on the trip and how much he would enjoy this kind of activity.  He is quite capable on two wheels already, and of course skis, so what would a few extra hundred pounds and an engine add?  I thought he would have really enjoyed the trip and the experience as well. 

And of course the name is very important too - Hatfield and McCoy.  We immersed ourselves in the history and folklore of the feud between these two families.  Some of the bigger blows and events of the fight happened just about 20 miles away.  It wasn't the bloodiest or deadliest feud that gripped the United States, but it went down in history as being memorable in the way it was covered in newspapers and such.  It was memorable in some of the myths surrounding it in the way it started, and how a few killings took place....  So that was an especially neat part about the whole trip too.

Rain and Break-Downs

If there is one thing for certain, on most motorcycle trips that involve me you are going to find rain or repairs.  We found both.  It rained quite frequently in the southwest corner of West Virginia.  In fact, it rained pretty much every day like it would in the Caribbean.
video


As for the break-down.  Josh completely dumped his bike under water in a huge puddle.  He couldn't get to the kill switch on time, and alas, watered it down.  We first tipped it upside down and water just rushed out of the muffler.  Then we proceeded to take the spark plug out of it and get the water out of the top of the cylinder.  However we didn't have an extender long enough to reach the top of the plug.  We were at least 9 miles back to the hotel - dam.  So, we started towing it.  It was rough.  Just terribly rough on the terrain.  The towed it for about 4 miles until we came across some four-wheelers who were well equipped with tools, and importantly knowledge on the trick of the trade.  I guess one of them had the exact same bike a few years back and new exactly how to trouble-shoot out of our problem.

Sure enough, we got everything out, and then put back together.  The bike didn't want to start with the kicker, but on the first significant down hill we bum-started it and it took off back to life!  The last 4 miles home would be much easier.


video

Monday, August 8, 2016

Beckley, West Virginia Coal Mine Tour

We took a break in our motorcycle action for some repairs, rest, and some sight seeing of another kind.  It was 80 km east over to a bigger town/city called Beckley, WV.  It was a crazy drive with roads I could only compare to those on Tortola.  It was steep and hilly with tight turns in many spots.  Cresting into the city, we were greeted by a great deal of traffic and congestion.

So we put some new tires on one of the bikes, and changed oil and spark plugs in another....  We found this really comprehensive coal mine village that had been recreated to look like it was operational from the early 20th century.  They offered tours within the mine, and tours of houses and facilities that a mining community would have had.  They had an extensive collection of tools and equipment too.

Without saying, well, with, coal mining was a horrendous job.  The working conditions were terrible.  Pay was terrible.  Safety conditions were terrible.  Company owners used to pay the workers in credit to buy supplies at the stores, which they also owned....  The owners owned all the housing.  Workers had to supply all their own tools and whatnot.  It was just incredible that people would do that.  However, undoubtedly people did.  Little pay, lots of back breaking work.  Yikes.

The narrated tour was interesting and we got a good snap-shot at what it was like.  The museum was really neat with lots of archives and artifacts from the time period.  The region is still highly dependent on coal as evident as the numerous coal mines still in production. 



Thursday, July 28, 2016

Roger's Cup

Shelly and I just bounced back from a day's worth of excitement at York University.  We had 2nd round tickets to the men's draw, this year, and it was a hot and beautiful sunny day to see the pros have a big time hit back and forth.

We dropped the two kids off in Holyrood, and then bee-lined it to the facility.  It was an 11:00 am start for the fourth seeded Japanese Nishikori, against a less heralded American - can't remember his name unfortunately.  He was pretty much a whipping boy against his more seasoned opponent on this day.  That is the thing with tennis.  It seems often enough that some player trying to make a go-at-it on the real seen, they scratch together enough play to barely "make-it" into a big-show tournament, only to loose quite handily.  However - there are obviously lots of lesser matches and games out there that don't draw the big-guns out to them. 

After that game finished we scouted over to a 2nd tiered court to watch a wild card enter Canadian Polansky in his 2nd round game.  I can't say he is even ranked in the top 200 in the world, but he did beat his first round opponent from Australia who has held some lower ranked world positions (Kyrigios sp?), so there was a bit of a buzz with him.  He landed in the tournament on some sort of charity case I am guessing.  He probably won the Toronto Island "pro-club" championship a few days before against some other hack....  But he had no sponsorship logo on his shirt, hat, or wrist guards.  To be quite honest he didn't look like a proto-typical tennis pro; he wasn't over 6 feet tall, nor did he look to weigh 190lbs of serving muscle...  Arms didn't seem long....   He didn't have 4 extra strung rackets at his disposal....  No entourage..... Polansky was ousted.....

Acting, singing, sporting, writing, and the like; there are just tens of thousands and thousands of people who scratch by, like probably not exactly poverty line and below scratching by, but nothing too great, just because of the love of it....  Well, some of them probably are poverty line and below actually....  And watching this tennis and the lesser players just reinforced that for me.  The Taylor Swifts, Sydney Crosbys, Matt Damons, & Novak Djokoviches, are not the norms out there.  The people you see on t.v., are not the norms either - they are not the standard of the game, or the regular talent of the event = they exceed so incredibly much.   It is the Polansky's and the American whipping boy whom I love to root for though.  Those who really don't have much hope whatsoever.  And they don't quite frankly.  They have no $, no fancy cars, no fancy hotel.  They literally scrape by.  I am sure some of these tennis players raid the buffet table at these tournaments and save the food to eat during the next week.  And I am talking about the sub-ranked golfers, or hockey players, or actors or models or whatever as well.... 

They do their craft like the camel who wanted to be a dancer.  The camel who was teased and made fun of because it wasn't graceful, or even any good, at dancing.  But it danced on anyway because it made him happy to do it.  It was a way to pursue a dream, and not be dismayed by what others said - satisfaction comes to those who please themselves.

So I see these guys at this "professional" tournament.  And I think what a way to slog it out and make a living for now.

At any rate - we walked around the grounds quite a lot and there was all sorts of interactive things going on....  By mid afternoon the biggest gun out there, Djokovich, (no current slogging) was set up against a formidable challenger from Luxemberg - 6 foot four player, huge left handed server....  Gilles somebody or other.  He looked like he could be trouble....  He looked like he was a few grades higher then the typical tournament slogger.   Novak disposed him somewhat easily - 2 sets, but 2 full 7-5 and 7-6 sets.....  I was kind of glad it didn't go to a third as it was sooooooo hot.....  In the post match interview the giddy interviewee only talked about and asked questions about Milos Raonic, and what Novak thought of his game.  Talk about a homer..... 

Anyway it was a great day out and we stayed the night and hit up downtown a bit for some eats and drinks.... 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rossland Recap

On Sunday July 3 we all took off for Rossland, BC - first stop was to the Quality Suites at the Toronto Airport to hole up before an 08:00 departure.

We arrived on Monday morning at 11:30 local time in Castlegar, BC, and were met by Trevor and his boys.  We got our belongings into the car and it was only another 50km to reach our ultimate destination.   It is quite handy traveling westward as the time change works in your favour.  We still had the whole day to explore, run, bike, and do those things we were going to do....

The weather wasn't so great.  We were there for 8 days and it barely reached past 18 centigrade, and it rained most of the trip too.  However, we made the most of what was dealt and got in a number of great events outdoors.

* 2 runs with Trevor; a 10 miler up Red Mountain and around, and another 6 miler out the Cascade Highway and back (first run killed, killed my legs and was stiff and sore for 4 days...)

* 2 good hikes up to Red Dog cabin, and a second one out to a cabin at Black Jack ski area (Hemlock)

* 2 good bike rides; 1 with Tara and the boys, the 2nd with Trevor and the boys.  Trevor, the boys and I took Milky Way down to Warfield BC, the other was on Pay Dirt at Red - witnessing Tara drop off Old Blue Eyes in front of 8 on-lookers, and in the rain(ish)!  It was very, very, impressive.

* Lots and lots of great eats and drinks and board games with everyone (Lots of Rubik's cubing)

* 1 good road trip into Nelson, BC to check out the colour and flavour there

* Lots of playground play, in the rain(ish) with all the kids

* Wally and I crossed paths with a sizable black bear at the ski hill early one morning - it paid absolutely no attention to us whatsoever, but I watched it quite intently from less then 100m = It was the biggest black bear I had ever seen, although I have only probably seen 4 or 5 in my life, it was the biggest

* Great visit with Joel, Trista and their boys - see you soon back in Ontario

* An afternoon at the Trail indoor pool, followed by another afternoon on a different day at the Trail splash pad (Gyro Park)

* Huckle, Straw, and Rasp berry picking

* Feeding the neighbour's chicken's

* Lots of work talk with everyone's chosen vocation; Trevor @ Teck, Tara with Canada Post, and of course Shelly and me with the board of education

* Backyard action like trampolining, paddle ball, and an outdoor fire

It was a great trip all in all.  Wonderful hospitality and wonderful to see family....  Like I wrote the weather wasn't great, nor was the travel for Wally....  He is just so squirmy, and being confined for so long was not great.  But we did have empty seats beside us which sort of made it better....  However Molly traveled fantastically.  She got into the airplane movies and the complementary juice on the plane just fine.

The 3 boys all got on just fine.  Cole and Grayson were wonderful hosts to Wally; getting him lots of toys and playing with him - all those things.  Molly was a bit of an outsider and as much as she tried to fit into the situation and keep up with everything, the BC boys just were a bit skeptic of her and would have preferred if she had stayed in Ontario perhaps.  What can I say?  It isn't or wasn't like Molly was ostracized, but she wasn't Wally....  That may be the easiest way to explain things.  It was like that 2 years ago too, and will continue I am sure.  Anyway - later in life they can read this and laugh about how they all were.  You know, quotes like, "That girl can't sit there....  I don't want that girl to touch my things....   That girl punched me....."  Funny enough I suppose.
So that is the basic rundown.  Shelly and I had a great dinner out on the 10th to celebrate our 6th anniversary.  We ate at Gabrielle's inside the Prestige hotel.  It was good...  I just had my birthday when we got home.  Turned 41 and it wasn't a big deal.  John Coup's and Scott Middleton came over.  We had a beer or two.  Then we jumped into the lake off the pier at eleven or so at night.  Finally Coup's took me out for wings.....  Been running a wee bit; not much, just a bit.
Nary a picture of Shelly and me together - not even on the anniversary this year....  Next time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Biking

We are building up our biking legs and tolerance for our upcoming British Columbia trip.  We hit the rail road tracks the other day for a bit of a loop towards Auburn, then towards Ball's Bridge, and back to our starting point of Brindley's Trucking at the 9km marker along the trails. 

Molly got this new (used/gifted) tow behind contraption which she really loves.  The lucky girl now has no less then 4 bikes to choose from.  She has a red tricycle that she can propel, and a runner bike that is blue.  She also has a traditional bike with training wheels (still attached), and now, this new device that my buddy Drew Anderson dropped off.  She really loves them all.  I see a few kids her age without training wheels, so it is something to shoot for this summer.  Molly really loves the freedom of going around the block all by herself on the bike.

Wally is happy enough to be carted along behind on a traditional baby carrier on the rear of a bike.  He is in it everyday actually as we have been riding the bike to and from the YMCA in the mornings.  He likes to get his cold little hands up your back, and or down the back of your pants. 

I also ripped out on the motorbike this afternoon and brought my camera along, but didn't get any evidence.  I just had a few errands to run, and then I took off for a bit of a spin around Ashfield Township.  



Monday, June 6, 2016

More Video from Cabot Trail


Rich Johnston created this four and one half minute montage of our exploits on the trail and during the race.  Thanks Rich = It looks awesome.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Phlox

Worth growing for its delicious fragrance alone, dame's rocket also offers showy, long-lasting flowers and is as trouble-free an herb as you could ask for.

Not to me.

Shelly's band performed to kick off the summer concert series on the Square in Goderich tonight.  They are known as Dame's Rocket.  They rehearse just about any place they find room, thus, I have heard them many times over the past 3 or 4 years at the house.  Their last show was at the Lucknow Legion about two years ago now, maybe a year and a half.....  So they dusted off the microphones, got out their gear, and took to the stage for a 28 song set. 

The kids and I took in about a third of the show.  Molly, and about 10 other kids, danced and played to the music for a good 30 minutes.  Wally just sat back and enjoyed it for a bit, then he got out of the stroller to stroll around.  I took pictures and cheered loudly for the ladies.  The crowd topped at about 200 people.  By all accounts everyone liked what they heard.
They did a really good job hitting their harmonies and staying in tune.  The guitar was the primary instrument, but they also used a slide whistle at times, a tambourine, and a kazoo.  Their strength is their voices and being able to hit a sufficient range befitting for a group of girls with very little training and instruction.  They are all self taught as far as I know.  Katie hit 10th place at Canadian Idol back in the mid 2000s which is quite an achievement.  Her sister Kelly is equally capable.  Shelly has a music degree (trumpet), and the other two ladies kind of fill in appropriately.  Their matching t-shirts finished the ensemble.

I hope they keep at it and get together for a few more shows.  I know it is a lot of work for them.