Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring Canoe

The spring canoeing season isn't very long on our Maitland River.  When the water is aplenty, the weather is usually cold and miserable.  When the weather is warmer, sunny and nice, water levels tend to decrease significantly.  Juggling this juxtaposition always seems to be the case.  March Break canoeing would have the best water and worse weather.  May canoeing is the best weather, but the poorest water.  So here we are in April.  April usually has the just right mix.  Today we found it.

We are very lucky that we put in our canoe about 12 km from the house in Goderich.  Where we finish up it is about 6km closer to town.  But the river winds and bends so much that it is about a 15 km journey.  I know there are much better places to go canoeing in the spring where you are guaranteed higher water levels, but the fact that this spot is so close to home, it makes poorer conditions a bit more likable because location.

Today's adventure consisted of Joel, Trista, Scott and me.  It was raining in the morning quite a lot, but by our noon start the clouds had disappeared and it was sunny.  No sooner had we started layers of clothing were being peeled away and it was quite a nice day.  The water levels were okay.  I think in another week this trip by paddling wouldn't be as nice.  Scott and I only got hung up once; we rolled off everything else without too many issues.

Water fowl is abundantly seen.  We saw all kinds of ducks and geese.  There were a number of red tail hawks taking positions in leafless trees along the river bank.  The turkey buzzards are back in the area and we saw all kinds circling overhead our path.  We saw what we thought was a beaver swimming in the water, but at second glance it was probably only a muskrat.  Lastly there was a bald eagle's nest just 10 minutes into our ride and there was at least one bird in it we saw who was sunning itself or just watching the world go by.  For as nice of a day it was, we didn't see too many people at all.  Only 1 feller hiking with his dog, and just 2 or 3 others at their cottage or cabin along the route.

It was a successful day by canoeing standards; nobody got wet!  We enjoyed a great paddle, and the weather was terrific.  I don't get out canoeing too often, but when I do I always enjoy myself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Don's 50th

This event was significant.

10 short years ago in March of '07, I was introduced to Shelly.  It was just after the March Break.  I had went out west with Joel to my brother's house skiing, and I came back to an email message from my friend Adrian about meeting up with a supply teacher he knew.  A girl.  So it wasn't much time after that that there was a dinner or two out, a movie night, and a bit of time spent together with this supply teacher friend.

In April of '07 it was my buddy Don's 40th birthday.  I was 31 at the time.  Of course I knew many people over 40 years old, but this was the first ever 40th birthday of a friend I went to.  Casino Royal had just been released that autumn, so Don was going to have a James Bond themed birthday.  How that was ten years ago I will not know.  But it was.  I made this super awesome James Bond Moonraker outfit from a white painter's suit.  I duct taped cargo pockets on it.  I also used the duct tape to highlight the elbows and other significant parts of the suit which needed it.  There was even an authentic looking Praxis Enterprise identification badge on it that was made to make the suit look that much more special.  I invited Shelly to come to the party with me.  She was draped in a typical Bond-girl type cocktail dress that Bond would undoubtedly fall for.

Fast forward 10 years......

A month or so ago the invite rolled out for Don's 50th.  He was resurrecting, which is appropriate for the month of April, the James Bond theme for this soiree.  Excitement!  The Moonraker custom had long been tossed, but there were plenty of options, and going as Drew Macaulay and Shelly Johnston wouldn't cut it.

I had half committed going to the party in a french cut speedo that would certainly identify me as Daniel Craig/James Bond coming out of the water in Casino Royal.  My trunks are black.  His are blue in the movie. Not good enough.

It would have also been suitable to go as the villain in Thunderball named Emilio Largo.  Check on the eye patch, check on the black bow tie and the white shirt.  No white jacket....  Darn.

Shelly was going for an "outside the box" ensemble.  There would certainly be enough Bond girls there that evening with their slim fitting dresses, their styled hair, and the high heels.  How would I be able to find Shelly in such a gaggle?  As a result she pulled off a pretty impressive vodka martini - shaken, not stirred.  It was a fine choice, it certainly fit in with the theme of the night, and her extensive creativity and forward thinking ideas were evident.

As for me, James Bond must have worn a grey suit during one part of one movie....  Not showing, but I was packing an AirSoft Walther PPK in one of those swanky detective holsters under the suit. I should have posed with it, but there were a few cops there.  My buddy said it isn't illegal, but I wasn't sure - last thing I needed was to get shot over a silly costume.

We had a tonne of fun.  There was plenty of food and drink.  There were casino games rented and Don-Dollars to play with.  Cake came out and Happy Birthday was sang.  My favourite blog reader Sheri was there with her man Craig.  There were lots of great people to spend the evening with - minus the cops of course!  Ha.  Just kidding Jamie and Paul = you two don't even read this anyway.

I can't believe Don will be 60 in 10 short years!