Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lazy Posting

A lot has been going on...  We bought a new house and get possession of it Thursday of this week actually.  It is very close to where we live - and it just seemed like a good place to get into and such.  We are outgrowing our current place, we were up and down about building on the farm, the location and neighbours are great...  So - ya.  Maybe by August of so we'll officially make a move.  There are a few things to church up with the place....  It is called The CoachHouse.  I am sure it'll be more than suitable.

School is winding down and that is good.  It just seems like a good time to end this year, have a break...  I am sure the kids are sick and tired of me - and it goes both ways from time to time.  So a welcomed break is deserved by all.  One more year to work..  Then another full year off.  I will be quite a bit happier writing one year from now.

I have been out on the bike.  Not too much, but I hit a big Saugeen region, Grey, Bruce county trial ride with 20 others the other day.  It was fun.  I definitely had the biggest bike - and that isn't bragging.  I would have been much happier on something much smaller.  However I crossed some deep water, hit lots of railroad tracks, dirt roads, and the like and didn't even dump it once...  Almost.  I skidded left and right a few times.  But I stayed on.  I watched a few people wipe out - the were alright.  A few broken foot pegs and mirrors for some - but I stayed clean.  I got home and started looking for a used Husq 400 or a DRZ 400 or something like that - That would have been ideal.  At any rate - it was lots of fun.
Shelly, Molly and I made this little baby gift for my step-brother and his wife's new baby.  They had a boy and he'll be known as Hank apparently - so this is the creation...  It isn't exactly original.  I have seen things like this on the world wide web and such... So this is our adaptation of a bit of a growth chart.  Craig can hang it up, or use it as firewood to heat his house!  I used stencils, of course, and cedar.  I have lots and lots of cedar out at the farm.


We all have flights booked to go out to Rossland, BC this July.  That will be fun.  We booked them a month or two ago.  There was some talk about flying to Calgary, renting a car and touring around for 3 or 4 days while getting those extra 700km in to Trevor's.  But that idea was more romance, than practical.  It wasn't going to happen.  So we opted for the Castlegar, BC airport which is only about 40 km from the ultimate destination.  It will look quite a bit different than it did in the winter of 2011 - and will be warmer.  See you soon Tara, Trevor and the boyz.

I hit Joel's 40th birthday this month - I am sure he doesn't mind me posting that.  It was quite fun.

I will hit up Drew's 40th on the weekend - No stopping age folks.

Had a great time this month hanging with Liesa and Kathy after work and before the 8th grade graduation - there might be some pictures floating around somewhere of our fun.

Molly is great:

 Shelly is fantastic too:
I'm a lucky man!



Monday, May 12, 2014

Wait Until Dark


I would be awfully upset if I didn't dedicate a bunch of writing to my most recent exploit. For the better part of the past 6 months I have been working as a stage manager for a local production of Wait Until Dark.  I think I already mentioned it briefly...  But I have some pictures and just wanted to write a bit more about how rewarding it was, about how I had a great time doing it, and about how getting involved outside of your comfort level is a good thing.

So basically the director Garry Larose asked me well over a year ago if I would take this on.  I almost immediately said yes, he got me a script, and then the project never really moved until last December.  We first assembled the team of construction people, wardrobe, a producer, sound and lighting engineers, and so on.  We met as a group and came up with those ideas regarding how to put on this play from a technical point of view.  At any rate the group really understood how things would come together in a rough sense, but we had no actors.


We had lots of interest for the roles of Susy and Gloria.  We narrowed them down and settled on two amazing and talented actresses to play our lead female parts.  I had the job of telling them they had the roles, Garry had to tell the ladies that who didn't.  It is too bad, but that is the way theatre works; people have to fill roles, and people have to not fill roles...  Unfortunately there wasn't enough interest in our roles for the fellers.  If you auditioned, and sounded half decent, you were going to get a part.  Well, the guys sounded much better than half decent, so the only problem to overcome was finding one more person. 


So by now it is the first of February, two very talented actors, maybe three in fact, had to turn down the role for different reasons....  At the last minute one of the guys who already had a role mentioned that we should ask this guy from Clinton.  As it happened we did, he accepted, and low and behold a cast was nearly formed.  We still had two tiny, tiny, tiny roles to fill as police officers, but I could do it in a pinch, or anyone else with a heartbeat for that matter....  A few weeks later we found our two cops, they wouldn't have to come to any of the rehearsals.  Literally they only had to come to one practice before the dress rehearsal to get the jist of their part....  But they were great theatre support, and decided to poke in on the practices and help with other parts of creating the play.

So in February we read the play a few times as a cast, and in mid-March we'd start rehearsing.  There would only be six weeks until curtain.  With other commitments, the stage wouldn't be ours until mid-April which was only two weeks until the show....  We had to get a tonne of props to fill a 1960's Manhattan apartment which would not be easy...  There was a few road blocks along the way.  At one point an actor asked me why we started so late to rehearse!  Whoops...


In summary, we rocked out 6 fantastic shows.  There were 5 sell-outs, and 5 standing ovations...  It was just so rewarding in the end.  On a personal level, I was so pleased calling the show and managing the production along the way.  Considering I had never done it before, although I did shadow a stage manager last year during a production, I felt I did a very good job.  But, you need good people around you which there was.



Saturday, May 3, 2014

21lbs

This was the second weekend of the spring turkey hunt.  I didn't get out last weekend or during the week, so this morning was go time.  Larry and I picked up an extra, Jim Ward, to take us to one of his spots outside of Clinton.  We parked just off Hwy 8 on the road to Vanastra at a Rail Road crossing.  Our destination would be 500m back towards Clinton off of the tracks.  We had never been to this place before, but Jim assured us there'd be a gobbler or two.  Sure enough...

We set up while it was still dark and early.  It was about 5:30.  We set up a big tom decoy with a fanning tail, and 2 hens.  We set the tom closer to us, so as to draw in the birds towards us.  They'll notice the hens, but then go for the tom....  So it was all quiet for an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes.  There was lots of crows, geese, various finches, and two herons that flew over.  All of a sudden we heard a gobble in the distance.  It seemed quite far away.  We decided to keep calling.

Lo and behold our calling got more intense, and this boy's curiosity increased too.  Our buddy Jim was speechless to witness this process first hand; setting up, calling, hearing responses, and calling some more.  It didn't try to get through the bush too quietly either.  We never actually seen it until its fateful last few seconds, but heard it gobbling and walking for some time.  There was a ridge which it walked up and over.  Sure enough, it spotted the hens, but was inching closer to our tom decoy.  Larry was sitting on that side of the blind - So Larry took the shot.  Just one.

So the scale doesn't lie - 21lbs basically.  We never actually put a tape on its beard or spurs.  But I would guess that the beard is 7 inches, and the spurs were just at that inch mark. 

We stayed out and hit another field for another 90 minutes.  A hen walked all around us soon after setting up and calling.  It was very weary though to say the least.  It kept its distance quite safely, but was curious.  Hens are not a legal shot, unless it has a beard.  This didn't have one.  Plus, it wasn't that close to me at any given point.  But it was fun to watch and hear it call.

So Larry continually gets it done - whereas me, not so much.  Oh well.  I had a great time and there still is lots of time to get one myself.  I think I'd go back and see if there are any buddies of this guy still around.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Just a few pictures and an update of the past weeks....  This should have come a bit sooner, however.

Basically all is great.  April's weather hasn't been too exciting, or even warm.  But good enough to get outside a bit more often.  Good enough to have a few less items of clothing on.  And the days are getting long enough to be out a bit later without losing our bearings as much.
Easter weekend just passed.  We kicked it around the greater Goderich area for the most part.  The big adventure was going canoeing.  We had 4 boats and 8 people.  The weather was perfect.  The water level was just fantastic.  We didn't get wet!  Shelly made out to be quite the oarsmen in the bow, with me stroking it smoothly in the stern.

The company also included Joel and Trista, Mark and Josh, and Nate and Anne.  We stopped at a place for a bbq lunch, a few cold drinks, some chips, and s'mores.  I think there were a number of people who regretted that they didn't go out with us.  There is a few more weeks that provide sufficient water levels.  We may be lucky to go out again on the May long weekend on the Maitland.  If it rains some we'd be set.

We are all doing well.  I have been quite busy in my role as stage manager for a Livery production of Wait Until Dark.  This play was originally ran in the late 60s (prob. Broadway?) I think.  It was written by Frederick Knott.  Also there was a movie in the early 70s staring Alan Arkin and Audry Hepburn made from the stage script.  So we are doing it in Goderich and it opens on  May 2.  Things are going okay, but crunch time is getting near and there is still a bunch of things to tighten up.  It promises to be a great show and a great night out...

We are starring John Lodge, Devony House, Susan Caradine, Steve Howe, John Scott, Eric Lubbers, and supported, very briefly, by Colleen Ceaser and Bob Marshall.  Break a leg guys!







Sunday, March 23, 2014

Post March Break


I wanted to get some pictures of the lay-of-the-land around here.  We got another bit of snow, and again, the ground is covered and the temperatures are still below freezing.  I was out for a run today and made my way down to the lake.  There is ice as far, as far as the eye can see.  It is quite something.  At any rate, winter is still in full bore, but the days are getting so much longer.  More often than not there are blue skies and lots of sun.  So it isn't terrible, but just lots of snow.

We never really got up-to much during our week off from school.  There was a few trips outside of Huron County, but not really any over nighters, or prolonged stays in a particular spot.  I got off and visited a few buddies. Shelly took off and hit some jewelry making sessions in the city.  Molly and I went swimming 2 or 3 times, then watched some local hockey tournament stuff.  And altogether we went out for a few meals and some walks.  That was about it.

This past weekend some people from my work, Shelly, and I hit the lanes for a Big Brother/Big Sister bowl-a-thon fundraiser.  It was really fun.  We bowled out of the Lucknow facilities and despite a number of gutter balls, there was a couple of spares, and a strike or two too.  The cause was great.  Lots of people supported it.  They raised close to 10K dollars by the time it was all over.  I might have got a new personal best with scores of 160, and 130 for the second game.  This was the team minus Shelly, I think she was taking the picture:

 A grainy picture of Shelly's form:
So upcoming - I got a new set of tires of the motorbike.  It was awesome to see them on the doorstep when I got home from work on Friday.  I  ordered them from a place just outside of Hamilton and just shipped them to the house.  My bike is stored at Culbert's Bakery.  Apparently someone saw an orange KTM out last weekend down at the beach.  Despite the fact that my bike runs amazing in cool weather, it isn't great riding weather whatsoever.  Evidently Evan Culbert thought otherwise and took it out for a spin.  It must have been him.  There aren't many of the around.  Besides it seems like something he'd do as he is an ambitious and eager rider....  Next time he takes it out it'll be to the shop to mount the wheels.

Hockey is wrapping up.  It has been a great year and our last game is tomorrow night against an Exeter team.  I have had lots of fun playing.  Running is just starting up.  Someone asked me today how it has been going.  I guessed that I have run 12 times, maybe 15 since January.  So, ya, I am a bit behind.  I think I am going to race on Mother's Day.  Last year I ran 35 minutes and 20 seconds maybe for the 10k.  I have a bit of work to do, but I might be there....  Maybe not....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chicago

So a few of us hit the railroad tracks this weekend for a trip to Chicago.  Basically the main goal would be to get to the Outdoor Classic hockey game at Soldier Field.  Considering we had tickets, that wasn't an issue.  In fact, the majority of the trip was planned and paid for well before Christmas.  So it was long in anticipation, but well worth it.  Boy, what a great time.

It was a quick and easy trip for the most part.  We got on the Amtrack in Port Huron.  Once in Chicago we were able to walk over to the hotel.  Most of the sites to see and places of interest were also in walking distance from were we stayed.  Chicago was a great city with plenty of excitement.  It was cold though.  Very cold indeed.  But there would be an added surprise, the forecast called for 6 inches of snow that afternoon and evening.  I guess it snowed 4 inches over the course of the game.



We sat pretty far up, but surprisingly it wasn't that bad.  I could read the numbers on the players shirts easy enough, but the lettering of their last nights wasn't as clear.  The play was microphoned, and you could hear every cut-of-the-skate, shot, pass, and thump against the boards.  The game took a bit longer however as rink rats frequently had to clean the ice with shovels. 


Other than the game, there was lots of walking around and checking out the highlights of the city, plenty of pinting and pub time, and lots of interesting eats and local restaurants.  But cold.  Cold and windy.


The train is an easy enough way to get there.  It makes for a long ride home though because it leaves later in the day, but you don't have the hassle of parking a car and getting caught in traffic...  Stuff like that. 



And as for the game...  The Blackhawks beat the Penguins by a score of 5 - 1.  There was about 63,000 people at the game.  The 50/50 ticket was a split of $86,000 - no, I did not win, but did have 3 losing numbers in it.  The big screen splashed the temperature at one point and it indicated it was 15 degrees = fahrenheit (2 fehrenheit with the windchill).  I mentioned that they said it snowed 4 inches during the game.  Our tickets were high up there, the cheapest in the building, and they were $130.  But hey, it was lots of fun.   It is something I may not get to do again, though I would get back to Chicago in the summer with much warmer weather.
       

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family Day

So in Ontario it was a holiday today.  Family Day.  There are a few other provinces that recognize this day - so what the heck, might as well spend it with the family.  (Or just part of it.)

It was a beautiful bluebird day.  Sunny blue skies.  Cool at ten below.  Warm sun.    So I grabbed Andrew's sled and hit a few trails on ye trusty Yamaha.


All the trails are open to the public this weekend.  Andrew doesn't have a trail permit, so I was lawful to go all about if I so wished.  But not knowing my way around Kinlough Township, I decided to stick to the fields of the in-laws and the land they own.  I knew I wouldn't get lost.  I knew that if I got stuck I could leave the machine and retrieve it another time.  I just felt a bit safer.  I have next to none/zero skills on tracked winter vehicles.  I also knew there was a lot of  snow in the fields so it would be fun blasting through fresh powder.

And it really was a fun day out on the sled.  I did get stuck towards the end.  I was going down a trail and was 500 m or so from the main road.  I was heading back through Pearson's.  Anyway there were felled trees across the trail and the sled was just too heavy, and the trail to narrow to meander/weave my way past.  I put it in reverse, but just dug myself deeper in trouble.  It would be time to hand-bomb this 500 plus pound monster 180 degrees.  I wasn't too disappointed actually.  It was a nice day.  I inched it bit by bit, and wouldn't you know it but in 20 minutes or so I was turned right around.

Sitting on a few feet of snow.  The snowmobile only dug down about 6 to 8 inches I'd say.


The felled trees got worse past the first two ones you see here:


The rest of my family - they hung out in Goderich and had a few visitors.  I was only away for a few hours.  Molly and I took off for a wagon ride and found our way over to a buddy's house for an hour or so.  Shelly was just out picking away at some errands and actually got a few herbs planted indoors, to be put outdoors later in the spring.  I could really use another day off, but I shouldn't complain.  I have had a number of snow days off, and a few days of not feeling well last week.  So ya, got to get back to the grind and finis the pull till March Break.

Drove past Shelly's first car on my journey today - I took a picture mostly because you can see the layers of snow in the roof.  This is what back-country adventurist dig and look for before descending a line.  I am not sure how well it will show up in the photo, but live, you can really see the various layers of snowfall and how it compacts and presses on top of itself.



The best family members somebody could have: