Friday, June 26, 2015

This has been a mighty big month of posting and exploits - Wow!  The summer, and my 14 month sabbatical is just beginning too.  All in all it has been a busy week and lots of things seem to be happening.

There was an airshow in town this week. The iconic and distinctly Canadian Snowbirds did those maneuvers, rolls, and flips that they do.  I would say it was highlighted by two jet fighters however.  I think I am writing it correctly when I say there was a CF-18, as well as an F-18?  I don't know the lingo.  But they each screamed and screeched over the town of Goderich and rattled many-of-houses in the process.  It was pretty cool indeed.  One of the jets used Lighthouse Street as an indicator to fly westward over the lake whilst I was sitting in the front lawn.  I would guess its elevation to be 500 feet or more - but it sounded and felt like 50!  And that piercing/searing sound after it passes....

That was Wednesday.  While running home on Tuesday the Snowbirds flew over me while on the trail running in.  Again, it just seemed like they are only a few hundred feet above me.  I had quite the view.  As for pictures - terrible quality/framing, but you get the idea.  I never did get a picture of those fast jets.

Last night I attended and voted in my first ever political candidates meeting.  I am a card carrying NDP member.  There was the Huron Bruce nomination meeting for the upcoming fall 2015 federal election.  There were about 125 - 150 people there and Gerard Creces was voted in to be the NDP candidate for the riding.  Good luck to Gerard and his team!

Today is it.  The last day of work for 14 months!  I don't really have too many obligations - well no obligations as far as I am aware of, until September 2016 with the AMDSB.   14 full months off.  I have continually been enrolled in a deferred salary plan where 20% of my pay is withheld for 4 years, and on the fifth year I get paid all that 20% which has accumulated.  Another way to look at it is stretching 4 years worth of pay over 5 years, and one doesn't work that fifth year.  So ya!!!!  It is fantastic.  Absolutely a terrific thing to do.  So I am pumped up and excited for this.

I ran out to school this morning.  Okay, I ran some of the way to school this morning. The school is about 17 miles from home, and I made 8 miles or so before my ride arrived...  Beautify morning in the country.

The front of the house is looking pretty good with some colour.  We've got a few flowers in and keeping the weeds to a minimum.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Months have gone by without a picture of Shelly...  There just hasn't been one as she has operated the camera mostly, rather than being a subject in its view finder.

We are all doing very well.  The day is just getting going.  It is Father's Day and I am not quite sure what adventures are going to happen.  I think Molly and I will most likely go swimming at the YMCA, and then maybe head up to Hollyrood.  I might bring a fishing rod and a gun - hit the bass hole with a few worms and blast off a few rounds.  It is a great looking weather day out.

I have been on a few mini adventures over the past few weekends.  Two weeks ago I had a great ride up to Blue Mountain.  There was a teacher's rally at the ski hill protesting the power's-at-large of an organizations called OPSBA  (Click here for more about OPSBA - who they are...)

At any rate, there are big enough differences between OPSBA and the various teaching unions who bargain with the government that my union, ETFO, staged a rally at their annual general meeting = or perhaps it was just a somewhat regular meeting for them.  Nevertheless an enthusiastic crowd of about 600/700 made it to rally in cars, buses, and at one by KTM motorcycle.

I must say the overall turn out must have seemed disappointing to the organizors.  There are well over 70,000 ETFO members in the province. By my decent quantitative estimates there was not even 1000 there. But on a positive note those who were there were plenty vocal, respectful, and passionate about the cause at large.  Congratulations to those who were there - especially a large presence from the greater Toronto area. There local presidents had some great words and messages to the attendees.

Yesterday, as the top picture shows - I hit up another ride with a neighbour/former neighbour - hopefully always will be a neighbour in the spirit of the word, if not by geographic location, Dave Glousher.  We were also joined by local company including Jim Wallace, Peter Herring and Trevor.  (I don't know Trevor's last name.)  We skinned and scammed our way to Paris, ON for the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap.  I had never been to Paris, and I will say I was quite impressed by what I saw - of the show and of the town.

So there is just too much to see at this place.  There must have been parts to assembly 10,000 bikes completely.  It was a haven for forks, sprockets, gas tanks, seats, seats, seats, and all of those other bike buzz words - I certainly am not up to the lingo and vocab with much mechanically currently, so I was even more at a loss with the terms of reference from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  However a lot can be said for simply nodded your head and agreeing.  And to through in an, "Ah yes.....  That was really great back then."

Trevor rode a vintage Nortan.  It was a cafe style racing bike with dropped handle bars and foot pegs set back.  He unfortunately had a few electronic issues with starting his bike and getting it going.  I didn't want to tell him that I have had all sorts of electronic/battery issues with my bike too.  That I can't seem to keep batteries charged up or from not draining too.

We had a great, fantastic lunch at a pub called 2 Rivers in Paris.  Again - from what I saw I was very impressed with this community...
Just some other pictures from the past few weeks or so:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lounging Around

I was probably a bit hard on Wally when I posted a few days ago with all his wincing, grimacing, and cringing that goes on.  It is a first world problem for me; so I should go a bit easier on the little guy.  Shelly calls him Buddy quiet often.  I have started to call him that too as a term of endearment.  It feels better to call someone a nice, friendly name, perhaps rather than "Wally".  "Buddy" is a good name to say and it actually relaxes me a fair bit.  I look at him a bit differently too when I call him "Buddy". 

When Wally was born we were told that there is a bit of a legal requirement to fix a name within 30 days....  And the nurses had told us on a few occasions a child has left with one name and came back in a few weeks or a month with another.  This story isn't really going anywhere because our 30 day window is up, and we aren't changing Walter, but I do find that Buddy is a very suitable option too.  Especially when he is off on a scream.

That other child of ours is doing just fine.  Molly was asked to pose for a picture with Shelly's requirements and staging and she came up with this:

It isn't a bad picture or anything.  Shelly has no training on photo layout, metering, cropping, lighting, intensity, or whatever the buzz words are in this world....  It is just her pointing and shooting with a Canon G16.

Then Shelly asked Molly to pose however she wanted.  This is what happened:
So I suppose this has nothing to do with picture quality, or those picture buzz words that I mentioned, rather the thought and intelligence process and processing that goes on in-between the ears of a 36 year old, and a 3 year old.  I suppose for a 3 year old it seems perfectly normal to strike a pose such as this.  At least her finger wasn't in her nose.

And again I am thumbing through the pictures taken and I am seeing a lot of the kids, a bit of me, and not much of Shelly.  I can only assure you all that she is indeed still around and plugging away at those crazy things she does.  The two of us are certainly due and looking forward to a nice night out on the town in the next few weeks.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Some Chicks and I

A chick I work with, Kerry, and I, were out on a chick run on Friday...  There were 54 chicks in all to be picked up, 55 including Kerry I suppose.  That is a lot of chirping and peeping and chick'n for a guy like myself.

First things first, we get into a pick up truck with plenty of room.  Whilst transporting and moving 54/55 chicks, one needs lots of space.

Next it was off to the Lucknow Co-op.  There is no other sure-fire location to score a chick than at a co-operative store.  Especially this time of year.  (We weren't the only 2 in line to pool chicks...)

We unloaded these chicks and immediately got them some heat and food.  There is nothing better to make a first impression on a bunch of chicks than warmth and comestibles.  Yes, it was a red district for sure with them lamps turned on.

After that nature takes over.  The chicks immediately knew what to do and how to do it.  Their new living quarters was bedded nicely with saw dust and wood chips.  We locked the cats out though.  Apparently cats and chicks aren't a good match for one another, mostly on the chick side, at this time and place.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Trevor

I didn't get anything posted for my brother's 38th.  I gave him a few pairs of good athletic socks last summer to bike and run in - perhaps he'll remember and think of those as my gift?

At any rate I talked to him just the other day and he mentioned that there wasn't much action or updates.  That there wasn't any new photos or likenesses taken of Wally. 

So in that spirit = Here is a quick Happy Birthday present and photo for Trevor...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I don't think I am leaving too many people in the lurch by not posting and updating - the unfortunate thing is despite getting out and enjoying May with a few motorbike rides, lots of running, turkey hunting, and a canoe...  there was also a nice long weekend and decent weather with that, it has been quite chaotic and crazy around home.  Wally is absolutely beside himself most of the time and just doesn't let in with relaxation or comfort.  I hear that he is decent enough through the day for/with Shelly.  But at night he is insane!  The truth be told I had no idea it would be this stressful and, like I said crazy.  He is crazy and inconsolable.  Sleep is not something that he gives into either.

At any rate we are plugging around seemingly a month behind many chores and tasks that should be done.  Having 3 properties on the go is not romantic whatsoever.  There is always grass to cut or something.  There is never time.  There is always a screaming child (Wally).  The other thing that gets me behind is starting a new task before completely putting an old one to bed.  So I have learned a few things the hard way....  but not how to calm down and wailing baby.  I am not even close to figuring that one out.

The end is near to another school year.  I think 20 teaching days left sounds about right.  I know I have quite a few loose ends to seal up.  Figuring out that Wally is also something to consider during this time.

Shelly had a birthday this month.  It was also, of course the month containing "Mother's Day".  I must say she somewhat did well.  The gift giving on both occasions was thoughtful and appropriate.  But the celebration and grunt work for the events was not....  And to boot, I don't even really have a photo of her this month to post.  So I will have to make a better effort in a few of these life departments.  To start with I should take more of an interest in Wally's restlessness and troubles and a four and a half month old.

I signed up last night for an NDP membership.  I have always voted and felt responsible to know the issues.  It looks like there will be a federal election within the next 6 months or so.  Locally it lets me attend this riding's NDP constituency vote.  It is between two equally fine candidates, so I will have to go and suss out their platforms and ideas moving forward.  Again - Wally might actually have to settle and calm down a bit between now and then....

Running has been fairly labourous and exhausting for me.  I am not quite sure why I don't have a spring in my step these days, but I don't.  It would be nice, but it doesn't concern or phase me too much.  I have nothing on the go other than trying to keep my dapper beach body ready for the shores of Lake Huron.  That is if there is time to catch a break between the donkey-ness of Wally.

In conclusion we all made it through the month.  We are undoubtedly just a bunch of regular folks over here living the dream with a boy and a girl.  We've had these ducks visiting us for the past 2 weeks or so.  Whenever I am out in the garden they land in and waddle around the backyard looking for a place to rest, nest, take a bath, have something to eat - whatever it is ducks do.  Our bird feeder gets too many grackles, but we get lots of blue jays and other nicer birds to look at too for time to time. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On A Bit of an Animal Adventure

As the title says....  And maybe more like a mother - young animal adventure.....

It started last Thursday when my class went on a field trip to a local dairy farmer's operation a few kilometres from the school.  We hit up the Angst Farm for a bit of an education on dairy farming and the process there-of.  It was very fun.  Peter and Denise are two great people.  They have quite an operation with 60 milkers, and a bunch of heifers, and some calves too obviously.  Their milking machine is robotic and the ladies get their udders empty as and when they want to or feel the need to do so.  The seminar was about 75 mins. long and we got to see a wide variety of the aspects of this way of life.

A calf was born about 10 minutes just before we got there.  Apparently mother and young are only together for about 12 hours - sometime less.  Just enough time to get it up and walking, licked clean, and a drink of milk...  Then it is off to a smaller pen.  Off without their mothers.  Forever.  It does not sound that right....  No other mammal really operates like that.  There are rare occasions like human adoption when quick separation like that occurs.  Maybe in the wild many mothers abandon their young if they sense disease, illness or some other threat.  But generally it is not the case.  However many people enjoy their dairy products and simply do mind or care this practice goes on.

On Friday it was off to Clinton to the Reach Centre to watch a Medieval Times presentation.  Lots of horses of course, but there was also a Falconer too.  He was pretty interesting.  He brought out a falcon or hawk or some sort that is quite the star in Hollywood - the guy was very pleased to tell everyone that it had been in a movie with Nicolas Cage (probably more like a scene for 2 seconds...) recently, he brought out a golden eagle which was 27 years old, and lastly, he brought out a turkey vulture.  That is where and when he lost my credibility.  Turkey vultures are all too common in southwestern Ontario.  Heck you can be driving in your car and they will be eating a dead skunk on the side of the road and not even move.  What was next a trained crow?  I wasn't too impressed with the turkey vulture.  And that actor falcon of his - it will also be the official mascot for that Toronto soccer team this summer so "watch for him on TSN".  Okay buddy.  I will.

So this falconer stood out because he was quite in love with his birds, and the only cast member without super long hair and a beard.

On Saturday we loaded up and went out to Port Albert where they had the fish ladder going.  It is a process of tagging, marking, and collecting fish roe and semen for the hatcheries in the area.  There were lots of good sized fish and the samples were satisfactory I suppose.  Lots of people generally go and watch the process.  Again, humans are odd in many ways.  I look at it as a type of  socially acceptable voyeurism.  I didn't take any pictures though - that'd be wrong!  But it was a beauty of a day and we ran into a few other pervs, I mean people I know.  Good on them fish.

We skidded east of Port Albert to check on the flock of lambs out at Larry's.  It looked as if everyone there had a great arrival into this world and they seemed happy to see us too. The horses were outside getting some sun, the casts were in the barn, and there were a few chickens there too picking away at this and that off the ground.