Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I think that Mother's Day has never really been celebrated in the way that would truely recognize the inpact that our mothers have had on our lives. Up until the last couple of generations, the importance of our mothers in our homes have basically gone unoticed and unappreciated. Personally, I think that they should get a lot more credit that they recieve. Society has often been heard saying that "behind every good man is a great woman" and yet, that only seems to apply to wives and not to mothers. Well, I think that we should ammend that saying by stating that "behind every good person is a great mother."

My mother is a great mother. Throughout my life, she was always there for me loving me and protecting me and when she was not able to be there to protect me, she was always there praying for me. I am certainly far from perfect, but I have no doubt that without my mother's prayers, I would not be the person that I am today.

Just recently, my mother lost her life long partner and husband of 54 years. His death was very difficult on her and this being the first spring without him, is finding it somewhat difficult experiencing his absence. Last week, they just completed placing the sod on his grave site and so we stopped by for a visit. I watched as she stood there alone looking at his headstone. I could only imagine what she might have been saying to him but I have no doubt that whatever she was saying, she was saying with love as any wife and mother would do. He is no longer with my mother physically but he is still there is her heart. Though she is no longer a wife, she is still a mother and though she is unable to protect and look after me anymore, she still prays for me and my family. What more could I ask for!

The roles are now reversed in that I look after her instead of the other way around but I am not complaining because no matter how much I do for my mother, it will never make up for the amount that she has done for me.

Happy Mother's Day Mum!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Making It Through the Lazy Hazy Summer Days

April 14th… the last time I blogged until now. I have always been the type of person who goes all out in doing something until the point of burnout. Whether it be work related, personal research related, exercise related, blog related or “whatever else I can think of” related, I always end up doing it until I burn out. There have been times where I have taken a year or two off something until I can find the will to carry on in whatever area I burnt out from in the first place.

I have really enjoyed blogging over the past three years and it always seems that I feel the need to take a break once the beautiful weather gets here. Last summer I disappeared for a while when I finally returned to “blog land” in the fall.

Well hopefully this summer I will try to stay around a bit more and so I figured that if I took an April/May break, I might be able to last the hazy lazy summer days… At least I really hope so.

It's good to be back... It's always good to be back! Now if I can only find a way to not let my biking, camping, running, gardening, renovating, travelling, working, sun tanning, swimming and "whatever elsing" get in the way of my blogging!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mountain Biking Season

Well… This crank here is going to be spinning down the trails quite a bit this summer! Last summer, I was unable to spend much time on my mountain bike but this summer is going to be different.

This spring, I started out earlier than normal by hitting the country roads instead of the trails which were still snow covered in some areas. The air, though still a little frosty, was unable to deter me from hopping onto the saddle and testing out my winter weary legs. I should have worn a warmer pair of biking gloves along with my green winter hat the other day but I was optimistic that I could simply wear a baseball hat along with my fingerless gloves. I arrived home a little colder than expected but the experience was enough to get me excited for the next ten or twenty kilometres I was planning to travel the next day.

To me, there is nothing more invigorating than wheeling down the trails with nothing but my thoughts to carry me along the way. The time alone helps me to think and to sort out the muddle that goes on in my mind throughout the busy winter season. It gives me the opportunity to breathe easy and lower my blood pressure enough for me to head home afterwards satisfied that I have accomplished something more than travel a certain distance.

So… If, throughout the summer, you don’t see me here as much as I usually am, just imagine me flying down those trails enjoying the sun, enjoying the breeze and enjoying the summer! Rest assured that these rides will certainly produce a few photos that I have no doubt will share with you.

Am I ever glad the winter is over!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Voice from the Past

I am sort of a nostalgic kind of guy. I am the type of person who values items from the past versus trinkets from the present. Over the time I have been blogging, I have written about items such as laser discs, old computers, old cell phones, my old stamp collection plus many other old things from my past which I have found sentimental value in… including old ratty my hat!

A couple of years ago, due to the problem that it was becoming increasingly difficult to locate Super 8 video players, I transferred all my family videos from that format to DVD in order to preserve the memories of my children. Now when I was a young lad (Hey wait a minute! I still AM a young lad!) we never had the technology to video tape us as children. Back then, we didn’t even have cassette recorders as they didn’t even exist. Fortunately, however, my father did possess a reel to reel audio recorder which he used for who knows what. Despite owning this reel to reel recorder, no one ever really thought of taping little kids for posterity sake as it was seen as an unnecessary cost. For some reason, however, my father decided to tape us on one occasion when we were living in the U.K. while we were having my great aunt over for Christmas. I never knew that he taped us on that occasion until many years later when I found his stash of reel to reel tapes while snooping in places where I probably shouldn’t have been. Upon asking him if I could hear it, I heard, for the first time, my voice in the little boy British accent that people used to say I once had.

That was many years ago. Since then, my father had sold his reel to reel recorder and the tapes seemed to disappear along with it. To this day, I never again saw these tapes and as far as I was concerned, the record my little boy voice disappeared forever.

… Until yesterday.

Since the death of my father, I have spent countless hours scouring through his old possessions deciding what to keep and what to throw away. I have basically gone through everything he had owned while all the time kept a close eye out for those tapes I had seen and heard so many years ago. I basically gave up on the idea of ever finding them until, the other day, when it occurred to me that my parents had a small storage place in the basement of their apartment building. Well, needless to say, I came across a small box with three small reel to reel audio tapes in it including the one with the recording of my voice on it.

So… my next goal is to scour eBay to pick up a reel to reel tape player in hopes that these tapes are still functional after all these years. I will keep you posted and maybe post a snippet of that young British voice of mine.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Oh Yah! Smooth Move Dave!

Back on January 31, 2007, I submitted a post titled “In Search of Aunt Thelma.” This post was regarding the story of my father’s search for a sister who he lost contact with back 60+ years ago. In this post I placed a photograph of her and my Dad. Move forward eleven months later when I was creating a slide presentation of my father’s life for his funeral.

During it’s creation, my mother subtly informed me that the photo in question which, unbeknown to her was also submitted in my blog, was not a photo of his sister but of his former girlfriend! Oh yah! Nothing like really screwing up here! Here I was about to place an ex-girlfriend of my father’s into the family line up at the funeral! It was bad enough that I made this mistake to the blogging world… Now I was about to redo this blunder to our family, friends and loved ones! Fortunately my mother was not the jealous type nor was she one without a sense of humour so I was off the hook so to speak. Whew!

I once was accused (and rightly so) of accidentally putting a photograph of a live person onto a memorial board that was displayed in public! Not good! Actually more than not good… It was really “friggen” bad especially considering the complaint came from the dead person who was not really dead but actually alive… if you catch my drift.

Now if you were to go back to that old post of mine from January 31, 2007, the photo you will see there is the correct version of my aunt. So… Sorry Aunt Thelma! Sorry Mum! Sorry Dad! Sorry all the other living people who I might have announced as dead over the years as well!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Great Memories

As I was cruising through the grocery store aisles on the weekend, I took a short cut through the baby food section to get to the meat deli. As I walked down the aisle, I couldn’t help but notice the Heinz baby food bottles which immediately reminded me of the days we used to buy all those bottles for our children shortly after they were born.

It constantly amazes me how little things like this can bring such a joy to our hearts as we reminisce about the good ol’ days where our kids thought that their parents were real life heroes… Now my kids know better! I remember the days when we used to feed our children more on their faces than in their mouths.

We taught our daughter certain American Sign Language signs before she actually started speaking. They became quite handy while we were feeding her since, with food in her mouth, she would have been unable to speak. If she wanted more, all she had to do was sign for “more.” If she was finished, she simply would sign “finished.”

There was one time when a baby sitter was feeding her when our daughter, having enough, signed “enough.” The babysitter not realizing what our daughter was saying continued to put the food into her mouth. Our daughter became quite upset until the sitter gave up feeding her. Later on, when we arrived home, the sitter reported to us this incident where we, upon laughing, explained to the sitter what our daughter was trying to communicate.

Memories… Memories that we will remember for a lifetime. Memories that will come to us at times when we least expect it. Looking at old photos, reminiscing in conversation or simply walking down a grocery store aisle…Great memories!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Hat For All Seasons

It was 11:38pm and I was ready to hit the hay but the curiosity got the better of me and I strolled over to my computer to check out a couple of your blogs. I noticed that I had received a new comment about my hat post and, once again, someone requested to see a photo of my ugly friggen lookin' hat on my head so, at almost a few minutes before midnight, here I was snapping a photo of me with this thing called a hat on my head.



I hope I don't live to regret this photo though I probably will!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

My Winter Hat

So… Now that most of the snow is gone and the sun actually shines hot, I suppose that it is time for me to put away my winter hat. Now this is no ordinary winter hat; it is a hat the fits well and feels good… No, it actually feels great. It’s not the type of hat that holds to your head snug making you feel like your hair is plastered down on your head or rips hair from your scalp. It is a hat that sits comfortably on your head, goes down on your ears and stays there with just the right tension.

It is also a very ugly hat! At least that is what most people tell me. Now, being the age that I am, other people’s comments do not bother me. All I know and all I care about is that my hat is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most comfortable hat around. As a matter of fact, it is also the piece of clothing I have owned longer than anything else I have worn. Forty years longer for that matter!

This hat is not one you would wear for styling. There is no real shape to it other than it fits my head shape to a “T.” My parents bought it for me while I was a young lad in Quebec, Canada. Back then and up there, the winter weather was brutal. A number of years later, after dad moved us to Ontario, Canada, I wore this winter hat during the bitter cold long distance runs we used to do during cross country training throughout the winter.

Nowadays, since I don’t wear hats too often, I don’t get the opportunity to wear hats as much but I still make sure that I don’t lose it though, during the times where I am unable to find it, I swear that someone in my family has hidden it or stolen it. I have a number of other hats but have no desire to wear them. Most of them have been gifts in hopes I would pitch out the old and welcome the new…No such luck!

This past winter, with the amount of snow we have received, I have spent many a warm time with it while shoveling the sidewalks. Last week, I had plans to put it away for the season but when I decided to get my hair buzzed, I needed to keep my head warm when the temperature dipped a little bit the other day. The way I figure it, it should be put into hibernation by the time the warm spring weather rolls around into the weekend. There will be no pomp or ceremony, just put away quietly until the blizzards of next winter come whistling through the neighbourhood.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

So They Say...

Now we all know that there are so many relationship problems in the world today and we all know that they say that two out of every three marriages end up in divorce but isn’t this going just a little too far? I am sure that there are a whole whack of marriage counsellors out there who would be willing to give their right arm to help such a marriage in distress… well… maybe in light of the headline above, the right arm analogy might not be the most appropriate but you get the idea!

Now believe it or not, the focus of this post has nothing really to do with the shark bait topic… I just wanted to bait you (groan!!) The real subject is the pronoun “they.” In the first sentence of this post I wrote that “they say that two out of every three marriages end up in divorce.” What I want to know is… “Who the heck are “they?” How many of us have seen commercials that say something like “two out of three doctors recommend BioFlush for your constipation?” What does that mean? Does it mean two out of every three doctors or two out of the only three doctors who were asked? Did they ask medical doctors? Dentists? Or Doctors of Philosophy? Kind of misleading isn’t it!

I suppose that credibility has a long way to go when it comes to selling a promise, a guarantee or a fact. Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of these snake oil companies that make claims that, in fact, are nothing but hollow promises and unsubstantiated “facts.” The other day, I watched a commercial where you strap on a vibrating belt to help you shed pounds right off of your waist! For heaven’s sake, didn’t they scoff that fact right out the window in the fifties?? Anybody knows the futility of spot reducing! But what did the commercial claim? “Five out of six personal trainers say that you can melt the pounds right off of your tummy by using this spot reducer for fifteen minutes a day.” As far as I am concerned, the product is nothing but a glorified personal vibrator! Besides, it would be a heck of a lot cheaper to hug a washing machine rather than buy one of these worthless pieces of exercise equipment (if you could call them that!!)

Now I can go on and on and on and on and….. Anyways you get the message. I could go on forever writing about these bogus claims but they all add up to the same thing…. They are all hogwash!

… At least that’s what they say!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Carnival Repair Man

Now I know that we all want summer but this is certainly pushing it!

Just on the other side of the fence where I have been parking at work for over the past eighteen years is an amusement company's ride repair facility. Throughout the spring and summer months, their parking lot is usually bare as most of the rides are lurking about at mall parking lots throughout the province of Ontario. In the fall, the parking lot is loaded with trucks bearing rides returning from their profit making racket. In the winter, the company moves the rides into their gargantuan facility in order to repair them. In the spring, the trucks return once more to cart the rides off to run the circuit once again. You can almost tell by what goes on across the way as to what season it is.

Just as it appeared that spring was just around the corner, a snow storm reared its ugly head and took away all hope for tomorrow. The storm was furious for a while to the point where I was worried as to how wet my clothes would become as the wet snow dumped on me on the way to my car.

As I walked through the stormy weather, my eyes caught a hold of something rather peculiar in the parking lot next door not to mention rather dangerous. High up on a tall Ferris wheel structure was a man fixing parts of the ride… in a friggin snow storm! I could hardly look up without drowning my eyes with flakes and here is this guy who looked to be in his fifties fixing this darn ride. Of all the things to do in a snow storm. I think it safe to say that Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board would have a hard time sanctioning such working practices had they witnessed what I had seen. Now I know that it is almost spring but c’mon folks, this is hardly justification for working under these conditions!

I stood there for awhile as I watched in shock. If I was a betting man, I would have bet good money that the chances that he might have fallen would have been high. Pulling my camera out of my car, I snapped a few shots because I have no doubt that you would have to see it to believe it. It was snowing so bad that I thought the snow would ruin my camera.

Anyways, evidently, the guy did not fall and the ride was fixed. Nothing like playing with fate! I’ll tell you one thing… You sure wouldn’t catch me up there… In good weather or bad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My 200th Post... Well, Actually my 201st!

Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, I have reached my 200th post. The experience of having you all read my thoughts day in and day out has been very much appreciated. All of your comments have meant so much to me.

When I compare the number of posts I have written to the number of posts in many of your blogs, 200 seems quite a low number and yet, to me, it represents a large part of my life over the last couple of yours. My posts are more like memoirs to me. Down the road, I want to be able to go back and read about what was going though my mind during those years of my life. I want my children and grandchildren to one day read their father’s and grandfather’s thoughts as he travelled through life and maybe learn just a little bit more of who I was and what I appreciated most about life.

In celebration of my 200th, I was going to make up a list of 200 things which I wanted to do before I die but when I got to number three, I all of a sudden realized that I wasn’t going to make much past three… well maybe if I stretched my mind a little further I might have reached ten but not much more. It was then I decided that, instead, I would repost what I consider to be my favourite post. It it such a favorite post of mine because the individual spoken about in this post represents what I would consider to be true love and dedication towards family in a world where many consider family secondary to things such as the success of the rat race in which we live. Now I know that four or five of you had already read it but since I enjoyed it so much, I can only hope that you might enjoy it once more as well. It is called “The Peanut Man” and it was originally posted on January 8th, 2007.

To all my blogging friends… Thanks for your friendship, thanks for your thoughts… I guess just plain thanks for everything!

The Peanut Man

Last August I visited my grandmother’s grave site at our local cemetery. During this visit, I noticed an elderly gentleman in his seventies walking across the cemetery with a bag of peanuts in his hand. By the strength of his gait, I could see that he was not merely wandering through but instead heading to a specific location. On the way, he would pick up fallen flowers arrangements and respectively place them back on their rightful headstones.

He finally stopped by a headstone that hid in between two cedar bushes. As he paused, he started up a conversation to what appeared to me to be with no one in particular. After a few minutes of observing this, what I incorrectly thought to be, “bizarre behaviour,” I finally realized that he was actually speaking to whoever was buried beneath this particular headstone. I didn’t have any idea as to who he was visiting but I was sure that whoever it was he must have been very close to.

Shortly after this brief conversation, he walked over to an old oak tree and proceeded to throw peanuts to the local grey squirrels. After this kind gesture, he turned around and headed back to his car. I got the feeling that feeding the squirrels was something that the person he was visiting used to do throughout their life and it only seemed like the right thing for him to do now that they were gone.

About a month later, I returned to the cemetery only to once again find this gentleman walking across the cemetery with a bag of peanuts in his hand. It was as if I was in a state of déjà vu. After the conversation at the gravesite, he again fed the squirrels and then promptly left as before. Up to date, I have seen this gentleman six times and each time, he follows the same routine.

Often, when a relative of ours departs this earth, we attend a funeral in their honour and return to our homes after the interment. For some of us, we may visit on a weekly basis, others annually while others never. I suppose that our visiting frequency of the grave site would depend on the relationship that we had with the person now deceased. Regarding this gentleman that I observed, it would appear to me that he was extremely close to the individual he was regularly visiting. I cannot help but assume that he felt some sort of comfort in conversing with this deceased individual.

Yesterday, while taking some photographs for another headstone blog that I was working on, I observed this gentleman yet again silently in conversation with whoever he felt such an attachment to. I would have loved to approach him and ask him as to whom he visited every week but fearing that I would be invading his privacy, I chose to silently observe off at a distance. After he left, I approached the grave site that he so religiously attended to get a better idea of who he had been visiting. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was probably his parents who were there resting in peace.

I can only imagine how much this seventy plus year old gentleman loved them and how much he missed them. If each of us could love our friends and family in life just a fraction as much as he loved them in death, our homes would be a much happier place to live and our lives so much richer. When I think back on all the times I witnessed this gentleman, the word that most often comes to me is "precious." How precious can one's love be for another!

Just after I snapped this photograph, I watched him as he kissed two fingers on his right hand and then lightly touch the headstone. If I was close enough, I am sure that his parting words to the ones he loved so much would be...

"Goodbye Mom and Dad, I will see you next week.”

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Reason For the Season

A few minutes ago, I wrote a post celebrating my 200th posting. I even posted it in pride thinking that Easter Sunday was such an appropriate day to post my 200th. A few minutes later, I got to thinking about the “reason for the season” when it suddenly occurred to me how shallow I was for thinking that my 200th post was more important than what God did for us a couple of thousand years ago by sending His son to earth to die for our sins.

Now I know that many of you may not believe in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ but yet, as a Christian, I feel compelled to announce to the world… well, at least a few of you out there, what it is that I believe makes Easter such a special time of the year. To me, Easter gives us the opportunity to celebrate and remember that “God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Now I am not going to preach to you about how important it is to further study the words to what many of us call the Road To Salvation but I will tell you this… I believe in what John 3:16 says and I believe in whatever else the Bible shows us and I truly hope that one day, you will have the opportunity to experience what many of us have experienced… God’s love and grace bestowed upon us.

So… To all of you… Have yourself a Happy and blessed Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Games Old People Play

I was at the doctor's office the other day when I came across this pinned up on the bulletin board... I thought I would share this with you.

Games Old People Play

1. Sag, you're It.
2. Hide and go pee.
3. 20 questions shouted into your good ear.
4. Kick the bucket
5. Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says Bend Over.
6. Musical recliners.
7. Simon says something incoherent.
8. Pin the Toupee on the bald guy.

Is this what I have to look forward to? Well, if it is, I think I am going to give up the ghost a lot earlier than planned!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yesterday, I Cut Up My MasterCard

According to Wikipedia, "Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorized funds from an account. Credit card fraud is also an adjunct to identity theft."

Time and time again, we read in the media how billions of dollars are lost each year to credit card and debit card scams. Experts lecture us on why it is so important to protect not only your identity but also your credit security... and do we listen? Well many do but not all.

It is almost like the times we read in our newspapers how a house burnt down without smoke detectors and then, the home owner places detectors in the house after it is fixed up. It is also like a smoker who quits smoking after they are diagnosed with lung cancer. I recall my father often saying that "there is no point in closing the barn doors after the horses have all escaped."

...Anyways, back to the topic at hand.

Well, I am that type of person who does not listen to the experts. I have never been really careful in protecting my financial security. I haven't been keeping a close eye on my credit card and bank statements nor have I been that careful in making sure my smoke detectors' batteries are replaced twice a year. I do not smoke, however so I guess that one out of three isn't bad though it certainly isn't good!

Now, fortunately, my house hasn't burnt to the ground yet and so I can get a jump on replacing my batteries but I came pretty close to major financial problems since I used my MasterCard at a local restaurant where their credit and debit keypads were rigged to skim customer information. Now according to the news reports, some customers have lost hundreds and thousands of dollars because of this. Fortunately their financial institutions will replace their loss. Now, I was fortunate that the local news reported this issue because had they not, I would never have realized that there had been a breach and if I was ripped off, I might not have noticed since I didn't used to properly protect myself... Now I do! I contacted my credit card company and they immediately cancelled my current card and asked me to immediately cut it up. I did.

So... If you do not take the necessary precautions, take them now. If you do not regularly check your smoke detector batteries, do so now. If you smoke... I trust that you will do what it takes to live a long and happy life!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pen Pals

Back during the mid seventies I had a number of pen pals. I always found writing to people around the world fascinating as it opened the doors to countries where I figured that I probably would never have the opportunity to visit. Just receiving a letter in the mail with stamps from places such as Sweden, Italy, France and Jamaica would literally make my day!

Most of the pen pals I had were female which is very similar to my blogging friends. I suppose ever since the dawn of time, this type of activity was more geared towards the female gender.

Most of my pen pal friends never really lasted that long. It seemed that most of them wanted to visit me or share with me information that I really didn’t want to know about. I suppose that this was a “female thing”… At least it was with the females I corresponded with (I had better watch what I say!) Who knows. The girl from France wanted to visit me while she was at the Montreal Olympics with her parents … Zapped that one! The Italian girl wanted me to start writing her love letters… Burnt that letter! The Swedish girl asked me to send her photos of my male friends… Sent her photos of a bunch of ugly guys instead! Really ugly! The Jamaican girl told me all about her “time of the month” as well as her bust size, hips size, waist size… Shredded that one!

Move ahead six years…

While in university, a letter arrived in my mailbox from the Jamaican girl. Now by this time in my life, I was out of the pen pal phase and the last thing I expected was to find a pen pal letter in my mailbox. Also, considering the fact that I was 900+ miles away from home and in a different country, I couldn’t figure out how she got a hold of my address… Thanks Dad!!! Fortunately she didn’t go into anymore personal detail about her bodily functions or physical sizes but she did want to visit me. I never did reply to that letter and have not heard from her since! Whew!

The other month, while sifting through some old junk in my basement, I came across my stamp album which I blogged about recently. In this stamp book of mine, I came across an old envelope from this particular Jamaican girl. I suppose I kept it for the stamps. It’s amazing how such a simple thing can bring back so many memories!

Now that I am in my forties, it seems that I still enjoy “letters” from friends around the world. Who would have thought that I would be corresponding with them through computers on a daily basis! Back then in the seventies, we didn’t even have personal computers! How things have changed! Hopefully, unlike my pen pal experience, the experience of blogging will live on for many years to come… Just please don’t anyone send me your personal information… unless you want me to disappear!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Old Friends

Every once in awhile, I get a hankering to try and track down my old friends from days gone by. Now, please keep in mind that the "Friends" characters in the photo to the left are not the "old friends" I am speaking about as they are simply just an example of what I am speaking about. I could only wish I were that popular... then again... maybe not.

I have memories of friends from my old high school, my old church youth group not to mention from my old university days in the state of Tennessee. Now if this were before the advent of sites such as Google (Go Google!), the chances of me tracking down these authors of my old memories would have been an exercise in futility.

So... Yesterday, instead of banging on my drum, I was perusing through Google plus other avenues in search of an old youth pastor of mine, and old really good female friend from university as well as a couple of male buddies from university as well. Please keep in mind that the term "old" was used to describe not the people involved but instead the fact that they were associated with me many moons ago and so "yep," a few misplaced modifiers there!

I chose these individuals to search because of what they meant to me over the years. Dean, my youth pastor back in the seventies was someone I looked up to. He never made us feel that we were ever a burden to him or just a job that he was being paid to do. He loved being around us and it showed. I can't really recall any specific experiences with him and our youth group but I will never forget him simply because he made me feel important to him.

Kelly, my friend in university was someone who accepted me and loved me for who I was. We were never in a relationship but quite simply... we were "buds." Randy, Larry and David were three compadres who, though were much older than I, were guys who didn't choose their friends based on their age or status. Randy and Larry were two bosses of mine while David was a co-worker.

So far, I have tracked down two of them. My former youth pastor is now pastoring a church in the state of New York while Kelly is a physiotherapist in the state of New Mexico. David got back to me to inform me that he was not the "David" that I was looking for. Hopefully Randy and Larry will resurface as well.

So... Why do I go back in time and try to renew old acquaintances? I am not really sure other than the fact that I really appreciated them back then and maybe, just maybe, they could do with a friendly face every once in awhile letting them know that they were and still are appreciated. I know that when someone from my past makes contact, I appreciate it!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Winter From Hell

Well, according to Environment Canada, we received approximately 40 centimetres (16 inches) of snow overnight. What's with that?? Isn't it supposed to be just about Spring time? Aren't the birds supposed to be singing amongst the trees by now? Aren't we supposed to be buying Easter Lillie's real soon? But "oh no!" ... we can't just have a normal decent March break now can we! We 'gotta' get dumped on... for the 'umpteenth time this winter. We have had more snow in February and March combined than any other year since 12000 BC... I swear!

Late last night my son and I got the jump on shovelling. We could have started earlier but we couldn't find one of the snow shovels underneath the gargantuan layer of snow. I then went into the trunk of my car to get another shovel when the car alarm went of. It took me a good a good minute and a half of 11:30pm horn blaring to clear off the car to get into it to turn of the alarm. I was not impressed and neither was my neighbour who was peering out his upstairs bedroom window. I waved to him... He just turned around and went back to bed.

After an hour or so of shovelling, we called it quits and headed back in but not before we cleared a part of the deck at the back of the house for our low-bellied dachshund. Once in, I hot the hay and slept like a baby until 9:15am.

Damn! That was not 9:15! Yes sir folks! I forgot about... yep... you know it... Daylight Savings Time! Once more, an opportunity to be not impressed! So at 10:30am, I went outside, finished off the rest of the shovelling and then took a few photos.

So... Thus starts my day!

Friday, March 07, 2008

No Longer Mild Mannered?

For those of you who know Cheryl, know that, though she cannot leap tall buildings nor fly faster than a speeding bullet, she, like Clark Kent/Superman, is quite mild mannered. It takes a lot to get her going but recently, the tide has been changing.

Over the period of what seems like forever, Cheryl has been fighting with Dell Computers over the problem with her laptop. On countless occasions she has tried to get this problem solved and, though Dell has promised to take care of this problem promptly, they have failed to do so. Now I cannot say as to whether or not this is par for this company and though I haven't had this problem with them, there is no excuse that she should have to go through this mess.

As I have read through her posts, I simply cannot understand why she has yet to start publicly swearing... I really believe that I would possibly find myself in that position if I were in her shoes. I 'gotta' give you credit... You have the patience of a ... well... umm... I'm not really sure but, never-the-less, you have a heck of a lot of patience! Anyways... I have posted this video to let you know that you are not alone!

P.S. We all really hope that your laptop woes disappear!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thinking Outside the Box Award

Over these past few days, I have been battling a cold, a pain and a few other things I suppose and so I have been away from my computer. As a matter of fact, I didn't even touch this keyboard yesterday. I didn't realize it until I happened to check my email this morning and discovered a couple of emails I should have responded to yesterday... So here I am, feeling a little better and more awake and raring to go... well, not really raring just maybe attempting to get on the ball.

I spent a fair bit of time reading your comments regarding the new design of my blog and I have to say that I truly appreciate each and every comment. The thing that I heard most was the difficulty in reading on a black background. I suppose that it never occurred to me that this would be the case but now that I do know, I can look at other alternatives. It took me quite a while for me to come up with this colour scheme and design and so I hope that you will bear with me until I can try different alternatives.

One of our fellow bloggers came up with a solution...Greeneyes said...
"... if anyone has difficulty seeing on the black... they can highlight, with their mouse, the section they are going to read and read it in reverse (same way if one were going to copy )."

Now there's a smart cookie if I have ever seen one! I would never have thought of that on my own. I tried to find Greeneyes a "Thinking Outside the Box" Award but couldn't find one and so I made one up. So Greeneyes... Congratulations on your award!!



Next week is March Break for the students here in Ontario and so, as a teacher, I have the week off as well. I look forward to a little rest and relaxation in this the coldest winter in the past few years and the most snow during this time of the season in the past 50+ years! ... And if you were wondering... No, I will not be playing in the snow!!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Welcome To My New Design! Waddya Think?

Yes... After sixteen months of blogging In My Head, I have decided to blog out loud by Banging on My Drum. To me, blogging is therapeutic. Quite often, I ramble back to some of my old posts and laugh out loud while other times I cry. On days I feel down and out, I return to the posts I have written about my children and then I don't feel so bad.

Over the past number of months, I have experimented with different designs. I wanted to have one that best fit my mood and disposition. I think I may have found one that fits me to a tee... then again... I suppose that determination will be left up to you. I sincerely want and need your input since you will be reading it... Don't worry, I can take constructive critisism. If you hate it... Tell me please.

So... I am still the same ol' Dave with the same ol' attitude and quirky sense of humour so please don't strike me off your list thinking that I am someone else!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

rUNNING oUT oF tIME!

As you may have noticed, it appears that I haven't been around the "blogging table" over the last few days. Though it may appear this way, appearance isn't everything. I have been around... It's just that I haven't been around writing. With the way my schedule has been recently, I have only had the time to read and not write. This includes writing my posts as well as writing comments on all of your blog posts. Over the past few months, I have also been unable to respond to the many great comments that you make simply because of time constraints. I have, however, been reading all of my favourite blogs as well as other ones that I have yet to take the time and display as one of my favourites.

While I was in high school, I never took keyboarding and so, when I write, it takes me so much longer than the fluent keyboardist. I watch my kids keyboard and I grow green with envy. Someday I will take the time to teach myself... Har! Har! Har!... Boy am I funny! That will never happen! Can't teach an old dog new tricks! My dog can probably type faster than I.

Another thing that slows me down is when I have to enter those security words after every comment I submit. What's with these words anyways?? What language are they? I don't even think that they are Klingon! ZHERYEZ or ONRQFGTH ... Why can't they give us easy words to spell like CAT or DOG or BLOGGER. I swear I never get it correct on the first try... or the second try for that matter. What language are they anyways?? Sheesh! And the fonts they use... Why can't they use Keyboard fonts? C'mon Blogspot staff... gimme a break!

aNOTHER THIING THAT TAKES UP MUCH OF MY TIME IS THAT, SINCE i HAVE TO LOOK AT THE KEYBOARD TO TYPE, i FAIL TO REALIZE THAT MY caps BUTTON IS ON UNTIL i HAVE FINISHED TYPING UP A STORM... nOW that REALLY RIPS MY SHORTS! gRRRR!!!!!! There are other times when I look up only to discover that NOTHING was registering on the screen.

So there you have it... My time constraints are getting the best of me to the point that I am running out of time to submit comments, responses or even posts. I do promise, however, that I will always make it a priority to read what you write in your posts and your comments. I am getting pretty frustrated at times which only makes me think that maybe Mavis Beacon can help me after all.

Who knows... Maybe I am a lost cause after all!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

How Do I Get Myself In These Messes?!?

I sent the following joke to a female friend of mine via email.

To: "Smith, Sue" <smith60404@msp.com> (name and email address changed)

Subject: Hi Sue, I thought of you when I read this...
____________________________________________

"Two bored casino dealers are waiting at the crap table.A very attractive blonde woman from Alabama arrived ....and bet twenty-thousand dollars on a single roll of the dice. She said, "I hope you don't mind, but I feel much luckier when I play topless."With that, she stripped to the waist; rolled the dice; and yelled,"Come on, baby.... Southern Girl needs new clothes!" As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up-and-down... and squealed... "YES! YES! I WON! I WON!"She hugged each of the dealers... and then picked up her winnings and her clothes, and quickly departed. The dealers stared at each other dumfounded.Finally, one of them asked, "What did she roll?" The other answered, "I don't know...I thought you were watching."

Well the joke was pretty funny but it wasn't the joke that was the problem... It was the Subject line. You see... Sue in a large chested female who loves going to the Casino and when I put in the Subject line that "I thought of you when I read this," she took it that I was thinking of her as topless when in fact I was simply thinking of her as being in the casino! I quickly explained what it was I was referring to hoping that my explanation would smooth things over and fortunately it did... Whew! Anyways, I feel much better now that I explained things to her. After she realized the misunderstanding, she shook her head and laughed... An embarrassed laugh none the less. I just hope she really believes me though knowing me the way she does, I doubt it!... Naw, I think she does!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sick Days


So... I am planning to call in sick tomorrow. Though I really just need the afternoon off to attend a couple of medical appointments, I am very tempted to simply take the whole day off. I probably won't though... weather is not good enough!

I have always figured that the best time to take a sick day is when you are not sick and that way you could really enjoy your sick days off when you are well. Besides... if you are really sick, go to work, laze around and get paid for it! How easy could life be? Don't worry about your co-workers; they will do their part by staying away from you when you are sick at work and thereby giving you all the quiet you need. Also, I can say with all assurance, that your boss will be very impressed with your level of dedication to the company. So there you go... a system that works for you!

Just be sure that when you do take a healthy sick day off, you stay at home. For example, don't go shopping because that is a sure way to get caught by your employer. A friend of mine once told me about someone at his work who called in sick to travel from Ontario, Canada all the way to Ohio, USA to go Christmas shopping only to run into her boss who was in Ohio on holiday. Was not a good scene I am sure!

Now if you really do need to go shopping, go to a Wal Mart or some other large department store so that if you do get seen there, you could tell them that you were in the pharmacy department buying Pepto Bismol or something. Speaking about Pept Bismol... Has anyone seen this commercial?



What's with this??? This dancing lady does not encourage me to buy that pink stuff! This, no doubt, is one of my most hated commercials. As a matter of fact, every one of these Pepto Bismol commercials, are, without a shadow of a doubt my most hated commercials!

So, what did we learn today boys and girls? The next time you are sick... Take a pill and a pillow to work and use those sick days when you are raring to go! Hmmmm.... I sure hope my employer doesn't read this blog!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Great White North

I remember back in the early eighties, as a Canadian, going to university in the Southern United States. I had many a great experience while attending school there for four years and made many good friends. Over the years, I have lost contact with most of them but my memories of them will live on forever.

As a Canadian, I was often asked numerous questions about Canada. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Canadian history or geography weren’t in the American high school curriculum, most American’s were fairly uninformed about us Canadians. As a result, we were asked many questions that, to this day, we still laugh about. We were asked as to who our king and queen were, do we live in igloos, what we do when a polar bear comes near to us, do we have cars… and so on.

Quite often, we Canadians would have a little fun with our American counterparts as well. We told them that Canadian chickens had fur instead of feathers since it was so cold. We told them that we had to canoe to the border where we took a bus or plane to get to school. We told them that all we ate was seal meat. We would tell them that instead of pet dogs, we had pet lions and tigers.

While living in Chattanooga, TN, we heard in the news about some guy who was biking on a ten speed all the way from Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America all the way to Alaska. As he was making his way through Tennessee, he was interviewed by the local news media. During that interview he was asked about how he has adjusted with the many different cultures he has passed through and how he expects to adjust as he makes his way into Canada. “Adjusts as he makes his way into Canada??” I said to my buddies as we watched this interview. “Where does he think he is going to be when he hits the Canada-USA border!?!... the Ozarks??” However, it wasn’t the question that blew my mind, it was his answer.

“Well, I don’t think there should be much of a problem since I have a fair idea what to expect by watching Bob and Doug McKenzie.” Bob and friggen Doug McKenzie?? He is judging me and 32 million other Canadians by watching the McKenzie Brothers??? Now, I have to admit that these “two brothers” who are actually two comedians from the popular Canadian show SCTV, certainly didn’t give us Canadians a good name but c’mon… did the world really see us Canadians this way? Sheesh!

We never really lived down this new found reputation that we blamed the McKenzie Brothers for and had to settle with hopefully people forgetting these two clowns. Despite this connection, we all secretly loved these two guys and to this day, call the land of Canada the "Great White North." Check out the video on our two famous and one time favourite Canadian sons.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Health Update

Thanks to all of you who wished me well regarding my recent episode in the hospital. Since the other day in the hospital, I have had no more "heart flipping" in my chest. It appears that the meds are doing their job. The docs drew enough blood out of me in order to test my heart ten times over and they say that there is nothing wrong with my heart at all except for the wiring regulating the beats. There are a few things that occurred that day which makes me think that this was just a random occurrence that won't happen again and therefore I won't have to stay on the meds and so I am going to be planning on discussing this with my doctor next week.

The specialist at the hospital told me that this episode had nothing to do with genetics nor lifestyle but that this just "happens" for unknown reasons.

Again, thanks for all your prayers and shown concerns. I will keep you up to date.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Yesterday I Was In the Hospital

Well I never imagined that as I went to bed Thursday night that I would find myself in the hospital 16 hours later. I woke up Friday morning and immediately felt a fluttering in my chest. It sort of caught me by surprise and as the day went on, it did not disappear. My blood pressure was also higher than usual and my heart rate a lot faster than it should be. I went to my doctor’s and he sent me to a specialist in the hospital. They hooked me up to a heart monitor where I stayed hooked up until around 9:30pm. They finally released me after my blood pressure decreased and my heart rate slowed down. They sent me packing with a couple of new prescriptions to add to my already increasing repertoire of meds.

I was neither happy nor impressed. “Old age” is really starting to tick me off! I am only 47 years old and I am already on a ton of meds. When is it going to end? I now have meds for my heart rate, meds for my blood pressure plus a multitude of meds for other things as well. Sheesh! I feel like a walking medicine cabinet!

I got home around 10pm. I hadn’t eaten all day, I was hungry and dehydrated. My blood pressure was probably much lower than it should be since they pumped me with all types of meds. I was very tired. After running up and down the stairs a number of times in order to accomplish a few things I wanted to do before I got to bed, I almost passed out and finally flaked out on the couch where I remained there until this morning. I had already experienced “almost passing out” a number of years ago and, believe me, it’s not a good feeling!

And so now I have to worry about an irregular heart beat. It seems now that the only good beat I have is not going to work and banging on the drum all day! Speaking about not going to work… This Monday is a new holiday called “Family Day.” It seems that the provincial government has instituted a holiday in February to combat the doldrums of winter. Well… They sure got my vote on that one. I suppose this extra day off is also an opportunity for me to get a good rest.

So here I sit all depressed with the state of my health. I suppose that there is a positive side to all of this. I could have had a stroke instead of this little warning. The docs say that this condition is not genetic and could occur simply in anybody and has nothing to do with lifestyle. Well, if improved health means taking a few extra meds then so be it.

So there you go! That is how I spent the last 24 hours of my life.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Son, His Girlfriend and His Grandfather

I have a seventeen year old son who generally walks around with a perma-grrrr on his face. According to my daughter, he is known to walk around school without even the remotest smile upon his face. He remains pretty much to himself. When his mother and I talk to him, he very seldom responds with much more than a nod or shake of the head and even then it is only a slight movement. He has never been one to become overly emotional or caring… until recently.

This past December, during the last few hours which my father was alive, my family and I were at his bedside. During this time, while my daughter and I stepped out to pick up something to eat and drink at the hospital coffee shop, my son asked if his mother would step outside the room as he wanted to be alone with his grandfather who was unconscious at the time. Upon stepping out of the room, she observed, through the glass doors, our son turning to his grandfather and proceeded to quietly speak to him and stroke his arm. After a short while, he leaned over and gave him a kiss.

Observing this brought tears to her eyes. I so wished that I could have observed my son during this time of final farewells. I wish I was there. It was a side to him that we had never seen before. Though I have often wondered what it was that he spoke to his grandfather about, I will never ask as it was something, no doubt, which was personal to him. One day when the opportunity arises, I will, however, reassure my son that, though his grandfather was unconscious, I am confident that he heard each and every word that he shared with him.

These past couple of months, he has been dating this young lady by the name of Autumn. It is amazing how love can bring out the best in someone. We have seen this quiet, reserved young man transform into the most caring and attentive individual that we have ever seen. If there ever was time where I needed an example of how someone can affect another’s life, it is here.

Last night, my son and his mother prepared a Valentine’s Day supper for him and his girlfriend who is a vegan. This morning he was up at the crack of dawn baking her some blueberry muffins. This evening, he will be serving her vegan lasagna on our finest china and utensils. Now to most of you, making lasagna may be quite easy and inexpensive but when you factor in that you can’t have any meat, milk or any other animal products, it can get a little more difficult and costly… But he pulled it off.

So… tonight, I will make myself scarce as he shares his Valentine's Day meal with his girlfriend. His mother is staying at home, though well out of the way, just in case there is a food crisis.

I often wondered how my son would turn out and just recently, I think I now have a fair idea judging from the brief glimpses of him and I must say that I am very pleased!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where's Your Romantic Spirit?!?

I can’t believe how many cynics are out there! Man alive! I have just spent the last couple of hours reading blogs from people who think that Valentine’s Day is nothing but a sham… a way to extort money out of you… A means by which flower companies shrink your financial worth while there product grows. What’s with you guys (and gals!)??? Aw c’mon! How could you ever think such a thing!?!?

Here are some of the words that have rolled across my screen as I poured over my favorite blogs:

“But if you’re into it, more power to you, and remember: Nothing says I love you like saturated fat and slutty lingerie.”

"Today is Valentine's Day, the day for lovers, the day where you're supposed to send a sappy card, pay 3x the price for a dozen of roses that have no scent whatsoever, buy chocolates or cheesy lingerie (red thong covered with hearts... yes, very thoughtful) and if you're really in the money, take her to dinner."

"I have to say right off the top that I don't believe in Valentine's Day… Valentines Day, above all other days of the year, has the potential to make you feel like a million dollars or the most worthless piece of dog doo on this earth."

… And these were just for starters! (I do want to make mention however, that I am in no way Criticizing any of the fine bloggers who I have just quoted as this is just a fun blog with absolutely no malice intended so please don't be hatin' me.)

Man alive! Here I was looking forward to reading some thoughts all about love and then I go and read this?? Here I was looking forward to swimming in the waft of romance only to find out that I have to drown myself in a lake of Zoloft??

C’mon folks! Where is your romance…? Live a little! Even if it is only for one day in a year! Live a little!

Well, please don’t lynch me from your non-required blog reading okay? I just wanted to be happy today! Now look at me… I love lingerie (not me wearing it of course!) and I love what chocolates might be able to get you on Valentine’s Day (other than overweight!) and I love sending roses (especially the short stemmed ones on sale!) and what’s wrong with those red thongs anyways! The hearts on them only tell someone that they love you! C’mon… get with it!

Well, if you aren’t going to follow me on this wave (though small it may be!) of Valentine’s Day excitement, I am going to go it alone by posting very romantic video honouring lovers all over the world! This video truly depicts the true meaning of love and romance! (GULP!)


I would like to thank Lone Grey Squirrel for inspiring me to choose this truly inspirational video!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hey Sugar Cookie! What's my Fortune?

We had Chinese food the other night from the Bei Jing Chinese Food Take Out just down the road from where we live. We ordered our usual dinner for four consisting of Chow Mein, Fried Rice, Kung Pao Chicken, Moo Goo Gai Pan plus a couple of other items on the menu.

Now we all know that no matter what you order, you will always get those fortune cookies which you crack into at the end of your meal. It’s like…you know… tradition… You never really pay for them but if you didn’t get them, you’d be pretty ticked off because you just need to find out your fortune!

I always get a kick out of seeing if the fortunes I receive are at all accurate. Most of my family doesn’t pay any attention to cracking open the cookies and, since I can’t just throw them away, I get to receive all the good fortunes!

Here are the four fortunes I received after my meal:

1) Flattery will go far tonight - Flattery huh! Well that one sure didn’t work out!

2) Do not mistake temptation for opportunity – Well this one was sure correct.

3) Your creativity will take you to unexpected places – It constantly amazes me how my creativity has taken me to unexpected places. My creative flair in the meal I cooked yesterday unexpectedly took me to Pizza Hut after my creative flair produced some pretty creative comments from my kids right before the food was slid into the trash can!

4) Your present plans are going to succeed – Well, that would be the best news yet since my plan is to make a ton of cold hard cash and to live to one hundred in order to enjoy it.

I once heard of some guy by the name of Joe Wang who worked at a Chinese fortune cookie manufacturing company writing fortunes. He said that the fortunes he wrote had to be approved by the company’s Fortune Approval Committee and that over the years, for various reasons, the Fortune Approval Committee rejected certain fortunes citing them as tasteless. He secretly collected these rejected fortunes and later wrote a book with them in it. Here are a few of the tasteless fortunes:

1) Your mother-in-law will marry into your side of the family
2) From your cell, you will be able to see the exercise yard
3) The lawyer will get everything you own
4) The fire will start downstairs

Well… those, though very hilarious, is about as tasteless as the fortune cookie itself! So the next time you crack open that fortune cookie, hopefully it will tell you that “you will soon gain something you have always wanted” instead of “losing your mind will make the phantom limb syndrome go away!”

Have a great day y’all!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Nine Dumb Ass Things I Have Done!

When I think about some of the “dumb ass” things that I have done over the years, I cringe and wonder what the heck I was thinking about when I did them. Throughout my life I have found ways to embarrass myself in ways that most people would never find themselves in. Below are nine things I wish that I never did listed from the least regrettable to the most regrettable.

9. Ate that Spanish onion

The object of the game was to, while blindfolded, pull something out of the sack and eat it. So here I was feeling around in the sack hoping to find an apple or something round and safe to eat. Being a relay event, I was in such a rush to pull something out that I ended up with this Spanish onion instead of what I thought was an apple. My stomach paid the price for days to come. Why couldn’t the kid who selected the Oreo cookies end up with the friggen onion!

8. Dialed that long distance number into my cell phone while driving on black ice.

A few years ago while driving home, I slid into the back of a pickup truck while trying to dial a long distance number on my cell phone. Needless to say, the damage to my car was rather extensive. Lesson learned. Now my driving is priority and my radio, cell phone and coffee cup are not.

7. Blared my horn at the little old lady who turned out to be my mother’s good friend.

Back when I was much younger, it didn’t take much to blare on the horn when, in my estimation, some other driver wasn’t “towing the line.” Just as I hit the horn from behind her car and gesticulated in a fashion that would scare even the toughest old lady, I realized that it was my mother’s good friend. Needless to say, she was not overly impressed with me but fortunately she didn’t recognize me.

6. Skipped that last gas station

It was 2:30am in the morning when I passed that last gas station on the Interstate 75 in Ohio with only a half a tank of fuel. By the time I was at empty, I had yet to locate an open gas station in the wee hours of the morning. I ended up sleeping in my car until about 7am when a Petro Canada station just across the Canadian border opened up for service. My mistake cost me about 3 hours of travel time.

5. Left my guitar under a spot light prior to performing with it in front of a room full of Rotarians.

My sister and I used to perform in front of different churches and groups of people. With her on her accordion and me on my guitar, we would eek out a few tunes. Hopefully on a good day, people would recognize the songs, smile and clap more out of pity than enjoyment.

There was one time, in front of some important Rotarians, when I picked up my guitar and started playing it only to realize that, due to basking my guitar in front of a hot spotlight, my strings were way out of tune. It was not only a disaster but also the last time I ever played that thing in front of anybody. What a nightmare!

4. Walking up to a cute female friend of my sister’s and shaking the tar out of her only realize that it wasn’t her.

While in high school… walked up to her from behind, grabbed her by the shoulders and shook real hard… Wrong person… Not a good experience… Need I say more?

3. Kicking the foot of an old friend of mine only to find out that it wasn’t her.

You would have thought I would have learned from the shoulder shaking incident!

2. Numbering my speech’s cue cards with roman numerals

I really don’t know why I did it but for some unintelligent reason I numbered my cue cards for my speech with roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V and so on.) So there I was standing in the front of my grade eight class when I realized that my cards were all out of whack. The speech was about a scouting trip from Ontario to Pennsylvania. I was all over the scope. First I was in eating my hotdog, then I was cooking it, I woke up before I went to sleep… Everything was out of order. The class was as confused as I was. Needless to say, I didn’t win that speech competition!

1. Passing a love note, with spelling mistakes, to my girlfriend

Oh! Ohh! Ohhh! No!! Don’t ever do this! I had just met this cute girl while at university and within a few weeks we were hitched. One day while in class, I passed her a “love note” with the following message… “Hi Sweaty!” I watched as she opened it hoping to observe her blush at my complimentary words when instead she shot a glare at me that would annihilate anything and everything in its path. It was there and then that I learned that the correct way to spell it was “Sweety!”

So there you go… Believe it or not, I had a difficult time paring my list down to nine. I don’t know about you but I think that becoming a hermit is probably the best way for me to cease and desist from any other dumb ass things that I may do. Sheesh!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Don't Wanna Work I Just Wanna Bang on the Drum All Day

Well... Yet once again, today is a snow day for all our schools in the county and beyond. I swear that I have spent less time teaching this month than any other January of my teaching career. Today we woke up to a ton of rain and slush which our weather forecasters predicted would freeze by mid afternoon. Now, as a professional, I should be more concerned about the school days that my students are missing but between you and I, I am just as happy to be off school as they are. The only thing my son hates about snow days is that whenever he is off, his "old man" is off as well. Oh well Son, you can't have everything right? Right!

When I get days off like this, I often think of the song written by Todd Rundgren titled "Bang on the Drum." The part of the lyrics that reflect my thoughts on a day like this are:

"I Don't Want To Work,
I Just Want To Bang On The Drum All Day
I Don't Want To Play,
I Just Want To Bang On The Drum All Day"

Well, though I think I can hammer out a pretty mean beat with my hands, I certainly don't know how to really play the drums but regardless of that, whether it be banging with my hands or my head in thinking, I would much rather have a day off work doing it rather than banging off a lesson in my classroom. ("Hmmm...... What are people starting to think of me now!")

The other day, I read Gypsy's post on the hit TV show LOST and then when I was looking for the music video "Bang on the Drum," I found the song to a LOST theme video and so I had to post this one in honour of a good blogging friend. So the next time you don't want to work but instead bang on a drum all day or on anything else that you fancy, remember this song! Enjoy!


Monday, February 04, 2008

So here I was the other day cleaning my basement out...

Every so often, in order to move around in my basement, I have to take out the shovel and shovel out the "stuff" that we no longer need nor use. Now usually that consists of old boxes, too small or worn out clothes, old newspapers and so forth. This time, however, I decided to get a little adventurous and go on an archaeological dig into the shelves under the stairs and clear out stuff I hadn't seen for a good decade. I had no idea what I was going to find but what the heck... I thought that maybe I could find something of value to sell on eBay.

So here I was in my archaeologist blue jeans and t-shirt along with a beer for sustenance hoping to get lucky... well, not THAT lucky!

Choosing to work my way from top to bottom, I climbed up to the upper most shelf and pulled down an old binder of some sorts wrapped up in a padded envelope. Dusting off the envelope, I proceeded to tear it open and pull out what I thought was going to be an old high school binder when to my surprise what I actually discovered was my old stamp album I didn't even know I had anymore.

Back when I was just a lad of about eight years old, I, like many other boys and girls collected stamps. Nowadays, stamp collecting is not as popular as it once was and therefore, it doesn't even occur to boys and girls how fascinating this hobby could be.

I remember my weekend trips down to the local stamp collector and spending some of my hard earned money for that special stamp. I collected mostly Canadian, British, Indian, Australian and American stamps as these were the countries that most of our friends and relatives came from. I did, however, collect from many other countries as well.

Around the age of 16 when I was heavily into girls sports, my interest for stamp collecting waned but my desire to preserve my collection did not. As a result, I now still have a piece of my childhood with me to pass on to my children or future grandchildren one day. This stamp collection of mine will always be a good part of my memories and will continue to do so.

While flipping through the pages, I came across one of my favorite Canadian stamps and immediately thought of Josie and her interest in artists and paintings and I am sure that if you ask her as to who painted the picture on the stamp she would immediately tell you that it was Tom Thompson from the Group of Seven. I also came across an appropriate "LGS" Malaysian stamp while looking around on the net and wouldn't you know it... it is of a flying squirrel! So Lone Grey Squirrel, "this one's for you!"

So now that I have made this “discovery of historical proportions,” I have decided to not sell it on eBay but instead place it back into the envelope from whence it came, place it back on the uppermost shelf and save it for a rainy day when my future grandchildren come over for a visit. Come to think of it, maybe they won't even know what stamps are by then! Who knows!

Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Favorite Commercials

I have often enjoyed watching the commercials during the Superbowl more than the Superbowl itself. Over the years some of the most popular as well as the most expensive to make commercials were aired during this time. These commercials, though costing millions to make as well as millions to air brought in revenue far surpassing the amount put out to produce them.

My favourite Superbowl commercial is not one of the famous Budweiser commercials, neither is it one of the Ford Motor Company nor Coke commercials, but instead the following commercial.

Ironically, though I thoroughly enjoy Superbowl commercials, a non Superbowl commercial is presently my favourite commercial and will remain my favourite for months to come.

In today’s society, many people out there go from day to day with heavy hearts unable to lift the weight off their shoulders. Many of them who have no one to share their fears or pains with, keep it inside themselves only for it to surface in the way of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes or many of the other stress related illnesses.

They say that sharing is one of the best forms of stress relief and that sometimes all it takes is for us to share our hearts and hurts with someone else to be able to reach closure.

The Kleenex company, in my estimation, has done a brilliant job in bringing this out in the following commercial and therefore have made it, in my estimation, one of the best commercials around.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle!

Thank God for clock radio alarms! Nothing is worse than waking up to "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" ... Anyways, you get the idea.

Now I suppose that another irritating sound to wake up to is loud grating music. Unfortunately, if you don't have a CD player-clock radio, you are at the mercy of your favorite radio station to provide you with soothing morning music. Now, if your favorite station is something like SCREAM 105.9 I think you are going to be right outta luck!

Recently, every morning at 7:02, my radio clicks on to the local oldies station. Now, when I was in high school, I wouldn't be caught alive listening to this "oldies" stuff. However, since my high school days, I have found myself "accidentally" listening to it. I would be driving down the road listening to my favorite song when out of the blue, the radio announcer would surprise me by announcing the station I had been listening to.

"You are now listening to the oldies show on BORE YOU TO DEATH 102.5" ... Sheesh! I would then find myself looking around to make sure that nobody who knows me is witnessing my transgression to "older-hood."

So... Now I guess I am an "oldie!" Just do me a favour and don't tell anybody!

So a few weeks ago, because of the quiet music that they play on their morning shows, I dialed my clock radio to the local radio station so that I am not blasted out of bed by screaming banshees from those punk rock bands. Ahhhhhhh! Now don't get me wrong... I do love classic rock music where the lead singers bounce around, yell and scream but not at 7:02 in the morning!

So... Go figure! Just as I decide to dial to that station, they decide to change up their routines and shows! This is what I was compelled to wake up to the other day!

Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a few of Axl Rose's songs and I actually do enjoy the above song but when I am still in slumber land? Uh! Uh! Besides, can you really wake up to the following words??

Welcome to the jungle
We got fun 'n' games
We got everything you want
Honey we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money honey
We got your disease

Chorus:

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun n,n,n,n,,n,n,,n,n,n,,n,n,,n knees, knees
I wanna watch you bleed

... and so on

I DON'T THINK SO!!

Now this morning... What woke me up was the sweetest music that anyone could hear!

"This is Bob Smith from WKRP in Cincinnati (Fake call letters as if you already didn't know!) ... This just in... All schools and school busses cancelled due to high winds and icy road conditions." Now, being a teacher, that was definitely music to my ears!

God, I love that music! Gimme more of it!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Our Experience With Asthma

Both my children were born with asthma, a chronic condition involving the respiratory system in which the airway occasionally constricts, becomes inflamed, and is lined with excessive amounts of mucus. My children's asthma episodes were often triggered by such things as exposure to an environmental stimulant such as cold air, seasonal allergies, dust and perfumes.

I remember prior to when my daughter was first diagnosed with asthma. Almost every night was spent with extreme bouts of coughing and throwing up. We would rush into her bedroom where her mother would take care of our daughter while I would clean up her bed sheets and remake the bed. We had a system going which we carried out to perfection considering the number of times we did it.

It literally blew the wind out of our sails when she was later diagnosed with asthma. It killed me to see her wearing the salbutamol mask, which administered the medication, on her face while I held her in my arms. I swear that I received as much medication from this mask as she did as the medication wafted into my nostril. We spent many a night and many a day cuddling on the couch while my little girl fell asleep in my arms to the sound of the ventilator as it pumped the medicine into her lungs.

A few years later, our son was diagnosed as well and, as before, we went through the same routine as we did with our daughter but only this time, it wasn’t as traumatic for us since we were veteran asthma caregivers by this time. By the time they were both around twelve, their asthma went into remission and they were, for the most part, much better. Every once in awhile it rears its ugly head and they have to take their puffers but this has not happened for quite a while… until this past week.

My daughter called us from college to tell us that her asthma has returned and that the machine which administers her medication was no longer working. As a result, I made the trek into Toronto to bring her another machine. Now that she has resumed her medication, she is well on her way to make yet another recovery. We dodged another bullet this time and all we can do is be thankful to God that he has taken care of her once more.

Every year, about 500 Canadians and 5,000 Americans die from this dreaded disease. Most of these deaths, however, could have been prevented with proper education and management. There is no cure for the millions of people out there but there are ways in which to control it. For more information on asthma, please refer to the following web sites:

The Asthma Society of Canada
American Lung Association
Asthma Society of Ireland
Asthma UK

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Banana, Bananna or Bannaa?

I have never been much of a speller and have therefore always been within arm’s length of a dictionary while writing essays in school, reports at work or even here while blogging. Though our blog pads all have spell checks, I will never dare compose directly into my blog without first creating it in Microsoft Word.

There are a few common words such as banana and parallel that insist on plaguing me while writing. Every time I write these plus other such words, I spell them wrong! You would think that, by the time I was in my forties, I would start getting them correct but oh no… I can’t do that now can I! I have to go back, right click on the word and choose the correct spelling… every time! Now thank goodness that Microsoft Word now has auto correct for people like me who cannot spell words they have been using for decades.

Now I know that there are individuals out there who are dyslexic so I do want to say that this problem which I have bestowed upon myself is in no way like their disability. I am also in no way poking fun at other people. People with Dyslexia have found amazing ways to deal with their disability and I take my hat off to them. But me… what’s my problem??

Another spelling problem I curse myself with is deciding whether to use the British way or American way to spell. We all know that the English language is an amalgamation of many languages but when you live so close to another country such as the U.S.A., it makes it real difficult to pick a correct spelling to use. Often, you will find me spelling words two different ways because I can never decide which one to use and besides, I always worry about some American thinking I am spelling things incorrectly or some Canadian thinking that I am a lousy speller or some British thinking I am a pathetic speller. Do I write a cheque or do I write a check? Am I an honourable person or am I an honorable person? Is red my favorite colour or is red my favorite color?

And so on…

A few yraes ago, I cmae acrsos a sudty wichh siad taht the hamun biarn dsen’ot need to wrroy aoubt irecrocnt sienlplg in oderr for it to urnndetasd the wrod as lnog as the frsit and lsat lrtetes of a wrod are in tiehr crcroet palces. Is tihs ture? You tlel me!

Wow! Does this mean that now I don’t have to worry about spelling anymore?? Wishful thinking!

So, in the future when you see a misspelled word in one of my posts, take pity on me and blame it on the fact that I am British born, Canadian raised and American influenced… That should do it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

He's the Man!

So ladies... You know who rules the roost in the homes around the world right? Of course you do! ... It's the man! What would you do without the man of the household doing everything for you? Besides, when things get rough, the rough get going and since the man is the "rugged guy," he is the one who usually takes care of everything. Well, I could prove my point in just a few paragraphs but instead I have a video that will prove my point. Just please don't yell and scream at me okay? All in good fun!

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mattel Story Maker Rediscovered


"The Turkey danced with a slimy monkey in my spaghetti."

If you were to punch the words "Mattel Story Maker" into Google.com, you would get 29,800 hits. If you were peruse through the first ten pages however, you would not find what I was looking for and it is a safe bet that looking further into the search results would turn up nothing either . It is as if the toy simply disappeared out of every toy box on this planet. Usually, the toys that disappear are usually the ones which are considered as a poor investment for the company coffers but the one which I was looking for in Google was nothing but great.

Back in 1991, Mattel created the Story Maker electronic toy. This toy was well designed and simple enough for all ages to use and enjoy. It comprised of seven buttons and hundreds of hours of fun for my then one year old daughter. The actions were simple… press six buttons and if that was too difficult, simply press one. I could spend the next paragraph explaining the way to use it but my video should make that task simpler and much more interesting.


I recently rediscovered this toy in my basement while going through some old dusty stuff to donate to the weekly trash truck. I had forgotten that I put this toy in a safe place and there it had sat for over the past ten or so years. Growing up, my daughter and son must have spent countless hours laughing at all the different sentences that this toy produced. It not only produced belly laughter but it also taught them proper sentence structure.

Finding this Story Maker toy also reminded me of the good times I had watching my children playing in the living room while I sat there and relaxed. I bet that, over the years the buttons were pushed, I must have heard every one of the nine thousand plus sentences that this toy spoke out.

Memories of my children always get me somewhat nostalgic. I miss those days where my kids thought of me as "cool," "great" and the "smartest of all Daddies who loves them more than anything else in the world…" One thing that time has taught me is that things change when children get older. "Cool" has turned into "geeky," "great" has lovingly turned into "retarded" and "smartest" has evolved into “not too swift.” One thing that will never change however is that they will always know that I love them more than anything else in the world.

Great toys, great memories and great feelings…