Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where did November go?

For a guy who writes for a living, I have to learn to be a bit more faithful to this blog. Especially since I am one of the loudest critics of twitter. If you’re going to broadcast a thought, I think it should be something a bit more substantive than 142 keyboard characters long.
Anyway, here we are in the last week of November, and as I ramble along through the days of the week I am amazed that I am still wandering around without a toque or heavy mitts here in November, in Timmins.
When I first arrived here back in the 1970s, this place was c-c-c-c-old. Now it seems winter is only a tease. I have to admit I am a cold weather person. I like winter. I can’t wait for a big blizzard and two week long deep freeze.
Then you go for a walk in the forest and you hear the snow squeak and the twigs crack and you just know how good it feels to be alive. The air is cleaner and fresher than you can imagine and when you get home a cup of hot tea tastes excellent. Hmmm… maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, some news. Jenn called this week to let me know she had a wonderful time out with Scott last weekend at a fancy company dinner. They both got all dressed up and had a lovely time, with dinner, wine and the company of friends.
As they were heading home, Jenn had a mis-step with her high heels. Her left foot rolled and OUCH! Did that ever hurt or what? That’s what she told me. High heels and icy sidewalks don’t mix. But it seems her sore foot was a bit more than a sore foot. Sure enough, she went to the emergency room the next day because it was so painful. Sure enough, a broken foot. Jenn now has a cast on her left foot.
That got me thinking. It was this time of year (October 5, 1981) some 30 years ago, that I got a broken foot! I was working in the mine then and had a little accident. So I can empathize with Jenn.
Had a nice chat with Debra last week and we got caught up on family stuff. She and her men are all well, which is good. Deb and John are planning a big trip next summer… Europe! They will have a great time I’m sure. They’ve been to all the popular “southern” places, so I am sure the tour of Europe will be so enjoyable for them.
I am pretty sure I will be hanging around Timmins all next year at this city celebrates its official 100th anniversary. The people here are fun and apparently a centennial event is something worth celebrating. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, we are all planning for Christmas again. Jenn will be celebrating in Sudbury with her guys and the Alexanders and I am told that Neil will be joining us. Woohoo!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yes, I am watching TV!

I was so pleased today to see so many citizens attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the cenotaph in Timmins. Today was the first really cold day of the season and I was happy that more than 200 people showed up. Of course, the old WWII veterans were there too, but there are now less than five local vets who attend the ceremonies. Still it was a good day to remember. Of course I was thinking of people like my Dad, Danny Gillis and my brother Ron Gillis, both of whom have served in wartime.
On another matter, I have been enjoying some great television shows lately. I tell people I don’t watch TV. That’s kind of a lie. I don’t watch regular commercial TV. But I do watch good television programs when I find them. HBO, an American production network, has produced some excellent television. In recent weeks I have watched a series called The Wire, another series called Rome and now I am watching a series called John Adams. If you can get your hands on those programs, you will be amazed. Americans are masters of serious television drama. The writing, the acting, the producing is so damned good. How good? So good that tonight I put aside a book to watch television! What does that tell ya?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Can you believe November is already here?

Hard to believe November is already here. I wasn’t planning it, but I have already begun Christmas shopping and thinking of how much fun that will be again. I guess it’s different because there really has not been any big change in the weather yet this season. I have seen Octobers in the past where we were whipped by snowstorms. Oh well, I am NOT complaining.
This was a busy week and I got out on the road, up north towards Kapuskasing this week. There was an interesting convoy bringing some heavy mining and milling equipment all the way from the Port of Thunder Bay. It was a sight to see as those oversized trucks were hauling a superload to the Bell Creek mill in Timmins, which is owned by Lake Shore Gold. The equipment was purchased in Europe and it’s interesting because the company is rushing to expand the gold mill and refinery at a cost of roughly $80 million. That’s NOT a lot of money for a gold company, especially when you consider the price of gold is more than US$1750 per ounce. The company wants to produce as much gold as fast as it can at those prices. Everyone is enjoying the high gold price here in Timmins and wondering when the bust is going to happen in the old boom and bust cycle. Canada’s economy is doing fine, but as long as the economy in the US and Europe keeps crapping out, people will want to buy gold. That’s what the experts say!
Had a nice chat with Nathan this week... He was feeling a bit under the weather on Monday and didn't really get a good run for Halloween. Jenn took him out for a bit, but she said he must have been feeling poorly because he quit early.
Also had a nice chat with Jenn and she is doing quite well. I am very proud of her for her new volunteer work. Jenn goes to the Sudbury Cancer Centre each week and helps out processing new patients that arrive. I think it's a very nice way to give back considering the excellent treatment she got there in 2009 and 2010.