Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stealing gold, drinking wine and gossip!

So it is indeed time to catch up here. It is one of those things that nags at me. I keep telling myself to put something new on “the blog”. I do so much writing at work that at times I think I have nothing new to add.
That’s not the point of a blog, I believe.
I think the point is to add interesting things. Timmins is changing. I noticed this morning while driving on the back road how much it has changed since I arrived here back in the 1970s. There are so many of the old gold mine headframes gone. The Paymaster Mine, the Buffalo Ankerite, the original Dome No. 8; they’re all gone. I was thinking of this in light of the fact that Kevin Vincent, a colleague, has written a new book about highgraders. Anyone who lives in a gold town knows that highgraders are the people who steal gold and sell it off to organized crime figures.
There have been so many gold thefts over the years in Timmins, I was thinking that if anyone came back to town after being away so long, they wouldn’t know their way around.
Speaking of which, the big Timmins High reunion happens this coming week. What a party that will be. The city is celebrating the official centennial so there will be plenty of fun things going on.
On matters of fun, Jennifer was in town for a quick visit this week. It was a joy to see her of course. She was dropping in to join a family barbecue at Sue’s place. Lorraine and Helen also showed up, as did the gang from here in Timmins. Gerry and John also made the trip to Timmins.
We all missed Tasha of course. I say that because I know that “Ta” drops in here to read every now and then. But seriously, Jenn and I told Helen chatted with Helen and yes, we do miss seeing Tasha. I feel guilty because I, for one, have not made the trip over to Red Lake.
John Bradley also dropped by and that meant smiles and laughs for everyone. John is everyone’s favourite Ex-Brother in law. I know how that feels! Almost!
Anyway it was fun to see Jenn getting ready for the dinner. It was like seeing her back in school again, getting ready for a night out on the town. Getting her clothes ready, make-up, hogging the mirror, the works! So it was a nice night out. Got home at midnight and was ready for bed, but No! Jenn cracked open a fresh bottle of wine and so we sat and gossiped for nearly an hour! It was the best.
Jenn was back on the road the next morning to head back to Sudbury to get ready for her big vacation. She and her guys are all heading to Newfoundland for two weeks. I am confident they will have a fabulous time. She will be getting to meet Scott’s side of the family as Scott’s dad is from The Rock.
Well I am going back to working on this computer for awhile. It was running slow and I think I might have grabbed a virus or something. So on Thursday, I rebooted the entire system with my recovery disks. That means I have been spending hours re-entering all my data and programs. But the good thing is that I got rid of a lot of programs I have not been using. I also found some old games. Last night I spent two hours playing Scrabble against the computer. I lost the first game, but I won the three games after that!
The only thing that bothers me is that all my income tax info from the past year was in a special file and I fear I didn’t back it up. I have all the raw info and hard copies, but it now means I have to re-enter everything. Arrghhhh.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Missing them ...

Tomorrow is back-to-work day after a really nice little bit of vacation time.  I am sort of looking forward to it.  I already checked the e-mail server for work. There are more than 670 e-mails waiting for me. Oh fun! I am, however, feeling in a bit of a withdrawal today. Not because of the holidays, but because I miss the boys. After spending more than a week with grandsons Tyler and Nathan, I got used to the idea of them being there when I woke up in the morning and went to bed at night. It was just plain fun being with them. I guess that being an adult, I had to walk the fine line of being the guardian and keeping them safe, and then finding ways to keep them entertained and busy. The first part was easy. The second part was the challenge. I think there were times I was too worried that they weren’t having enough fun, but kids being kids, they find fun in most things. Jumping on beds, racing through hotel hallways, being first to push the elevator button and spitting at ducks on the Toronto waterfront are the kinds of harmless things boys just like to do. I am glad it all happened.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A little vacation time...

Back in Northern Ontario (at Jennifer and Scott’s place) after enjoying a few days in the city with the boys. We had a fun time visiting the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum and taking in a Blue Jays game. It was all new for the boys and I enjoyed dropping in to Toronto for the first time in a few years. The boys really liked the museum; seeing a pre-ice age moose and mammoth skeletons. I guess I am getting old and jaded. The museum was fun and interesting, the ball game was fun, but the CN Tower and other parts of Toronto really don’t hold a lot of interest for me. Thanks to booking early through Expedia, we stayed at The Royal York hotel and I have to say the service was nothing short of outstanding. I have stayed in a lot of hotels in recent years and The Royal York is still one of the best in the world. The boys liked the idea of jumping on the beds and doing backflips from bed to bed. Hey, you only live once, right.

Another one of the fun parts of the trip was riding the train from Sudbury to Toronto and back again. I still enjoy the VIA train, but sadly it doesn’t appear the government of Canada is willing to re-invest in train travel. I say sadly because we are one of the largest countries in the world and our passenger train service is poor. Compared to the service offered by Amtrak in the U.S. and the trains being run in Europe and the U.K., Canada’s VIA Rail sorely needs to be improved. It’s 2012 and we are still running passenger cars built in the 1950s!
The boys liked eating in restaurants too and they were very well behaved. I think that’s because the rule was they could order whatever they wanted, as long as they ate it. So yes, chocolate and ice cream were popular choices. We enjoyed eating at Gretzky’s, the Hard Rock Café and even fine dining at the Royal York. If you’re going to Gretzky’s enjoy the décor of hockey memorabilia, because the food should be in the penalty box!
Hard Rock Café is always a good choice for me. Burgers, barbecue and beer always goes well on vacation. I never bother to buy the T-shirts, even though in the past two years I have visited the Hard Rocks in Vancouver, Seattle, London, Edinburgh and Toronto. Maybe I should think ahead eh. The best part of coming home to Northern Ontario was enjoying Jennifer's cooking. As a teenager, Jennifer had a hard time figuring out how to boil a pot of water. She is now pretty amazing with her own personal recipe book.
Finally, I have to admit I am enjoying my new smart-phone. The Blackberry enabled me to keep touch so easily with Jenn. It was nice to be able to send text messages so quickly