Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thank You Logging Truck Man ...

It’s just one of those things. If you stray too far from the beaten path, you’re gonna get stuck. Sure enough I was out on a remote logging road south of Timmins Sunday morning, minus 36, following a photo opportunity where a road grader went off a bridge. Paramedics, police and fire crews were all there. I got within about 500 metres of the scene. A first responder said keep to the right of the road, because we can’t block the ambulance coming out. Keep to the right is a good idea until the side of the road suddenly disappears in the soft snow. My  vehicle got stuck real good. A team of six firefighters was not able to push it out. Luckily, there was a massive logging truck nearby with a nice big chain. Guy pulled me out in about 15 seconds.  He was a very nice fellow so I gave him 20 bucks for Timmies. I don’t feel too bad about the morning. A Timmins firetruck and a Timmins Police cruiser also went off the road at this call.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yes, it sure is like January around here...

Holy crap, where has January gone? I said that at work the other day, only because I am always working ahead on the paper. Our next edition comes out on January 30th, so I think that is what prompted my question. I think it might have been more appropriate to ask where the time has gone in general. It was 40 years ago this week I arrived in Timmins as a young student reporter eager to prove myself in the news business. So I am still working on that.
Timmins is just one of the best places I can imagine. I have lived in other places, but Timmins seems to be the place where people are very welcoming. That has been my experience. I moved away for several years in the Eighties and Nineties, but I can tell you I was sure pleased to come back.  So that's a good thing.
The cold weather has continued throughout most of January. I don't mind that so much. There has been lots of snow this year as well, but people are grumbling about the poor level of snow removal. I can only say I am glad I drive only four-by-fours these days.
The cold weather has also prompted me to change my cooking habits. I have enjoyed several winter soup dishes these past few weeks. Also, while I have been trying to stay away from red meat, I enjoyed a wonderful ribeye on Saturday. I think that was the first steak I had since before Christmas... and oh it was so good. 
And for some reason this month, I haven't been eating much in the way of veggies, but I have indeed been packing away the fruit. I bought some pears this week and I love waiting until they're a bit overripe. Then I tear into it and just love how sweet, juicy and slurpy they get.
I was just going to sign off, but I should mention I went out this week and bought new skates. I haven't been skating for 20 years! But I was out taking pictures at a local rink and suddenly got the urge. I was worried a bit about my left foot, which I broke some years ago. The last time I was skating (in Sudbury) I remember the skate being very uncomfortable. I find the skates I purchased this week are wayyyy more comfortable.
I was going to go to the rink this morning, but the temperature was minus 36 so I will wait until this afternoon.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Cold enough for ya?

Cold snap continues in Timmins. I have to make a point these days of ensuring the vehicle is plugged in. Thursday morning the temperature was minus 41, with a windchill of minus 52. Cold like that gave people a lot to talk about in the line ups for coffee. I honestly don't mind the cold, as long as one is properly dressed for it. I was driving along Pine Street Thursday and saw a telephone company guy going up a ladder to work near the top of a utility pole. Now that has be a challenge. One doesn't see too many outdoor workers when the temperature hit minus 41. Apparently the cold snap will break this weekend, thanks to warmer weather moving in from the Prairies. Funny, some of my earliest memories of extreme cold came while I was living in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
I have to admit that with Christmas and New Years falling in the middle of the week, I find I am not yet in full back-to-work mode. I feel more like putting my feet up and daydreaming!
Had a nice chat with Debra a few days ago, now that she and her men are back home in Cambridge. They all took off to Disney World in Florida to celebrate their Christmas. Deb said they all had a great time, which is nice.
Jennifer and I shared a nice phone call to Neil on Boxing Day, so we could all get caught up on the family gossip. I felt terrible about not calling Neil on Christmas Day, but it was quickly forgiven. Neil had "an orphan's Christmas", getting together with several friends in Vancouver to celebrate. He also enjoyed telling us that the weather in Vancouver was so mild that some people were wearing shorts outside.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

They're the best guys...

As a proud grandfather, I'd like to share the story of my Grandsons on Christmas Eve. After consulting with their mom and dad, it was decided both boys could have a fixed amount of money to pick out a gift for themselves from me, Papa. So off we went, first for a fabulous breakfast at a pancake house and then on to the mall. After hiking through the crowds for what seemed like hours, Tyler found the perfect hockey stick. It wasn’t as expensive as it might have been, so Tyler still had $30 to his credit. After much deliberation, Nathan said he’d like to buy a Sudbury Wolves hockey sweater. Luckily, there was a specialty shop that sold those sweaters. As we walked in, Nathan was obviously pleased. Looking at the big display, I asked him if he wanted the navy blue sweater, or the white sweater. He said neither and pointed at the retro-style green sweater worn by the Wolves in years past. Nathan was smiling. He was able to find the right size right away, but there was no price on it. We called the sales clerk over, who told us the price. It was $20 more than Nathan had to spend. Without a word, Nathan's face went blank. He turned to walk out of the store. But that’s when Tyler spoke up and said he would pay the difference for his little brother. Now, these guys scrap and argue like any other fellas, but when the time was right, a brother stepped up for his brother. I was so happy. I am sure my eyes got misty. And then on Christmas morning, I got an autographed photo of both of my favourite guys. Life doesn't get much better eh. Just sayin'.