Thursday, July 31, 2008


Wow, what a day. A good one but a busy one. I had a great conversation with a friend this morning who is excited about becoming a part of my business. He is a young man with a great deal of integrity - exactly the type of person I am looking to work with.

Jonas and I went mall walking later in the morning rather than go to play group. I needed to purchase a new tape recorder so we made a morning of it. We stopped for yogurt and berries at Tim Horton’s then played on the rides for a while. Afterwards we went for lunch at the Sears Cafe. Christine is on nights, so the more we can be out the better.

In the afternoon I spoke with KL Mayor Bill Enouy for my MSN column. Then I wrote the darn thing.

At 5:30 I went for a 5K run. My right foot is feeling better and I look forward to the 5K race on Aug. 10.

I came home and ate supper, then took Jonas for his bath and got him off to bed. I did a bit of work on the business and I’m now watching the Arizona Diamondbacks - Los Angeles Dodgers game with Vin Scully doing the commentary. What a legend he is. I love it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kathleen’s KL connection

Kirkland Lake Mayor and Northern Voices reader Bill Enouy wrote in to say that Kathleen Edwards’ mother grew up in Kirkland Lake. I did not know that.

I should let everyone know that I am separated from Kathleen Edwards by only two degrees. My friend Kim Vermette is close friends with Amanda Putz (of CBC radio fame) who is the sister-in-law of Kathleen. Amanda is married (or at least in a relationship) with Amanda’s brother Tim.

Perhaps one day Kathleen will visit Northern Voices. One can only hope.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The magnificence of youth

Yesterday Jonas and I went to the final game of the Ontario Little Championship here in Timmins. The hometown LaRonde Lynx defeated East Nepean 13-5 to advance to the Canadian Little League Championship in Sydney NS.

I was suitably impressed by how well these 11 and 12 year olds played the game. They played hard, with a great amount of passion. They were also tremendous young sportsmen, very encouraging to each other. I was struck by how many of the East Nepean players were crying following the lost - and how completely understandable it was. They played their hearts out, after all.

The game brought back a lot of memories for me. I loved playing baseball as a kid. I recall endless summers filled with baseball and friends. We played because we loved it, organizing games ourselves, whether it be at Federal School or Civic Stadium. I just don’t see kids playing ball on their own anymore. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

My favourite baseball memory occurred on Aug. 18, 1989. Pitching for the Kirkland Lake Downtown Dodgers, I hurled a one-hitter to defeat Rouyn-Noranda 9-0 in the first game of our own tournament. I was never as dominant as I was on that summer night. I made up my mind that I wouldn’t be touched and then followed through. Because I was moving to Lindsay in four days, I wanted nothing more than to leave Kirkland Lake with a bang. I think of that night often - and how it was the highlight of my sporting career.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kathleen Edwards I love you

I don’t really love Kathleen Edwards, but I do love her music. I finally picked up her latest CD yesterday, and let me tell you it is brilliant. Just brilliant.

What you need to know is that I absolutely loved her debut Album, Failer. This was reinforced on an August night in 2003 when I saw her open for Blue Rodeo. She is a kick ass live performer. Her second album came out just before I moved to Fort Albany. I liked it, sure, but it didn’t grab me like Failer did. It was a little too slick for my liking. It was almost as though Kathleen was trying too hard to be accepted by the mainstream.

I will admit that the new disc, Asking for Flowers, has a couple of radio friendly songs, but the vast majority are dark, brooding, and somewhat disturbing. There’s a song called "Alicia Ross" which was inspired by the murder of a young woman from Markham. Then there’s "Oh Canada", which can best be described as "Rockin in the Free World" for the new milenium.

I am pleasantly surprised by how much I love this album. I was prepared for much worse. There’s nothing like lowered expectations eh?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sorry I don’t have a "real" job

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that staying at home with kids isn’t real work. I’ve worked in several jobs, and the difference between looking after little ones and a "real" job is that the "real" job affords you a lot more time to goof off during the middle of the day. Looking after a child requires that you be on the ball all day long.

Today I woke up at 7:45 a.m. and took a shower and enjoyed breakfast with Christine, who was just arriving home from the night shift.

At 8:30 I punched the clock. Jonas was ready to get up so I changed his bum, got him dressed, brought him downstairs, prepared his oatmeal and cut up his apple, and sat with him for a few minutes while he ate. Then I made a few business calls while he finished up. Somewhere in there I took the dog out for a pee and fed her as well. Dogs don’t feed themselves.

Jonas and I left for playgroup at 10:15. For the next 90 minutes or so I watched him intently, read with him, played with, got his snack for him. Believe me, there wasn’t much down time.

We came home at noon. I prepared our lunch (french toast) and then enjoyed a "working lunch" with my son. It wasn’t a lunch break - a lunch break implies that some sort of break was taken.

Then I tidied up the kitchen for a few minutes while Jonas played rather loudly in the living room. After that it was time for a bum change and (thankfully) a nap. Luckily he went quietly.

Next it was time for dad to do some grownup work. I took a couple of hours to catch up on correspondence and work on my column - which I didn’t get finished before Jonas woke up.

So I got Jonas up and realized we had at least 90 minutes before supper. The two of us headed to the park where Jonas played on the slide, teeter totter, and eventually shoveled sand into a sand pail. Then it was time to go. One of us was not happy and had to dragged home.

I got supper started and played with Jonas while Christine finished preparing it. Then we ate supper. Again, it was a "working supper."

Afterwards I cleaned the kitchen (again), took Jonas for his bath, got him in his PJs, brushed his teeth, then read him his story along with Christine, who was nice enough to take him to bed.

I walked the dog.

I came home and finished my column. Thank goodness it’s done.

I live a full and balanced life. I have four different sources of income that contribute to the financial well-being of our family. I spend every single day looking after my son. He doesn’t go to daycare - that’s money we’re saving because of me.

I write this to remind myself that I’m making a difference in the lives of two people in particular. Sometimes it’s easy to forget.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I’m 32 and have a paper route

I don’t go around telling people this, but I have a paper route. Actually, we have a paper route. Christine and me. And Jonas.

It all started last winter when Christine decided she wanted to get more exercise and get paid for it. Then when she went back to work full time in February the paper route became ours. Every Wednesday and Friday we deliver a free weekly paper to 162 houses in our neighbourhood. For this we receive 8 cents a paper, which works out to $100 a month - certainly not an insignificant amount of money.

Truthfully it’s a bit of a pain in the rear. It takes two hours for me to deliver 162 papers. Most of the time I push Jonas in his jogging stroller. He seems to enjoy it, or at least he rarely complains. We have often thought about giving it up, but the money just accumulates in a bank account and is there for us to use at our discretion. We’re not made of money by any means, so it makes sense for us to grind it out a little longer. Then there’s the exercise factor. I’m running five days a week and delivering papers two days. At the end of the day, I feel a great sense of satisfaction that I’ve worked my butt off. It’s a nice feeling.

OK, now that world knows I’m a paper boy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Running on Empty

First, the good news. I ran 41 minutes without stopping this afternoon. As far as I can recall, I’ve never run that long before. Not even in high school when I was supposedly in the best shape of my life. I remember the 12-minute run in Joe Lovsin’s class being quite the challenge. Today is a victory.

On the downside I felt terrible during the run. Every step was agony. My legs felt heavy and tired; my right foot was hurting me; I was terribly thirsty. Many times I felt like walking but I soldiered on. For that I should be proud.

I suppose I felt so crappy because for a few reasons:

1) I spent six hours behind the wheel yesterday.

2) My diet since Friday as not been so great. It has involved a lot of coffee and a little bit of beer. Perhaps I am a bit dehydrated.

3) It was a warm sunny day. I tend to run much better during the evening.

4) I ran alone and I always feel better with other people. It’s as though we feed off each other’s energy.

My next run is slated for Thursday evening. I will likely run with at least one other person. Right now my foot is a little sore - I hope it feels better by Thursday. I certainly don’t feel like another agonizing 41 minutes. We’ll have to see what happens.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home and cooled after a busy weekend

The three of us spent the weekend in Bracebridge for Christine’s family’s annual retreat. We left Friday and returned today. We had a great time with Jonas. He kept us all laughing with his silly antics. One of the cute things he does now is try to feed his food and drink to his stuffies. It’s just adorable to watch.

Saturday morning I arose early and went for a run through beautiful Bracebridge. There were several hills which made it one of the most challenging runs to date. I didn’t run today because we spent most of it travelling and Christine left for work shortly after we returned home. However, I am planning a morning run tomorrow in which I intend to stretch it out to 41 minutes. I’m increasing my distance by 10 per cent a week. On Aug. 10 I am going to run in a 5K race here in Timmins. I suppose I’m in training for the race.

On Saturday afternoon we took a boat cruise on beautiful Lake Muskoka. Jonas not surprisingly was getting a bit restless sitting at our table so I took him to the play area, which basically consisted of a box of toys in a corner. Jonas and I were the only two white people on the bottom floor of the boat. The rest of the people were very friendly tourists from Jamaica. At one point they handed out gifts - applause ensued for the people who received the gifts. As a boat full of Jamaicans were applauding so was Jonas, who was very interested in what was going on. Again, this was very cute.

On Sunday night I met my parents at Casino Rama for the Crosby Stills and Nash concert. The show was about what I expected. I’d seen CSNY twice before, but mostly because of the "Y" factor.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The saga of the socks

Stupid socks!

A few weeks ago I bought a pair of wool running socks for $15 from my friend Lino at Northern Sports. Of course, socks being what they are, it took me two weeks to lose these expensive socks. Until today, they were simply missing. I figured they were in some God forsaken corner of this house and would reveal themselves to me.

I last saw the socks two weeks ago when I threw them in my suitcase in hopes of getting a run in while we were in Cochrane. I didn’t get the run in, but at least my intentions were good. At 6:30 today I decided the socks were lost - figuring Jonas probably took them out of the suitcase in Cochrane and hid them on daddy. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

I was meeting my running partner at Northern Sports anyway, so I figured I’d buy the exact same pair of socks for the low price of $15. I mean, if I’m going to run I’d might as well have the proper socks.

Lino asked me if I checked my suitcase after I told him the story.

"Yes I checked my suitcase!" I replied.

I had a great run, I’m happy to report. Five-plus Km in 34 minutes at a nice pace - not too fast not too slow. The great part was that my running partner and I talked the whole way and I wasn’t winded at all. Time just flew right by. I can’t explain how much more enjoyable running is when you do it with other people. It’s kind of like sex in that regard.

Anyway, when I got home I started packing for our weekend getaway and I found the stupid socks in the friggin' suitcase. They were tucked away in one of the outside compartments. I only noticed them when I felt the lid of the suitcase - it took me a minute or two to figure out how to open the compartment. Along with the socks I found the two rechargeable batteries I was looking for. Bonus!

We are off to Bracebridge this weekend for a getaway with the inlaws. On Sunday I am meeting my dad at Casino Rama to see Crosby Stills and Nash. Oh how I wish young was there too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All-Star Game Musings

I stayed up until 1:15 a.m. last night watching the all-star game - and guess what?

I didn’t even see the end of the game.

It took 15 innings and every pitcher on both rosters to decide the game. The AL won 4-3.

I fell asleep on the couch, periodically waking up and thinking "is it over yet" much like a dying person keeps waking up and asking "am I still alive." Still, I have to give myself credit for hanging in there for 14-and-a-half innings.

The best part of the evening was the tribute to the hall-of-famers. It was wonderful to see all those baseball greats tipping their caps to the adoring fans. On a heavier note, did anyone notice how BIG Tony Gwynn has become? Good God. There was an unfortunate shot of his mid-section that revealed his sagging gut. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen another athlete put on so much weight so soon after retiring. A couple of others who come to mind are former NHLer Peter Zezel - who I actually didn’t recognize when he was on Sportsnet recently. I was trying to figure out which fat slob of a reporter he was. That’s the truth. The other is Dale Hunter, former NHLer and current London Knights coach. He clearing enjoyed his first few years of retirement. I should also mention Wendel Clark in this catergory - he’s another athlete who obviously let himself go.

If anyone else has anyone to add to this dubious catergory, please post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Steven Page busted for cocaine possession

Steven Page, lead singer for Canadian Band Barenaked Ladies, has been arrested in NY State for possession of cocaine.

Just last week I was musing about the BNL’s wholesome image and how it must be too good to be true. I was thinking about this as they performed songs from their new kids album on Kids CBC, which Jonas and I happened to be watching. Something tells me this is the last kids album they’ll be releasing.

Time to go back to watching the all-star game, where I’m being sold something every three minutes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Day with the Polar Bears

I’m a bit late with this, but the three of us spent last weekend in the lovely town of Cochrane. I knew it would be an exciting weekend when, on our drive up, we passed a moose on the highway. I slowed down for it, and it wandered out in front of us an scampered to the bush. Sorry, no photo available, but trust me it did happen.

We spent Saturday afternoon at the Polar Bear Habitat. We got very close to one of the bears. In fact, we stood face to face with it for a good 10 minutes. Jonas was very interested, of course. He was actually playing peek-a-boo with the bear. He would hide behind our legs, then peek out and giggle at the bear. Very cute.

We stayed over in Cochrane, which seemed like a good idea at the time. And I guess it was a good idea. However, sharing a hotel room with a toddler means we all went to sleep at the same time - about 9 p.m. We kept thinking we could have watched a movie had we driven the hour home. Oh well.

Here are a few pictures from a fun weekend.