Sunday, July 30, 2006

J&K get hitched...

This weekend we were in town for Jake and Krista's wedding. The whole family was down for the big event. We nearly died in the church/oven as the temperature reached 66 degrees but thankfully it was not the full one hour Catholic service and we managed to stumble out into the sweltering heat without causalties.

After that it was smooth sailing. We ate, we drank (some more than others), we toasted some excellent speeches, and then we drank, danced, and ate some more. Thanks J&K for including us in your big day and may you both live "happily ever after".

Here's a selection of pics.

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For more pics click on Jake and Krista's wedding. (more pics will follow as others email me theirs)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Another great canoe day...

Sunday was a canoe day. And a great one at that thanks to a warm weather, sunshine, and

Once again we had another successful adventure exploring an area we would never had found ourselves in had it not been for a fellow geocacher leading the way.

We often use the website as a trip planner and our success rate has been excellent. Most of the more remote geocaches are well thought out by somebody who knows the area well and has hiked/canoed it many times over the years. They often provide detailed descriptions including trailheads, canoe/boat launches, beaches, and even nearby pubs and restaurants where you can celebrate your success.

Anyhow, Sunday was one such day. I'd spotted this cache describing a lake on the Rideau system with a beach. The cache itself was on an island so I loaded up the van Saturday night and hoisted the canoe on top. The weather forecast was changing hourly but when we woke up to sunshine I quickly rallied the troops and off we went.


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During a pitstop at one of the locks in Smith Falls we discoved a huge water snake. After taking some pictures and two failed attempts at catching him (actually I'm not so sure I wanted to land that monster - he was at least 3 1/2 to 4 feet long) we headed back down the road.

We stopped in at the Forfar cheese factory where I had to play the bad guy and tell the kids that ice cream was not a good breakfast item no matter how cheap it was.

We arrived at the Sand Lake beach around lunch time so we ate lunch. Sandwiches, potato salad, and some Pringles chips (Limited Edition Dill). Then the kids swam around while I loaded up the canoe for the paddle out to Rock Island.


Paddling over to Rock Island (visible in the upper left corner).

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Enjoying the day...


Finally here's a pic of the wounded crane we found on the other side of the island. His wing was severely mangled and he was hanging out in a crevice where the water was too deep for him to find food.

Playing our part as the outdoor enthusiasts we informed some nearby powerboaters if they wouldn't mind calling a bird santuary to come get him. We then headed down to the canoe to get our fishing rod and score him a little something to eat while he waiting to be rescued. That didn't take long as there were about 40 small rock bass and perch feasting away on all the (g'damn) zebra mussels we has broken up while climbing in and out of the water. My oldest caught the fish (or as she put it, "the lucky contestant") and I quickly whacked him on the head and we tossed him to the crane. He didn't exactly gobble it down, I think he had other things on his mind. Oh well, we did out part.

I celebrated by having a Grolsch and some salty snacks.

Finally we left our little rocky island in a bit of a rush as we realized that a storm was fast approaching. Luckily everyone made it back to the van and was safe inside just moments before the downpour... everyone except for me that is. I was caught in it full force as I scrambled to tie down the canoe. Oh well, we came here for the water, right?


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Poolside at Jimmie's

Sunday was freakin' hot hot hot. How better to spend it than sitting floating around in a pool?

The impromptu crew started to gather around noon and continued to grow until we reached 21 (not including dogs and cats). Conditions were perfect. Air temperature about 42 with the humidex, water temperature was 25 degrees. Refreshing.

Here are a few pics of the event...

These water rats swam nearly the entire 6 hours that we were there.

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The wee little one // Another awesome pic of Gramma and I

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Brother Jan tries to block a flip // Opa doing his classic frog kick float

The gang was fairly mellow until cousin Jen showed up with her awesome back flips.

Great show Jen!!


And finally, a big shout out to Jen on her recent graduation!!


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Adults only weekend in T'ronna


For the 5th year in a row we've booked an "adults only" weekend with our friends in Bowmanville (home of the Bowmanville Zoo and the lions that starred in The Ghost and the Darkness). This time we committed ourselves to actually heading in to downtown Toronto for some jazz/blues and a nice (quiet with no kids) meal. As luck would have it this weekend was forecasted to be around 40 degrees with the humidex. Ack.


The gang with the tower thingy in the background

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Me with Ed the Sock (can you guess which one is Ed?)

We hit the King St. area around noon and after a quick tour of Speaker's Corner and the MuchMusic store we headed over to "The Rex" for a pint and some live jazz. Other than the fact that it was not at all air conditioned it was a nice little jazz joint. The ceiling fans on high and windows cranked wide combined with sweat soaked musicians mobbing brows with handkerchiefs just added to the ambiance and gave things a real southern New Orleans feel.

Not exactly a sold out crowd but hey, it was only noon (and 40 frickin' degrees)

While relaxing between sets the 186th annual Orangemen's Parade marched by so we stepped outside to pay our respects. The Orange Order was formed in 1795 and their parades through the streets of Belfast have definitely seen their share of violence. Luckily today's heat and humidity zapped the strength from any would-be protesters.

The Orangemen

From The Rex we headed back out into the heat and strolled over to the King St district in search of food and beverage. After scoping out a few possibilities we stopped in at MEC and Europe Bound to check things out and we both picked up some sling packs for $15.

A gigantic case of freezing cold beer, it was like a mirage.

At some point we decided on Indian food and settled for the $10.95 buffet at Dhaba on King. This was a huge hit. It was interesting to see how each of us tackled the buffet differently. Having been warned that they would be closing it down shortly, Steve went for the pile it high technique (he actually "lost" his samosas) while Paula's concern over possible consequences with the hot'n'spicy curry drove her choices to be a little light in selection. Meanwhile Rhonda and I seemed to both go for the classic sample selection technique with the intent on a quick top up on what proved to be tasty. All in all this was a hit with the whole gang.

Our bellies full we high-tailed it for the van and home for some R&R, cheap drinks, and a movie. Oh yeah the movie selection process was a bit of a scene as we had one vote for Transamerica (some piece of crap flick about a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual) and Freedomland with Samuel Jackson. With only one vote each (and two silent abstentions) we somehow ended up with Freedomland. Now I love Sammy J, but let's just say I think the one about the gay freak would have been the better choice.

Movie followed by more food and more beer/coolers/wine/coconut rum and more good times.

Next year we're considering a road trip to Buffalo for some real jazz/blues.

PS: Note to self for next's event, do not suggest culinary techniques to Rhonda no matter how great they are.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Camping at Charleston


What a great week to go camping. The weather was great, the camping companions were great, the campsite was great,... everything was just (insert drumroll) great.

We arrived around noon on the Monday and had to fix up a little lunch in the nearby hiking trail parking lot while we waited for the other campers to vacate our site. Finally right at the 2pm cut-off they rolled out and we rolled in. Popped up the tent trailer and set up an extra tent for whoever wanted to sleep with the coons. Then we headed off to the Bayside beach for some well deserved R&R.

We did it all - fished, snorkeled, canoed, geocached, hiked, beach-baked, swam, roasted marshmallows, caught snakes, sailed, and most important of all relaxed and had a couple of pints. The "Tiny Heinys" proved to be the beer of the weekend keeping nice and cold in the ice box.

Here are some of the pics of the various activities...

Snake skin
Snake skin


Kids love snakes

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Snake charmer

Nightshot - playing with a glowing poker and the camera's settings. We had a blast coming up with various things to write (most of which can not be blogged)

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More nightshots

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Canoe day on Charleston Lake

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Life's a beach

We had a blast with Uncle Michael and I'm pretty sure he's already booked time off for next year's trip.


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Now if we could just capture this moment and freeze it in time...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Viva Italia!

That makes it 4 World Cups for Italia - only one less than the record holding Brazil.