Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ireland Before

Ellen is off to Ireland. Now what does that have to do with me? Nothing. I am staying back here, with the dogs. She will be touring a whole other country we will be home wondering what she's up to. She will be seeing the sights and we will be doing the same ol same old nothing. Am I jealous? Yeah I guess I am but don't tell her. What bothers me most is that she will be using up all her holiday time and I will have lots left and no one to go with.

But its a mother daughters trip. She is going with her mom and her sisters, and its been in the planning stages for years. It was just to be her mother and sister years ago but just before they booked it my father in law got sick and it was put off. Then ny sister in law go married and moved to Winnipeg (not necessarily in that order), And the trip got put off. But every once in a while talk of it would rise like Brigadoon out of the mist and there would be talk.

Well now the talk has come to fruition. The contingent is expanded to Mom and all her daughters and they leave on Tuesday. Fifteen days and a bus tour of Magical Ireland. Ellen is all decked out with new luggage and a new digital camera and all but packed. That will be done by this evening. Then its off to the emerald isle. Well almost first a flight to TO then Heathrow then Dublin and a good nights rest. Then the tour and fun.

The Gooding girls are doing a special side trip next Sunday to meet Barber relatives. Mom's family is from a small pace near Sligo. There are still family back there and through the magic of the Internet Donna has arranged a Family Reunion of sorts. That is to take place next Sunday at the Church in Duncliffe.
Beyond that they have a whole long list of sightseeing tours etc.. etc..

I had one rule for the trip, It has to do with Ellen's sister Barbara. Barbara is a great kid don't get me wrong but she will call up to say hi and you will be on the phone for an hour and will not have said three words in sequence, To say she has the gift of the gab is to put it mildly. Its not a bad thing. She offsets Ellen who usually sits back and lets the others do the talking. At any rate my one rule for the trip is that under no circumstances do they let Barbara kiss the Blanrey stone. I don't know what could happen. Nothing probably like attaching a charger to a gully charged battery. Then again we should not risk a national Irish treasure should we. Maybe it would give that old rock a rechage so it can keep going another thousand years!

Other than thatthey should have all the fun and good times you can pack into two weeks in an Irish tour bus.

As for me and my girls, I think the Chicken delivery man will know where our house is quite well by the time Ellen is back!

Sitting here all alone with the dogs...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Still Here

As Mark Twain said " The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!" Yes its been a while and for that I apologize.

This is just a quick note to say I am still here I just have not had too much to say or time to say it. Sorry. Somebody out there is thinking of that line from Dances with Wolves where the Mule skinner and Dunbar come upon an arrow riddled skeleton on the prairie and the Mule skinner says "Somebody back east is wonderin' why don't he write?" Well I ain't dead yet. It is just that Ive been busy at one thing and another. I work on computers all day and I don't want to see them when I get home unless I have to. And this blog is not an I have to.

On the home front no great shakes. Unless you count Belle getting attached by a Pit Bull great (we certainly shook). Last Monday we were out for a walk around the block and as we passed a house a Pit bull jumped an 8 foot fence and roared across the yard and grabbed her. I was able to get her away from it twice before the owners got off their butts and got it into the house. Belle was bitten on the ear and bruised on the neck and shoulders. I was just shook up (its a scary thing to have a dog like that coming at you.) I found her ear wound when I got home so I took her into the vet emergency to get her completely checked out. Two hours and 200 dollars later she was home not a whole lot worse for wear. I reported the incident and the owners were fined. They took the dog out of the city. I have to stop by to get them to pay my vet bill. The animal control officer said I may want to wait as they were quite upset. Poor dears. If I get any grief from them I will take them to small claims court. So they will have a choice of paying me now or paying me later.

Other than that its the same old same old. And as the Monty Python line from "the Holy Grail" goes "I'm not dead yet!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guitar Lessons for the Fun of it

Long time no see. But that is the fall, too little time too much to do. And since I did not have enough on my plate I signed up for guitar lessons. Just half an hour a week with travel that equates to about an hour every Wednesday night. That and at least a half an hour a day practicing what I learned. The half hour is what I try to put in until I can't feel the tips of my fingers or move my shoulder. Which is God's way of telling me he has heard enough noise for one day. Funny how things change when I was in the band in school it was a chore to practice now I put in as much time as I can muster until the old joints ache, because it is "fun".

My teacher is a young man, a kid really, in his very early 20's who is remarkably polite to the old geezer. In the first few lessons we have been going through a lot of theory. He has been teaching me and in some cases reminding me of things I had known many years ago. High school band is pretty much a dim memory but a lot of the theory came back when I started talking to Zairial.

He has a little bit of a mean streak though. He started off with Barre Chords. That for people not familiar is a chord shape that is made by barring all six strings with one finger. And it takes a fair bit of practice and strength in the finger to produce results. So for the first week or so I got very little music and a whole new world of pain out of my guitar. But I stuck it out and little by little the pain was replaced by music. He later told me it usually takes a student three or four weeks to get the hang of barre chords but the benefit is that they are very systematic and logical unlike the other method called CAGED or open chords. So that is what I have been up to for the past 4 weeks.

Last week he started to show me how to finger pick. I had a book but had not started to work from it. But now I know 3 different patterns and I have even started to pick out a few songs. And I must be doing something right because Ellen said that one even sounded like it was supposed to. She said "Is that Shenandoah?" which it was and a total surprise to me. I have no idea what the tune is supposed to sound like and the patterns I was picking out were not the melody so if she can recognize it I must be doing something right.

Finger picking has the added benefit of making your fingers on your right had sore. That as I understand it is to balance out the blisters and or calluses on the left hand. In finger picking you play three stings with the thumb and the other three strings with the index middle and ring fingers. It sounds very nice and more musical to my ear than strumming. But as with everything about the guitar it hurts for the first while. I have also read on the Internet that you need longer finger nails but the steel strings will break them and tear them up. Something else to look forward to.

But I think that I can get even. The whole point of this hobby is so that at some point I will be able to sing around the camp fire. That is when I get even. All the pain and soreness that I have been putting up with to learn the guitar will be nothing compared to what my audiences will have to put up with when I sing. Think of the worst contestant on American Idol and multiply it say tenfold. That is what I'll sound like. Add to that the fact that I can't remember lyrics and there you have it. My revenge. And the best part is that I sound great in my own mind so it won't bother me in the least!

Still banging away on the old axe...


Monday, September 8, 2008

Indian Summer

Well summer is nearly over for another year. We had Ellen's aunt Norma out to our trailer for the weekend just to get her out of town for a change of pace. The weather did not really cooperate but I think she had a good time anyway. Mostly we played board games. But we did get out and see the country side a bit. We took her down to the Pearson Berry farm for a Saskatoon pie and jar of black current syrup.

And now we are getting ready for fall and there are still nearly two weeks of summer left. Like Aunt Norma I hope we get an Indian summer. OOPS! I said Indian Summer how un PC of me. Did you know that kids today don't know what Indian summer is. Apparently it is a derogatory expression, and here I thought it referred to that warm few weeks after the first cold snap of fall. I don't know why people call it Indian summer but I suspect that there is something in the lore that may not be too savory. We never learned it in school all we knew was the name. And because some people are offended that expression is gone too.

What will it be next? Dutch Ovens? For those of you who do not know a dutch oven is a roasting pot and not an oven at all. From the days when every thing Dutch was thought to be second rate in old New England. But who knew it was politically incorrect. I am sure that if I studied it a bit I could find any number of politically incorrect expressions that everyone uses everyday. And we better use them archaic and quaint though they might be. Before they go the way of Indian Summer,

Just sitting here hoping for that-warm-spell-that-comes-after-the-first-cold-snap-of-fall TWSTCATFCSOF for short, Indian Summer for those politically incorrect types in the crowd.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

I might be a redneck

If your dog and your wallet are both on a chain... you might be a redneck.

If you both use the tree at the end of the block when you walk your dog... you might be a red neck.

I have heard a great many redneck jokes thanks mostly to Mr Jeff Foxworthy but here's a new one

If you buy your wife lingerie at the bait shop... you might be a redneck.

Well it was at the marina and it was a nightshirt not lingerie but you get the idea.

While on vacation I went to the Sunset Bay marina to pick up fishing licences, a bit of tackle and gas for the boat. I did not need bait but I bet they had it. And in a side room in the marina store was a little shop called Jammyz (or something like that). And they sold all sorts of t shirt type nighties and bags and PJ's. So the wife and I went browsing.

She needed a new nightshirt anyway. Her old one is getting pretty thin is spots and it is very old. So we had a poke around and found her one that had comic dogs all over it with the slogan "Let Sleeping dogs lie." (The comic dogs relaxing in beach attire with the slogan "Dogs In Heat" was funnier but too mean since the girls are spayed.) So I bought it for her. (It even has a beagle that looks like Dixie on it.) Lingerie, sort of, at the Bait shop, sort of. So I might be a red neck, sort of.

Like I said If you buy your wife lingerie at the bait shop... you might be a redneck.

Feel free to use that one Jeff.