Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Much to my amazement there was a big for sale sign on an old Minden establishment, the Rockcliffe Hotel. How sad the place looks. Paint fading and looking rather lonely on the corner of a busy street during the beginning of cottage season.
Long ago, as a university student, when everyone was starting to wear harem pants, big hair and leggings, there was also a core group of us who stuck to the basic T-shirts and jeans wardrobe. Every where I looked on campus were kids wearing Rockcliffe Tavern T-shirts. I remember distinctly the blue shirt with the red and white rings around the top of the arm and the front emblazoned with “Rockcliffe Hotel, Minden Ontario”. At the time I had never even heard of Minden, but I knew those T-shirts were cool.
Fast forward about ten years and I am now married with children and the proud owner of a cottage in “cottage country.” I soon discovered Minden. I had long forgotten the treasured T-shirt until one day we went into town for something and we drove up Main Street Minden and there it was…………..the Rockcliffe Hotel! I was so excited, until we drove around the corner and saw the hotel from the front. There in big tacky letters was a big sign advertising strippers. This was not the hot night spot in cottage country I envisioned.
I swallowed my disappointment and pretty much forgot about the Rockcliffe until I was on a trip to Kamloops, British Columbia. Anyone who visits B.C. soon discovers no one is actually from B.C. It became my habit to investigate everyone I met to find out where they were actually from. I met a fellow teacher originally from London, Ontario and we soon discovered our cottages were actually only a few miles from each other………and yes, the Rockcliffe Tavern. He told me stories about the Rockcliffe’s heyday when it was THE place to go and hang out and listen to bands. I told him my secret desire had always been to own a Rockcliffe T-shirt. He disclosed he actually had one! In fact, following his university days he had worn it while backpacking across Europe and had many people stop him to say they had the T-shirt as well!
While I have never actually stepped into the Rockcliffe I feel like it is a piece of my history as well as those of my generation. Wouldn’t it be amazing if whoever buys the new place restores it to its glory days? I can picture my university aged children hanging out there and enjoying another perk of cottage country.
I don’t think I will ever venture into the place. It couldn’t possibly be as wondrous as my imagination thinks it is.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Terry and I finally got to put the docks in the water. It meant I had to go in the water too! We normally do this much earlier in the year and the water is freezing cold. Today, once I got over the initially lake water shock, it felt wonderful. It felt like summer.
So, to recap……..today is June 21st, the first day of summer,I went swimming in the lake…..but the real official sign of summer.........I have a sun burn!!!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
On our way up to the cottage last night I was reading the paper and came across an article about a group called “Alexisonfire.” Talk about an AHA moment! One of the guys in this group, Dallas Green, was in my class some time ago. I was his grade seven teacher as well as his vice-principal for two years. He was just like this kid with the guitar yesterday. Always questioning, rebelling but no matter how irritating he was, you couldn’t help but really like Dallas. He was always bringing his guitar to school and always talked either about his guitar or his skateboard. He was a brilliant student with good marks in spite of the fact he didn’t put in that much effort academically. I had a very serious conversation with him about how the guitar was a great hobby but he should concentrate on school because he could really go places.
Thank goodness Dallas didn’t listen to me.
Dallas has really gone places alright………with his guitar. He has travelled the world on tour with Alexisonfire as well as with his solo act City and Colour. He has won several Junos (Those are Canadian Grammy’s for you American readers.) He has really “made it” as a musician. He is even a heartthrob idol if you check out the internet.
So the moral of the story is……….follow your heart. I am going back to school on Monday and share my story and try to encourage this guitar player to stick with it and follow his dream.
Now if I can only take my own advice and follow my dream………
Thursday, June 18, 2009
We have been up to the cottage a few times this year but the weather has not cooperated much. This week-end is the week-end we absolutely MUST get the docks in and the boats in the water. I am also going to get all of the guest beds made up in the Bunkie and we will be ready for the summer. Our cottage is Haliburton area, smack between Mindon and Dorset. We are on a very small lake with only about 12 cottages spread around. It is not a fancy place but it is ours and we love it. To wake up in the morning and just turn my head and I can see the lake. To sit on the deck in the evening and watch the sunset. To just do whatever we want, whenever we want. Here is my to do list for the summer:
read lots of books
- swim across the lake
- watch the baby loons grow up
- write some articles while on the dock
- be a great host to some fun guests
- train for the 5 km
- drink some wine
- roast some marshmallows
- plant some flowers
Lots of plans.............but no pressure.............summer time!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Here I am……….OK, not quite. This is the picture of me I have in my head. Fit, big smile, great hair………………I actually have been told I have a great smile and some days I have been known to have great hair(depends upon humidity and so many other factors)
I am on a committee where we are working with new principals. Our workshop today talked a lot about having life balance between home and school etc. I am considered one of the “mentors”….you know, someone who is supposed to know what they are talking about. I do know all of the right words to say but putting it into action is another thing.
I leave for work each day at about 7:30 and get home around 6:00 p.m. After that I start supper, read the paper and log onto the computer to check out facebook, blogs, emails and anything else that can distract me until I go to bed. When the topic of fitness comes up I tell everyone, and try to convince myself, I have no time for exercise.
I have made a commitment to run a five kilometre race in October and yet I have yet to put on my running shoes. I need to get motivated and get running.
Is there anyone out there to say the right words to me to get me out the door and away from the computer??
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I just got home from another retirement party. This party was a large affair with lots of people representing 40+ years of education. I saw so many people I haven’t seen in years.
I also ran into several girlfriends. You know the ones. The kind that you don't see in months but once you do in 5 minutes or less you can catch up with each others’ lives and really mean it. The only thing is, with our jobs, our families and just life in general we never seem to have time to really enjoy each other’s company. So tonight we made plans to make plans.
So we have set a date to do lunch and bring our calendars. We have decided to spend a few days at the cottage. The cottage is cheap, available and best of all..................away from the real world.
There is nothing better than a girl’s trip to the cottage. Everyone always chips in with the food and clean-up so it is no work at all. And the entertainment is always looked after……..just talk!!
Just thinking of spending time at the cottage with my friends has buoyed my enthusiasm and anticipation for summer………..bring it on!!!!!
One little side bar………as always I felt I needed to add a picture to the post. What is with the notion that the loon has been replaced by the moose as the symbol of cottage life? When did this happen? Did I miss the vote?
Monday, June 15, 2009
As woman do, we chatted over top of each other….yes, for you men out there, woman do really sound like “The View.” As we were trading stories about our last year at work, our plans for summer vacation, bragging and complaining about our children, I mentioned my daughter, who is entering her third year at Queen’s University, is “finding herself” as she is finding it difficult to pinpoint her major. That is when someone said something to me that I found quite startling………”It’s not about finding yourself but rather creating yourself.”
That put a totally new spin on my life. It is totally up to me as to what direction my life will take. I cannot just wait for fate to take me where I am going, but if I want something it is totally up to me to make it happen.
Now I just need to decide what I want to happen!
I am so disillusioned! In my quest to find a pretty picture to put with these blah words of my blog, I discovered there are about 71,200,000 google entries of “It’s not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”
I thought I had discovered a new philosophy, something new to ponder. I am so disappointed! I am even sorrier to disappoint anyone out there still reading this………….. it was not a new saying or philosophy at all, just another quote to put on a coffee mug.
Are there any new ideas out there?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Well here it goes………….my SPECTACULAR goal. I have decided to start with something very tangible…………..
I know it won’t be the Stanley Cup or Henley gold for that matter, but for me to finish a race like that will be something that I can actually accomplish, but I will have to push myself to do it.
At work they are pushing “SMART” goals:
So here goes my first personal SMART Goal:
Specific: To run again!
Measurable: 5 kilometres
Attainable: Surely I can run 5 km????
Realistic: Well, it’s not the Olympics
Timely: October – that when the Niagara Falls Marathon is and there is a 5 km portion for people like me…….
I didn’t pick this goal out of thin air. It has been rolling around in the back of head for some time now. When Terry and I moved into our condo last October I told myself I would start to use the exercise room downstairs. Many of my friends pay lots of money each month to belong to some club and I have one free an elevator ride (or even better, stair flights) down from me. I need to start using it.
I have also been encouraged to join two co-workers who have been talking about the Niagara Falls marathon. A beautiful run along the Niagara Parkway ending at the picturesque Falls. What better place?
Also, maybe I will actually attain that goal of losing 15 pounds if I start running again?
Now I actually have to figure out how am I going to be able to run 5 kilometers?
Any wannabe trainers out there with some good suggestions?
Well, Sid the Kid did it!
The dream every young Canadian boy has probably had at some time……..to hoist that Stanley Cup above his head! It was a great game last night and I was surprised how emotional I got to see that cup being presented. They call it the prettiest cup in all professional sports. To me it signifies attaining a life long goal………and at the age of 21 Sidney Crosby reached his goal.
Crosby is the same age as my middle child Kaitlin. In fact, Kaitlin managed to finish her soccer game and watch the final minutes of the games with me. After the game she chatted with me about how busy she is going to be this summer. As well as playing soccer, she is taking her last class to graduate with a business degree from Brock University. She is starting a new job in the finance department at the board office. She will still be slinging beer at TGIF’s. The thing she is most excited about is she is back on the water this summer rowing.
Her goal is to win a Henley gold on the rowing course. http://www.henleyregatta.ca/henley-2009.php
Sid attained his goal at 21.
Kaitlin is well on course (pardon the pun for those who know rowing) to attain her goal of winning Henley gold…at the age of 21.
I am 47……….I don’t even have a goal let alone on my way to attain it!
My goal for the week-end is to get the laundry finished.
My goal for the summer is to lose 15 pounds.
I need a SPECTACULAR goal.
A picture taking worthy goal.
A goal that involves hoisting something above my head.
Anyone out there in cyberspace have any suggestions on goal-setting?
Is this just a sudden mid-life crisis?
Can I suddenly start training to run a marathon?
Could I have anything interesting to say to write a book?
Who knew that watching some kid with a trophy over his head would cause me to think I have yet to achieve something big. The question is………….what is that something??????
Friday, June 12, 2009
I always seem to cheer on the underdog team which means definitely I will be cheering for Pittsburgh Penguins. Team captain Sydney Crosby is sooooo close in attaining every boy’s childhood dream, and yet he is still just a kid himself……hence the moniker “Sid the Kid.”
It just seems odd to me after the regular season, 3 series wins so far in the play-offs, and 6 games already played in the final series, the cup will be awarded to the winner of one game. It makes for an exciting game for sure. I don’t know if I could even stand it if the game goes into over time. Not only would this mean the cup came down to one game, it would come down to the next goal……………just like those road hockey games that had to end because the street lights came on. But I am digressing to childhood memories…yet another post for another day.
So tonight, I will be an absorbed hockey fan, yelling at the TV set and listening intently to what Don Cherry has to say. (Don is definitely worth his own post, but for those of you non-Canadian types you really have to check out this amazing Canadian icon………seeing is believing) http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/hockeynightincanada/coachscorner/
Tomorrow I will have moved on to something else putting hockey aside until next play-off season.
Any suggestions out there for my NEXT temporary passion?
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Last night I went to the school board’s Staff Celebration Dinner. This is a dinner where they honour people who are retiring, as well as staff with 25 years of service. Everyone there was very surprised to find out that I was one of the people being honoured. No, I am not quite ready for retirement, but I have been a teacher-principal for twenty-five years!
I was remembering back to my very first job at Denis Morris High School teaching grade nine and ten math. I was one lesson ahead of the kids. I was teaching myself equations at night before I had to teach those know-it-all kids in the morning. I quickly learned kids at that age are very cool and knew exactly how to take advantage of a very green teacher. Definitely I learned more than they did that year but they were lessons well learned.
Ironically the man who owned the hall we had our dinner at last night was in that grade nine math class! He was a big kid who thought about nothing but football. He was not very interested in math. Once he got a bit older he put dollar signs in front of those numbers and did very well. He has become a well-know business man in our community.
My memory is not as good as it once was but I do remember that first class clearly. I remember the girl who was constantly etching Billy Idol’s name in her books. I remember some kids very excited about going to a concert to see Van Halen and they saw Valerie Bertinelli hanging around. I remember one boy who was very cool because he had a red leather jacket just like Michael Jackson had. To help me remember some of those details I did a little bit of googling.
Back to 1984...............................
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Anyway…..all of this memory lane walking is because of something fascinating I discovered while watching Hockey Night in Canada before one of the Penguins/Capitals play-off games. Road hockey in front of the White House! I have even signed up for their messages on Yahoo! Each week a bunch of guys (no girls??) get together and play road hockey on a section of the street shut down to traffic in front of the White House. Yes, THAT White House. I think that is amazing. A Canadian pastime is now becoming something for all Americans to see! I am trying to convince Terry to make our summer vacation to Washington. Not to see the Smithsonian or anything like that but to play road hockey! The only thing missing is that no one needs to yell “CAR!” (I think only the Canadian readers out there will get that)
Monday, June 8, 2009
Here it is, five o'clock in the morning. I am sooooo tired but I can't sleep.
I just looked at myself in the mirror.
I look bad.
Red eyes and oozy, crusty stuff.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Since we bought our cottage about 15 years ago, I have been an avid reader of Cottage Life. Last summer I was very excited to actually have an item published in the magazine, a small bit about potato gun fun at the cottage. The article even evoked some controversy. Something I wrote caused some one living in Korea to write a letter to the editor! Terry was upset someone had the nerve to criticize the use of potato guns, (or was he just trying to protect my honour???)The writer thought it was a disgraceful waste of food, shooting random potatoes into our lake. I was just excited it was published and got a nice cheque to go along with it!
The cover pic was taken when we decided to attend the Cottage Life show in Toronto. One of the booths offered to snap it if we took some survey about cell phone use. A few days later we received an email with our picture superimposed on the cover of our favourite magazine! I am just curious about what an accompanying article would be about.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
My Pittsburgh Penguins did not do very well tonight. A 5-0 loss to Detroit. While watching the game tonight I was vividly remembering our latest family outing.
Last Thursday on my way to work, my cell phone rang. It was my sone Greg asking me if I wanted to go to a Stanley Cup final game. Before I calculated exactly how much this excursion was going to cost I said yes. Of course MY credit card had to be used! By 10:00 a.m. Greg was on-line and was able to score 4 tickets to game 1 of the Stanley Cup final series between Detroit and Pittsburgh.
So last Saturday afternoon with my husband Terry driving, Greg and his girlfriend Kim in the back seat, we were off to Detroit. It was a pretty uneventful drive until we were between London and Windsor on the 401. I was engrossed in a book when I heard Terry swear and say we were about to be pulled over by the police.
The police office came up to the passenger side so I rolled down my window. Standing there with a great big smile was the youngest, cutest looking cop I have ever seen! She very politely explained Terry was driving 131 in a 100 kph zone. She went on to add this section of highway has seen an abnormal amount of accidents due to the lack of median. She then headed back to her car to write up the ticket.
Terry stepped out of the car at this point and asked her if it was OK to go and visit the woods. She agreed and off Terry went into the trees at the side of the road in front of a cop and the other hundred people zooming past us on the 401!!! No one said Terry had any class. When the officer came back to the car, she asked Terry to get back and went on to tell us because we looked like such a nice family she reduced the ticket to no points and only a $50.00. We thanked her profusely and commented how we appreciated her kind manner.
Terry did slow down a bit (with my backseat nagging) and we arrived at our hotel room to get ready for the big game. Kim and Greg donned their matching Red Wing jerseys while Terry and I kept on our civilian garb. We headed to a city bus stop where we got on a bus and went through the Windsor tunnel and through customs. I was going to give some motherly advice to a young gentleman on the bus who was upset about getting hassled from the customs inspectors. I was going to suggest if he removed the massive dollar sign tattoos around this neck it might make his entry into the USA easier. I decided to not get involved.
As we entered "The Joe" we were all given white towels to cheer with and we then headed for the pizza stand for our dinner. Looking around I had never seen so many jerseys being worn. Literally, Terry and I were some of the very few people not wearing a jersey. Most were Detroit but there were lots of Penguins jerseys too, considering we were in the Motor City.
The game was a blast! While I wasn't happy the Penguins were on the wrong side of the score sheet, (I always seem to cheer for the underdogs) the arena was rocking! Attending a game at the Joe was a cross between a great hockey game, a rock concert and a karaoke party! In my other life, I am sure I must have been a back up singer for Bette Midler, so while the goals didn't go the way I wanted, I sung along with the crowd anyway.
NHL rules says the music can only be played when the players aren't playing. That doesn't stop the crowd! Never really a fan of KISS, suddenly all of the words came back to me, and 20, 000 other people. At the end of the game we all sang together "I Want to Rock and Roll All Night.......and Party Every Day!"
The bus ride back through the tunnel was much louder and rowdier than the way over. Lots of not so watered down American beer can do that to a bunch of twenty-something-year-old hockey fans. I did feel sorry for some poor kid from London Ontario, the apparently sole Penguin jersey wearing rider on the bus.
All in all, it was a great week-end. Lots of fun. A great family outing even if only half of the family was there. Daughter #1 Kaitlin was very upset we didn't have a ticket for her. Daughter #2 Jennifer couldn't figure out why anyone would actually want to go to Detroit.
As we travelled back along the 401, at almost exactly the spot Terry got the speeding ticket, we saw a car crumpled up in the ditch. Several people were out of their cars heading toward the crash. We could hear the siren wailing from the ambulance on the way. A severe jolt back to reality.
The rest of the series we are back to being common folk, watching the game on the TV. But in the background I can still hear them play KISS and I still sing along.