Archive for August, 2006

Shhhh. Did you hear that? Over there, in the trees. It sounded like a rustle of leaves… like something was lurking there in the dark getting ready to pounce on us and surround us. Do you feel that? It’s a cool, damp breeze… that can mean only one thing… FALL IS COMING!!!

Last night, I crawled into bed under a sheet and one of my grandma’s homemade quilts (one of the thinner ones) and I was shivering so badly, I thought I was dancing. So I turned on the lights and dug deep into my closet to pull out my [sigh] duvet. So warm. So cozy.

On behalf of all unmarried men who take their sleeping comfort seriously, I demand that the companies who create bedding come up with some badass manly names for things like duvets and pillow shams. I mean, I can’t help but hang my head in shame when I say them out loud. It’s just embarassing.

And for anyone out there who thinks it’s not manly to have pillow shams at all, I have one thing to say to you. They’re a matching set that goes with my grandma’s homemade quilt. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with her!

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I love taking the subway at night. There’s always lots of seating, and plenty of interesting and friendly people to have a conversation with… or just to watch. People are at their most laid-back (or drunk), so it’s the most entertaining time to ride on public transit.

So late last night I’m on the subway reading a copy of NOW magazine with my leg crossed across my knee (the manly way, not the girly way). I was wearing jeans, but because of how I was sitting, the cuffs came up above my shoes and exposed my ankles. It’s also important to note that I was sober (clearly) and fairly well-dressed (long-sleeved collared shirt, nice jeans, nice shoes).

I’m sitting there minding my own business when a gentleman in his 40’s and dressed much like me gets on and sits across from me on the car. He gives me the ‘up and down’ glance and then lets out a little laugh.
“Excuse me,” he says “but did you know that you’re only wearing one sock?”

Now, this is a pretty strange question for a stranger to be asking. I mean, of COURSE I know I’m only wearing one sock. How could someone NOT notice that they’re only wearing one sock? C’mon. Of course, he was just trying to be helpful and conversational, so I couldn’t really fault him and we struck up a very polite conversation for the next few stops until I had to go.

So that’s why I love public transit… for the strange and funny conversations that can start up out of nowhere. As for the question of why I was only wearing one sock… well, that’s too long of a story to go into here, but suffice it to say, it’s not very comfortable and I’ll avoid it in the future. For example, I’m wearing two socks right now… on opposite feet. I find that’s the best way to wear them.

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It’s that time of year… vacations are all over, the kids are getting ready to go back to school and stores are starting to put up Christmas ornaments. Summer… is coming to an end. Even though Labour Day Weekend is an unofficial end of summer and we have a few more weeks left, this weekend is the first nail in the coffin, so to speak. Frankly (as you all know), I can’t wait to bury this one in the ground. Summer blows. Long live Autumn!

Still, there are some things I want to do before the summer of 2006 leaves us forever. Here, is that list:

1. Go on a ride at the Ex. Anything that travels at high speeds under adverse conditions and is put together by carnies with a grade 4 education is guaranteed to be exciting. He he he, ‘carnies’.
2. Go camping at a Provincial Park. I haven’t camped at a Provincial Park (Algonquin excluded. I’m talking ‘car camping’ here) in a looooooong time, and I miss it. It’s really nice to be able to go camping but still to have all the luxuries of home with you. Not to mention not having to tie your food up every night.
3. Get Gertie up and running. This would certainly make number two a lot easier. I wouldn’t even need to bring a tent! I could just stretch out in the back of the wagon and leave the tailgate open all night. Still, I’d like to have her up and running in time for some sweet back-country driving this fall. I want to take millions of photos of the leaves changing this year.
4. De-raccoon my chimney. Okay, this one is more of a practical issue, I guess… but nonetheless important.
5. Gorge myself on Corn-on-the-Cob. Slathered with butter and salt… oh yeah.

Something I was going to add to the list is lying back in my hammock somewhere playing guitar with my cowboy hat pulled low over my eyes, but I thought that sounded kind of redneck. Still… I’m going to do it.

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Sorry for the delay. I really have to stop letting work get in the way of my writing, but there’s that pesky matter of getting paid. If you guys just sent me money now and then… well, let’s not start with the crazy-talk.

Friday: Danielle and I had a late start in Toronto and some traffic in the east end, so we showed up to a full and unlocked house where the beer had been flowing for many hours. Jana and Brad had arrived before us (in Brad’s 79 Gremlin) and Marty, Ben and Kenneth had been there for hours. We stayed up huddled around the woodstove while Kenneth serenaded to us from the guitar and Marty was banned forever from playing the Recorder.

Saturday: We had a late breakfast and some of us ran into town to pick up groceries. We also stopped off at my parents to raid their garden for cukes and tomatoes and to check in on Gertie (more on that in a bit). Back at the cottage, we waited for Dan, Rachel, Grace and Megan to arrive before heading out to the amazing Bristol waterfall for a bit of a hike.

Marty, Danielle and Brad were brave enough to wade out into the fjord at the base of the waterfall and it turns out that it’s an even better swimming hole than I would’ve guessed. Marty even put on a little show by jumping off a cliff face. I wasn’t looking forward to hauling his unconcious and broken body out of that gorge, so I’m happy to report he was fine. The only injury was to Danielle’s back from not stooping low enough under a fallen tree. She had a broken branch dig in. Yikes.

Back at the house, some of the boys rolled their sleeves up and braved the stupidity that is “Star Wars: The official board game” from 1977. Those of us with more sense opted for a civil game of Crokinole. Afterwards, we prepped up another fantastic feast of organic steaks, garlic and onion potatoes, and fresh veggies and ate ourselves into a blissful state of fullness.

Marty, Kenneth and Ben made their escape after dinner and the rest of us busted out Hitchhiker the board game. Yet again, we didn’t finish the game (even after three hours and MANY bottles of wine), so it’s now become my life’s mission to play that game to completion. Dan, Rachel, Grace and Megan headed out ‘late’ (even though it was 11:30, it felt like 4am after being up the night before) and the rest of us called it a night.

Sunday: After a light rainstorm overnight and into the morning, we got to enjoy the pitter-patter of rain on the tin roof before we gorged ourselves on a Royal breakfast of bacon, eggs and fried up potato leftovers from saturday’s dinner. For a change, we even had something healthy thanks to an impromptu fruit salad Danielle threw together. We packed up, cleaned up and hit the road in a light drizzle. Although I got home fairly early last evening, a big part of me is still up there… and it’s not the part that’s sitting on my parent’s lawn with a busted engine.

Now that you have the context, the photos should make a LOT more sense.

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What a great weekend! Honestly, one of the best in a long time. It turns out that swimming at the waterfall is a good idea (and very cool) so we’ll be cliff-diving out there on hot days from here on in.

I’ve got a busy morning here in the office, so to kill time this morning, check out the photos (they’re under ‘Cottage’ >> “2006.08.25-27 Cottage Weekend”).

Thanks again to everyone for coming and making it such a great weekend!

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Three posts in one day! Wow. You guys should consider yourselves lucky… or something.

This weekend marks the first time in a long time that I’ll have spent four weekends in a row up at the cottage. For those who know me best, you know how content that makes me. Broken cars and exploding chimneys can’t even upset the balance that comes from spending the week in the city and the weekend in God’s country.

Even better, this weekend will be a nice cozy one with a few friends. The weather is supposed to be a little chilly, so we’ll probably fire up the woodstove and lounge around the house enjoying good food and drink. It’s the way man was meant to spend his leisure time… I can only imagine.

Right now, my toughest problem is staying focussed on work rather than watching the countdown clock (2 hours and counting) before the adventure begins… and every trip is an adventure. You never know what’s going to happen up there, or on the way up there. Every group of people who come bring their own dynamic, so no two cottage weekends are ever the same.

So, for those of you staying home this weekend… have a great one, and for those of you coming up to Bristol, I’ll see you in a few hours. Let the adventure begin!

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Once upon a time, in a suburb not so far away, there lived a young man named ‘Par’. Few people knew his real name, and he liked it that way. At the tender age of 15, he was the only guy in his group of friends who already had a goatee and when he DID talk, it was usually something about the Buffalo Bills.

As time passed, his friends all learned his real name was Matthew (although it would be years before he asked them to start calling him that) and he came out of his shell. He started spending his summers at camp, and found that he loved fire… a lot. He built big fires (and I mean BIG fires) and got into hijinx of all sorts. He learned the joy of being mischevious and the value of not getting caught being mischevious. It’s a rite of manhood.

After finishing college years later, he moved to Toronto and became one of the lords of Pembroke Castle, and a week ago, he got down on bended knee and asked his friend Laura to become his wife and the first Grand Duchess of Pembroke (although she claims she’ll never live there).

Alas, our little Par is now engaged and Jared and I will get to live through months of wedding planning… not to mention having to knight a NEW lord of Pembroke Castle to take his place. Still, that’s a small price to pay to see Parski as happy as he is.

Congratulations ‘Matthew’ and Laura. As you venture forth to create a kingdom of your own, rest assured that as friends of the Pembroke Castle, you need never fear invasion from us.

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Oh, Pluto… you’ll always be a planet to me. I don’t care what all those scientician types say. This weekend, as I’m lying on the rock in front of my cottage gazing at the stars, you’ll be the only planet I’ll be looking for. Of course, because you’re so ridiculously small, I won’t be able to see you with my naked eye… but that won’t stop me from looking. That’s how much you mean to me.

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