Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for January, 2011

My Long Sought-After Snow Day Approaches

We had a great time in Montreal this past weekend, and that even includes a chilly walk through the Old Port on Saturday night for a fantastic dinner and some drinks.   Despite the bone-chilling temperatures, we had a great time and it was awesome to see some family over the short visit.

The more exciting news I got on our return is that the mother of all storms is currently building up steam over Texas and is preparing to drop anywhere between 15 and 30 centimeteres of snow on our fair city around mid-week.  I’ve got my snowshoes and winter gear prepped and ready for shoveling and walking the dog (who will absolutely love that much snow to jump around in) and I’m secretly hoping that the city shuts down and all of us adults get a much-deserved Snow Day!

Just imagine having a day to dig out and take hot chocolate breaks, and once you’ve got your walk cleared and your driveway shoveled out, you can head to the backyard or a local park to make snowmen, have a snowball fight or otherwise enjoy a deep blanket of the white stuff.  If that’s not your thing, you can always sit near a window in the comfort of your own home and enjoy watching others make the most of a blizzard.  It’ll be glorious.

I know that a huge dump of snow can be a massive inconvenience, but we can also make the most of it if we try.  So stay positive and start pounding the carbs and protein; you’ll need that energy for shoveling and dragging your toboggan back uphill.

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I’m Not Dead Yet, But I Could Sleep Like I Am

In case you thought I’d disappeared off the face of the planet, I haven’t. It’s been an absolutely insane week at the office, so unfortun
ately keeping you guys entertained with mindless banter and ranting took a backseat to the fine folks who see fit to put some money in my bank account every two weeks. If you take offense to that, there’s a very simple remedy. Simply start depositing an amount equal to (or greater than) what my employer deposits for me each fortnight, and I’ll be writing in here ALL the time.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about on Monday as we’re heading to Montreal this weekend to visit family and to check out Montreal’s version of Toronto’s “Winterlicious Festival”. Basically, nice restaurants in the Old Port put on some fancy prix fixe meals at slightly more modest prices and cheapskates like me swoop in to take advantage of their generosity. Suckers.

It’s going to be an awesome weekend, and well-deserved if I do say so myself (which I just did, and out loud too). Have a great weekend, and good luck making it through today to get there.

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‘Tis a Fine Bonny Day to be Scottish

Why is it that every year on January 25th I’m caught without a haggis in my fridge with which to celebrate my rich Scottish heritage on one of its most venerated days?  I really need to make Robbie Burns Day a tradition in our family, if for no other reason than an excuse to spend an entire evening putting a dent in my collection of Single Malt Scotches (a collection that is currently already well-dented).

If you’re not familiar, Robbie Burns lived hundreds of years ago and is Scotland’s most venerated poet and second-most feted native son (after Sean Connery, of course).  While you probably aren’t familiar with his name or most of his work, you have at least heard his most famous poem which was put to music and is now famous as the song you drunkenly belt at New Year’s.  It’s called “Auld Lang Syne” and it starts “Should old acquaintance be forgot…”, which is probably all you know.

Still, that’s enough knowledge to raise a glass in old Robbie’s honour tonight, let out your loudest “Ach, hoot!” and start a clan war with one of your neighbours by accusing them of stealing your sheep.  That you have no sheep is of no concern.  If anyone asks, you don’t have any because your neighbour stole them.  That’s how we Scots think, you see.

So, on this holy day, I wish a happy Robbie Burns Day to each of you.  May your kilts always be itchy and may you triumph over your dastardly, sheep-stealing neighbours.  Ach, HOOT!

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Beware of Frostbite, but Get Outside and Enjoy the Cold

In the bitter cold we’ve been experiencing lately, it’s sometimes hard to fathom that in just a few short months, we’ll be sitting barefoot in our backyards sipping cool drinks and overheating in the glaring sun.  That’s what I was thinking about as I trudged around our local schoolyard with Mojo on our daily walk on Saturday, but he didn’t seem to mind either way.  Sure, his paws were a bit cold, but he was having way too much fun digging his snout into snowdrifts after the scent of some dog that came before or a bit of food some kid dropped last week.

While the fine folks at Environment Canada have predicted slightly warmer temperatures for this week, it’s still going to feel very much like winter with highs below zero and enough flurries to have the snow accumulating over the week.  I’m running out of places to put the snow from my driveway, but I’m not complaining.  I’d rather have a snowy winter than a cold one where I’m looking at my lawn all the time.

With all the cold and snow, I’m looking forward to breaking out my skates and snowshoes before too long and spending some quality time with old man winter.  Is anyone else up for it?

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Fringe Makes an Unfortunate Jump

We’ve been hooked on Fringe since the first episode, so Thursday night found us huddled up on the couch waiting to see what kind of interdimensional hijinx the crew would get up to each week.  Now that TV is back from its ridiculously long Christmas hiatus, it looks like our Thursday nights will now be free for comedies.

That’s right, FOX is putting the first nail in Fringe’s coffin by moving it to the death slot on Friday nights.  This is usually how a show slowly dies off as the network fiddles with their schedules and a great show slides into the evening when no one is at home.  Suffice it to say, if you love this show, you should probably just start preparing yourself for the worst.

That being said, tonight’s episode guest stars Christopher Lloyd playing a character very reminiscent of Doc Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy, which is just awesome.  Be sure to tune in and I’ll keep you posted on when we should start out letter-writing campaign to FOX.

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Heat is Good, If You Can Keep it in Your House

The recent cold snap has made me realize that our home might not be as well-insulated as I’d earlier believed, which means that my very near future will include crawling around the floors on all fours with a candle to search out drafts and feeling walls and floors for dead zones.  I already know that our exterior doors will need replacing in the next year or so, but I’m hoping to avoid having to pull the walls apart to improve the insulation on the ground floor.

Mind you, once I actually get to my basement renos, I’ll probably get to be pretty adept at working with insulation and drywalling, which would make putting everything back together much less daunting than it seems today.  I’ll just have to sell Danielle on the idea of ripping apart all our beautiful interior walls and living in a shell of a house while I upgrade the insulation and improve the wiring while I’ve got it all opened up.  How hard could that be?

I’m just excited at the prospect of firing up my new reciprocating saw this weekend when I start demolishing the existing terrible ‘finishing’ job in the basement.  Rest assured that I’ll include photos (which I want to take plenty of during the entire process for when or if we ever sell the house), and there will no doubt be tales of blood-letting.  Bwahahaha.

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Lace ’em Up

I have it on good authority that recent cold temperatures have resulted in the opening of the majority of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal skating rink.  This is great news as we have our annual trip to the nation’s capital booked for the February long weekend and I have a mean hankering for a Beavertail.

I was really enjoying the crisp weather, so today’s meltdown is a bit disappointing, but Environment Canada seems to think that there’s more snow on the way, so I just have to wait until it’s decent packing snow before I can build my backyard snowman that I’ve been talking about since we bought our house back in April.  In the meantime, now that I’m perfectly healthy again, and the news of our impending parenthood is out in the open, I can finally get back to working on my basement reno.

At some point, I’m also going to be building an online pool to guess the arrival date, size and sex of our baby, so stay tuned for that.

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Dave Gets a New Title

In our lives, we each carry many titles and it’s pretty momentous when your title changes.  I came into this world as a son and grandson, but did little to earn those.  Once in school, I became a student and eventually a writer.

Through the titles of boyfriend, fiance and eventually husband, I learned a lot about relationships and as I became an adult, I learned the value of the title ‘failure’.  You learn a lot by making mistakes and with each one you make, you gain the skills to earn the title of ‘success’.

I recently became a homeowner (another proud title) and was ready to rest on my laurels for a bit and enjoy that role for a bit, but I’m very proud to announce that I’ll be earning my second most exciting title so far in life after husband, and that’s Father.  Danielle and I are expecting our first child on or around July 23rd and I’m practically bursting with excitement.

I’m still not sure what kind of father I’ll be, but thanks to the lessons I’ve learned from my dad and grandfather, and now my father-in-law and step-father-in-law, I feel prepared to face all the joys and challenges and I’m prepared to make mistakes and ultimately succeed at raising my first child.

I’ll be sure to keep you all updated in here on the progress of our little one and all our preparations, but this won’t become a baby blog, so no need to babyproof your computers (like I’m doing to our house) just yet.  I’m still wrapping my head around what being a Dad means, but I’m really looking forward to finding out first-hand.


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