Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Local Film Festival

The kids took part in the local 48 Hour Film Slam competition held by the local cable network, CATV, and as I mentioned, it sort of fell into their laps because they did not at first intend to participate. One of their friends wanted to do it, so they decided, "Why not?" They figured that since their friend was the one who expressed interest, they would just help out and take it easy. That isn't how things work out as said friend was busy with other stuff so A&N had to take the helm. To their credit, they embraced the challenge and took it seriously.

They showcased their film at the local White River Indie Festival, or WRIF. What was really cool was that A also had a film entered into a another competition that was showcased at the festival, the Freedom and Unity Youth Filmmaker's Award. She entered her movie about the F-35 and it actually made it to the finals. We went to the judges showcase, which screened some of the selections, and it was a lot of fun to watch. Bear in mind, many of these films were made by teenagers, and they did a nice job of it.

Now I don't have a lot of experience going to this festival because I believe it is still in its nascent stages, but it's very cool to showcase local talent, especially when it comes to film. You don't really think of this area as a film hub, but truth be told, there are a lot of talented and creative people up here. Get to them while they're young and there's no telling what they'll accomplish. Naturally we attended some of the films because our kids were involved, and they were very enjoyable. Some of the films were mainstream, but most of them had a smaller and more personal "cottage" feel. They were all very well made and dealt with progressive topics like LGBT, deception, and isolation.

I didn't get to see as many of the films as I would have liked, but there's always next year. It was a fun experience and I look forward to it next year.

Until then, thanks for listening, and thanks to Dave B for the pic.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cleaning Continues

In the continual effort to make mom happy, I am tackling the big potato and trying to clean up the basement. It's a bit of a mess, and will involve a fair number of man hours (real-man hours?) not to mention discarding a fair amount of detritus. In all fairness to myself, it's not that messy, there is just a lot of stuff, and it simply doesn't meet mom's extremely high standards of cleanliness. Actually, very few things in life meet that criteria.

Whatever be the case, a lot of the problem stems from several years and countless real-man projects that lead to tons of scraps, junk, and half-empty paint cans. It's really just a question of clearing the stuff out and then organizing the remaining stuff in an orderly manner. Easy enough, right? It helps if you have cleaning OCD, which I do not, but I can't let that stop me.

My original plan was to clean up the main area first, the one that you see when you enter the basement, and then build a shelf and store all the essential items that we keep down there, including olive oil, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, canned goods, etc. I had this fantasy of getting it done before mom returned from her trip, but like all fantasies, that one was better left off in la-la land. I did manage to get a lot of the ugly junk cleaned up, and I'll have to make a trip to the spring hazardous waste pick-up to finalize that, but I did not manage to get the shelf done. I am currently working on that, and like all projects, it's proving to be more work than I anticipated.

After that's done, I'll turn my attention to the work bench down there, which is a disaster, but at least limited to a defined space. Once that's done, I can return my focus to the important things in life, like taking a phat nap.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Ron and Sandra Lightburn for the pic.


The kids took part in another video film festival, and it sort of fell into their laps. CATV sponsors a 48 hour film competition, or "Slam," where they invite anyone who is interested to make a video in 48 hours. They have done it for a few years and the kids never expressed interest because it seems to attract a pretty eclectic crowd. They have adult and high school teams that compete, and I think it's pretty hardcore.

When it came around this year, I asked them if they were interested and they said no thank you, but a friend of theirs was interested and asked if they would be on his team. They figured why not? They had nothing to lose. So they went for it, and I think they ended up having fun with it. The ran what is called a floating slam, which meant that within a two week period they could start their projects. They had to call in to get some relevant information that had to be in their film, then they had 48 hours to film it, edit it, and submit it.

Before all this happened, however, there was a meeting at CATV where all the groups registered and obtained their themes. They employed some crazy method where the groups received their themes but then they could choose to take a previous theme if they liked it better. A&N got the theme of "horror," but another group wanted it and took it. A&N ended up with "family," which they weren't so thrilled with. When they tried to see if someone else wanted it, there were no takers. It was a bit of a bummer, but on the way home the kids spun a positive light on it, which for the record, they are very good at.

When they got home and brainstormed about their film, things started to take shape and I think they were excited about it. They came up with a script and worked out some scenes, and then their buddy ES came over to work the camera. It was a fun day, and it was nice that ES could be involved because she's their buddy and she good at working the camera. I was craft service, feeding the kids lunch and making snacks, not to mention transporting them wherever they need to be.

After all the filming, they did the editing and A basically said it was done. She spent the entire day at the studio editing while N and I did other things. It's basically a one-person job, and she's pretty competent at it. At some point in the afternoon she decided it was done, and she turned it in ahead of schedule. How's that for confidence? It actually made sense because she couldn't edit at home, so why not turn it in and be done with it.

I think they had fun with this because there was little in the way of stress, and they were organized to the point where everything went smoothly. Don't you love when that happens?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Grantmasters for the pic.

Dirty Dancing

The snow has melted and I think the ground is no longer frozen, which can only mean that it's time to think about the garden. We were pretty ambitious last year and things worked out pretty well, though we could have done some things differently. This year the planting season has kicked in and we're still resting on our laurels, but I think there is still time. The key thing will be to get the seeds going in the greenhouse and leave them in there longer. Last year we got our seeds started late and then (I think) put them in the ground too soon, the plants did not grow very big. I'm hoping to work out better this year.

The next question is what are we going to plant? We always start off with a lot of enthusiasm and then it peters out when push comes to shove. I may have to take the initiative and just start planting things, but sometimes that comes back to haunt me.

Oh well, I can't worry too much about it, right? Sometimes you just have to do it, consequences be damned. We'll see how this goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Pat Dumas for the pic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Compostable Matters

You can't beat taking on Mother Nature's challenges to earn points in my real-man training. For the record, Mother Nature always wins, I'm only trying to stem the flow and buy myself some time.

I mentioned that one of the big projects for spring was to repair and protect the compost bins, and I think I got enough done to at least make it a little challenging for the bear. We produce a fair amount of compost, which I chalk up to eating so many veggies, but inevitably I toss in some meat scraps like chicken or beef. Prime morsels for hungry bears, not to mention raccoons. We have three bins, and the way it usually works is one is composting while we fill the other two. It never works out perfectly, but that's the theory.

I only had enough supplies to protect two of the bins, and they happened to fill up over the winter, so I had to employ an exposed bin, which the bear could rip open with his eyes closed. That's what he did last year, and the year before. One of the bins has a locking lid, which the bear got around by simply tearing off with his claw. It broke a big piece of the wall, compromising it's ability to hold in compost. My first goal was to fix that piece, transfer the degraded compost to make space for fresh stuff, and then re-build the barrier.

Fixing the bin was easier than I thought. I first transferred the compost to an open bin, and let me tell you, that stuff smelled horrible. It was like shoveling a latrine, the entire yard smelled, but I managed to empty it out. I glued the broken piece on with Gorilla Glue, which worked beautifully, and I screwed in metal brackets to reinforce the hold. Next I had to transfer the newer compost from the exposed bin into the protected bin, and then put the structure back together. With that done, I could re-locate the exposed bin and build a barrier around it, though it will require obtaining some pallets, but one thing at a time.

Plus, moving the exposed bin was quite a chore. This was the first bin we got, and we had some issues in years past with critters getting into it. For whatever reason I was not so keen on this, so over the course of one summer I gradually added barriers to prevent the critter from getting in (I think it was a raccoon). This involved driving stakes around the perimeter and using big rocks to fill in holes. It worked, but it only protected it from small burrowing animals. Big ones like bears would have no problem getting into it. I only mention this because in an amusing twist of irony, all my efforts made it extremely difficult to move the bin. It was locked in like a vault, and I spend an hour digging the thing out. Like all projects, it ended up being more work than I thought.

Oh well, such is life of a real man in training. At least I got it done. As opposed to ruminating and stressing over something that I wasn't doing, I just did it. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Matt Montagne for the pic.

Inspired Kids

Mom had to go out of town for a few days so we were left to our own devices, but as her imminent return loomed on the horizon, the kids were inspired to clean the house on her return. Mom likes to come home to a clean house, and that's the primary motivating factor to make it extra clean. It really isn't that messy in the first place, but there is always something that can be organized or tidied up.

She was to return home on Monday, which gave us the weekend to clean things up. Now that spring is here, there is even more reason to air things out and clean all the dust off. A took care of the downstairs living area and kitchen, that seems to be her specialty. She blasts the music and goes to work, doing a fine job. She actually oversees all the cleaning, employing an iron fist to make sure it meets moms really high standards, which it never really does, but comes close enough. Since the weather has been so beautiful (it isn't anymore), N and I tackled the cars, which take a beating over the winter. We took out the floor mats and washed them off, then vacuumed the interior and wiped off all the dirt. N did a brunt of the work, I mostly used the shop vac, and then he detailed both dashboards.

We also did a quick burn pile to get rid of the junk that accumulated over the winter, which was a little sketchy because it was breezier than we had hoped. There were no problems, it just makes me a little anxious when the flames build and the wind kicks up. The kids then went the extra distance and started raking the yard, which as some of you may know, is my least favorite chore in the world. I was impressed. We washed and folded the week's laundry, I started organizing the basement, and N finished it off by cleaning the bathroom sinks and mirrors. Then, after our final meal before mom's return, we did a final clean up and the house looked good. I have to give a big thumbs up to the kids for the diligence and hard work, plus the fact that they were so motivated and dare I say, inspired.

In the end, it was good enough to get mom's seal of approval, at least at first glance. I think her standards are much higher because inevitably when she gets home the first thing she does is start cleaning, but at least she appreciates the thought and effort. It's good to have her back home and now we can focus on spring stuff, and believe me, there's plenty of that.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bertha Crowley for the pic.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring Projects

Speaking of real-man's work, the snow has melted and I hear the call to duty. That means resuming and initiating various projects that require power tools, blaring rock music, Budweiser, and a lot of blood sweat and tears... except for the tears, of course. The kind of work that would make my role models proud, which would include my Mentor, JH and His Magic Bag of Tools, and of course, the Amazing PR Man.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of projects in the pipeline. That's why they call it real-man work, it takes a real man to get it done, or at least a real-man in training. In addition to finishing the barn, the main house needs some attention, and then there is garden, the yard, the firewood, and plenty of other fun things. And as always, there is so much to be done that it inspires me to kick into my default mode, which is to shut down and do nothing, whining (of course) about how much there is to do, and how none of it is getting done. How's that for a self-feeding loop?

Over the course of my real man training, however, I have learned that the key is not to be too ambitious and to set reasonable and realistic goals. One step at a time, as the saying goes, and most of all, don't be a whiny baby. The last part is the hardest for me. Whatever be the case, yesterday I figured the time had come to break out my cutoff jean shorts and get to work. I wanted to get three things done - stack some of the wood that I split last year but didn't get to (it was covered with snow by December), start painting the house (a job that will take all summer), and deal with the compost. If I had to prioritize, I would put the last one first, because with spring kicking into full gear, we have to be wary of bears eating the compost. We have been visited by a black bear the past two years, and my understanding is that once they find a source of food, they will continue to come back. What a bummer.

I therefore need to take care of that before Yogi Bear shows up, which could be any day now. Personally I don't care if they eat the stuff, but I don't want big black bears hanging around our house. They're still dangerous animals and best left to mother nature. Dealing with the compost is more involved than it should be because I didn't plan properly over winter, but what else is new? More on this later, but suffice it to say that I did manage to at least touch on all three of my goals, albeit with different levels of success.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Larry for the pic.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Real Man's Work

With all that's going on with hockey and transitioning into spring, I'd forgotten that I'm still training to be a real man and there is always work to be done. While I'm waiting for the snow to melt so I can start splitting wood (though I guess a real man would just split it in the snow), we had a situation come up inside the house, involving our toilet, no less. When we first moved into our house one of the first things we did was install a new toilet upstairs because the one that was there was black. Who installs a black toilet?

Either way, it wasn't easy buying a toilet because for whatever reason there are a ridiculous number of choices, all with creative names, no less. We ended up getting a higher end brand, Toto, and I'm not even sure why. Every now and then little things seem to malfunction, and this time around it was the flushing mechanism. The handle actually broke so the flushing arm wasn't working properly, i.e., we couldn't flush the toilet. This can make life a bummer. 

I went over to F.W. Webb in Lebanon, one of the few places that sells Toto toilets, and got the part. I was hoping just to replace the handle, but ended up having to get the entire unit, which actually made replacing it a piece of cake, though like all things in life, it was more expensive than I had anticipated. Also, the customer service was terrible. The guy helping must have been on medication because he was moving so slowly at one point I thought he'd forgotten I was even there, and I was standing right next to him. He had no clue where to find my part so he asked the guy who seemed to be in charge, and this guy couldn't cram corn chips fast enough into his mouth. I was staring at him thinking, "Maybe you should just take a break and eat those things somewhere else." Talk about unprofessional.

I guess in the end I shouldn't complain because I got the part, and best of all, it gave me a chance to break out my tools and do real man's work. It didn't involve anything with a combustion engine or sharp blades of steel, but that will come in due time.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Eugene Huo for the pic.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Everyone's A Winner

Way back when hockey season was going on, N had a tournament at toward the end of the season and they had a raffle that A actually won. Her prize was some cash, several lottery tickets, and about 25 pounds of candy. It was a ridiculous amount of sweets, and it was excited that she won, what the heck were we going to do with all that candy? We sure as heck were not going to eat it. We found out about the win on the car ride home from the arena in Leb, mom phoned us to let us know, and we made a detour to UA. The tournament was still going on so we stayed to watch some of it, and when I called R to tell her we'd be staying a little longer, she suggested trying to give away as much of the candy as possible.

What a great idea! It just so happened that one of our teams was in the final so several of our friends were at the arena. A basically stood at the entrance with the bag wide open and told every kid who walked through to fill their pockets. They were going crazy and filling every possible pocket with the stuff, it was a sight to behold, and everyone came out a winner.

Despite the feeding frenzy, we still came home with a lot of candy and had been eating it for weeks after the fact. We even brought bowls of candy to assorted events, and just last week mom took the last bowl to work and left it in the lunch room.

Now, of course, we have a big bowl of Easter candy to contend with, but what are you going to do?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Edinburgh City Libraries for the pic. 

Lightbulb Mania

Ah, the perfect outlet for my OCD. The state of Vermont is subsidizing the purchase of LED lightbulbs, yet another cool way the Green Mountain State is encouraging more eco-friendly choices not to mention saving some money. Our electricity bills are generally speaking pretty reasonable, in no small part because we make an effort to reduce our consumption. We have fluorescent lights wherever it's reasonable, but in many instances, fluorescent lights leave me a little flat. The light is never quite as warm, they take awhile to warm up, and the mercury issue is always on my mind. They make fluorescent flood lightbulbs and they really don't work very well.

When they came out with LED bulbs, I thought they were a great option but so darn expensive. To replace a $5 floodlight was going to cost about $30, which is pretty outrageous for a bulb. They apparently last longer, about 10-12 years, and they reduce your energy consumption, but I just can't get past that initial $30 outlay. No thank you. Even the regular 60W bulbs can cost you about $15.

You can imagine my surprise when I was visiting a friend, SH, when he told me he got the bulbs at Home Depot for $5 a pop. I go to HD all the time and found that this was not the case, but I didn't realize I was going to a HD in NH. He is close to Rutland and since it's Vermont, which as I mentioned is subsidizing the price of the bulbs, they are $5 each. I couldn't believe it. Rutland is a bit too far, so I called the Lebanon HD and they said they had coupons for VT residents that brought the price down to $5, but only for select bulbs. I then called Aubuchon and sure enough, they had bulbs for $5 a pop. How stoked was I?

Under ordinary circumstances, $5 a bulb is not cheap, especially when a normal incandescent bulb is less than a dollar, but it seems to be the wave of the future. There is talk about phasing out incandescent bulbs completely, and I know in certain countries this has already happened. So, as you can imagine, I am in the process of replacing some of the bulbs in our house. I like the LED bulbs better, they give off a warmer light and in most cases they use less electricity than even fluorescent bulbs. Plus, they last for 10 years, how can you beat that. Finally, and this is a superfluous quality, but they look cool. Enough said, show the light bulbs.

For now I am only replacing the incandescent lights, but who knows what the future will hold? Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to samsungtomorrow for the pic.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Video Star

We went to the CATV video music awards the other night, and it was a nice program they put together with a lot of good music. DC with Yellow House Media was the emcee and he gathered together some amazing local music for people at CATV to put to video. I didn't realize the range of music from local musicians, you just don't get to hear this stuff, and a lot of it is really good. Either way, the impetus behind the contest was to pair local musicians with local video makers to give the songs some exposure and the filmmakers a chance to put the tunes to video. A great concept if you ask me.

A and N decided to make a video of a song she wrote, thus getting around any sort of creative issues with between artists, sibling rivalries not included in this logic. She sat down with R and N and mapped out the concepts, storyboarded the progression, and then went to work. Her guitar teacher EE has a recording studio so she recorded the song and then went about filming the video, with N on camera. For the record, and I'm being totally objective (of course) about this, but I think he did a stand-up job on the cinematography. R took them around town to scout out locations, and when they finally decided on a place, we check-out a camera and did the filming. I was the roadie so I packed lunches and dropped them off. Being out and about gave me a chance to do poster-boy work, leaving them to film. It's really cool to see them at work, they take it very seriously and work very hard. Plus, I am completely out of the loop except for support, so the project is really theirs and theirs alone.

After finishing the filming, A downloaded the footage and set about editing the piece. Again, she worked very hard, logging in many hours at the studio to finalize the piece by the deadline. One complication was that with the deadline looming, she wasn't completely happy with her song. On the day she recorded it she had a cold, so she thought she sounded a bit stuffed up. We tried to get some studio time but EE was all booked up until the Friday morning that the video was due. How's that for going down to the wire? To add to the fun, mom was away in Santa Fe so I was the only support available, so I had to wear many hats that day.

Whatever be the case, I'd just like to say that I am impressed with A's confidence in her abilities under duress, because there were complications. There always are. The plan was to go to the studio in the morning, re-record her song, then take the music file to the TV studio and incorporate it into the video, doing all the final edits, as well. Then when she was done, she could submit it then and there. The file was too big for a thumb drive so EE put it in her DropBox and she retrieved it online. Boy, technology is an amazing thing.

She got it all done and turned the video in. The re-recording session worked out nicely because she re-did the guitar track and it sounded great, and then she worked on some of the backing vocals and the end-product sounded better than the first run, in my opinion. Then again, what do I know?

On the night of the awards ceremony, the entries were awesome. People did a really nice job on their pieces, and A and N actually won first prize for their age group. It was a fun evening, and her buddy MS came along to support her. Actually, she didn't really have a choice because she was sleeping over and going to A's hockey game the next morning, but it was still nice to have a friend along.

There wasn't much time to bask in the glow of artistic prowess because we had to drive to Middlebury the next morning for a weekend hockey tournament, but it was fun while it lasted.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Rachel for the pic.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Adventures in the Really Big City

We had quite the day this weekend in Boston, on a number of levels. I took A and two of her friends to take part in a comic convention, or ComicCon, in the city. Technically it was an "Anime" festival known as Anime Boston, but it was essentially a convention for people who are fans of all things animated. There is a particular affinity for Japanese cartoons, also known as Anime for those who don't know, though if you're like me and grew up with Speed Racer or Kimba, you have some experience with this genre.

This was part of A's birthday gift, she wanted to attend this gathering of kindred spirits, and take along her good friends, both of whom were very excited about it. I wasn't sure who is just a fan and who is a serious "fan," but they both were enthused. The idea behind it is that people who love these programs, or just love any of these creative shows that include radio programs and live action shows like Breaking Bad and Dr. Who, get together and dress like their favorite characters and hang out and have fun. At first glance it is redolent of a Star Trek convention, but after experiencing it, I have to say, it was a lot different than that, not that I've ever been to a Trekkie convention. For the record, I am a big fan of the show but have not gone so far as obtained a pair of Spock ears... at least not yet.

Probably the biggest difference was that the crowd was at least 50% girls, a ratio I don't think you'd find at a Star Trek or Brony (My Little Pony) convention, which would probably be mostly guys who don't get out much. The crowd was good looking, as well, and even A and her buddies concurred with me on this. Furthermore, there were a lot of couples and even families with young children. Of course there were your share of fringy boys and girls who probably spend their days indoors in front of the computer or TV, but for the most part, the crowd was pretty interesting. You could see that they were hip and attractive people outside of this event. It reminded me of the Halloween parade in NYC, which is an event not to be missed. People really get into it, and this festival was no different, just a bunch of people having fun and getting a break from the conventional lives. Nothing wrong with that.

Like the NYC parade, some people really got into it. The costumes were amazing and I spent at least an hour sitting on a bench and watching people walk by. I had no idea this was such a big deal, but someone said they expected upwards of 80,000 people over the weekend. The event was held at the Hynes Convention Center in Back Bay, and it is right in the thick of things in the city. In fact, there's a big mall connected to it, so the Anime people took over the mall. It was quite a site to behold, and I'm sure the stores and food vendors were stoked for the crowds.

The girls had a blast, the big question was, what the heck was I going to do for 12 hours in the city that was interesting and cost little to no money? Well, I had a few options. I'd brought my computer with me, so I just needed a chair and an internet connection, which in this day in age is ubiquitous in any city. The Boston Public Library was a few blocks away, but I sort of needed to be closer to the action in case the girls needed me. I could hang out at the mall, but I hate malls, and I'm not a shopper. I could have walked around the city, but the weather was pretty fickle, and again, I wanted to be closer to the girls.

I ended up at Barnes and Noble, working on some stuff on my computer and reading magazines. It reminded me of my days with R in NYC, we used to spend hours at the bookstore just hanging out and reading. I found a table at the cafe, set up my computer, and started writing. The internet was a bit spotty, but worked fine for the most part. I figured I could stream something in a pinch. At some point the girls called me and wanted to meet for lunch, then afterward, just as I set up again, A called me because she left her wallet in my backpack, so I had to forsake my location and meet them again. It was a little crazy, but being constantly on call seems to be my MO.

We had agreed to meet around 8:00PM to have some supper and then head home, and rather than wait for the call, I just waited for them at our chosen location and sure enough, they emerged from the Con, tired but excited. We grabbed some supper and then headed home. It was quite the day, and I had been up since 5:00AM and was tired but had to make the long drive home. I bought a cup of coffee just in case, but ended up not drinking much of it.

All in all it was a fabulous day. The kids had a blast, I got some work done and enjoyed the sights of the Con and the big city. It would have been nice if R and N came along, but maybe that's something for next year. It's never too late to start thinking about it, I know A is.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to proacguy1 for the pic.

Happy Easter

Hope everyone had a nice Easter Sunday. It seemed to come early this year and I have to confess that it took me by surprise, so much so that I wasn't really prepared. It was a crazy weekend but mom took care of the fun stuff and I managed to plan a meal at the last minute. Plus, we got to see a movie on top of all that.

On Saturday we spent the day in Boston with A and her buddies and it was an all day affair at the Anime Festival. We got home around midnight and as A went straight to bed, R was getting the candy and eggs ready for Easter. Even though we're not that hardcore about celebrating the occasion, we always manage to do something fun. Part of that is the old Easter Egg hunt, not to mention tons of candy and a nice family meal. The kids don't seem to tire of searching for the candy and eggs, so we should enjoy it while we can. Plus, they never tire of an occasion to make fun of their dad for doing such a cheesy job of hiding the eggs.

We had a nice breakfast of pancakes and bacon, and then the kids hung out with mom while I went out and got dinner rations. The plan was to make beef stew, which we actually do every year for Easter but I seem to forget this fact. I set about making the stew while mom and kids made our other holiday tradition: Easter bread. It's an impressive piece of work and tastes amazing. Once the stew and bread were made, we headed out to see a movie at the Hop - we have season passes to the movie series there - then it was home for supper and a little R&R. It sure is nice not having to run around for hockey.

It was a nice day, and makes you realize that when you can appreciate the little things in life like spending the day with your family and having a nice meal, you're doing okay.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jenny Fox for the pic.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Having lived here for several years I should know this by now, but I'm not clear on the timeline of when the snow should all be melted. As of now, there is still plenty of the white stuff on the ground, and it hasn't been as warm as you would think. There's no question it's melting, but I'm wondering if it should be gone by now. I heard that certain sports, including lax and ultimate frisbee, are being delayed because the fields are still in bad shape. Go figure.

It has been a crazy winter, and from the looks of it, it's still hanging on for dear life. As I've said, this does not bode well for mud season, but let's take it one day at a time.

For now, thanks for reading, and thanks to Ben Cooper for the pic. 

Annual Meeting

They had their big annual meeting at CATV this week, and of course we attended. We are so involved with them that we practically live there. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can find the time to do it. The main man, BF, is constantly nudging me to be on the board, and in all honesty, I would like to help, it's just that it would be one more thing to deal with, and I really don't have time. I guess in the end I could make time, but I have to prioritize the things in my life, and at this point, the kids' stuff takes up all my energy.

The meeting coincided with helping My Mentor over at his condo, so I dropped the kids off at the CATV event, hung out and ate a few crackers, then left for the other meeting. R was coming from work and we just crossed paths in our cars on the road, which I alway love. It gives you that moment of connection that you are sure is not just a simple coincidence and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I ended up missing most of the meeting, though by this point I pretty much know the drill. I had to leave early, so in a way, I should be thankful to My Mentor for helping me avoid pressure to be on the board. They aired some of the work of the kids and gave out certificates for their efforts. A won an award for recognition of her work in youth media, which was nice, and all in all I think it was a fun evening. They do a nice job of these events and in a way, I would like to help out because they are such a great organization, it's just that I don't have time to be on another board. At least not yet.

We'll see what the future holds. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bjorn Burton for the pic.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Visiting Our Old Digs

In the service of My Mentor, I paid a visit to our old digs over the hill and it was interesting to go back there and see the current residents. Some I knew, some recognized me, but on the whole there's a new crew and I got to sit in on a board meeting. The whole situation arose because My Mentor lives up near Canada most of the year and comes down for balloon season in the summer and fall, whereby he lives in his condo out here. It being a condo, he has to answer to the condo association, or rather, it has to answer to him. That would entail a 4 hour drive both ways to get here, so he asked me if I could help him Skype his presence. We lived for two years in one of the condos before moving to our current home, so it was a bit of a homecoming.

That was easy enough, except that it required me to be there since I had to use my computer. It would have been better if one of the board members could have used their own computer but they couldn't seem to set up Skype, and I didn't have the time or patience to teach them how. Since My Mentor included her on our exchange, the sensible thing would have been for her to contact me and set up a time before the meeting to get this done, but I never heard from her, and in the end, she showed up right at the beginning of the meeting. I thought that she had Skype but was running into some problems and I could try to troubleshoot them, but in reality she hadn't even set up a Skype account, which would have taken a bit of time.

We took the easiest and most convenient route, which as I mentioned, meant using my laptop and thus requiring me to wait for them to be done. This is not an unusual when I try to help out, it always takes longer than I thought it would. Oh well, what are you going to do? We got the connection going, My Mentor held court over his dominion, and I sat and listened. The other board members were quite accommodating, and I got a sense that they felt I actually wanted to be there.

After about an hour they resolved whatever issues they could resolve at the time, and they adjourned, thereby freeing me to go home. It was interesting to see the old crew. Still the same issues that we dealt with way back when, though they are making sound improvements to the place. I can see where making decisions by committee would get old, but I think they have the right man in charge. Plus, when you have all these people living under one roof, you just can't beat all the drama. It's like watching reality TV, except that you're living it.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to mdrn mrvls for the pic.

To Run or Not to Run

That is the question. Spring sports are here, and N will be playing lacrosse (lax) and A usually runs track, but she is at a bit of a crossroads in this regard. She has hinted at not running track this year, and we support her in her decisions, but weren't sure why. Sometimes I'm not completely clear where she's coming from, but she has indicated that she's just not that into it anymore. I can understand but do think it's good for her to have something active to do over the spring term. Sports are not essential, but it is good for her to have some activity, because otherwise she would be content to just sit at home and read books and work on her computer.

These are all fine things, but it's important to exercise, as well. It is a little harder to motivate her, whereas N's first inclination is to get outside and move around. I don't want her to fall into just giving up when faced with a challenge, and though sports are not the end-all, there are some life lessons to be learned. She is dedicated to hockey, and having an offseason activity that helps her stay in shape is not a bad thing. Finally, there's some social aspect to track, and she'll be competing against and mingling with kids her age, which is also not a bad thing. Plus, she'll be the older kid, a position she likes.

We'll support whatever decision she makes. She'll be playing ultimate when the snow melts, and she can ride her bike and go on hikes and walks. The idea of her going mountain biking with us came up, but I'm not sure if that will be her thing, though she adapts to any situation and usually does well. She's very good in that regard.

We'll see how it goes. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Craig Shipp for the pic.