Where's Fred? Scroll down for chronological exposition. Back to Community link for 2006 and previous travels etc. Current reading, see Books
April 2017. I can't beleive there was four year gap since my post in from Oct. 2012 to Feb. 2016, and then another year gap since 2016, although the second gap related to Cathy and her illness and subsequent passing. 6 months since.
Feb. 26. 2016 Gave Kim. the Beatle's T-shirt. Surprised him. Was that a tear I saw trickle down? An almost forgotten man remembered. Backdrop. An unexpected opportunity to go to Florida presented to me as a designated driver. I had been told by my fashion conscious partner that the T shirt's crisp image was fading. Time to deliver to it's designated heir. I played tennis in North Palm Beach on this short trip and had the T-shirt in my travel bag. And there, much to my surprise was Kim., doing some errands around the courts. A short speech in front of some of the group and delivery. I hope my son and grandson whose 'music room' is festooned with significant T-shirts don't mind me passing this one on. (It was a birthday gift from them).
Oct. 29, 2012. Drinking coffee in McD. in Riviera Beach with KNS. He has an incredible knowledge, both general and music specific. We can go for hours shifting from one topic to another, but this time we focussed on music. K. introduced me, via You Tube to music that had not been part of my experience. e.g. Jimmy Hendrix-Band of Gyppsies. He (K.) gets my Beatles T-shirt when I move on to another planet.
Sept. 25, 2012. Still in Florida, 2nd month almost complete. This is my second trip down this year - first stay was for three months. My main reason coming down a second time was to say good-bye to Jordan who was heading off to WJU (Wheeling Jesuit University) on a rugby scholarship. My arrival at his going away party was a complete surprise and a lot of fun. Playing lots of tennis with two different groups. Only one 'hurricane warning' to date which was downgraded to a tropical storm. I am staying at a location, not my son's, which has a lot of vegetation, and the clean up after storms is labor intensive - about 8 hours to date. The ocean is holding temperatures around 85F. I swam during the tropical storms and the wave action was incredible, if not a little scary at times. I snorkeled the new artificial reef installed beside the boat channel at Blue Heron bridge (Singer Isalnd) and it already has a tropical fish population. More interesting are the number of scuba divers crawling along the bottom - often groups of 10. I swim among the profusion of bubbles from their air tanks. Trying to gauge the economy is difficult because there is a lot of retirment mony here. However, all the small business person's seem to be hurting in two ways (unless they are strong in their niche, e. g. Randy's Holiday Lighting, (nice web page) a local to West Plam Beach lighting company). Overall there are less contracts available and price competition is fierce forcing the contractor who gets a successful bid to cut into gross margins almost to the break even point.
Feb. 21. Listened to an interview by AW (CBC) of Marina Abramovic, a world renowned performance artist. MA insists that her art, which includes various forms of stoicism, social deprivation, physical endurance and self punishment is rewarding inasmuch the process elicits, awareness, self discovery, and self development. Therefore, in my case, the long periods of isolation (more days than weeks now) that I go through should manifest themselves in some positive aspect of my being. I agree. I do feel more more attuned, focussed and self directed. Some might say that is the by product of age. It might be both circumstance and adaptation. My favorite story she told was when she and her partner broke off after ten years they said good-bye at the middle point of the Great Wall of China after each having walked individually from one end of the wall to the middle where they met. It took them 90 days to make the journey. Forget the seven years that it took them to get permission from the Chinese govt. to do it.
One of the emigrated locals, P. and I, spent time discussing forming a technical analysts group to meet once a month at a local venue.
Feb 7. Saw the Iron Lady movie (Margaret Thatcher) on my way out of Toronto. I thought the movie dwelt too much on her pre-senile dementia and relationship with her deceased husband Dennis. I would have preferred to see more of her - embroiled in day to day politics. I would say that I enjoyed her biography more than the movie. Performances were of course outstanding and redeeming.
Feb. 6: weekend in Toronto with a days work for the Law Society at the Toronto convention centre. I was an assistant to a very interesting Group Leader.
Sunday: Had a visit with D and her mother M who is 97. Wonderful afternoon. M is still sharp as a tack, goes for daily walks and volunteers every week in various capacities. D and M let me tell stories in exchange for some delicious cakes I bought at the nearby Fiesta food emporium.
Feb 2, Lunch with S. who is very brave in dealing with her health challenge. We ate at the Sleepless Goat, a vegetarian restaurant in Kingston. Very tasty food in a cafe atmosphere.
Jan 25. Ear surgery-operation #6. This time the method was from the back not through the canal. They kept me in overnight for observation or to entertain the night nurses. I didn't take any medication after I came out of the anesthetic or in the next two weeks. I took a pictures of the job from behind to keep an eye on healing. The. only difficulty I had was when I walked quickly round corners it felt as though my ear was going to fall off, because the stitches (or my ear) seemed a bit loose. After a week this feeling went away. Stitches came out easily.
Jan 15. Had the "group" over for a pot luck lunch and to discuss the Thrive movie and movement (global peace through thought, prayer and deed). We had all watched the video produced an heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune and his wife. Room was divided as to whether the movie/cause had enough 'validity' to be significant. General feeling was that it was a bit 'new age-y.' Individually we agreed will all try and make the world a better place in our own way.
Jan. 2012. Entered the second CBC Canada writes competition. This time for the Creative Non fiction category. I can't put these stories on the web site because they have to be unpublished in any form. I also entered the fiction category in Nov. 2011. Winners of the first competition are announced 3-6 months after the events. Thousand of people compete because of the large amounts of prize money. I am now working on a story for the Toronto Star competition deadline Feb. 26, 2012.
Jan 2, 2012. Cottage is in great shape. I am comfortable and can focus on writing and reading. The new partition (to save heat) can be taken down or erected in minutes without tools. Saves me a bundle in firewood and electricity. I have finally reached a comfort level in why I am here. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, "To git 'er done." I have to balance my time carefully so all projects move ahead. I don't want to focus on one only and finish (the Ivy Lee method given to Charles Schwabb). Much of what I do overlaps and learning in one area stimulates ideas for other areas. One could debate this approach but remember that contrast and variety are important stimuli for brain function and well-being. I am now using a SmartPhone to stay in touch via the Bell network. I can access Email, the web and phone at any time. Will take it with me when I go off into the bush. So much for isolation.
Dec. 25, 2011 Invited a local artist over for lunch on Xmas day and we whiled away a few hours listening to my collection of 78's. Attended a wonderful Xmas dinner hosted at a local retreat by R. There were 14 of us in total. Some were residents from the backwoods and some very nice visitors from Belleville and Montreal. I enjoyed our discussion on a great variety of topics and some hearty carol singing. The children, HA and NA as always were delightful. Not their real names but easy for me to remember.
Dec. 14, 2011. Back at the cabin after 31/2 months visiting NF and a couple of weeks visiting D.G., K.C. and C.C. around Ontario. Highlights of the NF to follow. There is no snow here, weather is mild and the lake is totally unfrozen. My boat and motor which had sunk during the fall were on land, restored, thanks to my good neighbor R. I have a mountain of projects, cerebral and physical to occupy me through the winter and I am well adjusted to the idea of relative solitude, although I will not shun any invitations to socialize.
July 2011. Off to Newfoundland to visit my family. Entailed a seven day drive through, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, a 7 hour ferry ride and a 900 km (540 mile) trip across Newfoundland. One of the most notable places on the journey is the Gros Morn park in NF. I hiked to the top of the mountain- and was met with, first dense fog and then spectacular views of the fjord below. I chatted with two students from New York State while we were waiting for the fog to lift. On the way down the mountain I met two moose, one a giant male with full headgear and one young calf. Neither presented any apparent danger even though were within 10 feet of me. Eventually they ambled off into the brush.
Other highlights of the trip were visiting friends on Mirmachi River and a quick sentimental visit to St. of X university in Antigonish where I took course in 1996.
March to July, 2011. Worked on an interesting contract for Statistics Canada as a Census Enumerator. ( I had been an Census Commissioner in 1996). Luckily I received the largest territory in our group of approximately ten enumerators and it covered the area in which I lived. I got to know every nook and cranny of numerous lakes, met dozens of 'the locals' and saw cottages and dwellings ranging from hunting cabins to luxury homes sitting on cliff tops. I can't say much more about the job because we have to take an oath of secrecy/privacy.
March 17, 2011. Survived another winter. Now this is something that most Canadian's say but they don't all live in the woods on the Canadian Shield. As a point of reference the lake is still frozen and I have been XCountry skiing on it this week (about 8 miles one end to the other). It's getting a little watery at the edges and that's how we know that winter is almost done. I can jump onto the solid ice from my dock. The ice huts have all been pulled to shore as per Ontario law. A marketing company in the UK found the picture of me cycling on the ice on Long Lake which is posted on my web site and offered me $40 for it. I eventually sold the rights for them to use it for $200.
March. Attended a public lecture at Queen's University presented by Dr. Alberto Alsenia, an Economics' Professor from Harvard University.
Processor Alberto Alesina is the Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. He is a leader in the field of Political Economics and has published extensively in academic journals. He is the author of several books including "The Future of Europe: Reform or Decline", and "Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference". Professor Alesina's research spans a wide range of topics, including political business cycles, the political economy of fiscal and redistribute policies, stabilization policies, currency unions, European integration, and differences in the political and economic systems of the US and Europe.
An interesting presentation examining the effects of monetary policy on the public's inclination to vote for a countries leader in an upcoming election. The monetary policies that were evaluated and compared were an increase in taxes, vs. an increase in spending .E.g. quantitative easing, Data was presented from studies on European countries over a couple of decades. Conclusion, policies did not have a predictable influence.
At a reception after the event I met two economics' post grad students whose areas of research included whether welfare payments contributed to reduction of crime rates in a specific community, and the fiscal policies related to floating currency rates. I thanked the head of the Economics department for the department's hospitality and he said that we had to thank W. Edmond Clark, a former graduate of Harvard, current CEO of T. D Bank and on the board of many institutions including the C.D. Howe Institute.
Attended a workshop at Queen's University on 'Knowledge', part of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. We discussed the value of 'knowledge' in the teaching process. Many of the group (post grad's) considered the cross pollination of their learning, e.g. taking credits that weren't directly related to their field of study, useful in understanding student's (learner's) needs.
Meeting some interesting people. A chap named Paul who was the Butler to one of the Whitney dynasty for many years.. He also ran a catering business on Palm Beach which included the rich and famous as clients. Over a few coffees we spent a few hours exchanging ideas, favorite readings and life experiences. Paul has a keen memory and was able to recite poetry which included a notable piece by Richard Harris who he knew of. I of course recommended that he watch Harris's movie "This Sporting Life " Paul had played football for an English soccer team.
There were no major incidents on the journey down to Florida. I stayed with T and E in Swansboro, N. Carolina on the inland waterway for a couple of days. As a group we enjoyed setting up T's new ASUS computer -yes it took us two days. The unit was finally returned to the store and traded for a Dell. Customer service from ASUS on support was poor. Best Buy which sold the unit needs to collaborate with the supplier regarding known deficiencies when new units are sold.
I visited Jekyll Island in Georgia and did the rich and famous tour of stately vacation residences and the club house. Each home had a unique style, and although one could not enter them they were a most interesting collection of real estate. This location was a favorite of J.P. Morgan's and many other bankers. J.P. had the biggest yatch in the world at the time. The details of creating a Federal Reserve Bank were completed here.
The North Lake Tennis Club members gave me a warm welcome back and I resumed my game as though I had never been away for 10 months. So far the big events have been that I swam from the water tower in Palm Beach Shores to the lifeguard station in Riviera beach. A good mile. I then ran back. Another interesting event was getting a haircut. I avoided the mall and looked for a barber in Riviera Beach which is a predominantly African American neighborhood. Always good to chat and get new perspectives. Regrettably Sam my barber who introduced himself very professionally dropped the ball about half way through the haircut. His cleaning lady called him on his cell phone and they proceeded to have a lengthy conversation about dusting his petunias and ceiling fans as part of the contract. There seemed to be some disagreement whether these items were in the contract. Now to Sam's credit he did not let this interference interrupt the services for which I was paying him, namely a haircut. Yessiree, good old Sam just held the cell phone with one hand and the clippers in the other and never missed a beat. The conversation went on and my hair came off. And they talked, and I balked. Gradually my appearance in the mirror changes from that of an middle aged well groomed man to that of weather beaten, beached up coconut. Well, I wont be needing a haircut for at least another six months. Thank's Sam.
Long Lake 2010 to July.
May 15, 2010 Another adventure in a beautiful part of Ontario, Ivy Lea on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The gracious and generous hosts for this affair were P. and F. who own a few acres on the shores of the river. The event was 'sponsored' by the Writer's Ink, a group that Bunty founded in Brockville. The occasion was a birthday party for Bunty. One would not normally divulge the age of a lady but this was a very special milestone. It was Bunty's 90th. For those who do not know Bunty this might conjure up visions of a typical 90, but Bunty does not fit into this category. She is a vital, vibrant, energetic, finely attired, witty and cultured lady. I use the term lady because femininity is a quality I believe has been diminishing and lacking since, I would say the Woodstock days. But, I digress. The birthday honor was arranged by P., the President of Writer's Ink. A beautiful corsage was presented to Bunty, and then a present of an anthology that each of the group members has written. It was bound and the cover was an original water color by D. G. Some member so the group has written poems and short pieces and were invited to read them to the assembled. After the readings we were invited to the dining room in which a table for fourteen had been set up, with matching place sets. Bunty's place of honor at the table was marked by embroidered linens. Delicious sandwiches were followed by choice of the cakes that the hostess had made. The cakes deserve a chapter of their own, but I will simply say the were beautiful to look at and tasted memorably divine.
Attended B. P.'s 70th. Birthday party at Mountain Grove Community Hall, hosted by E.M and J. A. . A splendid affair, catered no less, with many of B's family, school chums (university and Royal Military College), friends and compadres. His coworker in international rescue had us spell bound with stories about his and Bill's contributions in various disasters including Haiti 2010. Bill is very modest about his work in this field. Regrettably Fred and Joyce S. , Bill's wife, S's parents, were unable to attend. Fred was recently hospitalized with a broken bone at the top of his hip and Joyce 'has been under the weather.' Joyce and Fred celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in the first week of May.
April. Couple of visits this month to Osgoode Hall, Toronto for interviews and training for a new temporary contract. Oh, what a magnificent building with resplendent gardens. If you taken a tour of the building it is a must. The library is reputed to be the most beautiful room Canada.
Saw the movie Ghost Writer. Good yarn. Saw Up in the Air in March. Brought back memories of the 1500 people I hired and fired in my management career.
Survived the winter reasonably well. Still no woodstove but stayed warm on my single electric heater and lots of clothes. Regardless of the cold went out each day for exercise for between one and two hours a day. The usual, cross country skiing, cycling the frozen lakes and rivers and long walks - four or five miles minimum. Joined a couple of groups in the spring. Writer's Inc. out of Brockville, Ontario and the Canadian Society of Technical Analysts out of Ottawa.
Some of the Sharbot Lake Bridge group have been encouraging me to come back but I am overloaded with other diversions.
August, 2009. North Palm Beach, Florida. Once again enjoying swimming in the ocean which is 83F. Playing tennis at least 4 times a week at the Kelsey Park Club. Meeting many interesting people. A couple of chats on the Community beach at Palm Beach Shores with Bob, a researcher (Neurology) at one of the Ivy League universities. He was very (clinically) interested in why I still play the markets despite being down. I forgot to mention that I believe that thought processes can be enhanced (developed) in an adaptive way as species adapt physically to environments. The proof of my theory will be if I have made money in a years time. Same time, same place next year Bob.
Ginny took me to Teapots and Treasures, a delightful emporium on A1A Palm Beach Gardens, 561-881-0447, owned and operated by Barb ODonnell and Suzie Mitchell. Food was excellent. It was like having tea in Debbie’s Glews' place. Lots of art, bric brac and comfy furniture. A dozen seating areas all with accents and slightly separated from the rest of the patrons. Delicious food. All items in the place were for sale including some of the settees and dining tables. There was a consignment shop attached. My companion was an ex surfer girl, hippie, art teacher who surfed the Yangtze River in the sixties, pre Nixon’s visit. Ginny had advised me to read Betty Edwards book on right brained art. We hope to go to the Norton Art Gallery this coming weekend -with her as a tour guide.
Went to see movie "The Ugly Truth' with Jamie, my daughter in law. We thought we might pick up a few pointers on how the opposite sex thinks. First, I had to get used the no holds barred language and other mature content. I focussed on the premise of the movie which, I believe was, that you can't judge person by their 'cover.' Happy ending.
Long Lake to July 2009
March 15, 2009. A fox came onto the kitchen deck today, which placed it about 10 feet from where I was sitting (inside). I took some pictures and will post them later. The geese flew in this weekend from south and the redwing blackbirds are back. I skiied the lake and it was very fast. The sun has turned the surface into granular composition. Temperatures are still 15F below freezing at night but have been up to 50F in the daytime.
March 8, 2009. Beautiful warm couple of days, up to 50 F. Lake still has two feet of ice - now has a few inches of water on top. I cycled the length of the lake (on the ice) a couple of times about 8 miles. It takes a lot of will power not to turn the front wheel when cycling and the tires get enough traction to keep me stable. I walked the lake in the moonlight listening to the symphony of sounds coming from the ice shifting. Great groans, sharp ricochets, sparkling shimmers coordinating with surface crackling. Billions of people will never experience this. They pay to go to the symphony. Nature rocks for free.
March 1-7, 2009 . A quick melt left the ice on the lake smooth enough to skate. I completed the entire perimeter of the lake three time in three days. About 24 miles in total. Third day skate got caught in a crack and had a nasty tumble - going very fast. One sore knee and a bruised shoulder. Worth the pain. It was a great skate. Giant Woodpecker (Pilated) comes every day and knocks the heck out of the pine tree on the hill. A fox killed a black squirrel right in front of the kitchen window. After the kill the fox stretched out and rolled on the snow and then rubbed his snout in the snow. I don't know if the squirrel had bitten the fox and it was trying to soothe the pain or if the fox just going through an 'after kill' ritual. When I checked the spot afterward, I also found a dead chipmunk in the same area - skull crushed. The chipmunks came out of hibernation this week and are probably a little slow. I checked the black bear lair and the bear stirred when I peered into the rock crevice. I left very quickly. and took a chance crossing thin ice in the swamp thinking the bear would go through if it chased me. Now I have to watch for it in the woods. I still have my pepper spray from Montana . Remember to pack it on future walks. Oh, it is so good to feel warm air. Coldest day this winter was -40F. Many mornings it was 32F in the living room when I got up. I sleep with the heat turned down.
Just finished reading 'The Hemingway Women' by Bernice Kirt. Good read. Good insight into the dominant male ego and the 'trade off's the wives and lovers made. I can't say that I liked Hemingway the man from what I read. I do admire his writing disciplines. I compared my isolation and his constant company. I feel at peace even though I miss the company. He had the company but never seemed at peace -hence the excessive drinking. I restrict myself to one drink a week and really enjoy it. Before, I anticipate the taste, during I savor, and after I reflect on how good it tasted. I am very conscious about each drink. I am conscious about most things . I would hate my life to be a blur. I like dissecting nuances.
Just finished reading A Beautiful Mind, Sylvia Nassar. Am now hooked on mathematics. Previously whetted my whistle on the book My Life As a Quant - lots of maths theorems as applied to nuclear physics and Wall street. Got a few complimentary issues of Risk magazine, about $125 month per issue. Mainly written for the derivatives and risk management companies. Financial engineering is the field. Bridges collapse and so do financial models.
2008. The year was what one might call a write off. It wasn't pretty. Also wrote my car off. Imported another one into Canada. Did play a lot of tennis in Florida which was great - nice club in North Palm Beach.
Summary. July 7 - Aug. 28, 2007. Total driving distance 10,000 kilometers. Still haven't been to Florida.
July 2007 - Finally the moment arrived. The cottage was prepared for the summer guests. The car as usual was packed to the roof with an inventory that ranged from the mini office supply cabinet to some of my life collectibles. My Samsung duplex printer sits strapped in the passenger seat as a constant reminder that, as usual this will be a working trip.
After a couple of days helping Wendy, 'my cottage neighbor with chores' my first summer destination is New Brunswick to the town of Miramachi, named after the river on which this community sits. My companion is Kate. We are staying at Kate's mothers home which is situated on the Miramachi River. During the drive Kate and I discussed an article I have been compiling for the past 20 years on relationships. We were able to exchange ideas in a most objective manner as a result of having resolved our previous relationship issues by simply saying we would remain friends. I am very fond of her mother and new husband and look forward to sharing a few days with them. Going with Kate made sense. It's about a 900 hundred mile drive which we do comfortably in one day, taking turns driving. Weather is perfect. We drive through Quebec, the French province of Canada. I order our breakfast practicing my French. We only get one breakfast which means I have to work a little on my pronunciation. I enjoy the sense of being in a foreign country as all the signposts and store names reflect the French culture of the province. Hey Quebec, wake up. You have a beautiful province. Promote tourism not politics. Highlight of trip was swimming in Bay de Vin. an estuary of the Miramachi River. A lobster supper at the family cottage complemented an resplendent purple and orange sunset.
Tues: July 17, 2007. London, Ontario. Patricia was in from Wisconsin to help Kate with her move. I was the designated heavy lifter person. Patricia is a great cook as I discovered at the evening meal. She is also a marriage and relationship counselor. Am I being presumptuous in thinking that my behaviors and ramblings might be listened to from a professional perspective? Patricia's light hearted manner and banter suggested to me that she truly was on vacation and that I would get no more attention than the furnishings.
Wed. July 18, 2007. Within a few minutes of waking up I am off and running. No, not running running, but chatting at ninety miles an hour. Some people find this annoying before their first coffee, perhaps even after their third coffee, as they prefer to ease into the day and not be challenged by questions such as, "Did you know that there was a difference between pragmatism and pragmaticism?" Today my chosen topic is the sounds of the early morning traffic. I mention 'droning' as a descriptor, and then 'have to' listen to Kate on variations of droning and mutation of sounds. The conversation had started in trying to define how loud the noise of the early morning traffic was. It certainly it wasn't as loud the steady roar of the traffic in London England. But this was London, Ontario. Kate has moved into what to me seems like a luxury condo in the downtown core of London. She has secured a position teaching at Western University. London. Once again homeless, I am only to happy to share her facilities for a few days and then launch into my somewhat loose summer schedule. I toured the university campus which was in a park like setting with the University College main building sitting prominently on the high ground. Very Englandish.
I was impressed with London. A bike ride along the Thames river was most pleasant. The downtown core had numerous interesting stores, eateries and a farmer's market permanently situated in the Covent Garden building. I finished my visit with a stroll around Harris Gardens, opposite the London Life Insurance head office, where Paul used to work before his untimely passing. Today the park was bustling with vendors selling arts, crafts and food/s.
Saw the Michael Moore movie, Sicko. I liked it. Previous exposures to M.M.'s biased 'journalism' help reduce knee jerk reaction to his shock tactics. I thought the presentation to be, in this order:entertaining, great satire and thought provoking. I think Americans would be well advised to see the movie. Here's the link shown in the credits at the end for those sick or hostage to a health management organization in the USA, and needing to find a sympathetic mate in Canada. Hook a Canuk
Fri July 20, 2007. Embro, Ontario. Arrived at Donna's home in the evening. The smell of hay, the warm evening air and sight of rolling country side were pleasant reminders of the time when I lived in this area forty year ago. The comfortable familiarity of old friends and places balances out the roller coaster activity of my life and for this I am grateful. As usual I am reminded there is work to be done and I schedule some of Donna's to do list items into my schedule abruptly ending my short lived reverie of lounging around for the weekend. After a brutal afternoon of moving piles of dirt, and feeling like Cool Hand Luke, Donna and I went to the non famous town of Woodstock for a normal evening. We ate in the Charles Dickens Pub on Dundas Street and then saw the movie Hairspray at the Galleria. The upbeat tempo of the movie, dance routines and songs, just about compensate for the absolutely corny script. The movie showcases some brilliant new talent complemented by Michelle Pfeiffer's seasoned and able performance as a manipulating radio station manager.
Sunday, July 22, 2007. Tracy made French Onion soup, croutons and spinach salad for lunch. The cliche' 'to die for' doesn't do the meal justice. I am sure that I will relive the taste sensations many time over - with great pleasure. Donna and I drove to Stratford for a stroll around the lake in the evening. White and black swans and their signets were swimming or settled in the grass. Donna brought Taylor with us. That was Ross's favorite dog. We reminisced with sadness and appreciation of having known Ross in our respective ways.
Monday, July 23, 2007 Spent the morning monitoring my stocks and 'scalping' a few dollars. As some of you may know I have committed the past year to learning more about the stock market to the extent that I can day trade. The possibility of making a living this way is way is very limited for various reasons. It is high risk, can be very time consuming and stressful. However, learning the technical aspects of chart reading and macro and micro economics fits into my long term goals. For those interested I can create a separate we page wit some of my learning experiences and methodology. I left Embro right after the market closed at 4 PM.
Checked in a Gary's house in the evening in the neighborhood of where I used to live, Victoria Park and St. Clair in Scarborough, Ontario. Of course we stayed up a little longer than we catching up on news.
Tues. July 24, 2007. The Dow dropped a hundred or so points and this kept me busy at the computer.
While having my emission tested I chat with a young lady, Mary Ann who sells real estate using a new marketing method. A client driven service that originated in the USA. The business model is being used a case study at Yale and Harvard. Mary Ann used to be in IT but chose a new career. We chat about relational data bases, the type of contact management software her company uses. I refer to Goldmine which has an application for the real estate business and has received many awards.
Gary invited a friend who was visiting from Czechoslovakia for supper. Dagmar. She was a world traveler who had met her husband in her travels and decided live in Europe. Dagmar was a great story teller and recounted many of tales of travels both on her own and with her husband Wolfgang.She had been a dental assistant in Don Mills, Ontario and launched into travel adventures in her early thirties-on the basis 'that there had to be more than this.'
Wed. July 25, 2007. After a morning trying to schnitzel a few dollars of the market I thank Gary the his hospitality and then off to the new Walmart on Eglinton and Pharmacy for a sleeping bag and overnight stuff holder. For those that know this area the shopping area used to a be 500,000 square foot General Electric turbine manufacturing factory. Then it was purchased by the now defunct Knob Hill Farm (grocery) empire owned by Steve Stavros - now owner of the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team. Presently the area is developed as a shopping plaza with dozens of brand name retailers and restaurants. Across the street where the former Frigidaire and then General Motors plant used to be is a brand new Toyota dealership and a plethora of retail outlets. I think of Thomas Friedmans's book 'The World is Flat' and the shift of manufacturing jobs from north America to the developing countries. Now we buy huge quantities of inferior quality, throw away products from the locations where high quality long life products used to be made. The plazas are full of customers who have emmigrated from developing countries for the better life. If it weren't for Canada's natural resources I think we might be witnessing an economic disaster in the making.
I drive to Aurora, a classy town with massive real estate development continuing on. Thousands of homes are being constructed on former farm land to accommodate some of Canada's rapidly ever growing population. These are all upscale homes, opposite the Magma Corporations head office, which is attractively styled on the French Palace of Versailles architecture.
My friend, Bruce and I get caught up over a Tim Horton's coffee and bowl of soup. We discuss the logistics of him travleing to Newfoundland with me at his time or another. He would like to get the the upcoming wedding of my son Jason to Christina but his health presents a huge challenge. Bruce looks good and tells me his now two or three year old beard is going to trimmed as per Hemmingway. I tell him that my muse, used to sit on Hemmingway's knee when she was a little girl and that his beard smelled of cigar's and absinthe.
We part and I call Debbie in Brockville (my next stop) to let her know that I am on my way via the cottage mail box -a five hour drive in total. At 10 PM. I chat with the post office lady, Cheryl, who saw me parked in the dark beside the Parham post office which she operates. She just happened to be diving by and thought I was up to no good. I make arrangements to have my mail forwarded and give her a cheque. The conversations weaves around a bit and we end up with Cheryl telling me her nickname is 'The crazy lady.' Hmmm. We will explore this further at a later day. In a village like Parham you have e really wild to get a moniker like that. Interesting. I didn't tell her that I used to have a '56 Chevrolet with 'Wild Child' painted on the fenders. Arrive at Debbie's just before midnight. She is waiting up for me. What a site. Nightie and a whopping great freshly turned out glistening white cast. We exchange broken ankle stories and call it a day. A cool breeze blows through my bedroom off the St. Lawrence River. I put in my earplugs in the event that there are going to be boat or traffic noises. I hear nothing.
Thurday, July 26, 2007. I am up early. Traffic sounds are light in this small town. The air feel fresh and cool. River breezes, lovely. Debbie made a great choice moving here from Toronto. The room I slept in is full of her art work, complete or in progress.. "Hey Debbie what's for breakfast?' Oh, then I remember, the cast. Guess who's making breakfast? The day was a whirl. The word 'Fred' was used a noun, verb, adverb, adjective, but mostly as a call to arms. Mercifully Debbie gave me the option of going for a swim in the St. Lawrence river or carrying on with 'the list.' The river was deliciously cool and I swum from the public park area to where boats were moored outside residences. The current was hardly noticeable in this area, and through my goggles I could see 10 foot long weeds reaching up from the river bed for sunlight. Bunty joined Debbie and I for dinner, which consisted of a hodge podge of items from Debbie's cupboard and some nice Talapia. The fish reminded me of our good friend Thomas George, former Minister of Fisheries for the Sudan, and a world expert on the Talapia. I dedicated the meal to Thomas and we ate with gusto. Talapia al la Gusto.
Friday, July 27, 2007. A few more last minute items for Debbie and I was on the road again. At Cornwall I heard on the radio that the Dow Jones was disintegrating so I pulled into a Fifth Wheel truck stop and checked my stocks. Five hours later, a few buy and sell orders I had made just enough money to pay for the constant supply of food that I ordered to justify staying at the table for such an inordinate amount time. With relief that there would be no trading for two days I headed east on the 401 hiway. The Quebec countryside smelled fresh manure. It was so strong that I actually stopped at a rest stop to see if it was something in the car. Again I practiced my French and managed to order a cup of tea and an apple and actually receive the same. I slept at the side of a river in the New Brunswick woods that night with only a couple of hours to go before reaching Kate's mums yet again. The sound of running water bouncing of rocks and the smell of the woods ended a busy day and 650 miles of driving.
Sat. July 28. Oh joy. Breakfast with John and Martha. Maggie popping in and out in the midst of a move. John regaled me with World war 2 stories which were fascinating. We discussed my position as a conscientious objector in my teens and how I now understood the need for armies and police forces. We both agreed that military service or farm service for all young men could have many benefits. One of John's grandchildren Robert, came for a visit with his mother Barbara. This was the ssame family that Mark the husband had given Martha, Kate and I a tour of the local privately operated fish hatchery two weeks before. We had seen tanks with a many as a half a million tiny fish in addition to monster salmon, for which the Miramachi is famous for. Robert had worked in Brighton, England at the the Old ship Inn which I was familiar with. I had gone to Brighton Technical College about forty years ago and it was pleasant listening to Robert tell me about his experiences in the town and other places he had worked at or visited in England. I said a sad farewell to all the Johnsons including Maggie who was still popping in and out. Drove 7 hours down through New Brunswick and then Nova Scotia. Did a quick tour around Mount Allison University. Saw the building that they do their promo pictures from. Got lost in some back lanes but was worth the time because the houses and villages were quaint
Crossed the narrows onto Cape Breton and slept in small parkette on the Whycocomagh Bay.
Sunday, July 29, 2007. A great swim across the bay in remarkably warm water started the day off. I tried to use soap for a wash down but the soap wouldn't lather in the brackish water. After the swim a good breakfast was needed. I stopped at the Herring Choker restaurant which looked clean and attractive. The menu was one, in which everything was written in coloured chalks boards, behind the waitress station. The only item with egg was a bacon, cheese and egg wrap. I asked if they 'did' home fries? Nope. I reluctantly gave in and ordered the wrap. The assembled ingredients were toasted in a waffle iron that flattened everything to about a half inch thickness . So breakfast is a square rigid sandwich cut in half. It was a situation of chomp and chew. Chomp and chew. Now anyone who likes a traditional Canadian breakfast knows that part of the enjoyment is in the discovery of the flavors of the various items. Then there is the physical engagement with the components; the dipping of the potatoes into the egg, the cutting of the bacon, the spreading of the jam, mixing and mingling, contemplating and then choosing. This type of a breakfast is a mini work out. Not just of the jaws but of the arms, elbows, biceps, triceps, chops and the mind. However, I diligently consumed my wrap and sipped the rest of my coffee. I was the only person in the restaurant. The waitress chatted with the cook. I began to feel as though I didn't belong in this establishment. The persuader didn't come to my table to offer me a refill of coffee. She didn't ask where I was from or engage me in some small talk. Didn't ask if I liked the wrap even though she had encouraged me to try it by saying it was good. This restaurant was a business choker in addition to herring choking. $7 and a questionable tip of a dollar. Pity. Monday will be a hunt for a big traditional Canadian breakfast.
Then off to North Sydney to catch the ferry to Newfoundland. Some spectacular views from the highlands across the bay. Arrived an hour ahead as suggested only to be sitting in a long line up for an hour and a half. Finally reached the pay booth and was advised that there had been a security concern on a ferry that morning and our sailing would be delayed for at least four hours. This brought back memories of another ferry delay. This ferry was very similar to the cross channel one operating from Newhaven, England which goes to Dieppe, France. I remember being delayed there by a small pleasure craft that had capsized and sunk right in front of the moored ferry. Same time of delay. This means I will e driving onto the Newfoundland hiways in the dark. Jason has warned me many time of the large numbers of moose that roam the highways at night and the numerous serious accidents.
The sailing is uneventful. The ocean is relatively smooth and the ship travels without any shift. It was comparable to riding in a train. There is live entertainment at various time through the evening. I try to connect to the Internet and although I get a strong signal I cannot get transmission in or out. The system is unsecured but filtered in some way way. I chat at length to Jim and Jane who have been traveling for 5 years in a mobile home. They give me a number of must see destinations around the states but especially in Arizona and southern Utah. Hoven Weep, Mockie Dugway, Valley of the Gods are some suggestions. Jim was an electrical specialist in a power plant and tells me how to set up solar panels and a portable satellite for the Internet. The satellite is service is $60 a month. Bargain. The dish is three feet across and collapsible.
Monday July 30, 2007
Drove through Gros Morne Park. Scenic beauty superb.
Tues. July 31, 2007 Hike the Tablelands, which are high flat hills which were formerly ocean floor.
Wed. Aug. 1, 2007 Climbed Gros Morne mountain - west side of NF. 806 meters (2500 feet) Started at 8.20 AM. Total climbing time up and down was four and a half hours. The guidebook recommends to allow 6 -8 hours. Overall a typical uphill climb other than a grueling hour on the scree rock face. A large moose appeared through the fog at the top of the mountain. It stood still for 10 minutes watching me climb the last part of the ascent. At first I thought it was a statue until I noticed its head turn to follow my movement. Rock ptarmigan and Arctic hares show up periodically just as the brochure predicted. Clouds shrouded the summit for a while but as I approached the down trail magnificent views from the backside of the mountain appeared. Great lakes with sparkling waters nestled in the mountain furrows. Thickly wooded slopes, blue skies complemented the view. I wish I had time to linger, but this is a must visit again place -weather permitting.
Met G and D at the top. They live in Ontario. We exchanged a few travel stories. They have flown in a small plane from Canada to Ireland. This year they are going to fly to Baffin Island. I hope to hear more about their trips.
Immediately I came off the mountain I drove across the island to St. John's a distance of about 700 KM. Took about 7 hours. It was Jason's stag night before the wedding.
Now the degree of detail I should go into about the stag would depend on the life experiences of the reader. I shall try to exercise some sensitivity. We started the nights revelry in a neighbor's kitchen in keeping with east coast practices. A dozen or so most congenial men greeted me. Others drifted in and out. Tequila consumed in the ritualistic routine with lemon and salt was part of the initiation. The volume of jesting became the prompt to move the party to downtown St. John's, well. More specifically the Cotton Club. Now before anyone thinks the name of the establishment indicates the dress code let me assure you that attire would never be an issue in this club regardless of your status in life. The female faculty quickly benchmarked the place as an emporium of exposure. Undulating, gyrating and cavorting were the staff orders of the day. Ogling, drooling and wishful thinking were the permissible parameters for the clientele. Except of course for guests of honor. Jason was elevated to this status through the generous contribution of his mates who chipped in to purchase his right to engage, in public view, the cleansing of one of the staff. (This was done in an enclosed clear glass shower structure at the end of the stage). She returned the favor by tantalizingly presenting her god given attributes in the most provocative manner while dousing Jason with lather. To ensure that the most primitive parts of his anatomy were not conjoined with the his presumed very active cerebral processes, the glistening maiden emptied, obviously with great relish, a bucket of ice cubes into Jason's loose loin cloth (Stansfield boxer brand for those who care about these things). The contrast in countenance of the two ablutants was remarkable. The seemingly vulnerable Venus had with one swift gesture immobilized, not only Jason's thought processes but his entire physiology. For seconds he remained in what seemed state of rigormotice, but slowly recovered and resumed his obligatory routine of rubbing two well soaped pom poms across the the never static torso of his partner. One can only say that the entire process seemed fitting for the beginning of Jason's new life with his bride to be. Washing away the past both symbolically and literally would ensure his new life gets off to nice clean fresh start. Who would have thought that so much depth, consideration and symbolism in these matters could be found in a den of debauchery?
Eventually the group of Jason and his staggering mates perambled along the thoroughfare of George Street which was still full of revelers. Police cars slowly drifted through the throngs to pre-empt problems. Plates of pizza were shared. Last minute alliances were sort by the single men of the group. A very attractive but very inebriated Victoria tantalized those in the group whose discretion was clouded by perhaps the memories from the Cotton Club.
'Twas a fine night'
Thurs. August 2, 2007 Dress rehearsal for the wedding in the St. Basilica church. All went well.
Paul and Catherina rounded us up and we drove to a place that sounds like Quiddy Viddy. Paul pronounced it as Quaddy Vaddy? Who would have thought their were high and low Newfoundlanese dialects? We watched the St. John's regatta. 5 rowing teams racing up and back. The carnival like atmosphere on the shore where thousand of spectators gathered to cheer their teams on, and or buy from the numerous stalls, everything from candy floss to fund raising tickets for various charities. The race was completed in just under 9 minutes which was remarkable for the distance covered. Strapping young men wielding their oars with strength and synchronisity. I wonder if anyone has thought of a match with Cambridge or Oxford? Catherina and Paul are an interesting couple. Paul is a great converser, story teller and manager of the Coast Guard. A friend of his was the architect of the Rooms, a gallery/museum in St. Johns. Catherina, hi energy, was public relation officer for two former Newfoundland premiers. She has quit public service to pursue a law degree.
Sat. Aug, 4, 2007. Wedding day. First, congratulations to Christina and Jason on their commitment to each other. A beautiful couple, wise in their choice of venue to make a public declaration of love and devotion. And, also congratulations on the care and attention to detail in the planning of the wedding. The magnificence and grand structure of the church was a befitting setting of such a momentous occasion. The ceremony was held in The Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, on Military Road.
Thank goodness for rehearsals. The wedding party fell into their respective positions with the precision that would make an honor guard for the Queen envious. Jordan handed out programs at the entrance of the church. The four bridesmaids swirled around in the individually styled but color coordinated chiffon dresses. The colors were various tones of coral, salmon or pink grapefruit hues. Delicious. On cue, Heather, Jason's mother and I, walked Jason down the aisle to a location where his bride to be was sure to find him. The ceremony including a roping ritual that would ensure that he would be unable to depart the church without his bride in tow. Jason was wearing a black tux with long rounded tails that went well with his tall, slim frame. Tesse and Frank, Christina's mother and father proudly escorted their radiant daughter down the aisle. Christina was wearing an ivory coloured lacy ensemble with a long patterned train that was elegant, stylish and fully complemented her natural beauty. Readings of scriptures by Robin, a friend of Christina's and former classmate in her philosophy classes at McGill. The priest read a verse on love from Corinthian's and made an oblique reference to great poet's which provided for some lively discussion in the ensuing days. There were no obvious bloopers, no screaming children, nothing that shifted attention from the ceremony. Cameras flashed at the appropriate times, prayers punctuated the monologues reminding us all that a little divine help can be useful even in the most perfect of matches. After the ceremony the wedding party we were transported in a stretch limo to the governor's mansion for pictures. A carefully orchestrated sequence of shots ensured no one suffered in the unusually hot weather. Then onto the reception at the Ramada Hotel.
The receiving line was like a tidal wave. I was impressed by the friendliness and obvious care each of the guests took to introduce themselves, state their relationship to the married couple and ask with genuine interest whose hand they were shaking. Finally, finally, food and what food. The Ramada chef's had been coaxed into adding some Filipino flavors to the menu. Resounding success. Succulent roast pork (whole pig), roast beef, supreme salads, topped off with a choclate fondue from a mechanized fountain that delivered bountiful quantities. Then delicious wedding cake divine, exquisitley decorated by one of the 150 friends or relatives present. Speeches were short but conveyed the pride of the parents of the married couple. Christina's sister Maria and girlfriend Shanna brought a fitting amount of emotion to the event as they reminisced and somewhat reluctantly surrendered their bonding memories to the now partnered Mrs. Pentney. A live band, played for the guests after dinner. I was quite amazed at how everyone from various tables mingled with each other. It was a reunion in addition to being a reception. My grandson Jordan (13) displayed a keen sense of rhythm while dancing with what seemed like a never ending variety of partners. Quite in contrast to his granfather who was the only person in the history of the dance studio industry to be given his money back and asked not to return. As they say genetics sometimes skip a generation. However, I should mention that my dancing is now acceptable. Learning to play the guitar helped me finally distinguish the 1,2,3,4 or 1,2,3 beat in the music. Before I had a tendency to launch off on any beat much to the suprise and chagrin of my partners. I think my dance style then was called 'yanking.'
Fantastic day was my summation as we left the Ramada Inn where the reception was held.
Mon. Aug. 6, 2007 Wonderful evening at Ellissa's and Dathans, Christina's sister and brother-in-law. We started by playing street hockey. It was peculiar seeing Kevin against the backdrop of the St. John hills. For the past fifteen years I had only seen him in Florida. I felt blessed that circumstances had brought our family together again. Kevin's skills from his time as a goalie in floor hockey were evident. Dathan's well defined physique attested to his athleticism. He told me later in the evening that snowboarding was one of his favorite pastimes. Jordan despite his Floridian upbringing handled his hockey stick extremely well. Ben, film director (The Limits) and graphics grandmaster was obviously Canadian to the core as demonstrated by some well strategized goals. Frank (Francis), son of Frank, now raising his family in Alberta, was able to fill my shoes and position with ease when I retired from the game. I sensed that some of the spectators were afraid that their CPR skills might be needed. The food assembled on the dining room table would have challenged the fare of the best of hotels. My flavor buds exploded in a succession of bursts as I sampled each of the dishes. Thanks to Ellissa and those who had slaved in the kitchen.
Tues. Aug, 7, 2007. Family members went puffin and whale watching and then off to Conception Bay area for fish and chips. (Seaside Restaurant in the village of Chamberlain). I toured Signal Hill and marveled at the sight of John's at night from the high elevation. I made a pilgrimage Erin's Pub in downtown St. Johns to pay tribute a former relationship that had started in that venue. A glass of Guinness helped bring back some fond memories.
I chatted with Pam the barmaid who hailed from an area called the Southside and Liz a retired school teacher. Liz will be sending me one of her published poems for our perusal. The band, Sons of Erin will be performing at the pub this weekend. Regrettably I will not see them. I had watched them perform in this venue on my previous visit.
Wed. Aug. 8, 2007. Jason got called to work on his electrical contract. Some of the family went to Cape Spear, Canada's most eastern point. Kevin, Jordan and Matt.had a quick dip in the ocean in true Pentney fashion. Other family members visited Quiddy Viddy village, browsed Mallard's antique store and ate at the Old Inn. I spent most of the day on the stock market trying to capitalize on the violent swings on the Dow Jones using my inverse fund (sticker symbol SDS). With this stock as the market goes down my stock goes up. Some days I have an earnings day, others a learning day. In the evening we enjoyed a pot pouri supper. Heather my ex wife of what seems like a hundred years ago (it's close to twenty five years since the divorce) were the cooks. It wasn't long before familair behavior patterns started showing showing up. Christina and Jay were hosting both sides of the family.
Thurs. Aug. 9, 2007. Took Jordan and Kevin to the airport. I will be seeing them again in less than a week in Florida. Stock market in wild swings again (volatility) so I spent the day on the computer scapling a couple of gains. Christina and Jay took Heather and I out for supper to the upscale Murray Place restaurant in the St. John's harbor. The building was a former distribution centre for various goods in the 1800's. Christina had worked there (no not in the 1800's) and enjoyed chats with various staff while they waited on our tables.
Fri. Aug. 10, 2007. Christina and I went to Velma's on the main street downtown for breakfast. We chatted about various family matters including the likelihood of she and Jason starting a family. I mentioned to her Kevin's attempt to get all of his children under the same surname and that I would be agreeable to changing my name to Plesser, which was apparently the name of my father who was killed in WW two. It was an interesting perspective to realize that their is now a new Mrs. Pentney in the world. I forgot to ask Christina if she will be using her old or new name?
Noonish. Said goodbyes and hit the road.
Sat. Aug.11, 2007. Gros Morn park. Took the boat ride on the Western Brook fjord. Spectacular. The 5km hike in and out to the boat terminal if easy and the nature markers along the way make the hike interesting. The cliffs soar 2,000 feet above the surface of the water and numerous waterfalls cascade down.
Enjoyed a moose burger and fries for lunch and then went to Broom point to listen to a presentation about the cod and fishing industry about fifty years ago. More on this later.
Set off for the south side of the park to hike to Green Gardens. Left the parking lot about 6 PM and slugged my way up and down a narrow path for about 5 KM through open country and dense woods until I came out onto the cliffs on the west shore of the island. Breathtaking views of rugged cliffs and seashore dotted with rock formations. I was about 400 feet up at this point. I wandered along the cliffs through dense undergrowth, wild flowers, bake apple and raspberry bushes. On every turn there were new splendid views. The high slopes of the hills, covered in lush green vegetation cascaded down to the beaches in some parts, in other to the ledges on which the walking paths undulated. This is going to be my favorite hike on the island. A few overnight backpackers were setting up their tents on wooden platforms. Storm clouds were coming in so I reluctantly retraced my steps rather than doing the entire hike loop. Good choice, soon it was pouring rain and my pocket size umbrella helped keep my hair dry but not much else. The hike to the beach and back is quite steep in many places and this is not a trail for the unift. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering this part of Gros Morne and will be back to do the whole loop but starting at Woody Point next time. It was nine thirty by the time I hit the hiway and I wanted to bet into the vicinity of the ferry before sleeping. By 11.30 PM the two hikes of the day knocked me out. I pointed the car down the first laneway off the hiway I could find and slept - instantly.
Sunday Aug. 12, 2007. 6 AM. Woke up and saw a sun and wind burned face in the car mirror. Sitting in the parking lot of Port aux Basques library sending off this Email. I can see the ferry traffic streaming into the port from the Trans Canada hiway. I am scheduled to leave at 10AM but know from experience to be there two hours early and hope they leave on time. I have yet to meet any tavelelers this trip who's ferry left on time. Some delayed as much as six hours and the length of the journey up to eight hours on water. I got through the ticket booth in rapid time by just presenting my booking #. then off to the showers. The port provides a shower booth which is an absolute godsend. Freshened and rejuvenated I sit with a couple of dozen other passengers watching a Johnny Cash movie. Thoughts of Kevin come to mind with his struggles to become a full time performer. It would seem that all musicians must pay a price of some kind to nurture their creativity.
It a gorgeous day that portends a smooth sailing. I feel like a vacationer rather than a man looking for purpose and meaning to life. I have no idea where I am going to go when I get off the ferry . I haven't yet looked at a map. Kevin told me too take my time coming down. What I do know is that I will be on the market somewhere at 9.30 AM Monday morning -each day will be a working day. I am planning on being on line from 9.30 to 4.00 each day probably at a library and then do my traveliing in the evenings.
On the ferry after a brief delay. Brilliant sunshine. I chat on the deck with H. After introductions I learn that he is in the process of opening up a CTC franchise store in -are you ready for this the Miramachi. We speak for an hour on business subjects. He has been operating the CTC store in Port aux Basque. He and his wife D. are originally from Nova Scotia and have had numerous businesses interests since they met at high school.
The journey across channel is relatively smooth. It is a beautiful sailing day. I enjoy a cod fish chowder in the cafeteria and some more discussion with H. and D. about our families. I drive south along the waters edge all the way to the causeway that takes me back to Nova Scotia. I purchase a few vegetables from a roadside stand. The owner takes a small cucumber and snaps it in half and passes me a piece to sample. Now I don't know if the item has been washed, or how long since he washed his hands. He looked like a very healthy farmer and so I extrapolated this method of food preparation worked for him it should be OK for me. After thanking him and complementing him of the taste of the veg., he informed me he was a devout Christian. I shuddered. He might have an edge that I didn't when it comes to 'being taken care of.' I assured him that I would spend some time on reflection in these matters. Regardless, it was a great cucumber. I slept in a parkette somewhere near Spring Hill, Nova Scotia.
Monday, Aug. 13, 2007. I tour downtown Moncton until the main library opens. The river is low but I don't catch the tide (bourse) rushing in. The library has a Northrop Frye exhibit on display. He was a Professor at University of Toronto. A prolific writer and sage thinker. I am sure that his stature in the literary world deserved a monument or his house designated as a historic landmark. I ask the bilingual librarian. After fifteen minutes alternating from French to English she completes her inquiries and says that no one in the cities tourist industry knows of him, where he lived, or whether there are tours of his house available. I tell her he lived on 24 Pine Street - as per the exhibit. I shall make a lonely pilgrimage. His former home, as most of the houses in this old sea port are wooden frame. His was slightly larger than average home and now, as many others on the street is now converted into a duplex. The colour is right yellow. The street is tired looking; garages and back yards of the next street face Northrop's former home. His back yard looks onto a street full of repair shops and light industrial shops. Not much wonder he buried his head into books and thought. The neighborhood has a quite few centres for those in need of social assistance. The Harvest Scoop has a number of 'tired' looking people hanging around outside. I eat at Jean's, a local restaurant. Huge turkey dinner with tea for only $8.95. A pan handler comes off the street and plunks a loonie ($1) into the slot machine in the corner. He doesn't win. I wonder if the person who gave him the dollar would approve of gambling as a secondary way sustaining himself?
I traded half the day and bought a few more stocks. The market is still whipsawing. I need a break. I visited Northrop's old high school which is now a cultural centre. No mention of his name on the building. By the way, Moncton and other municipalities, more people would shop downtown if you gave free parking passes. I spent $6 on parking.
Food. Sea Breeze. Written up in 'Canada-where to eat.' I didn't eat there but I looked over the menu and the patio. It was a cute couple's kind of place and I would have difficulty romanticizing on my own. The next place where I did eat was a drive in sea food venue. There are numerous of these on this scenic highway. The sign said that it served the best seafood in Canada. My chowder was very good. Another patron said she just had the best hamburger ever. Down home cooking can't be beat. I drove to St. Stephens, the Canada/USA border crossing. On the way I went through St. John, New Brunswick, a historic port which was completely shrouded in fog. Beautiful rolling countryside similar to Sussex, England attested to why this area was named the same. No problem at the border. My very loaded car did get a second glance but my Canadian passport worked like a charm. My story of visiting my grandchildren for an undetermined time was stated firmly. My slightly greying hair (at the edges) complemented my story. Slept in a parkette.
Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007. Stopped at a convenience store/ gas station. Paid for my coffee with $CDN, not fully aware yet that I was in another country. The cashier was chatty and we talked about her sky diving, white water rafting and numerous other exploits before she settled down to have family. Frank, wearing a grey and dark gray striped chef's hat came from the back to join the conversation. He asked where I had slept. He said I could be fined in Maine for 'being at large' (my phrase). We talked of my Kerouac adventures in the sixties and I was still using the same non conformist way of travel as I did then. I get more mileage out of my dollar and seem to have more adventures. Frank wished he could do the same. Traveling, you see huge divide between the have and the have lesses. The huge motor homes towing a utility car, hotels and motels fully booked, restaurants packed and then the shacks in the back woods, run down industrial areas. Signs everywhere attest that this is 'downeast' country. Commerce between this area and Boston thrived over a hundred years ago. Now it is a tourist Mecca spread along the shores and hinterland - so not too overwhelming.
Breakfast was at a Macdonald Cafe in Machias. This is an old sea port, has a university and many wood shingle/sided old buildings. I chatted with Risa who is visiting from Asia. Her English is very good but not perfect and I respect the effort she makes to grasp the nuances of my conversation. She uses an electronic translator as necessary. Within the hour the restaurant table is covered in notes with my hieroglyphics. Risa owns her own company and represents manufactureres and travels the world. I can provide her with some business contacts in Toronto. We agree to stay in touch.
I missed the opening of the stock market because the Machias library didn't open until noon. Another $200 breakfast. I take the opportunity to catch up my laundry and chat with Barbara, a friendly local person.. Her daughter is hiking in Glacier Park, my old haunt, and I give Barbara the name of some good hiking trails to pass onto her daughter. Small world. The library feels like old stately home and the reading room has a stone fire place, old wooden chairs and desks. The librarian tells me that the building was always a library and it was incorporated in 1891. I start trading. Too late. Another learning day. But overall a fine day. A people day. I feel balanced. The smell of history and old books will be with me on my journey. Not sure where I am going yet. This area deserves a lot more attention. One community I drove though this morning was settled in 1725. Great beaches and forests. The wild animals in this state include Mountain Lion, Bobcat, Lynx, and Moose. I narrowly missed two young deer last night. I need to settle into my campsites before dark. I look for a campsite and settle on a recreation vehicle park. It is almost full of monster motor homes. No one is tenting even though there a plenty of smaller campsites. $25 for the night for my parking space. However, there are hot showers and a swimming pool.
This is blueberry country. There are thousands of acres under cultivation along the roads. Signs recruiting 'Rakers' are common.I presume these are migrant workers who pick the blueberrys. I saw them slaving away in the fields and thought it might be fun to give it a try. I rethought. It will be Xmas before I get to Florida if i keep getting side tracked. With my evening meal in the White House restaurant I asked for blueberry pie and received a thick crust pie with a mountain of fresh blueberries. No pie filler - the gooey jelly that is usually added to pie fillings. None had been added. Just the way food should be, natural. Delicious. This is also lobster country. Restaurants were steaming fresh lobsters in giant kettles outside of their establishments. One place boasted this was the home of Wilbur, one of the biggest lobsters ever harvested.
Wednesday Aug. 15, 2007. A peaceful night, a cooked breakfast at the picnic table and off to Ellsworth Library. Lovely town. More history. The downtown area has a river running through it, walking paths along same, Friday evening live music in the harbor, interesting stores and well kept older buildings. The 'Plot Thickens' is a gardening store on Main Street, and two antique books stores are closeby for other types of plots. A gun which was donated to the library has a letter from the former owner attesting it was used in 1745 in a confrontation with troops sent by the Governor. It was also used in the 1812 war. The library is a handsome colonial style building, very spacious and inviting with plenty of nooks and comfortable seats for browsing. The woodwork is lightly coloured and of very good quality and craftsmanship suggesting that the building may have at one time been a home. The back of library overlooks the river and the front has spacious gardens. A delightful place to visit. It is busy with patrons all day. Obviously quite a few are vacationers coming in to check their Email using their own laptops or the library terminals.
Received an Email from G and D who I met at the top of the Gros Morn mountain in Newfoundland. This is a summary of their past two weeks. It reads like a spelling B. I think I may have plan a few more northern adventures in addition to my southern treks. Here's the letter:
"Fred: I read your blog, so I know how you fared. D. and I had a GREAT time. We flew to Iqaluit via Goose Bay, then to Pangnirtung, Nunavut, and finally off to Ilulissat, Greenland (Disco Bay). Must be one of the most beautiful places on earth, great hiking, too! Then to Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, and home via Iqaluit and La Grande Riviere, Quebec."
For those interested in the stock market: it was not a good day for me. I did not buy back into SDS ( a reverse fund) in time and left myself short cash to enter at a higher price. Very costly in terms of potential gains, but as those who day trade know it doesn't matter. There is always another day, another market. I watched the rest of my stocks slide as most of you will in the next day or so. Part of the problem was getting onto the Internet while I am traveling. The other factor is strategy. I have a written overall, well designed strategy - but old habits are hard to break and I bought a stock without doing due diligence. Ouch.
Received a parking ticket. The two hour limit was exceeded. Fine only $10. I like this place. I remember the time they towed my car out of rush hour traffic in Toronto and the fine was $40 plus $140 towing and storage (pound) charges. I told the cashier at the pound I didn't mind them towing my car because of rush hour traffic but for $140 they could have at least put the car back in the same position after rush hour.
I drove twenty minutes to Acadia National Park, a seashore treasure. This area is what Maine is famous for. Scenery, downeast cooking, rocky shorelines and picture postcard perfect harbors. My campsite was in the Sea Wall site which is on a first come basis. I got there at 7 PM . All the hundreds of tent sites were taken and so I took an RV berth for only $20 plus the $20 for 7 days park fee.
Thurs. Aug. 16, 2007.
A warm morning, leisurely breakfast at the picnic table. 10 minutes later in the village of South West Harbor I found friendly people, a community spirit and a fabulous library with wireless. The interior of the library has the motif of the inside of a wooden sailing vessel. At 9.30 AM it was already busy. No under utilization here. I settled into the upstairs lounge and watched the market eat away at my portfolio. No emotion. Good. A needed characteristic of a day trader.
After a couple hours the sunshine beckoned and life resumed. I visited the Mount Desert Oceanarium and listened to the guide tell me wondrous facets of ordinary sea creatures found in these parts. Some sea creatures, urchins, dangle their inside out to attract prey. They regrow the parts that are lost in the battle. Starfish an eye at the end of each tentacle. They also will give up a limb in the interest of securing a supper. The Sea Cucumber has legs. Scallops have between 40 and 100 eyes around the edge of their shells. However, the eyes are not connected to anything and the their is no brain. I wonder if 'the creator' was interrupted during the design process?
Hiked up St. Sauveur mountain and got some spectacular shots of solitary sailboats in secluded bays before the clouds rolled in. The hiking was easy as this mountain is less than 2000 feet. Afterward enjoyed a quick shower in a local store that provides the service for $1 for three minutes. When I asked for the shower, I used my best Boratian accent and said " I like for you you to give me shower." Unfortunately the female cashier stepped aside as I approached the counter. Anyway I went I said my rehearsed piece to him. Obviously a lot foreigners visit these parts. He did not decline to give me a shower and nor even raised an eyebrow at my confusion regarding the service provided. Oh, well and yes, you can do all the bits and pieces for a $1.
Fri. Aug. 17, 2007. Rained very heavily through the night. Another reason I don't bother setting up a tent. The noise on the roof of the car woke me up a couple of times, but, I had that nice cozy feeling that one has when was a child, indoors and snug during rainstorm. The rain was a good excuse to visit the historic sea port of Bar Harbor, formerly Eden. Thousands of tourists who would normally be hiking or sightseeing had the same idea that I did. First stop the library, which was having a gigantic book sale. Super bargains. Again the lack of federal funding prompts the need for bake sales, book sales etc. The books were spread out by the thousand, categorized by subject matter. Reading must be a major pastime here in the winter based on the number of books donated for the sale, The library building resembled an converted church.
Picked up a few lunch supplies in Hannafords, the local food store. Prices were comparable to Canadian prices if you didn't include the exchange rate. I think the cold cuts were cheaper in the States. $4.00 a pound for Black Forest ham which works out to $4.20 a LB converted with exchange rate. In Canada we pay $ 150 CD for a 100 grams which calculates as $6.60 a pound.
Weather cleared and I headed for the Precipice rock climb, This is an almost vertical 1000 foot climb which is facilitated by holding onto or stepping onto metal rungs that have been well anchored (one hopes) into the granite rock face. There were plenty of sections that were wet from the rain and did not have metal supports. These I crawled across these on my hands and knees so as not to slide of the edge. The sign at the top of mountain said that climbers had died on the mountain, probably as a result of a far too rapid descent. I say this with respect but when one sees the physical condition of many of the climbers, lack of proper footwear and drinking water, on does thinks some of them have a death wish. There is obviously no respect for the elements.
Sat. August 18, 2006
Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. Today the Ladder - an almost vertical climb for an hour. The 'ladder' is built from shaped granite slabs shaped placed as continuous steps. It is a work of art and beauty. I was informed by Ellie a local resident and hiker, that the steps were constructed in the depression years as a make work project. The care and attention given to each steps in terms of size and positioning shows great pride on the part of the workmen. Ellie and her daughter Phoebe caught up with me again at the top of Dorr Mountain within a couple of minutes of my arrival which impressed me greatly. We chatted . Phoebe is a film and drama student (double major) and off to Czechoslovakia in a weeks time. We discussed Dali and Brunnels film evoking memories of ants coming out of a hole in a hand. And the inexplicable sequence is which a dead horse is dragged across a room to thwart the futile attempts of a maiden in distress. She is trying to ward off evil intent or a probable involuntary surrender to her devious would be seducer. The on to Clockwork Orange, which to my knowledge is still banned from being shown in Britain for fear of 'copy cat' mayhem. Mountain top monologues. A sunny, breezy day in Maine.
Next stop the Beehive climb. Another step ladders and rung climb but a ot easier than Precipice. And here I meet a family I spoken too briefly the day before. They are living in New Jersey, formerly Virginia. Kathy, Gary, and their son Jeff and his girlfriend Eileen. Kathy and Gary's other son is on a cross country cycling tour of the USA on the bicycle path created for this purpose. Check out the web site. They mention a lady on this route who has 11,000 cyclist stay at her house (over a period of time, no doubt). Well, what a jolly good discussion we had about everything and anything that matters. I tried very hard to limit my story telling and ask questions. Jeff and Eileen are studying at Rutgers. Jeff the classics and Eileen literature. I mention that I am listening to a Colin McGinn philosophy course on audio CD and he was a professor Rutgers. Jeff tells me he is no longer there. Jeff recommend the work of another philosophy teacher (sounded like Scruples). I refer him to the book I am reading 100 Essential Thinkers by Philip Stokes. We discuss my use of a philosophy book the way most people would use the bible for a daily reading. I sense that the family think I could use both books on a daily basis. Jeff has hosteled across Europe on a back packing trip. He is also a musician . Dad teaches/taught statistics. The family has traveled extensively and recommends that I visit Yosemite's east side in June and the Bryce canyon. A plan is shaping up. I catch up with them later in the Bowl, a small lake nestled in a the back of the beehive. We all swim. Life is good.
Then another of those circumstantial occurrence that can influence one's life. Back at the top of Beehive I am asked by a man, John, to take a picture of him and his partner. I note the Palm Beach teach shirt, ask if he got it on vacation or do they live there? They live there. I told them I visit every year. We compare notes of favorite eateries on Palm Beach and other landmarks they are very familiar with. We talk of tennis. Jean runs a round robin on Tuesday nights at the public courts just north of the Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach. I know the courts well. I am invited to join in next time I am in Florida, which will be soon.
And now the token swim in Sandy Beach Bay. Everyone has told me that the water is numbingly cold. The beach is crowded. Only two young men are in the water hopping around, waist deep. Children are at the edge knee deep, shrieking with delight or pain as the waves surge around their legs. It doesn't look encouraging for swimming. I ask a beacher to take a photo of me in the water. I run full speed down the beach slope, dive into a big wave. The feeling was one of diving into a bowl of sharp pins. I must have stopped breathing for two or three seconds. Then upward and out aiming for the horizon. Ha, a few dozen crawl strokes and a hurried return n to shore before hypothermia sets in. The crowd on the beach does not stand in unison to applaud. They were perhaps too embarrassed to witness this mad man in a display of misplaced manhood flaunting himself. Nevertheless, I walked the sands proudly thankful for the warm sun. I have swum in the waters of Sand Beach and have a photo to prove it. I was surprised there were no vendors selling T shirts on behalf of the foolish few that could make the claim.
On to Jordan Pond, a day outing type of place to flaunt one's rustic attire and disposition - Rusticators as they were called in yesteryear. Famous for it's restaurant that serves ............ Reservations only. I looked at the long line up (queue) and knew there wasn't a chance of getting a single seat. So I set off for a walk on the carriage roads, designed and built by one of the Rockerfeller progeny. There are over 40 miles of these well maintained rods that do not allow motor traffic. The granite bridges of various designs (aesthetically very pleasing) cross the regular roadways. The brochure also tells me that young Rockerfeller was responsible for all the granite rocks that line all the hiways on the island. 'Rockerfellers teeth' , aptly named. The coach house at Jordan's Pond is a proud building that speaks of the day's when class and culture were dominant on this island. The fires which destroyed so much of the islands pine forests and rich homes is not forgotten as per the tourist brochures and numerous historic plaques. The only fire tonite is the laze of a setting sun over Bubble Mountain. I head for the quiet side of the island to camp at Seawall. Lots of open spots. A quick meal from Pete's snack bar near the Seawall saves me cooking. Lights out 10PM
Note after the first draft of the day's events I will correct names, places, facts.
Monday Aug. 21, 2007. I head to the camping supply store for a shower. The owners wife is on cash. I told her about the Borat routine that I had rehearsed. " I would like for you to give me shower". She said that if had asked her that would have replied in her best Soup Nazi accent, " I am not going to give you any quarters." Refreshed for the day I went to the library and got another good cleaning the on the stock market. I was making more money swing trading (holding a stcok from two days to two months) than I am day trading.
I meet some interesting people who are 'regulars' in the upstairs reading room of the library. I chat with another Fred - C. who is a Professor of Biology at a university in Connecticut. I mention that I have read Roger Lewin's book, "Lives of a Cell' and that I devised a skit on the life and death of a single cell. He invites me to stay in touch and he will explore an opportunity for me to present the skit to a class.
Decided to stay in the area another day. I spoke to John and Ira who are from California and they recommended a drive along Somes Sound, especially the area around Sergeant's Drive. Somes Sound is the only Fjord on the eastern seaboard of the USA. It's channel has full entry into the ocean, compared to the Fjord (Western Brook) that I visited in Newfoundland which is land locked. The houses on the Somes Sound are mostly hidden by the dense woods but one occasionally catches a glimpse of some very expensive real estate. Apparently this is an area favored by the 'new rich' (hedge fund managers and the like). I find a public picnic area on the Sound and watch an amazing sunset over St. Sauveur Mountain which I had climbed last week. A final drive around the harbor at the Sound entrance and I am looking at the 'old money' home which are distinguished and elegant but still partially hidden by fences, shrubbery and lanes that are marked private. I drive back to Seawall campground and settle in.
Tues. Aug 21, 2007 Another user of the library sharing the table that I commandeered for the past week is Rae Andre, who is in the process of editing her new book on management psychology. We are both pressed for time today but will try and chat again on Wed. I gave her my business card in the event we don't connect.
4PM The stock market closes and life begins. First a trip to the Laundromat. During the wash cycle I drive a few miles up the road to Echo Lake and have a long swim - about as much that I can without getting to chilled. I coincidentally met Fred and his son who are going hiking. The sun has left the beach by the time that I get out of the water. Back at the Laundromat I meet two different groups from Florida who either work or vacation here. They love the contrast but like living in Florida the best. More relaxed lifestyle.
I try and get a campsite at Seawall. They are full. I drive down to Bass Harbor. The campsite there is full. They charge $30 a night for a tent site. Too much for me anyway, I just need a parking spot. I wander around the grounds of the Bass Harbor lighthouse and am impressed with the fact that the light has been shining for over a 100 years non stop. There are a number of islands visible from this point including Swan's Island which is still inhabited. Apparently around the turn of the century this was a thriving commercial area and the sea was full of cargo ships carrying granite, wood and fish. Today the lobster industry is still active here, as is evident by the thousands of small brightly coloured buoys that can be seen floating in any of the bays around the coast. Each buoy has a lobster trap beneath it. I sleep beside the ocean near Seawall.
Wed. Aug. 22, 2007. 7 AM. Breakfast on the beach. It is already quite warm. Then I walk through Wonderland. It is a wooded and beach area that juts into the ocean. The walk is bordered by hundreds of wild rose bushes, some of which have enormous seed pods. The tide is out. The beach area is 'oh so Maine.' . Rock formations are quite varied and interesting. Numerous large tide pools are like a painter's palette shimmering in the sun.
Library at 9.30 I am the only person upstairs for about 10 minutes. In some periods the entire 9 seats are taken up with people who are using their laptops. I have observed at the same time there might be half a dozens persons downstairs also using laptops. I am not sure how the library staff feel about this invasion of fringe users of the library. I arranged to speak to the manager to get her perspectives on the changing role of the library in the computer age. By now she was familiar with seeing me in my usual spot which was next to her office and was greeting me like a staffer.
Both Fred C. and Rae A. come into work on their projects. Fred tells me about the Beech Cliff walk he did with his son. John pops into the library and invites me to stay in touch and come for a hike with him and his wife if I have time. Rae and I go for a chat after 'work.' We find we have some similar interests. She recommends that I take the 'Big Five' personality test. Now before the reader presumes that this is a clinical recommendation from a former practicing psychologist I must assure you that in the context of our conversation the suggestion did not have any overt implications. I mentioned living in the woods for the past couple of winters. Rae recommends I read two of her books, "Positive Solitude' and 'Take Back the Sky.' Her current area of research and interest are QUANGOS (Qangos). We agree to stay in touch. Rae is staying at a campsite with a large group of 100 or so members of the Appalation Club.
I head for the Beech Cliffs. Good steady climb for a half a kilometer and then breathtaking views of Echo Lake and Somes Sound. At this point I am standing on the edge of a sheer cliff that drops 500 feet into the lake. I can see a fire tower on the top of the mountain but decide to have a swim before dark rather than hike further. I am the only swimmer. There is one family on the beach. We mutually nod. I then drive on the Seal Cove Road and make supper on the southern shore of Long Pond. I am looking north and the high hills flank the lake on both side. The last colours of the sunset are shimmering on the north end of the lake. Dense woods surround me. Good spot. Memorable moment. I decide not to sleep there. It is difficult to sleep well if one is waiting for the inevitable tap on the window. And I don't want to be in some data base of 'upscale vagrants.' I head for Seawall campsite, late. The registration is closed but as with most campsites there is a self registration process. The RV section is full. There are a few tent sites left. I try to find one. All I can find are hundreds of cars parked along the camp area roads. Most confusing. One has to park the car and walk all the camping gear in to the site? Not an easy task in the dark. Not my idea of camping. I go back to the check in. Luckily a Ranger arrives. He recognizes me as the person who just needs a parking spot. He kindly advises me that a handicapped camping site is available to me. I settle in wondering what handicap he classified me under? I just hiked a mountain, swam half a lake, made my own campfire supper and still qualify for handicapped? What a generous country!
Thursday, Aug, 23, 2007. Spent the day in the library. Made the most trades in one day since I started. The Dow Jones hi and low was only 100 points apart but provided opportunity for a number of small gains. I have broken through a major psychological barrier in my trading behavior. 7 months to identify and then correct it.
As arranged, I spoke to Candyce Emlen, Director of the Southwest Harbor Public Library. (My first impressions of this library are above Aug. 16, 2007 journal entry). She was very generous in giving her time to me. Knowing my tendency to wander I had prepared a few questions. Purpose of the library? To serve the needs of the community. The library is the oldest building in Southwest Harbor that has not changed the nature of its business since inception in 1895. The first part of the building facing the mainstreet is original, the larger rear sections have been added. About 7,000 square feet in area on two floors. Sections have been designated specifically for children. Laptop users are directed away from the reading table. There are modern computer terminals for general use. I note the people waiting for a terminal at times. Candyce advises me that the community recognizes the value of the library in the social order. It has historically had legions of local people fund raise on its behalf. It currently receives funding from three sources: an annual appeal which raises, to my mind the phenomenal amount of $100,000. A $45,000 a year allocation from the Township (voted on annually), and small amounts of funds as the result of the book and bake sales and donations at the door. The State used to provide additional funding but with new criteria the library doesn't qualify. I ask Candyce about whether there have been any initiatives to lobby for Federal funding? None. I repeat my mantra that the Library of Congress in Washington venerates learning. The seeds are sown in the community with children at the local library. Too important to leave to the State or take a chance on local politics?
From a management perspective I asked what metrics would be used to measure the performance of the library. The State of Maine provides an annual set of statistics that the library can be evaluated against. The town of Southwest Harbor only has 19,000 citizens but the the library serves outlying populations as well. In terms of circulation, book loans and other criteria it ranks 2nd on per capita basis. Candyce tells me there is a traffic counter for the number of people in each day. Since the library web site has been upgraded patrons are advising Candyce that they can prepare part of their vacation agenda in advance including library programs. E.g. readings, children's' events etc. This point brought into the discussion the value of the library to families that have been visiting the island for many generations. A lot of well-to-do people visit or temporarily reside here. They value the library as part of their life experience, as do those less blessed with material things. The community includes the legions of laptopper that invade her precinct every day.
I asked how the librarians and readers feel about the what I call 'fringe users' who come with their laptops and use the library just to get hi-speed Internet. I have never seen so may laptops at one time in one library. Sometimes there are as many as 20 people clicking away on their laptops while other patrons are trying to read in peace and quiet. Candyce tells me that there is a suggestion box that invites comments from any faction. There seems to be an equal amount of concern from both groups. I was surprised that laptop users would make any fuss. E.g. they would be happy to find a perch fade into the background. Demanding better service seemed pushy. However, Candyce pointed out that the laptops although ostensibly a personal device, may be used for the same purposes that a traditional library user may come to the library for. Work Email, reading on line, research, communicating with students etc. I asked if consideration was being given to segregate the two factions. The situation is being monitored.
I recall the situation in a mid west USA library which has security guards posted and their main function is to evict homeless people from the library. Now I would consider the homeless people to be 'fringe users' of the library. They sit, often just pretend to read. Not much different physically from the laptop 'fringe' users.' Neither group is using the library in the traditional manner. I recall watching a person evicted. The security guard knew the person would try and reenter at another entrance. The guard was waiting for the man to arrive. Security guards are now quite common on library properties. There are none apparent at Southwest Harbor. I can imagine if there were what a riot it would cause if laptop users were asked to leave, let alone if they tried to reenter and sneak in the back door.
We exchanged some personal information. I tried to describe what I do. Candyce and her husband moved to this area from an eastern city and have settled in Pretty Marsh which is a most picturesque hamlet on the western shore of Desert Island. Candyce told me that her daughter is in the Master's program for Library Sciences at Platt University and her son is completing a Master's in English Language. Many thanks Candyce for the background on what has been my temporary office for the past week.
I was abe to contact Paula in New Hampshire and arranged to arrive at her place in Laconia Sat. afternoon and stay for a day. I camped at Seawall. Lots of empty RV spots. I walked the campground and got really lost in the tenting area. A soft rain fell through the night.
Friday, Aug. 24, 2007
My last shower at the Seawall Camping Supplies store. I say good-bye to Dawn, one of the owners, Dave is the other. They are former gardeners, now running a retail operation. Dawn is preparing to close down soon for the season. Once school starts there is very little business. Her hydro costs for running the store are prohibitive. This store is a labor of love. I and many other campers are happy it is there, evident by the steady stream of shower users. (Is there a pun in there somewhere?)
Another day on the stock market. I am at a critical juncture as to whether I want to spend my days sitting at a computer terminal. Money, gains and losses are not as important as quality of life? I visited Ray at the AMC campsite. (This link is correct but does not work at ttime of writing). I spoke to the Asst. Manager about the organization and membership. Those interested in camping without having to set up one's own equipment, and have to do one's own cooking might find this a good alternative. I was very impressed with the facilities. Coincidentally I had swum past the past site without realizing the nature of the place. For more information on this organization check out the AMC magazine. (Good link) .
I decided on a last hike along the seacoast and chose the 'secret' location that John and Ikee had recommended. It was magnificent. The rock formations and colours were remarkably different than most of the shoreline. The woods which the trail meandered through at certain points were dense with moss covered old trees. Sphagnum moss hung from trees. I followed the shoreline to an inlet and marsh. I walked the coast rocks as much as I could and found numerous lobster traps washed up on shore. These were the new type made of metal mesh. Many were badly mangled by the pounding of the waves on the rocks. Longs pieces of rope, driftwood and seaweed were attached like entrails. I also found dozens of trap buoy markers, painted in various bright colours with their identification numbers engraved onto the foam surface. I wondered if lobster poachers were responsible for disconnecting these buoys from their traps. It was dark by the time that I finished the walk and because the path back was perilously close to the cliff edge I used the infra red beam on the camera to light the way at some tricky spots. It was a great hike. I was thinking that I will have to Email John and Ikee to thanks them for sharing their favorite spot. Twenty minutes later at the north end of Desert Isle I am driving by the playhouse, showing an Agatha Christie (The Spiderweb?) I remember John telling me that they were go to see a play that evening. I park the car and look for John's distinctive pony tail in the audience. They were there. It was a few minutes before curtain call. I said my farewells and thank you's with hopes of seeing them again.
Two hours later I am near Rockwood. I pull into a State Park for a campsite. The Ranger tells me that they are officially closed for taking new campers but that WalMart down the street has an area where vehicles can park, including mobile homes, overnight. It is financially free and hassle free and apparently a service that Walmart offers across the USA and hopefully Canada. This can save a budget traveler like me a lot of money. Thank you to the spirit of Sam Walton. I recall the complimentary article I wrote about Sam in a Korean trade journal, (translated from English into Korean). Good Karma.
Sat. Aug. 25, 2007.
I am on the road at 6.30 AM. I stop at a 'clearance' store at about 7 AM. The owner is setting up merchandise outside. We chat. He is an entrepreneur. Has has numerous business venture and specializes in buying store inventories at cents on the dollar and selling part lots at wholesale and retail prices. We talk about various definitions of success. He thinks I am successful because I have the freedom to do what I please. I think he is successful because he has numerous income streams and will retire in his early fifties and pursue his travel ambitions in comfort and style. His wife work long hours looking after the aging heirs of the founders of IBM on an island home in the vicinity. Bob's father was a well known economist, well published. Bob was declared incompetent by a St. Louis court when he was fifteen. Since then he has been working hard and proven the court very wrong.
I stop at a flea market and pick up a couple of items for Paula and a book of hidden places to visit in the USA presented State by State. This could extend many a road trip in the future. Janice Dow sells me some amazing Blueberry cake and tells me about her daughters, one of whom is a doctor and the other a Vice President of an engineering company. Now widowed, Janice enjoys belonging the vendor group and keeping her customers happy. Janice the cake was delicious.
I visit Portland Main and amazed what a sophisticated city it is. A farmers market is set up in the local park and the produce is top notch, attesting to the efforts of people dedicated to rural living and self sufficiency. I visit the old port area which is still an active commercial district. I shop in the wholesale retail fish shop by a wharf. Fresh caught today catches are displayed at very reasonable prices. The young cashier ask where I am from. I tell that that I am transient now and she shares her dream of traveling as a free spirit. An overstuffed compact car and an age difference of 35 years stops me from whisking her away from the anchor of the cash register.
I enter New Hampshire near Farmington. The town is celebrating something and detours delay me. Mountains looming in the background, huge lakes and masses of tourist traffic let me know that I am on my way to another landmark in my journey. From the hiway, hundreds of feet up the side of a mountain I look down and I can see hundreds of power boats on Lake Winnipesaukee. I drive across the mountains past the ski resort of Gunstock near the village of Gilford.
Paula has a charming home a few steps away from lake. Its pastel coloured interior and filtered light are inviting. I meet Bill a friend of hers for many years. Bill has arranged to take me out in his 'antique' power boat to show me the lake, which is thirty five miles long. Many well known celebrities and power brokers have permanent or summer residences on it. It is the lake which the new president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, visited last week during which time he garnered some critical press from his home country. A helicopter sits on one of the the cottage docks. Bill's boat is very well maintained and powerful. The power comes in handy as we strive to get back to the marina to avoid getting caught in a sudden thunderstorm. We make it back just in time. Lightning has been striking for 10 minutes around the lake and not a drop of rain fell us. Strange. I capture a great photo of a colored cloud formation whose originality caught our attention. Bill and I chat. He has a goal of climbing 6 of the mountain peaks that are above 8,000 meters (24,000 feet). There are a total of 14 of them, mostly in the Himalayas. I am given the book, 'No Shortcuts To The Top' by Ed Viesturs, Broadway Boohoo 2006. It is a great read. To know that Reinhold Messner has climbed Everest without oxygen, as did Ed Viesturs, is astounding and inspiring.
The evening included a visit to Paula's friends Jim and Judy who were hosting an open house party for Gilford Olde Home Day. I met many of Paula's friends and acquaintances. Jim is from Scotland, married to Judy a Canadian, Brian is from Australia, Sandy is a local, Ellen, Helga is from Stoney Creek in Ontario, Tammy, Pamela and many more very friendly people. Great food. Thank you everyone. Judy has been a real estate agent in the area for over twenty years. It is a wonderful place to live if you like mountains, lakes and good neighbors.
Sun. Aug. 26, 2007. Paula's is a part owner of the local Audi and Volkswagen dealership. Paula tells me that they are waiting for a new shipment of cars. I drive up Hiway 11 to look at her inventory (not including her china; thisis a reference to a somewhat inside joke related to the articles Paula has been writing in the local press about training for a triathlon). I shall provide the link later. For a small town the roads are extremely busy. There is a lot of competition in town with numerous other large dealerships. Paula has come a long way-from being a drummer in a rock and roll band in Embro, Ontario to savvy businesswoman in USA. So if you are in the market for a Volkswagen, Audi or Porsche call Paula for a price. It does not cost much to import a car into Canada. Or, call Judy for a real estate list, move to New Hampshire and save yourself the import duty on the car.
After a relaxing morning, Paula, Bill and I, and five dogs set off into the New Hampshire Mountains north of Laconia. We enter the Flume Gorge region of the White Mountain National Forest. Our destination peak is Indian Head (just under 4000 feet). A steady climb for an hour and a half through a forest of deciduous and evergreens brings us a large open flat rock face that affords views of a dozen other mountain tops and the Hiway 83 that snakes its way through the valley. The mountains range between four and five thousand feet. It is truly magnificent. The rock ledge drops off vertically about a thousand feet and much attention is given to the dogs that they don't go chasing anything. Their discovering some spilt cereal in my knapsack provides a good diversion. Paula is nursing a twisted ankle from training for her triathlon so we take our time on the way back the parking lot. Good-byes once again punctuate the conversation and I am on the road again. The hike was a wonderful way of saying good-bye to New Hampshire and friends. Paula and Bill have traveled to Canada often and recommend that I take 93 north to 91 and go to Montreal and from there west into Ontario. I am winding down my road trip. One more stop in Brockville and I might be back at the cottage. Shortly after starting the journey north I note signs for the Bowl. I decide to investigate. David Thoreau beat me to it two hundred years ago. A flume of water rushing down a gorge carrying rocks with it has carved a beautiful round indentation into the granite rock water way. It is half cave half pool, about thirty feet round but the rock walls are very smooth. Thoreau describes it as the perfect place for a maidens ablutions. On this day the only maidens are those clinging to their tourist boyfriends.
I pass the Cannon ski resort (4100 ft.) with it's tremendous vertical drops. And then another sign beckons to me. Vermont is to the west. It is a beautiful evening. I leave the dual hiway and find myself on two lane winding roads undulating through gorgeous countryside with barns of every description, fields of produce, cows and goats grazing and antique stores by the dozen. The scenery is as good as anything in rural England (Great Britain). The Adirondacks loom in the distance. I reach a small hamlet, Bath which has a covered bridge, # 28. Near the bridge is the oldest operating General Store in the USA, The Brick Store. Is a moving experience to be inside. Old wooden floorboards, historical artifacts hanging from everywhere. Merchandise that was sold in the store 200 years ago is on display. Shoelaces, shaving items, tins, etc. The clerk is wrapping freshly smoked cheese. Locally smoked pepperoni is for sale. The smell evokes history. I buy a bottle of Sarsaparilla (sic). I can taste the Sodium Benzoate used as a preservative. Food scientists were presenting arguments to Congress in the early 1900's on the advisability of not using Sodium Benzoate as a food additive. Today it is still in major use. The pro and con scientists still argue. If you recall from my journal last year the Smithsonian Museum presented an exhibit which included the scientists involved in the debate.
I get lot lost on/off Hiway 302 and after 20 minutes I realize I am on # 5. At an intersection of two roads that would seem to go on to oblivion I stop. I ask for directions in a large non descript wooden three story general store. It might have been a hotel at one time for lumber workers. A very helpful, bright young man on cash shows me on a map where I am. I am flummoxed, that's where I am, in addition to being lost, and now somewhat behind a very loose schedule. I smell something good coming from the corner of the store. I am distracted by a customer who looked like a woodsman chasing a woman around the aisles. She seemed to enjoy the chase and no one seemed to mind. I like this place. I discover a kitchen of sorts in the corner of the store. Dozens of different dishes are posted on a very large makeshift menu board. Home made is what we have here. I order what I think the woodsman would have ordered. A cheese burger and chips. The result is amazing. No, I don't mean that I take off chasing the female clientele. The cheeseburger is amazing. A half a pound of the freshest , best tasting hamburger meat I have I ever eaten. Yes, ever. The burger is packed to overflowing with pickles, lettuce, tomato. The bun is a perfect soft crunchy. The French fries are home cut and there are plenty of them. All this for $4.99 including tax. Getting lost has advantages. This diversion might cost me a few hours of sleep but that burger will be worth every minute of it. Life on the road as it should be. Full of surprises.
Driving the the night with a full moon blazing I travel north across the Sand Bar Bridge and go north on the Grand Isles, appreciating the beauty of the moonlit water on both side of me. Into New York State. A quick nap at midnight and onto the USA/Canada border. My new Canadian passport works like a charm; my arriving at the border at 3AM does not. After a series of repeated questions, including, "Don't you think it unusual to be crossing a border at 3AM?" The official was a little embarrassed and giving me a hard time because he originally thought my large duffel bag in passenger seat was a person. "Whose that with you? he said, when I pulled up to the window. "That's my bag" was the truthful answer. I was eventually waved on.
Mon. Aug. 27, 2007. Another nap on the road side and it was breakfast in Brockville, Ontario. I promised Debbie to visit on my way through. She greeted me with great enthusiasm, but on learning that I needed to be on the computer for market opening rather than helping with chores, retired for a rest. Her leg was still in a cast but she was able to walk with the use of a cane. Later we enjoyed a snack at Tate's bakery on Main Street. Bunty if you ever read this I am sorry I didn't get chance to say hello but it's a date on my next visit. Arrived back at the cottage before midnight, taking the scenic route through Flat Iron, Athens, Fofar and Corby and Westport. As usual I could not tell that anyone had been in the cottage during my absence. Thank you great guests.
Tues. August 28, 2007. It's an earning day. The DOW drops 284 points and my reverse funds kick in. I miss the really big money by pulling out too early but am pleased with the discipline that I maintained throughout the trading day.
Wed. August 29, 2007 Stock market. Made a quick $100 on MVIS and watched SDS go down in price. Read that as lost my hundred. Weather was hot here. Swam across the lake and tried the new floating dock out. Very good flotation and the step ladder makes it easy to get on and off. My swim time across the lake one way was 4 minutes, steady crawl. It's about 150 yards. That works out to a 46 minute mile which is my usual time in a pool. So all the hiking kept me in good shape. Now I wait for my ear infection to kick in. Invariably some water will get past the ear plugs. My ear is constantly ringing since the last operation. I have had five ear drums replaced and each one has been defective. Most annoying. The one which the doctor said was taken from a cadaver, worked well, but I kept hearing a voice that said, "Where am I?" Going for the Guinness Book of Records if I can put the paperwork together. Each operation takes about 2-3 hours plus all the prep. and recovery time. Can't drive for a day etc. This has been going on for 5 years. And, all from doing a splash dive in a backyard pool where the pressure hit the walls of the pool and bounced right back into my ear blowing the drum. Children you have been warned. No show off splash dives in the pool. I just had a light bulb moment. Insurance! Debbie, are you listening - I think we need to talk to your father? It was her Dad's pool.
Sat. Sept. 1, 2007. Verona, Ontario. The Lions Club, local farmers and artisans threw a garlic festival, in addition to the usual farmer's market, which is held on Saturday's. Verona is a small village 20 minutes north of Kingston. What do you do at a garlic festival? You listen to lectures on how to grow and cook garlic, see exhibits of how you can use garlic plants to decorate, and finally, sample taste at every booth, wonderful concoctions that are built around crushed garlic. I sample snacked, re-snacked and smacked and tomorrow I shall exude garlic from every pour. The most memorable snack ($1) was a steamed corn on the cob rolled in garlic butter. This is a a farmer's market and the corn was fresh, plump and very juicy. The garlic made it zing! I was also served some delicious food by the new Mayor, Janet Gutowski, who was in a cookout competition. Janet is amazing. She always remembers my name on the spot even though she only sees me once in a blue moon. The last time was months ago when I spontaneously cleaned her windshield at the local gas station and told her to tell Jaz, the owner, that I was her man servant. That could get tongues wagging in a small community. .
While munching at a picnic table I said hello to Jerry R., a local resident, who after retiring as an electrician continues to buy and sells the odd property - including Tom's old cottage, near my property. Jerry knows everyone. He also contributed a lot of historical artifacts to an exhibit that was erected at this event. Within minutes we discovered that another person, Mr. Giroux, at the table, who taught high school where Jerry went to school in Sharbot Lake, a nearby community. I listened to great stories of students and locals, including the blind bootlegger who could tell who you were by your footsteps. The teacher was with his son and daughter in law and grandchild. I has spoken to the son, Cam, earlier. He and his wife have just finished a tour of the Canadian folk festival scene as performers. Cam plays drums and writes and his wife (Suzie Ungerleider) performs under the name of Oh Susanna. They currently live in Toronto near High Park and perform in that city regularly. I shall attend a gig next time I am there. There weren't many places to sit and eat and we were joined by a charming pair of ladies, one who was 88, the other her daughter. I spoke of my recent trip to Newfoundland. Jerry knew every nook and cranny including George Street famous for its pubs. Margaret was born in Happy Meadow, NF. Her maiden name was George. She and her husband started farming when they were in there forties. They knew nothing but learned through hard work and according to her did well. They also, according to her daughter, built dozens of homes, raised numerous adopted children and eventually moved to Victoria in their eighties. A full life and still motoring on. Inspirational.
Speaking of eighties, I heard this weekend that dear Nels Pascoe, one of my running group, (the Wilket Creekers out of Toronto), who is in his mid eighties, is ill. Nels has been one of my role models for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a good sense of humor. We have know each other for nearly 30 years. Nels used to cycle up to a 100 km a day into his early 80's, plus run and cross country ski (though not always all on the same day). Nels is under the care of his relatives as I write. Hopefully his operation will get him back on track again. He apparently too, has a little bit of the, "Where am I?" problem. I have some great pictures of Nel's 80th birthday party, held at Linda Gordon's (our arctic traveler), on this web site or from the Nels link on the Community page. Nel's a lot of people including me will be thinking great positive thoughts for you in the next week or so.
Mon. Sept. 3, 2007. Studio Tour weekend. It is quite remarkable that such talented artists live in such remote places. I limited my choice of visits to an afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to discover some artists that I had not visited before.
Wed. Sept. 5, 2007 Than and her friends, Nerissa and Peter visited for a few days and what a few days. Walks and talks, laughter, played scrabble, practiced drawing using Nerissa's new pastel crayons, and ate. Oh, how we ate. For a few days it was a 'cookapalooza.' Both Nerissa and Than liked concocting dishes and Peter and I enjoyed devouring them - well we all did. I had to swim across the lake a couple of extra times to make sure there was no evidence of my somewhat excessive consuption of the gastronomical offerings. Than entertained us by demonstrating new and very original ways of using those long, colourful plastic, flexible, flotation devices while trying to swim to the floating dock. Not the usual things you would expect from an economist.
Tony and Edi joined us for an evening meal and discovered that they had visited many of the places that Peter had travelled to while he was working in Europe as an industrial engineer. Nerissa (now retired) has worked in various capacities from policy advisor for the provincial government to Freedom of Information and Privacy Coordinator. I should mention that I was thoroughly trounced in scrabble, and my excuse that english is my second language didn't wash well because the same could be said of my protagonists who respectively are from Vietnam and the Philipines. Much debate occured around the rules of the game, such as one use abbreviaitons, letters from the periodic table and so on. I much preferred to read the dictionary and loose a turn than labour trying to match my paltry letters to those on the board.
Sat. Sept. 8, 2007 We visited the Verona Farmer's market and although there weren't as many stalls open as the week before we managed to buy plenty of great vegetables and other delectables. After a final feast of beef stew and lemon grass chicken, once again provided by my guests, we said farewell. I didn't much feel like working and felt a little alone after such good socializing so I pulled a movie out the pile and watched Red Sorghum, with Gong Li. Top notch but man's inhumanity to fellow man took the edge of what was a beautful and entertaining love story.
Sun. Sept. 9, 2007. I went to the village of Sydenham to watch the Abrams Brothers, John and James play a street (tribute) concert located at Trousdales. This was the second time I had watched the boys, their father Brian, grandfather Wayne and other group members play a variety of bluegrass, gospel, country and even Bob Dylan songs. All members of the band are very talented but one would have to say that James, 14, and John 17 are both gifted. Both boys are incredibly good fiddle players and John also plays mandolin and guitar with an expertise that belies his teen age. Their singing voices are well harmonized and a pleasure to listen to. Individually they have a distinct and notable style that I sure will be heard on many a radio station in the future. Their high energy father accompanies them on certain songs. Grandfather also sings and plays. Mother was in the background looking very fashionable in a black businesslike ensemble promoting CD's. She is very attractive and has 'stage presence' even though she didn't perform on this occasion.
While speaking with their mother, Tanya, after the show, I learned that despite the families obvious dedication to music, their recording contracts, numerous concert performances - both local and abroad, John and James lead normal lives. They attend regular schools, play hockey and manage to maintain a balanced life despite their heavy show biz schedules. They have played at the Grand Ole Oprey in Nashville and recently returned from a gig in Israel. The previous night they played to 2,000 people in Renfrew, Ontario and here they are the next day, an unusually cold September day which was threatening rain throughout the concert, playing their hearts out with enthusiasm and energy. Mother tells me one reason they can maintain such a busy schedule and enjoy their youth is because they don't watch TV. This is remarkable. I wonder how many young people today could say the same thing? Personally I watch very little TV and I know this can free up a lot of time for other types of fun and or meaningful productivity. I think these two young men are excellent role models and I trust that one day they might be on a major TV network show demonstrating both their musical talent and ability to lead meaningful and busy lives.
I noticed that the crowd of mostly local people, enjoyed themselves immensely evident by the toe tapping, hand clapping and that no one left during the two hour show despite the coolness and cloudiness of the weather. Free hot dogs and drinks were served by the local Lion's Club and a Mr. Coffee wagon served top of the line Ethiopian coffee for only a $1 a cup. Also the crowd was very respectful to the band and other audience members inasmuch that although many of the people knew each they refrained from talking during the playing. To me this said that good old fashioned values and respect still do exist. One just has to drive a little farther to find them.
After the concert I met Jerry, who I had spoken to at the Garlic Festival and he introduced me to his charming and lovely wife Val. We talked of books we had read and I passed on one of my favorites, 'Blue Hiways' by Least Heat Moon. Val told me that she had been reading 'Shake Hands with the Devil' by Romeo Dallaire. Once again the inhumanity issue which we discussed. The peacefulness of the countryside on my way home reminded me of how blessed we are to live in Canada.
Wed. Sept. 12, 2007. Met my new neighbors, Ken and Cathy. They are waiting for the the completion of construction of their Viceroy cottage.
It's a 'Small World' component. One of my Email readers who lives in Toronto and is the CEO of an organization recognized one of the names in my Sharbot Lake entries. He was on her board of directors.
'Listen up' anyone with children who are experiencing discipline problems. I attended a presentation by Ron Morrish, a former teacher and now educational consultant author and speaker. This was a free event with a light supper included at the Sharbot lake High School. Ron was invited by a coalition of school boards in the district, on behalf of teachers and schools administrators. The evening session was open to the public. Thanks. Ron was very entertaining but more significant was that his message is of paramount importance. He demonstrated that in Canada and the USA, as a result of political influence, schools were focussed on consequences to remedy the deterioration of positive behaviors in schools. These behaviors are reflective of conduct in the home. What was alarming was the number of schools that were kowtowing to political pressure from school ministries. He presented numerous code of conduct documents from schools. The contrast between the punitive and the positive expectation camps was dramatic. The positive side had much less vandalism, hugely reduced suspensions and a culture of respect that was evident in every aspect of school performance. In contrast the punitive schools were experiencing counter productive backlash to their 'you will do as you are told' programs. One example of the conduct code was the consequence if a student was 'guilty' of arson. The punishment for the first incident was outlined. Then the consequence for the second event. Then, are you ready for this, the consequence for the third event. At this point one might question the cost of the hotel room where the administrator is filling out the forms to record the event. Ron has published a number of books and a video tape. Highly recommended. I think Ron's message would apply to any interaction between two people. So if you are experiencing any type of relationship difficulties 'listen' to how you are presenting your message.
Oil reached $80 a barrel today. This is an all time high. Do you know what size your car engine is? I anticipated the steady increase of oil prices a couple of years ago after reading Daniel Yergin's most informative book on the history of oil, 'The Prize', 1992, Simon and Schuster. My engine is 1.8 liters. Combined with a light car body, a five speed transmission and driving at speed limits I get 45 MPG. (CDN gallon).
Thurs. Sept. 13, 2007. Very cool overnight. The lake was covered in a shroud of light mist due to the lake-air temperature inversion. The heat of the sun created a beautiful ethereal scenario which disappeared by 8.30 AM.
Thurs. Sept. 20, 2007. Weather is amazingly good. The air was very warm in the early reminiscent of waking up in the south of France. Air temp. 80F. I was swimming in the lake today without any sense of cold. Free access to the New York Times this week.
Sat. Sept.22, 2007. Attended the wedding for Chris and Erin. Chris is the grandson of Marion and Ken my cottage neighbors. The ceremony was held in the garden of Erin's step father's home on the shores of a lake L. near the village of Battersea. The bride was beautiful, as was the setting and the weather was perfect. The ceremony was officiated by a very jovial minister. Because of my hearing problem I didn't pick up all the dialogue but he certainly had everyone laughing and he even encouraged comments from the audience. The reception was held in a nearby village. Great food, a good DJ and a spacious dance floor made for a very enjoyable celebration. Special mention of the table at which I sat. I didn't know any of the people but they made me feel very 'at home.' Thanks to Cathy T., Marc, Sue and Greg, John and his wife and Erin's Grandmother Janet. And thanks to Erin and Chris for inviting me to share the start of their life together. Well sort of, I think they have been dating for about ten years. Chris is in the Canadian Armed Forces and Erin has her own photography business.
Sun. Sept., 30, 2007. Had a great chat with my grandson Jordan (13) who lives in Florida. He is now playing on a football team. He will be trying out for the quaterback position next week. I know he is a good runner because we have had a few fun races. He knows that I will stay in good physical shape so that he will have to work hard to beat me even as I get older and he gets stronger. His time for track and field are 5.20 mins for the mile and 2.20 minutes for the 800 meters. I don't what my times are but I know I am going to have to start training to keep up with him. Kevin his Dad informs me that he has moved to a new location, nearer the beach and very close to Jordan's school. This is good news.
Had a good catchup chat with Colleen Clarke, President of Colleen Clark and Associates. She informed me that she went to Spain in the summer on a volunteer assignment. This may be of interest to others so here is the the link to Puebloingals. You pay your way to get to the destination and the hosts pay for everything else in exchange for you helping teach the clients English. Life experience and volunteering combined. Great balance activity.
Oct. 5 - 7, 2007. Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. I am blessed to enjoy the company of good friends on this weekend, but I have to find and get the turkey. Last year I found a local farm and bought a monster turkey that took forever to cook and I left it in the oven forever and it ended up a little on the dry side. I might add the turkey was frozen. This year I scoured the Frontenac newspaper ads and found another local seller. What an adventure finding the homestead, somewhere near Cranberry Lake and meeting Paul and Amie and their four children. They quit the 'rat race' and now home school their children and grow their own produce and raise animals including turkeys. The children showed me their goats. I was advised not to pet the male goats as apparently it is a bit smelly from indulging in a ritual involving its urine to establish who is in charge in the herd. The children told me that they loved their lifestyle.
The children had set up a table in the driveway and offered at the most reasonable prices home apple cider and cranberry sauce. I bought these goods and received my unfrozen but refrigerated turkey. Not too big a bird but Amie assures me that it will feed our table of eight. Paul and I enter a long discussion which evolved from my asking why he moved into wilds after closing his successful trucking business. We spoke of his beliefs that a higher power was directing his life. He and Amie looked very healthy and seemed very satisfied with the new directions. I spoke of my beliefs and satisfaction and comfort level in feeling that I had to take charge of my own life. Paul and I agreed to continue our discussion over a cup of tea in the future.
Guests for the weekend arrived and from that time on the weekend was a combination of laughter, stories, food and the odd libation. We were joined for thanksgiving dinner by my new neighbor Wendy, her friend Joan, Kate my former traveling companion and her daughter Charlotte. We reminisced on the many years this gathering had taken place. I am pleased to report that the turkey was cooked to perfection even though the oven was temperamental and the turkey was eventually transferred to the BBQ. Now the decision to make this transfer was not taken lightly. Committees were formed, various modes of decision making considered and finally we reached consensus. Dinner was good but in preparation we had overlooked exactly how many vegetable dishes we had. I think abundance would be the right word. The turkey faded into the background a more and more and more vegetables arrived on the table. But the turkey was very good and I shall be making more trips for fresh produce out to Paul and Amies.
After dinner Ed entertained us on the guitar. His renditions of Bob Dylan songs were superb. Ed is getting better with age, as in, his guitar playing and singing. He also regaled us with stories of his traveling days through Europe before he settled into his career of an Electrical Engineer (now retired).
Charlotte had help organize and officiated the Toronto Marathon the previous week in her position with her father's company that organizes and promotes these type of races. Kate completed in the half marathon. Well done to both of you.
Joan volunteered to help Ed and I wish the dishes and this provided an opportunity to learn a little about her work as a researcher at the Univeristy of Toronto. Wendy also specializes in information studies. Each time you use an ATM you might be getting the benefit of Joan's expertise. As usual I was a little out of my depth. My only knowledge of this field came from my association with Rami Tabbah who teaches the subject at Concordia Univeristy and owns a consulting firm specializing in this field.
While on this subject I should mention for those who are interested in the development of the computer that the book, Fire in the Valley by Freiberger and Swaine, McGraw Hill, 2000 is a most informative and entertaining review of the history of the personal computer. Even Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame had a role in the conceiving the computer's development. Now here's an interesting twist. Mary Shelley's full name included the middle moniker of Wollstonecraft. Her namesake Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was the first women's liberationist who wrote the 'Vindication of the Rights of Women'. So we have two very noteable Mary Wollstonecrafts. The latter married Shelley the poet.
Community link for 2006 and previous travels etc. Entries on this page are in chronological order. Most recent first.