Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…

My mother loved baseball. I remember helping her set up the television on the backyard patio, so she could sit outside and still enjoy the games. She loved Kelly Gruber and John Olerud, and every year had a scorebook so she could track stats all on her own.

A bunch of folks from work were at the Jays game against Tampa Bay last night. There’s really something about watching the local boys play. Well honestly, in my case, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the actual game. I was having too much fun talking and joking around with the people I work with. The expression on the boss’ face pretty much covers what we’re like on a daily basis.

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Photo courtesy of Merel van der Wouden

I did notice the Jays played an abysmal game, losing 12-2. We got to see Paredes’ first at bat. His was one of only five hits (the entire game). This is what it looks like when someone bats 1000.

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It was a night of fun and bonding over peanut shells. Since you asked… something about a bunch of nuts with nuts. Just assume “nuts” as in “crazy”, and not, you know…

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Photo courtesy of Merel van der Wouden

Baseball…a game of skill, statistics, and teamwork. The only thing that could have made it better would have been an open dome at the Rogers Centre. Oh, and if I had taken video of the guy a couple rows in front of us. HE was utterly entertaining!

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Take your best shot…

It’s still the birthday weekend, so in addition to some wine tasting, it obviously makes sense to go to a shooting range the next day. Right? Right?

I have to say I was a little apprehensive about firing a gun, any gun, even at a target. What if I made a complete idiot of myself and miss every time? What if I can’t hit a target to save my life?

I had these visions of sitting in a classroom with 20 other people, learning the safety regulations and proper handling of a weapon. Not so, but a healthy respect for something that can potentially take a human life should still be had.

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Silverdale Gun Club (www.silverdalegunclub.com) is an awesome place to learn. You must wear the appropriate safety equipment that are issued to you when you arrive. The instructors have a sense of humour, but business is business. You learn how to properly handle a gun before you’re allowed to fire.

Today we had the Basic package: 20 rounds with a 22 cal, 20 rounds with a 9mm and 10 with an AR-15 rifle. 

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The 22 is my personal favourite of the three, though my friends preferred the other two. 

The most frightening thing today, was how GOOD we all were. SCARY good. I’m so unbelievably thankful the ladies are my friends, they’d be frightful enemies.

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Thanks to Silverdale and our instructor Ken for an amazing experience!

(and if you’re interested in going to a shooting range…be careful and stay safe!)

1 Wine, 2 Wine, 3 Wine, Floor…

It’s my best friend’s birthday weekend, so the girls are celebrating in style. Nothing quite like visiting our favourite Niagara vineyards for a sip, or two, or three…

First stop ended up being Forty Creek Distillery. No other whiskey drinkers, so the stop was pretty much just for me (and a pee break) before continuing on.

It seemed like we were visiting the vineyards in alphabetical order: Angel’s Gate, Aure Estates, Creekside, Featherstone, Hidden Bench, Honsberger Estates, and Organized Crime.

I think I bought the last four bottles of Gewürtztraminer from Featherstone about 3 years ago. Soooo disappointing that they haven’t made any since. All went well anyway, since I found 11 bottles of wine along the way. 

Angel’s Gate has an awesome Icewine and Pinot Gris.

 

Aure Estates has the only Gamay in the Niagara region. 

And Creekside had a Gewürztraminer from 2013. They only made 90 cases.

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We tasted a few wines at almost all of them and found some new favourites. We also made some new friends along the way.   

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Addendum: These are NOT all mine!

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More shenanigans coming up tomorrow!

I love Paper Planes…

I seem to know some really talented people. Friends I’ve made at school, at work, and believe it or not, on the train. I like to support my local musical friends, going to gigs when I can, clapping, and whooping my head off.

Then there’s one I can’t do that for. I can show my support by spreading the word. I’m so sneaky, she doesn’t even know I’m doing this.

My best friend has musicians in her family, particularly one beyond talented cousin from Liverpool. Shannen Bamford. This is “Left Behind” on YouTube: http://youtu.be/q5lU1XpqXqI. I caught myself humming this the other day, and thought this would be a nice post.

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Source: liverpoolacoustic.co.uk

Shannen has more talent in her pinky finger than most people in their entire bodies after years of playing music (my other friends excluded, because they’re damn talented too).

Two years ago she put out an EP, which became my relax and unwind jam. She has this hauntingly beautiful voice. Let me make it easy for you, you can download it here: https://itun.es/ca/hWZiM

The CD release happened while my bestie was visiting the UK. Shannen wrote a sweet personal note to go with the copy my friend brought back for me. Did I mention she was 20 that summer?

She’s played at music festivals and around the local establishments in Liverpool. She gets written about all the time, last time in November: http://www.liverpoolsoundandvision.co.uk/2015/11/07/shannen-bamford-gig-review-studio-2-liverpool/

I’d like to see her play to adoring fans in Toronto. I even have guitars she can borrow so she doesn’t need to trust hers to the airlines. Heck, I’d like to sing and strum along with her. Maybe tweet Shannen and ask her to come play here.

I’m just tickled that she made the trek to Canada for a visit with family over the holidays. How many times do you get to say, “yeah, I listen to her all the time, and I had lunch with her!”

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(not the best pic of me, but isn’t she a sweetie?)

 

 

Where are you Christmas…?

Is it just me?

I’ve been having such a hard time finding my Christmas spirit this year. Maybe it’s work stress, or the pushy people shopping, or that this was always Mom’s holiday and she isn’t here again. I don’t know. I’ve been looking for it everywhere.

We decided not to put up the Christmas tree until the 23rd. Okay, not because we lack the holiday vibe, but because Stitch (otherwise known as “the damn cat”) will only try climbing it and knocking all the ornaments off it…again.

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This isn’t him, but you get the idea.

We’ve never put lights on the outside of the house either. They’d look really pretty, especially with a light dusting of snow, but then I think of the hydro bill and shudder. So instead, I rely on the neighbours down the street. They have holiday spirit, and decorations, to spare. You can’t hear it, but the house on the left has music.

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I will say this. I almost finished my shopping and the stocking stuffers last week. One last thing to pick up for my son and I’ll be done. I had enough energy afterwards to wrap for 3.5 hours. Mission accomplished. Stocking stuffers did however need somewhere to go. My daughter’s boyfriend didn’t have a stocking at our house last year. We don’t want him to feel left out. He’s been around for a couple years, so he’s become part of the family.

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We don’t have a fireplace, so I put four nails in the hallway outside the kitchen. Yes, that is spackling hiding behind them. I’m getting ready to paint, don’t judge.

Why do people hang the stockings on the mantle anyway? Granted, Santa comes down the chimney so it’s convenient to have them right there, but if you light the fireplace, all the tasty chocolate inside would melt. I like my solution better.

I found something that finally made me smile about the entire holiday ordeal.

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It’s a bit of childhood nostalgia, but the Abominable, “Bumble”, was always my favourite. I miss the days of settling on the couch with my mom to watch the old Christmas specials. The old stop animation with Burl Ives as snowman narrator. Maybe the holiday spirit can be found again on the island of misfit toys. We all want someone to love, and somewhere to belong.

There were two packages at the office when I got there today. My aunt had emailed that there were two on their way, with a reminder not to open them until Christmas. It was tempting, let me tell you. The one for my kids I wouldn’t dream of opening. I can’t wait for them to see they have mail from Germany for Christmas. Growing up that was the best part. Mail from grandparents, and aunts and uncles, that we knew would have chocolate of some sort in it. There’s something about the wrapping paper too. It’s thinner, and even feels different. Special. Doesn’t even matter what the package contains. It’s the fact that somewhere out there, someone thinks and cares about you.

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Maybe I found my Christmas spirit after all. It was in a reminder of when I was little, and that it was always family that made the holidays special.

I’ll be with my kids, my daughter’s boyfriend, my brother and Dad on Christmas Eve. We have loved ones both near and far, and that’s what matters.

It’s ALWAYS about the shoes…

There’s almost nothing better on a Saturday afternoon than going shoe shopping with a couple friends, except maybe going to the theatre…or going to see a theatre production based on friendship and shoes.

Wikipedia says: “Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Tony, Emmy and Grammy-winner Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein. Based on the 2005 film Kinky Boots by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, which was inspired by true events, the musical tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits a shoe factory from his father.

I’ll try not to spoil this for anyone who still wants to see it, but…Charlie becomes friends, and goes into a partnership with, a drag queen named Lola. Hilarity ensues. The two design and produce a line of high-heeled sexy boots that will support the weight of a man.

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Source: 680news

It’s a story about being yourself, and true friends accepting you exactly as you are.

…and I’d like a pair of these boots please.

Of Love and Nature…

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Big shout out to my friend Kira Braun, for her CD launch tomorrow afternoon!  I wish I could be there, but am sending my best wishes for a huge success!

Kira is one of those people that I have met along my kaleidoscope road. We actually met on the train commuting, and as Scorpios (we even happen to share the same birthdate) we started talking. She’s one of those people who will do anything she can to help a friend. I know first hand, since she keeps posting on Facebook about a translation I did of my grandfather’s WWII notebook. But, I digress.

There are some people who sit on their butts at home, dreaming about things they want to do, and then there are people like Kira. She chases her dreams wholeheartedly, and those dreams become reality. This is her second CD. Kudos to my birthday buddy!

Tomorrow, as I said, is her CD launch. You won’t be there, because you’re reading this in the USA, or Russia, or Australia. You can still have a listen, and buy it online. There are a lot of ways to describe her voice, but I don’t need to. You’re going to love her. My job is to encourage you to support her like I do.

Kira Cover

The new CD was just made available: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kirabraunandpeterkrochak.

Her first CD is available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewCollaboration?cc=ca&ids=933035503-878271023